Marine Incidents and the Movie The Hangover

This is from a summary of theplot of the movie “The Hangover” from Wikipedia;

The next morning, Phil, Stu and Alan awaken to find they have no memory of the previous night, and Doug is nowhere to be found. Stu is missing a tooth, their hotel suite is in disarray, a tiger is in their bathroom, a chicken in their living room, and a baby is in the closet, whom they name “Carlos”. They find Doug’s mattress impaled on a statue outside of their hotel and when they ask for their Mercedes, the valet delivers an LVPD police cruiser.

Granted this is an absurd (but funny) comedy but it is similar to how we learn about marine incidents. If each forum member attempts to recreate the actual plot of the movie based on these known facts the possibilities are endless, some will be more plausible or more likely but none of us will hit on the exact plot in a detailed way. The best we can do is speculate on broad basis.

For example when we learn that the movie takes place in LasVegas we may assume that drugs and alcohol played a role and we know that these cause impaired judgement but beyond that further assumptions become guesses that just take us further and further out on a limb of decreasing likelihood.

In the case of the movie we understand that the only way to make sense of the scene in the hotel room is to have the movie unfold for us as we watch it. With marine incidents we try to make sense of it using our past experiences and our knowledge or assumptions about human behavior and maritime affairs.

so what’s yer pernt?

Maybe he means we should put away the rope before we hold the trial and build the pointy stick I mean gallows?

[QUOTE=Traitor Yankee;136484]Maybe he means we should put away the rope before we hold the trial and build the pointy stick I mean gallows?[/QUOTE]

Come on man! Mariner human nature when there is a serious marine incident is to try “in absentia”. Besides, we are all professionals here so our opinions on what happened and why are all valid for consideration by our peers. I don’t care if it is the master of the BOUNTY, COSTA CONCORDIA, AIVIQ or SEWOL…all are at the center of the loss of life (except AIVIQ thankfully) and deserve our scrutiny as to their actions.

[QUOTE=c.captain;136471]so what’s yer pernt?[/QUOTE]

People with less understanding of the context within which an incident takes place may have higher confidence that they understand the incident then those with more understanding.

In order for people to believe they understand an incident facts are required which can be used to create a plausible narrative that “makes sense” in context based upon perceptions of the situation.

Consider the Exxon Valdez incident. Here are three “facts” which are sufficient for a lay-person to have high confidence in their understanding.

  1. Captain went ashore and consumed alcoholic beverages
  2. Pilot reported captain breath smelled of alcohol
  3. Captain steered the tanker onto the rocks

For many lay-persons who understand that sailors go ashore and get drunk this is sufficient to create a plausible narrative. .

For a mariner however that doesn’t “make sense” because we know a little more about the context, specifically what was the mate and helmsman doing? For the mariner the following facts can be used to create a plausible narrative.

  1. Captain turned the watch over to the mate
  2. Mate failed to make the turn as instructed.

For people who are predisposed to believe certain scenarios this may suffice to create a plausible narrative.

The final accident report listed the factors which professional and experienced investigators believed were sufficient to fully explain the incident. For some people however the fact as laid out were insufficient, for example Greg Palast claimed the RAYCAS radar was broken, some people feel that a romantic relationship is required to explain the mate’s loss of situation awareness, in both theses cases there were no fact to back up the assertions.

Opinions depend upon a prior understanding on what is required for a fatigued third mate to navigate and maneuver a large tanker at night.

so your only argument is EXXON VALDEZ it appears. Were we all wrong about the BOUNTY, AIVIQ or COSTA CONCORDIA? Are we wrong now concerning the SEWOL? All are serious marine incidents that have taken place in the last two years and all have been discussed in great detail here in this forum. How have we been “filling in the blanks” in our taking the masters to task for their failures and don’t mistake theses incidents for something other than just that…They are obvious FAILURE OF THE MASTER in every circumstance!

Let me also take this golden opportunity to give a couple of swift kicks to the balls of the two masters of the NOBLE DISCOVERER from back in the not so distant past of 2012. MORE REPEATED FAILURE! I certainly hope it’s the “ex masters” now? Let’s review their list of infamies:

  1. caught at anchor by a vicious storm off New Zealand destroying most of the anchor gear and dropping the LMRP to the seafloor
  2. allowing Lucy Lawless and her band to waltz aboard in Port Taranaki and scale the derrick giving great media exposure to their cause
  3. caught at anchor yet again in Dutch Harbor and dragging aground right in front of the Grand Aleutian Hotel and the USCG Port Detachment offices
  4. a stack fire while trying to dock at Dutch Harbor
  5. a major machinery casualty attempting to get to Seward which I recall forced them to be towed in
  6. getting their peepees spanked in Seward by the USCG for non reporting of vessel casualties and basically not having a functional SMS maintained by both the company or the masters (USCG and Department of Justice still to release any criminal citations or fines for violations of Federal law)

did I miss any others?

.

[QUOTE=c.captain;136526]so your only argument is EXXON VALDEZ it appears. Were we all wrong about the BOUNTY, AIVIQ or COSTA CONCORDIA? Are we wrong now concerning the SEWOL? All are serious marine incidents that have taken place in the last two years and all have been discussed in great detail here in this forum. How have we been “getting it all wrong” in our taking the masters to task for their failures and don’t mistake theses incidents for something other than just that…They are obvious FAILURE OF THE MASTER in every circumstance!

.[/QUOTE]

The E.V. is just an example. If Moby Dick was a true story you could write a brief report on the sinking of the Pequod if you knew the whole story but you couldn’t write the story based on a news report. Said that way it seems obvious but reading reports of incidents people tend to fill in the blanks with assumptions without realizing it.

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;136541]The E.V. is just an example. If Moby Dick was a true story you could write a brief report on the sinking of the Pequod if you knew the whole story but you couldn’t write the story based on a news report. Said that way it seems obvious but reading reports of incidents people tend to fill in the blanks with assumptions without realizing it.[/QUOTE]

I was given to understand that Moby Dick is a true story, except the name of the ship was the Essex.

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;136541]The E.V. is just an example. If Moby Dick was a true story you could write a brief report on the sinking of the Pequod if you knew the whole story but you couldn’t write the story based on a news report. Said that way it seems obvious but reading reports of incidents people tend to fill in the blanks with assumptions without realizing it.[/QUOTE]

I don’t believe we are making a damned thing up with our comments. Pray tell us where we have?

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;136542]I was given to understand that Moby Dick is a true story, except the name of the ship was the Essex.[/QUOTE]

OF COURSE MAN! Didn’t you know that I was spawned from the descendents of Captain Ahab himself? He was me own greatgreatgrandpappy!

I still have the “pointy stick” he is shown holding in this photo.

[QUOTE=c.captain;136544]I don’t believe we are making a damned thing up with our comments. Pray tell us where we have?

[/QUOTE]

Every incident unfolds in a different way, some are simple, some complex, some more of a puzzle then others, some high profile some not.

Some, like the E.V. unfold like this:

STAGE 1; Uncomprehending disbelief, - When the news of the E.V. first broke a USCG admiral . went on TV and expressed amazementthat anyone could not steer a ship through a 10 mile wide channel.

STAGE 2: Off with their heads!. - The report that the captain of the E.V. was plastered out of his mind and steered into the rocks seemed very plausible to the general public.

STAGE 3: Wait, what? More facts trickle in, other issues are raised, fatigue, regulations, it begins to appear that the story may be more complex then initially thought.

STAGE 4: Post investigation: The report comes out, turns out our old friend the error chain played a role, who knew?

Immediate gut reactions are often wrong.

However, the immediate gut reactions about incidents on gcaptain usually hit pretty close to the mark.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;136579]However, the immediate gut reactions about incidents on gcaptain usually hit pretty close to the mark.[/QUOTE]

Hear, hear! We get it right because we are maritime professionals and can analyze a marine casualty accurately based on our own experiences and knowledge of seafaring. This ain’t no amateur hour here!

Now where is “the Commodore” hiding at?

He went back to CruiserForum, where he’s hired cabin boys to heal his wound from the time spent here. It will be a long recovery, with how much butthurt and peepee smacking went down.

Sure, this site has plenty of professional mariners on here with lots of experience that provides good insight into various incidents.

My point is somewhat complicated.

Some incidents have multiple factors. Some of these factors are simple. Some factors however involve error chains. The exact path of the error chain is going to remain unknown at least during the initial phase. However people have a preference for a less likely narrative over a more likely but unknown error path.

Here is an example from a early article about the E.V. At one point there was a theory that the ship was shooting for Reef Island Passage; :

“remote possibility” that the tanker was trying to shoot the gap between Reef Island and Bligh Reef,

Here is the reason why, the narrative:

“You could go through there,” said John Denham, a California Maritime Academy instructor, of the Reef Island passage. “A guy could take a ship through there.”

But why?

“You gotta be a cowboy to do that. You don’t have any room for error at all.”

The shortcut through the old steamship passage would cut about an hour from a tanker’s voyage.

So there are two possibilities, one the unlikely but plausible theory that it was shooting for Reef Passage or the more likely possibility that it strayed off track as the result of an unknown error chain. But nobody likes the unknown chain.

He said the grounding of the Exxon Valdez baffles him. U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Yost and other mariners have expressed similar sentiments.

The normal tanker lane offers so much maneuvering room it is difficult to believe that a ship could stray so far from it to run aground accidentally, Yost said.

“This was not a treacherous area,” Yost has said. “It’s 10 miles wide. Your children could drive a tanker up through it.”

[U]“I can’t conceive of a ship running aground on Bligh Reef,” [/U]Denham said.

How the ship could accidentally slip into the entrance of the steamship passage before running aground[U] puzzles navigators even more.[/U]

What’s happening is that they are judging likelihood based on how puzzling it is. This is the error. The more puzzling unknown chain is more likely then the less puzzling but more crazy shoot for the pass theory.

[QUOTE=Traitor Yankee;136484]Maybe he means we should put away the rope before we hold the trial and build the pointy stick I mean gallows?[/QUOTE]

Well, I also comprehend that some “professional” guidance calls for the use of whether the short drop, the standard drop or the long drop, prior to an equal opportunity to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of rights and obligations and of any criminal charge.

But in the case of BOUNTY, I stand flabbergasted since the captain sank with the vessel and by doing so, the same professional guidance states that he should be exonerated and duly entitled with the Medal of Honor which in turn, unchained the master from commercial slavery.

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;136595]What’s happening is that they are judging likelihood based on how puzzling it is. This is the error. The more puzzling unknown chain is more likely then the less puzzling but more crazy shoot for the pass theory.[/QUOTE]

Not that much puzzling me about the SEWOL capsizing. She was very tender and in a sharp turn by an inexperienced mate cargo which was not lashed down shifted. The ship took a list allowing downflooding to occur and the list to increase. The master was paralyzed by the magnitude of the disaster unfolding around him and could not delegate duties to his officers who without leadership were useless. Someone forgot that the kids were told to stay in their cabins while all crew left the vessel in rescueboats and it wasn’t until after the ship turned turtle that it became apparent that the kids never got out to be rescued.

Sadly, I do have to blame these kids “a wee bit” for blind obedience to their elders at the cost of their lives. Something I do not think American highschool aged children would be guilty of.

^ Sounds about right. With the Sewol I was thinking about Colazzo’s writeup about firefighting,, regarding what the master does in an emergency. Master was not in comms with shore side, don’t know what was going on with ballast control?

Very sad in any case…

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;136629]^ Sounds about right. With the Sewol I was thinking about Colazzo’s writeup about firefighting,, regarding what the master does in an emergency. Master was not in comms with shore side, don’t know what was going on with ballast control? [/QUOTE]

Now you bring up the GALAXY? My old vessel which I commanded as a relief captain from 1989 through 1994…the loss of which I have often thought I should write a book about. A story uniquely close to my soul as both a seafarer and as a master?

How on earth does the GALAXY compare to the EXXON VALDEZ or to the SEWOL?

I am now thoroughly confused but I do admit an excellent article by Gorge Collazo which should be read along with the USCG Marine Incident Report on the loss of the GALAXY.

[QUOTE=c.captain;136630]Now you bring up the GALAXY? My old vessel which I commanded as a relief captain from 1989 through 1994…the loss of which I have often thought I should write a book about. A story uniquely close to my soul as both a seafarer and as a master?

How on earth does the GALAXY compare to the EXXON VALDEZ or to the SEWOL?

I am now thoroughly confused but I do admit an excellent article by Gorge Collazo which should be read along with the USCG Marine Incident Report on the loss of the GALAXY.[/QUOTE]

Collazo talks in general about the captain wanting to switch with the mate in an emergency… I have often wondered about this during drills when the mate is on deck.

On the Sewol t\he captain may not have trusted the mate to handle the ballast control and left the bridge to a subordinate and lost sight of the overall picture.

Nothing to do with the Galaxy I can think of off hand.

EDIT: As far as puzzles,with the Sewol, it’s possible that the captain remained in the bridge, ordered the passengers to remain on board and then left the ship at the first available opportunity. That’s a simple explanation and it may be true. It may be more likely that he was doing something else, ballast comes to mind, and worked to late on that. A more complex possibility.

Personally I lean towards the capt simply getting overwhelmed in the face of disaster. He didn’t trust any of his crew much before hand I would wager, and micromanaged them. The only real training some of them might have had at that job was to call the old man. I’ve seen it first hand in our industry.
He might have be totally consumed with trying to correct the list with ballast, only to realize too late that he couldn’t save the ship, and the crew he had trained to call him had sat on their hands waiting for orders. In the end he decided to save his own skin.
Then again, that all is exactly what this post is about, speculation based on experience.

And yes, I know I don’t have any shoes old enough for my “experience” to matter, before anyone points it out.