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Utopia IV sinks... a fuel tanker???

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Pascal, Dec 25, 2021.

  1. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    A bunch of stupid little things came together at the same time. Lax on both ships.
    Yep, Both ships will take a blame.
    Still, The Yacht should take the blunt of the blame for no qualified observer on watch.
    That skipper should be out of a job by now.
  2. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    I'm guessing he's already enrolled in CDL training.
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    If one federal license is under investigation, You are not going to get another one.
  4. Scott W

    Scott W Senior Member

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    That Youtuber eSysman reported over the weekend (based on sources who were on the vessels at the time of the collision) that it wasn't the lack of a lookout that was the primary cause of the crash but rather, the lack of a captain. The captain allegedly stepped out of the wheelhouse to 'attend to guests' leaving the unqualified deckhand at the helm....at night...traveling at 20-knts....in a seaway. Also, there was no FLIR camera pointed in the direction of the bow. The environmental damage notwithstanding, they're lucky as can be that no one was seriously injured, or worse.
  5. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    If the report from eSysman proofs to be true, I would say again, this is minimum Gross Negligence or even a case of Actus Reus (accept something approvingly) and the complete blame has to go to the captain of that yacht.

    I am familiar with the fact, that attending guests on board, is part of the job description of the captain of a larger yacht. But that is one of the reasons, boats of that size have to have more than one qualified person for the safe operation of the vessel. A yacht of this size will have at least a qualified 1st officer and / or a qualified bosun (depending on flag state) besides the captain which are capable of working on shift in the wheelhouse but still under the command of the captain.

    This captain should never be in command of any type of boat again or even be allowed to touch the steering wheel of a boat in voyage. A boat with such ship command is a moving danger area, period!

    I have had a collision myself during my time as a captain of a commercial cargo vessel (one of my fathers ships), when I ruined parts of the jetty, while docking at Port Sept-Îles on the St-Lorenz River. But this was a 1.000 ft bulker under tow by 3 powerful tugs and with a fully manned bridge including a harbour pilot and during day with full visibility. My failure was to listen to the harbour pilot too much and accepting the docking during this strong crosswind conditions.

    I can tell You, it took some time to forget this screaming noise of battered steel. Luckily there was besides some scratches in paint no damage to our ship and our insurance did not have to pay for the repair of the jetty but as a captain, You still feel awfully guilty!

    What what did the famous 1st mate William Gilligan always said: "I didn't do anything". In the case of this yacht captain, this would even be the truth.
  6. Detroit_dripper

    Detroit_dripper New Member

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    Been following this thread and in all of the internet world there is very little info about this other than here. I have been running yachts for many decades (8 renewals 1600 ton.) Keeping watch is 2 little words that mean a lot.

    Where was the radar watch and AIS watch and who was paying attention to it.

    Running at night all you would see is a tiny white light ahead on the tanker (if it was working). If the radars were not tuned up properly then I can see how this would happen. Pays to sometimes step outside of the wheel house and actually take a look ahead.

    I always cut speed at night to displacement on overnighters.


    Tending to the guests is total bullshit (can I say that here) when underway. My focus is always on the operation of the ship. On overnight deliveries I always hire another captain so I can (sort of) get some sleep. I always take the dog watch.
  7. MountainGuy

    MountainGuy Member

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    Question: is there no proximity alarm with radar? Such a tanker should have a nice profile on the radar, even if light is on on the bridge with no/little visibility on the bridge.
  8. Detroit_dripper

    Detroit_dripper New Member

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    Yes there are proximity alarms with AIS and echos.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    You d have to be blind not to see the echo of that tanker... proximity alarm or not.

    AIS was out on the tanker... in fact right after the collision marine traffic was showing it on the bank south of Nassau... a year ago
  10. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Navigating at sea, especially during night and even more at speed is including all aids, including the forward looking captain. Playing the Flying Dutchman with an empty wheelhouse is the culmination of stupidness.

    Not showing an AIS signal is no excuse for hitting a ship from the rear. Hey, most warships never show an AIS signal, neither in voyage nor entering or leaving the harbour area. Even the US Navy is most of the time driving around with pulled circuit breakers on their AIS systems.

    And again, the poor old tanker was the victim of this accident and not part of the problem. The whole problem of this accident was located between the ears of this yacht captain.

    Him and only him should walk the plank!!
    rocdiver likes this.
  11. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    I think it should be clear to all that there was the facts will show that "no one at watch" in this situation.
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    No proper person on watch or watching on either boat.
    Don't get me wrong, the yacht captain should be hung for sure, but the investigation will blame some on the tanker. A little effort on their part could of avoided the collision also.
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I disagree. Their only mistake was not to have working AIS but that’s not enough to share any blame.
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Let's just remember that we don't know all of the facts yet and won't until a report is finally released, so no time soon. I could easily see this one being even worse for the yacht than the rumors and what we're hearing, but I could also see various factors leading to some blame for the tanker. It would be very unusual to see a collision of two boats where some blame isn't given to both. It comes back to responsibility to avoid a collision. From what has been said to this point it does look about as heavy to the yacht as possible. Guess one day we'll know.
  15. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    It was noted that their lights had a problem.
    I'm sure, you like my self, and all other better operators eyeball scan all around your ship from time to time while cruising. Even at 20kts, maybe lol lower if you take into account the speed of the tanker, if they noticed the yacht coming, actions may have been performed and the collision MAY have been avoided.
    Yes, I am armchair play calling, but what if???
    Take into history the fishing boat that was run over in the FL panhandle. They got some blame.
  16. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    While I disagree for the most part, I can't help but wonder what the watch aboard the commercial vessel was doing with a fast approaching target on the radar 6 as well as running lights. IF the AIS was truly out, I'd think the watch focus should have been dialed up a bit knowing you had lost one of your senses.

    I don't see any legal blame landing on this vessel, but I certainly want to know what the heck was going on aboard if in any way involved in this mess.
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I feel a coffee (or other refreshment) bet coming on....
    I bet the tanker gets some blame..
  18. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    If it's my fleet? Yes. Why isn't the AIS working, and who was responsible for not repairing or replacing a $500 fix? Why wasn't the watch noticing a radar target approaching from the rear, closing at a rate of perhaps 10 knots? Why weren't the running lights of the approaching vessel not seen? Why wasn't there an outreach via VHF?

    Yes, I'd have questions and internal consequences, but ultimately the private vessel owns the event.
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    where did you see that the tanker had an issue with their lights?

    someone, quoting anonymous sources, said Utopia had issues with their PH lights that were difficult to dim

    the only other mention about lights was how I have always seen these tankers and other small commercial ships lit up at night with flood lights. I guess they know how Bahamians run their small boats at night ;). But the small cargoes and tankers are always easy to spot a mile away with their flood lights.

    most of these commercial boats don’t have any visibility aft. Neither do many yachts incl the 110 I run. I can’t see anything aft from the RPH unless I leave the helm go up to the skylounge, go aft and open the sliding door. But then I would no longer maintaining watch forward :)

    sorry... somebody runs their bow thru another boat transom, it s their fault and their fault only unless they can prove the other guy’s stern light was out. Good luck with that after a collision.