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Old 29-11-2013, 00:04   #1
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Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

Hi everyone,
I had the misfortune of being on a dive charter boat recently that ran aground and unfortunately resulted in the boat being scuttled with approximately 6000 dollars worth of my belongings and a passport within it. I am not looking at any semblance of a lawsuit or anything as the company, provided my losses are covered did a fairly reasonable job of accommodating the holiday. However,
all that aside I am still curious if there is something somewhat off about the whole business. First I'll not satisfy anyone's need to know the company or location I am not looking to harm anyone, just curious if things were all nominal or if in fact there was perhaps some c ya activities going on.
First, the incident, 100,000 lb boat with a 130hp diesel attempted to traverse a cut with what appeared to be about a 10 - 15 knot headwind and an out flowing tide. This created a fairly bubbly cauldron like rolling boil type of sea with about 6-8 ft chop. While traversing the cut apparently steerage was lost due to a sheered rudder control ram post. The head wind soon had us firmly aground on a very sharp outcropping. Within 20 minutes a hole the size of a garbage can lid was torn into the hull midships as the sea pounded the boat against the outcropping. Every one was safely evacuated off the boat and onto the rock and then onto another dive boat for a return to base. There was no mayday or pan pan issued over the radio by any of the crew. The boat was left hard aground overnight where the wave action continued to rip her open. A salvage company was contacted and within a few days the boat was determined to be a total loss, floated off the wreck site and then sunk. The expediency of the whole process was less than a week and seemed to be rather quick, but I am hardly an expert. She was sunk in 2000 ft where there is no hope of any further investigation. There was no coastguard called nor a police report filed.
Once again I am not looking for blood, just to understand if everything was followed.

Thanks,
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Old 29-11-2013, 00:35   #2
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

Was this in a part of the world where professional rescuers would have been close to hand, or would the crew have known that the other dive boat was the closest or only nearby resource?

Then there was a law office in our region which once had a seriously Freudian slip in a telephone book advertisement, which was printed as "Representing the Seriously Insured". (Ah, "j" or "s", it's only one silly little curvy letter or the other.)
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Old 29-11-2013, 03:31   #3
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

I will assume the other dive boat was nearby to render assistance and hence no need for a pan pan call. Everyone was able to leave the boat safely, so can we also assume you were able to take your $6000 worth of belongings with you? Jeepers...why $6000 worth of stuff and a passport on a dive boat ride!!??
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Old 29-11-2013, 05:42   #4
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Bgallinger,
Sorry I didn't mention this was a live aboard. Thus the passport. Regarding my losses, no I did not recover them. This is something I potentially regret especially with the special kind of hell that replacing a passport is. Very briefly after the impact there would have been time, but given my bunk was in the bow section and immediately adjacent one of the impact sites (the boat was being violently pounded against the outcropping the only thing that separated the rocks from where my head would have been was the time of day and the fiberglass hull that didn't last long) Also I felt that going for my belongings would potentially trigger others to do the same. I'd personally hate to try and manage a situation where there's suddenly a dozen or so people scrambling up and down the various companion ways on a pitching and rolling (and unfortunately smashing) boat. The captain rightly asked everyone to remain above decks.
Regarding the cost of the items, it was to be a week long voyage and sadly I count myself amongst the tech generation. When you factor in things like an off contract purchaed smart phone, with a sizeable memory card, a dslr camera and a single lens it adds up quickly. I also unfortunately am a classic shave guy and it's only when you itemize things after that you realize that your shave kit is worth nearly $700. (It was also my first live aboard charter so I didn't know what to expect) Some of these belongings were salvaged but unfortunately salt water diesel and human waste aren't kind to high carbon steel, Silvertip badger hair and electronics. I hope that clarifies things and you might be surprised yourself if you start adding up what at first seems a few ancillary items. If I learned anything from this ( and there are many lessons) it's to travel.."lighter" and have a ditch bag.

Thanks!
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Old 29-11-2013, 06:00   #5
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

It's really tough to say. The captain's job is to ensure the safety of the passengers, and given the outcome it seems like he was very successful at that even though no government entities were involved in the rescue.

As for getting the ship off the rocks and scuttling it, the only things I can think of that would prevent the owner from doing that would be 1) Insurance, and 2) environmental laws. If the boat is insured I'd want to be sure the insurance company was satisfied before scuttling it so I'd be confident I'd get my money. But maybe that happened.

In the US, things like residual fuel would be a problem. But maybe that was all pumped out. If you are in international waters, I'm not aware of anything that would prevent you from littering the ocean bottom with your boat, but I'm also no expert on the matter.

If you are wondering whether is was some sort of planned wreck to get insurance, my guess would be no. If it were, why do it with a bunch of passengers on board who could get hurt and create a bigger problem for you? I also have a saying that seems to hold true: Never attribute to conspiracy something that can be explained by incompetence. Conspiracy takes panning, cunning, and intelligence. Incompetence is far more plentiful in our world.
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Old 29-11-2013, 06:16   #6
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Twisted tree. ..love that expression. I am definitely not thinking it was a planned insurance grab. The only thing I was curious about was around the insurance and whether or not a root cause could potentially have been ascertained or in fact covered up with the somewhat prompt sinking. I say prompt only because I kind of expected a sort of Scotland yard type of response where given the moderate size and scale of the boat 50 - 100 ft there would be all sorts of spectacle clad insurance agents taking all manner of photographs. The area was fairly remote around a 5 hour journey from civilization. Perhaps all this occurred in the 4 days that spanned the grounding and the scuttling but I can't be sure. I guess that's truly what I am curious about...what happens or is supposed to happen in matters such as these. Are police supposed to be involved, is it mandatory to contact the coast guard, the whole insurance aspect...and procedures therein. I guess I ultimately have a vested interest for the company to have followed proper procedure to ensure the insurance is resolved promptly and they and the subsequent passengers are compensated for their material losses. Sadly for the company losing a long time vessel is likely the toughest part.
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Old 29-11-2013, 06:22   #7
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Rgspat,
Sorry for the late reply..This occurred in what I'd call a 2nd world nation. Where there is some rigour and structure to life but where it's not uncommon to see a truckload of people being hauled cattle truck style in the back of a truck to a work site. I will never truly know whether there was any other boats capable of responding. The only calls made over vhf were to various dive boat charters which kind of made me question whether or not this was an attempt to keep the incident from authorities or was a deliberate action demonstrating an appreciable knowledge of who would be in the area from years of expertise.
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Old 29-11-2013, 10:13   #8
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

Maybe in some countries/cultures, people are reluctant to contact the authorities because of anything from painful paperwork, "guilty until proven innocent" legal traditions, the possibility of having licenses and permits (business, work, work visa) threatened, perhaps being restricted in ability to work or travel during an investigation/until insurance is ascertained, maybe even being hit up for bribes, or legitimate or quasi-legitimate costs related to an investigation, possibility of fines related to pollution and the environment... and maybe more.
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Old 29-11-2013, 10:21   #9
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Oh...I forgot to address the fuel question. ..Sadly the diesel tank was ruptured. ..The fuel unfortunately was leaked into the ocean.
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Old 29-11-2013, 10:28   #10
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

I'm not sure what your question is? But if tae boat was in US waters, or many others, then procedures were not properly followed... as soon as the diesel started to leak, the Coast Guard and others should have been called. The boat should not have been scuttled until all the petroleum products were taken off.
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Old 29-11-2013, 10:51   #11
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Cheechako,
I apologize I guess I am a little unfocused. I guess I short I am curious on 2 fronts., what is the proper procedure god forbid this type of thing should happen to anyone. Perhaps this thread can be in the back of everyone's mind should the worst happen. Secondly do proceedings such as these normally happen so quickly? I would have expected as I mentioned for the boat to be the site of a horde of insurance inspectors taking pictures and such. Although it was a remote outcropping. I was expecting her to stay where she was for 2 weeks or so..but perhaps a debris field is the greater of 2 evils. The salvage company apparently didn't address pumping the engines clean.
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Old 29-11-2013, 10:57   #12
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

yeah, I would think so too. US or Canada....OR?
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Old 29-11-2013, 11:02   #13
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

Regarding the insurance claim, if the root cause was wear, tear or corrosion (including poor maintenance, aging parts) many policies will not cover the loss.

Sinking the vessel may have obscured the cause.

It is also possible that the policy did not cover proper wreck removal, which can be quite expensive, so they decided to "get rid of it cheaply".
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Old 29-11-2013, 11:37   #14
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

Even in the US something like this can be handled in a matter of days. Most large commercial marine insurance companies have teams on standby to fly to wherever the incident occurs, and the insurance companies can often be on the scene in just a day or so. Once there their reps are the primaries on how to handle the issue since the owner typically doesn't care so long as his loss is covered.

As for scuttling, if the USCG is convinced there is no reasonable option but to scuttle in deep water they can give approval on the phone with no/minimal paperwork. They would prefer to have the hull removed, but if that is unreasonable it isn't hard to get permission to sink it. In this case assuming their wasn't a travel lift nearby and with multiple major holes the vessel couldn't be towed to one, then the safest option is to drag it into deep water with crash pumps going and let her go.

Remember the USCG's primary issue is life saving, then safety to navigation. So if leaving it on the rocks could result in another vessel being imperiled they want it out of there as fast as possible.


While a week would be a little quick in the US, it doesn't strike me as highly unusual. I have seen a 35' race boat go from on the race course Thursday to in a landfill on Friday. The insurance adjuster was at the dock when the boat showed up with a cracked keel, keel sump, and 2' gash in the hull. It was pulled out on the travel lift as it arrived at the marine (during business hours), and the keel fell off. The adjuster totaled it right then, offered to sell it back to the owner for $100, the owner refused, and the entire mass except for the mast (the yard bought it for $50) was loaded on a flat bed an hour later and driven to the town dump.
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Old 29-11-2013, 13:47   #15
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Re: Protocols/procedures for running aground hard...boat lost

Thanks guys the last 2 responses are in line with what I was curious about. I believe I heard word of a plane being dispatched (only heard it once), I guess aerial photos of the scene and such are sufficient. I guess i now just have to sit and hope for a speedy resolution.

Thanks!
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