Willy R Scuttlebutt
[ Post a Response | Willy R Scuttlebutt ]
Re: asleep at the wheel
Minimum manning is the rule throughout the shipping industry. The Coast Guard issues a certificate of inspection, which, among other things, sets the amount of crew, based on the ability to stand watches and respond to emergencies. Extra at sea work is performed by the same seamen while they are "off duty" - that is, not standing watch. Fatigue is a big issue for merchant seamen. Shipping companies hire lobbyists to put pressure on the Coast Guard to keep the crews manned with as few seamen as possible. It has worked for years. The evidence of undermanned vessels, offered to the Coast Guard by individual seamen and unionized seamen, is almost always presented to the companies for an explanation, which is almost always a way to work with companies to discredit the complaints of seamen. I am a witness and a victim of the Coast Guard's inability to manage even the simplest clerical duties. They should be limited to doing search and rescue, which is such a small part of the big brother, and the part in which they excell. It's sad that the most recent vice-commandant (second in command) - one Sally Brice O'Hara - served over an organization that regulates ships at sea and did not ever have an at sea-watch. Twenty plus years of desk duty. On the other hand, the destroyer had damage to the starboard side. That's never a good thing, whether it altered course to port in a meeting situation set up for a port to port passing, or whether it failed to give way to the vessel to starboard in a crossing situation. Minimum manning on the tanker would not be an issue in this situation. One final comment; when a collision is imminent, both vessels must take action to avoid it.