Maritime Casualties In The News

>>when the nearest aid might as well be on Mars...<<

Worse yet, the nearest aid is the ship you just rammed after several earlier attempts to disable! We all just know they'ed be in a hurry to fish you out of the water. Right?

Suuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeee they would!
From SeaNews Information and Consulting:

MSC Boxship Collides on Maiden Call

Mediterranean Shipping Co-operated container ship "MSC Roma" collided with a French trawler early on Saturday morning.

According to Fairplay, the incident occurred in the English Channel, 38 km north of the port of Fecamp; no one was reported injured and there was no pollution.

As a result of the collision the trawler began to take on water and the "Roma" stopped to assist the six crew on board.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: Not an auspicious start to a career, but you could do a lot worse then this minor fender bender. Ask the Titanic.​
From Fish
Sea Shepherd to quit whaling protest

ANTI-whaling group Sea Shepherd, which has clashed with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, will end its protest today as its ships are running low on fuel.

But environmental group Greenpeace said its ship, the Esperanza, was in the Southern Ocean and now searching for the Japanese fleet to begin its actions to disrupt whaling, according to Reuters.

"We are probably going to have to disengage today. We have eight days of fuel left and we have eight days to the nearest port," said Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who had earlier threatened to ram a Japanese whaler.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: At least this will put the brakes on the ramming and saboutage for a spell.

From Yonhap News:
S. Korean cargo ship missing in sea off Japanese coast

BUSAN/INCHEON, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean cargo ship with 11 international crew members on board disappeared in the sea off the Japanese coast Wednesday amid bad weather conditions, the Korea Coast Guard said.

It was not immediately known whether the boat had sunk or whether the seamen -- four South Koreans, five Myanmarese and two Indonesians -- are alive, the guard said.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: Even given that the waters here are a bit warmer, they're not that warm in February. I'd have to say that the chances of finding any survivors now is vanishingly small. I'd like to be wrong about this.​
"We have eight days of fuel left and we have eight days to the nearest port,"
Good thing that they leave themselves a large margin of safety, in case they run into anything highly unusual like weather. This group must be very good at gambling, or perhaps clinically depressed. It seems like they're practically begging for a tragic end.
>>It seems like they're practically begging for a tragic end.<<

Well, somebody may get it yet! From
Ship catches fire off Antarctica, disaster feared

Penguins in path should flagship of Japan's whaling fleet start leaking oil

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Officials warned of a potential environmental disaster in Antarctica after fire erupted Thursday on a Japanese whaling ship, as the search continued for a missing crewmen from the crippled ship.

The U.S. Antarctic program has been asked to redirect a scheduled flight over the Nisshin Maru on Friday to check the ship’s condition and provide the first independent assessment of the vessel since the fire began.

New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter, whose country is leading efforts to help the stricken ship, said it was carrying 132,000 gallons of heavy oil and 211,000 gallons of furnace oil and was starting to list from water pumped aboard to fight the fire.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: Anybody who thinks that the "All For The Cause" mentality is a good idea really ought to read this. While it appears that this problem was something internal to the ship, don't forget that if the protestors had been the ones to do the ship dirty, that "132,000 gallons of heavy oil and 211,000 gallons of furnace oil" would still be there, ready and rarin' to trash the local ecology.

Think about it.​
Interestingly, the Japanese Fishing Agency have refused aid from the Greenpeace vessel, which was obviously quite close by and had been the first to respond to the SOS.

I appreciate that the Japanese believe Greenpeace is little more than a terrorist organisation, but refusing assistance based on a principle quoted by a politician (who is, of course, safe on dry land) does seem a little hard on the crew...

The story is here.
>>but refusing assistance based on a principle quoted by a politician (who is, of course, safe on dry land) does seem a little hard on the crew... <<

Don't be too shocked if it turns out that the crew of the whaling ship supports this. It's really all about not losing face which is a fairly important concept in Asian cultures.

And in a follow up story from the Gaurdian:
Fears mount along with debris from container ship

Martin Wainwright
Saturday February 17, 2007
The Guardian

A fresh tide of debris drifted on to England's only World Heritage coast from the stricken Napoli yesterday, as concern mounted about growing environmental damage from the 62,000 tonne hulk.
In spite of complex salvage precautions, seven more containers crashed into the sea from the ship's sloping decks, adding chocolate biscuits, potatoes and mounds of soggy paper to the mess onshore.

The jumbo metal boxes were all washed on to the tideline between Branscombe and Sidmouth, but the tally of lost containers from the Napoli, which was beached on January 2, has now reached 46.
For the rest of the story, go to 2015256%2C00.html,,,2015256,00.html
The whaling ship is now sandwiched between two ships from the whaling fleet and is so far under control. A USCG icebreaker is reported to be nearing the scene. The body of the missing crewman has been recovered.
From ThinkSpain:
Fertilizer ship towed to shore to freeze fermenting cargo

According to reports on the Cadena Ser radio station, the Dutch cargo ship 'Ostedijk' (archive photo) that is still experiencing problems with its cargo of fertilizers first reported during the early hours of Saturday morning off A Coruña on the Galicia coast, has been towed to the north of Lugo, around six miles to the east of Estaca de Bares.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: Just goes to show that some disasters don't sink. You just wish they did!​
From that same article:
"Four of the ship's crew of twelve -four Phillipino men aged 30-35- were evacuated yesterday and treated at A Coruña's Juan Canalejo Hospital for nausea, vomiting as well as and eye and throat irritations caused by inhaling fumes from the fermenting cargo"

It must be a tremendous relief to the crew to learn that the gasses from the cargo are not toxic. If that were the case, they might have to go to the, um, hospital.
I would be interested to learn what the fertilizer is made of. It seems unusual that the plan is to freeze it.
One of the last paying cargoes for wind ships was guano. Specifically, sea gull droppings packed aboard to be made into military explosives. Of course, the business was given a dignified name--"nitrate trade," but it was hauling manure nonetheless.

Sailors who worked those ships for extended periods of time reportedly developed a variety of breathing problems and, later, blindness.

As far as this modern incident goes, freezing whatever that goo happens to be sounds like a way to reduce the irritating fumes. Freezing would slow down fermentation which is at the root of the gaseous problem. Now, how do you freeze a shipload of ....????

--David G. Brown
>>It seems unusual that the plan is to freeze it.<<

If it's organic such as guano, then that would explain it. Bird droppings may be waste to the seagulls, but bacteria call it "Lunch."

As to not toxic, I'm not sure I can make that stretch. It may not be poisonous in the sense that we think, but that doesn't mean it can't have some really bad long term effects. All else aside, inhaling fumes and bacteria laden dust from a cargo like this can't possibly do your lungs a world of good. Also, if I'm not mistaken, exposure to nitrates can have some immidiate effects such as some really blinding headaches.