Suspended Sentences for Captain and First Officer Involved in Fatal 2011 High Speed Ferry Crash

Mike Schuler
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September 11, 2013

File photo of the Condor Vitesse high-speed ferry.

The Captain and First Officer of a British high-speed passenger ferry involved in a fatal 2011 crash with a fishing boat were convicted of manslaughter by a French court on Wednesday, the AFP reports.

According to the report a court in the Normandy town of Coutances handed former captain Paul Le Romancer, 59, an 18-month suspended sentence and first officer Yves Tournon, 48, a 12-month suspended sentence. The men will likely not serve jail time.

On March 28, 2011, the “Condor Vitesse”, a high-speed catamaran owned Britain’s Condor Ferries, crashed into the fishing boat while sailing from St Malo to St Heliern in thick fog, killing the fishing vessel’s skipper. Two others on board the boat were rescued after climbing onto the wreckage.

An investigation into the incident (large download) found that the captain and first officer had been distracted by conversation prior the crash (yes, including talk of Catwoman Halle Berry and how long it takes drugs to get out of your system), they had not been paying attention to the ship’s radar and that the fog horn had been inactivated.

The Condor Vitesse was doing almost 37 knots when it struck the fishing vessel, slicing it in half.

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