St Helena Online

Yacht disaster that highlighted sea safety failings

Click the pic to see Bruce Salt's extraordinary images of the loss of the Queequeg
Click the pic to see Bruce Salt’s extraordinary images of the loss of the Queequeg

The wreck of the yacht Queequeg in James Bay brought home the failings in St Helena’s ancient marine laws, says the man in charge of reviewing them. 

The 40-year-old racing yacht, built by a celebrated Australian designer, was about to be sailed away from the island in late 2011 when its mooring snapped. The crew were ashore buying provisions.

Within minutes, the vessel was being pounded by surf on rocks by the Needle’s Eye, close to the Jamestown landing steps.

St Helena Government eventually agreed to pay compensation of £228,000 after it emerged that the crew had been directed to use temporary moorings that had been declared unfit.

Hedge Shuter’s company, Marine Maven (T&T) Ltd, oversaw the installation of “world class” new moorings below Ladder Hill Fort, in time for the arrival of the Governor’s Cup fleet in December 2012.

“I think the Queequeg did highlight the need to have proper regulation,” said Hedge – a qualified yachtmaster who carried out the police investigation into the wrecking.

And he told Saint FM listeners that laws may have to be changed following the marine review he is now carrying out for the government.

“Our Harbour Ordinance, 200 years old some of it, may not be relevant for today,” he said. “It may not be relevant for the future.

“SHG conducted an audit of the maritime sector. That report showed that some things that should be working aren’t working.

“The laws and stuff we’re working with are so out of date, they’re not applicable or they’re difficult to work with in this day and age.

“And that highlighted the need to actually conduct a review of the sector.”

Recommendations will eventually go before executive councillors. 

Yacht wreck owner gets £200,000 pay-out
GALLERY: The wreck of the Queequeg

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