Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Joe Cool - Missing Crew - What Are the Lessons that Can be Learned?? How Can Charter Boat Captains and Crew Protect Themselves??
Below is a story about the above pictured boat, The Joe Cool. This tragic story is all over the news. It remains possible that the crew who disappeared on Saturday are still alive. They may have been put off on an island or could be floating in life jackets in the Gulf Stream off the East Coast. We hope they are found safe soon. The Captain and his wife apparently have two small children that they left behind. It is unknown presently whether there was foul play but the there is speculation that the passengers did something to the crew. This story raises questions about how Charter Captains and Crew can keep themselves safe if their boat is chartered by passengers with criminal intent. In this age of terrorism and at times piracy one must be vigilant when taking on passengers. If you have thoughts about how vessel owners, Captains and crews can keep themselves safe from criminal acts please share them with us. Again we hope there has been no crime and that the Captain and his crew are found safe soon. UPDATE Reports in this case say that piracy off South Florida is rare to non-existent. This case, however, demonstrates how easy it is for (alleged) crimials to overpower a knowledable and sizeable crew. One must assume that the antenna of all boat captains and operators will go up following this incident and that it will not just be business as usual. Security measures on big ships like Cruise Ships is common but it seems that more must be done to protect small operators. This may be an isolated incident but one must wonder whether others may copy-cat on this incident. If these passengers did kill the crew (alleged but not proven yet) it shows how easy it would be to repeat this crime. These passengers (if they did it) did not know enough to operate the boat to their destination. If experienced operators pulled the same kind of stunt there is no telling what mischief they could do with a boat of this size. To me, this is an imporatant issue for the boating and yachting community. From this article ( http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-flbcaptains0930nbsep30,0,3438134.story ) it looks like things may be changing on the docks. Dwayne Clark