Canadian Sub Fire Punishment
It looks like the Canadian Navy may differ from the U.S. Navy in another important regard -- the need for punishment of COs whose boats run into trouble. This report from the Globe and Mail (via The Sub Report) says that the head of Canada's Navy has recommended to the Chief of Defence Staff that there be no punishment for the CO of HMCS Chicoutimi. Excerpts:
"The navy's decision not to charge Cdr. Pelletier, Chicoutimi's captain, could set the stage for a battle inside the Canadian military high command. "The admiral is very protective of his people," said one official. But Gen. Hillier is the "final approving authority" and he can accept or reject the admiral's recommendations.
"Gen. Hiller must also brief Defence Minister Bill Graham on the way forward from Canada's worst military accident in decades.
"If Gen. Hillier were to overrule Adm. MacLean, the navy's commander could opt to walk the plank rather than seek to punish Cdr. Pelletier, according to officials familiar with the admiral's fierce loyalty to his service and his subordinates. In the admiral's view, Cdr. Pelletier and the Chicoutimi were the victims of a catastrophic, but unforeseeable set of circumstances.
"Officially, the navy was saying nothing yesterday, except to confirm that the report and the admiral's recommendations had been sent to Gen. Hillier."
This is quite interesting to me. How is the Canadian Navy supposed to prevent future recurrences of the problem if they don't punish those involved (Bubblehead asks sarcastically). In the U.S. Navy, we knew that if we didn't punish those involved in accidents, then people wouldn't have any incentive to keep them from happening again (Bubblehead continues in a sarcastic way). It's like those awards you give people for a certain number of accident-free years; Scott Adams of Dilbert once had one of his characters say it best -- "Without awards, there would be no incentive to avoid injury".
Hopefully, this wasn't the mindset of those who decided that the Navigation team of the San Francisco needed punishment. Obviously (at least to me) the incentive to avoid a horrible accident that could possibly result in the loss of the ship would be enough to get Navigation teams around the fleet to institute reforms based on lessons learned from the grounding. I hope that the decision to award punishment to those involved was due to an evaluation that their conduct deserved it, rather than a desire to "make an example" out of them; the pictures of the San Fran after the collision should do that by themselves.