The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined Thursday that improper training and bad steering by the ship’s Second Officer caused a Princess Cruises ship to tilt suddenly in 2006, injuring almost 300 people, some seriously.
The NTSB said the Crown Princess’s captain and crew failed to realize how fast they were going in shallow water leaving Port Canaveral, Florida. As a result, the cruise ship was sheering off to port and listing or tilting enough that the second officer, who was on the bridge, felt that he had to take immediate action to stop what was occurring.
Second Officer Adam Stratford stated: “I switched the system off NACOS (auto pilot) into hand steering and then I took the wheel myself.” Stratford then said “I turned the wheel to port which was my mistake. I meant to go to starboard with the ship sheering off the port. I need to go to starboard but I went to port.”
The Captain, Andrew Proctor, was not on the bridge when the July 18, 2006 accident occurred and he had placed the ship on auto pilot prior to leaving the bridge.
The ship tilted an estimated 16 to 18 degrees, causing the injuries to the passengers after passengers and objects tumbled. “The errors of the Captain and staff captain in operating the integrated navigation system resulted from inadequate training” the Board said.
After the accident the ship returned to Port Canaveral, Florida. The Crown Princess subsequently returned to Brooklyn, New York to close a 10-day Caribbean trip.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Mass Transit Accidents.