The NZ media has been saturated with an Associated Press ‘exclusive’ about Rena’s detention by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and the general evils of any ship flying a ‘flag of convenience’. The premise drawn in the ‘exclusive’ is that the detention of the Rena was a precursor to her grounding on Astrolabe Reef.
The Antipodean Mariner holds no stock with this theory – it has the journalistic ‘depth’ of a paddling pool and doesn’t consider all of the factors leading to the accident (see Swiss Cheese, 8/12/11).
No apologies or excuses are made for the defects found in the AMSA inspection. They are all credible evidence as to how the vessel was being operated and maintained. However, the container securing pins and bilge alarm did not cause the ship to run aground. The evidence is that the ship deviated from her planned route and grounded on Astrolabe Reef. In an aviation accident investigation, this would be called a Controlled Flight in to Terrain. This phrase was coined to describe where a perfectly good aircraft is flown into terrain due to the flight crew being unaware of the hazard in their flight path.
Based on the evidence to date, ‘Controlled flight in to terrain’ is a near-perfect correlation with the Rena’s fate. The Transport Accident Investigation Authority is charged with the conducting investigation and will use aviation techniques to examine all the factors including what commercial imperatives were placed on the Master an crew by MSC.
Not the Rena - 'MSC Napoli'
A beat up by Union-appointed ITF Inspectors and academics is lazy journalism and only serves to put the focus on the pixelated outlines of the hapless Master and Second Officer. Here’s a tip for the journo’s following this Blog – take a look at how many MSC owned and chartered ships get scrapped on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Antipodean Mariner counts 73 MSC-prefixed containers ships scrapped since 2009. Take a look at how many MSC container ships are involved in serious casualties. MSC’s business model is to run old ships at the end of their commercial life. Rena, at 21 years, fits that model perfectly. Plenty of material out there for the Google jockeys.
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