Language: a safety issue at sea

Rescued boat crew had no common language

Tuesday, 12 August 2008 15:01

RTÉ News; © RTÉ 2008


Investigators concluded that the crew of a sunken fishing boat did not speak a common language. The Royalist, which sunk of the coast off An Daingean, Co Kerry, Ireland (Google Maps), had a crew of 18 with most speaking a different language. The skipper of the UK registered boat did not speak English. The investigators found a weather-tight door was open despite a notice in English warning to keep it shut.


It was recently reported that the Mary Rose (Wikipedia) suffered a similar fate when most of its crew did not speak English. In my blog entry on the Mary Rose story I said that language is a necessary cost, but not sufficient for the stability of the business. However, it seems that owner of ships and boats do not take language as a serious factor.

The other factor the Royalist has in common with the Mary Rose is low labour cost. We can safely assume that the reason the crew of the fishing boat were not Spanish or British is because the crew were not paid enough to attract skilled people.

The issue here is that globalisation seems to require a common language. Is it time that the world community recognised the need fort a common language and started doing something about it?

Bottom Line

Language is a real safety problem on ships.

Tags: language, English, sinking, boat, sea, globalisation, globalization


Google Maps UK: An Daingean, Co Kerry

The Mary Rose [Trust]:

Mary Rose. (2008, August 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:16, August 13, 2008, from

Language is a cost:

No comments: