QE2 pilot 'overruled by captain'

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The Independent Online
THE US pilot who was navigating the QE2 when it ran aground off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, last week, said yesterday he was not taking his preferred route because the captain overruled him.

But John Hadley said he had 'no problem' with Capt Robin Woodall's decision to use a slightly different route.

No one was hurt in the incident, but 1,815 people were evacuated from the Cunard-owned luxury liner, which is undergoing repairs in a Boston dry dock.

It was also disclosed yesterday that charts for the waters where the QE2 struck a rock last Friday had not been updated since 1939.

The liner is now thought to have suffered worse damage in the incident than first thought, putting back her re-entry to service by at least a month.

Mr Hadley, giving testimony at a coastguard hearing in Boston, described how he directed the ship to travel further north, but Capt Woodall ordered the QE2 back to its original course because he was worried about some shoals.

Mr Hadley said he supported the captain's decision, adding: 'If it made them more comfortable, that was fine by me.'

Mr Hadley testified that he relied totally on charts provided by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when navigating. The NOAA, which issues the charts used in US waters, acknowledged it had not surveyed the area since 1939.

Asked if he had any reason to think there were any obstructions, Mr Hadley replied: 'No sir. I based my information totally on the accuracy of the charts.'

Capt Dean Seidel, head of the NOAA survey unit, said divers had found one rock covered with paint chips in an uncharted shoal where the QE2 ran aground.