The Peter Hughes office don't have a clue what they are doing...
Capt Nigel - Boat Captain
January 28, 2002 at 09:03:29
As a very good friend of Captain Chris and a former Dancer Captain myself, I have to reply to Arnold and Dick. Firstly Arnold.....I agree with you 100%!!! Secondly Dick, Chris was your skipper through Mitch and about 5 of the crew are also personally known to me. I can tell you that procedures for that hurricane were followed very differently than Iris. Not so much the Peter Hughes office (who, in my humble opinion, do not have a clue what they are doing!), but instead in the way the Captain handled the situation. With Iris, the warning period was many times longer than Mitch, but in Mitch you were safely hunkered down more than 36 hours before the hurricane was due to arrive, where as in Iris it was more like 5 hours or less!!!
You see Captain Chris is not intimidated by money grabbing owners who think of their wallets more than passenger safety. He will stand up to owners who have no clue about seamanship, meterology, etc etc, and tell them that they are talking bullsh#@!! He will correctly be the MASTER of the vessel and properly use all avenues of advise, but ultimately make the correct decision based on his qualifications and experience. This Captain during Iris, MAY (and I choose my words carefully here) have not been very experienced, and MAY have been told what to do by the PHD head office. He MAYBE did not know anything about the hurricane until about 10 or 11 hours before it hit, and MAYBE had divers in the water at that time at Lighthouse reef. PERHAPS a helicopter told him to get back in and seek shelter, and MAYBE he came within 5 - 10 miles of Belize City, where passengers COULD have been dropped off for shelter in hotels. MAYBE when he did get to Big Creek for shelter he tied the lines too tight so as not to allow for a storm surge, because MAYBE he was too inexperienced.
You know these vessels MAY NOT BE SOLAS certified... I would hate to think of the risks involved if there was a fire onboard a no-SOLAS boat. A different scenario I know, It would be most probably devastating!...But hey, it is cheaper not to make a vessel SOLAS compatible than make it compliant with IMO regulations.... in the short term anyway!