Learning from others’ mistakes

There are many lessons to be learned from the sinking of MV Explorer. An article from the Maritime Journal contains a detailed report on the inquiry’s findings.  Already, the U.S. is recommending new regulations to control commercial shipping in the antarctic region.

The inquiry states that, despite extensive experience in the Baltic Sea, the captain misread local ice conditions. This is a reminder of how specialized the seamanship needs to be in icebound waterways. A century or more ago, Robert Peary and other American explorers relied on Newfoundland sealing captains to get them closer to the North Pole. Forty years ago this September, Captain T.C. Pullen, RCN (ret.), assisted the American oil tanker S.S. Manhattan on its famous west-east transit through the Northwest Passage.

Today, some of the most knowledgeable ice masters in the Canadian arctic are Russians navigating icebreakers full of tourists through the storied Northwest Passage. In the rush to reassert Canadian sovereignty, let us not forget that historically, international cooperation has been a smarter, safer course when tackling transportation challenges in the far north.