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30th Anniversary of 'Herald of Free Enterprise' disaster

Lest we forget.

BBC News 6 Mar 2017 said:
Thirty years ago a ferry left dock in Belgium. Within minutes the ship was in trouble and in just 90 seconds it capsized, killing 193 people. Here is the story of the Herald of Free Enterprise - told by those whose lives were forever affected by the disaster...

Some brave deeds performed by individuals that night:
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/51183/supplement/61/data.pdf
An especially demanding and traumatic task for the RN divers.
 

dapperdunn

War Hero
Book Reviewer
I was just listening to Jeremy Vine talking about it on the radio.

Interestingly:
A manslaughter trial began at the Old Bailey in September 1990 involving eight defendants, including the ferry company and three former directors.

But the case collapsed a month later after the judge directed the jury to acquit them.
 
Remember it well, we were in the middle of a defence exercise at Culdrose (Rockapes from St Mawgan were looking for the NAAFI), all of a sudden the exercise stops and we are all sent back to our Squadrons to get the Seakings ready.
 
Last edited:

Sumo

War Hero
My daughter was 5 at the time and we did not how much it affected her until the next year when we went on a cross channel ferry, she freaked out that we were going to have the same happen, I spent hours showing her all the ways to the upper scupper and where and how the life boats worked, before I could get her to sleep. we did not even know she had been watching or listening to the tragic news?
 

Sumo

War Hero
Barny what's to dislike, that is a memory from that time. I could of have gone on to say many years after one off my systems lectures, who was also a merch skipper who was part of the investigation into what happened?
 

Sumo

War Hero

The guy told us his remit was to find out what went wrong. They used a systems failure approach to investigate, they found out what went wrong, the finger pointing to owners, Capts and crew was for others.

They found that 17 bad naval/seamanship practices happened every time the vessel sailed, but until the fatal night all 17 did not occur simultaneously, on that night sailing into a swell all 17 lined up and the world saw the result, this major shipping disaster, and loss of lifes.
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
The guy told us his remit was to find out what went wrong. They used a systems failure approach to investigate, they found out what went wrong, the finger pointing to owners, Capts and crew was for others.

They found that 17 bad naval/seamanship practices happened every time the vessel sailed, but until the fatal night all 17 did not occur simultaneously, on that night sailing into a swell all 17 lined up and the world saw the result, this major shipping disaster, and loss of lifes.

In the examination of almost every major disaster exactly the same is true, it's rare that a single catastrophic failure is responsible. More often it's the 'swiss cheese' effect, where a number of unsafe practices are carried out as a matter of course with no consequence until one day all those 'holes' in the cheese line up and before you know it lives are lost. The report into the Challenger disaster makes interesting reading and was the first place I saw the phrase 'normalisation of deviance', where practices that are outside SOP's or not in accordance with documentation become normal because 'nothing went wrong last time we did it that way'. That's very much something that happened here.
 
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