Sep 102010
 
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A Ride the Duck DUKW in Seattle, similar to the amphibious vessel which sank in the Delaware

Distress calls and warnings by the master of the Ride the Duck DUKW that his vessel was disabled were not responded to by the tug Caribbean Sea which was handling a barge which collided with the DUKW and sank it, says a preliminary report from the US National Transportation Safety Board.

Says the accident report: “On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, the empty 250-foot-long sludge barge The Resource, being towed alongside the 78.9-foot-long towing vessel M/V Caribbean Sea, allided with the anchored 33-foot amphibious small passenger vessel DUKW 34 in the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DUKW 34, operated by Ride the Ducks, carried 35 passengers and 2 crewmembers. On board the Caribbean Sea were 5 crewmembers. As a result of the allision, the DUKW 34 sank in about 55 feet of water. Two passengers were fatally injured, and 10 passengers suffered minor injuries. No one on the Caribbean Sea was injured.

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Mar 082010
 

Your freedom following a maritime accident may depend on whether your flag state undertakes an investigation, at least in South Africa. A Western Cape High Court, Cape Town, has decided that seafarers can be detained in the country at the request of third parties, such as cargo owners, for the collection of evidence in claims to be arbitrated in another country to determine civil liability even if the incident did not take place in its jurisdiction.

Ince & Co’s latest Shipping E-brief warns: “It is clear that this decision, being the first of its kind in South Africa ordering the detention of crew at the behest of a third party to take evidence, sends a strong warning to shipowners and their insurers that crew may, depending on the circumstances of the case, be compelled by the Court to give evidence should they find themselves in South Africa following a serious casualty at sea. This may be so even where, as in this case, the substantive issues will be dealt with in another jurisdiction and the casualty occurred outside of South African territorial waters.”

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Feb 272010
 

She was built for the adven­tures of a life­time in one of the
most survival-challenging, and van­ish­ing envi­ron­ments on the planet with a rep­u­ta­tion for the world’s worst weather. This adven­ture was the end of a life­time among the ice­bergs for the Lit­tle Red Ship.

Key­words: Antarc­tic, ice nav­i­ga­tion, cap­size, hull breach,sinking

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Aug 062009
 

Tonga sinking leaves 33 missing
BBC News
The first ship on the scene rescued 42 people from the sea, according to the New Zealand Press Association. Other ships and a New Zealand air force plane

Blast rocks offshore Texas gas platform, fire out
Reuters
All 39 persons aboard the platform were evacuated safely by a nearby supply vessel, the Coast Guard said. “Crew members reported that the plant’s emergency .

Team finds two bodies from ship accident
Jakarta Post
“We found them not far from where the ship sank. Some parts of their bodies were missing and we could identify them only by the clothes they were wearing,” Continue reading »

Aug 062008
 

Filling big, expensive ships with ill-trained mariners from the third world with but a smattering of English is nothing new, if recent research into the sinking of the, brief, pride of Henry VIII’s fleet in 1545 if Professor Hugh Montgomery, a medical researcher at University College London is to be believed.

Mary Rose, named after Henry’s daughter and the rose symbol of the house of Tudor, took on a bunch of grenouille-scoffing Frenchmen in battle in the Solent, off of England’s south coast. She suddenly sank, without the help of the French, with the loss of nearly 400 crew and remained in the mud until the early 1980’s when her starboard side was recovered and taken ashore for preservation by the Mary Rose Trust.

Rescuers come to the aid of the Mary Rose survivors, about 30 out of some 400

Artifacts from the wreck give a fascinating, and human, insight into seafaring of those time, from longbows to medical kits to haunting personal items from the lost sailors.

Unanswered so far is why she sank. It is generally thought that she heeled over in a turn and took on water through her open gunports with her commander, Admiral George Carew cursing the crew as “Knaves I cannot rule”. The high death toll might in part be due to the rapidity of her sinking, the net placed over the deck to deter boarders and also to a belief by seafarers of the time that learning to swim was tempting fate.

MAC suspects that water on the gundeck would have invoked a free-surface effect that made in all but impossible for the vessel to recover stability once water entered. It a familiar phenomenon on ro-ro ferries that lose integrity.

In those days ships were built to rule-of-thumb formulae tested by tradition. However, Mary Rose was of an unusual size and it may be that the dynamics were significantly different on that scale.

Built around 1509-1510, she was 32 metres long with an 11.7 metres beam . Over the next few years she underwent two refits which increased her tonnage from 500 tonnes to 700 tonnes, added an extra deck and more and heavier guns. Thus her draught was increased, bringing her gunports closer to the waterline.

Tests with a scale model showed that, with the gunports open a sudden unexpected wind during the turn, reported at the time, could have put those gunports underwater and caused her to flood and sink. The same tests showed that her sinking wasn’t inevitable: had the ports been closed she would have survived.

Many skeletal remains have been recovered and have been studied by Professor Montgomery who discovered, based on skull shape, that around 60 per cent of the crew came from the Mediterranean, probably as mercenaries.

His theory is that most of the crew didn’t understand Carew’s orders because they didn’t know English and thus failed too close the gunports swiftly as the ship turned.

Language issues are not uncommon even today in maritime accidents, as The Case Of The Tongues Of Fire shows. Incomprehension of an officer’s orders has a number of effects – orders may not be understood and therefore not followed, or followed too late or, even worse, his subordinates do what they think is right rather than what the officer intended.

In a way more important, however, is that an officer who is not understood is unlikely to be able to impose the sort of discipline needed to remain in effective command. Which may be behind Carew’s inability to rule his knaves.

MAC somehow finds Professor Montgomery’s theory a little unsatisfactory. In those centuries explorers were travelling the world with multinational crews and had few language problems . Multinational crews were common on warships of the period and MAC has yet to come across many incidents in which ships were lost because of language problems aboard.

What we today call mercenaries were hired not merely because they were warm bodies but they knew their business. a ship in battle needs a well drilled crew that knows what it’s doing. One cannot know how ‘fresh’ this particular crew were but the Mary Rose had been in action several times during her career. These may well have been seasoned professionals.

Let’s start with the ship turning. Why was she turning? As a ship of this type turns at speed, the side on the outside of the curve will effectively elevate the cannon, which could result in longer range, but will also increase the angle of heel.

It cannot have been particularly unusual for gun ports in the side of the ship inside the curve to go close to, or even under the water, so closing those ports in time would have been critical, and equally critical to open them rapidly afterwards to have the cannon in position to take advantage of the increased elevation as the ship recovered then heeled in the other direction.

Imagine an S-shaped course in which the gun on the lower side of the heel are being prepared for firing while those on the high side are firing. The ship could keep up an almost continuous fire against the enemy while, at the same time, it’s maneouvers would make it difficult to get a fix.

Whether or not that was Carew’s strategy, the crew on the lowest gun deck would still have had to go through a well-drilled routine – close the ports, load the the guns, open the ports, fire at the right time and begin the cycle all over again.

MAC has already used the term ‘drilled’ twice. Professor Montgomery is quoted in the Daily Mail: ‘In the chaos of battle, with all the shouting and guns going off, it would have taken a very clear chain of command and a very disciplined, well-rehearsed crew to close the gun port lids in time.’

Therein may lay the answer to the mystery of the sinking of the Mary Rose. Carew’s knaves simply weren’t drilled enough and it cost almost 400 lives and the ship. True, they may have had experience but if there’s insufficient re-enforcement through drilling that experience may ceaseto be effective.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

There may, indeed, be another factor – Carew had only taken command of the ship the previous day. A commander unused to his ship and the crew with little ‘shakedown’ time might well explain Carew’s dying words, but since he was a fine Englishman I suppose it’s not surprising that those pesky furrigners get the blame for not understanding his commands.

Mary Rose Trust

Jul 192008
 

19 July

Mersey chemical spill contained
ABC Online – Australia
The Environment Department and the Fire Service were called early this afternoon, after a container on the ship, Searoad Mersey, spilled about 500 litres of


Seamec vessel damaged in accident
Equity Bulls – Chennai,Tamil Nadu,India
Mexico with effect from July 08, 2008, that The vessel while operating at offshore Carmen Mexico, subjected to an accident on July 16, 2008 coming into .


Captain of doomed ship convicted of five charges
Shawn Ralph, captain of the ill-fated Melina and Keith II, was convicted Friday of five of the eight charges he was facing in connection with the sinking. The 65-foot vessel
capsized and sank off Cape Bonavista, NL.

Nigeria: Accident – APM Terminal Gets Foreign Experts
AllAfrica.com – Washington,USA
Mr. Michael Land Hansen said the accident occurred as the Boom of the one of the cranes missed its target while discharging cargo from a vessel.

Salvage tug to rescue stranded cargo ship
The West Australian – Perth,Western Australia,Australia
The Department for Planning and Infrastructure, the Albany Port Authority and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) are coordinating the salvage

Croatian master guilty of drug running
Lloyd’s List – London,UK
A  Croatian reefer master has been convicted by a Greek court of trafficking drugs, in a case that is sure to prompt fresh debate over how seafarers

Gov’t offers bonus to salvage firm if it gets toxic chemical out
ABS CBN News – Philippines
Bautista said retrieval operations should start immediately before the fuel and pesticides leak from the vessel and cause environmental havoc in the area.


Lack of response to Somalia piracy ‘threatens famine’
InTheNews.co.uk – London,UK
The Ministry of Defence added that Britain “has a longstanding commitment to maritime security in the region”, explaining: “The question of any UK naval .


Job Vacancy: Christian couple needed at Falkland Islands Seamen’s
Independent Catholic News – London,UK
Lighthouse Seamen’s Centre – a café/mission complex run for seafarers, fishermen and the local community of the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic. .

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Jul 092008
 

Fatal accident at Savannah ports
WTOC – Savannah,GA,USA
They say an International Longshoremen was working with the Stevedore Society of America near or on the vessel, The Saga Journey when the accident occurred.

The Spirit of Nantucket runs aground – again
The Virginian-Pilot – Norfolk,VA,USA
After about nine hours, the ship was refloated. Passengers were taken to an airport. A Coast Guard spokesman said it’s not clear whether the grounding was

Crew rescued from sinking ship
News24 – South Africa
Johannesburg – Thirty six crew members were rescued after a Spanish fishing vessel caught fire and sank off the east coast of southern Africa, the Cape Town


Crews still monitoring Miami cargo ship fire
Associated Press – July 8, 2008 10:24 AM ET MIAMI (AP) – Firefighters are still at the scene of a massive cargo ship fire that is smoldering on the Miami River.

14 boat migrants missing off Spain
International Herald Tribune – France
Maritime rescue official Miguel Zea said planes, boats and helicopters were searching the area, but there was very little chance of finding anyone alive,

Coast Guard OKs return of cruise ship to Juneau after grounding
International Herald Tribune – France
However, the ship does have structural damage which must be corrected before it can again carry passengers. Officials say the cause of the grounding remains

Ship Mona Lisa’s costly evacuation

RIGA- The freeing of the stranded ship Mona Lisa and evacuation of passengers cost Latvia 135,000 lats (EUR 192,000).

Ieva Aile, head of the governmental press service, told the Baltic News Service that Latvian lawyers are still negotiating with the insurer two financial positions that will decide whether value added tax is included in the total sum to be paid to Latvia.

2 BMI probers quit with guns blazing
Inquirer.net – Philippines
But veteran ship captains Rear Adm. Benjamin Mata and Commodore Amado Romillo went out with guns blazing against Sulpicio Lines Inc., owners of the

Philippineferry,Princess of the Stars,capsize,sinking, BMI, Savannah,port,fatality,death,Saga Journey,Atlantic,fire,Miami,

Jun 232008
 

Death came early this year. The typhoon season has only just started and already, brightly coloured flop-flop rubber sandals are arriving on the coastlines of Sibuyan in the central Philippines. They are very small slippers because many children were among the 800 or so aboard the 1984-built 23,824 tonnes Sulpicio Lines Princess Of The Stars that capsized on morning of June 21 in a typhoon known internationally as Fengshen and in the Philippines as Frank.

One can only say ‘or so’ because it is unlikely anyone will ever know exactly how many people were aboard. Passenger manifests are unreliable in a country where regulations are rarely enforced, even if they are supposedly adequate in the first place. In a grounding incident in 2007 a ferry had a manifest of a little more than two dozen people, the Philippine Coast Guard rescued more than a hundred. The true human cost of the Dona Paz disaster in 1987 remains unknown, except that it possibly exceeded 4,000.

Current known figures for the Princess Of The Stars are around 626 passengers, an unknown number of minors, and 212 crew. At the time of writing there are four confirmed dead and 34 known survivors.

Sulpicio Lines has a poor safety record. In addition to the Princess Of The Stars and the Dona Paz, other casualties include the Dona Marilyn in 1988 and the Princess of the Orient in 1998. The Philippine government has ordered it to stop operations and inspections of the company’s other vessels is underway. Volunteers against Crime and Corruption, VACC, has said it will file a class suit against Sulpicio Lines management.

The domestic ferry industry has a traditional safety problem: In 1994 the William Lines Cebu City collided with a Singaporean vessel, Kota Suria, and sank with the loss of 140 lives; Kimelody Cristy of Moreta Shipping caught fire and sank in 1995; in 1996: An overcrowded wooden ferry, ML Gretchen, capsizes close to shore of central Negros island, killing 54, including 31 children, and leaving 12 missing; Trans-Asia Shipping’s Asian South Korea, another ferry, sank in 1999;Maria Carmela, a ro-ro ferry owned by Montenegro Shipping, caught fire in 2002 with 2390 people on board of which 23 were confirmed dead and 27 missing;the wooden ferry Catalyn-D caught fire and sank in 2007 losing five lives out of 250 people on board.

Despite the regularity of maritime incidents in Philippine waters there is no full-time independent maritime investigation agency in the Philippines. Marina, the country’s maritime regulatory body delegates its enforcement functions to the Philippine Coastguard, which allowed the vessel to leave Manila as the typhoon was approaching. Both agencies will conduct the investigation.

Philippine President Gloria Magapagal Arroyo has, as is usual in high-visibility incidents, ordered a board of inquiry to be convened but there is no legal requirement for any of its members to be qualified maritime casualty investigators and consists of Coast Guard officers, Marina officials and members or graduates of the government-own Philippine Merchant Marine Academy. A lawyer is required to be one of the members but he, or she, is not required to have expertise in maritime law.

The aim of the Board is to establish liability, safety issues are secondary. Despite that, not a single ferry company or ship owner has been brought to book in any incident in the Philippines.

Casualty investigation reports are not made accessible to the public.

International maritime investigators would like to bring the Philippines within the fold and help it develop a more realistic and effective investigative capability but the political will is lacking, which may not be unconnected with the high level connections between ferry companies, shipowners and the country’s legislators.

It is unlikely that the Philippines will respond to the new IMO code of conduct for maritime casualty investigation any time soon. Despite becoming a member in the mid-1960s the Philippines has yet to lodge a single maritime casualty investigation report with the IMO, as it is mandated to do for serious casualties under the terms of its membership, despite the recent election of a Filipino, Neil Ferrer, as IMO deputy secretary general.

Currently, fingers are being pointed in all directions. The vessel left Manila at about 8pm on Friday, 20th June as Typhoon Fengshen approached the islands. Storm Signal Number One, the lowest level warning, had been issued by the Pagasa, the country’s under-funded and under-equipped weather bureau.

Although the typhoon was not predicted to present a threat on the vessel’s route, typhoons are notoriously erratic. Although not expected to hit the main island of Luzon, by 11.30 the highest level warning was issued, Number Three, but by then the Princess Of The Seas was in the Visayas region still heading for Cebu.

The vessel was allowed to leave Manila because it was believed that she would only enter the periphery of typhoon, but the typhoon suddenly changed direction, putting the vessel directly in its path. It reached Sibuyan Island at around 7am

According to reports, at about non on Saturday, 21st June, the ship’s main engine failed, but some survivors say the ship only slowed down as it encountered large waves. With winds of 73 miles an hour gusting up to 94 miles and hour the ship listed off the coast of Sibuyan Island in Romblon province and took on water. The master, Captain Florencio Marimon, who is still missing, ordered all passengers to abandon the ferry, which capsized 15 minutes later.

Reportedly, few passengers were able to board the 14 liferafts, a number of which flipped over in the large swells and high winds, and about half were able to don lifejackets before jumping off the ship.

Later, police in the town of San Fernando in Romblon province reported that the vessel was two or three kilometres offshore, upside down off the coast of the town, her bow-thrusters visible.

History suggests that the Princess Of The Stars tragedy will have little effect on the safety of Philippine ferry passengers or their crew. The Philippines will continue to ignore its obligations to the IMO and to the security of its travelling public because there isn’t the political will to do otherwise no matter how many children’s rubber slippers wash up on its beaches.

Jun 222008
 

We have reports of a ferry capsize involving the deaths of more than 800, four survivors. We’ll give more when it has been confirrned. The vessel was the Princess Of The Stars, operated by Sulpicio Lines.

It is probable that a board of inquiry will be convened. The Philippines has no independent casualty investigation agency and members of the board are not required to have any knowledge of casualty investigation.

The Philippines does not normally lodge casualty investigation reports with the International Maritime Organisation nor make reports publicly available.