#spiritofmawson ship of fools to get the rescue cost bill from Australian government

Uh, oh:  Federal Government to seek full cost recovery for Antarctic expedition rescue

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday said costs, estimated at about $2.4 million, would be sought from the insurer of the operators of the vessel.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy, chartered by the University of NSW-associated Australasian Antarctic Expedition to retrace the steps of explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, became stuck in thick sea ice on Christmas Eve.

The 52 passengers were rescued by the Aurora Australis on January 2.

Mr Hunt said the Commonwealth would seek compensation for the recovery effort.

“We will be seeking full cost recovery through insurers for the up to $2.4 million costs incurred by the Australian government,” he said.

“We have a duty to protect life at sea and we do that willingly.

“However, what we see here is that there are some questions as to whether or not the ship was detained by the action of those on board within an area the captain had identified as potentially being subject to being frozen in.

“I think we have a duty on behalf of taxpayers to seek full cost recovery.”

Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/federal-government-to-seek-full-cost-recovery-for-antarctic-expedition-rescue/story-fncynjr2-1226809033585

h/t to Lucia at the Blackboard

Related: Battle begins over Antarctic rescue bill

==============================================

I’m betting that with this revelation

About 2.30pm the weather deteriorated. At the same time Captain Kiselev saw slabs of sea ice moving into the open water channel from which the ship had entered the area. He called for everyone to return.

A passenger standing near Professor Turney overheard the voyage leader, Greg Mortimer, telling him over the radio to bring passengers back to the ship so it can leave.

But minutes later, Professor Turney drove six more passengers into the field.

…the insurers will likely say the incident was caused by neglience on the part of Dr. Chris Turney, and toss the claim back in their laps.

UPDATE: Gosh, the hardships these Guardian guys faced is just inspiring. So is the lack of self-awareness.

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chris

Excellent!
I’d wager that if Gillard & Co were still in government, they would have insisted that the tax payer foot the bill for their green chums….

Tom G(ologist)

Well – the only thing we can hope is that their insurance premiums will be increased as a result, because, otherwise, there will be no real consequence to the university. Maybe, in the best of all possible worlds, their carrier will drop them or, at the least, force them to obtain additional cost insurance riders on all future ‘expeditions’ subject to the review of an actuary.
that would make you stop and think before approving a propaganda junket (oops) research expedition.

Peter Miller

Hopefully, the insurers will then sue Professor Turney for full recovery of costs.

KevinM

Federal Government to seek full cost recovery from federally subsidized university.
No decent sized insurance company could be held liable for the incompetence of these twits. Too much gravita$ to be punked like that.

Jenn Oates

Well, good. Stupidity should hurt.

Clay Marley

A brilliant and creative reader had posted some time back ,on one of these Turney expedition threads, the idea that Anthony should sell WUWT branded popcorn.
I have a feeling 2014 will be a great year for it.
Polar Vortex got you shut in? Trapped by miles of ice? How about a steamin’ hot bowl of Watts Up With That!

TIM

Insurance agency to pay huh? Nice one. I wonder how this will affect the premiums for future ‘fantastic voyages’ like it.
This is surely going to discourage others from embarking on similar planet saving missions. Who will be left to provide us with the cold hard facts on the ground? We’re doomed.

brians356

$2.4M is a small price to pay to save the planet “for the children and other living things.”

The government sues an insurance company who then sues the government. Money shuffle. Tuney was in charge and I betcha it costs him nothing.

Richard D

…the insurers will likely say the incident was caused by neglience on the part of Dr. Chris Turney, and toss the claim back in their laps.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
So long as it wasn’t criminal negligence, I believe insurance will pay. Also, there are other parties that will likely seek reimbursement – China and perhaps the US (the US icebreaker was asked to assist/standby by the Australians).

What it will also do is spike Insurance costs for outings such as this in the future. Some may see that as a good thing. But there are legitimate scientific ventures that will be negatively impacted by Turney’s gross incompetence and malfeasance.

Richard D

KevinM says: January 24, 2014 at 10:37 am
Federal Government to seek full cost recovery from federally subsidized university.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=
You’re missing the bigger point I think. New government with different priorities. Likely future publicity stunts like this one will have great difficulty securing insurance or university backing. Off-topic but I bet eco warriors stay the hell away from Russian waters after they faced real prison terms. And of course the French simply scuttled the Rainbow Warrior…..

“I think we have a duty on behalf of taxpayers to seek full cost recovery.”
—–
Turney need only hold up his “Scientific Award for Excellence” and the evil tax payers will scramble like vampires before a cross.

John W. Garrett

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of fools.

Resourceguy

This proves the corollary that seeking the deep pockets is equivalent to the rule of thumb called follow the money, eh Chris?

Aphan

Well his new Frederick White Prize money ($3000) is a nice, but small, start to apply to his new debt don’t you think? I wonder how many more “prizes” he’ll be awarded to defray the cost….

Aphan

Jenn Oats said-
“Well, good. Stupidity should hurt.”
We call it “Stupid Tax” here at home.

Doug Proctor

If the insurers do say Turney was to blame, even if the Government does eventually pick up the tab, the good Professor’s image is (rightly) hammered. In part because the Government will first try to have the University should pay for it if the insurers won’t.
Promoting accountability (i.e. the Developed World or Big Oil or the Denialist Camp) is a tricky thing when you have to live by the same rules as the ones you target.

Gail Combs

Insurers are not interested in parting with money. Professor Chris(tmas) Turkey is going to be answering some very awkward questions and the insurers are not about to cut him any slack.
Insurance investigators make pit trained pit bulls look like puppies.

Momsthebest

If the laws are similar to those in the United States, the organizers will still be liable even if their insurance doesn’t pay up. And even if it is one government organization reimbursing another, that is fair, because the rescue operation was unnecessary. Why should the budget of one government organization be gobbled up by the misdeeds of another? Perhaps Professor Turney’s superiors will find some way to clip him for his irresponsible behavior, bad publicity, and lack of judgement. And perhaps future scientific ventures will have to think twice about taking aboard tourists. Rather than offsetting the costs of the expedition, the tourists may cause costs to rise to the point where tourists will stick to tourist destinations rather than pretending that they are world explorers. Hubris!

kenw

Often the insurance will pay the claim and then sue the actual at-fault entities. That way they can obtain additional sums thru the courts for litigation costs, or other little extras, etc beyond the actual claim amount ….. It tends to keep the customers of the insurance company happier.

I hope the Americans and the Chinese also seek recovery of their costs.

If they have to pay, they would be getting off easy. There was a time when such stupidity was far more costly. There would have been no survivors.
I suspect an important cause of the rampant rise of stupidity is that there is no longer a cleansing of the stupid gene pool. The stupid survive to breed again with the rest of us paying most of the costs. The Darwin effect should be allowed to operate in full. Perhaps then, the few surviving stupids would learn not to be so stupid the next time. If not, they might well leave the gene pool a bit cleaner the next time. They will have done it to themselves.
Ignorance and “I didn’t expect THIS to happen” is no excuse. Especially when there are ample examples scattered about history to provide information about what not to do. Refuse to learn form history at your own peril and be prepared to pay the full price for the consequences of your actions.

Richard D

It’s difficult for me to fathom a professional master/skipper allowing an idiot like Turney to do what he did. The skipper by law is solely responsible for the life and safety of all souls on his ship, as well as the ship physically. The skipper put his ship and passengers in a situation where everything had to go right in an environment that likely exceeded the boat’s intended build/purpose. Inexcusable. The owner/insurance will rightly be held responsible. I don’t doubt there will be an adjustment in the skipper’s future.

Greg

Richard D says: ” And of course the French simply scuttled the Rainbow Warrior…..”
Oh, and killed a member of the crew. Sorry forgot to mention that.
The two french agents eventually convicted for the killing did a short term in NZ before being allowed to finish the sentence in the care of their french employers on an island military base. (The sort of thing most people would regard as dream holiday). Doubtless they only fed on gruel and cold water by the french govt. for the duration of their sentence though.
What was your point again? I didn’t quite get where you were going with that.

Tom G(ologist)

Gail Combes – I agree. My earlier post was not to mean I think insurers will cough up without a fight. This is going to be ugly but we outsiders won’t actually get to see most of it. The ship’s insurance company will refuse to pay and will file an action against the university insurance company. Both will then start forensic evaluations which will last about one to two years while the legal departments of both companies strategize and posture (called negotiate) to frame the other one.
In the midst of it, we here can take some comfort knowing that, behind the curtain, Dr, Chris will be in the hot seat and will first be interrogated by both (or more) insurers, by his university, and THEN he will be deposed if the insurers can’t come to settlement terms.
what we can all REALLY hope for is that the organizations which sent reporters and/or others who went there on their respective payrolls will seek reimbursement for lost time and lost money with nothing to show for it. It would not cost them much to join an existing action, so this could be a lot of fun. Of course it could all go futt, but we can hope, can’t we.

Richard D

What was your point again? I didn’t quite get where you were going with that.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++==
Government’s, even western democracies, don’t play nice when their interests are threatened.

cnxtim

The more public scrutiny and ridicule bought to bear on these fools from “Kensington High School” the better – no respite whatsoever.

Neil Jordan

Re Richard D says: January 24, 2014 at 10:50 am
Gail Combs says: January 24, 2014 at 11:07 am
kenw says: January 24, 2014 at 11:10 am
The legal term for an insurance company going after parties to get back what it paid out for damages is “subrogation”:
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/subrogation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subrogation
An example is provided here:
http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=2044
[begin quote]
subrogation
n. assuming the legal rights of a person for whom expenses or a debt has been paid. Typically, subrogation occurs when an insurance company which pays its insured client for injuries and losses then sues the party which the injured person contends caused the damages to him/her. Example: Fred Farmer negligently builds a bonfire which gets out of control and starts a grass fire which spreads to Ned Neighbor’s barn. Good Hands Insurance Co. has insured the barn, pays Neighbor his estimated cost of reconstruction of the barn, and then sues Farmer for that amount. Farmer will have all the “defenses” to the insurance company’s suit that he would have had against Neighbor, including the contention that the cost of repairing the barn was less than Neighbor was paid or that Neighbor negligently got in the way of firefighters trying to put out the grass fire.
[end quote]

jbird

Political dog and pony show…. The taxpayers will ultimately end up footing the bill for this nonsense in one way or another.

Richard D

@ Neil.
I’m familiar yet here we’re dealing with maritime law. The captain is responsible for the lives and safety of passengers and crew on his ship.

john robertson

@Greg 11:29
Perhaps the contrast between countries reactions to the Greenpeaes bullying,
The French fiasco was a publicity boon to the activists, got them all kinds of Cred in NZ and world wide.Being sneaky as a state failed.
Of course one must remember the investigation did show the cameraman drown as he tried to save his camera gear before himself.
Changes little for French culpability, murder or manslaughter the man is still dead from an act of state terrorism.
But what French activity have they protested since?
The Russian response was simple and to the point
I am still waiting for the cowards at greenpeace to protest in China.any Opec country,the heavy oil industries of California…
Its not gonna happen, which shows the PR hackivists for what they are.Fully funded flunkies.
What Chairman Moa called useful idiots fill the lower ranks..
On topic
The money talks will have the cruise participants stabbing each other in the back in most amusing ways.
From damning with faint praise, to throwing Turkey meat to the wolves.
When will this ship of fools stop entertaining ?
Sort of like the CRU emails, a gift that keeps on giving.

StrongDreams

I believe, from previous information, that my particular university has something like a $5 million deductible. Otherwise the policy premiums are too expensive if the insurer has to cover every little thing. Obviously I don’t know anything about UNSW.
It also depends on who the “operators” being sued are, which I’m not clear on. Would that be the signatories to the charter, or the tour company, or the Russian owners?
But, something to keep in mind, if the costs are lower than or close to the deductible for whomever covers the insurance, insurance might be irrelevant in this case.

Clay Marley

Here in Arizona we have what is known as the “Stupid Motorist Law”. During our Monsoon season some roads over washes can flood during or after a storm. Barriers are put up warning motorists not to attempt crossing the flooded road. Some do anyway and end up needing rescue. Often the water is strong enough to float the car and carry it downstream. The Stupid Motorist Law means the motorist pays for his own rescue, plus an additional $2,000 just for being stupid.
Perhaps Antarctica needs a Stupid Tourist Law.

Jimbo

I gotta funny sorta feelin’ Mr. Turkey is being thrown under the bus by the Warmists at the Independent and the BBC. They called it a “fiasco”.

Independent – 22 January 2014
A failure to respond to an order from the ship’s captain may have played a critical role in the operational fiasco that led to the stranding of the Akademik Shokalskiy in thick Antarctic sea ice on Christmas Eve……..
Some passengers who had remained on the ship also reported that Captain Igor Kiselev and his crew were frustrated and angry with the delay because they had seen slabs of sea ice moving into the open water channel from which the ship had entered the area……….
Andrew Luck-Baker, a BBC radio producer who was one of the four journalists on the expedition, said………..“The expedition leaders could have some tough questions to face about logistical shortcomings that may have put the vessel at increased risk of becoming trapped. These were operational errors and mishaps during a visit by scientists and tourists to a location close to the Antarctic shore on 23 December,” Mr Luck-Baker said…………
“However, there was a lack of organisation to supervise and enforce it. A number of us were at the islands for about two hours, having wandered off in small groups with the scientist whose work we were particularly interested in. In the thrilling environment in which we now found ourselves, it was easy to lose track of time,” Mr Luck-Baker said……
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/communication-breakdown-on-board-the-akademik-shokalskiy-blamed-for-the-ship-being-stranded-in-antarctic-ice-over-christmas-9078090.html

Let us not forget this little gem too:

[PASSENGER Janet Rice – After 1 am on December 24 ]
“The third drama of the day is the one which is still unfolding. Because of the Argo mishap we got off late, and had one less vehicle to ferry people to and fro. I’m told the Captain was becoming rather definite late in the afternoon that we needed to get everyone back on board ASAP because of the coming weather and the ice closing in. As I write we are continuing to make extremely slow progress through what looks like a winter alpine snow field – it’s yet another surreal part of this journey that we are in a ship trying to barge our way through here! I’m sure the Captain would have been much happier if we had got away a few hours earlier. Maybe we would have made it through the worst before it consolidated as much as it has with the very cold south- easterly winds blowing the ice away from the coast, around and behind us as well as ahead.
http://www.janetrice.com.au/?e=98

The forces are closing in on Mr. Turkey. He thought he could escape responsibility by yapping on about fast ice and unpredictability. He should have listened to the captain.

ScottR

The refusal of the tourist to return, when ordered by the captain, could possibly be considered mutiny.

Admad
Jimbo

I wonder whether the insurance company will launch an investigation first. Would they be obliged to pay if they can show that Turney disobeyed orders from the captain? Who pays if they don’t.

Richard D

Actual scientific expeditions doing work in areas visited would have enlisted an icebreaker and NOT an ice hardened ship. The owner contracted for work beyond the boats intended purpose and design or else the captain allowed himself to be talked into taking chances that put lives and boat at risk. The owner/captain won’t be let off by saying they ceded responsibility to expedition leaders.
Turney is still an idiot, and deserving of boat loads of ridicule.

Roberto

I’m ignorant, but I wonder whether the fact they were on shore matters. If they were dropped off for a day trip in coldest Norway, wouldn’t they bear some of their own responsibility? Is Antarctica different that way?

Richard Lawson

A delicious irony would be if Turney took insurance from Catlin, the insurance company of 2011 ‘Arctic Survey!!’ fame.

Agree this entire sheemozzle has light years to run yet.
I am waiting to learn if UNSW gave $1.5million to AAE no reply from UNSW.
Also curious at contradiction between Russian crew who said on return to Bluff that they put out a “pan pan pan” message yet AMSA gets this from Falmouth UK as a “distress” call.
I have asked the AMSA Minister to look into why AMSA did not downgrade the thing below distress when AAE were clearly partying on and simply delayed not in distress – The AAD ship could have completed cargo operations at Casey before hightailing it east.
Naturally no reply – normal.

StrongDreams

It’s difficult for me to fathom a professional master/skipper allowing an idiot like Turney to do what he did. The skipper by law is solely responsible for the life and safety of all souls on his ship, as well as the ship physically. The skipper put his ship and passengers in a situation where everything had to go right in an environment that likely exceeded the boat’s intended build/purpose. Inexcusable. The owner/insurance will rightly be held responsible. I don’t doubt there will be an adjustment in the skipper’s future.
In fairness to the captain, if he tells Mortimer, “Don’t leave the ship, the ice is coming, pass it on,” and Mortimer tells Turney, “Don’t leave the ship, the ice is coming,” and Turney drives off anyway, I’m not sure that’s the captains fault (to put it mildly).

@ Greg. If memory serves it was a Spanish journalist who was trapped on board as the Rainbow Warrior sank, the two agents were unaware that he had slipped back on to the ship, he had nothing to do with the actual crewing of the ship.

JEM

There’s a new sheriff in town. I’m liking the cut of this Abbott gentleman’s jib.
I agree with the potential for a ‘chilling effect’ on real science (hey, there’s a pun there, I guess) but this one was such a mess from concept to execution that the miscreants have to be sanctioned somehow.
I’m betting that Turney et al was probably concerned that some of his hangers-on would probably be clamoring for a refund if they didn’t get time on the ice.

negrum

Clay Marley says:
January 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm
” … Perhaps Antarctica needs a Stupid Tourist Law. …”
—-l
Maybe the Australian counterpart of the director of the French Polar Institute (the one who was “spitting tacks with anger” ) would welcome the idea 🙂

glyn

Australia’s Antarctic Tourism Policy, March 2004
To implement this policy Australia will work to develop within the Antarctic Treaty system:
•an accreditation scheme to encourage adherence to voluntary guidelines and codes of behaviour by all tourist expeditions;
•an environmental monitoring framework capable of identifying both short-term and cumulative impacts arising from tourism activities;
•activity guidelines addressing environmental and safety issues which will assist in the planning and conduct of activities commonly undertaken by tourists to ensure that such activities have no more than a minor or transitory environmental impact and are conducted in a safe and responsible manner;
•a site management system incorporating site-specific guidelines to identify and put in place management controls for sites identified as being at risk;
•an Antarctic shipping code for consideration by the International Maritime Organisation to encourage appropriate environmental and safety standards for commercial shipping in the Antarctic Treaty area;
•a co-ordinated inspection/observer scheme to audit compliance with regulatory and voluntary measures governing tourism activities;
•effective quarantine procedures to prevent the introduction and spread of exotic species in the Antarctic environment.
•a database on tourism activities to assist in the management of these activities; and
•a financial security system that requires all tourism activities to carry adequate insurance, provide a bond, or otherwise indemnify or reimburse others against the cost of support provided in the event of accidents or an emergency.
http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/tourism/australian-policy

Resourceguy

I would suggest a mechanics lien be placed on Chris Turney’s assets until the bill is paid.

Gail Combs

Lionell Griffith says:
January 24, 2014 at 11:21 am
If they have to pay, they would be getting off easy. There was a time when such stupidity was far more costly. There would have been no survivors.
I suspect an important cause of the rampant rise of stupidity is that there is no longer a cleansing of the stupid gene pool….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Perhaps we need a new award. Zombies of the Gene Pool

papertiger

Richard D says:
January 24, 2014 at 11:52 am
@ Neil.
I’m familiar yet here we’re dealing with maritime law. The captain is responsible for the lives and safety of passengers and crew on his ship.

The captain had the option to leave the dipsticks on the ice, take his boat to safety. If that could be construed as necessary to protect the safety of the majority of passengers and crew, captain screwed up.
I bet 2.4 million is enough to end an Antarctic tour company.