Fight for Trident justice will go on

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aN INQUIRY into the sinking of a Peterhead trawler has been branded “unacceptable” by relatives.

The report written by Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young was released last Thursday and ruled that no-one was to blame for the sinking of the Trident and the loss of seven lives.

Relatives had been hoping for answers since the tragic day back in 1974 and were last week left with no conclusion.

The Trident was sailing home to Peterhead on October 3 when she was lost in seas off the coast of Wick in Caithness. The bodies of the seven crew members of the Peterhead-registered trawler - Robert Cordiner, Tom Thain, Alex Ritchie, George Nicol, James Tait, Alex Summers and Alexander Mair - were never recovered. In 2001 the Trident was found by chance by amateur divers.

Speaking on behalf of the relatives, Mrs Jeannie Ritchie, who lost both her husband and her father int he tragedy, told the Buchanie: “We found the report pretty inconclusive considering it was a fatal accident. I know for a fact that £7.8 million of taxpayers money has been spent on these enquiries which have been ongoing for ten years.

“We expected, like what most other people would, a clear comment or a conclusion however this report doesn’t clearly conclude the reason for the sinking of the Trident and the loss of seven lives.

“It seems very clear to us that the Trident had a lack of stability, and I think this is what caused it to sink.

“The night she sank her sister ship, the Silver Lining, was called back to the harbour and was impounded for being unstable.

“The inconclusiveness of this report and lack of conclusion raises the question of the willingness to give the truth and reasons why the Trident sank to families.

“In Sir Stephen Young’s report he touched on so many things about standard not being correct and the fact that the Trident never had an inclining test, and if this was carried out the sinking probably wouldn’t have happened.

“In the summer of 1974 the Silver Lining was taken in to try and rectify its imbalance, however the Trident kept sailing until it sank in 1975.

“It also says in the report that a seven and a half tonne ballast could have enhanced the chance of survival.

“Another problem with Sir Stephen Youngs report is that he has changed the weather forecast of the day the Trident sank which was provided by Wick Airport and the coastguards along with other sources, and 36 years down the line he has changed it.

“I speak on behalf of five widows and 13 children and this report is unacceptable and a disgrace. We are now looking at our options and taking advice to see what we can do next and if taking this to the European court of Human rights in Strasbourg is an option we will do so. This is absolutely not over yet.”