Captain going down with the ship.

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Captain going down with the ship.

Postby VW1956 » Mon May 21, 2012 10:26 am

Hello. Why is it assumed that when a ship goes down then the Captain has to go down with the ship. Maybe not so much today but in the past. If anyone person should survive then I would have thought the Captain should. He would know more of what happened prior to the ship going down than any other single person. When did the idea of the Captain going down with the ship start? Ken.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby Aly Jones » Mon May 21, 2012 11:43 am

I guess taking the high well to do paid job comes with responsibility. I thought it was a British thing that captains go down with the ship when passengers were still board the doom vessel, but I am not sure.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby VW1956 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:52 pm

Hello Aly. You might be right in that it is a British thing. It certainly sounds like a British thing. Stiff upper lip and all that stuff. I still think it's really odd. The Captain should get the ships log and then get to a boat preferably the last one. Ken.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby Aly Jones » Mon May 21, 2012 1:17 pm

What if the captains a female? Than what happens now? Should a women be left behind and die or drown? Because she is the boss and commandor.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby VW1956 » Mon May 21, 2012 6:15 pm

Hello Aly. Now that is an interesting question. Doesn't really matter that there probably wasn't any female captains. But what would happen if there were.. If a woman had made it to be captain and her ship was going to sink I would think that she would want to go with it. Ken.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby jacqui » Tue May 22, 2012 3:47 pm

Hi folks,
It's not a British thing, it's international, as seen recently with the sinking of the Costa Concordia where the Italian captain faces jail for abandoning his ship.
A captain of a ship is ultimately responsible for the safety of the passengers and crew and, in an emergency has to co-ordinate the evacuation.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby VW1956 » Tue May 22, 2012 4:27 pm

Hello Jacqui. I totally agree that he should co-ordinate the evacuation of the ship. But if the ship then sinks why does the Captain have to go with it? Or is expected to go with it. The captain probably knows more of why the ship got into trouble (and probably caused it) so he should stay safe for whatever enquirey there is afterwards.

Your newspaper cutting is on its way to you. Should be there by tomorrow morning via first class snail mail. :D Ken.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby jacqui » Tue May 22, 2012 6:16 pm

Hi Ken,

I don't think the captain has to literally go down with the ship but he has to stay in command until all crew and passengers are safely off. If he got off the ship first, discipline could break down and more lives lost than if the captain was still on board, overseeing the evacuation. If he is fortunate, he would still be able to board one of the last lifeboats. I have an idea that some of these sea laws came about due to the sinking of Titanic.
Many thanks for the paper, Ken. I'll PM you when I receive it.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby VW1956 » Wed May 23, 2012 4:54 am

Hello. I have been looking at some answers to this question. Jacqui has got it right in that the captain stays on board to make sure all passengers / crew are safe then he can get off. So if anyone goes down when a ship sinks then as the captain is the last to leave then he obviously is one of those lost. But another point that turns up in the answers is the embarrasment should the captain survive at failing in looking after his ship. Ken.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby Michael H. Standart » Wed May 23, 2012 1:12 pm

There are two reasons why the captain stays with the ship until the very bitter end, one being the commander's obligation to see to the evacuation of the passengers and crew that s/he is responsible for. While dying may very well be a preferable option depending on how the ship came to grief...(Does anybody seriously think Captain Smith would be hailed as a hero if he had survived? If you do, please let me have some of whatever it is you're smoking!)...the captain has no legal obligation to die.

The second reason, and this is something I believe Captain Brown pointed out in a different discussion, concerns the laws of salvage. So long as a representative of the shipping line which owns the vessel remains aboard, then the ship may not under the law be considered as abandoned and this gives the owners certain legal protections from anybody who might otherwise climb aboard and lay claim to their damaged but still extremely valuable asset. However a completely abandoned vessel changes the game. Instead of a representative being aboard to negotiate a deal, the first salvager aboard can...if successful in saving the vessel...dictate terms.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby JTITAN » Wed May 23, 2012 7:45 pm

I don't think the Captain has to go down with the ship just for the sake of it but he should only leave when he knows he has done all that could be done to save the passengers. However, in Titanic's circumstances one can understand why Captain Smith decided to go down with the ship. I believe he ultimately believed he was to blame for the tragedy.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby Aly Jones » Fri May 25, 2012 5:33 am

in Titanic's circumstances one can understand why Captain Smith decided to go down with the ship. I believe he ultimately believed he was to blame for the tragedy.

I believe this is rightly so. Otherwise, Smith would had tried to save himself after the ship went down.

As for CC disaster, the captain had no heart and wanted to save himself by leaving the remainder on ship to defend for themselves.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby David G. Brown » Sun May 27, 2012 12:06 am

Thanks to Michael S. for quoting what I've said before. There is no legal requirement for a captain to commit suicide just because his (or, today, her) ship sinks. What moral authority does any government have to create such a law? Should any of you kill yourselves if your car crashes? Gimme a break!!!!!

Seriously, Captains...good captains...remain where they can best command the situation. Normally, as long as the ship floats the captain stays aboard. Naturally, being the last one off is a precarious situation. That may explain why so many shipmasters do not survive the loss of their ships. But, there is no reason why a captain could not transfer to a lifeboat or liferaft to save his own skin after he has done all that can be done aboard the foundering ship.

-- David G. Brown
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby Aly Jones » Sun May 27, 2012 3:26 am

Should any of you kill yourselves if your car crashes?

We do not have duty of care for thousands of passengers, captains do.
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Re: Captain going down with the ship.

Postby VW1956 » Sun May 27, 2012 5:28 pm

David G. Brown wrote: Should any of you kill yourselves if your car crashes?


Hello. I know it's not a funny statment but for some reason the idea of doing such a thing is funny to think of it happening. Ken
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