A British skipper who argued that the large tanker Hanne Knutsen had sounded its horn to indicate it was to turn to starboard but then did not carry out the maneuver, leaving him in a dangerous position in front of the vessel, has nevertheless been found guilty of contravening maritime regulations.
Roland Wilson, a Royal Navy officer who was in charge of a 33 foot sailing yacht which collided with an 869 ft oil tanker during Britain’s Cowes Week sailing regatta in the Solent has been found guilty of three counts of contravening the regulations. He was convicted of failing to keep a proper lookout and two counts of impeding the passage of a vessel following a five-day trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.
He was fined £3,000, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15, and made to pay costs of £100,056.68.
In passing sentence, Judge Anthony Calloway said, ‘This was not some Saturday afternoon jaunt by some inadequate vessel crewed by inexperienced, clueless and foolhardy people who frankly have no business being on the water at all. The yacht took a decision, and as I find the wrong decision, to sail towards the problem into the path of the tanker across a narrow channel. It should have kept clear and in the worst event used her engine.’
Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of Enforcement with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said, ‘This case should serve as a reminder to all who use the water that a good lookout, a full appraisal of the situation and early action is essential to avoid incidents like this occurring.’