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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A Royal Navy warship nearly crashed into a fishing boat - after the officer on look-out closed the curtains and couldn't see where she was going.
Lieutenant Rebecca Stanley shut a ‘blackout curtain’ so she could get on with other work during the night shift ( perhaps a bit of dhobying and ironing) on type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland, a court martial heard.
Lt Stanley even told a surprised colleague on the ship’s bridge that if anyone asked ‘she wasn't behind the curtain’.
The court heard that as she couldn't see outside, the frigate was being operated by an officer who could not keep a visual look out and had ‘an extremely limited picture’ of where other vessels were . And they want equality, well rig the grating and break out the 'Cat o' Nine Tails'.
Its becoming too much like the USN.
 

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A Royal Navy officer has been fined £4,000 after a warship narrowly avoided crashing into a fishing boat.
Lt Rebecca Stanley, 31, admitted to negligently hazarding a ship while aboard Plymouth-based HMS Sutherland in the North Sea on 5 June last year.
Bulford Court in Wiltshire heard how Lt Stanley had shut the blackout curtains to complete other work while in charge of the ship's look-out.
Assistant Judge Alan Large told her she would be "severely reprimanded".
Lt Stanley was supposed to be in charge of the ship's lookout between 01:00 and 04:00 BST during her night-shift.
Instead she decided to prepare for a manoeuvre she had no experience of, away from her duties.
The court heard how Lt Stanley told a colleague that if anyone asked "she wasn't behind the curtain".
'Wrong and foolish'
At the time the frigate was being operated by an officer who could not keep a visual look out and had "an extremely limited picture" of where other vessels were, the court was told.
As a result, the 4,000 tonne warship came within just 600 yards (548 metres) of a 118ft (36 metre) long Dutch fishing boat, which had to change direction at the last minute.
Prosecuting, Lt Solomon Hartley told the court: "She thought she had it all under control.
"She didn't have things under control and had things turned out differently she could have collided with the Jan Cornelis."
Defending, Commander Kay Chadwick said Stanley had not been "sleeping or using her phone".
Lt Stanley told the court: : "It was wrong and foolish of me to put the ship in that situation… I let myself and the ship's company down".
"Words cannot justify how sorry I am for the damage I almost caused."



How many people on the bridge at night? Two? Five? Ten? Only OOW? Where were the lookouts, radar people, juniors etc?
 

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On the bright side nothing happened, what a bunch of dibber dobbers they must be in the navy. Couldn't they have told her off and put her on coffee cup washing for a few weeks?

John T
 

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One is supposed to disregard the gender of the Officer, they are 'all equal' nowadays.
So, just the Officer of the watch then. This OOW was the only person responsible for keeping a look out? What happened to delegation and initiative? Was everyone else present of the 'point and shoot' character, do as ordered and nothing more? Or were they capable of a degree of cunning in order to set her up?

I can see her problem to some extent. In times past a junior officer, having been warned that he, or she, would be responsible for a manoeuvre or evolution would be running it through their head and verbally discussing it. Now they are apparently required to formulate a written action plan with all the associated gubbins that goes with it, using probably a tablet computer which would be a distraction in itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Yes Stephen, I always thought RN ships were top heavy with bridge watchkeepers causing a stability problem.
Your average Scouse seaman lookout would have spotted the lights of a fishing boat and reported it to 2/O, getting a brownie point.
Whilst involved with Ship and Port security plans for MN ships post 911, an RN type wrote the boilerplate for the plans and he even put in about the 'radar operator' in port (who was he kidding), so who was looking after radar at sea in that instance, did he not flag it up to the loot, then you would have had Jnr officers on watch with her, didn't they see it. What happened to all this 'team' stuff they are always talking about.
 

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I was wondering along the same lines as Malcolm. When the old man went "behind the curtain" in the strait of Messina leaving me to cover I was not by myself. A lookout (at least) on the wing and the helmsman (he would not have been out of earshot to a loud call being in the crapper, two doors, same level).
 

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Where was the ship at that incident? Not in the middle of the South Atlantic or even the North Sea... the ship was right at the start of traffic scheme approaching Straits of English Channel!
 

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As in all court cases unless you were there at the hearing and heard all the facts then you are not in a position to make credible comments. The press always pick & choose what facts to report so that the story can be made more sensational.
 

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#10
Quite true, which is why the comments on this forum are mainly couched as speculation or questioning those parts which are not reported.
 

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Is there not more than one person on a bridge watch ?
There was in my day.

Depends if the sails had to be set or furled. :)

I fairly certain there would be several people on bridge of a warship. The problem in this case the OOW was the senior watchkeeper.

Stephen
 

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I recall stepping out onto the bridge for a fag one afternoon in mid-Atlantic. The 2nd Mate was engrossed in chart corrections. I looked out of the window and there was a big ship which appeared to be heading straight towards us. I thought about saying "Have you seen this ship?" but opted for a tactful "Where do you think this ship has come from?" The 2nd Mate looked up saying: "What sh ... aaaaaaaargh!" He ran round the chart table and swiftly put us into an emergency U turn. Phew! Missed it by that much. The other ship sailed blissfully on. And I never told a soul.

John T
 

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I recall stepping out onto the bridge for a fag one afternoon in mid-Atlantic. The 2nd Mate was engrossed in chart corrections. I looked out of the window and there was a big ship which appeared to be heading straight towards us. I thought about saying "Have you seen this ship?" but opted for a tactful "Where do you think this ship has come from?" The 2nd Mate looked up saying: "What sh ... aaaaaaaargh!" He ran round the chart table and swiftly put us into an emergency U turn. Phew! Missed it by that much. The other ship sailed blissfully on. And I never told a soul.

John T

Just a coincidence that the 2nd Mate on the other ship was making chart corrections as well. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well spotted Stephen. Being the 12/4 pm watch, everybody was doing deckhead surveys and didn't feel the alteration of course, OM included.
Must have been a freak wave, the manouvre.
 

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I recall stepping out onto the bridge for a fag one afternoon in mid-Atlantic. The 2nd Mate was engrossed in chart corrections. I looked out of the window and there was a big ship which appeared to be heading straight towards us. I thought about saying "Have you seen this ship?" but opted for a tactful "Where do you think this ship has come from?" The 2nd Mate looked up saying: "What sh ... aaaaaaaargh!" He ran round the chart table and swiftly put us into an emergency U turn. Phew! Missed it by that much. The other ship sailed blissfully on. And I never told a soul.

John T
Now why would you have wanted to tell anyone ?.
 

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There is always that to consider John, as I alluded in #5.
One can wonder at what point the bridge team noticed a problem looming, how long did they wait until mentioning it, timing might have been the key.
Until someone writes their memoirs we will never know what the 'team' relationship might have been.
 
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