How would the New Zealand “moving prohibited zone” work in this port?
Genoa Port Control Tower before accident
Tower After the accident
Go to this link to see excellent animation of this accident when the JOLLY NERO allided with the port control tower. It shows what should have happened and what actually did happen.
April 16, 1947: Ship Explosion Ignites 3-Day Rain of Fire and Death
A cargo ship explodes at dockside in Texas City, Texas. The blast and the fires that follow kill about 600 people and injure 3,500 more. Six decades later, it remains the deadliest explosion and worst industrial disaster in U.S. history.
The Grandcamp, a World War II Liberty ship that had been converted to a French merchant vessel, was taking on a load of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a quay next to a complex of Monsanto chemical factories, offices and labs. The ship’s carpenter smelled smoke in the No. 4 hold around 8 a.m. on April 16 and found that a few bags of fertilizer were on fire. He tried dousing it with a few buckets of water, then a fire extinguisher.
When he called for a hose, the ship’s captain forbade it, fearful that water would destroy the $500 worth of cargo that was on fire. The skipper ordered the hold closed and its fire-suppression valves opened to release steam. Ordinarily a good idea, but not in this case.
Ammonium nitrate decomposes at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire grew. The captain ordered his crew to abandon ship.
Texas City had a small fire department. Just 36 hours before the fire, National Maritime Union co-founder James Gavin had told union members in New York that Texas City was unsafe and a “natural” for a catastrophic explosion.
Firefighters tried spraying the burning ship from the dock. Spectators, including schoolchildren crowded the quayside to watch the action. Bad idea.
The Grandcamp exploded at 9:12 a.m. Exploded is probably too mild a word. The captain and 32 of the Grandcamp‘s crew died; 10 somehow survived. More than 200 people were killed on the quay. The blast was heard 160 miles away. It shattered all the windows in Texas City and half of those in Galveston, 10 miles away.
Some debris reached an altitude of nearly 3 miles before falling back to earth. Two airplanes circling overhead were blown apart by the heavy shrapnel. A one-ton piece of the ship’s propeller shaft landed 2½ miles away. Other pieces sailed 5 miles.
The blast flattened 20 waterfront blocks and 12 blocks inland. Flaming debris ignited oil, gas and chemical tanks at the sprawling Monsanto complex and three nearby oil companies. People died everywhere, blown up by the blast, decapitated by flying metal, sliced by falling glass, burned by flaming metal and chemicals, crushed by falling buildings. The litany of death was long and varied. Thousands more suffered injuries.
Fire and rescue workers rushed in from nearby cities, and the Red Cross mobilized a massive national response, but these were the days before jet passenger and cargo planes. Local authorities set up temporary morgues and pressed medical students into duty in overwhelmed emergency rooms. The fires kept burning, at the docks, the tanks and all over town. But the horror had not yet ended.
The cargo ship Highflyer, which had been moored near the Grandcamp, caught fire the morning after the explosion. When the fire seemed to be getting out of control, tugs were called to tow the ship out of the port, lest its own cargo of fertilizer explode, too.
Unfortunately, the force of the Grandcamp explosion had locked the Highflyer into a deadly embrace with another ship, the Wilson B. Keene, and the Highflyer wouldn’t budge. The tugs gave up. The Highflyer blew up, also demolishing the Keene, and raining death and fire anew on Texas City. The shockwave and new fires killed hundreds more.
The fires were not put out until April 18. Bodies and parts of bodies were strewn all over town. “Blood and guts” was not just a phrase. At least one survivor reported getting stuck in a slippery tangle and looking down to see that it was human intestines.
The state government ultimately listed 405 identified and 63 unidentified dead. Another 100 or perhaps 200 were counted as missing. Injuries may have reached 3,500. That’s 4,000 casualties in a town of 16,000.
More than 1,500 houses — a third of the town’s housing — were destroyed. Two thousand of the survivors were rendered homeless. Property damage reached at least $600 million (almost $6 billion in today’s money).
An official report on the disaster recommended improved containers, labeling and special handling of ammonium nitrate fertilizer; prohibiting smoking in all piers and docks at all times; and worst-case-scenario community disaster plans to coordinate relief agencies, police and fire departments, hospitals, doctors and nurses, civil officials and military authorities.
Today, the unknown dead rest in a special cemetery. Monuments in Texas City include the propeller of the Highflyer and an anchor from the Grandcamp.
Source: Darkest Hours, by Jay Robert Nash (1976)
The Wellington Branch hold monthly meetings at Bay Plaza Hotel, Oriental Parade, 1200 for 1230 on the following WEDNESDAYS during 2013.
In the past year a number of meetings were attended by wives and guests of members where the speakers subject was of interest. We would extend the same invitation this coming year.
Please contact Secretary Graham Williams firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance the previous day.
With all the modern navigation equipment collisions at sea still occur. In the past few weeks the car carrier BALTIC ACE sank in the North Sea after being in collision with the small container vessel CORVUS J. One is left to ponder whether both vessels were using the same collision rules or were the rules misunderstood by one or both of the vessels.
A collision caused by a misunderstanding of the Collision Regulations, highlights a question being asked in New Zealand. Here we have a unique rule, drafted by Maritime New Zealand and applicable in all New Zealand harbour limits that says all vessels under 500 gross tons must not impede vessels of over 500 gross tons. The “not to impede” directive appears to be taken by some mariners, both afloat and ashore, to mean that if a risk of collision develops the “not to impede” vessel is the give way vessel and the other the stand on vessel, regardless of what Rule 8 (f) (iii), or in NZ Rule 22.8 (6(c) says.
In a recent edition of the NZ Professional Skipper, a regular magazine for small boat skippers, the Editor asked “doesn’t Maritime New Zealand know that power gives way to sail” when referring to a collision between two small boats on Auckland Harbour.
Richard Culleton, a retired NZ harbourmaster sees some merit in the Editor’s question, as on many occasions he has asked numerous seafarers “To comply with the Regulations, Who gives way when a large power vessel and a small sailing vessel meet in a ‘narrow channel’ of a NZ harbour?”
MNZ has advised that the Collision Rules are very clear and that masters who regularly navigate in the narrow channels of NZ’s harbours and anyone involved in teaching, examining for maritime licenses or investigating near misses or collisions in those areas should be fully familiar with all the relevant rules. So surely it is only natural to be able to expect that this required familiarity with the rules will also apply to MNZ officials who give opinions on Collision Regulations. But does it?
The principal MNZ official, who helped draft the 500 ton rule, has advised that “The 500 ton Rule has equal status in law with the Collision Rules in NZ territorial waters and it amplifies and defines Rule 22.9(2) (the Narrow Channel rule)”.
Therefore, if a risk of collision situation develops in a NZ harbour, regardless of which rule is applied, the ‘not to impede’ duty of a small sailing vessel remains the same and both small & large vessels must comply with the Requirements of rule 22.8(6)
The same official also advised he “cannot help thinking that the Collision Rules were drafted for ships, and scant thought has been put into the interaction that occurs between very large vessels and very small vessels. It must be remembered that large vessels are not easily maneuvered”.
Perhaps he and others do not remember that Rule 8(f) i, ii and iii were inserted in the Rules in 1987, to make both small and large vessels aware of their respective responsibilities to each other when navigating in certain areas, one of them being a Narrow Channel.
That is exactly why compliance with the Rules is so important! Now, with the introduction of the 500 ton Rule, if large vessels in NZ’s harbours do not comply closely with all the relevant rules, the lives of crews on small vessels may be at risk. A large vessel not complying with the Rules, may have insufficient time to avoid a collision, if it fails to “give way” when moving at speed
This has already happened in the two collisions, first referred to in Captain John Brown’s article ‘Might is Right’ dated March 2010, and also at subsequent times, on this web site. He says the overriding rule would be that when a risk of collision develops in any NZ harbour, a power driven vessel must keep out of the way of a sailing vessel. So how many seafarers in NZ agree with that interpretation?
Because of the findings in the official reports on those two collisions, Culleton requested MNZ officials for an opinion on the following question:
A vessel over 500 gross tons, navigating in a Narrow Channel, sights a red light fine on her starboard bow. The Master believes it to be the sidelight of a small sailing vessel, a vessel that is required not to impede his vessel. As a risk of collision is seen to be developing, is the vessel that is not to be impeded the ‘stand on’ vessel required to take action to comply with Rule 22.17?
Does the vessel that is not to be impeded become the ‘give way’ vessel required to keep out of the way complying with Rule 22.18 (1) (d)?
Maritime NZ’s considered opinion was:
“In a Narrow Channel where a sailing vessel and a power vessel meet, the sailing vessel must keep out of the way of the power vessel, if the power vessel is unable to leave the channel. The power vessel must maintain course and speed”
MNZ’s clarification of the above was: “If the vessel who should keep out of the way fails to do so, in this case the sailing vessel, when it becomes apparent to the master of the stand on vessel that the sailing vessel is so close that collision is imminent, the master must take whatever action is best to avoid a collision (rule 22.17.3). He may take action when he believes that the give way vessel has not taken sufficient action to avoid collision. However none of this reduces the responsibility of the sailing vessel to keep out of the way”.
MNZ also advised “Rule 22.18 cannot apply because the scenario involves a Narrow Channel (note the exceptions at the beginning of the rule)”.
Rule 22.18 places an obligation on powered vessels to keep out of the way of sailing vessels, ‘except where rules 22.9, 22.10 and 22.13 otherwise require’. Some seafarers misinterpret this phrase and believe it to mean that those rules override or supersede rule 22.18, but many others say that this is clearly not the case. Rather, the phrase means that unless anything contained in those rules otherwise require the powered vessel to act in accordance with rules 22.9, 22.10 and 22.13, then the powered vessel must follow the instructions in Rule 18. Thus, when a risk of collision begins to develop in a narrow channel (NZ harbour), the powered vessel must comply with Rule 22.18 (1) (d) and ‘keep out of the way of the sailing vessel’.
Because MNZ’s opinion was so different from that of Culleton’s and others, he contacted a number of experienced mariners both in NZ and overseas, and asked them the same question he had put to MNZ. By also researching a number of overseas maritime websites, he obtained a number of opinions, virtually all of which were contrary to that of Maritime New Zealand. They came from a number of seafarers afloat, Collision Rules tutors in Nautical Colleges in NZ and overseas, the US Coastguard, UK Collision Avoidance Rules expert Captain AN Cockcroft and the American Journal of maritime law & commerce.
On not to impede, Cockcroft’s & Lameijer’s “A Guide to the Collision Avoidance Rules” states “When a power driven vessel and a sailing vessel are approaching each other the power driven vessel is required by Rule 18 (a) (iv) to keep out of the way when a risk of collision begins to apply, although she may be proceeding along a Narrow Channel”.
An American viewpoint worth reading is stated in the US Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce (see especially pages 20/21) Click on the link
On page 21 of this site the following is stated: “If a situation develops so as to involve a risk of collision the vessel whose passage was not to be impeded must comply with the Steering and Sailing Rules applicable to the particular approach situation”.
Thus it is quite clear that both of the above interpretations mean that when a risk of collision begins to develop the power driven vessel immediately becomes a give way vessel that must keep out of the way of the sailing vessel. It is not allowed to keep both her course and speed, as by Rule 22.16 the give way vessel is required to take early and substantial action to keep well clear of a small sailing vessel.
As that was not the findings of the official investigators into the collisions mentioned in Brown’s “Might is Right”, it obviously raises some doubt as to whether those findings were correct? Some mariners now wonder, if the investigators took the advice that Captain Tony Legge, a retired MNZ Chief Investigator, gave in September‘s “On Deck” magazine, and had their findings on the Collision Regulations checked out by someone else suitably qualified to do so? In both collisions mentioned above, the large vessels kept on at full speed until just seconds before each of those collisions, although confronted by an impeding sailing vessel.
On 18 May 2011, after seeing the article, “Maritime NZ Give Way rules challenged “, by Phil Kitchin in the Dominion Post newspaper, Tony Legge, in an exchange of emails with Brown, wrote in part: “Rule 8 (f) of the International Collision Regulations uses the words not to impede to mean not to get in the way of”.
In February 2007, the same official who drafted the 500 ton Rule was asked “What is MNZ’s official interpretation of the meaning of the term not to impede”? He replied “the difference in the meaning of the terms ‘give way’ and ‘not to impede’ is subtle in the interaction between small craft and larger vessels. The terms are taken in NZ to be synonymous for all practical purposes”. But Culleton and others ask if the above is correct, why was ‘not impede’ inserted in the Rules in the first place? They believe that the above meaning of ‘not to impede’ is totally contrary to the content of rule 8(f) and other Steering & Sailing Rules, and it should mean ‘not get in the way of so as to cause even a possibility of risk of collision developing’!.
Legge continued “I see the 500 ton rule (or the Narrow Channel rule) as operating in two different phases. Phase 1 begins when a risk of collision has been determined and at that point the smaller vessel must give way (not impede). Phase 2 kicks in when the smaller vessel fails to give way and at that point it is incumbent on both vessels to comply with the rules i.e. they must both take action that best aids to avert collision. I agree with you that Rule 8(f) (iii) of the International Regulations and NZ rule 22.8.6 (c) make it clear that the ‘not to be impeded vessel’ remains fully obliged to comply with the Rules when risk of collision exists”.
Culleton and others believe that there are 3 phases in the scenario of a small sailing vessel impeding a vessel over 500 gross tons:
Phase 1- 8 f (i) begins when the sailing vessel is made aware of or sees the approach of the large vessel. It must take early action to keep well clear of it, so that no risk of collision can ever develop in the future.
Phase 2- 8 f (ii) Begins if for some reason a risk of collision does develop. The rule clearly establishes that a vessel that is required ‘not to impede’ never loses that duty, even though the vessel over 500 tons may become the give way vessel.
Phase 3 – 8 (f) (iii) (22.8. (6)(c) Begins when the vessel over 500 tons that is ‘not to be impeded’ sees that a risk of collision is developing. At that time it immediately becomes a vessel that must comply with all the ‘steering and sailing Rules’ and in particular 22.18 (1) (d) and 22.16. As a give way vessel, it must take early and substantial action to keep well clear of the small sailing vessel. (i.e. as in the scenario sent to MNZ)
Legge continued “However, if I understand you (Brown) correctly, your main concern is not that ‘impede’ hasn’t’t been defined but that Local Authorities have interpreted the rule as giving carte blanche to any vessel over 500 tons to press on regardless and to expect smaller vessels to keep clear. Certainly wrong but probably not unreasonable given that small boat owners need simple rules and their boats are more manoeuvrable“.
It is not just some local authorities but MNZ as well that advises that all small boats (both power & sail) must ‘keep out of the way’ of large vessels in NZ harbours. As that is the case, does Tony Legge believe that it is correct that large vessels should always be classed by seafarers as ‘stand on vessels’ when a risk of collision is seen to be developing with a small vessel in a NZ harbour, even though it appears that interpretation is clearly contrary to the international meaning of the content of the Rules? If so, it seems strange considering his background as a past Chief Investigator of Maritime Accidents and Examiner of Masters and Mates.
But Legge is not alone in his opinion that the large vessel is the ‘stand on’ vessel, as it appears that there are a number of other seafarers in NZ that do not share Culleton’s and others opinion that power gives way to sail when the two vessels meet in a narrow channel (NZ harbour).These include the officials who supplied MNZ’s considered opinion on the question put to them, and the MSA, MNZ & TAIC investigators who investigated the two, collisions mentioned by Brown. They believe that the vessel seen as an impeding sailing vessel was the ‘give way vessel’, with the larger powered vessel being the ‘stand on’ vessel which must comply with Rule 22.17. It also appears, that perhaps the masters of the large powered vessels involved in those two collisions thought at the time, that power does not give way to sail in a Narrow Channel, as they respectively kept on at full speed until just seconds before each of those collisions, although they both saw the lights of an impeding sailing vessel ahead of them. Is it also possible that some masters and pilots, having seen advice or findings put out by MNZ and some NZ Regional Councils, may be of the opinion that small vessels under power or sail must now give way to vessels over 500 gross tons?
So whilst all the various people or groups of people mentioned above are entitled to their own opinions (interpretations), Culleton and other mariners do not believe that their opinions are in compliance with the relevant Steering & Sailing Rules for the large powered vessels and small sailing vessels navigating in NZ‘s harbours and the Narrow Channels that are contained in them. They believe it is most important that Maritime NZ clarify, or as a last resort even change, the ‘give way’ Rules. Not only just for Narrow Channels, but also for NZ Harbours in general, so that all seafarers using NZ waters have the same and correct understanding of them.
Shipping’s electronic technology is vulnerable to sabotage and accidental disruption
Craig Eason in Lloyds List Tuesday 22 January 2013
MODERN vessels rely increasingly on electronic navigation systems, most of which have a strong reliance on global navigation satellite systems, writes Craig Eason in Stockholm .
Trials are beginning next month on how a back-up system, e-loran, can be integrated into bridge systems to improve reliability, given how easy it is to jam a GNSS signal.
GNSS includes the best-known system, Global Satellite Positioning, and the high-profile European Galileo programme and the Russian Glonass.
India, Japan and China also have their own systems that are either operational or in the making.
For a number of years the General Lighthouse Authority and the Royal Institute of Navigation has been warning of the ease with which vessels can have their navigational satellite signals disrupted by handy, cheap and easy-to-acquire jammers.
Things have hardly changed. Although, as there are increased commercial interests ashore that have also become reliant on GPS for both timings and positions, the problem of over-reliance remains serious, particularly in the maritime world.
David Last, former president of the Royal Institute of Navigation, says the maritime world has not thought through the implications of GPS failure on vessels and has certainly not incorporated this into its training and procedures.
Shipping is going through a process where all commercial vessels are required to have electronic chart display and information system installed. If a vessel has two Ecdis, it can become a paperless vessel, meaning it can navigate without the traditional paper charts.
The problem has been the navigation officers’ increased reliance on the technology and not on traditional navigational skills.
Supportive of the development of modern navigation technology, Professor Last says there remains a strong need for the industry to have back-up for GPS signals.
GLA has for many years been trying out a land-based long-range radio signal transmission, e-loran. The system is now up and running in Dover and will be trialled on board the new ferry Spirit of Britain .
GLA will also conduct a failure of signal exercise on one of its vessels in February. Galatea will again have its GPS signal deliberately jammed to test whether inbuilt e-loran signal receivers will seamlessly take over.
Prof Last was surprised to see which systems failed when the GLA undertook earlier exercises to disrupt a GPS signal. He warns that often the GPS signal disruption is not detected, leading navigation equipment to give incorrect yet plausible information that may not be easily noticed.
The failures were not limited to the Ecdis; a host of other systems were disrupted that have GPS receivers inbuilt, such as automatic identification signal transmission, radar, gyro and satellite communication systems, even ships’ clocks, dynamic positioning systems and helipad stabilization systems.
There is always the risk of malicious disruption targeting a vessel’s GPS but also — and this is being seen more frequently — small GPS jammers installed in stolen luxury cars being shipped out of the UK in a container. That jammer can then disrupt the GPS signals of surrounding vessels.
Also seen abroad is deliberate military jamming, with North Korea occasionally jamming GPS signals in South Korea, causing maritime disruption. South Korea is reported to be considering e-loran as a back up to counter this.
Two photos sent by Kevin Judkins of an approaching dust storm last week. Kevin will be our speaker on the RENA salvage on 31 January next.
This is the editorial in the latest edition of Professional Skipper
RESPECT LOST IN INCREDULOUS DECISION
The recent decision by the Manager of Investigations Harry Hawthorn on behalf of Maritime NZ to not prosecute the master involved in a serious harm collision sends a very confusing message to the maritime and leisure marine industry in New Zealand.
The incident occurred during Auckland’s Anniversary Day regatta involving the yacht GYPSY, who had just started in the carded classic yachts event off Princes Wharf when it was T-boned and sunk by the vessel ANTAEUS under power. Conditions on the day were light airs in which the yachts including the 10.26 metre GYPSY were only just wisping along with minimal steerage and definitely no power with which to get out of the way of their own shadow, had they even tried never mind a bloody great 18 metre yacht motoring with clear sticks at what some onlookers suggest near on 10 knots.
The devastating result was the loss of a 1939 Logan designed classic and the near loss of crew person Jill Hetherington who suffered a fractured pelvis and serious head injuries that may have resulted in death had it not been for the quick actions of the GYPSY skipper John Pryor, who rolled Jill over into the rescue position while supporting her limp form in the water.
The decision to not investigate was made by a Maritime NZ duty investigator confirmed by the senior investigator in charge, as not being serious enough to warrant an investigation.
This decision was later contested by the commercial industry which identified some huge discrepancies in Maritime NZ standards. Had this involved a commercial vessel irrespective of the serious harm nature of the event, you can bet Maritime NZ investigators would have been over the commercial skipper like a rash.
Not so… but the decision by Maritime NZ to belatedly open an investigation was seen to be fair and reasonable. Meanwhile the Harbourmaster took the easy way out and issued a $200 infringement to the skipper of the ANTAEUS, Mr Charles St Clair Brown, for breach of the local Harbourmasters bylaws. This then raised the question of potential double jeopardy to which our lawyers suggest, No! Our lawyers liken it to when you might get a speeding ticket for driving the getaway car at speed under the road transport laws and you can then be charged for a serious offence under the Crimes Act.
In the letter sent to the skipper of the GYPSY, Maritime NZ advised that they did not propose to seek any additional enforcement action. They admonished him for not taking action to avoid a collision in accordance to Rule 22…. Hello
What part of wisping along trying to maintain steerage versus a vessel under power at enough speed to cut a yacht damn near in half: power gives way to sail, don’t they understand?
Needless to say John’s reaction was one of astonishment, while the still recovering Jill was in disbelief, confused and asking how can this be. ”This is just incredulous”, she said.
Meanwhile waterfront scuttlebutt is less than kind suggesting that Charles St Clair Brown has his fingers in high places. I for one would not like to argue that such influence could be true, even when the evidence is starting to suggest otherwise. With numerous recent examples of incidents resulting in prosecutions, had Maritime NZ placed this case before the courts to decide, the maritime industry and New Zealand would have at least seen due process in action and maintained a professional respect for the regulator.
I respect the General Manager of Investigations Harry Hawthorn, when he took time out of his busy schedule to discuss changes in policy affecting his decision on this case. Harry advised that based on the interviews with the two operators involved and an eyewitness he had decided not to prosecute. When questioned on the decision, the result of which sends a clear message condoning bad behaviour on the water, Harry said no. “No, we are saying from our investigation, there is nothing to suggest that either operator was deliberately trying not to comply with the rules”.
”What about operating a vessel at speed in a busy waterway with undue care and attention and failing hr maintain a proper lookout resulting in a near fatal collision”, I asked. “We have no evidence that this was the case” he said.
The decision was based on their new compliance approach of information, education and assistance to comply with enforcement. “It is a whole new approach to Maritime NZ’s compliance strategy and enforcement” he advised and was somewhat astounded that we did not know anything about this. Well bugger me days, I know I can be a bit cloth eared at times but this was all new to me and to most of the maritime industry might I suggest.
Sadly, it would appear that Maritime NZ has lost the plot or maybe it’s the result of losing most of its maritime institutional knowledge with only one person in investigations having a scant background in fishing. The end result clearly exposes a level of public incompetence never before seen in this organisation. Who are these people to come up with new compliance strategies or change the rules of investigations without consulting the maritime industry which it impacts upon most?
Have they stepped outside of their charter? Maybe the time has come when as the regulator it is time to hand over its role of accident investigations to an external agency, or given that most of the current crop of investigators including Harry are ex-police, then should it be the New Zealand Police who are tasked with this responsibility? At least the maritime industry would know where it stands.
Costa Concordia holds valuable lessons — and we need to learn them sooner not later
by Michael Grey. Lloyds List Monday 15 October 2012
THE other day, I went to Liverpool, where the UK branch of the officers’ union Nautilus was holding its conference. Not being involved with union business, I wandered off to Merseyside Maritime Museum, where a new exhibition commemorates the 1980 loss of the oil-bulk-ore carrier Derbyshire and all 44 people on board. The real heroes are the Derbyshire Families Association, which refused to accept this was just another unexplained loss and campaigned tirelessly to discover the wreck and the reasons for the casualty. The small, accessible exhibition communicates the great sadness that surrounded the disappearance of the ship. Seeing the various artefacts and pictures of the shattered remains discovered on the sea bottom, it is difficult not to think of all those hundreds of other seafarers whose ships also vanished without trace in the 1980s and 1990s who had no DFA to fight for a more substantial explanation than “heavy weather”.
“A century on from the sinking of Titanic , how much progress have we really made on passengership safety?” This was the topic of Nautilus UK’s afternoon session and a very capable panel assembled to debate this subject. Robert Ashdown of the European Cruise Council spoke of the size and importance of the cruise sector and of the work of the operational Safety Review, put together to see what could be learned after the Costa Concordia incident in January.
The OSR is a very practical and important strategy that will ensure best practices are shared. There is no secret that the human element has been seen as a common theme, but it is also realistic and sensible to admit that although safety is pre-eminent, there is no guarantee it is foolproof.
Andrew Higgs, who spends a lot of time at the International Maritime Organization representing the International Union of Marine Insurers, suggested several features of this billion-dollar loss that cost 32 lives needed urgent clarification.
He said there was a need to question evacuation procedures, damaged stability and buoyancy, soft issues such as seamanship and the human element, hard issues such as speed of evacuation and use of that “golden hour” immediately after an accident.
Eight hours after Costa Concordia grounded, people were still leaving the wreck.
Maritime and Coastguard Agency naval architect Paul Coley pointed to the huge numbers of people at risk in today’s giant cruiseships and noted the main thrust of work on damage to stability in recent years had concentrated on problems with ro-ro vehicle decks.
Mr Coley asked what constituted an “acceptable risk” with changing societal attitudes, and introduced the concept of the ship being its own best lifeboat, with duplication of essential services to get a damaged ship back to port.
Former Marine Accident Investigation Branch chief inspector John Lang spoke of the huge burden on Italy’s accident investigators, hampered by the precedence claimed by the criminal investigation. This, he maintained, was not an accident investigation, even though it pandered to modern demands for blame to be apportioned and to the feeling “something must be done”.
Admiral Lang suggested that we needed to learn about the things that went right in such accidents, as much as those that obviously went wrong. We needed facts, proper evidence and publication in full, not leaks or speculation if there was to be any trust in the process of discovery.
Costa Concordia , like Titanic a century before, was more than one man’s mistake.
Allan Graveson of Nautilus spoke of the long-held concerns about cruiseships, the validity of the “safe return to port” concept and the varying attitudes of flag states to the safety of cruiseships.
He suggested the design of ships, rather than sheer size, was the most important issue and called for the regulatory approach to statistical frequency of serious accidents to be revisited.
This was a good-humoured debate around a deadly serious subject and, in the absence of the Italian report into the Costa Concordia loss, arguably a little premature.
But a number of important issues were raised, not least the deplorable way in which the master was treated and doubts about Italian investigative capabilities, bearing in mind the administration’s failure to publish any meaningful report about the earlier fatal accident involving Costa Europa .
It is worth remembering the spirit of the relatives of those lost on board Derbyshire, who would not give up until a proper investigation into the loss of this huge ship had been completed.
We need to keep nagging until the Italian authorities provide a thorough, transparent and authoritative account of Costa Concordia ’s loss. The relatives of the 32 people who died — and, indeed, all who go on cruises — deserve nothing less.
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE NEW ZEALAND COMPANY OF MASTER MARINERS INCORPORATED HELD ON THURSDAY 16th AUGUST 2012 AT 1300 HOURS AT THE COMMERCE CLUB – AUCKLAND
The new Master of the Company, Captain K.D.Watt, introduced himself and welcomed members. On behalf of the Company he thanked Captain Payne for his service as Master, Captain Johnson for standing in as Master for the past 10 months, and Captain Compson for his service as General Secretary.
Captain K D Watt, Master Captains T.J. Wood, Tauranga Warden E.E.Ewbank, Auckland Warden R.A.J.Palmer, Wellington Warden A. Cooke, Christchurch Warden. N. Johnson, J.E.Frankland, M.B.Deane, M.J.Lock, J. Holbrook, N. Wheeler, W.J Hibberdine, R.L.McKenzie, R.G.J. Davis, R.J. Hawkins, A.D.Payne, J.D.McGill, B.M. Commons (Tauranga), P.Davies (Hon.Solicitor) W.G. Compson – General Secretary/Treasurer
1. APOLOGIES Were received from Captains Barradale, Munro,Gates, Sims, Neill, de Jong, Handley, Briand, Clarke, Robbins, Buckens, Chesney, Kelner and van Kesteren.
2. MINUTES The Minutes of the 2011 Annual General Meeting were taken as read and PROPOSED by the General Secretary as a true and correct record of proceedings at that meeting. MOVED Captain Palmer SECONDED Captain Frankland CARRIED.
Nil matters arising.
3. CORRESPONDENCE Lists of all inward and outward correspondence conducted between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012 were made available. Further lists dating from 1April 2012 until this meeting were also shown.
MATTERS ARISING The General Secretary made a point that a great deal of correspondence is by email and can be difficult to record in a satisfactory way. A suggestion was that messages of importance should be listed and printed where necessary for inclusion with correspondence.
4 WARDEN’S REPORTS Wardens reports were read by the Branch Wardens of Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga and Wellington.
Matters arising. The Master congratulated the Christchurch branch on their efforts in maintaining branch activities in difficult circumstances following the earthquakes. A brief discussion concerning the protocol for flying the Red Ensign at ceremonies for Merchant Navy Day.
5. MASTER’S REPORT Captain Johnson delivered his annual report, paying tribute to Captain Nic Campbell for work as editor of “On Deck”. Mention was made of the poor image of shipmasters displayed by the masters of “Rena” and “Costa Concordia”, criminalisation of seafarers and the malicious treatment of “Rena” officers’ wives by the Department of Immigration.
Matters Arising A member took issue with the Master’s words “ a simple mistake” resulting in the grounding of “Rena”.
6. TREASURER’S REPORT The Treasurer’s report was tabled. Explanation was given regarding the difficulty in budgeting for “On Deck” printing, the only firm quote ever received having been made in April this year. After discussion, the Executive Council has set the capitation levy at $25 for 2013.
That the Treasurer’s Report be accepted was PROPOSED by Captain Payne and SECONDED by Captain Palmer. CARRIED
Matters Arising Nil
7 OFFICERS FOR THE FORTHCOMING YEAR Members of the Executive Council:- Captain K.D.Watt, Master. Captains E.E. Ewbank, T.J. Wood, R.A.J. Palmer and A. Cooke as wardens of Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch branches respectively. Captain C. van Kesteren, General Secretary/Treasurer.(After matters pertaining to this AGM have been completed).
8 BRANCH REMITS Auckland Copies of this remit concerning proposed changes to Rule 4 have been widely distributed. The Executive Council, with branch Wardens empowered to vote on behalf of their members, discussed each section at length after which, the following decisions were made:- The proposed change to Rule 4.1.1 was withdrawn. Rule 4.2 and 4.2.1 (Associate of the branch and Associate Member) to be recommended to the AGM. Rule 4.3. The words “Associate members” and “Friend” expunged from the first line and the third line respectively. The resulting wording to be recommended to the AGM.
Following brief explanation Captain Johnson PROPOSED that the remit be accepted SECONDED Captain Wood. CARRIED
Note:- The General Secretary will shortly produce the updated version of Rule 4 for inclusion in Rule Books.
Christchurch “That the executive of the New Zealand Company of Master Mariners draw up a list of members who are prepared to be called upon by MNZ to assist with policy, qualifications, maritime affairs and emergencies. The list should include details of the qualifications, expertise and the experience of the member, or, where necessary simply list the various areas of expertise that are available within the membership”.
It was decided that each branch draw up a list of volunteer members to send to the Master for forwarding to MNZ. The secretary to write to branches. PROPOSER Captain A.Cooke, SECONDED Captain Ewbank CARRIED
Tauranga “That the New Zealand Company of Master Mariners make representation to the Minister of Transport that the “Maritime Labour Convention 2006” be incorporated into New Zealand Law”.
Following explanation the remit was PROPOSED Captain Wood, SECONDED Captain Davis. CARRIED
OTHER GENERAL BUSINESS There being no further business the Master closed the AGM at 1435 hours.