04 February 2012

Life and liability

If someone's life is in danger, what is more important? That this person is saved? Or that you make sure you don't accidentally break a rule, and be held accountable later? Or that you don't waste too much effort in a rescue attempt?

The fire brigade in Scotland some time ago clearly decided the second is the crucial one. And I think some cruise liner captain (not a very popular profession these days!) made the same decision, or chose the third option, yesterday. I saw this news item on the BBC news website: "British cruise ship passenger 'seen falling overboard'". So what happened? Someone saw someone fall off an enormous ship, and raised the alarm. What did the ship's authorities do? Search the ship! The chap was seen falling overboard; shouldn't you be searching the water? And of course you should have a look on board as well; maybe the person who saw it was mistaken. But by the time you've searched a ship of that size the man in the water is surely dead. It looks like they had their priorities quite muddled. I hope the BBC just got their story wrong, but unfortunately, the Miami Herald gives the same information.
I hope that if I'm ever involved in rescue (on either side) those in charge have their priorities straight...

The ship in question. Source: Creative Commons

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