Sheriff wants relatives’ submission explained before inquiry begins
By Jamie Buchan
The families of a lost north-east fishing crew, who marked the 35th anniversary of their deaths at the weekend, have been called back to court.
Some of the relatives of the seven men who drowned when the Peterhead trawler Trident sank in 1974 will appear in front of a sheriff later today to explain who and what they believe was responsible for the boat’s loss.
It is part of a new £3million inquiry into the tragedy which was reopened by the Department for Transport in 2002 after amateur divers discovered the Trident lying on the seabed off Wick.
The accident happened 35 years ago on Saturday.
Relatives have always refused to believe the findings of an original inquiry which ruled the boat sank after being hit by a massive wave.
Today’s hearing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court is expected to finalise details before the full inquiry begins later this month.
Relatives of six of the Trident crewmen were given the chance to submit criticisms of any “person, persons or party” associated with the accident.
The Press and Journal understands that these criticisms are now being challenged and court officials want this matter resolved before the full inquiry begins.
Jeannie Ritchie, 69, of Arbuthnot Terrace, Peterhead, lost both her husband and father in the accident. She believes that the Trident sank because it was unstable.
She said last night: “We did not expect to be brought back to court over this.
“We knew there was going to be a meeting with the lawyers, but we didn’t think we’d have to go along as well.”
Mrs Ritchie said she could not talk about the specific criticisms outlined in the relatives’ submission.
“I think the sheriff wants to look at these criticisms in more detail,” she said.
Mrs Ritchie said she marked the anniversary in private, at home with her mother.
Yesterday, she appealed to friends of the lost crewmen, as well as supporters of the families’ campaign, to gather on the steps of the city’s sheriff court at 2pm today, before the hearing.
“It would be great to have a good show of numbers,” she said. “We have always had a lot of support from the people of Peterhead and from the fishing industry.
“We want as many of them as possible to come out and show the sheriff how important this inquiry is to us.”
So far, the inquiry has involved three underwater surveys of the wreck and tests on a scale model of the boat which were carried out in the Netherlands last year.