Costa Concordia and Exxon Valdez: What do they have in common?

First, the more recent Costa Concordia disaster. This cruise ship ran aground with significant loss of life. The captain abandoned ship ahead of his passengers. All this is probably common knowledge.

What you may not already know is, his friend was on the bridge with him at the time of the crash. From the picture in this web page, she was, er, potentially distracting.

On to the Exxon Valdez. Here the plot is only slightly thicker. In this article, you’ll find out that the person steering the boat had a distracting companion he was possibly trying to impress. (My memory was, they were in a much more distracting situation than this article makes it out to be.) One problem with this article is that it makes it sound as if the captain normally went below, once the ship was outside harbour and no longer had the local pilot on board.

In this wikipedia article, you’ll find out that the captain of the Exxon Valdez was, in fact, sleeping off a bender. The captain may not have gone below just to send ‘departure messages’.

The Wikipedia article points out that key equipment on the Exxon Valdez may not have been functioning, including the RAYCAS radar.

For some reason, the Captain of the Exxon Valdez appears to have taken the blame. The captain of the Costa Concordia eventually took the blame too.

What’s in common? Distraction, of the most pleasant kind, I might add.

A final dumb question. The endzone2 web page includes a bit of a rant about ‘political correctness’ creating unnecessary hazard. The thesis is, some ‘crews’, for want of a better word, should be all one gender. Especially when ‘at sea’ or equivalent for long periods of time. I wonder about this. Women astronauts and their crew members seem to manage OK. So the question is, when or is this assertion about distraction correct? In a traditionally all-male occupation? Is the ‘girl in every port’ part of the problem for seamen?

A final note. The female person on the Costa Concordia bridge was a non-paying passenger. The female person on the Exxon Valdez seems, from the articles, to have been over-qualified to be there. This is not a ‘dumb babe’ question, it’s a ‘dumb guy’ question. Should some crews be single-gender? Post your opinion here.

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