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Old 10-29-2019, 03:13 PM   #1
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Queen of the North - re-enactment and conclusions

In March of 2006 the Queen of the North, a BC Ferry, struck an island and sank. The route of the ferry was through channels those of you will be familiar with on your treks to and back from Alaska. The route is shown in the video which is approximately 45 minutes long.

I will make two comments then you can move onto the video. In the stress of the moment, the helmsman cannot turn off the autopilot, hold your judgement on that, what you will notice is that why she can't turn it off isn't addressed. In a follow up post I will get to that as addressed in the book "The Queen of the North Disaster - a Captain's story"written by Colin Henthorne.

Also hold judgement on radar use or non-use, again I will comment latter. And lastly, why wasn't there DSC on the bridge. VHF radio is used by many communities along the BC coast, particularly along the northern portion. Isolated home dwellings also use it as cell phone use in these areas is basically non-existent. Also there are VHF repeaters up and down our coast so the DSC would have been picked up.

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Old 10-29-2019, 11:13 PM   #2
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Wow. That was an amazing investigation. Sad that 2 people had to die and even sadder is that we'll never learn what actually caused the accident.
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Old 10-30-2019, 12:05 AM   #3
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I will comment further on what was in the video and what they left out. For example, a fishing boat or tug towing is mentioneed in the video but don't take that fact further, why mention it if its not important. In the safety investigation that boat which turns out to be a mystery boat, plays a bigger part in the disaster.

I just need time to go through parts of the book so I get an accurate rendition of material in it.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:28 AM   #4
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I remember when this happened and also remember seeing QOTN many times on the route to AK years ago. Really sad and it shows just how quickly things can go south if not paying attention. Sort of looks like No. 4 was shagging the girlfriend on watch. Been known to happen.
I know a fisherman who did the same thing some years ago, and piled up his boat on the rocks playing silly buggers with the cook!
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:30 PM   #5
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Sadly those rumours didn't pan out, also the other rumour they were arguing on the bridge, high probability it wasn't true. I say sadly because the two crew members will be marked for the rest of their lives, even though it wasn't true.

Here is one item the video left out which I don't need to consult the book to verify, that boat the dispatcher told the Queen of the North officer about became the focus of his attention. The record shows his course was not straight as in the video (better tv I guess) but showed a number of alterations as the second officer was compensating for his estimation of where that boat was and where his ship was.

The second officer lost "situational awareness" as he focused on the distant boat. As we all know, boats even though proceeding straight can have a "skid" to starboard or port depending on wind, current, tide, combo of all and intensity. It appears he lost awareness, his ship was skidding sideways. This was revealed when the hard drive which contained the navigation history was studied.

And I can give you THE GOSSIP, NOT THE TRUTH, so readers beware. The gossip among BC Ferries employees was that the couple who died were most likely on an elevator trapped. When the safety recommendations came out and implemented by BC Ferries, one of them was better communications from the elevators to the bridge. So it sounds to me that BC Ferries also believed the rumours.
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:37 PM   #6
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The only two people that know for sure kept quiet didn't they? We may never know what actually happened up there.


I thought it was the 4th officer on the bridge, while the 2nd was down eating. That's according to the video anyway.
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:41 PM   #7
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Yes, my bad about the second and forth officer. You are correct.
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Old 10-30-2019, 05:13 PM   #8
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The only thing readily apparent from this is simple. Nobody on watch in the wheelhouse was paying proper attention for whatever reason. Regardless all the other side issues, electronics, fatigue etc., there was 2 people on watch and their attentions were diverted elsewhere, or this would not have happened.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:20 PM   #9
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78puget, I agree with you about 97 %. Here's a mystery that doesn't make sense to me. The helms person on many ships only has the wheel, there are no MDF's including radar read out in front of them. This was the situation in the Queen of the North scenario.

In fact, I can give you an even more bizarre - to my mind - helm station location that wasn't that great. Many a decade ago I trained as a young Canadian Navy officer in Esquimalt BC (Victoria). My training ship was Chaudiere. The helm station in these destroyers were place amid and athwart ship, the center of the ship, a couple of decks down from the bridge.

I can understand the designers thinking, move the helm so that if the bridge is blown to smithereens you still have control over the ships steering. And it would have made sense to me if it had been a secondary steering station, but it wasn't, it was where the helmsman lived in a room that really was the size of a closet, large enough to hold the wheel and one person. If a friend dropped by to say hello, they had to stand in the door opening, no room inside. The only instrument was the compass mounted on a bulkhead close to the deckhead. All course instructions were piped down.

So we all take for granted as we use our helm, the plethora of electronics available to us. Why doesn't the helmsperson not have this same instrumentation in front of them as safety back. If this had been the case, I believe this accident wouldn't have happened. She would have seen the course deviation and responded appropriately informing the officer on the bridge.

My ship, an image of that class of Destroyer: https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=...JYvytPE6ugzcM:
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:26 PM   #10
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Was there two people on the bridge with functioning eyeballs or not? No mystery here. Whomever was on the bridge, was not paying proper attention and the ship ran aground. No more complicated than that.
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:16 PM   #11
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Watched the video earlier today. I think the cause was pretty clear. Shagging while on duty.

There was a known relationship between helmsman and officer on duty. And they missed a turn and never noticed it despite many, many indications that would have been present to an attentive crew. Ive been through that area many times, and they forked up, big time, plain and
simple. The officer on duty did prison time, as deserved. And all others lost their jobs and probably carriers. Maybe a bit harsh on the captain, but the buck stops there, so owning it is part of the job.


Well done that they only lost two people.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:24 AM   #12
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In the stress of the moment, the helmsman cannot turn off the autopilot, hold your judgement on that, what you will notice is that why she can't turn it off isn't addressed.
This was in fact mentioned in the video (37:10) He asked her to do it and she was unfamiliar. It was earlier stated the A/P was a new install.

TSB confirms QM1 was not versed in A/P usage.

TSB Queen of the North
Marine Investigation Report M06W0052 - Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The TSB also concluded QM1 and 4O were distracted but; it is not known what they were doing; only what they were NOT doing.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:46 PM   #13
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I'm just being lazy, I have the book sitting here beside the computer but I haven't gone back in to read and do a short synopsis. What I can tell you, my boat with Garmin and latest radar, with simple AP is set up safer than what was on the Q of the N. Modifications added to past modifications made something simple not so simple.

One of my closest friends is a retired BC Ferry Captain. I was talking to him trying to decide between a joystick and a toggle switch to use with my bow thruster. He highly recommended a toggle switch. "Rick, when you have seconds to react in panic'd conditions, you want the quickest and easiest solution to a problem on the bridge of a ship or at the helm of your boat." I went with a toggle switch.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:33 PM   #14
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All the techie stuff is nothing but a distraction from the obvious and real cause of the incident, which is non attention to duty, plain and simple. If they had been paying attention with their eyeballs instead of something else.... this would not have happened, all the electronic issues are meaningless.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:39 PM   #15
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All the techie stuff is nothing but a distraction from the obvious and real cause of the incident, which is non attention to duty, plain and simple. If they had been paying attention with their eyeballs instead of something else.... this would not have happened, all the electronic issues are meaningless.
While not paying attention may be the root cause, poor systems design can still allow a smaller mistake to cause a problem or accident. While better systems design may have been enough to prevent it given the same circumstances.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:44 PM   #16
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Smaller mistake?? LOL. It was huge. My dad used to tell me of dragging barges to AK thru the IP with nothing but a compass, a flashing sounder, a horn and his eyes, which weren't very good btw. No electronics can make up for not paying attention.
It was a failure of epic proportions and nothing is to blame but the watch standers.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:11 AM   #17
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There was a DSC VHF radio on the bridge but it was not used during the accident. Apparently forgotten during the mayhem and alarms happening after grounding. Would have helped locate the wreck site faster but probably not changed the outcome.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:58 PM   #18
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Smaller mistake?? LOL. It was huge. My dad used to tell me of dragging barges to AK thru the IP with nothing but a compass, a flashing sounder, a horn and his eyes, which weren't very good btw. No electronics can make up for not paying attention.
It was a failure of epic proportions and nothing is to blame but the watch standers.
Yup, been guilty of that, inattention, myself. I was down in the galley fixing a sandwich when I should have been starting a slow course change. I ran back upstairs, hit the jog lever, and rolled the skipper out of his bunk.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:40 PM   #19
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I bet he was tickled pink right? LOL. Pulled similar stunts when working for WTB.
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