The Aftermath

Crime Files

The Aftermath

Relatives and friends of the victims hoping to receive some form of financial compensation found that English law does not allow compensation for victims of accidents who do not have dependents. As the majority of the deceased were in their twenties with no long term careers or dependents few relatives were granted anything apart from receiving funds for funeral costs.

One of the issues looked at during the resumed inquest was the decision to remove the hands from victims for finger printing purposes rather than make arrangements for finger printing to be carried out at Westminster Morgue. Until the inquest proceedings, the families were unaware of this process having taken place.

Seven years after the tragedy the Bowbelle was sold to another dredging company and renamed Bom Rei. In 1996, caught in rough weather, she broke in half, sinking off the Portuguese island of Madeira. The wreck is now popular with scuba divers and tourists, many of whom have little knowledge of the ship’s infamous past. 

When the tragedy happened in 1989 London did not have a coastguard or Lifeboat on the Thames. In 2002, as part of recommendations to improve safety on the Thames the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) set up four lifeboat stations at Gravesend, Tower Pier, Chiswick Pier and Teddington.  They are now the busiest lifeboat stations in the RNLI network.

The 20th anniversary of the tragedy was held in August 2009 at Southwark Cathedral. Margaret Lockwood Croft, mother of victim 26 year old Shaun Lockwood Croft, who shortly after the tragedy began the Marchioness Action group, reflected on her loss twenty years later. “It’s a nightmare for any parent for it’s a death that should never be. I’m aware how powerful and dangerous the Thames is and although the powers that be are working hard there’s still tweaking along the way. But I’ve thrown them the rugby ball and going to leave them to run with it”

Lessons learned from the tragedy mean dredgers now move in and out of the Thames and are more aware of other ships and craft due to improved navigation and lookout.

Not far from the site of the disaster, a memorial to the victims can be found in the nave of Southwark Cathedral where every year a service of remembrance is held for those who lost their lives.

The 8 police officers and 11 civilians, who helped save 80 lives, were honoured with Royal Humane Society awards. Crewman Andrew McGowan, who risked his own life to free trapped passengers, was given a rare medal for courage. A society spokesman said: "The acts of heroism that dreadful night demonstrate raw courage”