Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FV Trident Inquiry - Preliminary comment

Recent reports in the press advise us [Aberdeen Press and Journal and BBC] that Scotland's Advocate General (AG) is of the view that lack of stability was not a significant factor in Trident’s capsize and loss, and that the old chestnut - ‘heavy seas’ - has popped up again as explanation of the 1974 tragedy:

The most probable cause of the loss of Trident was a sudden and catastrophic capsize in heavy seas.

This proposition by the AG does not really hold any weight for a vessel of Trident’s size and type, even when we take into account the more severe weather conditions (force 7-8 or 9 even?) that were generated for the RFI at the behest of its ‘panel of experts’.

Indeed, if this were a plausible hypothesis, we would have had many Trident-type losses (of IMCO-compliant fishing vessels) during the past 36 years and national legislation providing for increased intact stability standards would have needed to be introduced. This, however, has never happened.

In the original Formal Investigation, the Court reached the conclusion that "reliance cannot be placed on the soundness of the design of Trident" and that "she was probably of inadequate stability".
After reviewing the whole of their evidence, they further concluded that " in all the circumstances it would be unrealistic to conclude that her loss was due solely to the action of the sea and, finaly, that inadequate stability is the factor most likely to underlie her foundering in conditions which would not normally have overwhelmed a ship of her size."

(More to follow)


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