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Helen Humphries, the widow of one of the three men who died when the Clyde tug the Flying Phantom went down has spoken of the pain of facing Christmas without her husband Stephen.

She was speaking as the first anniversary of the tugboat sinking on approaches.

Stephen, 33, from Greenock died alongside Eric Blackley, 57, from Gourock, and Robert Cameron, 65, from Houston, when their tug the Flying Phantom sank in fog on the Clyde on December 19, 2007.

Even now, almost a year on, it is a date Helen, 37, still cannot bear to see written down.

The tragedy is made all the more bitter for the victims' families because of the knowledge that it could possibly have been prevented.

The families of the dead men have called for a full public inquiry into the accident after a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch found Clydeport's way of handling safety concerns was "fatally flawed".

Investigators also found a towing winch did not release quickly enough on the night the Flying Phantom hit a sandbank and sank.

And the report revealed that ineffective control measures were put in place after a similar serious accident involving the same tug in thick fog on the Clyde in 2000.

Frank Maguire, senior partner of Thompsons Solicitors, who represents Helen says Clydeport could have installed a fog detection system following that incident, but did not because of the cost.

He said: "A key recommendation of the report into the incident in 2000 was that a fog detection system should be installed on the Clyde.

Clydeport is a substantial company and the cost of a fog detection system would have been next to nothing for them in costs;- as little as £15,000 compared to the company's tens of millions of pounds.

Now we are working hard on the families' behalf to secure a public inquiry into the sinking of the Flying Phantom so that any lessons to be learned can be applied throughout the country.

The Crown are looking into the possibility of a criminal prosecution and Helen, along with the other bereaved families, wants answers and an assurance that such an incident will not happen again.

We need to know what went on and, whatever it takes, it should not happen again."

Stephen had known Helen for less than a year when he married her and died just 14 months later.

The couple knew they "just clicked" and Helen's two young sons Scott and Callum also adored Stephen.

Their happiness was sealed with the arrival of their daughter Nina, who was only eight months old when Stephen died.

The tragedy stuck less than a week before Christmas and now what should be one of the happiest days of the year is more a spectre than a celebration for Helen.

Just before he died, Stephen had spent the day with Nina putting up the Christmas tree and he sent a picture of them, saying "Hi Mummy" to Helen on her phone.

Now Helen cannot bear to pull the tree from the loft.

She said: "I don't want to ever see it again. For the sake of the children, I will get a tree of some sort.

I don't even want to write a card. I can't bear the thought that people are even talking about Christmas."

She has spoken to Brian Aitchison, the only survivor, and does not grudge him a moment of the life that luck allowed him to keep. She said: "It has badly affected him and his family. I just hope that he manages to make the most of his life and enjoy it as much as he can. If it had been Stephen who had survived, I wouldn't have wanted the accident to have ruined his life and ours."

Helen may now return to work as a staff nurse at Inverclyde Royal Infirmary.

Helen said: "My husband is gone, Nina's dad is gone and, while everyone else gets on with their life, she will never have a dad.

The boys are lost without him. Stephen's family, his parents and his sister will never get over it.

I feel so robbed of the life we would have had. He would have given the world to us. It's all spoiled, just spoiled."

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