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

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