As has been widely reported in the world's newspapers and nautical blogs the SF Concordia of Barbados Flag State sank several hundred miles off the coast of Brazil last week. There is some confusion about the actual day, some say Wednesday, some say Thursday and therein lies the problem. The Brazilian Naval authorities have been placed in the position, largely by the reporting of Associated Press, of having to defend search efforts for the shipwreck. This is the same Brazilian Navy which expanded such gallant efforts in search and recovery after the Air France crash at sea between Brazil and Africa.
In the Associated Press Release on my desk the report by one Tales Azzoni contains some points, in the opinion of NAUTICAL LOG, worth mentioning. The Brazilian Navy is defending its response to a shipwreck that left dozens of teenage students from around the world adrift on the ocean for two nights. The Navy deployed a search aircraft about 19 hours after a distress signal was received from the SV Concordia. This is in line with standard Brazilian Navy procedure an official has stated. This does seem a rather long time but that is their stated procedure. All 48 students and 16 crewmembers were safely rescued by merchants ships and transferred to the port of Rio de Janeiro Brazil under the responsibility of the Brazilian Navy.
The Canadian based Class Afloat has arranged flights and the students were expected to begin flying home late Sunday. Nigel McCarthy, President and CEO of West Island College International, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia which operates Class Afloat expressed concern that the students were left adrift in life rafts for so long before being rescued.
Now NAUTICAL LOG wonders at this disingenuous statement it is after all the clear responsibility of his school ship and its CAPT. William Curry to prevent the incident in the first place. By preparing a Passage Plan that considers the weather conditions and since he seems a knowledgeable Master from his statements, the possibility of 'microbursts' from those conditions. Mr. Nigel McCarthy comes across as self-centered and self-serving. It is also stated that the London UK based Barbados Maritime Ship Registry, which works on behalf of the Barbados Government, will conduct an Investigation as Flag State. Brazil and its Navy will have authority in this Investigation as Port State and one hopes exercises it to the fullest extend.
Not leaving things alone we also have a report of a statement from the Canadian Maritime Forces Atlantic public affairs officer Navy Lt. Edward Stansfield who said the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax would have sent planes immediately after receiving a distress signal from ships offshore. Well good for them and basically that is actually what the Brazilian Navy did. It is neither Canadian Navy Lt. Stansfield's position or duty to comment on the operating procedures of the Brazilian Navy. Countries have different procedures, equipment, training and Maritime Laws. PAO Navy Lt. Stansfield is away out of line and must have attended the same diplomatic school as Australian FM Stephen Smith (see previous Post). Also on being reviewed Standard Operating Procedures can be changed to be more effective, the Canadian Armed Forces certainly have - thankfully for those of us who have had to deal with them.
So in conclusion all concerned have been rather superior, high-handed and self-oriented in dealing with this incident dumped in Brazil's lap. All you had to do was - just say thanks.