Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/26/salty_radio/
Salty seamen's erotic viewing blocks emergency radio
The crew of a fishing boat was whiling away a few lonely hours on the high seas watching a saucy film, not realising that they had left the radio transmitting on the emergency channel, thus blocking all Mayday radio comms for a 30-mile radius.
As the salty seamen settled down to watch Crash - a tale involving people who find car crashes more erotic than do most - they managed to wedge the emergency radio channel open. Their chosen entertainment for the evening was thus broadcast across the airwaves for hours before coastguards dispatched a life boat to alert the men to their error, the BBC reports.
The coastguard was also in contact with Channel Four, and asked the channel to broadcast a message to the sailors over the film. The lifeboat reached the crew just in time to prevent news of the cock-up being broadcast live to the nation.
George Mair, skipper of the Oceania, apologised for the mistake. He maintains that the film was on in the background, and that he was working on the boat at the time. The BBC reports that he had "inadvertently jammed a clock radio into the switch that opened the emergency channel".
A spokesman for Humber Coastguard said: "This should serve as a warning to others to be careful with their emergency radio switches."
He added that it was lucky the seas had been so calm at the time.
We would argue that it is also lucky that the Oceania's choice of onboard entertainment was as tame as it was. In his review of the 1997 film, Roger Ebert observed: "Take out the cars, the scars, the crutches and scabs and wounds, and substitute the usual props of sex films, and you'd have a porno movie. But 'Crash' is anything but pornographic."