Judge Davis endeavours to get clarification – “When you say there was …

Judge Davis endeavours to get clarification – “When you say there was a clear expectation that he was going to turn, isn’t that expectation taken away when he didn’t turn ?”
Bolton – “Absolutely. No problem with that. I was taking care of both eventualities. I’d given the ferry such clearance from Browns Island Light, it didn’t matter whether he turned or not because he could still keep on his previously, shall we say “straight course” or the course he was taking to Browns Island. It was expected to be the ferry’s normal course & the more I travelled towards Motuihe, the more room I gave him behind me. There was no risk of collision as far as I was concerned so I proceeded. I had no need to turn to my starboard & I certainly didn’t want to because if the ferry hadn’t already turned around Browns Island it was going to & a ferry doesn’t want to be impeded by a recreational vessel.”
Judge Davis – “But that’s precisely what happened, Mr Bolton, because you didn’t turn you didn’t comply with the rules, not only was he impeded, the ferry had to be ground to a halt.”
Bolton – “That’s what he says & I disagree with that – there are many manuals interpreting the application of the rules & as to the point at which liability occurs”
Judge Davis – “Well so far Mr Bolton, I have the Maritime Rules 22 which talk to me about collision prevention. If Rule 22.17 & others don’t apply you need to bring them to my attention during the course of your evidence now”
Bolton – “Rule 22.7.1 says all available means appropriate must be used to determine risk of collision & in part 22.7.4a ‘among those must be the compass bearing of an approaching vessel which doesn’t appreciably change’
Rule 22.8 Action to avoid collision must be positive, made in ample time, be large enough to be readily apparent to the other vessel. A small succession of small alterations of course & speed or both should be avoided – in Classique’s case they were not detected. In parts 22.8.3a & b alteration of course of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid collision provided that it’s made in good time & is substantial. the ferry failed to apply that because he was in a similar situation to me – he didn’t want to turn to his port as much as I didn’t want to turn to starboard”
Judge Davis – “But he’s not permitted to turn to port as I understand it”
Bolton – “That stipulation is only good up to a certain point – In the totality of the Rules, including Special Circumstances, they must all be brought into it & that’s a mariner’s job”
Judge Davis – But Mr Bolton, aren’t the special circumstances that you’re trying to assert here only arrived at because of the close quarter situation that was created because you didn’t take preventative action in accordance with the rules earlier in time?”
Bolton – “I was complying with the Rules the whole way through. There was no fault on my part”
Judge Davis – “Well, put simply – if I understand Mr Young’s evidence, if you had’ve turned to starboard at photo 1 we wouldn’t be here today”
Bolton – “At the point of Photo 1, there was no risk of collision at all because the ferry being on a Regular Run, he would be going around Browns Island & back to Auckland from whence I’d come”
Judge Davis – “Yes, but he wasn’t on that Regular Run, he was on the path that he was on that day … at photo 1 you are on the port side of the ferry. Rule 22.17 & Page 9 of that wee book we looked at (Coastguard handbook used to illustrate a right angle approach which didn’t apply to this situation) says the obligation was on you to get out of the way by turning to your starboard”
Bolton – “Unfortunately you’ve got to look prior to photo 1 because prior to taking that photo …”
Judge Davis – “Isn’t the point though, whatever happened prior to photo 1 is irrelevant … you were in in a close quarter situation, there was risk of collision or getting mighty close to it”
An explanation by Bolton of what Barry Young calls “yaw” follows …

These AIS records are available for 3 months – they show how the expectation of a ferry’s course can be rightly held. The ferry didn’t have an AIS unit fitted at the time Bolton was told.
The ferry provided its turning point at Motuihe but failed to record its positions prior to Photo 1 leading up to the incident at Photo 3

At Photo 1, Classique would not turn port into the shallows of the Browns Island Reef Light obscured behind the window post but with 1/2 nmile’s separation determined that either the ferry would turn around Browns Light or Classique would be safely across the ferry’s bow if both kept their course & speed.
Classique 1

A diagram similar to Page 9 of the Coastguard’s Handbook said to illustrate
the approach of the ferry towards Classique with a Stand-on & give-way vessel.

This diagram more accurately describes the approach – if the ferry had not turned round Browns Island but kept a straight course there would’ve been adequate clearance astern of Classique

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2 thoughts on “Judge Davis endeavours to get clarification – “When you say there was …

  1. I was the master of Seaway 2 at the time of the ‘Classique’ incident and I am amazed at some of the assumptions made in the above ‘articles’ and that the evidence that you have provided is only from Bolton’s point of view.
    Positions prior to Photo 1 being taken were shown to the court as I had just rounded the southern point of Motuihe Island and was on my normal course heading towards the tall “Spencer’ building in Takapuna. This can quite clearly be seen to be in the same position ahead in the photographs indication that I maintained my course ( and speed until I had to reduce it to avoid a collision with the Classique), and had not altered course to starboard as Bolton had asserted.
    The Classique had plenty of sea room and depth to alter course as early or earlier than Photo 1. His helmsperson (who was the only person I saw at the controls throughout the incident, said that she shouted down to Bolton(who was in the deck saloon) that the vessel was on a collision course with the Seaway as the bearing was not changing. This she said in giving her evidence.
    I was heading towards my normal alter course position which, depending upon traffic, is approx 015 degrees true x 0.34 nm from Browns Island light. This takes me clear of the 5m contour line that lies to the north of Browns (if in less than 5m the vessel loses a knot due to ‘squat effect’), and takes me down to my next alter course position at Northern Leading light and keeps the vessel clear of the 5m contour line to the south.

    I did not alter course to port as i was clearly the stand-on vessel, and I was on my regular course line. Bolton and his lady helmsperson ‘assumed’ that I would alter course to port because I was going to go around Browns Island. As we all know, assumptions can be very dangerous and if I had not stopped the Seaway 2 we would have clearly collided with the Classique. At the time of Photo 3, the helmsperson , who waved to me at the time, said in court that she always ‘waved to the ferries who toot at them’.

    There are other assumptions made that I would be happy to clarify should you wish.

    • Mr Pigneyguy, these articles are composed from an analysis of the Court transcripts which cover points of view from both Prosecution & Defence witnesses – yours included.
      You did give your location of turning at Sth Motuihe on your chart but that was denied by B Young when M Bolton produced his diagrams for assessment – B Young said no starting point had been given.
      The tall building known to be the “Sentinal” & from your Sth Motuihe turning point a course to that tall building would be 292* according to Bolton who also says the course you claimed were on of 286* would be towards the cliffs where Classique was in Photo 1.
      Bolton & B Young have both shown that you did turn starboard towards Classique – it’s only the matter of amount that differs.
      Bolton also maintains that you didn’t appear to slow down but went past as fast as a Ro/Ro ferry would be expected to travel – if it was an imperceptible slowing, that would be violating Rule 22.8 which requires it to be large enough to be apparent.
      Bolton states he was at his controls to avoid collision if necessary in the event of a Rogue ferry (One violating Collsion Regulations) creating a passing closer than comfortable in a harbour. There is a diagram in yesterday’s post showing how proximity to Browns Reef & shallows was sufficient reason not to to alter Classique’s course & turn to starboard, apart from the expectation of the ferry to turn to its port in keeping with a Regular Run.
      There is reference in the transcripts to that person you thought was a helmsperson as one standing at the outside steering station but not responsible for navigation – that being handled by Bolton at the controls in the wheelhouse.
      As to the “Helmsperson’s” evidence, there is no mention of shouting, it was Crown lawyer M Davies who asked if words were exchanged re “the ferry being on a collision course” & the response was “I probably said Hey Mel, what’s going on here? … & he said It’ll be okay, the ferry’s going to go astern of us.”
      Squat effect would appear to be irrelevant considering it was high tide on the day with additional depth of about 10 feet over the 5 mtr contour area concerned.
      Bolton has pointed out that if each vessel had kept their course & speed, there would be no stand-on vessel & the ferry was free to turn to to port whether it went round Browns Island or not & again he says the ferry didn’t stop & avoiding collision was not reliant upon that action.
      Re photo 3 waving, to clarify what the “helmsperson” said in court – “About the time photo 3 was taken, I waved in ackowledgement to the ferry captain that we were well clear & I believe we were by 60 or 80 mtrs. I gave him the usual wave that we give each other around the harbour when we’re clear of the passage of another vessel”
      If there are other erroneous assumptions made, your clarification will no doubt be helpfully made ?

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