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Thompsons Solicitors is backing a call from the trade union Unite for urgent government action to force Clydeport Authority to implement safety measures on the River Clyde following the Flying Phantom tugboat tragedy which claimed the lives of three men.

Thompsons is also supporting the widows of the men who died, Stephen Humphreys, Robert Cameron, and Eric Blackley in their call for a full public inquiry into the sinking in December 2007.

The Flying Phantom was towing a massive bulk carrier when it sank on the Clyde amid thick fog.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch report in 2008 concluded that "navigating vessels, particularly large vessels on the River Clyde in thick fog, is a highly undesirable and risky operation."

The findings went on to recommend "having a reliable system in place that detects fog as early as possible."

To date no such system is in place.

John Quigley from Unite union said: "This is about getting to the bottom of who is responsible at the end of the day for these accidents.

“Our members go to work to earn a living, to live their lives, and support their families. They don't go to work to die." 

Thompsons, Unite's lawyers have championed the cause of a fog detection system.

After writing to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Thompsons Solicitors were told: "The MCA does not have powers of improvement or prohibition with regard to port operational safety."

A similar plea to the Health and Safety Executive was met with the response: "We do not have jurisdiction in these matters."

Frank Maguire from Thompsons said: "I'd like the government to bang heads together.

“They really must get hold of this Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Health and Safety Executive, tell them it's their responsibility, and get them to act - and take measures on this river and other rivers to make them safer so this tragedy never happens again."

The widows of three men who lost their lives have called for a public inquiry into safety on the River Clyde.

The women, Linda Cameron, Eileen Blackley and Helen Humphries are incensed that, despite a report calling for a fog detection system to be put in place, nothing has been done.

Linda Cameron who lost her husband Robert when the Flying Phantom went down said: "Almost 15 months down from the tragedy and it would appear that nothing has been done.

“We are still trying to come to terms with our loss and the knowledge that it could happen again only adds to our anguish.”

Eileen Blackley added: "We're through a good part of the winter and it's just luck that there hasn't been more fatalities on the river."

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