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Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Families welcome tragic boat moves
Relatives of seven fishermen who lost their lives when a fishing boat vanished in 1974 have welcomed a decision by accident investigators to survey the recently discovered wreck.

This follows a meeting between the head of the government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the families of the men lost when the Peterhead-registered Trident vanished.

The sunken wreck was discovered earlier this month off Caithness.

The families of the Trident's crew want the MAIB to reopen inquiries into her loss.

What we have indicated to the families, and I have got their agreement to do so, is to go back on a return visit to take a much more detailed look at the wreck

Rear Admiral John Lang
The fishermen's widows and other relatives said the original inquiry did not examine problems which affected the Trident's sister vessel.

Family members met with the head of the MAIB for more than two hours in Peterhead.

Rear Admiral John Lang told them the video taken by the divers who accidentally discovered the wreck did not provide enough detail for a decision on recommending a new inquiry.

He said: "What we have indicated to the families, and I have got their agreement to do so, is to go back on a return visit to take a much more detailed look at the wreck.

"And we will have to see if there is that important evidence which would justify the re-opening of the investigation."

Underwater vehicles

The MAIB's decision was welcomed by family members.

Jeannie Ritchie, who lost both her husband and her father aboard the Trident, said: "We have waited 27 years to find the Trident, and now they have found it we are quite prepared to wait."

Divers or remotely operated underwater vehicles are likely to be used in the survey, which will not disturb the wreck of the Trident.

The MAIB hopes the survey can be completed before the end of September.

The families feel that the original inquiry held after the sinking of the vessel in October 1974 failed to examine the boat's stability.

Found by divers

They said the boat was dangerously unstable and should never have been allowed to go to sea.

The Trident was less than two years old when it went down.

Robert Cordiner, Tom Thain, Alex Ritchie, George Nicol, James Tait, Alex Summers, and Alexander Mair all died.

Divers found the Trident in 70m of water while searching for the wreck of the destroyer HMS Exmouth, which was torpedoed during World War II.

Stewart McDermott, leader of the HMS Exmouth (Archaeological) Expedition, lost his great uncle in the destroyer sinking and said his team broke off their search when they located the Trident.

He said: "Local residents had expressed a desire for us to do this and therefore allow another group of relatives to finally know what happened to their loved ones.

"We subsequently extended our stay in Scotland in order to travel to Peterhead and pass our information on to the relatives of the crew who contacted us via our Orkney-based diving boat and skipper."

See also:

24 Jun 01 | Scotland
07 Feb 00 | Scotland
08 Jan 01 | Scotland
12 Jan 00 | Scotland
22 Feb 00 | Scotland
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