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Old 07-15-2017, 11:09 AM   #101
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Why did you guys chose to go out when you knew there was a hurricane in your path?
See the above quote.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:45 PM   #102
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See the above quote.
And those are the shipping companies that need to be dealt with strongly.

That's a reminder that the El Faro investigation is still ongoing. I would like to see severe consequences for TOTE.

Until we reach a stage where companies won't put lives in danger and captains and crew don't live in fear of their jobs for doing the right thing, we will not have addressed the issues. Yes, the Captain has responsibilities, but safety starts at the top and starts with the employer. I have no respect for any company that doesn't put the safety of their employees first.

Now, one thing has come out of the investigation. The NTSB has issued 10 safety recommendations aimed at better weather information for mariners.
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:46 AM   #103
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As a follow up to my post 100...... some explanation why our shipping companies are in the state they are in from a knowledgeable source.......

............. it needs to be noted that the US government gave birth to them. DoD and MARAD are very happy to load cargo on flag of convenience ships rather than reserve all government cargoes for US flag ships. They readily admit they do it to save money ... they save money at the expense of American ships and shipping jobs and the many other jobs and taxes those jobs represent.

The few American flag shipping companies that are still in business cannot afford to compete with 3rd world labor. The reason TAL even exist(ed) is because its owners were happy to provide substandard ships and man them with the most hungry of American mariners, those new to the industry or unable to find work elsewhere. There are many mariners now like the one who said if he died he would have no bills to pay ... with the downturn in the Gulf of Mexico there are hundreds if not thousands of very hungry mariners out of work and losing hope. In the meantime our government policies have created TAL and its ilk.

.........................There will always be bottom feeders who grow fat because of bureaucrats in the military and MARAD who earn points by "saving" the taxpayer a few dollars while a fleet (the Ready Reserve Fleet) of American ships rust at the docks. We are not talking about Jones Act ships here, these are American flag deep sea ships in international trade............
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:53 AM   #104
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If you enjoy reading this is an interesting book: "The Box".

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_...Economy_Bigger
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:26 AM   #105
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Scott

Sad when profits are valued more than lives!
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:01 PM   #106
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Scott

Sad when profits are valued more than lives!
And yet throughout the ages businesses have often done that. That's why you must have regulation and enforcement, someone to value lives more than profits. I know people love to fuss about things like OSHA. Yet, OSHA has saved so many lives and prevented so many serious injuries and health problems over the decades. Regulation is necessary to protect against those who value profits more than lives and to protect those who value lives against the competition of those who don't.

In our nation's history too, Unions didn't start or gain momentum over pay. It was over safety and treatment of employees as well.

Companies also showed disregard for lives in pollution of air and water and soil. Hence, the EPA had to be created and step in.

One can easily argue whether there is too much or too little regulation and that's not the purpose of my comment. Simply, that the reason regulation has been required is the blatant disregard many businesses have shown toward human lives and quality of lives.

Spending most of my career in manufacturing, I saw this as companies moved work off shore. They did not value the lives of those in the countries where they were placing work. Only when organizations in the US started applying pressure to companies was any progress made. We were never the lowest cost producer because we'd never place production where conditions were inhumane. Even so, the conditions were not at the level they should have been and it was a constant effort for us to police those manufacturing for us and to insist on things being done right in facilities we owned.

Business is profit driven. That's fine. But when it's with total disregard for human lives, health and safety, it's deplorable. It's sad when you go to purchase toys for your grandchildren and can't be sure the materials used in them are safe. It's sad when people feel forced to do things they know are unsafe to retain their jobs. Sadder yet when they issue orders that put others at danger. It becomes contagious and yet those in it become immune to recognizing the disease.
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Old 07-16-2017, 03:22 PM   #107
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If you didn't read "Two Years Before the Mast" back in high school, I recommend it. And similarly, "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. Both were influential to their very abusive industries but of course it still goes on today.
I have no experience with ships but my sense is that Exxon, for example, would have higher standards than average. And some 2nd-world-based Owner would be more likely to cut corners in any category...crew, maintenance, etc.
No different than the sweat shop culture in Asia.
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Old 07-16-2017, 04:54 PM   #108
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And those are the shipping companies that need to be dealt with strongly.

That's a reminder that the El Faro investigation is still ongoing. I would like to see severe consequences for TOTE.

Until we reach a stage where companies won't put lives in danger and captains and crew don't live in fear of their jobs for doing the right thing, we will not have addressed the issues. Yes, the Captain has responsibilities, but safety starts at the top and starts with the employer. I have no respect for any company that doesn't put the safety of their employees first.

Now, one thing has come out of the investigation. The NTSB has issued 10 safety recommendations aimed at better weather information for mariners.
What's strange about El Faro is if you've ever shipped a container overseas, the SLA is nonexistant - there is likely no financial impact from customers if you take a week longer, its only the asset utilization, which seems like a minute consideration if you risk not just a billion dollars in goods but human lives on a hurricane.
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:26 PM   #109
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What's strange about El Faro is if you've ever shipped a container overseas, the SLA is nonexistant - there is likely no financial impact from customers if you take a week longer, its only the asset utilization, which seems like a minute consideration if you risk not just a billion dollars in goods but human lives on a hurricane.
I think there is a little more to it than the customer has a delay. I'm not condoning Totes actions, but the Puerto Rico run is a very competitive market. Crowley, Tote and others do compete for market share and delays are part of contract negotiations. Not unlike the rest of the economy.
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:46 PM   #110
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If memory serves me correctly the owner of El Fargo forced the ship to leave port but the captain erred in going to the wrong quadrant of the hurricane. It seems that in most disasters some blame must go to making wrong choices of the Captain.

Concerning government regulations vs business choices, there appears to be a very fine line between what is correct and what is over regulation. I have a piece of property in Lakeland (shooting range) with a small pond on it, perhaps 100 feet in diameter. I was told by the state regulators that they considered it navigable water. WTF after a heavy rain it might be six inches deep and it's dry when it hasn't rained in a month or two. So I had to prove I hadn't drained it and ruined the navigable waterway.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:12 PM   #111
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Don. The best fishing I ever had was in my 25' Pursuit. I docked it at my house in Key Largo and fished both coasts of Florida and the Bahamas. Great fun. While fishing Wahoo and high speed rolling in Cat Cay we had to get back to Miami. Wind was from the ne at 30 knots, we came anyway, 15 footers. Lots of fun.
My best fishing experience was in the High Sierra, above timberline while backpacking. We met a couple of backpackers who were sick of living on fish, so we traded camper-food to borrow their fishing gear. It was great because I caught six trout in thirteen casts in a small Alpine lake. It was in the early 1970s.
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:32 PM   #112
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While not a nautical case, it is the quinticential "cost benefit analysis problem" and relevant to the discussion here. Ford opted not to fix a problem with the Pinto in the early 70's after a study determined it would cost less to pay the damage claims than to fix the fuel system in the car.

Have their been lawsuits by famies of dead sailors claiming negligence of the shipping companies? I would think a few headline grabbing lawsuits with lots and lots of zeroes in them might get companies to prioritize crew safety because even people who only care about the bottom line will be impacted by those claims.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:28 PM   #113
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While not a nautical case, it is the quinticential "cost benefit analysis problem" and relevant to the discussion here. Ford opted not to fix a problem with the Pinto in the early 70's after a study determined it would cost less to pay the damage claims than to fix the fuel system in the car.

Have their been lawsuits by famies of dead sailors claiming negligence of the shipping companies? I would think a few headline grabbing lawsuits with lots and lots of zeroes in them might get companies to prioritize crew safety because even people who only care about the bottom line will be impacted by those claims.
The shipping companies take advantage of obscure regulations and employment contracts to limit their exposure. They offer modest payouts and if you refuse that then they say they're only going to pay what they have to then or they force you to take them to court. There have been lawsuits but most cases end up in settlements.

This happened with El Faro. Six families sued. There were settlements with ten families for $500k for pre-death pain and suffering and an undisclosed amount for financial loss. Their were 28 American crew members and 5 Polish. Subsequent to that, 8 more families settled. Apparently they've settled with the 5 Polish families too.

TOTE used an archaic maritime law, the Shipowners' Limited Liability Act of 1851. Otherwise we'd be talking millions. That act allows the owner of a ship to limit liability to the value of the vessel and pending freight. But the owner of a ship cannot limit liability if a vessel is not seaworthy. The families tried to get a summary judgement that it wasn't seaworthy but failed.

Then this January there were 4 more settlements leaving only 5 families that had not settled.

TOTE from the outset offered $500,000 and said they didn't have to offer that so take it or leave it. Proving the boat wasn't seaworthy would be impossible I think considering the circumstances. All settlements to date have been the $500,000 plus an agreed amount on financial loss.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:24 PM   #114
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I guess that's why their not afraid of big judgements against them. If the lawsuits are kept small, they will just be considered another cost of doing business, and offer no deterrent. Thanks for answering.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:23 PM   #115
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I guess that's why their not afraid of big judgements against them. If the lawsuits are kept small, they will just be considered another cost of doing business, and offer no deterrent. Thanks for answering.
The settlements will be small enough to be covered by their insurance. But, yes, TOTE took this approach at the very beginning. We'll pay you $500k or you sue us and you'll get $50k and that only after you spend $100k on lawyers and wait 4 years. Most of the families of the dead depended greatly on them getting paid and didn't have money to carry themselves a month, much less six months with no income. A predatory industry taking advantage of a 160+ year old law that most people didn't even know existed.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:17 AM   #116
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Lol still blaming the captain. I wish people would remove their heads from their rears and see what actually happens....
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:00 AM   #117
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Lol still blaming the captain. I wish people would remove their heads from their rears and see what actually happens....
I'm blaming the company first, the captain second. I'm not going however to absolve the captain from all blame. He made a decision. Neither of his choices was good, but the one he did choose led to many deaths.

Still I put more blame on the company. They could have prevented it. Instead, they not only didn't stop it, through their actions and policies they applied pressure that encouraged it. Specifically this captain was very worried whether he'd have a future job in Alaska when the boat went there.

Still I don't care how strong the pressure is, no captain should do something he feels puts lives at risk, even if it means his career is over. We can't complain because companies put dollars over lives and then turn around and do the same as captains.

I'm still hoping to see serious repercussions for TOTE.

I treat this the same way I did the Bounty. I put primary blame there on the owner and secondary blame on the captain. Both ignored their duty to the crew.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:03 AM   #118
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El Faro and Bounty are 2 totally different deals. Bounty was a movie prop that sailed through a storm that was massive and they had a good track on. When the El Faro sailed, they had no clue which way that storm would go.

It's also easy to say you would throw your career away while in the comfort of your own home. Put the big boy pants on, knowing you have a family to look after then make that statement.

I'm not singling anyone out, but unless you've been there, you really have no idea what it's like.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:55 AM   #119
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El Faro and Bounty are 2 totally different deals. Bounty was a movie prop that sailed through a storm that was massive and they had a good track on. When the El Faro sailed, they had no clue which way that storm would go.

It's also easy to say you would throw your career away while in the comfort of your own home. Put the big boy pants on, knowing you have a family to look after then make that statement.

I'm not singling anyone out, but unless you've been there, you really have no idea what it's like.
Well, it's not the only industry that forces you to take stances and risk your job. The boldest move of my career was an extremely risky move and could have easily ended a great career with that company.

I assign primary responsibility to TOTE and to the owner of Bounty. However, the Captain still is at fault. The similarity is that neither should have been sailing where they were. The second similarity is that lives were lost.

You and your big boy pants is BS. I fully understand what is going on and abhor it. I also know three captains who have refused in such situations and taken their ticket home and begun a search for a new job. All three had families to feed.

People are capable of understanding things that they haven't experienced themselves. They may not be capable of feeling fully what the person there felt, but understanding, yes.

I understand the Walking Dead stuntman who missed his target and died, without ever doing a fall off a tall building and missing a target.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:30 AM   #120
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El Faro and Bounty are 2 totally different deals. Bounty was a movie prop that sailed through a storm that was massive and they had a good track on. When the El Faro sailed, they had no clue which way that storm would go.

It's also easy to say you would throw your career away while in the comfort of your own home. Put the big boy pants on, knowing you have a family to look after then make that statement.

I'm not singling anyone out, but unless you've been there, you really have no idea what it's like.
While I agree with the Bounty vs El Faro points,

It TAKES big boy pants not to risk your own life and stranding your family while risking your career. Did it many times when deciding on missions, heck even policy statement from conehead suoeriors.

The problem with going to sea in large vessels, is knowing whether you are risking your life right up until near the end...and that often is very hard to see.
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