Originally Posted by ShoalFinder
The logic is simple. Captains are licensed in an effort to prevent unqualified people from making disastrous, stupid decisions.
Who tested the pumps? Who was in charge of the criminally negligent state of the engine room? Who was in charge of training on the ship's systems? The Engineer is in charge of these things and the captain is ULTIMATELY in charge of these things. Both men failed miserably.
Safety regulations work like a kind of a double safety system when it is also demanded that someone qualified is in charge of something, in this case a ship. It prevents that one, even if legally qualified, can have particular ideas that go against the norm in what regards safety. In this case that a qualified Captain could find that the Bounty was a seaworthy ship to sail in very bad weather.
This double safe system is common in many professions whose work can put other lives in danger. For instance on a building project and Engineer is needed to calculate the structure and is accountable regarding his work (like a Captain) but he has to follow several rules and norms that specify the margins of security he has to follow, specially in what regards seismic efforts. It is like that here and I believe everywhere.
If you trust that only a qualified man in charge is enough in what regards security, not having any mandatory and normalized rules about security, you risk that he has some very particular notion about security, that can be deadly to others. That was the case with the Bounty and that is why ruling is necessary to establish a minimum required safety level no matter the professional qualification of who is in charge.