Empress Of The North – Preliminary Report Published

The preliminary report on the Empress Of The North grounding and subsequent abandonment (no fatalities) was released by the NTSB today. The BBC reports;

Marino Cattiotti was put in charge for four hours because another navigator was ill, the National Transportation Safety Board report said.

More than 200 people were evacuated when the Empress of the North hit a rock 25 miles (40km) from Juneau.

The report called the designation of Mr Cattiotti as navigator “imprudent”.

Hull ripped

Mr Cattiotti was fresh out of a maritime academy, the National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report said.

Map of Alaska

It was his first voyage on the ship.

The report said instructors believed that “placing a recent graduate of the school with no watch experience outside of a training environment, on watch, at night, in pilotage waters, in an unfamiliar vessel, without any additional preparation and/or supervision, was imprudent”.

Mr Cattiotti had said he had not taken part in any drills or had any training on the Empress of the North.

Not that this is a surprise to gCaptain readers as we reported such in gCaptain’s 16th ever post, “Alaska Cruise Ship – New Mate, Wrong Turn” and also HERE back in May. What’s surprising is we have received insider knowledge that the Coast Guard had asked the young mate to voluntarily hand over his license and “find a new profession”. While this is standard operating procedure following an incident it is worrisome in cases like this. We are, however, happy to report that the young mate made the right choice in not handing over his license and is looking (or has found) a new job. No word on the Captain’s state of employment though.