For reasons which we shall delve into later, in a separate post, the government has not yet provided the answers we had expected and knew to be correct.
Meanwhile, a new Freedom of Information request has been lodged with the Department for Transport, which reads:
Grounds for the re-opening of the Formal Investigation (RFI) into the loss of FV Trident by the Secretary of State for Transport under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act
Recently obtained MAIB documents concerning pre-RFI matters related to FV Trident state that "The chief inspector of marine accidents will recommend to the secretary of state if there are grounds for the formal investigation to be re-opened or not."
Although the discovery of the wreck of the Trident, itself, in 2001, meant that new evidence was found, for the condition of "new and important" evidence to be satisfied and hence for the Secretary of State for Transport to be able to order a re-opening of the Trident investigation in accordance with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, a survey of the wreck and an analysis of its findings by MAIB technical experts was necessary.
It was only on that basis that the "new" evidence could have been deemed as being also "important" - the pre-requisite for a new inquiry.
The official FV Trident Formal Investigation website (maintained by the DfT) states clearly that "In August 2001, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch carried out a more detailed examination of the wreck to confirm its identity and to see whether there was anything that would either contradict the original findings or, indeed, confirm them. The discovery of the wreck together with the examination was new and important evidence."
This official statement means that the examination of the wreck by the MAIB found evidence, which either confirmed or contradicted the findings of the 1975 inquiry.
I would therefore be grateful if you could provide me with the information you hold on the MAIB findings, which triggered the re-opening of the Trident formal investigation. Did they confirm or did they contradict the original findings?
I would also request a copy of the recommendation made by the chief inspector of marine accidents to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Stephen Byers, prior to his order for the re-opening of the investigation on 28th March 2002.
Looking forward to a new batch of disinformation and spin which, in due course, will surely emerge from the Department for Transport.