Alcohol assisted grounding of cargo ship LYSBLINK SEAWAYS, Scotland February 2015

The UK MAIB has published their report into the grounding of cargo ship LYSBLINK SEAWAYS near Kilchoan, Ardnamurchan, West Scotland, February 2015.

While on passage from Belfast to Skogen, Norway the general cargo vessel LYSBLINK SEAWAYS ran aground at full speed, near Kilchoan, Ardnamurchan peninsula, West Scotland and was later declared a constructive total loss and scrapped.

This has been met with understandable albeit gleeful media attention. The outdated drunken sailor image cheapens all professional seafarers. Nonetheless, this officer is alleged to have consumed half a litre of rum whilst off duty during 6-on 6-off watch rotation. It is a miracle he could breathe let alone stand. A question not raised here is the officer who handed over to him. Did he have no idea at all that he was handing responsibility for his ship and nine lives to a walking corpse?

A number of other matters have been raised which are relevant to the superyacht crewmember.
- A lookout on the bridge would have been well placed to alert the Captain to the officer's condition and that navigational waypoints had been missed.
- Had the BNWAS been switched on it is probable that the officer would have realised at an earlier stage that a navigation waypoint had been missed
- It is unlikely that the vessel would have ended up aground had the preparation of an appropriate and detailed passage plan been agreed and entered into the ECS. Available safety features would then have been available with alarms to alert the officer
- The manager's zero alcohol policy had not been effectively implemented in accordance with the safety management system (SMS) despite regular audits.

None of our managed yachts have a zero alcohol policy since we believe this only serves to create an illicit drinking culture, but we do have a drug and alcohol policy which provides for sensible and responsible consumption of alcohol in due moderation.

For those on board Watkins' managed boats, please ensure that all crewmembers are given an opportunity to read this. Please confirm so in your next HESS meeting minutes.

I can be contacted at any time if anyone has any questions. We would welcome any feedback of course, and would be pleased to circulate any comments.