Three Black Balls Follow-Up: Hope is not a strategy

The British, predictably, has some of the best coverage of the Costa Concordia disaster. I posted a chart yesterday that purportedly showed the track of the ship “shooting the gap” between Giglio and a smaller rock off the coast – which, according to the BBC and Lloyds, may be inaccurate. The chart they are showing has the ship passing to the east of that rock – and also shows a similar track the ship took last year..

(Image via the BBC and Lloyd’s List)

Those two facts – that the ship passed to seaward of the rocks and that the ship had done a similar pass once before – may seem to exonerate the captain, but as a navigator I still look at those charts and shudder.  Passing that close to land without a pilot is always a bad idea. Ships and the sea change from day to day – tides go up and down, currents go in and out. A ship that big can’t be counted on to respond to the rudder exactly the same way every day. The captain was merly relying on hope that the tides weren’t different, that the currents wouldn’t change, and that he would execute the turn EXACTLY the same way as he did last time – and hope is not a strategy.

The entire incident just underscores how important people still are to every day decisions – on a ship like that, nearly everything is automated, and the ship will literally drive itself, but they still don’t have a computer with common sense and a willingness to ask “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

Advertisements

About thinklikeafox

I'm a Naval Officer living in Southern California. I hope to be attending law school in the next year or two, and I started writing this blog out of a desire to improve my writing and critical thinking skills after a couple years outside of academia.
This entry was posted in Graphs, Military and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Three Black Balls Follow-Up: Hope is not a strategy

  1. Pingback: Three Black Balls | Think Like a Fox

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s