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Navy man's crash decision 'almost inexplicable'
A SHIPPING law expert has described a decision made by a Royal Navy lieutenant in the moments before crashing his racing yacht into an super tanker as “almost inexplicable”.
Skipper Roland Wilson smashed into the 120,000-ton ship, bound for Fawley oil refinery, during a Cowes Week regatta, despite having seen it from five miles away, a court has heard.
The dramatic incident in 2011 forced one crew member of the Atalanta of Chester to jump clear while another was left with a head injury as the 10-metre yacht collided with the Hanne Knutsen.
But Roger Towner, Maritime and Coastguard Agency registrar general of shipping and seamen, said the skipper should have heeded laws stating that the oil tanker’s size had right of way. Giving evidence at the trial at Southampton Magistrates' Court, Mr Towner said: “Frankly to go across the bows of a tanker, it’s almost inexplicable.” Wilson, who has a home on the Isle of Wight, denies three charges of flouting maritime laws.
The trial continues.
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