Sewol Sinking "Fatal Chain of Errors" -Expert

By MarEx 2014-04-23 13:03:00

Nexus Consulting Group of Alexandria, LLC, a leading provider of private maritime safety and security solutions, announced Tuesday that upon expert review by maritime safety subject matter expert Captain Bill Doherty of reports and statements made by Sewol crew, that the tragic loss of life was culmination of a “fatal chain of errors” which may have started months before the Sewol left port April 16, 2014.

“It appears that the sinking of the Sewol and the tragic loss of lives was a preventable final link in a systemic fatal chain of errors, possibly dating back months, when the Sewol was retrofitted with additional passenger facilities on the upper decks, raising the ships center of gravity,” Captain Doherty noted. 

According to Arirang news in Korea, two weeks before the tragic loss of lives, the crew of the Sewol had requested a repair for the steering system which was giving a “no voltage” warning. “With a recent report that the Sewol had a 36-second power loss just prior to tipping, one has to ask the fitness of this ship to be sailing. The picture being painted in Korea is this was a nicely painted ship, but held together with duct-tape and gum” Captain Doherty went on to say. 

“From the adding of weight to the upper levels of the ship, thereby raising the ships center of gravity as well as the ships ‘tipping point', to the reports of the Sewol being significantly overloaded with cargo, to reports that many of the containers weren’t secured on the deck, to the 3rd mate at the helm when a power loss probably caused a ‘dead stick’ and just wasn’t trained enough on to be familiar with how to address, to the $521 the ship owner spent on crew training in 2013, to the Captain abandoning the ship first – al la Costa Concordia, to a mere two life rafts being launched, this is tragic systemic fatal chain of errors which could have been prevented.” 

“Clearly the ship didn’t hit a submerged object [as earlier reported by some experts], but rather the tragic loss of lives, which now seems could have been prevented, was the final and fatal link in a systemic chain of errors. My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic, preventable event,” Captain Doherty closed with. 

Captain Bill Doherty is a 1967 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a licensed US Coast Guard Master-Unlimited tonnage, and qualified First Class Pilot, Prince William Sound, Valdez, Alaska. Captain Doherty has served on numerous U.S. Navy warships and was the Head of Maritime Affairs for the Chief of Naval Operations during Operation Desert Storm. Over the course of his career, he has commanded tankers, container ships, research vessels, high-speed ferries, and was an instructor at his alma mater. Before retirement, his latest position was as Safety Manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Captain Doherty now serves as the director of maritime affairs for Nexus Consulting, and has appeared as a cruise safety expert before the United States Senate.