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Old 09-11-2007, 10:08   #1
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Oil Spill - Pro Mistake?

Under the category of when a Pro makes a mistake it's a BIG one. What part of that huge bridge did they not see on radar?

Ship crashes into Bay Bridge tower, spills fuel oil

not the 1st time for this guy either

Bar pilot on errant ship had several mishaps in past

Maybe they should have warning lights on when this guy is piloting, so we can go in the opposite direction.

Must be contagious because the CG kinda stumbled on this one too & they usually are on the mark
Response to fuel spill under Bay Bridge called 'unusually slow'
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:26   #2
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No doubt...big mistake by the pilot. Ultimately though, the master takes the blame.

It's possible to see the Delta bridge anchorage on radar and still misread the current. The Oakland Bar Channel has some serious cross currents at times and then they have to line themselves up between Delta and Echo towers of the Bay Bridge after crossing the Bar.

It was not a slow response, the spill spoiler boats were out there within an hour...I saw them heading out to the site. This is the media saying this who rarely gets anything they don't understand correct. In my experience, the media knows virtually nothing about commercial shipping. Just the way reporters describe things sometimes is hilarious. "The bridge bumpers were damaged"...ahem, fenders. There were other goofy media mistakes too numerous to mention.

Incidentally, one funny thing I read was someone stating how "Costco" is polluting the environment and to boycott them. The ships name is the COSCO Busan.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:11   #3
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Something does not add up

DM:
Won't debate media quality...........

But if the spill boats were out there within an hour, they either did not do a good job or there were not enough of them.............now there's oil both in & outside the bay

The CG spokespeople stumbled badly on camera
1) Amt of oil spilled initially
2) when/if Pilot & crew were tested after the accident

Currents are not new & neither is the bridge...........
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:15   #4
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I need to do some explaining. All the oil refineries in the SF Bay Area are a member of a consortium which has quite a number of oil clean up boats that are available 24/7 to do cleanup after a major or minor oil spill. Although the container ship is obviously not a member of this consortium, the boats still exist and are meant to clean up after any oil spill, regardless of the source.

I see these boats out on the Bay on a very frequent basis spreading out oil booms practicing....including the "mothership", which looks like it was at one time an offshore supply boat, about 200 feet long or so out practicing as well.

People love pointing fingers when **** happens and it is always someone else's fault and if anything is done less than perfect, and then it is a huge deal. These oil spill boat ARE being proactive....by definition. It's the reactive people who expect perfection who themselves are not willing to put up the bucks to be proactive that are the real problem....like the liberal politicians like Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi and Woolsey who are pointing their fingers at everyone else but themselves.

The pilot was tested for drugs and alcohol almost immediately. The Coast Guard sees to this, it is the law, and it is done in reality. All professional mariners on vessels carrying passengers for hire or over a certain size (forgot what size) are also tested randomly for drug use...this is the law and this also happens in reality..I am tested.

The currents move swiftly around the SF Bay..and the winds are of no help either.
Was it expected that 57,000 gallons of number 6 fuel (Bunker-C) would get picked up in a few hours? ...even if everything was done perfectly? Something is better than nothing ..and we would have had nothing had the big evil oil companies not created this consortium.

As much as I hate to attack a fellow mariner, I think this pilot who has had quite a number of "incidents" and should have had his pilotage endorsement pulled some time ago. Thats just the appearance..I don't know all the facts first hand.

The only way I can see that oil will never be spilled on the Bay is to ban all commercial shipping and for everyone in the Bay Area to move to Sacramento. If people want perfection then that is what they will need to do.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:57   #5
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Excited - Humm

DM: Not sure who you are aiming that shotgun at but have fun.

Expecting perfection - Not really as it's unrealistic............Competence absolutely.
I expect a highly paid & professional Pilot (local "expert") & Master driving a very relatively new large ship with every electronic gizmo to miss the Bay Bridge (or any bridge) everyday...........

If You saw the Coast Guard spokespersons on TV, you would not be so sure on who, when & how testing was done is this instance

Ready, aim ............have fun
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Old 09-11-2007, 16:07   #6
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A mistake of this proportion takes perhaps 3 serious errors all at the same time. It's not as simple as "I didn't see the bridge". I'm sure the sorting out of the issues will occupy the foreseeable future. It's the stuff that makes oil spills as big a disaster as they really are.

1. Too many politicians need to stand up and prove they are concerned and maintain they were concerned before it happened. At least a half dozen presidential candidates can be expected to join in. Expect a serious debate about who was more concerned, but don't expect any serious changes.

2. A large number will demand an investigation that will take 9 months to conclude it was not conclusive.

3. At least 2 if not 3 people will be tried by some form of monkey trial and two will be given some sentence and fined.

4. Anybody that even knew the captain of the ship will be black listed from merchant service.

5. The issue of cleanup expenses and compensation will be discussed at length and only paid for after at least 10 years. Consider Alaska oil spills to be the model for how this unfolds.
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Old 09-11-2007, 21:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuteman View Post
DM: Not sure who you are aiming that shotgun at but have fun.

Expecting perfection - Not really as it's unrealistic............Competence absolutely.
I expect a highly paid & professional Pilot (local "expert") & Master driving a very relatively new large ship with every electronic gizmo to miss the Bay Bridge (or any bridge) everyday...........

If You saw the Coast Guard spokespersons on TV, you would not be so sure on who, when & how testing was done is this instance

Ready, aim ............have fun
I'm not defending anyone...especially the pilot who clearly holds the most responsibility here. Yes, I know the Master is ultimately at fault.

Also, its not as simple as seeing the tower to port so turn to starboard to avoid it. Ships are very subject to currents, wind and having to stay in channels, sometimes with cross currents, in order to avoid groundings..They also have to set themselves up for turns, avoid other ships or large relatively poor maneuvering boats. Ships are not yachts...they don't handle the same and are subject to more factors than is a 30 foot yacht. Its frustrating how some people don't understand this. Ships are still handled by humans who do make mistakes.

The only one I am aiming the "shotgun" at are the politicians who like to grandstand in front of the media cameras saying they are going to investigate this and investigate that...when, half the time the politicians are the ones who should be getting investigated for failing to be proactive.

Hopefully, this oil spill opens the eyes of these politicians so that when a major oil spill does happen, there will be a very quick and efficient response. Obviously the whole oil response system needs to be examined...there were some screwups I learned today from some NOAA people I took out on the boat this afternoon to go look at the mess and get some samples from some eel grass areas.
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Old 10-11-2007, 00:56   #8
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The area has just been declared a "STATE OF EMERGENCY" !!...sounds pretty bad on our news here in OZ.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:32   #9
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Hard to tell for certain, but it looks like they ruptured an oily waste tank. The heavy oil that spilled would not be consistent with a diesel power plant.

For those who have never chased an oil spill (unfortunately I have) wind, waves and currents all work against you. Add in the foggy conditions that morning and I think it's pretty easy to see how this one was hard to contain. Even responding within 30 minutes - how far could the slick spread in that time?

It's a shame - and a mess that will take months to clean up.

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Old 10-11-2007, 10:04   #10
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Hard to tell for certain, but it looks like they ruptured an oily waste tank. The heavy oil that spilled would not be consistent with a diesel power plant.

For those who have never chased an oil spill (unfortunately I have) wind, waves and currents all work against you. Add in the foggy conditions that morning and I think it's pretty easy to see how this one was hard to contain. Even responding within 30 minutes - how far could the slick spread in that time?
These modern container ships use an internal combustion engine than can burn more than one fuel. When the engines are cold, diesel is used to start them. In port they will also use diesel because it burns cleaner. Once out to sea they shift over to Bunker-C because although it is dirtier, it is cheaper than diesel. Diesel is also used aboard for the gensets. Bunker-C is one grade above road tar in the catalytic cracker. When it is cold it is the consistency of cold molasses and must be warmed just to get it through the pipes.

Container ships do not transport waste oil and the dirty oil they do generate is nowhere near 57,000 gallons.

I was out in it yesterday afternoon, the larger chunks are a semi-solid, like warm road tar, but there is still a slick on the surface. The smell is bad but not enough to make anyone sick.


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Even responding within 30 minutes - how far could the slick spread in that time?
It's pretty common to have 2-3 knot currents in that area of the SF Bay. The winds were light Wednesday morning so it was mostly the current that moved the oil. I wish I had remembered yesterday to look at the current table for that area on Wednesday morning.

For your amusement, here is the largest engine ever made, which is going into a containership. Notice, it describes its fuel as "heavy fuel"....meaning bunker C or something other than diesel...although it can still burn diesel.
The Most Powerful Diesel Engine in the World
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Old 10-11-2007, 21:54   #11
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Here is a link to a replay of the COSCO BUSAN AIS track data around the time of the accident. You will notice that there is a tug closely following BUSAN -- I wonder if the tug figures into the accident?

Path of the Cosco Busan Hitting the Bay Bridge and Causing Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay
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Old 10-11-2007, 22:47   #12
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Interesting that coastguard ships apparently don't turn on their AIS systems, I would have thought that that would have been a priority, I wonder how many other ships (government??) don't bother either??
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Old 10-11-2007, 23:42   #13
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Interesting that coastguard ships apparently don't turn on their AIS systems, I would have thought that that would have been a priority, I wonder how many other ships (government??) don't bother either??
I often see the larger CG ships on AIS, but most of their vessels on the bay are pretty small, so this may be a size issue.

The U.S. Navy doesn't usually broadcast AIS, but I have picked up a couple of them: the aircraft carrier "USS John C. Stennis", and the mobile radar platform SBX-1. The U.S. military also has the "Military Sealift Command" cargo ships, and these often (always?) broadcast AIS information.

During Fleet Week in San Francisco, none of the Navy ships (U.S or Canadian) were sending AIS.

I would be *extremely* surprised if the Navy ships weren't monitoring AIS.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:07   #14
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CG (on camera) has eliminated mechanical problems. The ship's path as noted above matched to the CG comment (on camera) that human error was the cause & the report that VTS questioned their heading/course which the Pilot brushed off......


Human Error Cited In Massive Oil Spill - News Story - KTVU San Francisco

KRON 4 Home

Coast Guard Doubles Crew To Handle Massive Oil Spill - News Story - KNTV | San Francisco
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:24   #15
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Once clear of the dock and making way, containers ships almost never have a tug escort. Container ships are not required to have tug escorts because they are not a petroleum vessel moving more than 1600 tons of oil. Although they can have an escort if they wish, it is at the discretion of the pilot/master and not law.

VTS runs recordings of all their radar images 24/7. You can be sure that the tapes which show the collision are under lock and key right now. AIS is recorded as well.

In looking at the AIS/Radar image recording a number of times, my best guess is the pilot was temporarily confused as to exactly where he was at one point. It looks like his original intentions were to pass between Delta-Echo. After clearing the Bar, he realized he was heading for Echo so he altered course to port, he over compensated his course change and then realized he was heading directly for Delta. He then swings to starboard hard but by then it is too late...he hits Delta. Had he held his course after overcompensating, he would have cleared Charlie-Delta easily.

For those who are not locals, the Alpha is the western most tower and Charlie is the cement "center anchorage"...not shown in red. Echo is the tower closest to Yerba Buena Island.

Just guessing, but I think he got disoriented, overcompensated in the fog (which is easy to do) from being off course and then hit the bridge.

Thats a very interesting link Paul...thanks.
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