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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Trident widows at Downing Street
Mary Nicol
Widow Mary Nicol, 90, travelled to Downing Street
Widows who lost their husbands when a fishing boat sank in 1974 have appealed directly to Prime Minister Tony Blair to halt plans to cut the wreck open.

Authorities want to establish why the Peterhead-registered Trident sank.

Some families instead want the wreck, off Caithness, lifted and travelled to Downing Street to hand in a case file.

Jeannie Ritchie, 65, who lost her husband and father, said cutting the wreck open would desecrate the graves and they would take legal action.

Relatives want to stop the 900,000 survey of the wreck next week.

Jeannie Ritchie
Mr Blair is a Christian, a moral man, and I hope he will do everything in his power to stop it
Jeannie Ritchie
Trident widow

Four of the widows - Mrs Ritchie, her 90-year-old mother Mary Nicol, Irene Summers and Valerie Thain - handed in a file on the case at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday and made a plea for Mr Blair to intervene.

Mrs Ritchie said: "We want Mr Blair to intervene and we are also seeking to stop the survey going ahead.

"Our plea to Mr Blair is to stop the Department for Transport and the Advocate General for Scotland proceeding to the wreck of the Trident to cut the vessel open on the seabed.

'Best way'

"By doing so, they will lose all the vital evidence on how the Trident sank and it would desecrate the men's graves.

"They should lift the vessel and test it, and those who wish to bury their dead can do so while the others can be returned to the sea.

Jeannie Ritchie

"This is 2006, this is Britain, and things like this should not be allowed to happen.

"Mr Blair is a Christian, a moral man, and I hope he will do everything in his power to stop it."

Mrs Ritchie said the widows were prepared to fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

A spokesperson for the Advocate General for Scotland said: "We will be putting down cameras of various sizes, both outside and inside the wreck.

"It was decided that an underwater survey would be the best way to gather evidence rather than raising the wreck, which has all sorts of problems."



SEE ALSO
Relatives threaten Trident action
26 May 06 |  North East/N Isles
Sunk trawler wreck set for survey
10 May 06 |  North East/N Isles
Trawler wreck survey set to start
04 Aug 04 |  Scotland
Families win fresh trawler inquiry
28 Mar 02 |  Scotland
Families welcome tragic boat moves
26 Jun 01 |  Scotland

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