The death occurred in England last week of Captain Alfred Norman Cockcroft.
Following service in the Merchant Navy, Captain Cockcroft was appointed Senior Lecturer and Course Organizer for the Extra Master’s Course at what is now the London Guildhall University in 1956. He held this post until 1984, when he became a consultant specializing in maritime casualty investigation, particularly on collisions and stranding.
Until the late 1990s, he represented the International Association of Institutes of Navigation (IAIN) at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). He was also a Visiting Professor at the IMO World Maritime University and became an IMO consultant on the collision regulations and involved as author with the re-write of the Collision Rules. Captain Cockcroft was a Fellow of Royal Institute of Navigation, a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, a member of the Honorable Company of Master Mariners and an Honorary member of the US Institute of Navigation.
He was author of many papers and books, including what is regarded by many as a primary text, “Guide to the Collision Avoidance Rules” written jointly with Captain Lameijer. This has been published in Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Russian and Swedish. He was also revision author of “Nicholl’s Seamanship and Nautical Knowledge” and “Magnetic Compass Deviation and Correction”.
Captain Cockcroft was without question the world’s leading authority on the Collision Regulations and his opinion was frequently sought from all parts of the world. Some 15 years ago he gave an opinion which severely criticized parts of findings into a collision in New Zealand waters by Maritime New Zealand and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission. Unfortunately, at the time these authorities did not accept his opinion which may have contributed to the fact that many mariners today have lost confidence in both organisations.