Tag Archives: Concordia

Canadian authorities reject Barbados investigation of Concordia sinking

“But don’t expect the Barbadians to find fault. Three years ago, Barbados Maritime Ship Registry (BMSR) issued new guidelines for investigators of marine accidents. As the BMSR announced, the guidelines were introduced “to ensure that general marine investigations conducted on behalf of a flag state are focused on understanding the cause of an incident rather than simply apportioning blame. BMSR Principal Registrar Chris Sawyer believes that the culture of blame has become too prevalent in marine casualty investigations.

BMSR championed the priority of “learning from accidents.” While that is a fine goal, we tend to learn plenty when we figure out who if anyone is responsible for serious incidents like the Concordia’s loss. Too often in modern tragedies involving sailing ships, blame has been fobbed off on an act of God, with formal inquiries absolving ships, crews and owners of any responsibility, even when there is ample evidence of poor design, poor seamanship and other deficiencies.”

… from the National Post newspaper article The problem with flags of convenience

…the Transportation Safety Board of Canada decided to conduct a parallel investigation into this accident independently of the Barbadian investigation. The TSB made the decision to investigate because the scope and methodology used to uncover causes and contributing factors will likely be different than that of the Barbados authority. Meanwhile, in accordance with the provisions of international conventions, the TSB remains committed to providing assistance to the Barbados authority as it proceeds with its investigation.

… from a media release by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The Canadians shouldn’t be so smug & self-righteous

Let’s get one thing straight: the Canadians have a right to investigate whatever they please. After all, the Concordia was based in Canada, owned by a Canadian school and the majority of people on board were Canadians. The Canadians can make any inquiries they wish.

But Barbados has a duty in law to investigate the sinking of a Barbados-flagged vessel and our country shall investigate professionally according to our standards.

The Canadian authorities were happy enough to allow a Bajan “flag of convenience” on a vessel based in their country, so they might want to be a little careful criticizing Barbados now.

Even Canada’s former Prime Minister Paul Martin has his commercial cargo ships headquarters in Barbados!

As to standards for the sailing vessel Concordia, she was built for the Canadians in Poland, first registered in the Bahamas and then in Barbados. The Canadian authorities inspected her last year to allow the vessel to participate in a tall ship rally in Canada.

Online conversations we’ve read at various tallship sailing forums describe the confusion, lapses and conflicts over stability standards for sailing school ships. From what I’ve seen Canada doesn’t even have any construction or stability standards for tall ships so the Canadian authorities should drop their self-righteousness and disdain for Barbados that is inherent in their press release.

Further Reading

BFP Feb 20, 2010: Barbados will lead investigation into sinking of sailing vessel Concordia

BFP Feb 21, 2010: Barbados Maritime Ship Registry to investigate rescue delay of Concordia Survivors

It also turns out that Wojtek (Voytec) Wacowski, a crew member of the Tall Ship Amistad that visited Barbados in 2008, previously served as Chief Mate on the Concordia…

BFP April 14, 2008: Amistad Official Website Features Barbados Free Press Article

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