Casualty Outlook

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August 28, 2009

lifeboatinstruction Those of us who spend our time reading casualty reports often end up scratching our heads and muttering “Why the hell did he do that?” Mostly it’s down to a lack of safety awareness and, unfortunately, as the video still here shows, that lack of awareness may begin early in a seafarer’s training.

Here we have an instructor, apparently in Eastern Europe, doing an STCW course. He’s not wearing a hardhat, nor is he wearing a lifejacket. This tells us that he’s not teaching safety, and not teaching safely. He’s only teaching the students to pass STCW certification, not the safety lessons that might keep them alive and injured when they’re on a ship.

If the instructor isn’t taking safety seriously, will his students?

Isle of Man instructors are in Malaysia investigating the collision between the tanker Formosaproduct Brick and Ostende Max, which cost nine seafarers their lives. The Manx investigators do a good job and despite current attempts to hustle things along they know their business well enough to take the time necessary to do the job right.

It’s quite a complex investigation which will cover how the collision happened, how the Formosaproduct Brick caught fire, how the fire was fought and why the nine fatalities occurred, whether the Vessel Traffic Service was on the ball and whether the incident response was timely and appropriate.

It is likely, however, that liability issues and fear of legal action against the two vessels’ officers will hamper the gathering of necessary information for the safety investigation.

It does seem to have some similarities to the 1993 British Trent/Western Winner incident. Hopefully it will have a more satisfactory resolution.

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