Suicide at Sea and captain charged - Page 12 - SailNet Community
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post #111 of 790 Old 12-16-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

All thats needed are media reports.
Supress the CG finding.
Its a done deal.
The Internet conviction rate is very high

Practice your hangman noose.
Im thinking dyneema without a cover....
Salem, Mass sounds good, maybe during Spring Break.
Good real life education for our kids
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post #112 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

This crowd sourced analysis has not come close to critical mass, yet. However, it's uncanny how these can and have derived the same conclusions, with sufficient input, as extensive CG investigations do. There was more public input from witnesses and professional captains on the Bounty sinking, back in the day. The general consensus proved nearly exactly correct in the CG report that took over a year to come out. I would not argue that one should be convicted by crowd sourced analysis, by any means. But there is serious social science analysis occurring right now over how powerful it can be.

I'm certainly not saying that 100 posts and one media article are nearly enough. My first post acknowledged there is likely more to this than one media article reveals. Nevertheless, the discussion of dereliction of duty, based upon what's in that article, is appropriate in my book.

Ask yourself what you would do, if a stranger was hallucinating on your boat. Would you call anyone for advice, would you press on, would you just get upset with the passenger and abandon them?
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post #113 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldEagle View Post
That said, I stand by my basic analysis and conclusions: this was a very sick man whose behavior was an involuntary consequence of medical derangements, and who was abandoned to die.
This discussion is focused on claims that the captain was negligent in two respects. (1) negligence in failing to properly address the man's medical issues; (2) negligence in not retrieving the man after he went overboard.

You make a strong argument with regard to the first issue, but the captain won't be judged by a jury of medical doctors. He'll be judged by a jury of ordinary people who have themselves had to struggle with difficult decisions about when to call the doctor for a family member with a fever or kidney stones or vague chest pains. Those ordinary citizens can be expected to set a high standard for the line where criminal liability begins, because they will understand that one shouldn't be branded a criminal for a mere misjudgment. For this reason, I think the outcome of this case will be of great interest to every skipper who sails offshore and has a crew member become seasick.

Moreover, the account that is contained in the original news article contains this information: "David Pontious appeared to be experienced. A story published in October 2015 in the Beaufort Gazette said he attended seamanship school in Florida, taught sailing lessons out of San Francisco and was a U.S. Merchant Marine officer for a time. He was also a member of the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club, officiated races and had a day job in health care technology." He was a highly experienced sailor who was well aware that it would be a long trip with no access to health care. More than anyone else, he should have been aware of his own physical condition and he should not have boarded the boat. Did the captain discuss it with him? Did he assure the captain that "it's nothing," and that he "had some pills that will take care of it"?. Did his assurances cause the captain to defer to the man's own assessment? Were his periods of hallucination of brief duration with long periods of lucidity in between, during which he continued assuring the captain that he'd be ok?

Perhaps the truth is as simple and straightforward as you suggest, but I suspect the captain has an account that hasn't been heard yet. I suspect that, at trial, the defense will portray the man as the author of his own demise and portray the captain as a decent fellow who trusted the man's assurances too much.

With regard to the second issue, when the man attacked the captain and choked him, that constituted lethal force, and the captain had a right to use lethal force to defend himself. If he had a firearm, he could have shot the man to death to stop the lethal attack. The fact that the man was sick or deranged doesn't detract from the captain's right to defend his own life. As it happened, the captain didn't have to use lethal force. The man jumped overboard. If the prosecution suggests to the jurors that the captain should be subjected to criminal conviction and punishment for failing to pull the man from the water, I think it's entirely likely that the jurors will conclude that the captain had no obligation to bring the man back on board and give him a second chance to kill the captain and crew.

There are strongly held opinions by sailnetters on both sides of the issues, and I think it's likely that there will be a similar spread of opinions among members of the jury. This will not be a slam dunk case on either assertion of negligence' and a hung jury wouldn't be a surprise.

I think the captain's least defensible action is in his failure to promptly report the incident.
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post #114 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

I thought the USCG stopped listening to 2182 some years ago?

What is the officially recognized frequency to report a MOB by HF?
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post #115 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

In addition to the erroneous or at least ambiguous idea that the captain didn't properly search for the body after he watched it sink, the idea that the captain is negligent for not providing medical assistance also bears examining. As another upstanding sailnet contributor has pointed out a couple of times, timing is critical, and from what I read in the article, the time between when Pontious gets aggressive and when he jumps over the side of the boat seems to be a matter of minutes (hours?), not days, as many on this thread depict it.

We don't know just how aware the captain was of his mental condition, since Pontious' strange remarks that hint at hallucination are reported by a crew member, Pepper, and he is also the one that talks about Pontious being out of shape, not Smith. Up to the point where Pontious gets aggressive and grabs the wheel, the article says "the crew assumed that Pontious was still sick and dehydrated, so they encouraged him to keep trying to eat and drink," and yet somehow the captain is guilty of negligence for perhaps also assuming this and not turning back to the US? If the captain's negligence in this regard was so evident, why aren't the crew quoted as saying they thought the captain should have done something earlier?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I take it you feel the need to defend this Captain to some degree.
Should I take it you feel the need to attack this Captain to some degree?
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post #116 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
I thought the USCG stopped listening to 2182 some years ago?

What is the officially recognized frequency to report a MOB by HF?
4125, 6215, 8291, 12290

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtHighFrequency


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post #117 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by willyd View Post
.....Should I take it you feel the need to attack this Captain to some degree?
Sure. He lost a crew member on his watch. That's not in dispute, is it?


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post #118 of 790 Old 12-17-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by willyd View Post
..... the time between when Pontious gets aggressive and when he jumps over the side of the boat seems to be a matter of minutes (hours?), not days, as many on this thread depict it.......
I think you've misinterpreted. Many are referring to the signs of illness, perhaps mental illness, that manifested over the several days of the trip, prior to his reported jumping overboard.

From the OP article........

Quote:
Four days of increasingly erratic behavior
Quote:
At one point that afternoon, Pontious said to Pepper, “Do waves ever sound like voices to you?” Later in the night, Pontious disclosed to Pepper that he saw “black spots in the clouds.”
(^^this was day 2 on the water)

Quote:
The next day, Pontious’ hallucinations seem to get stronger. He told the others that he heard voices in the boat’s forecastle, where he had slept
Quote:
That evening, around 9 p.m., Pontious asked Pepper, who was manning the boat, where they were going. Pepper told him, “St. John,” which confused him. Pontious said he didn’t think he was on the same boat as when he left North Carolina.
The fatal event took place over night. This did not develop over a matter of minutes or hours. He had been hallucinating for a minimum of 24 hours, according the account of the crew in this article.
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Thanks, that's interesting. I wonder why they dropped 2182 if they are keeping watch on other channels? it can't be a manpower cost issue.

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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Minne,

I have no hope of changing your mind, you seem set on persecuting this captain. And I think that is what this is all about; vengeance, old school.

There is nothing that can be achieved in this process that will help the dead guy. The only thing this process will achieve is vengeance, revenge. There is no great learning moment here, no need to set a precedent for it is a unique and highly unusual occurrence. No one will be benefited except for the deceased family who apparently hold a deep grudge and want the Captain punished.

I think it brings out a streak of sadism that desires to see someone suffer. Something awful occurred so society must find a scapegoat to crucify in order to heal the wound. But this wont heal anything, it is a mean and hollow action that can bring no good.
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