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SUMMARIES OF MAJOR  ACCIDENT REPORTS
(In event order)

THE KULLUK INCIDENT
December 2012
THE COSTA CONCORDIA
January 2012
THE TRINITY II
September 2011
THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
April 2010
THE BOURBON DOLPHIN
April 2007
THE STEVNS POWER
October 2003
THE OCEAN RANGER
February 1982
THE OCEAN EXPRESS
April 1976

PICTURE OF THE DAY
PIC OF THE DAY ARCHIVES
2007 - 77 Photographs
2008 - 101 Photographs
2009 - 124 Photographs
2010 - 118 Photographs
2011 - 100 Photographs
2012 - 97 Photographs

 

 

         

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THE CAPTAIN'S LETTER


There follows a well known spoof letter purporting to be from a Master after a particularly unusual set of co-incidences. At least it was well known twenty or thirty years ago. It was sent by Pete Wright. We all  used to be able to recall actual incidents which were not too far removed from this wonderfully imaginative whimsy, typically ships running into cranes, dropping anchors through railway trucks and the like, but anyway for those of you not familiar with this - enjoy!

Dear Sir,

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

 Having just picked up the pilot, the apprentice had returned to the bridge after changing the ”G” flag for the “H” flag and this being his first trip, was having difficulty in rolling up the “G” flag. I therefore proceeded to show him the correct procedure for this operation.  Coming to the last part, I told him to “let go” and the lad, though 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 vessels progress and, thinking that it was the anchors that were being referred to, he repeated the “let go” to the Third Officer on the fo’csle. 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 harbour speed proved too much for the windlass brake and the entire length of the port chain and stopper was pulled out by the roots.  I expect that the damage to the chain locker may be extensive.  The braking effect of the port anchor naturally caused the vessel to sheer in that direction - right towards the swing bridge that spans a tributary to the river up which we were proceeding.

 The swing bridge operator showed great presence of mind by opening the bridge for my vessel, but 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 my fo’csle.

 The ships’ company are at present  rounding up the contents of the latter, which from the noise I would say are pigs.  In his effort to stop the progress of the vessel, the Third Officer also dropped the starboard anchor, too late to be of any practical use for it fell on the swing bridge operator’s control cabin.  After the port anchor was let go and the vessel started to sheer, I gave at double ring of “full astern” on the engine room telegraph and personally rang the engine room to order maximum astern revolutions.  I was informed that the sea temperature was 53° and asked if there was a film on 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 my 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 after tug down to which he was lowering the ships’ towing spring.

 The sudden braking effect of the port anchor caused the tug to run in under the stern of my vessel, just 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 towing spring, 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 suggests that we may have touched something on the riverbed.  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 shore blackout, it is impossible to say where the pylons 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 ships hospital where he is telling me to do impossible things with my ship and my person.

 I enclose the names and addresses of the drivers and insurance companies of the vehicles on my foredeck collected by the Third Officer after his somewhat hurried evacuation of the fo’csle.  These particulars will enable you to claim for the damage that they did to the railings on the number one hold.

 I am closing this preliminary report because I am finding it difficult to concentrate with the sounds of police sirens and the 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/750200 inclusive.

 Yours truly,

 

Master.

TO RETURN TO FEATURES INDEX CLICK HERE


 

FEATURES

THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
Deepwater Horizon -The President's Report
Deepwater Horizon - The Progess of the Event

OTHER ACCIDENTS
The KULLUK Grounding
The Costa Concordia Report
The Costa Concordia Grounding
The Elgin Gas Leak
The Loss of the Normand Rough
The Bourbon Dolphin Accident
The Loss of the Stevns Power
Another Marine Disaster
Something About the P36
The Cormorant Alpha Accident
The Ocean Ranger Disaster
The Loss of the Ocean Express

OPERATIONS
The Life of the Oil Mariner
Offshore Technology and the Kursk
The Sovereign Explorer and the Black Marlin

SAFETY
Safety Case and SEMS
Practical Safety Case Development
Preventing Fires and Explosions Offshore
The ALARP Demonstration
PFEER, DCR and Verification
PFEER and the Dacon Scoop
Human Error and Heavy Weather Damage
Lifeboats & Offshore Installations
More about PFEER
The Offshore Safety Regime - Fit for the Next Decade
The Safety Case and its Future
Jigsaw
Collision Risk Management
Shuttle Tanker Collisions
A Good Prospect of Recovery

TECHNICAL
The History of the UT 704
The Peterhead Connection
Goodbye Kiss
Uses for New Ships
Supporting Deepwater Drilling
Jack-up Moving - An Overview
Seismic Surveying
Breaking the Ice
Tank Cleaning and the Environment
More about Mud Tank Cleaning
Datatrac
Tank Cleaning in 2004
Glossary of Terms

CREATIVE WRITING
An Unusual Investigation
Gaia and Oil Pollution
The True Price of Oil
Icebergs and Anchor-Handlers
Atlantic SOS
The Greatest Influence
How It Used to Be
Homemade Pizza
Goodbye Far Turbot
The Ship Manager
Running Aground
A Cook's Tale
Navigating the Channel
The Captain's Letter

GENERAL INTEREST
The Sealaunch Project
Ghost Ships of Hartlepool
Beam Him Up Scotty
Q790
The Bilbao OSV Conference