Captain Charged in Boat Accident

The captain of a boat that was involved in a collision last year off the Newfoundland coast has been charged under Canada's maritime laws. Matthew Whalen was the captain of the Marine Voyager, when it was involved in an accident that involved a smaller boat. A Burgeo man complained that the Marine Voyager had collided with his boat and then plowed right through it. The other boat had been anchored, and the boat owner apparently saw the ferry coming, but thought that it would avoid him. That didn't happen. The Marine Voyager broadsided the smaller boat, and then just kept going. The boat owner was not injured in the accident. Investigations later showed that there was a light fog at the time, but not severe enough to impact visibility. Now, Whalen has been charged under the Canada Shipping Act for his role in the collision. He has been charged with failing to keep a proper lookout on board his vessel. As a maritime attorney, I often see accidents occur as a result of failure to maintain a proper lookout. It is very fortunate that the small boat owner in this case was not injured, and did not suffer extensive damage to his boat. Very often, such collisions can result in heavy damage to the vessel and serious injuries. A maritime collision can generate enough force to result in heavy damage, and in a worst-case scenario, can even end with explosions and fires. Many of these accidents occur because the captain of the vessel leaves the bridge unattended.

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