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Skipper faces trial over Cowes Week collision with a tanker

  • Wed, 9 Oct 2013

A former Navy lieutenant is charged with negligence at trial after his yacht collided with a 120,000-ton Hanne Knutsen tanker during Cowes Week

Atalanta of Chester

A former Navy lieutenant faces charges of negligence after the 33ft yacht he was skippering during a Cowes Week yacht race collided with an oil tanker.

Roland Wilson, 31, from Stanely, Perthshire is accused of contravening three maritime regulations at Southampton Magistrates' Court over the incident, which saw the vessel crash into the side of a 120,000-ton tanker called Hanne Knutsen.

The collision occurred during Cowes week in August 2011 when Wilson and his seven crew failed to acknowledge the 3300ft exclusion zone and allowed the racing yacht Atalanta of Chester to veer into a marked shipping lane during a race.

A rescue operation was launched after several of Wilson's crewmembers jumped overboard, leaving one person with minor injuries.

The trial is expected to last for six days, with Wilson facing one charge of failing to conduct a proper lookout and two charges of impeding the passage of the tanker.

Prosecutor for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Peter Handley, told magistrates: "We don't say the defendant didn't see the Hanne Knutsen at all, that's obviously not the case. We do say he failed to take a full appraisal of the situation."

The case will be put to a jury who will decide whether on the balance of probabilities Wilson acted negligently on the day of the incident. Wilson denies all three charges of contravening maritime regulations against him and has been released on unconditional bail.

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Image by Cowes Official Channel

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