Editorial April 2010


The criminalisation of seafarers continues to cause increasing concern throughout the Industry and pilots cannot ignore this worrying trend.

As I write this the Master and Chief Mate of the Shen Neng 1, that went aground on the Barrier Reef in Australia, have been arrested and charged with causing damage to a marine park.

In Hong Kong, two pilots and two Masters have been imprisoned following a collision between the Neftegas 67 and the Yao Hai which tragically resulted in 18 deaths. This case is important because the judge ruled that the failure of both vessels to take sufficient action to avoid collision was a deliberate act stating:What they did was deliberate. It was a deliberate omission not to manoeuvre or take action until the last moment of emergency and in a panic.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne a pilot and port authority have been condemned by a judge in a case where a ship ruptured a gas pipeline when it dragged anchor in bad weather. (see page…)

The message is clear, shipping is operating in a zero tolerance environment and pilots are in the front line!

Finally though there is some good news. In Brisbane, the pilot was praised in the media for  his prompt action in avoiding disaster when the cruise liner Pacific Dawn, suffered a total systems failure at a crucial point (see page..). The suspected cause of the black out was salt water damaging a fuse! As someone has aptly observed “When technology becomes the master, we reach disaster faster”.

Take care out there.


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