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In retrospect

Salvage is one thing, but don't forget the people...


My own experience of an incident such as this recent SNAFU involving Saga Sky  was that after the salvage and when everything has settled down, there can still be a real human cost. In my particular case, the Master battled valiantly to save our ship from loss. When it was still taking on water with a 35 degree list and we had two lifeboats out and two RN choppers up, the master and crew remained on board - despite encouragement from the on-scene commander to abandon. It took us 24 hours to stabilize the vessel, but we did and that was really down to the Russian master and his team.

The point of this particular story was that the incident 'broke' the master. It was only on his next voyage on another vessel when I happened to see from his noon reports that he was on a course 180 degrees off his expected track, that I realized something was up...

When I called him, he claimed he was worried about the bad weather and his heavy rolling, so he was heading out further into the Atlantic '...for shelter'...but that was taking him straight into the path of three depressions. I had to calm him down and suggest he returned to his planned track as he'd at least then be in the lee of the Ushant peninsular within 12 hours. He did so and eventually made port in the Baltic safely.  We flew superintendents to meet him, but it was clear that he was badly affected by his previous experience in the Channel and needed urgent medical care.  He died while on leave of an unrelated condition.

The point of this blog post though is to encourage those responsible to fully debrief those involved and to monitor them closely afterwards - it's the people that really matter.

Simon BeechinorSalvage