The Loftus Letter

Bravo to Captain John Loftus for telling it like it is. Will anybody really listen or will the regulatory agencies continue to be nothing but a bootlicking arm of the industry?

It truly was a well written letter and thanks to Captain Loftus for writing it. Glad that he not only sent it to USCG but also shared it on a platform where it could be viewed by many other professionals. Hopefully they do listen to him and at the very least look a bit closer at the bigger picture and not focus solely on the Captain and his final decisions or wether or not an anemometer worked. While I fully agree with having a functional SMS most importantly the Master’s Authority, we all well know how that is questioned by town.

If the work day starts at 0300 and ends at 1900, or more like 2100 by the time the ship is at sea it would seem like that would raise questions as to what the senior officers work load was like. What responsibilities were the senior officers tasked with and was there was there enough time to deal with anything besides the most urgent tasks? Has this been brought up at the hearing?

  1. Look at schedule pressures put onto the Command Officers. Think of a containership in port for 12 hours or so. In JAX the Master may be up from 0300 (earlier in other ports such as NY/NJ or Philadelphia), get to the dock for a 0700 or 0800 cargo start, have meetings with vessel superintendents, boarding officials, and others, then sail around 1900. Chief Engineers, and First Engineers often have a similar schedule, with the Chief taking bunkers, and the First working with repair gangs, then maneuvering outbound. There is little chance for rest, and lots of pressure to get off the dock, and make schedule.