Numbskull Ferry Navigators Putting Lives at Risk

Sydney Australia.

SYDNEY Ferries captains are smoking cigarettes, taking phone calls and reading newspapers while at the controls of passenger vessels.

Just as frightening, a majority of masters have no idea how to use expensive radar equipment in Freshwater class Manly ferries and JetCats, a damning report has revealed.

NSW Maritime investigators, who rode on the bridge with ferry crews during their investigation, observed: "Assessment of contacts was purely by eye. No attempt was made to utilise radar or compass bearings."

"No master ever checked the vessels' quarter for the presence of another vessel prior to altering course," the report noted.

It also found compasses are not maintained in precise working order - one compass had not been "swung" since 1984.

"The navigation charts are out of date and in some cases misleading - one was stamped 'not to be used in navigation'," NSW Maritime said.

Masters are also prone to allowing deckhands and other non-essential staff to ride on the bridge, "considerably elevating the noise levels" in the cabin.

The Daily Telegraph yesterday observed a Manly ferry crew lighting up cigarettes in the wheelhouse mid-trip, in breach of workplace laws.

The damning assessment of the seamanship of ferry masters was contained in a report into two separate near misses in heavy fog in October 2005, obtained under Freedom of Information laws.

In what could have been an unprecedented disaster, two JetCats crossed within 50-70m of each other doing a combined speed of 42 knots (about 60km/h).

Two Manly ferries - which can carry more than 1000 passengers at peak times - passed within 25-200m of each other.

Although visibility was a pea soup-like 0-200m on that morning, none of the crews used radar to ensure safe passage.

The incidents occurred just over a year before the two recent ferry tragedies that claimed five lives and sparked the current safety inquiry headed by barrister Bret Walker SC.

Sydney Ferries yesterday said ferries no longer operate in heavy fog. "The policy of ceasing ferry operations in heavy fog was introduced in May 2006 and has proven effective, with no near-miss incidents during fog recorded since its inception," a spokesman said.

One ferry master yesterday dismissed the NSW Maritime findings on poor seamanship.

"Those guys are like failed police recruits who end up as security guards," he said.



Keshi said…
they should be sacked...simple as that!

Vest said…
The Ship was steering an erratic course and the Captain's immediate thought was the helmsman was drunk.
So he called down the voice-pipe to the lower steering position to enquire as to what course the helmsman was steering, saying -
"Helmsman!! What wheel have you on"
The reply came back.
"The same old wooden bastard; I
Anonymous said…
Suggest Vest shud train the navigators and certify the competent persons
Anonymous said…
This is an excerpt from vest's memoirs some of you out there may remember.
It would seem he was pissed out of his brain at his 20th birthday but managed to steer a large 70ft boat- an MFV(researched) from Nth Wales to Nth Ireland, a journey of 70 odd miles across the boisterous Irish sea-At Night of all times.

Showing the Flag
During the summer, HMS King George V toured Britain’s west. We showed the flag at Torquay, Guernsey in the Channel Isles, Aberystwyth in Wales, Bangor, North Ireland, Oban in Scotland, and Fleetwood. I turned twenty on 16 July.
As a crewmember on the MFV 302 (a tender for the King George V), after leaving Aberystwyth I had to steer the MFV across the Irish Sea, the course 090 magnetic. Having previously overindulged in celebration liquid, I was very sick. After spending two hours at the wheel and two hours in the engine room, I was greatly relieved when we arrived in Bangor, Northern Ireland at sunrise.

And vest has the gall to criticize the ferry blokes, dear oh dear, he was a very naughty young man but turned out ok and I love him lots.
Jim said…
Hi Rosemary

... he was a very naughty young man but turned out ok and I love him lots.

i love him lots too
Relax i am not gay

I am not sure of Vest though
he has been sending me plenty mails of late
Anonymous said…
I remember the simple rules in verse to avoid collision on the water, the predominant one was...
"When both lights you see ahead you starboard your wheel and show your Red"
Always give way to the right or starboard.

BTWay would the Irish sea have different rules?
Anonymous said…
you britishers are full of shit and talk a load of bollocks, us Americans are much better than you any way.
Vest said…
Neale: I with agree you, that you blokes in unclesamland are better than us, particularly when it comes to being full of poo and talking a load of bollocks.

May I ask in all sincerity , "Why do you Nth Americans use the 'HATE' word so frequently?" It would seem your intolerance level is always high and selfishness is coming out of your ears.
Always complaining griping and whingeing, why dont you take up the slack and do something for yourselves for a change. Have a rewarding day.
Vest said…
I am wondering if NEALE was the all powerful pulpit yammering Christian Gun owner Freak that I crossed swords with together with those other gun loonies, the weak brained 'zombie slayer' and the garage building witch 'Tshsmom' from Minnesota, good US cits-real dead heads.
Vest said…
LDL Rule of the Road for Steamers.

Lower deck lawyer,Mike. This may interest you.
Although this may be the original by Thomas Gray. I was taught the poem which made more sense, to be honest I doubt if TG had much inkling of navigation. The key lights are the Red Port(left)and Green Starboard(Right)As some small boats or ships may not have a mast head White light, then again some would have two should the ship be over 600 ft in length
the other major cock up is,("I *port my helm")which should read *starboard.

When all three Lights I see ahead ~

*I port my helm, and show my Red

Green to Green ~ or Red to Red~

Perfect safety ~ Go ahead!

If to Starboard Red appear,

It is my duty to keep clear;

Act as judgement says is proper~

Port ~ or Starboard ~ Back ~ or Stop her!

But when upon my port is seen

A Steamer's Starboard light of Green,

For me there's nought to do, but see

That Green to Port keeps clear of me.

Both in safety and in doubt

I always keep a good look-out;

If in danger, with no room to turn,

I ease her! ~ Stop her! ~ Go astern!

by Thomas Gray, December 1877.

Thomas Gray's -'Elegy written in an Englsh Churchyard'.
Many have laid claim to it being their churchyard.
Every thing that is of significance, the St Marys Church in Chalgrove Oxforshire, matches, the old yew trees - brook running by etc. But the mention of 'Hampden' I believe is the key to the riddle.
Although John Hampden; senior by five years to his cousin Oliver Cromwell- fell mortally wounded at the battle of 'Chalgrove Field' in 1643 Eng Civ War he was said to have been taken to the church before taken to the small town of Thame ten miles away where he died eight days later.
The legend remains a mystery.
Incidently. I lived in Chalgrove in the 1930's, a 1/4 mile from the civil war monument. Our house bore the name-'CHALGROVE FIELD.'
Anonymous said…
Navigaters ???

Couldn't navigate your way around a dictionary.

In all acceptable versions of English it is navigatORS not ERS.

Illiteracy is putting human intelligence at risk.
Vest said…
You are absolutely correct bonehead.SME OR COULD IT BE miss sympatico the pussy lover.
For the record, Anon callers are usually er's, gay's, cowards or snidey bastards full of hatred. You can take your pick "ARSEHOLE"
Anonymous said…
nK7LIs The best blog you have!
Anonymous said…
AFZKYg write more, thanks.
Anonymous said…
I know it as:

Meeting steamers do not dred
If you see 3 lights ahead
Startboard Wheel and Show your RED


Chris Thomas

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