Perhaps the most important question for the RFI, once it had established that the Trident had capsized in sea conditions that were not exceptional and that her intact stability was deficient, was whether full compliance with the IMCO minimum stability standard would have prevented Trident’s capsize and the loss of seven lives.
Unfortunately, this was one critical question that the RFI's investigators were unwilling to answer. They were prepared to answer questions that skirted this central issue, they also touched upon matters on the fringes of this issue and were happy to pontificate at great length about many things that seemed to be related, but in fact deflected attention elsewhere.
Perhaps the nearest we can get to a straight answer on this important point is contained within the Sheriff's comments in Para  of his final report:
The first question here is what changes would have had to have been made to the design and construction of the Trident to secure full compliance with the IMCO recommended criteria when she was built. No evidence was led at the inquiry, which would allow me to answer this question, so it is impossible to hold that, if she had been built so as to secure full compliance with these criteria, she would not have been lost.
But surely, Your Honour, as you were in charge of this £7m inquiry, you should have given directions that evidence be obtained and led on this matter?
You were eager to dismiss the results of the 1976 NMI model tests, the report from which, co-incidentally, showed that Trident would have survived if the IMCO Stability criteria had been met. In the words of Dr A. Morrall:
Experiments in breaking waves were repeated and no capsize was obtained. Test periods of up to 1 hour full scale were carried out. Motions were extremely severe and decks were very wet and an impression was gained that limiting conditions for survival had been reached.
Instead we have been asked to accept the conclusions that were drawn by a panel of experts, whose objectivity can be disputed, from a very limited and questionable set of test results from the MARIN test facility in Holland.
Why was the Trident model NOT tested at the MARIN test facility in a condition representing full IMCO compliance so as to see whether or not she would capsize?
If tests had been carried out in this condition, then we would have had a straightforward and conclusive answer to the main question above.
This would not have been a difficult or expensive test to arrange, and it would have provided concrete evidence for the RFI. In fact, when a similar test was carried out at the NMI test facility in 1976 Dr Morrall commented: "this was achieved quite easily by rearranging the ballast inside the model and carrying out an inclining experiment to check"
Perhaps we already know the reasons why evidence was not sought or allowed on this point. The OAG, DfT, Seafish and a number of other parties just did not want to hear the answer that:
If Trident had met the IMCO minimum stability standard, she would have survived.
More to come…….