WWW.SHIPSANDOIL.COM
home   Picture of the Day     ship information   articles and features     news and views   publications   webcam 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Locations of visitors to this page

SUMMARIES OF MAJOR  ACCIDENT REPORTS
(In event order)

THE KULLUK INCIDENT
December 2012
THE COSTA CONCORDIA
January 2012
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

 

 

PREVIOUS

NEWS AND VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011 

NEXT

FOR  GLOSSARY OF TERMS CLICK HERE 

 

FAIRMOUNT EXPEDITION RESCUE

Recently the 16000 bhp offshore vessel the Fairmount Expedition, owned and operated by Fairmount BV was moving between contracts when it had to opportunity of assisting with an emergency in the channel. A cargo vessel the Katja, had broken down and was drifting in a channel shipping lane. The ship took the casualty in tow and took it to Dover where the Katja was taken into port by the harbour tugs.

This was fortuitous for the Katja, and everyone else. It will fuel the arguments for and against the removal of the emergency towing vessels. The government will say that they were right to suggest that commercial vessels would be able to take over the task of carrying out salvage round the UK coasts, and those who wish to retain the service would be able to say that the event provides evidence that ETVs are needed. After all, if the Fairmount Expedition had been somewhere else the Katja might have drifted ashore on Bournemouth beach, belching forth hundreds of tons of heavy fuel oil, and causing severe oiling of a variety of wildlife.

There's a joke here somewhere but I have not quite found it. Some French MPs are not laughing either, because one of their ETVs, the Abeille Languedoc, has been moved from the Atlantic coast to the channel to cater for the departure of the Anglian Monarch.

THE 9/11 EFFECT

Over the last few days we have been treated, if that's the right word, to replays of the awful events of September 11th 2001 when two passenger aircraft were flown into the World Trade Centre towers in New York.  Important people and relatives of those who had lost their lives gathered at what has now become known as Ground Zero to remember the event and to pay tribute.

For the rest of us the effect on our lives has been that we necessarily have to go through a variety of security screens at airports. Some we can see are more or less ineffective, and in others we have to suffer from the overbearing attitudes of poorly educated but heavily badged security staff. Yet elsewhere, outside the airports we can see that if anyone really wanted to they could create mayhem, and this was illustrated during the summer when a Norwegian nutter was able to plant a bomb in Oslo and then shoot sixty odd people at a gathering on an island to the north.

Importantly for seafarers, the 9/11 effect has resulted in the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which for those not familiar with this legislation, has resulted in all ships of over 500 grt having to be provided with a Security Manual identifying responsible personnel, and providing guidance and instructions as to how the vessel is to be made secure. Ports have also had to secure their boundaries with proper fencing and manned gates, which in some cases has resulted in major capital expenditure. But how much good has all this done? It did not stop a bunch of heavily armed terrorists leaving a port in Pakistan and disembarking from some sort of craft within the port area of Mumbai. And it has resulted in shipmasters being bewildered by the arrival on board of unfriendly, heavily armed, uniformed personnel in some parts of the world. Who would know whether they were terrorists or police?

And lastly, for the average mariner, it has resulted in even greater restrictions on their ability to leave their ships during what for most are very brief stays in port. The Americans in particular have always been suspicious of seafarers, and there are probably retired mariners who remember the less than humanitarian inspections which took place when British ships visited American ports after the war. Now, with the constant threat of attack, it seems to have been assumed that all seafarers are potential terrorists, and port operators use the law as an excuse to prevent anyone stepping ashore. Even though the American Coastguard has stepped forward to try to improve the situation it seems unlikely that  things are going to get better.

THE CHANDLERS.

You may remember the Chandlers, the British couple who were sailing in the Indian Ocean when they were captured by Somali pirates, and who were released by the pirates on payment of a $1,000,000 ransom. Apparently the government of Somalia may have contributed to the payment just to get rid of these two old people. Now they, the Chandlers, have written a book in which apparently they have put down on paper how they feel about the support, or lack of it, they received from the British government.

I heard them on the radio. They seemed to have approached their plight with the use of two parallel excuses. Excuses? Already it seems that I have made a judgement without even reading their book, and it may be based on my view of yachtsmen in general, but anyway here is what the Chandlers thought. Firstly, they thought that the possibility of pirate attack was just one of the things they had to face as yachtsmen, like dealing with seriously adverse weather, and floating containers in the night, and secondly they did not think that they would be faced with the problem because they had not been warned about the possibility.

The two reasons, if that is what they were, seem to fit together, and it appears to me that they adopted the attitude of many yachtspeople, that they have embarked on an adventure, and too much information will reduce the excitement. As one expert pointed out, on the same day that they had appeared on chat shows to promote their book, at the time that they had departed from the Seychelles there were warning on the UK Foreign Office site and there was a Notice to Mariners in circulation warning mariners of the possible dangers of sailing in the areas where they were taken hostage. What more can one say?

THE BEAR ISLAND WRECK

A decision has been taken by the Norwegian marine authorities not to attempt to remove the wreck of the Petrozavodsk, a small Russian cargo ship which ran into a cliff on the south side of the arctic Bear Island. Bear Island is in the Arctic circle to the south of the Norwegian island of Svalbard and to the west of Russian Novaya Zemlya all to the north of Murmansk. I'm just trying to give the impression here that it gets very cold there at some times of the year.

Anyway I did a little research into this accident and found that when  it occurred in 2009 the master and the first mate were prosecuted for being drunk in charge of a ship, so it looks as if I should extend my advice - currently when on passage to an oil rig do not head straight towards it - to include islands as well.

The Norwegian authorities have decided not to attempt to remove the wreck because of the danger from falling rocks, it is that close to the cliff. and the news reports state that in the aftermath of the accident numerous seabirds were found to have been killed and injured. None of the reports have bothered to tell us whether there were any human casualties.

A REUNION

I see from the weekly tug emagazine "Tugs and Towing" that Smit-Lloyd are having a re-union.  I have written so much about them over the years that I almost feel that I should be invited. When you google Smit-Lloyd I notice that Ships and Oil is fifth on page one, and two of the images are from my website.

Anyway, years ago I and others decided to have a Star Offshore re-union in Aberdeen. Although quite a few people said they were going to come along, in the end there were about ten of us which initially was a bit of a disappointment but we soon forgot about our small numbers and had a really wonderful evening reminiscing about all the stuff that had happened to us back then when the company was in its heyday. For those who don't know, Star was bought by Stirling in the mid 1990s and later Stirling was bought by Seacor (Read all about it in "The History of the Supply Ship" available elsewhere on this site).

But back to Smit-Lloyd. Just in case there are any ex Smit-Lloyders reading this who have not received this information from other sources, the event is to take place on 12th November 2011 at the Regardz Airport Hotel in Rotterdam, and to find out more they should email smit-lloyd@zeelandnet.nl . It sounds as if it is going to be a bit upmarket compared with our event which took place in the Blue Lamp, the Gallowgate in Aberdeen.

WARSASH LAKE

I have always admired the concept of training mariners in shiphandling by providing miniature ship with scale power and directional control. The training facility at Warsash has recently been in the news because they have moved from Marchwood to Timsbury lake where their press releases say that they now have seven ships which can replicate different types of vessel from a ferry to a 300,00 tonne tanker. There are also four radio controlled tugs and a jack-up oil rig.

They say that the lake has a number of facilities available for training purposes, including a canal with a scale length of four miles  and a harbour area with 19 jetties. The advantage of such training is that even though the ships themselves respond in a similar manner to the real thing - ie hardly in any discernable way - the resulting collisions are limited to scratched paintwork.

The press release also says that there has been an introduction of a course concentrating on twin screw vessels, focusing particularly on the offshore industry. But one assumes that since there is not a supply vessel amongst the fleet, this part of the training is carried out on a simulator. I sometimes wonder who is doing this training of supply vessel drivers, and what form the simulators take, and hence whether the results are any good. I did have a go on a simulator at the oil show once and it was OK, but it was more like a computer game. Do these training aids really make your palms sweat?

Victor Gibson. September 2011.

FOR INDEX OF NEWS AND VIEWS CLICK HERE

 

NEWSLETTERS

April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
 April 2009
 March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
 June 2007
 May 2007
 April 2007
 March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
June 2005
April 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Nov 2004
Oct 2004
Sept 2004
August 2004

July 2004

May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
 
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
 
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002 
July/Aug 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
July 2001
May 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000