Officer Sentenced to Jail for Fatal Collision

Scottish Viking (file image courtesy Stena Lines)

By MarEx 2016-04-26 11:00:53

On Monday, the former second mate of the ferry Scottish Viking was sentenced to jail for his role in the August 2010 collision with the fishing vessel Homeland, which resulted in the death of a young fisherman. 

Pasquale Miccio, 48, had been on watch on the Viking as it approached a group of small fishing boats off St. Abb's Head, Scotland. Both he and the AB acting as lookout had sighted the boats, but the Marine Accident Investigation Branch found that Miccio "did not make a full appraisal of the situation or of the risk of collision." Miccio did not use ARPA, radar or visual bearings to appraise the risk, preferring instead to watch the approaching boats with binoculars. The Viking was the stand-on vessel, and Miccio continued to close without changing course, despite repeated warnings of the risk from his AB.  As a close quarters situation developed, he chose not to alter course to starboard, instead ordering incremental changes to port. He sounded a warning signal about 18 seconds before striking the Homeland. 

Homeland crewmember Daniel McNeil, 16, was killed in the collision. 

Miccio was charged with culpable homicide for his failure to take timely and effective action. He pled instead to a breach of the 1995 Merchant Shipping Act last month, with sentencing scheduled for April 25.

His attorney, Dorothy Bain, argued for a fine without jail time, citing her client’s contrition. "He is struggling to come to terms with what has happened. It is difficult to convey the level of remorse and sadness that he feels as a consequence of his actions,” she said. 

High Court judge Lord Bannatyne concluded Monday that "a custodial sentence is the only option;" the maximum available sentence would be for two years. 

"The collision was most certainly avoidable," said Coast Guard officer Allan Marsh, who led the investigation into the accident. "We're never going to know why this happened because Mr. Miccio never gave an account explaining his actions."