Free Ferry Case Essay Sample

The Herald of Free Enterprises capsized when it almost reached the Belgian port. It capsized on 6th March 1987. The management is to blame for all the mess that took place. The responsibility of the management is to ensure safety rules are in place and the same communicated to all the juniors as orders. When the junior staff breaks one order and a problem occurs then the staff member should be blamed for the occurrence of the problem in his station.

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The case

When Mr. Stanley who was responsible for closing the bow doors finished after his maintenance checkups he was relieved by Mr. Ailyng the bosun. Stanley was never woken up when he fell asleep and the vessel left with the bow doors open. Stanley argues that it was never his duty to ensure the doors were closed and that he was not woken up. All this goes to the management style of leadership. The managements should ensure set responsibilities for all crew members and ensure they are enough in number at all times to avoid overstretching. The blame doesn’t go to the workers but the top management who are in position of formulating rules that govern the safety of the vessel.

In the case of the voyage from Zeebrugge to Dover there seems to have been a big problem since no body is taking responsibility for their actions which should always be the norm.

When there was a meeting with senior master with the total management present they had an agenda that the chief officer becomes the head of departments. This they never concluded as they suggested that the practice is to evolve on its own. This was a mistake as nobody was given a responsibility to take charge of any eventualities.

The vessel was found to have had more passengers than it was supposed to be an example is in 1986 when passengers on 15.00 D/C, 1.8.86 had 1228 passengers and they added 214 more passengers this was more than the recommended 1400. At the end the ship ended up with 1587 passengers which were way much ahead of the required 1400. If the Board of Directors and Management had ensured the total number was 1400 and no more accidents could have been prevented.


The management of the company as a whole is to blame for the accident as there are no set guidelines to be followed. The workers like Stanley and the rest who were found guilty by the court are not supposed to be charged as they only did what was expected of them and left the rest to other people who were responsible in other stations


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