Judge Davis reveals an apparent bias & distortion in what he says are the facts of the case. This quote indicates the degree to which he was mislead by the prosecution witnesses.
Para 24 : “Seaway had rounded Sth Motuihe & was on a course of 286*True when it had Classique bearing down on it on its port side. Seaway sounded 5 warning blasts as required by the Maritime Rules & despite those blasts Classique continued to bear down on Seaway. Becoming concerned at the situation Capt Pigneyguy took a photo of Classique. Classique did not alter its course & a 2nd photo was taken of Classique. Again Classique did not alter its course & a 3rd photo was taken. By this time Capt Pigneyguy had thrown Seaway into reverse to bring it to a halt & that enabled Classique to pass across the bow of Seaway. Capt Pigneyguy’s evidence was that had he not thrown Seaway into reverse, Seaway would have collided with Classique”
The above mistake on the situation by a district court Judge who admitted 7 times during the trial that he had no Nautical Knowledge, is the reason why TAIC (Transport Accident Investigation Commission) should have been notified & had the investigation handled by nautically competent personnel. The Expert Witness Barry Young & M Pigneyguy were instrumental in misleading the Judge not only as to the interpretation of the Rules which apply to both sides in an approach but also as to the true facts of the situation.
1: If any craft was bearing down, it was Seaway travelling at 15.5 kts bearing down on Classique going probably less than 7 kts.
An approach at 25 to 30 degrees would not constitute a bearing down situation when Classique on her straight course was heading away from Seaway which was now heading towards towards her.
2: Classique was in the channel out from Browns Island before Seaway turned into it by rounding Sth Motuihe & beginning its new course which began at 286* about 2 nmiles away – far outside the scope of Collision Regulations ‘Risk’ consideration but bringing into effect the warning that the ferry is not allowed to turn deliberately to place herself in a position of a Stand-on vessel to create a crossing situation with Risk of Collision.
3: If Seaway was on 286* she would’ve been heading towards the cliffs close to where Classique was in Photo 1. The ferry provided no verification that she was on 286*
4: Seaway failed to sound any blasts as required by the Maritime Rules. It didn’t have a horn which complied with the frequency, audibilty & range of the regulations – the aerosol can was totally inadequate & could not be heard at the range the Rules required – further more the 1st blasts were not sounded at the point of 1st concern as required by Colregs to alert Classique.
5: The blasts were not sounded as the Judge states with Classique being unresponsive causing M Pigneyguy to take photos. It was the other way round – the photos were being taken from 1/2 nmile away & the 1st blasts were made at 80 mtrs off, in violation of Collision Regulations.
6: There was no evidence that the ferry had its engine in astern propulsion. The mandatory sound signal indicating that, had not been made & the ferry had not appeared to slow at all – it went past as fast as a Ro/Ro ferry would be expected to go. Several times M Pigneyguy stated in court that the ferry had stopped, even dead in the water, which is contrary to what his Incident Report said was a ‘slowing’ at the most.
7: For M Pigneyguy to lead the Judge to believe his actions prevented a collision is untrue also – Bolton was at his controls entirely capable of taking whatever avoiding action was necessary on Classique’s behalf in the event the Rogue ferry became a risk.
Judge Davis continues – “Mr Bolton’s defence was that the situation that presented itself was not a crossing situation (with Risk of Collision) & therefore the Maritime rules did not apply. That the situation only became a crossing situation (with risk of collision) because it had been ‘manufactured’ by Capt Pigneyguy. The view of the ‘experts’ (Barry Young) is that a crossing situation (with risk of collision) existed & the onus was on Mr Bolton to have kept out of the way of Seaway in accordance with the rules that I have outlined above.”
Unfortunately B Young breached his Code of Conduct applying to that of an expert, to be helpful to the Court but acted as the ‘Hired Gun’ for the prosecution.
Judge Davis next mentions a number of matters Bolton raised in support of his defence …
If the ferry was on 286* it would’ve been heading to the cliffs under the arrow where Classique was in Photo 1.
This is Photo 2 & the ferry has already turned towards Classique by the distance between the red vertical lines, indicating it was above 286* at Photo 1.