Maritime Casualties In The News

>>What on earth could make someone think it a good idea to play tag with a large ship?<<

Beats the hell out of me. I've seen all sorts of shenannigans in San Diego harbour, the approaches to same and a few other ports as well during my naval career. A sailboat for example which kept crossing back and forth in the shipping channel while a dock landing ship bears down on it. I've also seen a guy fishing in the middle of the channel in a 15 foot punt while the USS Ranger...all 87,000 tons of her...was bearing down on this idiot. When the whistle was blown warning of our approach, I clearly saw him raising his finger at us.

His middle finger!

I had to scrape my jaw off the deck with a spatula after I saw that!

Fortunately for this moron, (and unfortunately for the human gene pool,) the Coast Gaurd moved in on him and pulled him out of harms way.

Maybe it's a perverted sense that some have which holds that the small guy somehow has the right of way. Aside from this not being true in the legal sense, you can't trump the laws of physics with a civil code. Natural laws trump the lot and they have no pity.

If you frak around with the Big Boys, you die!
I once knew two brothers who decided to take a canoe and paddle around the outer entrance to New York Bay. In March.
They were actually extremely lucky, the rescue swimmer from the CG helo had to pry one brother's arms from the gunwales, he was pretty well frozen into position. Came very close to ending that bloodline that day.
Trump the laws of physics with a civil code? People don't realize that even if they are in the right - a big "if" - it only gives their heirs the chance to sue. They themselves are going to be crab chow, regardless of any claimed right of way.
James - thanks for the background, although from the context the meaning was loud and clear!
>>I once knew two brothers who decided to take a canoe and paddle around the outer entrance to New York Bay. In March.<<

If you were to ask any of the sailors on the forum about truly dumb things they've seen boaters do, you'ed see no end of horror stories even more spectacular then that one. It's amazing how little respect some boaters have for large masses in motion, the weather, or the ocean itself.
>>I once knew two brothers who decided to take a canoe and paddle around the outer entrance to New York Bay. In March<<

Kind of like when I was a kid. The lake where our cottage was (and is) has an Oblate Fathers summer home for retired priests. Well, when i was about 10, one of the elderly priests, in full black cassock, decided to go out for a midnight canoe ride. So here is the old man (he was only about 60, and had retired due to arthritis, and had full possession of his faculties) in a dark green canoe, in the middle of the lake at night, with no lights.

Needless to say, he got run down by a speedboat who didn't see him, and because of the clothing, sank like a stone. That portion of the lake is over 300 ft deep, so the body was never recovered.

While it's a tragedy that something like that happens, to me he was an early recipient of a Darwin award.
From the Maritime Global Net:

Wednesday, 07 February 2007

SMIT, the salvors of the stranded container ship MSC, have moved the barge Bigfoot back to Portland Port and away from the vessel due to the prospect of poorer weather and bigger sea swells in the immediate area of the wreck for at least the next 72 hours.
For the rest of the story, go to

From the Chicago Sun-Times

Soviet-era submarine museum sinks

February 6, 2007
COPENHAGEN, Denmark---- A Cold War-era Soviet-built submarine that was being towed to a museum in Thailand took on water and sank off northwestern Denmark, Danish officials and the vessel's Thai owner said Tuesday.
No people or weapons were on board the Whiskey-class submarine when it sank Monday in an area known as Jysk Reef, about 35 miles off the coast of the Jutland peninsula, the Danish navy said.
For the rest of the story, go to,sub020607.article

Comment: Nice to see that at least the attempt is being made to get some of these boats to museums, but is anybody really surprised at this loss? After the collapse of the USSR, funding for essential maintainance went swirling down te loo and so did the material condition of a large portion of the fleet. You can still see a lot of the old Soviet units still in their harbours, rusting away where they sank.​
From The

Ship with explosive cargo catches fire

A flag of convenience ship carrying volatile ammonium nitrate is being towed back to Newcastle after its engine room caught fire.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the engine or wiring of the Bahamas flagged Baltimar Boreas had caught fire, disabling the ship, after it left the Newcastle Port on Thursday night.

The fire had been extinguished and a tug had been sent to tow the ship back to Newcastle, where it was expected to arrive on Friday evening, an ATSB spokesman said.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: A flag of convenience ship catches fire and it's filled with ammonium nitrate! Doesn't this just make you feel good all over?​
This is a Danish line, obviously operating under a Bahamas flag. One thing is for sure: the crew had all the incentive in the world to get that fire out fast. Otherwise this really would have been something exciting to watch, from several miles away.
And the Napoli saga continues. From

Coastguards say a small amount of cargo from the wrecked container ship the MSC Napoli went overboard in bad weather at the weekend.
About eight bags of yellow plastic strips went into the sea but most have been collected from Lyme Bay.

Several drums of brake fluid were also removed by a salvage team. No more containers have been lost, says the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The 62,000-tonne vessel was grounded off Branscombe on 20 January.
For the rest of the story, go to

Interesting talk on another site, about how the hull of the Napoli is starting to fail. They have showed picks showing a definite "bend" in the hull.

If she fails before getting all the oil and containers out of her, it will get very nasty, very fast.
The impending hull failure is no surprise to anybody who knows anything about shipping casualties. The vessel was already compromised before they ran her aground, and running her on to the beach is only going to add injury to insult. A ship run onto the beach may look stable, but the fact is that a lot of grounded vessels have a tendency to break up. Think of the tides coming in and out on a partially bouyant vessel and the enormous bending loads on the hull girder. It ain't rocket science!

BTW, do you have that link handy?
Unfortunately, it requires registration to view. Ah well, back to the news. From

Whaling, protest ships collide in Antarctic seas

Updated: 8:32 a.m. ET Feb 12, 2007
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - An anti-whaling group's boat and a Japanese whaling ship collided in Antarctic waters Monday during violent clashes over a pod of whales, conservationists and Japanese officials said.

The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said a 3-foot gash was torn into the hull of its ship, the Robert Hunter, by the Japanese ship Kaiko Maru during the clashes in iceberg-strewn waters far south of New Zealand.

Japanese officials accused the group of attacking the whaling ship Kaiko Maru "like pirates."
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: I'm no fan of whaling but this is rediculous. Playing "Chicken" with ships is a really brain dead thing to do and a sure way to have a short lifespan.​
"Playing "Chicken" with ships is a really brain dead thing to do"
Doing so in the Southern Ocean, when the nearest aid might as well be on Mars, is a great strategy to win a coveted Darwin Award.