That 80/20 split decision brought back memory from my last year at Maritime School;
The class was required to attend the proceedings in a public maritime accident enquiry (sjøforklaring)
PS> No longer applicable from 2021, (https://www-batmagasinet-no.translate.goog/allerbm/siste-reis-for-sjoforklaringer/664041?_x_tr_sl=no&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US)
Our case was a collision between two fishing boats in the North Sea. One was drifting while the crew was resting, while the other had been in port to deliver her catch and heading back to the fishing grounds.
Both vessels were from the same island (Remøy) and nearly all crewmembers had last name Remøy. (Many were related) This caused some problems for the administrator and his staff.
The one that was drifting showed one white light and had a fisherman on watch in the wheelhouse.
The other vessel had a temporary “Bestman” (Eqv. to Mate) on duty in the wheelhouse, with one fishermen at the wheel, showing normal steaming lights for a vessel of her size.
The vessel underway hit the drifting one broad side, causing the other vessel to flood in the fish hold.
The two vessels stayed connected and the crew of the holed vessel climbed over to the other vessel.
When they broke apart the holed vessel capsized and sunk.
PS> Nobody got physically hurt. (Emotional trauma hadn’t been invented yet in 1968)
Sounds like a straight forward case; a vessel underway hit and sink a vessel drifting in open waters.
The vessel underway is the culprit and the other the innocent victim, right??
Not so easy. the Enquiry found that the drifting vessel had 20% of the blame because the only person on watch was a young fishermen, not a certified Watchstander, or an experienced fishermen in lieu.
The fact that they showed only one round white light, not the prescribed three red of a vessel not under command.
The steaming vessel got 80% of the blame, also because the temporary Bestman (Mate) was not a qualified Watchstander, but an experienced fisherman that had taken over the position when the Bestman had to attend to a family crisis.
The rules said that; if the Bestman became incapacitated at sea a qualify fisherman could fill his position UNTIL the vessel reached port. In this case they had LEFT port.
It got a little hilarious when the temp. Bestman gave his statement; “at xxxx hrs. I saw a white light and xx minutes later we hit the white light”.
PS> They all became friends and family again shortly after reaching home. People at Remøy is used to things happening at sea and do not hold a grudge for long.