Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 15:26 UK

Trident wreck survey was 'flawed'

Seven crew died when the Trident sank in 1974

A £1m survey of the wreck of a fishing boat which sank in 1974 was "flawed", an inquiry has been told.

The Trident was heading home to Peterhead when it sank off Caithness. The wreck was discovered by divers.

The second day of a public inquiry in Aberdeen into the sinking heard evidence that the underwater survey was affected by equipment problems.

Relatives of some of the seven who died claim the Trident was unstable, rather than solely being swamped by a wave.

Experts were commissioned to assess the wreck after it was found by amateur divers several years ago.

The inquiry heard that the project was hit by problems.

Breakdown problems

Mark Kennor, head of the joint of panel of experts tasked with gathering evidence for the inquiry, told how all nine men on the panel signed a certificate saying they were dissatisfied with the project.

Mr Keenor, a master mariner, said: "We had to ask to squeeze an extra two days out of the contractor but those days were flawed by further breakdowns, equipment which wasn't working and a video ray which failed to function.

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"As you can tell by the letter each of the experts signed, shortly before the survey finished, we were still not happy with it.

"We gave consideration as to whether another survey would be guaranteed to provide additional vessel information but of course no-one could ever guarantee that it would."

Radio contact was lost with the boat on the afternoon of 3 October, 1974.

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

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

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

The inquiry continues. It is expected to last at least 10 days.

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