NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'No blame' for loss of fishing boat Trident in 1974

Trident
Image caption The trawler Trident sank in 1974 with the loss of seven lives

Relatives have hit out after a new report blamed no-one for the sinking of a trawler in 1974 with the loss of seven lives.

The Peterhead boat Trident sank off Caithness, and relatives have since expressed concerns about its stability.

Sir Stephen Young said in his findings the loss of the Trident was not caused or contributed to by any wrongful act.

One of the widows, Jeannie Ritchie, said: "We find the report a bit of a let down."

A reopened inquiry into the loss of the trawler got under way in Aberdeen in 2009.

Sir Stephen, sheriff principal of Grampian, Highlands and Islands, agreed in his report into the sinking with the findings of an expert panel that the Trident had specific sea-keeping characteristics that resulted in a measurable and significant probability of capsize in the prevailing weather conditions at the time.

He said a loose trawl net may have contributed to the vessel's instability but no-one was to blame for the loss of the Trident.

Radio contact was lost in the afternoon of 3 October, 1974.

An oil film was reported on 6 October in the area of the last known position of the Trident.

Robert Cordiner, Alexander Ritchie, George Nicol, James Tait, Thomas Thain, Alexander Mair and Alexander Summers were lost.

Six of the crew were in their 30s, and Mr Nicol was in his 50s.

Stability training

The wreck was discovered by amateur divers several years ago.

Mrs Ritchie lost her husband and father when the Trident sank.

She told the BBC Scotland news website: "Having just received the report we still have to review the contents and findings before we decide on the next course of action.

"The report does not seem to clearly conclude what caused the sinking of the Trident.

"We believe a loss of stability contributed to her loss. We have waited years for this and are no further forward with conclusions."

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said in a letter to Sir Stephen: "It seems that there is little more that my department can now do in respect of the Trident."

He said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would look at what value evidence gathered might have in developing stability-awareness training courses for fishermen.

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