Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sufficient for the DfT

Following on from our post of 1 August 2011, which referred to the Trident families’ FOI request addressed to the DfT, the search for the missing video footage of the NMI model tests on FV Trident continues [LINK]. However, the DfT, as solicitous as ever, appear to think that a couple of blurred snapshots taken from the 1976 cine film should be sufficient to satisfy anyone who has the audacity to be interested in that research:

Part of the DfT letter dated 19 August 2011

We beg to differ and consider that the comments made by Professor Dahle, in the written discussion that followed the formal presentation of this research at RINA in 1979, show both the importance and the relevance of this research to the investigation into the loss of the Trident:

Comments by Professor Dahle cited in Tony Morrall’s 1979 paper

(More to come)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lessons from the street

Suddenly, though not quite unpredictably, infernal images of mayhem and rampant law breaking, pouring out from all of the media channels, have shocked our senses. The young generation out of control – the product of 13 years of Labour regime were out on the streets, ready to devour their elders and burn down everything in their path. The moral relativism of the New Labour era and their overarching ‘the ends justify the means’ philosophy have come home to roost.

Was it not Labour who told the poor that neither academic achievement nor a better upbringing exempted one from ‘equality’ with the rest? Were they not promised that there would be no losers? The biggest sin of the Labour dogma was that it prevented its believers from knowing themselves. This led to unfulfilled expectations and, then, the self-hatred trying to cure itself through self-destruction and the destruction of others.

Yet, the moral decay has not been confined to deprived areas or to the periphery of large and affluent urban centres, where upmarket glamour and fashion collapse into vulgarity; it has infiltrated many other quarters.
The rabble recently seen flooding the streets of London has its matches at other levels of society, for the reckless cruelty and irresponsibility of a teenage looter is not unrelated to that within the less riotous social layers.

Is there any difference between an illiterate thug robbing the injured and a government minister or other Establishment figure cheating a defenceless widow out of her rights? Have we not seen the callous irresponsibility of some of our public servants who would consciously put human lives at risk just to please a political master and secure a promotion or some advantage for themselves?
Young people, deprived of a humanist education, have learned that getting what you want means bending the law. The notion that playing by the rules is only for losers has, however, been established by today’s elite.

If we are to become a more responsible nation and accept the consequences of our actions, which we must, then that should necessarily start from the top. If authority is to be respected, that authority has to be made respectable first.

So, now that we, at last, have a sane government in power, we should ask them the question: when are those hardened criminals amongst the elite going to be rounded up and held to account for their actions?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Confirmation bias

In 1975 in the aftermath of the Gaul and Trident disasters the Department of Trade decided to sponsor a program of research at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to try and discover why two well found fishing vessels had suddenly capsized and sank with significant loss of life. This research would focus on stability issues and would be carried out by the ship division of the NPL (subsequently renamed the National Maritime Institute, NMI), one of the world’s leading maritime test establishments at that time.

Scale models of the Gaul and the Trident hulls were then built and subjected to a program of sea keeping tests in waves of varying magnitude; their behaviour in different conditions was filmed, documented and analysed. Unfortunately, the outcome from this research was initially kept under wraps by the DOT, until, in 1979-80, Dr Tony Morrall (NMI) was allowed to publish two brief technical papers, through the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. The two papers gave an edited overview of the NMI’s research/conclusions for the two vessels and video footage from the NMI tests was shown, although the identity of the Trident was concealed:
  1. ‘Capsizing of small trawlers’ published at a RINA meeting in Glasgow on February 20 1979 (N.B. The Trident was not identified within this report; it was merely referred to as ‘trawler A’)
  1. ‘The Gaul disaster: an investigation into the loss of a Large Stern Trawler’ -  published at a RINA meeting in London on April 15 1980
In brief, the conclusion from the NMI research about the loss of the Trident was that she had capsized in moderate sea conditions because she had insufficient stability, while the conclusion about the loss of the Gaul was that she had capsized because of severe weather conditions in conjunction with some unknown circumstance such as internal flooding, which had degraded her inherent stability reserves. [1]

Following the discovery of both wrecks and the decision to re-open both formal investigations (RFI), the DfT’s experts dusted down and sifted through the NMI’s research folders and decided that:
  • The NMI research data on the loss of the Gaul, had yielded the ‘right’ answers, as far as the DfT was concerned, and therefore could be utilised as evidence during the Gaul RFI. In fact in their marine accident report no. 4/99, the MAIB went as far as praising the NMI’s research as being “a comprehensive and ambitious project lasting two and a half years”. Video footage of the NMI tests together with the Morrall research paper were considered to be new and important evidence for the purposes of the Gaul RFI hearings in 2004
  •  Unfortunately, the NMI research data on the loss of the Trident (which had an identical pedigree to that of the Gaul) had yielded the ‘wrong’ answers, as far as the DfT was concerned, and was therefore deemed to be unsuitable for a public airing or disclosure during the Trident RFI.
Thereafter, in 2005 the DfT allegedly shredded the Trident research folders and in the RFI hearings of 2010, the Advocate General and her experts together with the Aberdeen Sheriff summarily dismissed the NMI research data (see below):

Pages 188-90 Trident RFI - transcripts of evidence 12/7/2010:

The above exchanges between Mr Thomson, the counsel for the Trident families, and Sheriff Young, where rational argument is being summarily dismissed by ridicule, do not cast the Sheriff in a favourable light.

While the DfT and its associates have been keen to disregard and discard the Trident’s NMI research data with its inconvenient conclusion regarding stability, the Trident families have not, as yet, been convinced [LINK] by this official obfuscation.

[1] In our posts of 1 January 2010 and 8 February 2010 we revealed that the DOT/Owners had estimated the Gaul’s stability reserves for her last voyage to be greater than was reasonably justifiable. This ‘enhanced’ level of stability was also specified by the DOT for the model used in the Gaul NMI tests, the test results would undoubtedly have been influenced by this factor.