Thursday, February 24, 2011

FV Trident Inquiry - Final Report - Part 1

The Sheriff Principal’s report on the loss of the FV Trident has now been released [LINK].

The most important question that was asked at this public inquiry is contained in paragraph [32] of the Sheriff’s report:

Unfortunately the answer to this crucial question is not actually contained within the Sheriff’s main report.

One would expect that, following the 10-year and £7m investigation into the loss of Trident, the Sheriff and his Assessors should have been able (and obliged) to provide an answer to this question in writing, themselves. Instead, all they appear to have done is simply a cut and paste exercise from a document that is not in the public domain (i.e. the Joint Panel of Experts report, finished before the court hearing started), leaving it up to us to sift through a number of pages of verbal padding until we arrive at the following text. 

From the text above we are left to surmise that the Sheriff’s uncritical acceptance [*] of the conclusion lifted word for word from the JPE report (paragraph 12.1), as indicated above, provides us with the answer to the question that was asked in paragraph [32] – but we are not really sure about that!!

(More to follow...)
[*] Note the passive connotation of the verb ‘accept’, which does not imply full endorsement


Raj said...

Trident<=>Aquila Two results two days same conclusion same expert, is there a third ? if so can I pick the winning ticket now?


gadfly said...

Plenty winning tickets still available. You can take your pick.

Will post your prize later.

Raj said...

Without digressing to other sections of the report, can I assume that the specific seakeeping is the same infamous specific seakeeping a.k.a.
"I don`t know " sort of seakeeping in question unlike the dictionary definition : clearly defined or identified. sort of seakeeping.

Best regards Raj

gadfly said...


Yes, this is indeed the infamous but unspecified ‘specific sea-keeping’ the characteristics of which are specific because the effect they had on the Trident could be observed i.e. the capsize. It is very difficult to tell you anything else about these characteristics as they have not as yet been satisfactorily isolated and identified.
One thing is certain though - they should not be confused with ‘stability’ type characteristics or even the concept of ‘deficient stability’ which, in the old days, was thought by a number of flat-earthers to be a causative factor of capsize.

Best regards

Jeannie Ritchie said...

Dear Gadfly

With regards to the long awaited famous report into the death of 7 men on Trident ,it has finally arrived to the families today

Pity the courier arrived more than an hour or two after the Department posted it on the webb.
Someone even got that wrong,so much for organization in our Department for Transport.

No big problem with that ,the problem is the Report!!

Can someone point out to us the families
What is the conclusion /findings into loss of Trident because in the report we cannot find them
Quotations Yes ,Conclusion NO.

I feel as confused as they certainly all were when they were making up the report.

The real word we were looking for to be addressed in the report was STABILITY of Trident but we are still looking.

Not much value for the 7.8 Million Pounds spent of Public Money to find the CAUSE OF THE LOSS OF TRIDENT PD 111

gadfly said...

Dear Mrs Ritchie

We too were somewhat confused by the Sheriff's report. At first glance it appeared to us that the Sheriff had plucked out a number of paragraphs from the JPE report, added a bit of speculation from the transcripts, mixed in some words of 'wisdom' from his Assessor and then just mixed everything up......
- looking at the way in which the official questions and answers have been arranged for example, out of sequence - very confusing and strange indeed.

He then appears to garnish the report by denying the possibility that anything contentious has happened.

We have never seen any other serious casualty report set out in this way.

We will be studying this 'report' in some depth over the next few days and no doubt will have some further opinions.

One thing is clear to us at this very early stage - the outcome from this ten year inquiry is a disgrace

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Can I please point out one or two important issues.
Significant sums of UK taxpayer's money has been spent (correction- wasted) on the Trident (and Gaul) inquiries. These were both tragic accidents that, yes, could have possibly been prevented but we will never precisely known what happened in either case.
Although I have every sympathy for those who lost loved ones in both accidents, demanding inquiries and crying 'conspiracy' just because the answers that result from investigations do not suit the bereaved is, to be frank, scandalous.
The only reasons the families want to determine that Trident was 'unstable' (can I remind everyone ship stability is not a binary (yes or no) characteristic)is to enable an organisation or individual to be blamed, and sued for money!
To suggest that, if Trident had just met the 'recommended' stability standard, she would have survived the 'accident' is extremely far fetched!
Even today, with FV stability standards (and only for FV >12 m registered length) it is still perfectly feasible for FVs to be lost, through snagged nets, rogue waves and poor ship handling. No National Marine Administration can ensure FVs are safe through out all cycles of operation.

Please, move on people and get on with your lives and stop costing the UK taxpayer endless amounts of cash pursuing FOI requests and formal investigations, enough is enough!

I am under no illusion that this entry will be posted, but I hope that at least someone will have to read it before rejecting it.

Raj said...

I fully understand the comments of anonymous 7.31pm.
I would however like to opportunity to reply in brief. I am also appalled by the cost to the British taxpayer £ 7.8 Million I believe is a figure quoted and as he or she appears to be willing to point the finger at the families I would like to reply.
The real scandal of the costs associated with this RFI is that the government in 1976 conducted tank tests as part of an a PUBLIC inquiry into the loss (1975), and yes at public expense no doubt and choose not to show the results to the families or the public. If you think for one minute that if the document had been made available to the families at the time they would still have wished to go through this protracted nightmare then I`m sorry you are wrong, better still write to the Secretary of state for transport and ask the question, why did they not tell anyone in 1976 or at all for that matter and saved everyone ( you and me included) the money and the grief. That’s the scandal, it’s not that the vessel was not compliant , it’s not that it should have been tested and never was, it’s not that they knew it was deficient and did nothing because as you correctly say it might not have saved the men, however it may have given them a better chance and I`m quite sure I know what vessel you would have be sailing on given the chance. If you answer neither that’s you and me both!

Best Regards Raj

gadfly said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are right to worry about tax-payers' money being wasted; however, I would suggest that 'waste' only becomes a real issue when taxpayers' money is being expended on matters that are not directly linked to searching out the facts and finding the true cause of a maritime casualty.

I also contend that vast sums of money have been wasted in the Gaul and Trident formal investigations – in particular when this money was spent by public officials in their pursuit of outcomes that were not in the interest of the public.

The objectives of any casualty investigation is, as you know, to provide comfort to the relatives of those lost and to derive knowledge from each tragedy with a view to prevent future similar occurrences

Waste is the delay, the obfuscation, the great expense of concealing the truth – destroying historical records and manufacturing new evidence - the time spent devising ways in which to circumvent the facts, the costly disinformation campaigns, the discrediting of a legal process designed to enhance the safety of the public, and all the official arsenal of manoeuvres and tricks.
But the greatest waste of all is that of the productive lives lost and that of the lives potentially put in danger by each failure to learn the true lessons of the past.

The best way to save taxpayers' money is to reveal the truth first time around, without argument and delay.

You are, of course, entitled to your views as to the costs and value of these formal inquiries, but how are you in a position to be certain that these were not real conspiracies?

Anonymous said...

Indeed a disgrace! After reading the findings of Stevie boy's £7.8million pound selective copy and paste exercise, I am completely dumbfounded at how spineless and completely uninformative this report has been. It leaves me very cautious of the British Justice System. Fortunately we still exercise the right to freedom of speech in this country. I for one have great admiration for Jeannie Ritchie's tenacity and determination in pursuing the truth about Trident. She should be rest assured that our loved ones would have been proud of her long battle for justice.

Best regards,


gadfly said...


Many thanks for your comment.

We fully share your thoughts and admiration for Mrs Ritchie.

Best regards

Jeannie Ritchie said...

Dear RAJ and Gadfly
Thanks for your comments which without a doubt are the truth.

Dear Anonymous
I,m so glad your comments have been posted also.
We the families agree with you from the bottom of our hearts.
It is SCANDALOUS the 7.8 Million pounds which have been spent in this RFI into the loss of Trident.

What a waste of Tax Payers money.

It STINGS me also for I also was a tax payer till I was 65 and my sons are still tax payers so we have contributed into the POT.

The REAL scandal is how in 1976 the Government hide the findings of the "National Maritime Institute part of an Inquiry into LOSS OF TRIDENT"from the families.

May I point you to the conclusions on Page 9 no 8 on the N.M.I. Report

Trident had Insufficient STABILITY but maybe you have read this before we the families did on the 20th May 2010.
Date of report to refresh your memory 22nd October 1976
This is the REAL SCANDAL that this was kept hidden for us the families for 34 Years.

I wonder would you not complain for lack of using a stronger word.

On asking the Department for Transport why they Hide It.
To quote Mr Penning who you may know personnaly
"I,m sorry we did not tell you all in 1976".
Well Anonymous
Not Good enough.

When you are and I hope you never are in OUR SHOES I just wonder what your reaction would be.

Therefore your criticism,s need to be directed to the Department of Transport not us old widows who spent the most part of our lives working and paying taxs.

We were denied closure in 1976.
How different our lives could have been and there would have been no need for all these last 10 years of suffering ,sleepless night.

When you are in OUR SHOES then you decide what to do.

Widow and daughter of Trident

Raj said...

Gadfly et al,
Having re-read the post of Anonymous 7.31pm I do think there are some points to raise. Having covered the scandalous costs issue, I would also like to address the proposition of "if Trident had just met the 'recommended' stability standard, she would have survived the 'accident' is extremely far fetched!"
I do not think for one minute that was proposed, what was proposed was had the vessel been in full compliance as per the build contract, as my understanding of stability goes if it was just in compliance what would have happened had it burned another ton of fuel used water and even for a fishing vessel taken a catch on deck it would then have been out of compliance again , surely this was the whole purpose of the standard loading conditions to ensure the purpose of the vessel was met , what use a fishing vessel that could not take fish on deck could only carry between 6 and 8 tons of fuel to maintain compliance? what we do know is the vessel could not be made compliant without structural modification that I`m afraid is a fact, limiting all other criteria would not have made a fishing vessel, a ferry perhaps but only on the outward journey until the fuel started to go low maybe never to return and yes perhaps the families were looking for a tangible explanation as to what went wrong, in your words
"to enable an organisation or individual to be blamed, and sued for money!"
I believe it’s called accountability if you commit a crime, crash your car , carry out work of a poor standard, you are accountable it is I`m afraid the fabric of society, you have to be accountable for your actions people / institutions are paid to carry out a task they are qualified to do in order to ensure safety for others , What are you suggesting there is no accountability? Without it we would not move forward no-one would wish the sole blame to rest on an individual I for one would hate to see such a burden be placed, however I do feel there was mistakes made and firmly believe that there may have been lessons learned , if so why do they not share them after all we have paid the price. I am eager to hear your suggestions but very much doubt you would so understanding if family was taken from yourself and negligence proven!
Your post appears to be very much supportive of the government and as such must condone the hiding and destruction of documents appertaining to an investigation of which you are so grudging of the costs !
Best Regards Raj

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gadfly said...

Anonymous @ 4:54 AM

Yes, of course. You don't need to ask for permission.