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Old 04-05-2009, 14:53   #1
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Criminal Penalties for Hit/Run Freighters?

I just read the news on Latitude 38 about the Princess Tai Ping (a 54 ft junk) being rammed and cut in half by the frighter Champion Express of the coast of Taiwan on april 29th.

What really bothered me is that the captain of the Tai Ping had been in communication with the freighter minutes before the collision, and that "The Champion Express reportedly stopped momentarily, but did not return nor render any assistance — not even a radio call — before resuming their course".

After 5 HOURS at sea, the 11 person crew was rescued (by Taiwanese authorities), suffering from mild hypothermia.

Had that been done on land, the freighter would have been stopped by the police for a hit and run, the vessel would have been impounded and the captain would have lost his license and been slapped with criminal charges.

How come that is not the case in the ocean?

How can we make that imposing criminal penalties, jail time, and seizing of freighters and sale at auction a reality?

I am worried about tales of freighters arriving to port with masts lodged on their bow (not even realizing they killed somebody, or lying about it), or reports of deaths of fishermen attributed to having been rammed by freigthers. (specially since I could be one of them).
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Old 04-05-2009, 15:18   #2
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Yes, the cutting in half of Princess Tai Ping was added onto this thread last week:

Princess Tai-Ping arrives in San Diego

I wouldn't assume that the captain of the freighter, Champion Express, will go on with his merchant marine career as if nothing happened. The incident occurred in Taiwanese waters, and whether the vessel is "one of theirs" or not, their laws will apply.

It's a miracle that no one was killed, either in the collision or from hypothermia from prolonged immersion, but that fact will not make the penalties much more agreeable for those held responsible.

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Old 12-05-2009, 08:45   #3
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New member here with first reply. Several years ago I found a series of articles on the net describing the problems of container ships identifying small craft and gave a great prediction of their very limited response time to avoid a collision. It was quite an eye opener that resulted in my being less cavalier about sailing around large vessels. My problem is I cant find the articles again. Anyone familiar with these articles and where can I find them?
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Old 12-05-2009, 13:29   #4
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Greetings, and welcome aboard donsan44.

Collision Avoidance ~ "Cruising Yachtsman"

Understanding what is happening on the bridge of a commercial ship and taking the necessary steps will help you avoid being run down.
Yachting Magazine - Collision Avoidance

Behavior of Ship Officers in Maneuvering to Prevent a Collision:

http://www.jmst.org.tw/marine/14-4/225-230.pdf
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Old 12-05-2009, 13:44   #5
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Gord, you are awesome!
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:26   #6
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No mention in either article is made of getting on the VHF. Try 13 and then 16 if there is any doubt. I make passing agreements with high speed ferries very frequently using the VHF.
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:34   #7
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Good point David--I noticed that too. If in doubt, it's always a good idea to hail the big guy and agree on who's going to do what. If he will answer, that is...
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Old 12-05-2009, 17:20   #8
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As I understood the account of the Princess Tai Ping disaster, they had been in communication with the Champion Express, they had a clear understanding of what the freighter wanted them to do, they did it - and still were run down by the freighter. In the aftermath of the collision, the freighter stopped, so they clearly knew what had happened, but then continued on without helping the eleven crew of the Tai Ping, all of whom were in the water, nor radioing for help.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of any investigation.

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Old 14-05-2009, 04:36   #9
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A couple of interesting articles:

Caswell's Rules of the Road
Size matters. Don't assume anything about the other guy. And above all, be nice. Just a few lessons from a long life spent dodging fellow boaters...
... 1. Big Boats Always Have The Right-Of-Way. It doesn't matter who really has the right-of-way here, because you'll always lose if you try to sneak in front of a tanker or a tug pushing a barge...”

GotoYachting Magazine - Caswell's Rules of the Road

and

Collision Avoidance ~ by Michael Howorth
"Understanding what is happening on the bridge of a commercial ship and taking the necessary steps will help you avoid being run down..."
GotoYachting Magazine - Collision Avoidance
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