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Old 27-12-2021, 05:59   #46
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

This thread reminded me of the time long ago when I was taking driving lessons when still in high school. This was late 1970s in New England, everything was closed on Sundays so this was a perfect day to learn baby steps of driving in an empty parking lot of a huge mall. That day there was one other car at the middle of the mall lot, don't know if it belonged to the security guard or whoever. The instructor was cautioning us not to hit it. I asked how can it be hit with all that pavement do drive on. He laughed and said that we'd be surprised if we knew how often it happens.
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Old 27-12-2021, 10:26   #47
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

That plethora of electronic aids could make one complacent and all too trusting that everything is taken care of, and under control, if you want to take a break. Taking a break at 5 knots is a little different from taking a break at 25 knots.
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Old 27-12-2021, 10:55   #48
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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Originally Posted by tamicatana View Post
...looking at the pic of the sunken fuel barge, she was showing lights. Having personally been in that area at night I can say that it is very dark out there and if the megatwat had any kind of lookout resembling a Mark I Eyeball, she would have seen the barge.
In theory, yes. But let's think logically about the situation.

Those photos were taken after the collision. So we do not really know what lights were being displayed when underway.

But ok, I see a white masthead steaming light, but I do not see a red port side light? (doesn't mean it's not on, but we can't see it in this situation)

Reports say the collision was from astern, or on the stern quarter, in which case neither of those lights would have been visible anyway so what we can see in the photos is moot.

Only the white stern light would be visible from the stern quadrant and we can't see that from the photos.

In my experience stern lights are sometimes poorly visible.

In any case there are multiple reasons why another vessel may not be visible by a lookout with the 'Mark I Eyeball'.

Given those possibilities to be honest my thinking based on professional experience on vessels just like this is the opposite of many people here that are concerned electronics cause complacency.

I am in fact more concerned about why the ship wasn't visible electronically, especially on radar (it seems probable that AIS wasn't transmitting), and why it wasn't being tracked on radar/arpa from some miles before the collision?

That would be pretty standard practice on a superyacht in this situation - night time, running at speed, vessels forward of the beam, etc, etc. As soon as they cleared New Providence on their new course it would be normal to acquire all those targets on the north side (and probably remove some on the south side) and monitor them.

The whole incident is definitely strange and unusual regardless of who is at fault.

I'm looking forward to more details if something leaks out.


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Old 28-12-2021, 09:29   #49
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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Oil spill??
Article says all product is lighter than water and will evaporate once exposed to the air.
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Old 28-12-2021, 09:52   #50
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

It seems that it is all too common for these yachts to be cruising around the Bahamas with no one at the helm. I previously posted about my experience 5 years ago when I was almost run over by a large motor yacht with no one at the helm or keeping watch. From the radio conversation it appears that these captains set up AIS alarms and go about doing things other than keeping watch. Here's my previously posted account.



https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...er-164878.html
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Old 28-12-2021, 10:19   #51
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

This is even a bigger disaster than it first appears. The Tropic Breeze is the only ship that brings diesel and gas to all the smaller islands in at least the Northern Bahamas. Our island, for example, Green Turtle Cay, is now without any way to get more fuel save carrying it over in drums, which will have a significant impact on the Islanders and any cruisers who need fuel. I know Marsh Harbour will still be getting fuel, but if you are planning on refueling at any of the smaller islands in the Bahamas over the next several weeks or even months you would be well served to call ahead and make sure they have fuel to spare.
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Old 28-12-2021, 17:22   #52
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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This is even a bigger disaster than it first appears. The Tropic Breeze is was the only ship that brings diesel and gas to all the smaller islands in at least the Northern Bahamas. Our island, for example, Green Turtle Cay, is now without any way to get more fuel save carrying it over in drums, which will have a significant impact on the Islanders and any cruisers who need fuel. I know Marsh Harbour will still be getting fuel, but if you are planning on refueling at any of the smaller islands in the Bahamas over the next several weeks or even months you would be well served to call ahead and make sure they have fuel to spare.
^^^^^

Thank you for the heads up, redneckrob.
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Old 28-12-2021, 19:25   #53
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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I can't speak for this specific boat (since it may be US flagged), but that broad statement is certainly not correct for most superyachts, most of which are also commercially registered since they operate as charter vessels.

The Deck Crew and the Engineers are most definitely certified to a high level, and even the Stewardesses are required to be safety and firefighting certified as a minimum.


There is no such thing as a "commercial registration". There is a ships registration , my yacht is registered for example , in exactly and identical manner as a passenger ship. The issue that determines crew competency is based on "manning laws", which typically are aimed at commercial ships as we would understand , ie IMO registered etc . Superyachts fall into a grey area , and in fact until the MCA in the UK came along with a set of manning requirements largely existed in a free for all as regards qualifications. Most superyacht captains until the MCA requirements were brought in had little or no formal qualifications and in fact companies like International Yacht Training ( IYT) were built up on the back of providing certification to superyacht captains and crew.

many superyachts are registered under flags of convenience, which again often have very lack manning laws . I cant say what the situation is with the vessel in question but I know for a fact as I was involved in training , that the superyacht industry has a lot to answer for as regards appropriate competency training

Quote:
The Deck Crew and the Engineers are most definitely certified to a high level, and even the Stewardesses are required to be safety and firefighting certified as a minimum
nothing could be actually further from the truth, many countries manning laws are very lacks as regards superyachts , and require no formal training , or just minimal STCW95 training. Of course individual owners and operating companies may have specific requirements ( RYA Yachtmaster for deck crew , being a common one ) but its rarely mandatory
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Old 28-12-2021, 19:34   #54
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
It seems that it is all too common for these yachts to be cruising around the Bahamas with no one at the helm. I previously posted about my experience 5 years ago when I was almost run over by a large motor yacht with no one at the helm or keeping watch. From the radio conversation it appears that these captains set up AIS alarms and go about doing things other than keeping watch. Here's my previously posted account.



https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...er-164878.html
I very much doubt in a crew of 11 , that no one was on the bridge , the issue is was the person on the bridge competent and experienced. in small undermanned boats a helm can and is often found unmanned of course

The ergonomics of these bridges are also awful , often with vestigial bridge wings , unsuitable for high speed operation , reverse sloping bridge windows that throwback huge glare from the array of instruments. Coupled with the high speed, which tends to discourage outside watch. They are often "too" comfortable, highly heated etc

High speed commercial passenger cats for example tend to mandate two fully qualified pilots /captains ( rather like an aircraft) so as to ensure that at these speeds there are always eyes on the water

Im sure the details will emerge in time
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Old 28-12-2021, 20:13   #55
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

What happened all becomes much easier to understand if Tropic Breeze turns out to not have been transmitting AIS as required. Of course we don't know until the investigation but it's worth considering as a cautionary lesson for cruisers.

Sure we can all wag our fingers about COLREGS rule 5 - but anyone who cruises knows that AIS has been the primary anti-collision system among larger vessels for well over a decade.

COLREGS is full out outdated regs that people have replaced with better technology - who would signal distress today by the COLREGS approved signal of displaying code flags NC?

AIS is much easier to use not to mention more accurate and less prone to human error than either navigation lights or radar. I'm pretty sure that "over-reliance" on eyeballs has caused many more collisions than "over-reliance" on AIS. Utopia will likely bear the majority of the blame in court but I expect Tropic Breeze will not get off lightly.

I no longer go offshore at night in areas with large vessels without transmitting AIS. It was a miracle that no one one killed.
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Old 28-12-2021, 21:10   #56
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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...nothing could be actually further from the truth...
You may have missed that I've worked onboard such superyachts, among others, for a very long time, so I might just have some personal knowledge in this area... But I'm not going to bother to argue with you since I note in other threads that you will go on and on and on.

What you describe was certainly the case 20+ years ago - but that's 20+ years ago... I'm not sure what superyachts you have been involved with but such practices have been rare in the subsequent years on most professionally run vessels.

And RYA Yachtmaster, for Captain of a 60m/200ft superyacht? Not these days... (and not for a long time). Even the insurance companies would baulk at that for a start.

And also generally not even for smaller superyachts either. Many will require at least Master 500grt even if the vessel itself is under 500grt.
(since this is cruisersforum, let's remember that a superyacht is generally 100ft+, so we are not talking about the glorified speedboat type of boats)

Flags of convenience? Not really, that is rare too, at least in the sense of how the phrase is used in terms of merchant ships (ie: to avoid rules and regulations, particularly safety and manning - eg: Liberia or similar). Many are red ensign or similar flag states which may be convenient from a financial and legal point of view, but essentially use UK MCA regulations or a variant for the vessel itself.

Most superyachts are far from some type of rogue pirate of the seas like you are trying to make out - instead most are in fact run to a very high standard, generally exceeding the necessary requirements, especially since they do not have the same financial constraints of other vessels plying their trade.

Of course there can be a few bad actors on superyachts too, and some accidents do happen, but they are still extremely rare compared to merchant vessels.

One only needs to look at a site like http://www.maritimebulletin.net/ to see the chaos that happens in the merchant world on a daily basis...


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Old 28-12-2021, 21:16   #57
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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...anyone who cruises knows that AIS has been the primary anti-collision system among larger vessels for well over a decade.
That's not really the case. Yes AIS is a great tool for 'identification and confirmation' but Radar and Arpa remain the primary collision avoidance navigation systems on larger vessels.

You would be surprised how many times the AIS data from merchant vessels is bungled - for example it's not uncommon for their AIS will show a totally wrong heading, but radar and arpa to show another - and we know which one is correct


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Old 29-12-2021, 03:33   #58
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
You may have missed that I've worked onboard such superyachts, among others, for a very long time, so I might just have some personal knowledge in this area... But I'm not going to bother to argue with you since I note in other threads that you will go on and on and on.

What you describe was certainly the case 20+ years ago - but that's 20+ years ago... I'm not sure what superyachts you have been involved with but such practices have been rare in the subsequent years on most professionally run vessels.

And RYA Yachtmaster, for Captain of a 60m/200ft superyacht? Not these days... (and not for a long time). Even the insurance companies would baulk at that for a start.

And also generally not even for smaller superyachts either. Many will require at least Master 500grt even if the vessel itself is under 500grt.
(since this is cruisersforum, let's remember that a superyacht is generally 100ft+, so we are not talking about the glorified speedboat type of boats)

Flags of convenience? Not really, that is rare too, at least in the sense of how the phrase is used in terms of merchant ships (ie: to avoid rules and regulations, particularly safety and manning - eg: Liberia or similar). Many are red ensign or similar flag states which may be convenient from a financial and legal point of view, but essentially use UK MCA regulations or a variant for the vessel itself.

Most superyachts are far from some type of rogue pirate of the seas like you are trying to make out - instead most are in fact run to a very high standard, generally exceeding the necessary requirements, especially since they do not have the same financial constraints of other vessels plying their trade.

Of course there can be a few bad actors on superyachts too, and some accidents do happen, but they are still extremely rare compared to merchant vessels.

One only needs to look at a site like http://www.maritimebulletin.net/ to see the chaos that happens in the merchant world on a daily basis...


I’m aware things have tightened up in recent years , well they could go only one way anyways. Nor did I say RYA yachtmaster was for a captain , I mentioned that in relation to deck hands.

My experience with crewing agencies has led to me the opinion that today the master is often quite competent , but the crew in some yachts can change regularly and standards are often not maintained. Yes a core group will be typically competent , but was one of them on watch that night.

Some of these vessels are a triumph of form over function, with huge attention to aesthetics but often little to function , bridge layouts are stunning to look at but are much worse then a commercial ship when it comes to function.

Add in the increasing desire for speed amongst typically younger owners and you have a recipe for trouble.

I boat in an area with many super yachts milling around , in general they are quite discourteous to other users around them , I’ve seen 100 foot power boats open up onto the plane in the midst of 6-8 yachts , and I know this boat has a very competent captain. I’ve seen big super yachts brazenly virtually shut down an small harbour ( presumably with the port authorities approval ) by laying an anchor chain across 15 boats. The arrogance is sometimes breathtaking. I was in bonefacio a few years ago when a tri decker picked up the anchor chain of another tri-decker trying to berth in a ludicrously tight spot , again a career ending move for its captain.

These people are not immune from making errors.
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Old 29-12-2021, 03:58   #59
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pirate Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
That's not really the case. Yes AIS is a great tool for 'identification and confirmation' but Radar and Arpa remain the primary collision avoidance navigation systems on larger vessels.

You would be surprised how many times the AIS data from merchant vessels is bungled - for example it's not uncommon for their AIS will show a totally wrong heading, but radar and arpa to show another - and we know which one is correct


I agree on the over reliance on AIS... the fishing boat (running dark) that ran into me was only keeping an AIS watch despite having adequate radar.. fine for other vessels with transponders but not much use where smaller boats without AIS are involved..
Fishing boat/yacht incidents are fairly common in the S Biscay according to the Spanish Harbour master who was dealing with my case..
Often on boats equipped with AIS that I have taken across the Biscay I have seen vessels disappear from the screen and lights suddenly vanish as they race off to a new spot or find a large school of fish they want to keep rivals away from.
I have also called up ships that showed no AIS on my screen to query my screen not showing them and magically they suddenly pop up..
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Old 29-12-2021, 04:14   #60
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Re: M/T Tropic Breeze Struck by Mega Yacht Utopia IV and Sinks Off the Coast of New P

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I agree on the over reliance on AIS... the fishing boat (running dark) that ran into me was only keeping an AIS watch despite having adequate radar.. fine for other vessels with transponders but not much use where smaller boats without AIS are involved..
Fishing boat/yacht incidents are fairly common in the S Biscay according to the Spanish Harbour master who was dealing with my case..
Often on boats equipped with AIS that I have taken across the Biscay I have seen vessels disappear from the screen and lights suddenly vanish as they race off to a new spot or find a large school of fish they want to keep rivals away from.
I have also called up ships that showed no AIS on my screen to query my screen not showing them and magically they suddenly pop up..
The big issue also with AIS is the CPA “ error cone “ , especially on some less then stellar installation I see significant variation in ROT and HDG info, leading to the receivers AIS providing very misleading CPA and TCPA info.( and factoring in your own variances in ROT and HDG ) If you are relying on this , it’s very easy to make poor decisions as to what avoiding action to take.

Radar assisted collision is a “ thing” , so I expect will be AIS assisted collisions.
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