View Full Version : A question for Mr.Draper.

22nd Apr 2006, 23:30
A question for Mr. Tony D. and anybody else on this subject.

A couple of days ago I watched a show on the "Discovery Channel" about the loss of merchant cargo ships and the crews all over the world that are occurring now.

The show claimed that hundreds of cargo ships disappear every year with very little notice resulting in the deaths of thousands merchant marine sailors.

Now these ships are not from the US, UK or Europe, but from 3rd world nations.

With your experience in the Merchant Navy can you tell me if this program has any validity?

Thanks Tony.

22nd Apr 2006, 23:33
I propose a sticky thread entitled ''Ask Draper".

We could present our questions,let him take them into his shed and give us the answer!

tony draper
22nd Apr 2006, 23:43
Probably true,many merchant ships are lost every year, have no idea of the actual numbers,but the Ogan is a dangerous place, whether there are more now than in my day I dunno either,one imagines third world countries are not that fussy on regulation and safety as were the Merchant services of Europe or America,we have the likes of Mr Plimsol to thank.
Well found ships often just disapeared without trace,nowadays with new technology they can be located,the sea floor is littered with wrecks,especialy round our coast,look at a wreck map of UK coastal waters and its a wonder any body can drop a anchor without it going down the funnel of some poor sunk vessel, of course a lot of them were sent thither during two worls wars,but many of them also just due to bad weather, shifted cargo, collision and various other acts of god as they calls em.
The sea was no place for sissies.

22nd Apr 2006, 23:44
Not a bad idea mate, not bad at all.:ok:

22nd Apr 2006, 23:51
I guess we posted at the same time Tony, thanks for your reply my friend.:ok:

Onan the Clumsy
22nd Apr 2006, 23:55
It's monsters wot does it. Monsters I tell you like you wouldn't believe...

tony draper
23rd Apr 2006, 00:05
I have seen things you people would not believe, :rolleyes:

23rd Apr 2006, 00:16
I have seen things you people would not believe, :rolleyes:

Like? Would make for fascinating reading!

23rd Apr 2006, 00:20
Our Tone,

Ever been through the Straits of Malucca?

I hear that pirates still exist there who attach merchant vessels, dump the crew, change the number plates --- and a new vessel is created.

tony draper
23rd Apr 2006, 00:25
Heres a sea story for you.
Five shipwrecks.

n October 1829, the schooner Mermaid sailed out of Sidney Harbour bound for Raffles Bay, which is near present day Darwin. Aboard were the captain, Samuel Nolbrow, and a crew of seventeen.
The ship had set a course where it had to pass through the notorious Torres Strait, full of shallows and coral reefs, and it was on one of these reefs that the Mermaid foundered. All eighteen men reached the safety of a rock and they waited to be rescued. After three miserable days the Swiftsure was passing, spied them and brought them aboard.
However, two days later the Swiftsure ran aground and was wrecked. The eighteen men were stranded once again, together with the fourteen crew members of the Swiftsure. These thirty two sailors were rescued a short time later by the schooner Governor Ready
The ship was on its way to Papua when disaster struck again. The Governor Ready caught fire and was a total loss within a couple of hours. The sixty four survivors took to the lifeboats and drifted in the Pacific Ocean for two days until their prayers were answered and they were rescued for a fourth time by the cutter Comet
Incredibly, a terrible storm suddenly blew up and those on board, eighty five souls in all, were cast adrift. Only this time there weren't any lifeboats. They clung to the wreckage of the Comet for a seemingly endless eighteen hours until Jupiter hove into view.
The eighty five mariners were saved. For those from the Mermaid it was the fourth time and they must surely have thought their trials were over. Alas, it was not to be. Hardly had they settled down on the Jupiter when she like the Mermaid struck a reef which shattered her keel. As there had been thirty eight men on the Jupiter the castaways now numbered one hundred and twenty three. They huddled on rocks, fortunately not for long, because they were soon rescued by the City of Leeds, a large schooner with not only crew but one hundred passengers on board. Amazingly, not a single life had been lost in all the five shipwrecks. Everyone on board the City of Leeds was astounded at the tales the rescued men had to tell. But the ship's doctor, Thomas Sparks, had other things on his mind.
He raised his voice above the babel of chatter and called out "Is there anyone from Yorkshire among you. We have on board a very sick woman. She is delirious and is calling for her son whom she hasn't seen for ten years. If we can find someone to impersonate him she may recover, if not, at least she will pass away peacefully. I need a Yorkshireman around thirty five years of age".
One of the deck-hands off the Mermaid although exhausted through five shipwrecks found the strength to raise his hand and ask, "What part of Yorkshire is she from"?
"Whitby", the doctor replied.
"I'm from Whitby myself and I'm thirty four years old, so I'll help you" informed the Yorkshireman
"Perfect, come with me quickly, there's very little time", said the doctor.
"What name do I take, sir, in case she asks" asked the Yorkshireman
"Peter Richardson, repeat it several times lest you forget. We must make her final hours as comfortable as possible"
The young man who was following closely on the heels of the doctor, stopped in his tracks and said in astonishment, "I'm not likely to forget it sir for that is my given name"
The deck-hand from the ill fated Mermaid was none other than the long lost son of the old lady who lay gravely ill on board the City of Leeds.
Mrs Richardson's joy at seeing her beloved son again was so great that she made a full recovery and lived for a further eighteen years. Both she and Peter were convinced that providence had arranged five shipwrecks and five rescues in order that they could be re-united thousands of miles from their native Yorkshire.

Be that as it may, as said earlier, no novelist would dare write such a far fetched story. However, I'm told all the facts can be verified in the archives of the Maritime office in Canberra. Let the sceptics check its veracity before condemning it.

23rd Apr 2006, 00:27
It makes sense that older ships are these days still in service with 3rd World nations...

But does anyone remember the Derbyshire (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/702061.stm)? There were a whole series of losses of this type of modern bulk carrier back in the '80s. Those weren't any old 3rd World sailors or tired ships back then: She sank in two minutes. The crew did not even have time to issue a distress call.

In 2001 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/england/1675801.stm): ...further research has shown the ship got into trouble because the waves were exactly the same length as the vessel. Any old mariner worth his salt knows that?! But unlike aviation, the people who design and build ships never get it wrong...rogue wave indeed?! :rolleyes:

23rd Apr 2006, 00:39
Great story, thank you!

23rd Apr 2006, 01:10
The occurance of Rogue waves isn't so uncommon as was once thought and have now scientifically been proven to exist, so far as that ships aren't built for the conditions which may be encountered. The Aghulas Current around the Cape is still a terrible area to sail and not somewhere that you would feel comfortable sailing even on a modern bulker when met' conditions are poor.

With regards to pirates in the Malacca Strait; this is a one of the most serious issues encountered by modern seafarers. Pirates using expensive high speed boats and carrying equipment including rocket launchers to attack vessels, board them and either take the $50,000+ cash which is normal for a vessel to carry or take hostages for ransom.

In recent times even cruise ships have been attacked near Somalian waters (m.v. Seabourn Spirit) http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/africa/11/05/somalia.pirates/index.html

23rd Apr 2006, 02:14
But does anyone remember the Derbyshire?
I do, actually. On her final voyage she loaded 160,000 tons of iron ore concentrate at our docks - from the company I flew 27 years for - bound for Kawasaki Steel. We flew in some of the investigators from Lloyd's, I believe, for the part of the inquiry into the sinking that was held here.

For another mystery, see the story of the SS Waratah. (mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/ms73/WARATALES.HTM)

Rogue waves aren't that uncommon. During WWII, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth sailed alone rather than in convoy, relying on their speed to keep them out of trouble. The Queen Elizabeth once had her port side bridge stove in by a rogue wave. The bridge was something like 70 feet above the water line.

23rd Apr 2006, 02:54
As I understood it the ships from 3rd world countries and flags of convenience are all about economy. This leads to ships being at sea for far longer than anybody intended. The effect on the hull of a longer than usual life and the bashings, scrapings, corrosion and dodgy cargoes that are the result leads to wafer thin hulls a bit like tin foil. It doesn't take much for the whole thing to fall apart when subjected to the normal stresses and strains of the sea.

I had a really close up look at Canberra when she was on one of her final voyages and the state of the hull was something to behold. I might have been a bit wary of sailing in her.

23rd Apr 2006, 02:57
I am presently sitting in Singapore, having just sailed the Malacca Straits. Been up and down there many times now and only boarded by pirates once. We're not allowed to arm ourselves against them. (against company policy). Just give them what they want and hope they don't kill you in the process. Usually high value, low weight stuff ie jewellery, watches and cash. When we got 'done', we believe there was an insider in the agents office in Singapore, who informed the pirates when a cash delivery had been made to a ship, and where it was headed. The captain ended up with a bang on the head and an empty safe that time. They are usually armed, sometimes with only knives and machetes or sometimes AK47, pistols etc. I think rocket launchers are rare.

Anyway, anyone ever tried to scale the side of an 'in ballast' supertanker doing 15kts? You're looking at a climb of over 20m from water level to the deck.
It's usually smaller, slow moving vessels.

As for Rogue waves? They do exist! sometimes referred to as the 100 year wave. Once in heavy seas (20m waves) in North Atlantic not too long ago, when along comes a mother twice the size. Vessel is still being repaired as I write!

seacue: not as easy to change a ships identity as you may think with todays hi-tec bridge gear, (sat tracking and positioning etc) but it has happened.

Back to the original post, there are many ships sink each year with the loss of many lives. The ships tend to be older and less seaworthy. Bulk carriers sink regularly and is due to the fact that over their life span, they are loaded and unloaded very quickly with things like stone, iron ore, etc and the stresses created have a very negative effect on the hull structure. add to that the cyclic stresses caused by repeated heavy seas over the years.
It's not just new ships either. I have been in a dry dock here on 2 ships in the last 5 months which have had to have strengthening brackets welded into the structure because of cracking. Age of ships? 5yrs and 2 yrs!!

There must be easier, safer ways to make a living? Drapes?:ok:

Loose rivets
23rd Apr 2006, 05:34
Aint no way that anyone can top Mr Drape's tale, but we have a dear friend in Essex that is a blood relative of Archie Jewell. He really was a determined sailor.

I Googled to get a link, but there were too many and varied, each with a different slant on his amazing luck.

Google Titanic Archie Jewell for many links, and an astounding story.

Solid Rust Twotter
23rd Apr 2006, 06:00
Somali pirates attacking ships is a weekly occurrence, so much so that a US security company has now been contracted to patrol the Somali coast.

23rd Apr 2006, 09:41
look at a wreck map of UK coastal waters

Where can one obtain this item? Is there an online version one can look at?

P.S. Speaking of freak waves, check this out. Five pictures down. (sorry I can't get the picture to appear in pprune.)



It's a 2000 tonne passenger ferry, Ex Caledonian Macbrayne.

23rd Apr 2006, 10:02

The ship, languedoc (2) was nearly 350metres long, 25m deep and 50m wide. Just gives you some idea of the size of the waves. There are bigger out there, believe me.:eek:

Krystal n chips
23rd Apr 2006, 10:24
So, a couple of questions please, out of general interest, re the nautical theme.

Shipping Lanes. I can understand the need for approach charts to ports and berths, but once at sea, does such a thing as a dedicated shipping lane exist in the same way as an Airway--or is this just a general term used to describe the most convenient route for shipping to take from A- B?.I don't mean through congestion points like the Channel by the way, I mean on long haul voyages. Could / can you take any course you like given the expanse of sea available after all---time / costs etc being duly considered as a feature of the route--or do you have to stick to designated courses ?.

Also, when arriving at a Port, how is a berth allocated and what is the criteria for allocation--not simply in terms of the cargo carried I mean--and how much advance notice does the crew have of the location etc, given it could be a "one off"visit to the Port anyway.

23rd Apr 2006, 10:31
outside of shipping lanes, you can pretty much go where you want. the navigating officer draws a pencil line on a chart and you follow it! simple! Mr Draper probably won't have come across the electronic chart systems we use now. The bridge resembles something from star trek.
Last ship had two gyros and 7 gps systems up there. It still had the old sextant tho.

Sometimes a cargo destined for a port can be bought and sold many times during a voyage. Most of the time, you will know where you're going. There are agents in every port who do the arranging of crew transfers, getting berthing info etc. The main thing is just space available. There are things known as Laydays (Laycan) which you have to be able to arrive for or you start to accrue kind of a fine for being late. When ships are costing something like $80,000 day, delays get expensive. Cargoes like oil are pumped into huge tanks and often they are full so you see ships sitting offshore for days until either a berth or space becomes available. Very frustrating sitting off a port in view of the lights ashore and no way of getting ashore. You have to wait for things like immigration clearance etc.

I'm sure you'll get more detailed replies here.

tony draper
23rd Apr 2006, 10:41
Well with Merchant Ships the general idea is to get your Cargo between two ports in the shortest most economical manner possible,so crossing the Atlantic from say Liverpool to New York, once one has rounded Ireland,the route would be the same for any vessel,therefore most will be found within a narrow(compared to the size of the Atlantic) corridor,tiz only those Royal Navy chaps who wander about the ogan willy nilly sight seeing.

With regard to berthing cargo discharge ect all merchant ships employ chaps called shippmg agents who will have arranged all those details before the vessel arrives.

23rd Apr 2006, 11:01
Navigational routes are normally the shortest 'safe' route possible. Guidance to mariners is available from the 'Admiralty Ocean Passages of the World' book carried by all merchant vessels, which would offer a combination of Great Circle and Rhumb Line routings suitable subject to meteorological conditions and seasons. So this would make allowances for Ice Limits, Gale Areas, frequency of TRS etc.
These tend to be the accepted 'Shipping Lanes' particularly with the advent of GPS where vessels attempting to achieve the shortest routes converge along similar routes and waypoints.

Their is also areas known as 'Traffic Separation Schemes' such as that in the English Channel where traffic is segregated by direction and as such in those lanes, the passage of large power driven vessels must not be impeded by the likes of small pleasure vessels or sailing vessels.

With regards to allocation of berths; these are allocated dependant on cargo and are often booked weeks or months ahead by Commercial Managers and the local shipping agents who update the port masters on the ETA's of the vessels. Some vessels have priority over other vessels for a berth (regular users, paying larger fees, fresh cargoes). If the berth is unavailable it may be necessary to wait at the anchorage until such time as the berth is ready, which can be sometimes hours, days or weeks.

Low Flier
23rd Apr 2006, 11:12
Seacue is right, piracy is a major, though somewhat declining threat to shipping.

Most pirate attacks occur when the vessel is alongside or at anchor. At sea, more attacks fail than succeed, but there are still far too many.

Last year 266 acts of piracy were reported (to the IMO, which is the shipping world's equivalent of ICAO), resulting in the disappearance of 16 ships and one tug+barge. A total of 152 crewmen were reported to have been assaulted and injured; 652 crewmen were abducted, of whom 11 are still unaccounted for.

Here's a representative sample of actual attacks which were reported in January of this year:

- ALFA GEMILANG, General cargo ship, Indonesia
Off Sampit (Indonesia) SOUTH CHINA SEA
Pirates boarded the ship, while underway. They blindfolded all the crew members, hijacked the ship loaded with cargo and sailed her to an unknown destination. They landed eight crew members at Tawi-Tawi Island and sailed with three members onboard. No further update on the fate of the hostages.

24/12/2005 19:00 LT
KM SERBA GUNA - I, , Fishing vessel, Indonesia
0414'.00N 09823'.00E
Near Sembilan Island, Ujung Tamiang Off Coast of Eastern Aceh (Indonesia)
Six robbers armed with machine guns, hand grenades and knives hijacked the ship, while underway. They released five crew members, held two crew members hostage and demanded a ransom from the owners. The Indonesian Navy and Police ambushed the ship and released the hostages on 02/01/2006. All six criminals are now under custody and will be prosecuted.

11/01/2006 16:00 LT
- LIBERTY SERVICE, Special purpose ship, Vanuatu
0449'.00N 00521'.00E 8 Miles SW of Dodo River, Off EA Oilfield (Nigeria) WEST AFRICA
Forty robbers armed with guns, in three canoes, boarded the ship, while underway. They vandalized ship's equipment and kidnapped four expatriate personnel. The ship was engaged in a security role with 14 naval personnel onboard. So far no demand has been made by the robbers. The authorities were informed. No further update on the fate of the hostages.

31/01/2006 00:30 LT
- PACIFIC ONYX Product Tanker Singapore
Chittagong Alpha Anchorage Area (Bangladesh) INDIAN OCEAN
A boat approached at port bow of the ship, while underway and the crew went forward to investigate. In the meantime, four robbers boarded at poop deck. They threatened the duty A/B with knives, stole ship's stores and safety equipment and escaped. Port control and Coast Guard were informed. Duty A/B threatened; ship's stores and safety equipment stolen. Raised alarm and mustered crew.

23rd Apr 2006, 11:28
Seacue is right, piracy is a major, though somewhat declining threat to shipping.

I think you'll find its an increasing threat rather then declining and not a particularly nice one for those of us who have experienced it. (One of those days when you'd rather by flying!!!)

Krystal n chips
23rd Apr 2006, 16:24
My thanks to all who replied to my query:ok: I can understand the shortest route principal eg the example given by Mr Drapes for crossing the Atlantic--it was how this would translate for say a trip to the West Coast of a S.American country or down to Oz for example that I was curious about.

I've always been interested in most forms of transport, but the Merchant Marine world is, to an outsider like myself, as much a mystery as aviation is to most pax--they see bits of it, but never the larger picture. I actually thought about being a ships officer in my younger days-- always wondered if I would have enjoyed it--apart from the sea sickness I used to suffer crossing the North Sea that is !. Anyway, makes a change from the speed camera saga's ;)

Low Flier
23rd Apr 2006, 17:22
I think you'll find its an increasing threat rather then declining

I don't think so.

I use the actual documented reports which are logged by the International Maritime Organization, which is a UN body which is very similar in its authority to ICAO, not anecdotes.

The number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, which were reported to the IMO to have occurred or to have been attempted in 2005, was 266, a decrease of 64 (19%) over the figure for 2004. The number
of acts reported to have occurred or to have been attempted on 2005 decreased from 113 to 97 in the South China Sea, from 60 to 20 in the Malacca Strait, from 57 to 23 in West Africa and from 46 to 26 in South America and the Caribbean.

Here's a graph of the reported incidences of piracy over the past couple of decades. Note that there was an increasing trend in the 1990s, but there has been a much sharper decline since 2000.

Source: IMO MSC.4/Circ.81

Clearly the number of incidences is declining, not increasing. That trend is not only year on year this past year, but also apparent if you look at the trendline since 2000.

There are several reasons for the ongoing improvement, including greater awareness and preparedness of crews, and a more pro-active policing regime by the naval authorities of the archiplegic states in the South China Sea.

tony draper
23rd Apr 2006, 17:41
Time we sent a few Q Ships, old vessels that look easy pickings but a dozen vulcan machine guns in concealed mountings,sounds more like the authorities are turning a blind eye to it,or can't be arsed or are taking backsheesh,seems to me a half determined effort would wipe them out in no time,especialy if they didn't get involved in sissy stuff like taking prisoner.

23rd Apr 2006, 17:44
Send in the (sub)marines. A torpedo or two should deal with pirates and the 'ship' could slip away unseen.

Do submarines adhere to 'height' rules (alternate depths for opposite headings)?

23rd Apr 2006, 17:50
Low Flier, I agree that recently their has been a dramatic decrease in piracy attacks, but over the long term the trend is that attacks are increasing. The UK Government DFT, the IMO and the Centre of Piracy Attacks (Kuala Lumpa) predict that the trend will increase. What is more worrying is the definate increase in murders during these attacks.
Seafarers are taking more preventative action, but the backup from navies and the like is almost non-existant (however much they claim to be supportive).
It is also accepted a large number (the IMO predicts upto a factor of two) of piracy incidents which aren't reported.

I personally feel that not enough attention is brought to the dangers faced by mariners and the shipping industry.



tony draper
23rd Apr 2006, 18:13
A bit of Rough here.:uhoh:


tony draper
23rd Apr 2006, 19:59
Great Stuff Mr Civis, pray post more often,

23rd Apr 2006, 22:04
I've been out of the business for a while now but thought that losses were declining cos i didn't read about them in the paper. Look at www.cargolaw.com it shows details of the casualties and whilst their are a lot of casualties not many are losses, particularly the bigger ship's. The increase in piracy is astounding..
Got pooped (that is when a big sea comes over the back of the ship) in the Atlantic one night while on a 65000 ton tanker.Lots of green water down the engine room skylights, which would have been 40 or 50 feet above the sea. The engineer on watch was not a happy guy.

Low Flier
24th Apr 2006, 04:05
Do submarines adhere to 'height' rules (alternate depths for opposite headings)?

Sort of. Each submarine is given a limited number of depths at which to cruise and is given a number of "pools" wiyhin which to surface or come to periscope depth. The latter are analagous to Class D airspace around airports and the former are analagous to pre-RVSM flight levels above FL300. The main difference is that the assigned depths are not heading dependent.

Subs have a major advantage over aircraft in collision avoidance: they're usually very good at locating other submarines!

24th Apr 2006, 10:37
If you want to splurge, try www.seasearcher.com, produced by Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit. Here's a screenshot from their AIS (Automatic Identification System) service, a casualty map of just a small bit of the UK south coast. The green triangles are vessels moving down the Channel, live, about ten minutes ago.

And, Drapes, don't recall where I saw it but the pic of the Maersk supply vessel's been labelled as photoshopped. Not that they don't frequently face worse stuff!


24th Apr 2006, 11:29
In 1973 the fast cargo vessel Bencruachan was hit by a wave off Durban. The entire bow was telescoped back and the crew were very fortunate to have survived. I have a video taken by a crewmember on a similar-sized ship, also off South Africa, in similar conditions but where the master had brought the speed back, recalling the severe damage caused to a sister vessel (and its cargo) which had pressed on at full speed a year earlier.


tony draper
24th Apr 2006, 11:44
Yeh the channel will scare the poo out of anybody, probably busier in my day if anything,best not look at the radar.
In my day it would have been
"Message to all shipping from Lands End Coastguard,you are all standing into danger, repeat danger,Greek Liberty Ship on passage English channel,all vessels keep a look out,if sighted report anybody on bridge of said Greek Vessel,and claim your prize"
Yeh, re that photograph one posted it on proon a while back, website one pinched it from had a discussion as to whether it was a photoshop job,seems likely.yer can't even trust photographs now look at that picture on me and me guitar ,no sign of me hump or me wooden leg.

24th Apr 2006, 13:24
Bet it felt tender after that!:E

tony draper
24th Apr 2006, 13:25
Great Pickies Mr Cheerio,one was on a wee coaster like that, she used to leave the piers and submerge,had more frights on the North Sea on that little buggah than any blue water trip,
Hee hee ,lying wedged on yer bunk with a bottle of Gordons Gin, counting the seconds when she went over,
"If she don't start coming back by the time you reach fourteen son, she int coming back"
After a while the gin would do its work and yer stopped counting.
Theres a great video clip knocking about the net of one of they Mississippi river boat barge towing jobies colliding with the structure of a bridge when the river is in flood,she turns a complete turtle goes under the bridge and right herself on tother side,unberfeckinbelivable.

24th Apr 2006, 14:00
Cheerio See, I knew them there stabilisers did the job. Seafaring is for cissies.

24th Apr 2006, 14:02
Small beer by comparison, but I preferred it 'rough' (or smooth) rather than 'wavy' when crossing the North Sea to Scandinavia. One morning sitting a breakfast (in a deserted lounge of a DFDS monster) when the crew started washing the windows, except it was wash from the bows breaking over the superstructure. I could manage rough, but not that wishy-washy wobbly stuff that induced nausea. On one trip I'd have willingly got off half-way if there'd been any solid land (even six-foot square). Brain went on washing about for a couple of days after reaching dry land! Weird . . .

tony draper
24th Apr 2006, 14:25
Ah rough weather was catered for,our cabins had the bunk aligned forard and aft,for when she was pitching,tiz easier to sleep when yer just sliding up and down yer bunk lengthwise than trying to sleep rolling side to side,rolling was catered for by yer settee,which was aligned thwartships(port to starboard)if she was rolling bad yer kipped on that, sadly nobody ever came up with a idea of catering for simultanious pitching and rolling,which she did 99% of the time.
Disconcerting when you are lying flat on yer back on yer bunk and suddenly you are subject to a involuntary sit up and stare down at the bulkhead,(wall) that has suddenly become the deck (floor)at the end of yer bunk.

24th Apr 2006, 14:52
I thought that hammocks catered for pitching and rolling?

tony draper
24th Apr 2006, 15:14
You may be right ,but I never saw a hammock, under the Red Duster we was civilsed we all had cabins with proper bunks, we didn't have to kip in some pockey gun deck like a bunch of dammed Matelots.

24th Apr 2006, 16:10
It was the corkscrew motion that screwed me!

That and the smell of fuel-oil :yuk:

24th Apr 2006, 19:34

Thank you for that link (www.cargolaw.com). It has some fascinating reading and pictures.:ok:

24th Apr 2006, 20:19
Thank you Broadreach! That's a fascinating website

24th Apr 2006, 20:23
I seem to recall the Andrea Gail (Perfect Storm) was capsized in enormous waves. Book was far better than film, btw..:rolleyes:

Something to do with low pressure areas colliding and producing +100ft waves:confused:

Mate of mine was a second officer on one of those super-tankers (out of the Phillipines). He got caught in a cyclone once, apparently part of the deck had a massive crack stretching either side..doesn't know to this day how the ship didn't go down..

tony draper
24th Apr 2006, 20:38
Went through two Carribean Hurricanes in the Vessel below,both times going through the Mona Passage, awe inspiring it were,Tankers were a sensible size then,they just plowed through weather,these Super Tankers are just to big,they snap like twigs.
Lovely ship was the Thirlby,many fond memories of that trip.


24th Apr 2006, 21:21
Welcome G-ALAN. We're installing these tracking stations along the Brazilian coast. AIS is now obligatory on most vessels in international trade. Works as anti-collision as well. Installation on some vessel's a bit haphazard though, saw a little triangle passing off Rio heading south to Santos, stern-first. Technician who installed it must have been facing aft.

G-CPTN, me too. Always felt sick before leaving the dock, better as soon as into some weather.

24th Apr 2006, 22:17
The weather doesn't need to be bad when it comes to superyachts:

"Cap'n, we're shipping a lot of water over the bow..."


More on the "Land's End" here (http://www.bymnews.com/new/content/view/16054/82/).

Another superyacht disaster here (http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/22834-post5.html).

24th Apr 2006, 22:30

That one of Ropner's tubs?

Agree with the Caribbean hurricane season in a loaded tanker. Went through one in one of Joe Shell's H-boats when I was serving my time. F---ng hell! Forget about eating - we lived midships & the galley & saloon were down aft, with the flying brige connecting the two under water most of the time.

Even the old man had to cut back on his G&T's to figure a way out of the weather!

tony draper
24th Apr 2006, 22:41
Yup she was one of Ropners Navy,Mr C great ship almost new when I joined her in 1960 61?,she had quite a long life for a Tanker,bloke moved in a few houses up the street from me ,we got to yacking and it turned out he had sailed on her in the the late seventies,tiz a small world.
Did about ten months on her,on the old San Tanker run,one trip down to S America next run up to North American ports,back to Curacao would have stayed but we got the chance to pay off in Rotterdam at christmas,that was to tempting, so left her.
Happy Daz.

25th Apr 2006, 01:41
All these seafaring stories and history is bringing a tear to my eye. Hang on, i'm still working at sea!!
Mr Draper, i'd appreciate you not saying tankers these days snap like twigs. Unless someone hasn't told me something I need to know. :hmm:

I feel safer on a 300,000+ dwt tanker than on any ship i've been on. Except maybe for the Turbinia. Even had the misfortune of one of Stena's finest tankers (Stena King) run in to the side of us and we didn't sink. That thing was 458,000dwt I think and doing 10kts! Mind it took 4 months and about 5000t of steel to repair the damage. :E

anyone interested can read the report here:-
by the way, I was the 2nd engineer, not a navigating officer!


25th Apr 2006, 01:54
Except maybe for the Turbinia.
YOU served on Turbinia?

25th Apr 2006, 05:13

The source of your photos of the oil rig tender vessel?

Perchance not from an ABC tv clip of some years past now taken from an oil rig off the west coast of Tasmania, Australia whilst the then Premier of that State was visiting said rig?

The tender vessels were working out of Hobart, there were three of them with one on station all the time and the other two doing shuttle runs to Hobart for the mud and stuff they push down the drill core.

My step-father was invited to go on one of the runs. It turned into one of the roughest trips the vessel had ever done. They had to shelter behind islands on the south coast of Tasmania for 24 hours before being able to complete the run to the drill rig which was off the coast at Strahan.

What it must have been like on the rig and the support vessels heavens only knows because when you look west from there the next piece of land is the Patagonian coast. The backwash off the west coast of Tasmania is horrendous as many yachties in the Melbourne to Hobart race have discovered.

tony draper
25th Apr 2006, 08:10
Ah the Turbinia,the Geordie speed boat,used to visit the science museum in Newcastle quite often in sproghood,they used to have half of her,dunno where tother half was,eventualy her port and starboard sides were reunited,and now she sits in all her glory,wouldn't mind seeing her in the water doing her thing,her speed when she appeared was beyond anything anybody had seen before,it could probably be done as well, we built things to last in those days.

25th Apr 2006, 09:19
This thread is really working the memory box.
My first trip to sea,in 1957, was on a T2 tanker (war built turbo electric 16000 tons, years ahead of her time, it was said that a full of cargo of avgas would send 1000 bombers to Berlin and back.Provided that the cargo made it across the Atlantic,first.)
We were caught in a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal,in ballast, and the ship buried herself into a big sea right up to the bridge front, the straining and creaking noise as the ship slowly pulled herself back up out of what must have been thousands of tons of water was very worrying. We were in the midships saloon at the time and the look on the faces of the experienced crew as they realised that this was different and hoped that we would survive is still clear in my mind.The relief as the ship stopped going down and started to slowly rise was electric..... I had a few near misses in my seagoing time but that was the big one for me..
Had a lot of respect for the sea after that..

25th Apr 2006, 09:47
Never said I worked on Turbinia, just that I felt safe on her. Why? Cos she was in Science museum, high and dry! Can't get much safer than that when standing on her deck.

Those T2's were only built for the war weren't they? I heard some ran about for years and years afterwards.

Not the same at sea anymore though. Too much paperwork. QA. HSE. BS etc

No time in port. 24hr turnarounds after a 40 day voyage. Nope. No fun there at all.

tony draper
25th Apr 2006, 09:58
Prolly not enouch chaps crewing them to get a good cribbage game going either Mr Squirrel,must eb a buggah having a half mile walk to ye cabin when yer come off watch as well.

Capt. Queeg
25th Apr 2006, 10:05
Real men go to sea on a DMS...... ;)

25th Apr 2006, 10:29
Hope I don't get flamed in a Rumours & News stylie but.... I have only ever PAXed aboard cruise ships....

Was brought up in the Solomon Islands in the last dys of the 'long white trousers' colonial days..

Best trip back to UK was from Sydney thru Panama on the 'Northern Star' - 1965

'Galileo Galilei (sp) was very nice.

But the most *ahem* interesting was Sydney via Rio on the 'Achille Lauro' - '74 I think :uhoh: :eek:

I was once fishing off the main wharf in Honiara whilst the HMS Hydra was docked - chap came down and asked how I was doing, what bait etc - turns out he was a chippy, (PO I recall), and he was my Dad's best mate at school :eek:

25th Apr 2006, 11:23
Cheerio's photo's bring back some unpleasant memories.

I used to work for a geophysical company based out of Aberdeen, and often we had to set up some of our kit on supply boats and look after it's needs during the seismic survey. As passengers on supply boats we were regarded with great suspicion to begin with, even more so once the survey started. We would put air guns over the side and make unpleasant sounding bangs for anything up to 72 hours while the ship had to maintain a position over the oil well.

One of the worst boats was the Seaforth Highlander, even on a flat calm day it bobbed around like a cork in a washing machine. I was part of a team that was flown out to Beryl Alpha and then basketed down to this evil contraption. I managed to survive for 45 minutes before sea-sickness defeated me. The weather never dropped below a force 7 all the way through the survey and back into harbour. Never has 4 days seemed so long. A wave crashed over the wheelhouse, knocking out the engines and prepare to abondon ship was ordered at one point. Curiously I was quite happy at the thought of the ship sinking - anything to stop the misery of sea-sickness. I managed to wear holes in the knees of my jeans hanging over the toilet bowl hurling. The dry heaves are just the worst feeling though. Getting back onshore was a weird feeling and an immediate attack of the munchies followed, as did a few pints to errm, replenish lost fluids.

In the early 1990's there were a couple of Russian ships operating as supply boats in the North Sea. We were put onboard Neftygaz-51, which was classified as an icebreaker as well, it had an enormous backdeck crane and odd sized deck fittings for containers - apparently it had originally been designed to resupply nuclear submarines and the deck fittings were for torpedo and missile containers. This ship was enormous in comparison to the European supply boats and had a crew of 40. It had gun mounts and an external fall out washdown system. The radio room was a Faraday Cage with huge radio sets in it. The food was disgusting as well, lard and onion soup and stale black bread was a normal menu :yuk:

25th Apr 2006, 11:39
Shouldn't this thread have been entitled


and should notice of the questions be given in advance?:\

25th Apr 2006, 11:42
(Apologies for this sad URL) http://www.tugspotters.com/tugs/field.express.htm
They're just sort-of Marine Utes.

25th Apr 2006, 11:43
Ah! the shipboard card schools. Played in a canasta school for 13 months, we played for one hour a night with the same two packs of cards which were never shuffled, whenever we were at sea,which was most of the time. The gambling currency was cigarettes and when we all paid off the difference between the highest winner and biggest loser was less than 200 cigarettes.
On another ship the old man was a bridge fanatic and used to roam the ship looking for people to coerce into a game.The trouble was he was such a pain in the a$se with a postmortem after each game that people would hide rather than play..
The T2 turbo electric tanker was built in the USA during WW2, hundreds were built and they were exceptional for their time.Very heavily armed too. They had a service speed of 18.5 knots during the war and 14.5 knots in peacetime.When i was a young third mate i was on watch in the Gulf of Suez one night and needed a bit of extra speed so rang the engine room and asked if we could go a bit faster cos i was getting squeezed between two faster ships. (Regular occurence when the Suez canal was sending 30 o0dd ships out at ten minute intervals)
Anyway the engineer on watch duly speeded the ship up and i delighted at overtaking everything got a bit carried away and didn't slow down until the end of the watch.
Next morning i was on the carpet in front of the old man and chief engineer and had to explain why my watch had used 12 hours bunker fuel. Five star bollicking followed...
I believe that the USA still have T2 engine rooms powering new hulls on the US coast.
If you google T2 tanker you should find a very good web site dedicated to their history..

tony draper
25th Apr 2006, 11:51
This was the last ship one set foot on,though not as a seaman,twer many years after one had left the sea, one joined her in San Fransico to sort out her cable television system,not a proper ship,bloody cruise liner,just feckin floatin hotels they is,sailed with her up to dry dock in Victoria Vancouver,just contraters aboard,thankfully no passengers.
Has a posh cabin on the Acapulco Deck wudda prolly cost me a grand a day had one not been a contractor,a short trip but it brung back memories, and twer the first time one had ever been on the West Coast.
PS ,She even had those sissy stabalisers


25th Apr 2006, 12:34
Mr Draper, my walk to work takes all of about 60 seconds. Out of my bedroom, thru my day room/office, into the alleyway, press lift button, get in lift, descend 7 decks to control room. Et Voila!:ok:

Air conditioned luxury. You're right tho. Not enough people these days to play a decent game of cards. The officers are still all in short pants nowadays anyway and don't know how to play cards.

Never had the misfortune of being seasick.:yuk: Just eat loads before any bad weather and it seems to do the trick.;)

tony draper
25th Apr 2006, 12:43
Lifts!!feckin Lifts!!bloody nora !!,how does one develope the vital skill of sliding down the engine room companion way ?, yer prolly have a CCTV camera at the bow instead of a proper watchman freezing his tackle off as well.
:uhoh: :rolleyes:
Was never seasick meself nor was Bro,felt a bit queezy first trip hitting muck in Biscay but that was gone by the next mealtime,must be genetic one thinks, some folks was never meant to set foot on the ogan.

25th Apr 2006, 12:49
Onboard we have 4 or more cctv cams. One for'd, one aft, one at each manifold. Saves going out on deck you see! :)
Oh yes, with some ships we have our laptops plugged into the internet in our cabins. I do believe some of the lads 'communicate' ahem, with their partners via webcam and 'msn messenger' on those lonely nights. What they do behind close doors is nobodies business! ;) ;)

25th Apr 2006, 14:00
What they do behind close doors is nobodies business! ;) ;)
I started researching 'virtual sex' (there was some talk of 'equipment' for this some time ago - a sort of electronic Engineer's Wheel), but I failed to find anything worthwhile. However, is the MN now COMPLETELY emancipated WRT sex (and other matters)?

25th Apr 2006, 14:59
My dad was captain of a minesweeper and I went on several trips around the coast in various weather.

Never got seasick but always used to get craving (and consuming) more bread and butter than I would ever eat at home.

25th Apr 2006, 16:20
Bloody supertankers, minesweepers, cruise ships, tankers...pah! There all for poofs!

One learned to sail the proper way in one of these:


Never got seasickness either. Worst sail was an easterly gale 8 on the River Clyde (Rhu Narrows:ouch: ) If the Wayfarer was an airyplane, we'd have taken off:ugh:

tony draper
25th Apr 2006, 16:24
oooh ! we usta love running them things down Mr Colmac,we got three of the buggas up the St Lawrence.
"Captain small small vessel dead ahead"
"Maintain your course and speed Mister"
"Aye Aye Captain"

25th Apr 2006, 16:33
They can certainly go something when the wind picks up..bloody hell! Used to have to reef it in now and again. The Clyde's a bugger for cross winds and squalls. Not been sailing for years now; last time we almost capsized - forgot to pull the centre board up:ugh: (or was it down)

And one vivid memory is from the Tall Ships race (at Greenock, approx 8 years ago + or -)?? Feckin paddle steamer, y'know the one, did not obey the maritime passage rule. **** came steaming at us, got closer and closer until we realised he wasn't gonna move out our way.
Shoulda reported the **** to the maritime superiors:rolleyes:

That day too, one saw his first and only water funnel/spout. Half-arsed it was, but enough for me to be like a Japanese bloke and quickly snap away:D

25th Apr 2006, 16:33
Ship arriving in Arabian port to load oil.
Port authority messsage.."When did you hit the dhow?"
Ship.."What dhow?"
Port Authority. "The one that left it's sail on your starboard anchor!"

Supposed to be a true story.....

25th Apr 2006, 16:41
Dohw! :ugh:

Solid Rust Twotter
25th Apr 2006, 16:59
Luxury, Mr Colmac.....

One learned to sail a Dabchick.

Cardboard box in middle of t'road, witter, dribble.....:rolleyes:

25th Apr 2006, 17:02
:O Canoe with sails!



25th Apr 2006, 17:38
M.V. Nonesuch,
Alongside layby berth


It is with regret and haste that I write this letter to you, regret that such a small misunderstanding could lead to the following circumstances, and haste in order that you will receive this report before you form your own pre-conceived opinions from reports in the world press, for I am sure that they will tend to over dramatise the affair.

We had just picked up the pilot, and the apprentice had returned from changing the "G" flag for the "H", and, it being his first trip, was having difficulty in rolling up the "G" flag. I therefore proceeded to show him how. Coming to the last part, I told him to "let go".

The lad, although willing, is not too bright, necessitating my having to repeat the order in a sharper tone.

At this moment the Chief Officer appeared from the Chart Room having been plotting the vessel's progress, and, thinking it was the anchors that were being referred to, repeated the "let go" to the Third Officer on the forecastle. The port anchor, having been cleared away but not walked out, was promptly let go.

The effect of letting the anchor drop from the "pipe" while the vessel was proceeding at full manoeuvering speed proved too much for the windlass brake, and the entire length of the port cable was pulled out "by the roots". I fear that the damage to the chain locker may be extensive. The braking effect of the port anchor naturally caused the vessel to sheer to port, right towards the swing bridge that spans a tributary to the river up which we were proceeding.

The swing bridge operators showed great presence of mind by opening the bridge for my vessel. Unfortunately, he did not think to stop the vehicular traffic, the result being that the bridge partly opened and deposited a Volkswagen, two cyclists, and a cattle truck on the foredeck. My ships' company are at present rounding up the contents of the latter, which from the noise I would say were pigs. In his efforts to stop the progress of the vessel the Third Officer dropped the starboard anchor, too late to be of practical use, for it fell on the swing bridge operators control cabin.

After the port anchor was let go and the vessel started to sheer, I gave a double ring Full Astern on the Engine Room Telegraph and personally rang the Engine Room to maximise the astern revolutions. I was informed that the sea temperature was 53 degrees and asked if there was a film tonight. My reply would not add constructively to this report.

Up to now I have confined my report to the activities at the forward end of the vessel. Down aft they were having their own problems.

At the moment the port anchor was let go, the Second Officer was supervising the making fast of the tug aft, and was lowering the ship's line down to the tug. The sudden braking effect of the port anchor caused the tug to "run in under" the stern of my vessel at the moment when the propeller was answering my double ring "Full Astern". The prompt action of the Second Officer in securing the inboard end of the line delayed the sinking of the tug by some minutes, thereby allowing the safe abandoning of that vessel.

It is strange, but at the very same moment of letting go the port anchor there was a power cut ashore. The fact that we were passing over a "cable area" at the time might suggest that we may have touched something on the river bed. It is perhaps lucky that the high tension cables brought down by the foremast were not live, possibly being replaced by the underwater cable, but owing to the shore blackout, it is impossible to say where the pylon fell.

It never fails to amaze me, the actions and behaviour of foreigners during moments of minor crisis. The pilot, for instance, is at this moment huddled in the corner of my day cabin, alternatively crooning to himself and crying, after having consumed a bottle of gin in a time that is worthy of inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records. The tug captain on the other hand reacted violently and had to be forcibly restrained by the Steward, who has him handcuffed in the ship's hospital, where he is telling me to do impossible things with my ship and my crew.

I enclose the names and addresses of the drivers and insurance companies of the vehicles on my foredeck which the Third Officer collected after his somewhat hurried evacuation of the forecastle. These particulars will enable you to claim for the damage that they did to the railings of the No.1 hold.

I am closing this preliminary report for I am finding it difficult to concentrate with the sound of police sirens and their flashing lights.

It is sad to think that had the apprentice realised that there was no need to fly pilot flags after dark, none of this would have happened.

For the weekly Accountability Report. I will assign the following Casualty Numbers: T/750101 to T/750199 inclusive.

Yours Sincerely,


green granite
25th Apr 2006, 18:14
Company HQ To master, MV. Nonesuch

We have passed your report onto the marine superintendant for looseing

Obviously no blame can be attatched to yourself or the company, after
all its a well known fact that if a vessel is following too close astern and
then hits the stern of the vessel in front its his fault. As for the power
outage, it also must be the fault of the tug who broke the cable when
it sank. As for the cars they must have caused the starboard anchor to be
released thereby hiting the bridge control cabin, so once again not our fault.
In fact because the Pilot was drunk at the time, I don't see that any blame
what-so-ever can laid at our door. The apprentice is to be congratulated
on his progress during his 5 years employment with us and is on course to
make master in a couple of years time.


25th Apr 2006, 23:53
This sounds suspiciously like the company I work for. :O

26th Apr 2006, 00:26
This sounds suspiciously like the company I work for. :O

Funnily enough, similar to my employer as well. I think it very well describes most shipping companies. 'green granite', your not a ship manager are you??????

I look forward 'one day' to a nice flying job with terms, conditions, rights of employment and union action (the joys of Flags of Convenience).

However have the plus side of spending my summer as 3/O on a large Sail Training Vessel with 60 or so young fresh sailors which will be pleasant in the med.

26th Apr 2006, 00:41
I must express my delight and surprise on the in-dept responses to my question to Mr. D.

I guess it shows that we pilots and cabin crew members have more in common with you who are at sea than it appears on the surface.

We who earn our living in the air and those that do so at sea face many common problems. The only difference being that tragedy can come to us in the air quicker than to those at sea, most of time.

So, to our seafaring friends please keep the stories and history coming.

And thanks again Tony.:ok:

26th Apr 2006, 01:08
It would be nice to think that some aspects of aviation and maritime industries go hand in hand. I am a member of the 'Royal Institute of Navigation' which in particular seems to have members from both areas working together.

tony draper
26th Apr 2006, 01:35
Happy Days,



mebee should have posted these on that other thread.


26th Apr 2006, 04:38
Thanks for the photos Mr D. Had a look at the others as well.

Tis you and the Strat? :ok:

West Coast
26th Apr 2006, 04:40
I remember seeing pic's of supertankers being scrapped. Basically beached, slowly being taken apart. The pictures gave a true impression of the size of these monsters as the whole ship was visable. Anyone have any of those pictures?

tony draper
26th Apr 2006, 07:50
You missed out one of the finest books on working the Wind Ships Mr Civis,"The Last Grain Race" by Eric Newby,about life aboard Moshulu betwixt the wars.
Had it, loaned it out, and lost it,story of me life.

Solid Rust Twotter
26th Apr 2006, 08:09
Don't forget "The Custom Of The Sea". Can't remember the author...:E

26th Apr 2006, 08:29
On a twin-screw ship, do the props rotate in the same direction, or counter rotate?

26th Apr 2006, 10:08
On a twin-screw ship, do the props rotate in the same direction, or counter rotate?

Some ships counter, some ships the same direction, counter is better for a single rudder for flow of water, however many twin screw have two rudders and same direction is fine in that case.
However on the modern cruise liners where rudders don't exist it doesn't really matter which direction since they use azipods for propulsion and manoeuvering.

26th Apr 2006, 10:21
Have a youth hardcover book of 72 pages titled Windjammers and published by Collins - July 1938. About half the pages are full-page illustrations.

There are write-ups of quite a number of the remaining sailing ships, including the last few in the grain trade from Oz to the UK.

Name a ship and maybe I can produce a picture of it.

green granite
26th Apr 2006, 10:26
Funnily enough, similar to my employer as well. I think it very well describes most shipping companies. 'green granite', your not a ship manager are you??????

No just a cynical old sod :D :D

26th Apr 2006, 10:45
So I guess Con-pilot, that I am a very high risk category. I work at sea and fly helicopters for a living when I get home! Feel much better knowing that.

oh yes, forgot to mention the heat! The engine rooms haven't gotten any cooler in the tropics etc. Average about 42degrees C. Highest I 'suffered' was 72 degrees C. Not nice conditions but hey, we do it for love of the job, don't we?:{
The noise also with a turbo charger as big as a car screaming away at 16000rpm all day and night. Mind it does help the engine produce 35,000bhp+
so that's a plus.
And some people think Jet rangers are noisy.

27th Apr 2006, 02:07
Me is debating with myself as to why it is, when matters maritime are posted, so many unexpected replies come up. Professional Pilots' forum, after all. Is it because all we limited to the (relatively) two-dimensional ocean and we always yearned for wings and the power to reach above the waves? Or because anyone who's done that, reached above and has an ounce of sense in his head has also, somehow, learned to respect and fear where he/she might have, someday, to kiss the earth anew? Mixture of both?

Don't mind my philosophising (sp?). Something may have rubbed off on me; I replied hello to a gentleman draped in orange in a dark alley of an expensive hotel an hour ago and my escort asked a few seconds later "do you know who that was?" I thought he looked rather like the Dalai Lama. Bingo. Small world.

27th Apr 2006, 07:41
[quote=broadreach]Me is debating with myself as to why it is, when matters maritime are posted, so many unexpected replies come up. Professional Pilots' forum, after all. Is it because all we limited to the (relatively) two-dimensional ocean and we always yearned for wings and the power to reach above the waves? Or because anyone who's done that, reached above and has an ounce of sense in his head has also, somehow, learned to respect and fear where he/she might have, someday, to kiss the earth anew? Mixture of both? [quote]

It's the adventurous streak, can sail, can fly, can travel!!!! :)

27th Apr 2006, 08:58
I get to see a few interesting sights in the course of my job..

27th Apr 2006, 12:44

You must remember that there are water borne pilots as well as skywards ones!

27th Apr 2006, 12:58
I get to see a few interesting sights in the course of my job..

Somebody forgot "Left hand down a bit" !

27th Apr 2006, 13:08
Somebody forgot "Left hand down a bit" !

T'was actually caused by an explosion in one of the cargo tanks :8

27th Apr 2006, 13:26
Maintain heading and speed.
Post look-outs.

27th Apr 2006, 13:38
Mr Draper - The Last Grain Race (http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?searchurl=y=9&bi=577293046&isbn=0586051171). 1.50 including postage. :)

27th Apr 2006, 13:58
Personaly, I wont carry explosions on my boats, the noise of the things upsets the neighbours. Also find that they are flat by the time they reach the next prot:E:E

27th Apr 2006, 16:13
Mariner9 your picture is a wonderful commentary, as if it were really needed, on the real dangers of smoking :(

27th Apr 2006, 20:57
Quite right Mr Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Happily, on this occasion, the only injuries sustained were burst eardrums and singed eyebrows for the Master and the Pilot, both whom were standing on the bridge wing when the tank exploded. :ouch:

Empty Cruise
27th Apr 2006, 22:04
...when tanks (used to) open up like that, it was normally due to washing the tanks. A reason why the Butterworth-devices should be grounded...

However, from time to time this still occurs - nearly lost a good mate to one of them explosions :mad:

So how about "...the dangers of excessive cleanliness"? :E


28th Apr 2006, 00:32
That's why Inert Gas generators are now used on tankers. !!!

I can't find the photo of the ship's deck, peeled back over the accomodation like a sardine tin. (again, due to explosion) Anyone got it?


To give you some idea of the size, part way down the main deck, on the port side there is a heli pad which quite easily will accomodate an S76, AS365 etc.

28th Apr 2006, 06:16
Mariner9, isn't the irony of it that those wing tanks look so damn spanking clean! So does that centre tank. Fortunate for those on the bridge wing with only singed eyebrows and unexpected suntans. Nothing to do with a bit of welding on deck, "nothing to worry about because the tanks are inerted" was it.

IB4138, re waterborne pilots, I'm never allowed to forget it. Interesting how in English "Pilot" can mean of the air or of the approaches/berthing of ships etc. In Spanish and Portuguese "Piloto" once meant of the sea but now translates almost entirely as "pilot of an aircraft" whereas one of the maritime variety is a "practico" or "pratico", literally translated as a "practitioner" or someone who lots of practice in a particular field.

My upbringing (still ongoing) was amongst pilots and practicos and praticos and pilotos so there's probably some residual confusion. Sussing out "Pirates of Penzance", lyrics of which force-fed during infancy, eventually helped.

28th Apr 2006, 20:38
Some good guesses chaps, but not quite correct I'm afraid :p

The tanks are so clean as the vessel is a chemical tanker. She was fully loaded (ie not tank cleaning) with a cargo of styrene, which contains an anti-polymerisation inhibitor which requires oxygen to work, ergo the tanks could not be (and were not) inerted. The explosion occured due to a minor scraping with a jetty during berthing operations, causing a very small leak overboard, which immediately caught fire. The fire burned outside the hull until the level of liquid in the tanks fell below the hole, when there was a major explosion as the the tank vapours ignited. (Have actually got a video of the explosion but dont know how to post it) Have also got photos of the peeled back deck I'll post in due course.... :8

28th Apr 2006, 20:50

28th Apr 2006, 20:56
So it really DID go woof!

29th Apr 2006, 05:17
Thanks, Mariner. Zinc lining? Lovely stuff, styrene monomer. Surveyor acquaintance with a grisly sense of humour once left a pair of glasses on deck beside the access hatch to a styrene tank on a vessel we were handling as agents. Developed into a pretty desperate search for his remains. Having the sh!t scared out of everyone also helped reinforce tank inspection SOPs.

29th Apr 2006, 06:57
LOL Broadreach - most cargo surveyors seem to be a few samples short of a composite ;) Quite correct BTW, Zinc it was.

Empty Cruise
29th Apr 2006, 11:05
Me was an apprentice on a gas/chem-tanker with a very well known international carrier (although their fame hails mostly from being the biggest container-shipping line in the world).

Arriving at a certain spanish port as "no. 2 behind company traffic" of the same class, we were 3 miles from the jetty when "company traffic" decided to connect manifold, even though only forward & aft springs connected... Which was sort of ok...until aft spring...uhm...sprung...and the ship started ahead slowly, while turning on the forward spring. Result - manifold disconnected, 100LL started to flow & caught fire.

I remember standing at the forecastle, watching the scenery unfold only 3 miles from us :eek: Remember grabbing walkie and, rather sotto voce, asking the skipper if he was seing that. The reply "Seing what?...OH FCUK!!!", followed by a prompt increase to 1/2 ahead & a swift 180 still has very high amusement value :D The results of the jetty fire, unfortunately, did not - 2 dead shorecrew & one imprisoned captain... :(

About then I started wondering if this was the right career for me :yuk:

29th Apr 2006, 12:36
Once the overboard fire started, did a Scottish engineer come running up to the bridge yellig "Captain, I cannae stop it. She's gooing tae blooooo!"?

3rd May 2006, 15:49
Somefink to sink about: Improve your Englisch bitter! The German Coast Guard Video (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/72212/improve_your_english/)... :ok: Even them Germans have become huggy-fluffies today. :E In earlier days, at least they might have sent a U-Boat to investigate... :uhoh:

Empty Cruise
3rd May 2006, 17:28
Maybe they should have sent the Spanish Inquisition?

Who'd expect them? :}

The Scottish Inquisition is far less popular nowadays...

green granite
3rd May 2006, 18:49
Nobody expects it :}


But it's here all the same

4th May 2006, 11:41
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Rescue teams searched on Thursday for 27 crew members missing after a bulk carrier ferrying iron ore from Brazil to China sank in rough seas off South Africa's eastern coast. Six of the ship's 33 crew were rescued unharmed on Wednesday night shortly after the vessel, identified as the Alexandros T, went down off Port Alfred after taking on water in strong winds, rescue officials said.

"From what we understand, it started to list to one side and started to break up in half before sinking," Paul Killeen, deputy sea rescue commander at nearby Port Elizabeth, told Reuters by telephone. "One crew member was rescued from the sea, and five others from a life raft, the rest of the crew have not been seen. The missing 27 crew were all wearing life jackets," he said.

A spokesman for the ship's owners said most of the crew members were Filipino.

A South African military plane was scrambled to the scene of the sinking, 285 miles offshore, to join nearby ships in the rescue effort. A Canadian rescue helicopter in the vicinity was placed on alert. Killeen said a military airplane was currently circling the area where the ship went down to help coordinate the ongoing rescue operation. The aircraft had spotted life rafts in the sea and was directing the rescue ships toward them, he said.

4th May 2006, 13:00
A Canadian rescue helicopter in the vicinity... Bleedin' eck, they get about don't they?! One knew that the Canadians have been trying to reserve their rights over the North-West passage most recently. But perhaps they'd like a Southern ocean passage to call their own as well...?! ;)

tony draper
4th May 2006, 15:16
Bloody modern ships,just big tin boxes like I said earlier,bad sea ships they is,yer couldn't sink the old sensibly sized tankers,seen one snapped clean in half by collision being towed to the yards to be welded together again, and they should have stuck with rivets,one don't trust this new fangled welding.

green granite
4th May 2006, 15:41
another insurance job?

4th May 2006, 19:50
With a name like Alexandros T, i doubt if it will be very modern..All the high tensile steel ships with reduced skantlings will be falling apart about now..
That coast is one of the most dangerous places to be in a gale of wind and a big long swell..