When Miroslaw Pozniak, master of the general cargo vessel Union Moon was found four times over the legal limit for alcohol as well as with failing to keep a proper lookout and jailed for a year after colliding with the ro-ro ferry Stena Feronia it was not time to close the book on the incident. The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, has now published its report on the incident, which identifies other factors that contributed to the $1.5m accident.
Pozniak certainly earned the bulk of the liability as the judge at Downpatrick Crown Court made it clear: “This sentence makes it clear that the following of the regulations, both in relation to alcohol and also in relation to the charting and proper adherence to accepted routes, is of vital importance. The ending of your 30 year career and this sentence effectively demonstrate that”.
However, even with a drunken master it is possible that an effective bridge team might have avoided the incident. One function of a team is to act as an error trap, to ensure that a mistake of omission or commission by one of the team does not propagate into a serious accident.