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Old 06-10-2015, 05:53   #76
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

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The series of Maersks latest design container vessels of which the "EMMA MAERSK launched in 2006 have midships superstructures and port and starboard life boats. I wonder what are the advantages of midships superstructure vessels is, they appeared to be obsolete?
In short, visibility. Imagine how big the blind spot on the bow would be if the house was all the way aft. Other companies with large ships have the house mounted about 3/4 of the way forward.
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Old 06-10-2015, 06:38   #77
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

This is simply a bad luck crap deal... Unless there is convincing evidence of heading out with known compromised propulsion which is extremely doubtful...

Have a buddy who piloted this vessel into Pt Everglades a ton, and apparently in the gulf too... We lost some friends from school, one dear to him... although I did not know them personally...
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:02   #78
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

"At any rate, where would you mount free fall lifeboats on this ship?"
Engineering can solve anything. Except accountants, because for some reason, no matter how often the engineers propose explosive No.2 Pencils, the beancounters just refuse to use them.
Torpedo tubes (launch tubes) could be mounted on a midships bridge, just as waterslide tubes are mounted in all sorts of places. You mount one on the forward side of the bridge structure, leaning down from port to starboard, and the other aft, vice-versa, so one launches off to each side of the vessel. Now of course that's going to deprive the ship of some two rows of cargo container loading space, and management is going to scream again, but unless you mount them internal through the bridge structure...
"Not economically feasible" even if you use the FAA's evaluation that each soul on board is worth about $3.2 million dollars, once you tally up the number of actual losses versus lost cargo fees.


Hell, you can't even convince new home buyers, who'll gladly drop a half million on a new home ("darling, the old ones have been "used", ugh!") to spend another $20k on putting in sprinklers, even in wildfire country!


So, spending money on marine safety? When those ugly, crude, illiterate, drunk gamblers from far away lands are the only ones on board, and it might make your shirts from Ooogaboogastan cost ten cents more at the MegaMart?


Oh no, not in this lifetime. Lives are cheap, bottom line. Everyone beats teir chest for the requisite period, and then moves on.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:54   #79
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

Ya, well, its a complex issue. Its not in the nature of shipping companies to be concerned with safety. Safety equipment costs money, which isn't profit, which the share holders aren't going to like. Even the Captain and Chief have influence over how discretionary budget is spent, but rarely used immersion suits and life boats aren't too often on their RADAR either.

If you want safety equipment on a ship, you need to legislate it on. Which means you need a voting public who is interested in giving their government that mandate. The voting public are interested in tax breaks for themselves and favourite corporations though.

If a government with the mandate is elected, then they drive up the cost of their shipping (as in the case of US and Canada), next thing you know, American ships are sitting at dock while Chinese ships carry the cargo, until a government is mandated by the voting public to enforce safety standards globally by pressuring the IMO, which requires a strong UN...

Insurance companies and underwriters of course have significant influence too, but the shipping company is shopping aggressively for competitive insurance rates, which means the classification societies need to bend a little too.

Its easy to point a finger, but when you consider the complexity of the issues, it gets pretty hard to point blame.

I took a look at the registration information (routine Google search) on this ship, yes, she's old, there was information referencing reduced scantlings due corrosion and 90' mid section being added in '93. Aside from that, she is an ABS classed SOLAS certified Ship, pretty high standards as far as standards go.

Sometimes accidents happen.

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Old 06-10-2015, 11:13   #80
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

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On passing down Gladstone harbour yesterday, which is full of giant ore carriers, I noticed that there was a mix of davit mounted and free fall life boats. All were the fully enclosed type and the single stern mounted free fall type predominated. It appears one versus two would be cheaper.

The series of Maersks latest design container vessels of which the "EMMA MAERSK launched in 2006 have midships superstructures and port and starboard life boats. I wonder what are the advantages of midships superstructure vessels is, they appeared to be obsolete?
U-tube shows 2 of these monsters colliding IN the Suez Canal, during daylight.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:37   #81
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

El Faro was a fully SOLAS equipped and certified vessel.

She, and sister vessel El Yunque, were slated to be retired as TOTE's newest ships come online at the end of this year and early next year so the company certainly knew they were at the end of their lives and wouldn't last forever. TOTE is hardly a crackerjack operation (see Trans-Atlantic Line) and is owned by Seattle-based Saltchuk resources who also owns Foss and other maritime and logistics companies.

I think in the end losing the plant will be the major factor that resulted in the foundering. Losing power in those conditions is a very bad hand to be dealt with.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:09   #82
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

Just to add my two cents to the discussion I would like to point out that there are davit-mounted covered lifeboats that can be self-launched by the crew inside via a cable to the davit winch brake. According to friends who have sailed on these vessels, they have always been regarded as tender and subject to flooding below the weather deck. I suspect the ship rolled over and sank very quickly but we will never know for sure.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:57   #83
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

The largest container ships now coming into service have the bridge well frd....these ships are in the order of 400 metres long.

Unless the accomodation is right aft those freefall boats aren't suitable.
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:26   #84
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

I appreciate that some of the CF members have large oceangoing commercial vessel experience. So I would like to ask a few questions, and hope you will reply.

I know it was in a hurricane, and in high seas and winds, but the things that get me thinking and shaking my head regarding this incident or loss are these:

1. A large commercial vessel loses propulsion. What would cause that THEN? Why then? Is it because the motion may cause fuel problems like with smaller boats? I would not think so. But wonder what would cause them to lose power, when the power plants are so large, so dependable, and professionally maintained, and it just left port.

2. A large vessel "taking on water." Is this due to boarding seas? Or hull opening up in the movement over the troughs of the large waves?

3. A large commercial vessel, capable of steaming at 20 knots or faster, heads into the path of a tropical storm, which was being tracked and predicted could become a hurricane. Does the commercial shipping company completely disregard such storms, assuming their ships can take it or power through the heavy weather?
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:38   #85
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

TAL.... now that's a company that should be worried!

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1) That's the million dollar question. She was a 40 year old steam plant, but I don't think the seas caused them to lose the plant. I'm sure something else happen.

2) Vessels can take on water for any number of reasons. The hatches and hulls are water tight so green seas shouldn't affect anything. I'm sure TOTE knows why they took on water and I'm shocked that news hasn't come out.

3) We don't disregard any storms or weather, but let's be honest. That ship did 22 knots, they would have been well clear of that storm before it blew up and that was their plan. Have you ever seen the North Atlantic in the winter? It's topical storm conditions almost every day.
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:57   #86
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

Hi Steady, all sorts of things can cause propulsion failure in a big ship. Same sorts of things that can cause propulsion failures on your boat. I had one experience, very nice 240' ice breaker with 4 Fairbanks-Morse propulsion generators with 2 GE electric drive motors. We were in heavy seas on Lake Ontario with 4 engines online, driving hard to beat the closing of the canal in a following sea. Stuffed the bow, stern came our of the water, props free wheeled, a failsafe rev limiter came on line and shut down the whole system, we broached and took several rolls before engineering could get engines back on line. Several men were thrown from their bunks and needed medical attention. It was a SCAREY bad roll. In my example it wasn't a propulsion failure, not initially any way just a minor failsafe not functioning as intended. So, summary, lots of things. They are complex systems.

2). I read they took water through a hatch, not sure which one, but hatches partially or completely failing is not uncommon in these incidents. Just like on our little boats. Every ship has a point of down flooding, meaning if they go over, that's the first place water comes in and down floods the vessel, reducing reserve buoyancy, and in this case, causing a list.

3) I can't say. I understand the forecast was in flux, beyond that, I'm sure the skipper had his reasoning.

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Old 06-10-2015, 13:57   #87
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

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TAL.... now that's a company that should be worried!

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1) That's the million dollar question. She was a 40 year old steam plant, but I don't think the seas caused them to lose the plant. I'm sure something else happen.

2) Vessels can take on water for any number of reasons. The hatches and hulls are water tight so green seas shouldn't affect anything. I'm sure TOTE knows why they took on water and I'm shocked that news hasn't come out.

3) We don't disregard any storms or weather, but let's be honest. That ship did 22 knots, they would have been well clear of that storm before it blew up and that was their plan. Have you ever seen the North Atlantic in the winter? It's topical storm conditions almost every day.
Thanks for the reply to my questions.

I have seen films and photos of North Atlantic storms. Winter or not. And I know by reading other historical accounts how large ships can sink in storms.

I don't have the incident timeline, but as I recall, the ship reported loss of propulsion and taking on water, but that was being controlled, and list of 15 degrees.

I can understand how a large ship like this can capsize,and quickly sink. The list could cause cargo shifting and loss of stability, and the wind and waves do the rest.

But I am still thinking about or wondering about my three questions.
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Old 06-10-2015, 14:06   #88
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

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Hi Steady, all sorts of things can cause propulsion failure in a big ship. Same sorts of things that can cause propulsion failures on your boat. I had one experience, very nice 240' ice breaker with 4 Fairbanks-Morse propulsion generators with 2 GE electric drive motors. We were in heavy seas on Lake Ontario with 4 engines online, driving hard to beat the closing of the canal in a following sea. Stuffed the bow, stern came our of the water, props free wheeled, a failsafe rev limiter came on line and shut down the whole system, we broached and took several rolls before engineering could get engines back on line. Several men were thrown from their bunks and needed medical attention. It was a SCAREY bad roll. In my example it wasn't a propulsion failure, not initially any way just a minor failsafe not functioning as intended. So, summary, lots of things. They are complex systems.

2). I read they took water through a hatch, not sure which one, but hatches partially or completely failing is not uncommon in these incidents. Just like on our little boats. Every ship has a point of down flooding, meaning if they go over, that's the first place water comes in and down floods the vessel, reducing reserve buoyancy, and in this case, causing a list.

3) I can't say. I understand the forecast was in flux, beyond that, I'm sure the skipper had his reasoning.

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HI Familyvan,

Thanks for your response too.

The matter of freewheeling props occurred to me earlier, as I thought about a 800 ft ship like this going through seas and troughs that might be 40 feet (reported) to much higher (the proverbial rogue wave) as we know the chances that some waves will be much higher than the average. With winds up to 120 mph (reported) I imagine the wind force on a large tall vessel would be immense.
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Old 06-10-2015, 14:22   #89
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

I just to clarify though, I'm not suggesting El Faros propulsion failure was due to weather, because I have no idea

It could have been something much more mundane, blocked filter, loss of lube oil pressure, broken shier pin some where, anything really.

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Old 06-10-2015, 14:24   #90
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Re: Safety of Ships' Lifeboats in Major Storms

To the best of my understanding she had a vehicle/trailer deck and she had plenty of 'openings' at main deck/trailer deck level.... lookee here ... Sunken Ship Had Enough Lifeboats, But Storm Overpowered It « CBS Baltimore

IF and its a big IF...she took water on the vehicle deck the free surface effect would be massive and 'capsize' in those conditions inevitable.

Its happened rather a lot... ro/ro ships are all just accidents waiting to happen...I sailed on them for over 20 years....

Wahine is a case in point...having incurred hull damage entering harbour she rolled over and sank inside the harbour as a result of car deck flooding/ free surface effect
Divers inspecting the sunken Wahine | NZHistory, New Zealand history online
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