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Old 02-06-2013, 10:54   #61
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This a classic case where the Stand On vessel could have avoided a collision. If the skipper of the sail boat,could not alert the trawler via VHF etc he should have altered course. I have been in this situation many times and it's better to be alive than be right. Of course AIS and radar alarms might have helped, but so would a early course alteration.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:18   #62
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

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This a classic case where the Stand On vessel could have avoided a collision. If the skipper of the sail boat,could not alert the trawler via VHF etc he should have altered course. I have been in this situation many times and it's better to be alive than be right. Of course AIS and radar alarms might have helped, but so would a early course alteration.
I was trying to make the point earlier that the captain of the sailing vessel may have tried to take some avoiding action but something negated his efforts. It's hard to judge from a 1 minute shot at the time of the collision what happened in the hour in the run up to the collision. If the Fishing vessel had passed a waypoint on its autopilot for example, and made an automatic turn onto a collision course for example.... Obviously the bridge of the Fishing vessel was unattended for a considerable period of time for the incident to have occurred.....

At sea what's considered a safe CPA (closest point of approach) for vessels this size passing each other?
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:33   #63
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I was trying to make the point earlier that the captain of the sailing vessel may have tried to take some avoiding action but something negated his efforts. It's hard to judge from a 1 minute shot at the time of the collision what happened in the hour in the run up to the collision. If the Fishing vessel had passed a waypoint on its autopilot for example, and made an automatic turn onto a collision course for example.... Obviously the bridge of the Fishing vessel was unattended for a considerable period of time for the incident to have occurred.....

At sea what's considered a safe CPA (closest point of approach) for vessels this size passing each other?
From the video it appears that neither vessel had made a recent course change, the only thing the skipper of the sailing vessel did was to sound is horn which I doubt anyone could hear on the trawler.
On a recent 2,500 mile trip down to Cabo San Lucus and back and the first time with a AIS transponder all of the commercial vessels altered course, as we did as well, to a CPA of 2 miles. Which I consider to be safe! Smaller fishing vessels of less than a mile gives me cause to pay special attention to what's going on and a course alteration by me even if I am (under sail) the stand on vessel. In every case of a CPA closer than 2 miles whilst offshore I attempt to hail the watch on the other vessel using channel 16 and find out each others intentions.
In the case of this accident, the skipper of the sailing vessel was at equal blame for not altering course or instructing his large crew to done PFD's before or after the collision.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:34   #64
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

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What should the skipper of the stand on vessel do if he comes to the conclusion that maintaining course will lead to a collision?

I've never been in such a situation myself. I treat anything bigger as if it was a train and always make course corrections early, and aim for passing behind the other vessel.

one thing no one mentions here, is reduce speed! I luffed up a number of time on the great lakes to let commercials past to avoid collisions. not hard to do! sometimes, hardening up or falling off will still put you in danger. radio contact is important as well
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Old 02-06-2013, 15:18   #65
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

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From the video it appears that neither vessel had made a recent course change, the only thing the skipper of the sailing vessel did was to sound is horn which I doubt anyone could hear on the trawler.
Somebody made a point earlier that these type of vessels are pretty awkward to turn under sail, I'm presuming that's true?
Do you agree with the point I made earlier regarding safest course of action once collision has become imminent? i.e. the stand on vessel maintains a fixed course and speed, the give way takes evasive action. Both ships taking evasive action might just make things worse....

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On a recent 2,500 mile trip down to Cabo San Lucus and back and the first time with a AIS transponder all of the commercial vessels altered course, as we did as well, to a CPA of 2 miles. Which I consider to be safe! Smaller fishing vessels of less than a mile gives me cause to pay special attention to what's going on and a course alteration by me even if I am (under sail) the stand on vessel. In every case of a CPA closer than 2 miles whilst offshore I attempt to hail the watch on the other vessel using channel 16 and find out each others intentions.
In the case of this accident, the skipper of the sailing vessel was at equal blame for not altering course or instructing his large crew to done PFD's before or after the collision.
Agree with you wholeheartedly on the pfd issue. not so much on the blame
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Old 02-06-2013, 16:10   #66
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

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A couple of things here. If (as seems to be the consensus) the sailing vessel is indeed the stand on vessel in this situation, and at a point and time where it becomes apparent that a collision is imminent, does the the stand on vessel not have a duty to maintain course and speed as to alter either makes him unpredictable and will only add confusion to the situation?

An example from my personal experience. Different modus transportation but exactly similar concept (with a much shorter time frame).

I used work as a cycle courier in a very busy (traffic wise) city. I was coming around a high speed limited visibility bend (I was accelerating through 20mph pushing down a hill) when I spotted a jaywalker off the footpath 15 yards in front of me crossing the road.

I was in a similar position to the fishing boat. My motion vector was on a direct collision course with the pedestrians vector. Unlike (I assume) the fishing boat, I was at the controls and saw the danger, also the pedestrian was aware of my approach.

In this situation, both of us assumed we were the give-way object (the pedestrian erroneously in my opinion). Regardless of how the situation had come to occur (the pedestrian stepping off the path in limited visibility and away from a crosswalk, not anticipating low visibility low audibility traffic, bicycles being a lot smaller than cars!), at the time the collision became apparent to us one had to assume an avoidance protocol. In my head as I was on an overtaking vector, was under power and had a wider range of adjustment available to my velocity and course, assumed the role of give way. The pedestrian assumed that as they shouldn't have been on the road in the first place that it was their duty to avoid.

So being the give way in the situation (in my head), I slacked my turn curve and accelerated to pass safely in front of their constant course. A split second later the pedestrian speeds up putting us again on a collision course. The pedestrian is now on an accelerating (thus unpredictable) vector, so I (and this is dangerous on a bike in traffic and turning) hit the brakes and tighten the turn to pass (less safely) behind their vector. The pedestrian stops in their tracks and I run him down.

All of this happened in about three seconds.

luckily only minor scrapes and bruises occurred as i was hard on the brakes (not dissimilar to the fishing boat near the point of collision in the video) at the time of impact. We joked about it on the pavement and moved on.

The point here is that the pedestrian was the stand on in the situation, the safest and best thing for them to do is to maintain course and speed, in order to maintain a predictable path so that I (as the give way) can correct to avoid. To have both parties attempt correction is dangerous as it leads to confusion.

Things that are not obvious from the video, and I haven't yet read an eyewitness or court report that states otherwise. Assuming the fishing boat was on autopilot.
The sailing vessel may have in the run up to the start of the video.

1. The sailing vessel may have attempted a course deviation, only to have that action cancelled by an autopilot course correction on the Fishing vessel.
2. The sailing vessel may have attempted to crowd on more sail, and have the wind crap out.
3. The sailing vessel may have reefed sheets only for the wind to pick up.

All of these situations could have occurred. But in the end, he did, in my opinion, what he should. When the ships came to close quarters, he maintained a constant bearing and speed, and sounded his horn, in order to give the vessel with the duty to take avoiding action the safest situation in which to do so.

On a boat, being the stand-on vessel is only a guideline -- not your right as a boater. ALL boaters' responsibility, the over-arching rule, is to do EVERYTHING possible to avoid a collision. That includes giving way even though you are the stand-on vessel.

I think part of the reasoning here is that the rules are complex and there may not be time to pull out a book and research who's in the right. There are no traffic ligths or lane lines on the sea.
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Old 02-06-2013, 16:23   #67
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

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In that situation I'd have turned away from the fishing boat...
Multiple advantages...
Delays impact giving the FB time to respond..
Reduces target area dramatically and converts a T-Bone to a glancing blow..
Reduces force of impact IF there's a collision..
BWTFDIK.... I sail a 21ftr...
+100...

Bear off....My Winner Pick for sure... Looks like plenty of time ... but may not have been if they couldn't power up to help with the maneuver ... maybe lose some of the standing rigging or even a whole rig...

If there were different freeboards than they actually were.... would have resulted in a helluva hole inna hull....
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Old 02-06-2013, 16:26   #68
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There are some pretty fundamental points to be remembered her. Both skippers have a responsibility to their crew and their vessels. I met with all the skippers of the Clipper Round the world race and all agreed that there is no such thing a "Stand On" certainly not for me either. If I can't get the early attention of another vessel of any size I assume the watch is not on watch, the skipper is a idiot and all the crew are blind. It's held me well for sixty odd years. Oh a call on channel 16 expressing your displeasure should and the name of the vessel will let all others in hailing distance the skipper is a fool.
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Old 02-06-2013, 16:29   #69
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+100...

Bear off....My Winner Pick for sure... Looks like plenty of time ... but may not have been if they couldn't power up to help with the maneuver ... maybe lose some of the standing rigging or even a whole rig...

If there were different freeboards than they actually were.... would have resulted in a helluva hole inna hull....
Bearing off is not the thing to do, what happens if the wind lulls? How about a early tack to increase the distance between you and impending doom?
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Old 02-06-2013, 17:08   #70
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

An interesting case but it leaves me asking the question; if it were me, at what point would I start firing flares over the fishing boats' bridge to get his undivided attention.
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Old 02-06-2013, 17:10   #71
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

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Bearing off is not the thing to do, what happens if the wind lulls? How about a early tack to increase the distance between you and impending doom?
You and I have a differing opinion and that's definitely OK!

The video starts at 3 minutes to contact... The hailing has already started... Maybe they had 5 minutes??? More ??? That is plenty of time to change course, even slightly ... My first instinct is bear off... I ALSO SAID "but may not have been if they couldn't power up to help with the maneuver ...

" Your tacking decision indeed shows a distinct and deliberate course change... HOWEVER.... tacking a ship like that is a VERY involved muti-hands project! Even if they could... the downsides are already posted.... 2 course changes = collision again with one distinct difference.... SOONER....
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Old 03-06-2013, 00:33   #72
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

We're all discussing facts not in evidence and hypothetical situations.

From the video, which is the only evidence we have, and regardless of how they got into the situation in the first place because that's just supposition.

The segment of the video pertaining to the actual collision is 86 seconds long with collision occurring at 62 secs into that segment.

Regardless of how they got into the situation, at that point in time what could the captain of the sailing vessel have done to avoid collision?

So from my reading of the video (which is interpretation), he appears to have chosen a course for his speed to try and cross in front of the fishing boat, and very nearly makes it. That may have been the best course for the sail plan he had aloft and the wind conditions at that given moment. He appears to be moving quite slowly (1-2knots) as there is no wake down the side of the SV. The wikipedia page for the boat says she has auxiliary diesel propulsion, but I can't hear any engine running in the video.

There are many many legitimate (at least from the SV point of view) ways that the ships could come to be in close proximity. All of which could have occurred with the captain of the SV taking what people here would approve of as reasonable avoiding action for the conditions.

In the end of the day though, IF he was the stand on vessel, the blame rightly belongs with the give way vessel. I presume that's why the roles are defined in the first place.

I find it hard to place blame when all I have is an 86 second video clip and no context. For all we know, the captain could have taken all sorts of reasonable measures in the run up to the accident.... To assume otherwise is to infer incompetence or deliberate action or inaction.... I don't believe any experienced captain would deliberately take a collision at sea.....

But then again the captain of the Bounty recently sailed into the teeth of a hurricane losing the ship and his life in the process....
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:37   #73
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

Always be wary of fishing vessels, be they fishing or especially returning to port. Lots of documented cases of collisions involving fishing boats and it has been found that no look out is being kept. Either the watch keeper is on the working deck, or working a winch from the aft end of the wheelhouse, or, has fallen asleep (these boats work with a minimum crew who work long hours.
Here is a another recent case of a fishing boat where the watchkeeper has fallen asleep, this time it ends in tragedy.
Marine Casualty Investigation Board
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:55   #74
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

Tacking or luffing up is not an easy option with this boat. Also, the skipper can't sent people up the masts with the possibility of an imminent collision.

If the court had considered the Captain of the Alexander von Humboldt to be partially responsible, they would have said so, They are the experts and in posession of all the facts and statements. We have just got a short video to assign blame.

This boat is about as manouverable as a bulk carrier, but worse. Significant course/sail changes have to be planned well in advance.

Of course, a minor course alteration earlier to pass behind the fishing boat would have avoided the collision, but there are too many of these to assume that all are operating not under command. Fishing boats will often make the smallest possible course or speed adjustment, difficult to detect initially, so they miss the stern by just a few feet.

PFD's, tricky. In the captain's position, I might believe that sending eveyone onboard down below to get PFD's would not be wise. This could induce panic and possibly lead to injury. He may have determined that given the relative sizes of the vessels, being holed or the impact throwing people overboard was unlikely, and if that was the case, he was correct. If the fishing boat had not gone full astern, the impact would have been harder, and closer to the port bow, but still an inconvenience, not lifethreatenting.

my 0.02 USD

Considering the drop in the value of USD, I think we should increase that figure to 0.03
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Old 05-06-2013, 18:37   #75
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Re: So You Fall Asleep On Your Watch?

Colregs really just don't apply when cruising...The day I read an article about a 40ft plastic boat sinking a freighter I will start to think I have some rights while underway..until then I will still exercise the view that it is our responsibility to avoid everything out there.
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