Did he sail right into a path of a storm, because he didn’t know what he was doing? Or did he have available info that he needed and decided to “go for it” anyway? Big difference. I suspect he didn’t have a clue about anything. Though that’s entirely speculation on my part. But given the level of incompetence, I’ve seen on some ships (piloting 26 years) with some foreign crews, it would NOT surprise me that the ship didn’t have access to updated weather info. Even if they did, didn’t know what to do with it, or was willing to “take the risk” for some financial reward later on if he survived it.
Some westerns are ‘offended’ that I might suggest the Captain was under some motivation to reap a reward later if he made it to China with his vessel, crew, and cargo intact. But in foreign countries, I’ve been to and people I’ve worked with, this is entirely acceptable and a routine course of business. A bribe? Call it what you will, it’s not that big of a deal elsewhere.
But the ship’s troubles began long before this storm. A history of inspections that show mechanical deficiencies and other issues, plus the ship was a conversion (aren’t they all??) and it has been written elsewhere that she had stability issues. Why does this sector of our industry have such a disproportionate amount of horrific disasters??? Because they’re allowed to, follow the money, as always.
Some class inspector(s) somewhere gave them the thumbs up to proceed, nevermind the problems they may have found. Given “assurances” by the vessel owner/operator that “they will be addressed … later” the inspectors said “okay” and off the ship went.
This is the reality of our industry in the year 2020. Is this a surprise to any of us? Not really. It’s stunning only to those outside the maritime industry. But sadly, this doesn’t surprise me at all and I suspect more accidents like this will happen again and again. How is that? Because there is no entity lobbying hard enough, with enough cash to throw around, that can change the hearts and minds of those powers that be (IMO, UN, all world-class societies) to make a substantive change in how these ships are built/converted, how they operate, how they’re inspected, and holding them all to account.
I’m saddened by the loss of human life. Thousands of animals, too. But I’m angry at those who COULD change this situation … but purposely choose to NOT do so for their own personal gain and nothing else.