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Spadoni inquiry to lead to freedom of information?

A long-running inquiry has recommended Freedom of Information legislation be brought forward by Tynwald as soon as possible.

The Tynwald Select Committee was established to examine a petition of redress brought by the owners of a fishing boat which failed seaworthiness tests in the Isle of Man after being passed in the UK.

Mr and Mrs Spadoni of Port St Mary bought the Suzanna D in 1999 in Portsmouth and were seeking to bring her to the Isle of Man.

She was tested for stability by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency - and passed.

But once the boat was brought to the Isle of Man it was tested by the Isle of Man Marine Administration and failed.

This led to a protacted series of discussions between the Spadonis, the Marine Administration and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as to how the stability defects could be remedied and who should pay the costs.

However, the select committee discovered a memorandum from the Marine Administration which, at an early stage, stated the vessel had never been sea-worthy under the current regulations.

The report concludes if they had access to the document - which was kept confidential - it would have materially affected the way the Spadonis pursued their case.

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