Tag: accident investigation

 

Accident analysis is a strange and complex task. Often blame is considered to be the motivator for an accident analysis, but the most interesting and useful purpose of an accident analysis is to tease the universally useful gems out of the huge pile of information that tends to get generated during an accident analysis.

I recently read the accident report on the January 2013 grounding of the USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper that ran aground and was ultimately lost on a reef that was mislocated on an ECDIS  type chart.

 

The report makes interesting reading, mostly because it is a US Navy version of the work Martin & Ottaway engages in on an almost daily basis. It is interesting to compare the Navy approach to the civilian approach and learn from it. read more »

A disaster like the Costa Concordia opens a wide variety of investigations and undoubtedly many people are very busy in analyzing what caused the vessel to strike the reef and to capsize, but striking reefs and capsizing actually is nothing new and, on a technical level, actually is pretty well understood.

 

What is much more interesting is to place oneself in the Master’s mind immediately after the Costa Concordia struck the rock. From a technical point of view, this is the interesting part of a disaster, and where proper analysis and training can make a real difference.

 

Undoubtedly, it is necessary to avoid disasters. But since disasters will always happen, an even more important goal is to figure out what to do once you are in the middle of the disaster.

 

What really is a disaster? A disaster is an undesirable condition, but maybe it is better to define a disaster as a condition where the manager can no longer figure out what to do to get control of the condition.

 

This is an important consideration, because this definition shows that one person’s disaster is not necessarily another person’s disaster.

Which brings us to John Boyd. John Boys is one of the most amazing characters of the second half of the 20th century that nobody has heard off. Here I will only discuss one aspect of his accomplishments. John Boyd was an amazing fighter pilot, but instead of riding the mystique of the right stuff, John Boyd managed to figure out what the right stuff is and developed a fighter pilot training method to teach the right stuff. He called it the OODA loop.

 

It stands for Observe, Orientate, Decide and Act, and then do it all over again right away.

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Fisheries management is an excruciatingly complex subject. The management (or mismanagement)  of fisheries can very rapidly affect the viability of the industry and has all sorts of carry on effects. Martin & Ottaway sees these effects in fishing boat accident investigations and fishing boat valuations. For example, a fishing boat value is not just tied to the market, or even to its specific trade, but can also be affected by applicable fishing licenses and fishery management methods. While fishing will always be dangerous, as can be noted at the end of this story, well designed and well managed fisheries tend to be much safer than poorly managed fisheries.

 

Improper management can result in complete vessel value collapse, as has occurred in Spain and was described in a New York Times article, while a successful management program can have many positive carry on effects.

 

Seattle Admiralty Attorney (and fellow wooden boat aficionado) Chip Jordan introduced me to an example of a program that is worthy of further consideration. It concerns the Seattle fishing schooner fleet.

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