History repeated


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Robbie Tresham

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Can someone tell me if there have been other ships that collided with icebergs since the Titanic disaster? Hypothetically speaking, is it possible for history to repeat itself, and for another ship to suffer the same fate as Titanic? Or in 2003 is technology so advanced that the odds of that occurring are almost non-existent ?
May I also ask if icebergs still occur regularly in the area in which Titanic went down, and if so, what precautions do modern mariners take to avoid them. One assumes lessons were learned from
1912, but today's liners must be so technically advanced that a lot of those lessons are irrelevant.
 
May 3, 2002
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Yes, the 2,875 ton Hans Hedtoft in 1959 enroute from Greenland to Denmark on the return leg of her Maisen voyage struck aberg in foul weather and was lost with all 40 crew and 56 passengers on board. A rescue effort was mounted when SOS messages were recieved from the ship but nothing was found of her except some oil and a small amount of flotsam. The Hedtoft was equiped with radar.

Martin
 
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Robbie Tresham

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That's very interesting Martin, so at least one ship met the same end as Titanic. Would the radar not have shown the berg on the screen, or does the bad weather have influences ?
 
Jul 9, 2002
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Bad weather doesnt have that bad an influence NOW. In 1959 however, Radar was still in relative infancy, well I guess Radar being a Toddler would be more appropriate. Regardless, in 1959 it was still common for Radar operators to mistake a large flight of birds for a large aircraft. That happened more often in bad weather. I presume then, that a ship at sea in bad weather could concievably have a hard time ID'ing something in their path in the vastness of the Ocean. Cheers! Ryan
 

Dave Gittins

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Robbie, icebergs are not good radar targets, on account of their strange shapes. It's a natural form of stealth technology. A modern textbook says. "Radar should detect a large berg in sufficient time but ice echoes are one-sixtieth as efficient as ship echoes. Small ice and bergs may be lost in the sea clutter."

As it only takes a small berg to sink a ship, the implications are obvious. Since 1912, major accidents to passenger ships have been avoided by keeping right away from ice areas. Mr Boeing also contributed greatly to safety at sea. He made the traditional passenger ship extinct.

In high latitudes, accidents to freighters and fishing craft are quite frequent, as the site given by Michael shows. An accident like the sinking of Titanic is probably unlikely, though modern cruise ships are venturing into high latitudes quite frequently. Let's hope they are going very slowly and keeping a good watch.
 
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Robbie Tresham

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Thanks for the web site Michael, it's very informative and looking at the chart with all the red crosses marking berg collisions, well it's a very chilling thought. Do the modern cruise ships have lifeboats for all passengers? They really are juggernauts these days. Attractive I guess, but a complete lack of character I feel.
 
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Yes, and by modern Safety Of Life At Sea conventions, lifeboats for all are required on all ships.

I'm not inclined to get too comfortable with that, however. The fact that Titanic sank on a reletively even keel makes her the odd man out when it comes to shipping casualties. Most of the time, they roll over to one side or another effectively rendering half of the boats useless. This happened on the Andrea Doria. Lifeboats for all are nice, but they aren't quite the panacea that a lot of people think they are.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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But there have not been any collision involving a passenger ship in over 40 years.When there is many cruise ships sailing the seas these days and so far none of them have been involved in a accident that results in death,That is a safety record that the airline industry must be jealous of.I do feel safer on a ship than on a plane.Sincerely,Jerry Nuovo
 

Dave Gittins

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A lot depends on what you call a passenger ship. With traditional liners about extinct, naturally they don't get involved in accidents. All the worst accidents in recent years have involved some sort of ferry, often a ro-ro. The worst was the Dona Paz disaster, in which about 4,000 died. The deathtoll is these ships in the past 20 years would be around 10,000, at a crude estimate.

At least one cruise ship has been involved in a serious collision. In 1999 Norwegian Dream T-boned the container ship Ever Decent. Neither ship sank, but I fear that Norwegian Dream might have, if the situation had been reversed. Her collision bulkhead saved her.

I fear that in the next 10 or 20 years a cruise ship will come to grief through collision, probably in confined waters. The recent Tricolor sinking should be a wakeup call.

Captain Wood might like to comment.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Jerry, there may not have been an iceberg vs. passenger ship contest of recent vintage, but icebergs are not the only way a ship can come to grief. Fires are all too common, and one of the most recent losses was when the Achillea Lauro caught fire and sank. Fortunately, the people had time to get away. Quite a few of the passengers and crew on the Morro Castle and the Yarmouth Castle weren't as lucky.

It's only a matter of time befor another passenger vessel comes to a bad end, and as large as they're becoming...the Queen Mary II is a 150,000 tonner...I have a sick feeling it'll make the Titanic look like a trivial fender bender.
 

Dave Gittins

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One cruise ship at least has been destroyed by fire in recent years. Fortunately, it took time to spread, the weather was calm and all hands escaped in boats and rafts. Many ships were on hand to pick them up. The ship was Sun Vista. I seem to have mislaid the date, but it was in about 2000. The scene was the coast of Malaysia.

There was also the recent burning of Windsong. A different kind of ship, but the same story in principle.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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I do now remember reading about the Sun Vista in a newspaper article in 1999 or maybe it did happen in 2000.Anyway I remember reading in this newspaper article that some passengers in the lifeboats were singing believe it or not the song My Heart Will Go On which we all know as being the theme song from Cameron's Titanic.And Michael I do hope the Queen Mary 2 will have a long successful career. Sincerely,Jerry Nuovo
 

James Doyle

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I was just thinking how there hasn't been a major passenger vessel tragedy since probably the Andrea Doria (Besides the all too common ferry disasters). Who knows what may cause the next demise of a cruise ship...fire, collision, maybe even god-forbid a terrorist strike to the crusing industry. Is that a possibility?

Also, I was watching T.V. and I caught the end of a segment of one of those reality T.V. shows that usually show some kind of disaster and I saw what looked like a large cruise ship sinking with it's stern high in the air and a coast guard helicopter saving passengers who didnt make it to the lifeboats in time. Does this ring a bell in anyones mind and if so, what was the situation?
 
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Robbie Tresham

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You good people have unearthed a wealth of information regarding this topic, for which I thank you. It does seem to me that the one common factor in almost all of these tragedies is "human factor." If no one is watching a radar screen when a berg is showing, or if wrong decisions are made, then it seems that no matter how much advanced technology is employed, there is always a certain risk that a human error will prove to have grave consequences. We humans can be very fallible.
 

Tom Bates

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the ship was the oceanos she sank on 4 aug 1991 on one was killed the crew and cap left the ship and the passengers had to get help on there own.
 

James Doyle

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Tom thanks alot...Yes, now I remember hearing that the crew abandoned the ship leaving the passengers on board. Why did the ship sink in the first place?
 

Tom Bates

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Her engine rooom flooded why i dont know the ship then lost all power. I would like to know why the engine room flooded.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Who knows what may cause the next demise of a cruise ship...fire, collision, maybe even god-forbid a terrorist strike to the crusing industry. Is that a possibility?<<

Yes to all of the above. Terrorists may have a more difficult time getting aboard now, but it's not impossible. In fact, it's already happened with the luckless Achillea Lauro. I don't know what form a current plan may take, but a biological attack has been mooted on the board recently. A really nasty weaponized bug could turn any cruise vessel into a ghost ship in a matter of a few days
 
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