Con­cor­dia’s cap­tain to be in­ter­viewed

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

HAL­I­FAX (CP) — The agency in­ves­ti­gat­ing the sink­ing of a Cana­dian tall ship will zero in on any safety de­fi­cien­cies on board and whether the Brazil­ian navy was right to wait roughly 20 hours be­fore send­ing out an air­craft to search for the ves­sel.

Chris Sawyer of the Bar­ba­dos Mar­itime Cen­tral Ship Reg­istry, which is lead­ing the probe, said of­fi­cials plan to take state­ments from the Con­cor­dia’s cap­tain, first mate and sec­ond mate on Fri­day.

Sawyer said in­ves­ti­ga­tors want to know the con­di­tion of the three­masted bar­quen­tine be­fore it sank, what the crew were do­ing, the weather and how peo­ple re­acted when they re­al­ized the 57-me­tre ship was in trou­ble.

“What we’re looking for as the flag state is the safety is­sues to see how they were ad­dressed in a real sit­u­a­tion,” Sawyer said Wed­nes­day from Lon­don.

“And then maybe (we’ll) look at mod­i­fy­ing them or im­prov­ing them or in­tro­duc­ing new safety re­quire­ments if they’re found to be needed.”

The Nova Sco­tia-based ship, a “float­ing school” car­ry­ing 64 stu­dents and staff, went down in rough seas about 500 kilo­me­tres off the Brazil­ian coast last Wed­nes­day. Every­one sur­vived and no one suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries.

The stu­dents were tak­ing part in the Class Afloat pro­gram, run by the West Is­land Col­lege In­ter­na­tional of Lunen­burg, N.S.

The ship’s cap­tain, William Curry, has said al­though the Con­cor­dia’s crew had pre­pared the day be­fore for what they an­tic­i­pated would be rough weather, the ship sud­denly keeled.

When it keeled again the ship’s sails were ex­posed to the pow­er­ful wind and within 15 sec­onds the boat was ly­ing on its side and be­gan to sink. The cap­tain said it slipped be­neath the waves 30 min­utes later.

Curry called it a mir­a­cle that every­one on board made it into rafts and sur­vived af­ter the Con­cor­dia ap­par­ently ex­pe­ri­enced a weather phe­nom­e­non known as a “mi­croburst” — a sud­den, vi­o­lent down­draft of wind — that in­stantly crip­pled the ves­sel.

Sawyer said he hadn’t heard of the phe­nom­e­non be­fore, but that in­ves­ti­ga­tors would get ex­pert opin­ion on it.

Nigel McCarthy, Class Afloat’s CEO, said it was 16 hours af­ter the ship sank be­fore the com­pany even be­came aware there was a prob­lem, and at that point only knew an emer­gency bea­con had been set off.

He ques­tioned why it took the Brazil­ian navy pos­si­bly up to 26 1/2 hours be­fore it sent a search plane to look for the ship af­ter the emer­gency bea­con went off.

“Our only con­cern is, ‘Did th­ese chil­dren need to be in the wa­ter as long as they were?”’ he said from Lunen­burg. “ We’re thank­ful that th­ese peo­ple picked up the kids and we’re just ask­ing the ques­tion, ‘Could the plane have been launched an hour or 24 hours ear­lier?”’

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Capt. William Curry, back, em­braces an uniden­ti­fied stu­dent from Canada’s West Is­land Col­lege af­ter arriving at the Mo­cangue naval base in Rio de Janeiro, Satur­day. Curry was the cap­tain of the Con­cor­dia which sank last week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.