Share our profits: tell a friend give us your 2-bits worth Click Here: to send us an e-mail for e-mail upldates to look thru our archives
The Calgary Eye Opener
www.calgaryeyeopener.com
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
   
Journal_Entry_Display
Other Stories
Click Here
CanWest Global flunks its own Canada history quiz U.S. President Barak Obama has branded him a corporate welfare bum --- town gossips claim he is a trillionaire --- the Old Timer lives in subsidized housing and spends his days dumpster diving
Chief Crowfoot trashes the Department of Indian Affairs Back in 1877, Crowfoot was the leader of the Blackfoot --- the most feared native tribe in western North America.
'Irrational exuberance', Alan Greenspan and the Chinese stock market by Adam Smith, the Eye Opener's economic expert
Should killer's father be quarantined? An Irish lawyer and speechifier and stretcher extraordinaire --- the best orator in North America
China 'harvesting' organs from living human beings by SCOOP, the Eye Opener's Ace Contrarian, Reporter, Opinionator
B.C. Ferries - the Queen of the North - Cap' Hahn launches a Red Herring
U.S. President Barak Obama has branded him a corporate welfare bum --- town gossips claim he is a trillionaire --- the Old Timer lives in subsidized housing and spends his days dumpster diving

06-Jun-06 -

Wikipedia defines "red herring" as

.....a number of metaphorical senses that share the general sense of something being a diversion from the original objective [including]:

  • distract from more important issues that might help the opposing party
  • in literature, a plot device intended to distract the reader from a more important event in the plot, usually a twist ending. See also MacGuffin.....

The phrase may have originated from the practice of saving a hunted fox by dragging a red herring across its trail to cause the pursuing hounds to lose the true scent and follow the false trail of herring odour instead.

This week B.C. Ferries President (and "CEO") David (Cap') Hahn (see our story of 24-Mar-06 - Human Error in The Sinking of Queen of the North? Was the hiring of B.C. Ferries' Boss the First Human Error? and our story of 30-Mar-06 - Where does the buck stop at B.C. Ferries? ) launched a red herring.

Last January B.C. Ferries brought the Queen of the North (the larger of only two ferries which could safely cross the storm-prone Queen Charlotte Straits to the Haida Gwaii or Queen Charlotte Islands) into Esquimault shipyard, refitted her with a new "steering mode selector". By shifting the selector the officer in command of the Queen's bridge told the ship how she would be steered - on autopilot (on autopilot didn't need human beings - the Queen guided herself around all of the shoals and islands of the B.C. coast without any help from the officer in command of the Queen's bridge or his helmsman). Or on manual (on manual, the commanding officer and his helmsman must steer, guided by eyesight and radar). We suspect that, every few minutes, the commanding officer had to confirm to the Queen's computer that he wanted to stay on autopilot - otherwise, the Queen would silently, without warning, shift herself to on manual Without proper training, the bridge officer wouldn't know that - even after the automatic shift to on manual, the bridge officer would believe the Queen was still on autopilot. We suspect, but we do not know, that B.C. Ferries, under the "direction" of CEO Hahn, had neglected to train the Queen's bridge commander in how to operate the steering mode selector.

We know that, on the the moonless night of March 22 the Queen had been plowing through Grenville Channel on autopilot. Then, at some point, silently and without warning, the steering mode selector switched itself to on manual. The commanding officer thought the Queen was still on autopilot. On that dark night, the commanding officer couldn't see Sandy Point - there the Queen must turn hard to port. And the Queen's radar didn't spot Sandy Point because the Queen's commanding officer had switched his on manual radar off. At her full speed of 20 knots the Queen plowed straight ahead, slammed into Gil Island, punched a hole in her hull, drowned two passengers, sank.

We do not know but we suspect that, on the night of March 22, there rested undisturbed on the bottom teakwood shelf of Cap' Hahn's corner office on Victoria's Fort Street the bookshelf's dustiest, unread volume, the BC. Ferries Operational Manual. Missing from the Manual was the following direction:

Before going to sea, crew members must be able to carry out their duties safely - they must be fully familiar with and trained to operate new or modified equipment, controls and their functions.

Into his teakwood office, burst, we suspect, a panic-stricken Cap' Hahn. One of Hahn's ferries had sunk, Hahn hadn't planned ahead to replace it; he had no experience in the transportation industry (as one Victoria-Times Colonist reader described him: "a suit not a seaman"); he was responsible for the mess but didn't know why.

It didn't take a federal Transportation and Safety Board inspector long to report that, at collision, the Queen was on manual. There were only two crew on the bridge - on manual there must be three. On manual wouldn't look good for B.C. Ferries or Hahn. Hahn, we suspect, called Ottawa, called his powerful mentor, B.C.'s Tory boss David Emerson, and within minutes, the Safety Board Inspector recanted - said the Queen was on autopilot. But not for long.

We suspect, but we do not know, that, sometime on May 11, the federal safety inspector delivered a letter to Hahn's office. The safety board had investigated thoroughly, the pesky inspector told Hahn and the board had concluded not only that, at the time of the collision with Gil Island, the Queen was on manual but that "... some bridge team members were not familiar with the use of all of the bridge equipment and controls ..." That meant that, Cap' Hahn hadn't trained his crew to operate the steering mode selector and said the letter:

[B.C. Ferries] ... may wish ... [to make crew members] ... fully familiar with and trained to operate new or modified equipment, controls and their functions such that they are prepared to be able to safely carry out their duties ...

We suspect, but don't know, that Hahn called Emerson, in Ottawa, asked Emerson to bury the letter. Buried the letter stayed but not for long. Some other pesky type in the safety board overrode Emerson and the board decided to release the May 11 letter.

Someone warned Hahn this week. Hahn had been conducting an internal investigation of the sinking for two and half months. So far as anyone knew, the Queen's crew had always cooperated with the internal investigation and with an RCMP investigation and with a federal Department of Transport investigation. But, when someone warned Hahn the May 11 letter was about to be released, Hahn called in the media and accused the bridge crew and their union, B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union, of "not cooperating".

Launching, for Hahn (and his job), a red herring. When, last night, the safety board finally released its condemnation letter of May 11, we expected the Victoria Times-Colonist to be filled with letters demanding Hahn's firing - there were none - instead the Times-Colonist wrote an editorial condemning the union and printed half a page of letters writhing in righteous indignation against the union.

 

 

 

 


WE WILL EMAIL YOU COPIES OF OUR STORIES - FREE - JUST CLICK HERE .
Reader Opinions on other stories
TO EARN POINTS IN The Calgary Eye Opener's PROFIT POOL - EMAIL US YOUR OPINIONS OR QUESTIONS BY CLICKING HERE
TO EARN POINTS IN The Calgary Eye Opener's PROFIT POOL - EMAIL US YOUR OPINIONS OR QUESTIONS BY CLICKING HERE
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
SHARE IN OUR PROFIT POOL - TELL A FRIEND ABOUT The Calgary Eye Opener BY CLICKING HERE .