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Laurel McCall 11/6/13 Bolton ENG 101 Whose fault is it anyway? When something goes wrong, at times it can be hard to find who or what to place the blame on. We begin to observe the situation and try to figure out the root cause by using logic and critical thinking. It isnt always just a simple explanation, however. There can be several factors that play into creating a mishap. This turned out to be very true in the case of Casey Anthonys story titled, ZZZs for Zeebrugge. In 1987, the Herald of Free Enterprise took off from Zeebrugge across the English Channel carrying 460 passengers, 81 cars, 47 trucks, and 80 members of the crew. Everything seemed to be running smoothly, for a short while anyways. The Captain assumed everything was in order, so he ordered for 22 knots. The speed of the ship was remarkable but it wasnt long before they realized that speed could not save them from what the ocean could do. Before even making it out of Zeebrugge, the ships lower ports began to take in sea water and capsized in only 30 feet of water due to the lower bow doors being left open. Before deporting no one had looked to make sure they were closed, although sometimes a ship can still sail safely with them open, this was not one of those times. Situations like this one could be avoided if the captain and crew are on their toes at all times and there were stricter laws in place for ships. The key to any kind of transport like this going well is simply having an excellent crew. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Just being good with people or only dressing nice and following the rules is only going to get you so far. But there were other criteria such as

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smooth and efficient starting and stopping, or courteous and thoughtful treatment of passengers, and of course following the rules, dressing neatly and taking instructions (Burnham). I know, in my case, if I showed up to work not treating the customers with service and respect I would be in trouble no matter how nice my appearance was. I couldnt tell you that there was a sole person at fault in this situation because there were a few who I would consider guilty of just pure laziness. First, there is the Assistant Boatswain who is the person in charge of making sure the bow doors are shut before deportation. His job was to return to G Deck and close the large bow doors of the ship as they got underwayif it had not been done already by someone else, as often was the case (Casey). Instead of doing this while the ship was being prepared to take off, he laid down in his cabin to catch a quick nap. While this seems to be a negligent move on his part, I understand arguing that the blame shouldnt be placed on him. He works 24-hour shifts and had been running around that boat all day checking up on everything it seemed, except for the bow doors, and besides the real responsibility of the ship rests in the hands of only one person, the Captain. Although, the Captain gave all the correct orders and tried to make sure his men were all on their job, it wasnt quite enough. He did not turn around to look at the dock and the front of the ship, (Casey), he assumed that the crew had all attended to their duties so he did not feel the need to go around and check up on anything. That was his biggest mistake. In doing that, he took such a risk. The development of formal, quantitative human health and ecological risk assessment represents a major advance in environmental management techniques (Krieger). A person in charge should always feel the full weight of their responsibility and be able to take it on at all times. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong and paying attention is a good way to make certain that things go as planned.

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While watching a segment on oil spills, a lot of what Carl Safina said ended up being very relevant with this situation. He spoke of how the spill was caused by our government not overseeing and regulating these oil rigs. That is unacceptable. If you see any evidence of the blowout preventer not functioning properly, you should fix it by whatever means possible (Safina). Just like the government is in charge of making sure these oil rigs are following code, a ships captain should do everything in his power to ensure not only the safe voyage of the vessel itself but more importantly the lives of the passengers. You wouldnt let your children play on a playground that hadnt been properly inspected, would you? He should have taken the initiative to go around the vessel himself and ensure that everything was in check before the ship left the port. I just believe that if the proper management steps were taken here, they could have bypassed this whole mess. Although, I must admit that a slack crew was not the only thing that played a role in the ultimate perish of this ship. Often enough, in the world we live in, it takes something big to happen for us to see what we need to fix. When the Titanic sunk in 1912, it made light of many things that needed to be changed in the way cruise ships operate. The tragedy also spawned increased efforts to launch rescue operations for those involved in water accidents. In hope of averting a repeat of the event, the International Ice Patrol was founded by the nations of the North Atlantic (Gregg). If there is anything that could have been learned from the sinking of the Herald though, it should be that captains need to know the position of all doors of the ship at all times. Luckily since 1987, there have been things put in place to prevent something like this from happening in the future. Mostly all ships are now equipped with indicator lights in their captains quarters. They light up if the door is in position and if its not lit, you know that and can fix the problem immediately. There is even a law that states: there shall be at least two

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sources of power for opening and closing all such doors simultaneously (Canada). Our technology has grown rapidly, especially in the past decade. Since this particular accident there have been several extensive laws put in place. While reading through Canadian Government restrictions on the construction of ships I found many things that could have been beneficial to the Herald in saving her from the bottom of the English Channel. Ships are actually required to have watertight compartments now. These are little regions of the vessel, usually in the hull, designed to take on water in case of damage to the vessel. When a certain amount of water reaches the inside it seals itself off automatically from the rest of the ship keeping the water out and the boat afloat. If the Herald of Free Enterprise was designed with these types of technologies, they could have closed the watertight compartments as soon as they saw that water was getting in and limited the damage. These changes have made a huge difference in the way things operate nowadays. Now, no ship leaves the port if there are not the enough lifeboats for everyone on board and watertight compartments are built in the hull. People are sent out to investigate these ships and make sure these things are included in construction. But these things still dont guarantee the safe journey of a vessel, that lies in the hands of the captain and crew. When its all said and done, I believe this situation could have been avoided if the captain and crew had really been on their toes and if there were stricter laws in place for ships at this period in time. A Captain can only be in so many places at one time, but if it was me and it was my soul duty to take care of this ship, I would do everything in my power to ensure the security of the 460 passengers aboard. The Herald of the Free Enterprise could have possibly made it to its destination had there been indicator lights for the Captain to see the position of the lower bow doors or watertight compartments that could have kept the vessel from capsizing. Although there are laws put in place in todays time to prevent something like this from happening, it could

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still easily occur. Captains and their ships just need to avoid negligence and stay sharp. Its a lesson learned and I hope we may all take something from this.