View Full Version : Trident inquiry verdict

24-Feb-11, 21:37
No-one to blame for Trident tragedy, says official inquiry

RELATIVES have hit out after a new report blamed no-one for the sinking of a trawler in 1974 with the loss of seven lives.
The Peterhead boat Trident sank off Caithness, and relatives have since expressed concerns about its stability.
Sir Stephen Young said in his findings, that the loss of the Trident was not caused, or contributed to, by any wrongful act. One of the widows, Jeannie Ritchie, said: "We find the report a bit of a let-down." A reopened inquiry, into the loss of the trawler, got under way in Aberdeen in 2009.
She added: “We have waited years for this, and are no further forward with conclusions”
Sir Stephen, Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highlands and Islands, agreed in his report into the sinking (http://www.fv-trident.org.uk/trident_pdf/110221%20-%20Main%20Report.pdf) with the findings of an expert panel, that the Trident had specific, sea-keeping characteristics that resulted in a measurable and significant probability of capsize, in the prevailing weather conditions at the time.
He said a loose trawl net may have contributed to the vessel's instability, but no-one was to blame for the loss of the Trident. Radio contact was lost in the afternoon of 3 October, 1974.
An oil film was reported on 6 October in the Moray Firth area of the last-known position of the Trident but she wasn’t discovered for many years.
All of the crew, Robert Cordiner, Alexander Ritchie, George Nicol, James Tait, Thomas Thain, Alexander Mair and Alexander Summers were lost. Six of the men were in their 30s, and Mr Nicol was in his 50s.
The families never knew where their loved ones lay...until 2001 when the wreck was discovered, by chance, by amateur divers from Orkney. They were engaged in trying to trace the wreck of the British destroyer, HMS Exmouth sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War with the loss of her entire crew of 189. The warship had been escorting a cargo ship the Cyprian Prince, on passage to Scapa Flow, when she took a torpedo, in January, 1940. The ship’s captain stopped, with the intention of picking up survivors but remembered Admiralty regulations, which stipulated that vessels in that situation should not wait to recover survivors, for fear of becoming targets themselves, so he restarted his engines and headed for Scapa Flow, leaving men screaming in the icy waters.
The Orkney dive crew were accustomed to popping into the Camps Bar for a drink after their day’s subsea activities. They got chatting to the then owner, Des Macleod, and happened to mention that they had observed the wreck of a fishing boat, in passing.
It struck a chord with Mr Macleod, a former fisherman and he thought it might be the Trident.
A closer investigation by the drivers, confirmed it was the missing Peterhead trawler. Relieved relatives mounted a vigorous and successful campaign to have the fatal accident inquiry into the loss of the vessel, reopened. They believed that the Trident was unstable. The investigation involved, subsea, video evidence and on-shore tank trials and courtroom sessions in Aberdeen.
Mrs Ritchie lost her husband and father when the Trident sank.
She said: "Having just received the report we still have to review the contents and findings before we decide on the next course of action. The report does not seem to clearly conclude what caused the sinking of the Trident. We believe a loss of stability contributed to her loss. We have waited years for this and are no further forward with conclusions."
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said in a letter to Sir Stephen: "It seems that there is little more that my department can now do in respect of the Trident."
He said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would look at what value evidence gathered might have in developing, stability-awareness training courses for fishermen.