In a press release issued a few days ago by MSC, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A in an unsigned note on their webpage said to the effect that they were only the charterers, they did not have anything to do with the navigation of the RENA:-
However, it is surprising that the media in New Zealand and Australia have not picked up on the schedules set by MSC for their ships, chartered, managed, owned orotherwise. Take a look here at ther "Capricorn" service:-
10-11 ports rotation in 13-14 days is inhuman and probably impossible given the rules and regulations supposed to be followed onboard ships. Those who set these gruelling schedules knew this and know this and are again probably from MSC - but hey, they are not responsible, as charterers, right?
Do the maths. With the Master and Chief Officer awake throughout port stays plus approaching and leaving portplus while at sea plus for all sorts of other responsibilities, it would be fair to assume that by the time the RENA was approaching TAURANGA and/or the Astrolabe, things were pretty much knackered on board as far as rest hour regulations were concerned. the other officers, probably junior 2nd Mate and 3rd Mate, would not have had too much rest either.
A look at the time sheets before they go into the ocean would be of interest. If, however, the timesheets as well as the data from the various data recorders onboard can not be salvaged, then some simple maths working things backwards with available records in ports can be done.
And then, after that, find out who were the wonder boys and girls who laid out schedules of the sort that the MSC Capricorn Service boasts of.
For a country, New Zealand, where dirt on shoes can attract penalties for tourists, letting schedules of this sort endanger the complete environmental balance can only make me, a seafarer from far away and simpler India, look on in amazement. Was there nobody in the whole of New Zealand's maritime administration that noted this simple truth - schedules which simply broke every rest hour and logical rule about ship operations?
At the end of the day, it is fatigue in so many cases of incidents at sea - but what are the responsibilities of those setting the schedules, then? The Master and 2nd Mate will no doubt get it in the neck and probably be laid up for life, but what about the more experienced shore staff, who put them on this amazingly intense schedule, with its tragic consequnces?
It is difficult not to get emotional when you see a proud ship breaking her back, helplessly, in a part of the world which one has wonderful memories of.
But the realities are that the schedules set by MSC for the RENA and the other ships on their Capricorn Service were and still are brutal. And they are still on the same brutal schedules, ongoing. And it appears as though governance in New Zealand is doing nothing about it, the real cause.
Readers may wish to take a look at this previous post on the subject of maritime fatigue:-