Beaching a damaged ship to stop it sinking


Arun Vajpey

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Jul 8, 1999
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Is there any record of a large ocean liner or warship that was damaged seriously by a torpedo or mine but was then successfully run aground to stop it from sinking?

I understand that Captain William Turner wanted to try that for the Lusitania after she was torpedoed but the loss of steam pressure jammed the rudder and prevented it.
 

Adam Went

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The whole Costa Concordia thing has been an ongoing fiasco. It was also attempted with the Britannic, Arun, but to no avail - and she was much closer to land than Lusitania was.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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The difference with the Costa Concordia, aside from being closer to land is that the ship took much longer to sink so they had plenty of time to evacuate the ship.

Of course, that "closer to land" part is why they got into trouble in the first place! ;)
 
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Jim Currie

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In fact, beaching a ship is a tricky business. It is best to do it bow or stern to the shore and as near as possible to high water. There are sound reasons for doing so.

You are spot-on, Michael. However, the captain of the Costa Concordia would probably not have lost a single soul if he had stayed away from the beach after his ship was holed. His ship had proper WT sub-division and would not have sunk.

Jim C.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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(Shrug) Everything I've seen or heard points to the captain of the Costa Concordia being his own worst enemy. It's amazing how that works!

I don't know about the watertight subdivision but beaching a ship is something I'd not be enthusiastic about doing unless I had good cause to believe it was the least of the evils. The stress imposed on the hull girder that way can make a very bad situation and make it a lot worse!

You're giving me the impression that this was exactly what happened.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Michael!

I had discussions with a contact in the Naval Architect Department of Southampton University at the the time and suggested Dry-docking effect was the main contributing factor. He agreed that this was more than likely.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Ouch. Yeah, I get it! There's a reason drydocking is done using surveyors tools. It's an excruciatingly exact process.

Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that the structure of a ship gets a lot of it's support from being in the water. Take away that support and things can get real ugly real quick!
 

Jim Currie

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A few years ago in the Gulf of Suez, I had the dubious pleasure of loading a jack-up barge onto the deck of an ore carrier which had previously been loaded on the deck of a Russian submersible ship barge. As you say...Ouch! Got some pics somewhere. I'll see if i can dig them out and post on here.
 
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