Blunder skipper is ferry sorry..


The Mirror, 09/04/2002, p10

A DOZY Scots fishing crew sailed for three hours down the wrong way of
the world’s busiest shipping lane.
Skipper George Wood, 44, narrowly missed huge passenger ferries as he
steered the trawler Honeybourne III down the South west traffic lane of
the English Channel.
But, amazingly, they didn’t crash into any other vessels – despite
experts saying it was the sea-faring equivalent of driving down the
wrong lane of the M25 motorway.
Yesterday Wood, from Ayr, and boat owner Andrew Scott, 44, from
Dumfries, were hauled before Folkestone magistrates in Kent.
They pleaded guilty to entering a traffic separation zone, travelling
the wrong way and sailing without sufficient charts.
Wood was fined £8,000 plus £3,110 costs and Scott was fined £6,600 and
£3,110 costs.
Last night a Dover Coastguard spokesman said: “It was amazing no one
was hurt.
“He was doing the equivalent of driving the wrong way down the M25 and
was solely responsible.
“It was a very serious breach of the rules.”
The court heard how the fishing boat was travelling from Falmouth to
Aberdeen when the drama unfolded last October.
The stunned coastguard contacted the crew to tell them they were going
the wrong way.
But the blundering crew, who said their trawler’s electronic chart
system had failed and that it had no back-up charts, carried on in the
same direction for three hours.
The skipper’s lawyer, Robert Penrose, said: “My client was reluctant to
turn around into bad weather, so he made a decision which he believed
was correct.
“He decided the safest thing to do was to break the law, cross the
separation zone and steam across the other lane so he could follow the
track he’d already plotted.”


Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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