Thursday, September 05, 2013

Trident and the White Fish Authority

In the 1975 and 2009 official investigations into the loss of the Trident, officers of the White Fish Authority (later Seafish) gave testimony to the effect that they had employed a ‘hands off’ approach to the way they administered the conditions associated with the award of Government grants for the purchase of new fishing vessels. 

Original formal investigation, Day 4 Page 50, Mr Sutherland Chief Surveyor for White Fish: 

In both investigations the court spent considerable time in trying to lay down the idea that the lax policies that White fish had in place at the time that Trident was lost were quite normal and that no blame could be attached to the organisation for not insisting that the terms of their grant be met. 

The Government was very eager to avoid the obvious conclusion that, had the White Fish Authority done their job correctly in matters pertaining to Trident’s stability, she would not have been allowed to put to sea until her stability shortfalls had been addressed – and she would not have capsized.
Surprisingly, at the time of the original inquiry, there was a White Fish publication in existence that precisely specified the White Fish stability requirements associated with the award of a government grant. Although this publication would have been highly significant in both official investigations, White Fish (and later Seafish) did not reveal its existence to the court. 

The existence of the publication in question was a serious inconvenience for White Fish, as it proved that their very own ‘Rules for the construction of wooden fishing vessels’ did not countenance a ‘hands off’ approach - White Fish surveyors were, in fact, obliged to attend inclining tests and to approve the stability information for all grant-aided fishing vessels. 

A copy of the section in these Rules that deals with stability, with key provisions ringed in red, is reproduced below:


Anonymous said...

Hi Gadfly,
Next month will bring 39 years since Trident was lost. I for one have never seen this 1975 guidline rule booklet before.I read with great interest page 35 section m which you took the trouble to highlight.Im sure you will agree IF Trident had been tested in the lightship state then theres absolutely no doubt that disaster could have been prevented. There would have been no better chance to do this test than as she lay ready for hand over at the builders yard. As you know these tests were never done. Rules were broken and ultimately and tragically lives were lost.
The RFI would have been an ideal time to set the record strait!Instead the families got a pre-orcherstrated, corrupt, cover up, farce and I for one aint fooled. There are many things that were said and done at the RFI that were biased and unfair but today i would like to share one thing that really made my blood boil. During her final submission Ms Wilson the neutral none biased QC acting on behalf of the OAG helped the sheriff by saying "There was no reliable evidence the loss was caused by deficencies in design stability". What a sweeping damaging flippant statement to make bearing in mind at the RFI we now had the wreck lying INTACT on the seabed.If justice is done then this woman should be held to account for misleading a court.We the families await our turn at the ECHR. A very wise old woman once said to me its a long long road that hasnt got a twist. The Trident saga has been a long long road but i feel that twist is coming soon.
Best regards

gadfly said...

Thank you for your comments.

At the RFI there were a lot of people with hidden agendas, but Sheriff Young should have had the strength to stand up to any undue pressures.
The Sheriff in the first formal investigation did manage to go against the leading counsel.

As to the ECHR, I wish you good luck - you'll need it.