“Laura Gainey was an unlucky victim of the risk that she took by electing to go to sea”

Update (Nov. 29) – Laura Gainey’s shipmates question safety procedures: Fellow deckhands, diary offer telling details of final hours before young woman swept to her death off deck of tall ship The Canadian Press

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Those words appeared in a report issued by a Cook Islands Maritime’s Marine Board of Inquiry investigating the death of Laura Gainey who was washed overboard during a trip aboard the tall ship Picton Castle from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean last fall. However, it was recently reported that a critical report issued by the original investigator assigned to the incident, retired U.S. Navy Captain Andrew Scheer, never saw the light of day and was replaced by one issued by the Cook Islands Marine Board of Inquiry that was much more favorable to the ship. According to Newstalk Radio CJAD, “the ship’s former captain, Michael Vogelsgesang is calling Scheer’s report “a load of crap,” that overstates the safety issues.”

The Gainey Family has remained silent until this week; however, they are claiming a cover up has taken place. As we posted last week, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has initiated their own investigation into what took place aboard the Picton Castle that fateful night last December. Here is a link to an audio interview with Paul van den Berg, a safety analyst with the TSB.

Here is an excerpt of a video interview with Laura’s father, Bob and sister, Anna via The Canadian Press who see things very differently.

Last night (November 28, 2007) the CBCnews show the fifth estate broadcast an episode entitled Overboard which was an investigative report into the incident aboard the tall ship Picton Castle. (If you are in Canada it will be aired again November 30 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld & December 2 at 11pm on CBC-TV) Here is links to an interview with Bob Gainey and below is an excerpt of the fifth estate report.

This is an extremely sad story for everyone involved. My heart goes out to the Gainey family who have demonstrated an incredible grace in what must have been a nightmare come to life. While going to sea is an inherently risky endeavor, any and all precautions must be taken by those who own and operate vessels to avoid all shipboard accidents and especially catastrophic ones like this.

Update (Nov. 29) – AOL News Poll – Do you believe there is a ‘coverup’ in this case? (with 467 votes – yes 60%; no 21%, not sure 19%)

Additional Media:

Gainey dismisses report into death of daughter as ‘coverup’ CBC News Nov. 27,2007

Gainey charges whitewash at sea The Star.com Nov. 28, 2007

Fellow deckhands, personal diary offer telling details of Gainey’s final hours The Canadian Press Nov. 28, 2007

Gainey fights inquiry The London Free Press Nov. 28, 2007

Probe counters ship’s statement on safety procedures prior to Gainey death The Canadian Press Oct. 16, 2007.

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

6 thoughts on ““Laura Gainey was an unlucky victim of the risk that she took by electing to go to sea””

  1. John, thanks the always insightful input.

    The story about the 2 investigative reports is a little confusing and it’s easy to see how the Gainey’s confidence in the regulatory system was shaken. There may be some good reasons for this, but at this point it seems to create more questions than answers.

    Thanks for commenting.

  2. The unofficial report states “While the crew and trainees participated in a fire drill, no other safety drills were carried out prior to or after sailing”

    Seems unbelievable. We are required to have an abandonship AND fire drill every month but we usually hold them every Sunday. As a chief mate I’m in charge of these drills and can say even once a week doesn’t provide enough time to train people who are not professional firefighters or rescuers in tactics that are seldom (hopefully never) used.

  3. Pingback: gcaptain.com

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