While it is human nature to want to blame someone when an accident
occurs, the emphasis in aircraft accidents is to make sure that they do not happen again. Maybe we should apply the same criteria when discussing this accident.
To my mind this accident and the one involving the ferry
and the power boat
happened because of deficiencies in three main areas. They are the psychology of command, the physical limitations of the situations and the physiology of the persons involved.
No one has expressed empathy for the persons in command of the four vessels discussed but each of them has found themselves in an unfortunate situation that in at least part was not of their making.
master was in the position of bringing a large ship out of a tight berth, doubtless under time pressure and at the start of a voyage when there would be many other details to attend to. I did not see any discussion of the lookouts (there must have been some) bringing a developing situation to his attention. I have been in the position of finding a large ship suddenly reverse out and was surprised at the speed at which it all happened. A few toots of the horn and the situation gets very interesting.
The Commander of the Coast Guard vessel may have been under similar pressure. He was taking part in an exercise which by its very nature may have been designed to stretch his abilities and his mind was no doubt considering what lay ahead rather than the possibility that a high speed craft would come up rapidly on his starbourd side.
The driver of the speedboat may have been on a route
that he had traveled many times and may not have been expecting a fast boat to be crossing his course.
of the motor
boat would have had the accumulation of old age and progressive modification of his boat creep up on him and was possibly unaware of how poor his visibility and hearing had become.
My point here is that any of us could find ourselves in a similar situation to any of these four sailors with little or no warning. We should be thinking ahead to work out what should we do to make sure that this does not happen to us.
First I think that these accidents emphasise the need to keep a proper lookout that relates to the position that we are in. We need to do a proper scan when we are on watch (I was taught to do this when I got my pilots license) as when two vessels are on a collision
course then the relative bearing remains constant, but this is the situation that our eye is least likely to detect.
Second at times of high workload or risk the crew needs to be much more involved in the management of the boat. For example if a 150% genoa
is being flown if there is the possibility of other traffic then there may need to be a bow lookout.
Third we need to be aware of our own limitations, both biological and psychological, and to take steps to ensure that they do not interfere with the safe navigation
of our vessels.