We think that we may have found one of the reasons for the delay in finalising the Trident’s RFI report: the DfT is keeping Mr Macwhirter, the Assessor in the Trident inquiry, very busy these days, as he is also giving evidence, in his role as stability expert for the MAIB, in the Fatal Accident inquiry into the Aquila tragedy. (See press article HERE)
Mercifully, the experts in that inquiry have not seen the need to delve too deeply into vessel motions and dynamic stability topics, and appear to be ready to arrive at their conclusions concerning the loss of the Aquila by reference to contemporary stability standards only.
That being said, we must admit to being somewhat surprised to learn from the Press and Journal article that Mr Macwhirter considered the “extra weight alterations to the Aquila over the years were unlikely to have caused the capsize”, as he had also previously stated that the extra weight on the Aquila had led to a significant deterioration in her intact stability  reserves.
So, we thought we would check his further views in the MAIB’s ‘Aquila’ report:
Further analysis indicated that even if the Aquila had fully complied with the stability requirements, it was very probable that capsize would still have occurred 
At first glance, this statement appeared quite familiar to us once we realised that, if we substituted ‘Trident’ for ‘Aquila’ in the above sentence, then this would be exactly the same conclusion that the experts in the Trident RFI are striving to arrive at!
There is a striking level of consistency here!!!
And, if we think about this some more, it looks like we are being invited to believe that official ‘stability standards’ have little value when it comes to preventing capsizes of Scottish fishing vessels.
We would take a contrary view and suggest that, apart from being nonsense, this is not really the type of message that a responsible Maritime Authority (like the DfT) should be promoting.
 And thus be more likely to capsize
 Unfortunately the “stability requirements” that Mr Macwhirter used as the basis for his analysis were for side and stern trawlers only, not for scallop dredgers (as the Aquila was). Scallopers are required to meet an enhanced stability standard (i.e. trawler stability standards increased by 20%). Now if the Aquila had indeed met the scalloper stability standard ….what would his conclusions have been regarding her probability to capsize?