Cruise Ship Mishap in Mexico Grandeur of the Seas Hits Pier


John Clifford

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Here's the Link:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/TRAVEL/04/22/cruise.crash.ap/index.html

The ship, The Grandeur of the Seas, struck the pier at Costa Maya, while it was coming in during 17 MPH winds, with 3 MPH currents.
For The Grandeur, it was anything by "a grand entrance".

The gash that resulted was above the waterline, so the ship is not in any danger of sinking.

No injuries occurred, but passengers will have to wait an extra day for the ship to return to New Orleans, and the next trip is to be shortened to five days, from seven. The return to New Orleans will also take longer, due to the damage to the ship.

The cruise line may have to refund part of the fees, for the passengers on the next trip, as a result.
 

John Clifford

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Was this ship trying to dock on her own or did she have tugboat assistance? The article didn't say one way or another.

Good Question. I'll have to see if other articles mention this.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Tugs aren't commonly used by modern cruise ships, and with things like Azipods and bow thrusters are rarely needed in any event, though it's not unknown. My own thinking is that the broadside of the ship made for a lot of sail area for the wind to push against and somebody miscalculated the effect it would have, but first impressions can be wrong.
 

John Clifford

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It's possible that the ship was trying to dock on its own. There were no articles in the Los Angeles or New York Times about this incident.
 

Erik Wood

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The talk around the camp fire is that it was just a miscalculation. To much power for the circumstances. No tugs involved just some current and not really that much wind. But with ships of today that entire super structure is like a big sail. Not to surpising that it happened. I am actually surprised that the Coast Guard is going to let the boat into U.S. Waters with a hole in it...without first being inspected. Even though it's above the water line.

Just seems odd. That might have already been taken care of.
 

Noel F. Jones

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"I am actually surprised that the Coast Guard is going to let the boat into U.S. Waters with a hole in it...without first being inspected. Even though it's above the water line."

Even the inordinately-circumspect USCG could hardly leave an endangered vessel in open waters, particularly if she still has her 2000+ passenger complement on board (this is not clear from the press report). The master could claim New Orleans to be a port of refuge on the grounds that repair facilities were not available on the Cost Maya.

Some detail of the vessel is available at:

http://www.cybercruises.com/grandeurseas.htm

There seems to be a history of casualty at the port of Majahual (I understand there are port facilities of sorts at nearby Xcalak but this is not the location). From the travelyucatan web site:

"Majahual town is a small fishing village .... In 2000 they finally completed their dock, which was certified to accept cruise ships, unfortunately the first ship that docked crashed into the new dock. Work to rebuild the dock was completed and cruise ships are presently docking there."

If I may indulge in some recreational conjecturing without presuming to second-guess the master, officers or pilot:

I'm assuming the absence of tugs is a given.

Assuming current to be parallel to the berth and wind direction at right angles:

a) When, as would be necessary, the vessel is being brought stationary relative to the berth, in a three-knot current the effectivenes of the bow thrust (if such was deployed) will progressively diminish.

b) If there was a shake in the constancy of the windspeed there might have been some momentary under- or over-deployment of lateral thrust.

On the grounds that the above 'shake' in the windspeed is entirely predictable I would be inclined to ask if they were using their ground tackle, such as the port bower and the stream anchor, to 'drop' the vessel onto the berth or otherwise to restrain her from some point out in the stream against the pressure of the wind.

If the prevailing wind was offshore they would need to play off her ground tackle against her warps.

Noel
 

Erik Wood

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I know the bigger boats of the passenger fleets don't routinely use anchors to position themselves in the manner that the freight boats do. So I doubt highly it was used. As to lines I don't see that being the problem. My guess is the wind shift quickly while power (a good amount) was applied in the wrong direction and the wind took the ship for a ride, and before something was done it was to late.

I haven't gotten a hold of anybody that will actually tell me what happened. Rumor about it has spread to as far as Honolulu though. You know sailors...

The boat isn't in open waters it's in Costa Maya and there is where I would imagine the Coast Guard would keep it. What will probably happen is the Coast Guard will send or did send some inspectors down to check on the make shift repairs and see of the ship is safe...if so it was probably given a one way ok, to sail to New Orleans or Galveston. Glad I am not making that call.

The press release is still sketchy and I haven't seen an update.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>The press release is still sketchy and I haven't seen an update.<<

I wouldn't expect to see one either unless the NTSB gets involved. Shipping lines don't like attracting attention to their mistakes. It's bad for business.
 

Erik Wood

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I am sure it will be in the yard...for how long depends on how much pressure the company puts on the government who, will put pressure on the Coast Guard and then will be discussing a 2000+ casualty...
 
Dec 9, 2005
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Was on Grand Princess a couple years back off Costa Maya. Docking was aborted due to rough seas--the pilot boat couldn't keep up.

The pier there is completely exposed on a straight coastline. It's a miracle it isn't annihilated every hurricane season.
 

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