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Old 29 March 2011, 14:34   #51
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Oh yeah the whale watchers!
Stood on the top deck of a nine story high white ship looking for whales through a telescope whilst dressed in full camoflage??
So the whale might see the ship but he won't spot them???
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Old 29 March 2011, 18:24   #52
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Evening all

Time to step into the line of fire once more and add a few comments to this debate. Hopefully try and keep it short.

I understand the concerns that some have regarding poor standards and a 'reckless' attitude allegedly demonstrated by ferry crews (especially after going over the last few pages of posts. ) but please bear with me while i explain a few points which will hopefully alleviate any fears.

Firstly, most you on here will probably have some kind of nautical qualification, probably RYA based designed to give a good level of both theoretical and practical knowledge on how to use and operate a pleasure boat in an efficient and safe manner. This is very reassuring.
Some on here have commercial endorsements to their RYA qualifications meaning that they have passed an exam whose structure and content was based on guidlines set out by the Maritime and Coastguard agency.
Now, (without belittling it in any way) a commercial endorsment on an RYA qualification is a world apart from an MCA Master mariner certificate (class one unlimited).
To become the Master of a passenger vessel such as a ferry or cruise ship a candidate would first have to have served as a cadet with a shipping company. The cadetship takes four years to complete involving three years at a dedicated nautical college followed by one year spent at sea with the aim of achieving at minimum and HND level academic qualification
On completion of this and a series of both written and oral exams (including a 1-1.5hour interview with an MCA examiner) the candidate would be granted an 'officer of the watch certificate' allowing him/her to serve as junior officer under the supervision of the Master/chief officer.

Now from here on, the candidate will need to sit a further two sets of exams (Chief officer/Master) each spaced apart by a minimum of 18months seatime. Each set of exams becomes harder to pass encompassing a greater range of subjects with existing subject being examined in much deeper detail. Finally after all this and on completion of a final interview style oral examination with a senior examiner at the MCA, the candidate will be granted a Master mariner certificate.
Unfortunately this gives no guarantee of a job as Master as virtually all shipping companies require solid proof of comprehansive past experience before considering somebody for the job.
Most Masters employed on ferries will have at least 15-20 years experience before being taken on.
My point to all this?....well as an engineer it pains me greatly to say this but believe me when i do say that Masters of ferries (or any commercial passanger carrying vessel for that matter).....are far from idiots.

Are you lot yet?

The Bilbao/Ouzo incident was indeed a tragic event and, as someone who has followed the above described training system and further spent some 22 years serving on various types of vessel, i hang my head in shame.
It was shamefull that the 2nd officer never turned the vessel around even after the AB (able bodied seaman) on watch with 2nd officer commented that he thought he saw something.
For information, it is standard procedure on all passanger carrying vessels to always have two people on the bridge during night time passages.
All ferries are required to have motion detectors fitted on the bridge triggering an alarm should no movement be detected after a short period of time (usually around two minutes).
VER (voyage event recorders) including microphones to record all conversations on the bridge are also mandatory.
To suggest that a cross channel ferry could be on passage with the bridge unatended is proposterous.

Thankfully, incidents like the Ouzo tragedy are very rare but, like in the aviation industry, when they do happen, they make big news.
To put things into perspective you have to look at the volume of cargo/passengers/goods that is carried in/out and around our country on an annual basis then think of how many accidents you have heard of.

Although it is unfair to comment until the official MAIB report is issued, i do believe that legislation (ie; amending the COLREGS to specify a set maximum speed in fog based on % of vessel's maximum speed) should be brought in to give Masters a legal tool to use and slow the vessel down. This would remove the ambiguity behind the 'safe speed' clause as stated in the COLREGS.

One point to not is that, as previously mentioned, an Incat like the Vitesse is able to stop herself from full speed in just over a few times her own length.
The RedJets on the Solent are able to do this in their own length!!

Biffer... I do undrstand your frustration with the Redjets as the wash they produce is of a particular nuissance however vary rarely do they deviate by any great amount during their crossing to/from Cowes. Even at low tide, they draw less than a meter so are able to maintain a similar track on each crossing.
All one needs to do is to take a trip out between the Forts towards Nab to witness the plethora of pots and fishing gear strewn inside the channel
I wont tar all fisherman with the same brush however there are quite a few 'bad apples' out there..
This is a problem no matter what area of the world you are naviguating in.

I would urge people to stop 'armchair quarterbacking', at least until the official report come out.

Simon
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Old 30 March 2011, 03:24   #53
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The RedJets on the Solent are able to do this in their own length!!
it is a serious decision to make in a split second to drop the buckets and stop the boat like that. Moving the buckets at speed instead of the throttles results in a violent reaction that has to be experienced to be appreciated even in a drill situation. The likelihood of injury and death to passengers onboard is significant. Everyone is going to be smacked into the seats/bulkheads/people in front of them. Bags, heavy luggage, coffee makers, and babies are going to fly thru the air and there will be carnage. So its still not a safe speed even if in theory one can stop before hitting whatever is in front of you.
Driving fast craft in fog is surreal, with little sensation of the speed one is doing over a flat sea, that you can't see, with a grey globe around you and no reference points to focus on.
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Old 30 March 2011, 03:39   #54
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i'm assuming that the captain that hit the hythe jetty or the nab tower or sailed straight though the other peir down hastigs way also had this lovely training.
i live both on the main and the island and i go back and forth more than most, you are wrong when you say they don't deviate from there standard course
i say it as i find it, from experience.
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Old 30 March 2011, 03:58   #55
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All the training and certification in the world wont mean squat if your not looking where your going/at the radar screen. or going too fast to see to react.
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Old 30 March 2011, 04:03   #56
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i dont think there can be much dispute that master mariners are indeed very good at their jobs in the most part and qualified to a level much higher that us mortals but....

and i appreciate we will not know until the report comes out ... (and maybe never)

The AIS tracks seem to suggest the vessel was traveling at 30+ Kts prior to the impact, in fog which we assume is a significant contributing factor to the collision one person being killed.

Now in this blame culture we live in, the master is in control of his vessel and therefore responsible for its care and that of all on board? I appreciate the commercial pressures put on the master. if the Master feels he can justify "safe speed" then he is free to try in any investigation. lets hope there is some impartial thought with regard the investigation to see if this justification is valid.

i have never been on a ferry in fog, i have driven boats in fog and know it is not something i would choose to do at any speed, let alone close to full operating speed of a large ship.

thoughts go to the families of those involved i hope justice will prevail.
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Old 30 March 2011, 04:04   #57
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Originally Posted by Anchorhandler View Post

I would urge people to stop 'armchair quarterbacking', at least until the official report come out.

Simon
This is a fair point, but what matter if a bunch of unqualified numpties (some not so unqualified, btw) like us have a goss about it on here?

The training that professional crew have will not make "better people" of them. Cast your mind back over the numerous shipping and aviation disasters and near misses that involves gross dereliction of duty on the part of the masters and crew. Don't expect me to believe that a goodly number of them don't bend the rules now and again.

I for one will read the report with keen interest, to better understand how a shining professional crew can mow down a small craft despite having every navigational aid known to man.
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Old 30 March 2011, 04:21   #58
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I read the hypotheses from those remote of the event. In the meantime...it's a very sad event that occurred. I await the report from those in possession of the facts.
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Old 30 March 2011, 05:20   #59
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Ohh Biffer...

Next time you happen to look at a chart of the Solent, see if you can spot something written on it that might give a clue to fisherman to not fish the in the area!

And No, the Master of the Hythe ferry has no such training or qualification relying on a BML (boatman's licence). This is a certificate based purely on local knowledge of the area thus limiting the skipper to operate in the same restricted area. No training or formal qualification is required. I do understand the point you are trying to make though.

The Dole America did strike the Nab tower.....IN 1999!!!...

The other incident i can not comment on as i have no knowledge of it but im sure it was obviously gross negligence on behalf of a formally trained Master mariner with a class one certificate....


Wavelength... Yes, it is worrying. As you probably saw from a previous post i strongly believe more should be done to limit the speed of high speed craft in fog..including and perhaps especially the Redjets due to the busy/confined area they operate in.
I appreciate the colregs must take into account the prevailing conditions so a blanket rule to reduce speed (to a set %) when in fog may not be practical (as you start affecting the maneuverability of some vessels) but i do believe it is now time to re-appraise the wording never the less.

Contrary to what people want to believe on here, those radar sets on the Vitesse would have been watched very attentively indeed by both the Master AND C/O.

Willk....Yes, your right, even the most experienced and dedicated crews occasionally bend the rules...after all that's human nature but i just cant see (forgive the very inapropriate pun) that that would have been the case with the Vitesse......Perhaps its more of a case me not wanting to see?
Appologies if i sounded condescending re; certification...that was certainly not my intention, my point was to re-assure people that the officers and crew of the next ferry they embark on are, for the most part, profesionals who take the duty of care to their passengers very seriously.

Leapy....Well said

Simon
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Old 30 March 2011, 05:47   #60
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i think with what i do and where i live i have a fair understanding of where and where not to go and fish in the solent, i can tell you redjet does not stay in channel, disregarding the fishermen, the corner she cuts most is used by dinghy sailers and kite surfers.
don't get me wrong, if there was a quicker way to get the job done i'll have a look at it, but i'll go back to my original post, there is not excuse you could say for running over a fishing boat, yacht, pier, or jetty in any weather, it's down to someone not paying attention
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