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A drop in the ocean ..

Posted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:08 am
by ParaHandy
Without the slightest irony, so opined R4's Miriam O'Reilly abt the 4-10,000 containers a year lost overboard .. and, literally, so it is unless you happen to hit one ..

meanwhile, the prog which she presented, "Costing the earth", ambled aimiably through the MAIB report on MSC Napoli with the MAIB chief, interviewed the manager of Southampton container terminal, an MCA surveyor, a Lloyd's List editor, and, right on cue, the voice and eyebrows soared skywards "d'you mean [gasp] the catain [gosh] has no idea what he's got on board???". Napoli was overloaded by 1,000tons which was routinely ascertained by the Napoli's capitain from calculating the deadload ...

The head of MAIB explained how moving the wheelhouse of these things forwards, places greater stress on the stern. Computers circa 1990, when Napoli was built, weren't able to calculate these stresses (ie finite element stuff) resulting in a "fatal design flaw" which caused the Napoli to break her back.

The actual report says that the classification societies were only interested in the strength of the bit well in front of the wheelhouse and not the area immediately in front.

Many computers & systems were capable of running Finite Element Analysis when the Napoli was designed so could he be watering down the culpability of the societies?

The Llyods editor pointed to a greater future danger; "most accidents are caused by human error" and it is far more important to consider the capability of the crew to handle ships which are being pushed to the limits.

often thought that here in the uk we are becoming dependant on our risk assessment culture such that when something comes out of left field, we're fecked?

Posted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:36 pm
by lady_stormrider
I heard the Radio 4 report whilst washing up during our recent Grand Cruise Of The Clyde (and Windermere). I seem to remember a letter accompanied by a picture in Practical Boat Owner recently of a container ship clearly with a few containers missing. There seems to be no compuction for the captain to notify anyone.

Bearing in mind the recent Riverdance incident just up the coast from Stormrider Towers - are there any checks on the lorries carrying containers on Ro-Ro ferries? I understand a fire broke out during break-up

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:24 am
by claymore
The fire was caused by oxy-acetelene cutter.

Perhaps Human Error in the case of the Riverdance - compounded by the engine blobbing - but most of us when doing passage planning consider the weather at the estimated time of our arrival somewhere to see if would be a lee shore or a tricky bit of manoevring and then having assessed the risk might consider a strategy.
The wind was forecast to increase and from memory it was a strong NW when the Riverdance went aground. Rogue waves aside - most of us who have sailed in Morecambe Bay would be of the opinion that there would be some heavy beam seas and fairly horrible conditions caused by the shallower waters.
Scaling this up from a 30 ft boat to whatever Riverdance is - I wonder if they did consider postponing the sailing - or taking shelter in the lee of the IOM whilst it abated?

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:12 am
by Olivepage
In a word - no.

The first consideration is cost, as are the second and third.

While sheltering in the lee of the IoM the ship isn't earning money so that would be very much a last resort.

Losing bits of cargo, whilst not welcome, is an insured loss, and apparently the ratio of claims to premium is acceptable to the insurers so not likely to change the situation.

Containers have a stated weight but this is never checked so loading is at times an educated guess.

The ships are supposed to be able to take the worst weather - provided nothing breaks, but sometimes something does.

The "bottom line" is that the loss of an occasional ship is commercially acceptable. The loss of money isn't.

I doubt that this has ever been different - its a hard cruel world.

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:33 pm
by ParaHandy
lady_stormrider wrote:Bearing in mind the recent Riverdance incident just up the coast from Stormrider Towers - are there any checks on the lorries carrying containers on Ro-Ro ferries?

some years ago (1975) when doing business with freightliner, every container had to be weighed at a weighbridge which just so happened was always at a dockside. now, according to the evidence at the dibden bay inquiry, 50% of all containers going to the proposed container terminal at dibden would go by rail so the means of weighing them has always been there ...

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:45 pm
by bigwow
ParaHandy wrote:
lady_stormrider wrote:Bearing in mind the recent Riverdance incident just up the coast from Stormrider Towers - are there any checks on the lorries carrying containers on Ro-Ro ferries?

some years ago (1975) when doing business with freightliner, every container had to be weighed at a weighbridge which just so happened was always at a dockside. now, according to the evidence at the dibden bay inquiry, 50% of all containers going to the proposed container terminal at dibden would go by rail so the means of weighing them has always been there ...


I went on the Riverdance several times, always had to go on the weighbridge first

Re: A drop in the ocean ..

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:05 pm
by Windfinder
I know nothing about containers.

However I'm sure that I read somewhere that containers that float submerged are v rare - they either sink or remain on the surface. Not much help on a dark night of course.

I do still find myself wondering what the scale of the problem actually is. I've never seen a container at sea or washed up on a beach. I've never known (first hand) a boat that hit a container or even saw one.

Anyone know how many Yachts hit containers last year? Or even how many containers were recovered from the sea.

Now lobster pots... They really need to be lit AFAIC. Ok, probably wouldn't kill anyone but they do cause regularly damage.

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:55 pm
by garredfox
Sleeping whales seem to be more of a problem than containers. We met a boat in Horta that had hit a whale at night. All the attachments fell off the mast, luckily the hull was undamaged. Very scary indeed.