Is my theory possible?

I have heard of this happening before, that they are just trying to cover up for a stupid mistake? They had it on auto pilot and accidentally put the wheel over or hard over and when they took it off of auto pilot the ship went in what position the stick was in? Will turning the wheel over ride the auto pilot, kinda like hitting the brake on a car, the brake overrides the cruise control? Very rare circumstance but would they system allow this to happen???

Maybe, …
Hitting an azipod or propellor with a partially submerged buoy is right at the top of the bad list, putting her in manual and then over may have been necessary…
I’m pretty sure that it would take more than a turn of the wheel to disengage the autopilot. The bridge team would have had plenty of practice changing over from one system to another.

In my experience, it takes a definitive action to disengage the AP. You have to want to switch it off. When you do, the rudder wouldn’t normally be so far over as to heel the boat…[I]unless[/I] a “Full Follow Up” helm was engaged while hard over. In that case the rudder will go to the angle of the FFU. But like I said, cruise ship bridge teams should be well versed in change-overs from auto to manual steering. That would be “Quartermaster 101”.

My guess is that the story is as they said it was, the lookout spotted the buoy close aboard and the watch put her rudder over to avoid it. I’m thinking at 15 or 20 knots, it’ll heel her every time, even with a relatively small rudder angle.

I had heard a short mention of this incident on my car radio. A couple of things I’m curious about is did this happen in daylight or night? Also what were the sea conditions? Not that it makes much of a difference. Considering the cuise lines depend on their passengers having a great and incident free time, I agree that the bridge crew would be highly trained for a variety of situations including having to disengage the AP rapidly. The question about a hard turn overriding the system is an interesting one. The closest I’ve ever come to an AP system is the cruise control in my car which I rarely use. There is no such thing as lessening the stress in a minivan full of screaming kids - kwim?

Free floating buoys are a bitch. As this was in Mexican waters, are they sure there wasn’t some drug boss tied to it?

I think it would depend on the vessel. I am not familiar with cruise ships but like CB said, if it was doing 20+ knots & the rudder was put hard over, I’m sure you would get a pretty good list. When doing maneuvers at 20+ kts on a destroyer, if you put the rudder hard over, every dish on the wardroom table will hit the bulkhead and break before they hit the deck. I know this from experience!

I would not speculate on a cover-up. I’m pretty sure there is decent size bridge team at all times. Not too much will get swept under the rug. I take their word unless I have a reason not to. But, you do have to be careful in some instances when transferring between manual and autopilot steering. One thing with our set-up, with the IBS system and the Rolls Royce steering panel - when in autopilot, you can simply hit one button on the Rolls Royce steering panel to have manual steering. Always good to have a one-touch function to get your rudder command. There is an issue when capturing a signal through an override function such as this - the autopilot is still active - it just lost the signal since you overrode it. What will happen the next time you try to put it back in autopilot? Yep, you guess it - it will try to find the original course. You just need to be mindful of things like this…and put shit on stand-by when not in use.