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ZEEBRUGGE SEA CREW HAILED 20 YEARS ON.

Byline: By GRAHAM BROUGH

THE crew in the Zeebrugge ferry tragedy were hailed as forgotten heroes yesterday in a church service to mark its 20th anniversary.

Rev Nicholas Stacey - who oversaw counselling for people hit by the horror - praised staff for saving lives on the Dover-bound vessel.

The ex-Kent social services chief told survivors and relatives in a Dover church: "No group suffered more acutely than the 42 members of the 80-strong crew who survived.

"In the blame game that followed, the outstanding selfless work of the crew was never fully acknowledged.

"I want to put the record straight. Many of the 313 passengers who were rescued owe their lives to the crew.

They were heroes." Some 193 people died when the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in Zeebrugge, Belgium, on March 6, 1987.

It left port with its bow doors open, letting water flood the car deck, after the employee who should have shut them dozed off.

A damning inquiry found owner Townsend Thoresen, which became P&O European Ferries, was "infected with the disease of sloppiness".

P&O was charged with corporate manslaughter and seven staff with manslaughter. No convictions followed. The 193 victims' names will be read out at a Dover service tomorrow.

Zeebrugge 20 Years On: Pages 26&27
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 5, 2007
Words:213
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