Wow, that’s pretty spicy. Thanks for posting.
This one spoke to me on a personal level, because the Karin Hoej is my kinda boat, and the situation is instantly familiar: Trundling along the outer edge of the TSS, lots of big guys moving fast in poor visibility, meticulously maintaining position and hoping everyone else is awake. It creates the kind of slow burn stress that grinds you down over time.
The report confirms what most of us have suspected, that this was a classical under manning accident. It’s easy enough to find fault with the mate on the Karin Hoej for not monitoring the developing situation, but given how quickly things developed once the Scot Carrier bore down on her, he would have to bring his A game to avoid disaster. Making passage with a skeleton crew at the end of a hitch doesn’t set the conditions for that.
What caught me by surprise was how this went down on the Scot Carrier. It’s easy to imagine an overworked mate catching up on administrative duties while keeping half an eye on things, fully task loaded and mis-prioritizing as a byproduct of cumulative complacency. That’s not what happened, though. It turns out that he got drunk, spent his time chatting with strangers on Omegle (or chatroulette or whatever), turned on the bridge lights to show them around, changed course in congested waters at night in poor visibility without so much as a glance at the radar, and kept on trucking until he just happened to see the Karin Hoej’s masthead light on his starboard bow.
Now this is where the guy really hit his stride:
Well damn, those must have been fifteen long minutes. It’s tempting to picture the scene as Homer Simpson responding “steady as she goes” to every challenge, but it was probably more like a scene out of a Lars von Trier film, when the devil quietly appears out of the shadows for a measured conversation.
“So what’s the plan? How do you think this plays out? Are you going to slip away into the darkness? This is not a fender bender at the mall, you know. You just killed two people, and they watched it all on their screens. They know your secret, Jack.”
Anyway, the pitch black comedy of the Scot Carrier 2M’s shock and denial aside, the report does touch on some interesting stuff. There’s a recap of a whole slew of previous incidents stemming from the same systemic manning issues that plague the industry, with several involving Scotline. Disappointingly, they are content with outlining the state of affairs, and stop short of digging into the root cause.
What pressures drove the Karin Hoej’s master to plan the passage with a crew well short of all indicators, including company policy? How did we end up normalizing a state of affairs where crews keep making the same mistakes, overworked in clear breach of regulation? How does a mate keeping sole watch in challenging conditions end up distracting himself with extraneous stimuli? And not least, in a culture where mariners are driven to perform, either out of commercial pressures or a sense of honor, how do we define performance?
There’s a lot going on here, tying into many of the most interesting discussions we’ve had on this forum. There’s the issue of regulatory capture driving a race to the bottom, for Molloch compels us to improve the bottom line. There’s the choice of striving for excellence versus mediocrity, and how organizational systems deal with the limits of human nature. Finally, there’s the brain rot epidemic driven by widespread stimulus addiction, which the report leaves entirely unexplored.
The final chapter of the report doesn’t bode well, encapsulating the belief that stringent requirements and concrete definitions will prevent this kind of thing.
Intrada Ships Management Ltd has:
● Amended its SMS to highlight the requirements for a lookout during the hours
of darkness and revised its alcohol policy to require that any beer available on
board must contain an alcohol by volume of less than 5%.
Clearly the problem here was that the beer was too strong. And maybe the SMS didn’t spell out the watchkeeping requirements in enough detail, idk. Well congratulations, you fixed it!
At least some form of justice was served:
On 16 June 2022, The Courts of Denmark convicted Scot Carrier’s 2/O
of manslaughter and maritime drunkenness. He was sentenced to 18