Thompsons Successfully Opposed bid to Delay Tugboat Case

From: Thompsons Solicitors
Published: Tue Jan 26 2010

Clydeport, the authority responsible for managing port facilities on the River Clyde has lost a legal bid to impose a year-long delay on a civil action claiming damages for the widows of the Flying Phantom tugboat disaster.

Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors who represents the widows of the three tugmen who died in the tragedy said:

"Clydeport tried to get the civil action sisted for a year but we successfully opposed their motion at the Court of Session, with the judge Lady Clark ruling in our favour.

"We argued that the civil action is of critical importance as all three widows have lost the breadwinner of their family and their action should not be put into legal limbo because of uncertainty over possible criminal proceedings.

The tugboat capsized and sank in fog opposite Clydebank College in West Dunbartonshire on 19 December 2007 during a towing operation after a winch failed to release fast enough.

The bodies of three crew - skipper Stephen Humphreys, 33, from Greenock, Eric Blackley, 57, from Gourock, and Robert Cameron, 65, from Houston in Renfrewshire, - were recovered in the days after it sank.

Another crewman, Brian Aitchison, 37, from Coldingham, was rescued from the water after he managed to escape from the tug's wheelhouse.

Mr Maguire added: "The families still want a full public inquiry into the sinking of the Flying Phantom to get to the heart of the matter and establish what happened and why it happened.

"Instead of trying to delay proceedings Clydeport should be trying to resolve matters for the families.

"We are really pleased that the court rejected Clydeport’s attempt to have the whole process set back for a year, and that the civil case can proceed.

"We have already seen the second anniversary of the sinking of the Flying Phantom come and go, and putting a legal stop on civil proceedings would have increased the families’ anguish."


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