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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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nolatom

EL FARO sinking, NTSB animation

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That seems to me to be a useful tool for teaching; taking the known data and presenting it as is, without opinion or judgement. Very impressive.

I felt that there may have been an element of get-home-itis in the decisions made early on. I would have bailed much sooner. But then I am, by nature, a chicken. Also, it was a commercial voyage with profits to maintain so what do I know.

Disclaimer: I'm not a deep-sea mariner by any stretch. Not even a paddler in rock pools.

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Brutal truth of the recorded sequence of events.

The whole time you listen you're saying: "No,  No!  Don't DO that ! "    So many errors - It's like reading Black Hawk Down the first time.

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How many times was there a multi-hour delay in the captain opening the BVS wx package? WTF? Heading into a hurricane,  and you are not on top of a paid wx update sched?  That is willfully negligent. Let alone that there was a continuing discrepancy between the BVS and Sat-C track info? Would that not make you even keener to review in a timely manner?

If you want  pathos, listen to the audio recordings of the bridge released during the inquiry after the data recorder was found. It is very disheartening to bear witness to the El Faro's final moments. 

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2 hours ago, Cwinsor said:

How many times was there a multi-hour delay in the captain opening the BVS wx package? WTF? Heading into a hurricane,  and you are not on top of a paid wx update sched?  That is willfully negligent. Let alone that there was a continuing discrepancy between the BVS and Sat-C track info? Would that not make you even keener to review in a timely manner?

If you want  pathos, listen to the audio recordings of the bridge released during the inquiry after the data recorder was found. It is very disheartening to bear witness to the El Faro's final moments. 

I read the transcripts and that was chilling enough. Thanks.

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Very chilling look at a marine disaster and the chain of poor decisions leading up to the loss of the vessel and her crew. Watching this and reading the NTSB report as well as the report on the "Bounty" sinking, poor decisions and failure to consider other inputs (officers, weather forecasts, etc) seems to point to a certain degree of hubris in each Captain.

 

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I sailed within a few miles of where they went down, just a few months afterwards, so this story continues to haunt me. If you get a chance read the VDR transcript, it reminded me of "The Perfect Storm" without the literary embellishments. Captain's fault? Yup. Most of us are lucky enough to survive and learn from our mistakes, God knows I've made a lot. I think the biggest lesson I've learned is to keep an open mind about your decisions, and accept that they may not be right. As you proceed look for confirmations that all is as expected, or indicators that you need to override your earlier decisions. I know early on I'd look at various weather forecasts until I found one that supported departing on a predetermined passage, often motivated by available time off (looking to justify a decision, not dispassionately examining data). After getting clobbered a couple of times it dawned on me that I was acting like an idiot. I've also worked shoreside Maritime for a lot of years, and all I can tell you is that it's a hell of a lot different that yachting - the pressures to keep to schedule are immense, weather not withstanding.

 

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i think deep down the Cap thought he could get ahead of it and be in a safer spot for boat and crew SE of the eye.  

It was a gauntlet run, so no need to look at the wx updates. 

 Clearly a close minded conviction he was right,  unfortunately not...

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I see similarities to aviation accidents where in cockpit weather was a contributing factor.  In aviation there is several minutes latency due to the time required to create a radar image.  So even if the receiver is showing the radar image was just received, the image is already what the weather was a few minutes ago.  Placing too much trust in the near real time weather can lead to decisions that take you were you likely would not have gone without that false sense of security.

In this case the crew seems to have placed too much confidence in where the storm was predicted to be and disregarded information that was counter to that assumption.  

There is also ample evidence of "normalization of risk" ie, doing risky things so often they become the norm.  Going to bed before the weather report comes in and waiting until after you've had your morning coffee is probably not much of a risk most of the time, however when you are sailing towards a hurricane it might not be the best practice.

 

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497 page transcript is condensed down with some good reporting by Vanity Fair:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/04/inside-el-faro-the-worst-us-maritime-disaster-in-decades

The captain screwed up, sure, but as NTSB found there were a dozen contributing factors.  A thing as simple as a basic anemometer would have alerted the crew much earlier.

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 9:39 AM, Catalina 36 said:

I see similarities to aviation accidents where in cockpit weather was a contributing factor.  In aviation there is several minutes latency due to the time required to create a radar image.  So even if the receiver is showing the radar image was just received, the image is already what the weather was a few minutes ago.  Placing too much trust in the near real time weather can lead to decisions that take you were you likely would not have gone without that false sense of security.

In this case the crew seems to have placed too much confidence in where the storm was predicted to be and disregarded information that was counter to that assumption.  

There is also ample evidence of "normalization of risk" ie, doing risky things so often they become the norm.  Going to bed before the weather report comes in and waiting until after you've had your morning coffee is probably not much of a risk most of the time, however when you are sailing towards a hurricane it might not be the best practice.

 

Sort of. Nexrad data link radar images can be over 10 minutes old. An actual radar set in the airplane is real time, just like it is on your boat. The "radar" on your phone is the same delayed nexrad stuff.  (thread creep, but the primary use of radar in airplanes is weather with navigation a distant second, kind of the reverse of boats, and normal civilian aircraft radar is not really a tool for collision avoidance at all)

gwx70(3).jpg

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