Maritime Casualties In The News

From the

Seacat collides with cargo ship

An operation is under way to pump water from a passenger ferry which collided with a cargo ship on the River Mersey.
None of the 294 passengers on board were injured in the accident which involved the Sea Express One vessel and the Alaska Rainbow.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Sea Express, which travels between the island and Liverpool is now at the Pier Head.

Water is being pumped from the engine room and about 80 cars remain on board.

Liverpool Coastguard was dispatched to the scene of the accident, which happened near Alfred Dock on Saturday lunchtime.
For the rest of the story, go to
Good grief! Right in my back yard and I didn't even know about it! The fog has been thick here all day but it is still a surprising accident, isn't it? Shouldn't radar have prevented such an occurrence?
>>Shouldn't radar have prevented such an occurrence?<<

You would think so, but radar isn't always the panacea it's cracked up to be. Sometimes the things fail. Even if it works, it's of little use if the operator isn't paying attention, or has the range scale improperly set. In the latter situation, you may think that the other vessel is at a greater distance then it actually is. That very mistake may have been one of the causes of the Andrea Doria casualty.
From CNN: "The captain of a boat that capsized in 2005 in upstate New York, killing 20 elderly tourists, and the cruise line owner were indicted Monday on criminal misdemeanor charges."

The charge is that they didn't have enough crew. The boat had one crew member. By law it was supposed to have two. The lack of sufficient crew does not appear to be a contributing cause of the boat's capsizing.

Meanwhile, the boat was certified for 48 passengers. It was carrying 47. NTSB has now analyzed the data and determined that the boat was fit to carry about 14.

Not necessarily related to ocean-going ships, but it looks somewhat instructive regarding government's tenacious ability to find a scapegoat to cover up for its own failings.

So, the boat is carrying over three times its proper capacity, and the basis of the criminal charges is that there should have been one MORE person on board? I'm not sure which is more horrifying: the number of deaths or the blatant attempt to deflect blame away from the certifying agency.
>>the number of deaths or the blatant attempt to deflect blame away from the certifying agency.<<

Nothing new with that. The Board of Trade had a lot to answer for with the Titanic but managed to dodge the bullet with a lot of official help.

By the way, a gent on Titanic-Titanic posted a link to the Sea Express fiasco which has some interesting photos. Go to
From those photos of the Sea Express, it is obvious how easily this could have been a real disaster. It is amazing that only one passenger was hurt and that was a mere sprained wrist.

I gather a few of the cars in the hold were less fortunate.

Thanks for the link to the Irish Sea shipping site. I'm going to enjoy that! I've just learned there that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company does day cruises from Liverpool down the North Wales coast and they take disabled in wheelchairs. Roll on summer
From The Sun News:

Ship headed to N.C. port hits dredge

The Associated Press
WILMINGTON, N.C. - A giant ship hauling four huge cranes to the state port in Wilmington hit a dredge Saturday as it steamed up the Cape Fear River, officials said.

Catwalks on the rear of the $33 million cranes were damaged and hung like steel streamers from the 235-foot tall cranes. No one was injured.

Coast Guard officials are investigating the crash, which happened about 5 p.m. The inquiry will include drug and alcohol tests on the 20-member crew of the Chinese ship, Zhen Hua 16.

"The vessel was getting into position to turn and hit a dredge on the westernmost part of the river," said Coast Guard spokesman Adam Schmid.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: Anyone wondering how this could happen need only visit Wilmington. (I've been there.) This isn't a wide open port but a facility situated on a river and some of the points there are decidedly narrow.​
What confuses me is that while drug and alcohol tests are being done on the crew, what about the pilot? The article doesn't mention one, but it seems doubtful that a vessel this large could attempt to enter without one. I understand that the master is ultimately responsible, but he better have a good reason to countermand the pilot's instructions. It will be interesting to see what the investigation reveals.
Jack-- news reporters don't know a pilot from the captain's tiger. Everybody is "crew." Under current USCG regs, everyone involved in the incident must be drug and alcohol tested as soon as is safe and practicable. No exceptions.

--David G. Brown
Never..never..never let the facts get in the way of a good story. And, that's just the Coast Guard report, so you can imagine the level of accuracy of news accounts.

-- David G. Brown
>>so you can imagine the level of accuracy of news accounts.<<


Most reporters couldn't tell the difference between the bow or the stern, and don't understand that while ships have floors, if you can stand upright and walk on one, you are in a lot of trouble. When I'm reading a story, I'll check out the first couple of paragraphs to get the bare bones facts and dismiss the rest as "colour" and breathtakingly uninformed colour at that.

But on with an interesting news tidbit from the BBC.

Crew rescued after tanker crash
Three people have been rescued after their boat collided with a tanker and sank near Whitby.
The crew of the Iled'yeu, a converted fishing boat, made an emergency call when it started taking water after the crash with the tanker Dutch Progress.
For the rest of this brief story, go to

Comment: Tanker: 1, Small boat; 0.

I doubt very much that the tanker drivers fornicated this canine. There are a lot of boaters who are smart, and sensible enough to give the Big Boys a wide berth. There are also a number of really dumb ones who take their chances and become contendrs for if not the "winners" of the Prestigious Darwin Award.

Guess which catagory these guys fall into.​
Considering the relative maneuverability of the tanker and the small boat, the boat crew should have been able to get out of the way regardless of what the tanker did. Of course, that would only work if they had the sense to give the tanker a wide berth as you said. What on earth could make someone think it a good idea to play tag with a large ship?