While the super rich get even richer by exploiting tax laws and workers rights allowing them to participate in the psychophantic courting of celebrity highlighted in this Guardian article the plight of those who look after them appears to be ignored.
The deaths of Will Black, Michael Hanson and Jacob Nichol are a shocking indictment on the super rich and how some treat their staff as an expendable resource, tools that can be replaced with the minimum disruption to their luxury lifestyles.
In the case of Will Black who went missing in 2010 while working on the 15.5 million euro luxury yacht Burrasca. By the time his family reached Monaco, the yacht’s captain had handed his possessions to the police raised, the anchor and sailed away after dropping a wreath in the sea as a jerk of respect to their missing colleague!!!
Such is the demand for crew for these vessels Solent University has set up the Warsash Super Yacht Academy, the first its kind in the world to train workers for a life at sea serving very demanding employers who expect the highest standards while apparently having little respect for the lives of crew or regard for their health safety and wellbeing, both physical and psychological.
In all fairness the academy offers a wide range of courses with many aimed at providing students with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of healthy and safety at sea including accident investigation, safety culture, risk assessment etc but the question has to be to what extent this learning can be put into practice in the super yacht industry where owners avoid their responsibilities under the International Safety Maritime Code.
Will Black’s family did not know the owner of Burrasca, registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines at the time of the incident, there was no coroner’s inquiry in the UK, local investigations provided little comfort to his family and his body was never found.
Recent changes to Fatal Accident Inquiries introduced in 2016 make provision for deaths of Scottish workers overseas to be subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry in Scotland. We hope that this provision never needs to be tested but given the nature of the superyacht industry, the veil of secrecy behind many of the owners and their employment practices it may be that it is only a matter of time until a family has to to rely on our FAI system to get answers to he death of a son or daughter, killed while chasing their dreams on foreign waters working for vastly wealthy employers who increasingly appear to ignore their health and safety responsibilities in pursuit of their lavish lifestyles.