Talk:MS Mikhail Lermontov

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Article Issues[edit]

The article has significant issues, not limited to the lack of citations. Use of the word "screwed" to describe the state of the vessel after hitting rocks isn't encyclopedic in style, and has been reverted to the previous "doomed".

From article: As was common in the Soviet Union, the top priority in catastrophes was avoiding negative publicity, even at the cost of human life, hence no distress signal was sent to the local authorities, and rescue ships, seeing that Mikhail Lermontov was in trouble, were gruffly told that their assistance was not required. Fortunately, the rescue ships knew that their assistance was required, and stood by to evacuate the passengers.

  • Problem 1 with this statement: This may be true, but there is not only a lack of citations that this was a general Soviet practice but there are no citations that this was true in this instance.
  • Problem 2 with this statement: The tone is extremely pejorative and not one expected of a Wikipedia article.
  • Problem 3 with this statement: There are no citations to show this is actually what happened.

There appears to be factual errors. A casual Internet search (from several sources that cite the Preliminary Inquiry) has already shown that:

  • The pilot (Capt Jamison - which is the correct spelling BTW, and not Jamieson) was REMOVED from command/decision making following the collision, so other than making some radio transmissions to authorities, he did not have a role in saving the ship.
    • Thus he did not attempt to beach the ship, when it was the Russian captain that attempted to beach the vessel.
    • He did not try to lower the anchors. It was an option that the Russian captain did not use, why he did not or could not is a matter of conjecture.
  • A distress call WAS made at the time. The call was then rescinded as the crew attempted to recover the vessel.
  • The Lermontov ASKED the MV Tarihiko to stand by for evacuation, but continued to attempt to save the ship.
  • Once it was plain that the vessel was not salvageable, evacuated was initiated and aided by the crew.
  • Although there were criticisms of the emergency equipment and procedures, as well as of the delay to initiate evacuation, the Russian crew (as well as the CTC Cruises staff) were praised for their actions during the evacuation.

It is apparent that there has been a subjective attempt in this section of the article to minimise the role and culpability of Jamison and maximise that of the Russian captain and crew, through omission of pertinent facts, selective choice of presented facts and the inclusion of POV editorialising.

The fact there wasn't a rigorous official inquiry into the collision and sinking hasn't helped prevent the confusion and mystery surrounding wreck. It seems there were efforts to cover up or minimise what happened from all sides: Jamison (with the help of his maritime union) has refused to speak about that night except to official questions, and he was helped by the "Preliminary Inquiry" which was less than rigorous (many witnesses were never interviewed) and was conducted by Capt Steve Ponsford who is described by critics of the inquiry as "a friend of Jamison" and "best man at Jamison's wedding", the NZ government has refused to conduct a full inquiry into the matter and hasn't made the evidence gathered during the inquiry publicly available, and the Soviet government wished to minimise the affair by being uncooperative. All this was helped by the fortuitous fact the only fatality was the Soviet sailor, so there was no public pressure for an inquiry.

I was hoping that I would write my objections to the tone of the article and ask for someone more familiar with the issues than myself (and maybe a New Zealander) to do a re-write, but now that I have written all this out, I'm thinking I may as well do it myself. I'll leave this in the Talk section as background to the article. 113727b (talk) 16:41, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Sourcing[edit] for description of the death from diving the wreck... 23:16, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

All the above, culminating in recent expansion of the article[edit]

The recent expansion, insofar as it's based on reliable sources, is welcome. What's of real concern is how much of the above discussion, as well as the current version of the article, seeks to draw conclusions based on WP:NOR and WP:SYNTHESIS. This requires a great deal of oversight by objective editors to separate wheat from chaff, so as to conform to WP:NPOV. JNW (talk) 23:46, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

I've started to remove some of the speculative, unsourced or inadequately sourced content; it's a s much as I have time for now. It appears that someone who has done exhaustive study of the matter is, in essence, turning the article into an investigative finding based on their research. It's admirable work, but not neutral, and the impression is that it seeks to assess culpability in the absence of that which has been determined by formal or published findings. As I suggested previously, this will need a lot more attention. Thanks, JNW (talk) 00:06, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

The now reverted talk I referred to above [1]. JNW (talk) 13:37, 20 October 2013 (UTC)


Offending information removed and will not be re-posted after considering WP rules. You should also remove note #8, as that refers to my unpublished work and is therefore similarly not acceptable under your rules, however I did not add that so I won't remove it. Its all yours. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

  • To be clear, properly sourced content, per WP:RELIABLE, is appropriate so long as it doesn't constitute WP:UNDUE. My concerns centered on the amount of original research and personal commentary. For context, here's the long term conversation that was recently reverted from this page [2]. I think a primary problem here was that these conclusions were discussed over a period of months, without response from other editors until I happened by. This silence probably was misconstrued as a green light to use Wikipedia for the publication of investigative reporting. The editor's decision to remove the content, especially given his long involvement with the subject, is admirable. It's not Wikipedia's intention to omit controversial content, if it's supported by WP:MULTIPLE sources; neutral content that's been adequately referenced is welcome. JNW (talk) 13:35, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Ironic that 60+ additional references from official reports and newspaper articles etc.. wasn't good enough for multiple sources but there you are. The original article was a butchered version of something I posted online years ago put up by someone else on here and containing numerous introduced errors, but no one had a problem with that. Also interesting to note that the only book suggested as additional reading is Tom O'Connors "Death of a cruise ship". Unbiased? Presumably yes because it has been "published", but read the introduction and what do we find? O'Connor was mentored by his editor Brendon Burns, and who was this person? None other than a Labour MP (Christchurch central, but don't take my word for it, look it up)and media spin doctor with every reason to push the governments official line. Thus in this book you find claims such as "the Ponsford inquiry found that the life saving equipment was in good order", P-169, FALSE, and "Jamison was subject to question after detailed question at the inquiry", P-148 FALSE, and comments about how ridiculous the suggestion was that the ship sunk with watertight doors open, P-166 FALSE. So apparently you can have any unsubstantiated claims recognized on WP as a credible source as long as they are "published", yet when I interview Lt Cmdr H. Aitken and find out what really happened from the primary source (something O'Connor never bothered to do by the way) it's not valid because its not from a published source, or its original research. In other words any old lie is OK as long as its previously published, but we can't have people doing original research and discovering that something else may have happened. Hmmm.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

To be clear: nobody asked for a blanket reversion of all the previous edits--please read my above thoughts, as well as Wikipedia policy. Nor did I wade through the article's history. If what's there is improperly sourced or non-neutral, then it, too, needs reassessment. For better or worse, published sources do take precedence over original research and personal interviews. Clearly 'any old lie' is not the preferred basis for encyclopedic content. However, making such claims in Wikipedia articles or talk pages, without the support of an official determination, may leave one vulnerable to legal action--here Wikipedia's interests are to protect both accused and accusing parties, as well as the website itself; WP:BLP is also relevant, as accusations of criminal or even unethical behavior against living people must be scrupulously sourced. And yes, even if the information that's been unearthed uncovers a truth, Wikipedia is not a venue to publish investigative findings. If those findings are first published in a reliable source they may then be suitable for inclusion. So the 'hmmm' should be directed at the encyclopedia's policy, and not with an implication that there's an attempt to cover something up here. For my part, I'd never heard of the accident or anyone who was involved in this until now. JNW (talk) 18:19, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Me thinks thou protesteth too much. However I may try another approach, plan the whole article first off line, try to make it 100% direct quotes from published sources, let them tell their own story, and see how that looks. The current article as it now is, is not much chop compared to what actually happened. I thought the whole point of WP was to address the lamentable situation described in your last sentence! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:45, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

  • The purpose of Wikipedia is to publish content that's already been made public in reliable sources, not to draw personal conclusions based on WP:SYNTHESIS and WP:ORIGINAL, no matter the validity of those findings. I've again removed content that doesn't meet these guidelines. JNW (talk) 12:47, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Ok understood, and for my part I've removed all my contributions, because I do not want to be associated with an entry that is prepared to list a pack of lies from so-called "reliable published sources". In addition I've removed a cross reference to some of my previous work, because since when does a dive website reference to my work invest it with "credibility" or "reliability"??? Ha ha, you guys are too much!! You post any bit of poorly referenced rubbish when it suits you. You can't have it both ways in my opinion, and still be consistent. It's like saying if I make my own website and post the material on there, I can then cross reference it from there and it becomes reliable. Absolute bollocks!! I can prove from primary sources that much of the previously published material is false or misleading. The NZ minister of transport in 1996 (Marl Express 16 Feb 96) actually admitted there had been a cover-up, therefore its not my synthesis, its there in a newspaper article from the horses mouth, yet never included in any of the other books or documentaries!!! Check it out if you want. Don't have the time, can't be bothered? Well, what more can I say...? And don't bother telling me about your precious "rules", because if the truth isn't part of them, I'll leave you to keep propagating the official line. I've backed up all my entries with numerous primary references which can't be gainsaid. Any synthesis was self evident! You don't get 15+ major errors in a government inquiry when the contrary evidence is staring them in the face, then have them refuse to discuss it for 25 years while insisting their inquiry was quote absolutely accurate unquote. But you should put the official story up on your entry, because the government published it, so it must be true, despite the overwhelming and well documented evidence to the contrary.

The cause of the grounding was a complete mystery. LIE There were no other factors that justified further investigation. LIE A formal inquiry would have achieved no more than the preliminary inquiry LIE Russian life saving equipment was adequate LIE Russian emergency response procedures were adequate LIE

The ship was holed across 4 adjacent compartments and was doomed to sink. LIE But both governments claimed this in published references, so you will of course believe it without question, and it was convenient to support what they wanted to convey to the public. (remember the admitted cover-up by the transport minister?) But being cursed with an inquisitive nature, I couldn't help but "synthesize" the following question. If the navy dive report was the only one they had access to, and it told a very different story, where did they get their information from? Being equally cursed with a desire for the truth, even if it drove me to, shock horror, "original research", I went down there and did my own measurements and then transferred them to engineering drawings, thus confirming the accuracy of the navy figures. But no, you will accept the government claims, and that is a true synthesis, un-referenced to anything except a desire to mislead the public, unless someone can provide me with their alternative dive inspection report. It doesn't exist, its just another Lermontov Lie!

My conclusion on Wiki P, its okay to reference to a synthesized lie based on nothing, as long as its published. And its not okay to question such lies, even if you have the primary references to support everything you say! Of such an approach, governments and other liars have nothing to fear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

  • If you want to put it that way, sure, that's how it works here. Wikipedia wasn't designed to be a threat to any government; if I had to guess, I'd say it was set up to provide tasty, well-written, and illustrated regurgitations of secondary and tertiary literature. Drmies (talk) 03:18, 28 October 2013 (UTC)