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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Vessels Lost, Missing, or in Danger
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  #271  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
The fact that he went to sea with a damaged pump system (one Genset out of service) and without a back up system is just unacceptable for them, hurricane or not.
Finally this makes sense to me. While following this thread, I kept on wondering if Sandy was a 'red herring' - an important element, sure. But not root cause. Looking at the video, the weather conditions did not look *too* bad. This boat had sailed to Tahiti and had many miles under the keel, and had surely faced such weather before. Sure, there was a hurricane in the area, and perhaps he should not have been there, but it did not seem bad where they sunk - thankfully, as the USCG chopper was still able to safely recover them (yay USCG!).

Sure they took on water - these older wooden square riggers did. Constantly. In a heavy storm, pumping out every hour does not sound excessive; from my reading - no direct experience in a boat like this - manual pumps were often working 24x7 in a storm. Of course they had the crew to do this.

However, having only one way to empty the bilge - no backup - bad. Very bad. On my tiny boat I have 2 electric pumps, one manual, and a bucket . You guys know boats - something always fails, and generally at the worse possible moment. Rehearsed backup plans are key.

My heart goes out to the people who lost their lives. The dangers of having a critical system without backup is a lesson we all can learn from. Personally, I am less interested in who is to blame; as with all of these tragic accidents, my interest is what I can learn to avoid a similar calamity.
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Last edited by paul323; 11-04-2012 at 11:15 AM.
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  #272  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
The concept you are discussing is known in the law as "proximate cause" - whether there is a legally recognized causal connection between the breach of a duty and the damages caused.

What you fail to realize is that the captain is responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of his inexcusable decision to set sail toward the likely path of a hurricane.

There exists the unlikely possibility that some superseding, intervening cause resulted in the death of this young woman. For instance, if she died from food poisoning on board and just happened to stumble overboard just as the ship was sinking, or if the Navy accidentally bombed the ship as part of aerial bombing practice, then the captain's asinine decision to take to sea may not have been the proximate cause of her death. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever supporting a superseding, intervening cause of death.

On the other hand, if she died because the ship lost a plank or the bilge pumps failed or the engine failed or she was hit by a loose life raft on deck, those would all be events that inexorably follow from the failure of the captain to exercise prudence in his decision-making. It is reasonably foreseeable, in fact likely, that mechanical failure during a storm on that ship would result in a sinking an a loss of life, even though such mechanical failure in calm conditions would cause no permanent harm. It is reasonably foreseeable that a ship like the Bounty might founder and capsize in gale or hurricane conditions, so the captain who put the ship in that position will be held responsible for all consequences not due to a superseding cause.

People are responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their failure to live up to their duties as reasonably prudent people, in this case, a reasonably prudent professional captain. A reasonably prudent professional captain of a ship like the Bounty does not set sail in the face of an impending, unpredictable hurricane. The estate of "Captain Hurricane Chaser/"There is no such thing as bad weather" and everyone responsible for employing someone with knowledge of his apparent lack of judgment will now be responsible for all reasonably foreseeable consequences of his negligence, including the death of this woman. That seems perfectly fair and just to me.

Some of you apparently do not embrace that concept. Some on this listserv refuse to accept the responsibilities of a ship's captain. Your passengers and crew do not assume the risk of your faulty decision-making just because taking to sea is risky venture. When you assume responsibility for other's lives by commanding a boat, you are required to be PRUDENT - which means wise, judicious, careful, cautious and discreet. You have no legal right to gamble, play the odds, and take risks with other's lives at stake. If you do not like that legal liability, then sail solo and do not summon rescue forces

There is no rush to judgment. No further investigation will ever portray this captain as wise, careful or cautious, given what we already know about his decision-making in the circumstances. We are not required to search for a superceding cause to exonerate him. This is very simple: he put the boat in harm's way and harm resulted.-James Wilson
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  #273  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Takefive, Apparently you missed the word "apparently." There are posts and links here that seem to support that there were mechanical problems. Having no manual pumps, imo, indicates a major deficiency if it is true.
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Last edited by smurphny; 11-04-2012 at 11:28 AM.
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  #274  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Quote:
Hi all,

I've been following this thread here and other sites on this subject for a bit now. I'm new to the forum and fairly new to sailing as well. I will not pass judgement on what happened aboard the Bounty but as a 747 captain (an airplane of that size is in many ways, a flying ship), I, however, will say a few things since I do find a similarity as far as responsibilities go between both airliner and ship's Captains.

First of all, as a Pilot in Command, you are responsible for everything that goes on, into and about that aircraft that you are about to fly. It is your job to check the aircraft logbook that all maintenance has been properly carried out according to the prescribed guidelines

Same goes for the weather along the route, destination and alternates. The physical well being of your crew and passengers, physically and mentally. The cargo if there are hazmat or other DGs on board.

Actually, the Flight dispatch will send you all the info in a nice thick packet half the size of a phone book for every flight. They will brief you as well but if they screwed up, it is still your airplane. You are responsible for everything and I mean everything.

What I'm saying is that, as a Pilot in Command, you make the final decision, period. No one can force you to leave if you do not feel that either you, your crew or the aircraft is capable and can safely complete the trip. Not your Company, Chief Pilot, Union etc.

And not to take anything away from anyone, but I cannot just take a FAA test, buy an airplane and a nice white hat and be a Captain. The main difference here is that we, as far as professional pilot group goes, have to go through all kinds of emergency training scenarios and drills every six months. We must attend recurrent training annually (I believe freighters, tankers and cruise ship crew go through similar training). They pay us good money not to fly the airplane, the airplane can do all that by themselves. Heck, my 747-400 and land and come to a complete stop on the runway without me ever touching the yoke or the throttles. What they really pay us for is to make safe and sound judgements and prudent decisions.

As a pilot in command, the decisions are all yours and yours alone. Whatever decision you make, good or bad, you'd better be able to defend it if you ever ended up at that long inquisition table with no ashtrays, if you survive the incident or accident that is. -Alias
Understood. No one is disputing that the captain will be held responsible WHEN the investigation is concluded. Dont you have an investigation though when their is an incident, or do the summarily dismiss you?

Jameswilson...I am not a lawyer, but if there was a lawsuit arent there % of causality assigned ( not legalese)
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  #275  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

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I would invite once again suggestions from those who fail to grasp that, who ELSE besides the captain might bear responsibility for this tragedy? And, what possible reason might have compelled him to sail into the teeth of such weather in such a vessel to meet the schedule of being in St Pete by Nov 9?-Jon Eisenberg
No one has failed to grasp that the captain does bear some responsibility for this including me. What some of us have been saying is that there may be other factors involved, facts which we have not been aprised of yet. This is the purpose of an investigation. No doubt he had a hand in this, no doubt the captain has responsibilities. NO ONE has said otherwise.

So what have you really learned from this...course that was the stated purpose of so many for this posting, a teaching experience. You obviously dont need or want to investigate this any further cause you have your root cause.

Is the lesson you dont sail into a hurricane........duhhhhhhhhhh what else. Hatteras and the GS are a dangerous place....duhhhhhhhhh.
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Last edited by chef2sail; 11-04-2012 at 11:47 AM.
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  #276  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alias View Post
Hi all,

... They pay us good money not to fly the airplane, the airplane can do all that by themselves. Heck, my 747-400 and land and come to a complete stop on the runway without me ever touching the yoke or the throttles. What they really pay us for is to make safe and sound judgements and prudent decisions.

...
That is also the essence of a job of Sea captain. Of course you and them have to know a lot to know what is a safe and sound judgment and prudent decisions.

I confess that when I saw those very harsh comments on a professional sailing forum about the choices of Bounty's Captain, namely to go out on a small wooden ship with a hurricane coming and sailing out with a damaged pump system and without a back up system, I was shocked. After all it was one of them they were talking about.

Then I understood that it was precisely because it was one of them, a professional Captain, the reason they were so pissed: It should be basic to any professional Captain the exercise of safe and sound judgment and prudent decisions and that was not clearly the case in their opinion in what regards this case. It was just because it was not a navigation error or a mistake but such a basic thing that no Captain had the right to do wrong.

I found it funny that one of them, to characterize the attitude of the Captain, said he was behaving like an irresponsible Yacthee, I mean one of us, a non professional.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 11-04-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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  #277  
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Was wondering if anyone has heard about whether the ship broke apart, or sunk, or is still a hazard to navigation.
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  #278  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post

Jameswilson...I am not a lawyer, but if there was a lawsuit arent there % of causality assigned ( not legalese)
In a comparative negligence jurisdiction, yes, there is an apportionment of fault. In a contributory negligence jurisdiction like Virginia, any negligence is a complete bar to recovery.

I am not sure where this will be tried and under what governing law. I assume the Plaintiff will try to put this in the most advantageous forum. Maybe a maritime lawyer on the listserv can jump in here and tell us whether this has to be brought in federal court under U.S. maritime law, or whether a state court would be required to apply federal common law/maritime law to this case.

I have not read any claim that the woman's negligence contributed to her death. While the defendant may try to claim some kind of assumption of risk defense to defeat a recovery and may even produce some kind of signed waiver, I question whether that would be effective in these circumstances, that she would have understood and reasonably assumed the risk of the captain sailing into a hurricane...or that as a matter of public policy such a waiver would be enforced.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 11-04-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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  #279  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Takefive, Apparently you missed the word "apparently." There are posts and links here that seem to support that there were mechanical problems. Having no manual pumps, imo, indicates a major deficiency if it is true.
No I did not miss that word. But using the word "apparently" implies that there are some actual facts to make something apparent. I have not seen enough actual facts to make anything "apparent." I've seen the same posts and links that you have seen, usually from anonymous, faceless sources. Very weak evidence IMO.

I'm not going to go back over every post and link that I've already read, but I seem to recall someone (here or on another message board) claiming to have been on the boat insisting that it actually did have manual pumps at the time he was aboard. So your claimed "major deficiency" may be fictional. I'm not claiming that other person is any more credible than your source, just that there are really no credible facts on this, and there's enough disagreement to negate almost all the current speculation. But enough people will read your post that a week from now someone will vaguely recall your statement and think it was an established fact.

This echoing back and forth of speculation-masquerading-as-fact is one of the dangers of the Internet, where people of differing opinions can latch onto whichever portion of the congnitive dissonance that agrees with whatever they choose to believe. It's the classic conflict between "truth" and "truthiness." Just because something seems plausible does not make it true.
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  #280  
Old 11-04-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

A good friend of mine here on the island saw the Bounty in drydock in Maine just a few weeks before she sank. There are some of his pictures of her and some others from when she was in the San Juan Islands 20 years ago at the link below. Beautiful ship, tragic loss of life.

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