Archive for the ‘Ships’ Category

Navigating the Suez Canal

March 28, 2021

Stealth technology causes blindness?

August 28, 2017

In 2004, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John F Kennedy ran over a dhow in the Persian Gulf.

Nothing untoward then till 2017:

  • In January, the guided-missile cruiser U.S.S. Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay. There were no casualties, but eleven hundred gallons of oil were dumped into the water.
  • May 9th the cruiser U.S.S. Lake Champlain collided with a fishing boat off the east coast of South Korea. Again, no casualties.
  • June 17th the destroyer U.S.S. Fitzgerald collided with a Filipino container ship in the waters off Japan. Seven sailors were killed, three more injured.
  • On 27th August, the U.S.S. John S McCain collided with a civilian oil tanker near Singapore. Ten sailors are missing, presumed dead. Five more sailors were injured.

A natural consequence of stealth technology?

If you think nobody else can see you, then you stop seeing others.


Turney’s tourists: the heroes who weren’t

January 9, 2014

Turney’s tourists on his Ship of Fools are severely taken to task by David Roberts in the National Geographic. They see themselves as heroes. But they were just a bunch of spoilt dilettantes who were out on a frivolous lark of no scientific significance. Douglas Mawson will be spinning in his grave.

The members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 (AAE)—who intended to re-create a very small part of Sir Douglas Mawson‘s original monumental expedition of 1911-14—seemed strangely blasé—even giddily upbeat—during their ten days stranded in the ice. 

They recorded a New Year’s Eve sing-along for YouTube and chatted about yoga classes and knot-tying lessons to while away the time.

On their Spirit of Mawson expedition blog, one passenger signed off on December 28: “It’s Saturday and it’s bar-time (bar opens at 6 pm), so I am going to leave it here.”

They even seemed to relish their crisis. The BBC quoted Tracy Rogers, the team’s marine ecologist, as saying, “It’s fantastic—I love it when the ice wins and we don’t. It reminds you that as humans, we don’t control everything … We’ve got several penguins watching us, thinking ‘What the hell are you doing stuck in our ice?’ The sky is a beautiful grey—it looks like it wants to have a bit of a snow. It’s the perfect Christmas, really.”

For many seasoned adventurers, the team’s attitude was hard to swallow. It seemed to betoken a new kind of entitlement, in which folks who get into serious trouble take it for granted that other people will risk their lives to save them. ….

Perversely, for the general public, the hapless passengers seemed to emerge as the heroes of the story, even though they did nothing but twiddle their thumbs and wait for the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long to come to their rescue, which ended by trapping the much bigger vessel in the ice. The U.S. sent another icebreaker, the U.S. Polar Star, to rescueXue Long and Shokalskiy, but that mission was recently called off when the ships were able to break free from the ice. …..

…… The whole expedition, these experts implied, amounted to a “frivolous” lark that added almost nothing to our knowledge of the southern continent. …

The real heroes of the story were the 101 members of the Xue Long, the 22 crew members of the Shokalskiy who stayed with their ship, the crew of the Polar Star, and that of the Australian ship Aurora Australis that powered south to receive the airlifted refugees.

“It seems unlikely that the dilettantes who signed up for AAE 2013-14 would soon fork over the funds to pay for their perilous and expensive rescue. They’re still too busy congratulating themselves.

The Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long got free of the ice 5 days after Turney’s tourists abandoned ship. Why the tourists needed to be rescued is still a mystery. Presumably the booze had run out.

Consequences of Turney’s Antarctic junket are not yet over

January 5, 2014

The Xuelong is thought to have 111 crew on board while the Akademik Shokalskiy has 22. They are both currently trapped in the ice and the US icebreaker Polar Star is on its way from Sydney to render assistance if necessary. It will take the Polar Star about 7 days to reach the vicinity of the trapped vessels.

Cnut commanding the waves

Cnut commanding the waves

The consequences of Chris Turney’s narcissistic self-image of himself as an explorer in the Mawson mould and his irresponsible, publicity-seeking, junket into the Antarctic are not yet over. His proclamation that the ice should have melted away is reminiscent of King Cnut. Or perhaps like Cnut trying to demonstrate his limitations he was trying to demonstrate the fallibility of climate models which predict the loss of polar ice (and models such as that by his colleague Sherwood). It would be a travesty if the cost of diverting the 4 icebreakers (Chinese, French, Australian and now US) from their normal missions is not charged to Turney, the Climate Change Research Centre of the University of New South Wales and his media sponsors.

Xinhua reports:

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — China has set up a leading team to rescue its icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, which has been trapped by heavy floes since it rescued passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica on Thursday.

The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced on Saturday the team will map out rescue plans and make “all-out efforts” to coordinate rescue operations, despite there is no immediate danger to personnel aboard Xuelong, which has abundant fuel and food supplies. …. 

Xueying 12, a helicopter on board Xuelong, on Thursday successfully evacuated all the 52 passengers aboard the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy that has been stranded since Christmas Eve to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis.

However, after the rescue, Xuelong’s own movement was blocked by fields of floating ice.

Currently, Xuelong is located at 66.65 degrees south latitude and 144.42 degrees east longitude. It is surrounded by floes up to four meters thick and is about 21 km away from unfrozen waters, according to the SOA.

Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration’s Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, said the planned expedition by Xuelong is inevitably affected and changes are expected to be made to the vessel’s mission after it gets out of trouble.

“If the ship is stranded for a very long time, which is very rare indeed, then we’ll have to evacuate the people onboard and leave the vessel there,” he said.

AMSA Press Release:

6.30am AEDT Sunday 05 January 2014

US Coast Guard ice breaker to assist ships beset in ice in Antarctica

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has requested the US Coast Guard’s Polar Star icebreaker to assist the vessels MV Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long which are beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay.
The US Coast Guard has accepted this request and will make Polar Star available to assist.
The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since 3 December, 2013 – weeks prior to the MV
Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay. The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Research Station. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue incident is resolved.
RCC Australia identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the beset vessels following MV Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice overnight on 24 December, 2013. RCC Australia has been in discussion with the US Coast Guard this week to ascertain if the Polar Star was able to assist once it reaches Antarctica.
The request for the Polar Star to assist the beset vessels was made by RCC Australia to the US Coast Guard on 3 January, 2014. The US Coast Guard officially accepted this request and released the Polar Star to RCC Australia for search and rescue tasking at 8.30am on 4 January, 2014.
The Polar Star will leave Sydney today after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.
It is anticipated it will take approximately seven (7) days for the Polar Star to reach Commonwealth Bay, dependent on weather and ice conditions.
At 122 metres, the Polar Star is one of the largest ships in the US Coast Guard fleet. It has a range of 16,000 nautical miles at 18 knots. The Polar Star has a crew of 140 people.
The Polar Star is able to continuously break ice up to 1.8 metres (6ft) while travelling at three (3) knots and can break ice over six (21ft) metres thick.
RCC Australia will be in regular contact with the relevant US Coast Guard RCC at Alameda, California, and the Captain of the Polar Star during its journey to Antarctica.

The largest ship in the world – today

August 31, 2013

It is not the largest ship ever built – that honour goes to the Seawise Giant (later named Knock Nevis) which is no longer in service and is currently being broken up by ship-breakers at Alang on the Gujarat coast (Video here). But the largest ship in service today is the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møllera container ship of the Maersk line and named after the CEO of Maersk till 1993.


The longest ships ever

File:Bateaux comparaison2 with Allure.svg

Longest ships (Wikipedia)

5 killed, 1 missing as 1400 Mitsubishi cars sink in the North Sea

December 7, 2012

The car-carrier Baltic Ace has sunk in the North Sea after a collision with the container ship Corvus J. The Baltic Ace had a crew of 24 of whom 18 have been rescued from life-rafts and 5 are known to have died. The Baltic Ace was carrying 1400 new Mitsubishi cars destined for Russia via Finland and which are all lost. Human error is being blamed.

Baltic Ace

AutoMotorSport:It was a car carrier on the way from Belgium to Finland with 1400 Mitsubishi cars which collided with a container ship on Wednesday. ….. The second vessel, Corvus J, survived relatively unscathed and all crew members are still on board.
A large rescue effort with ships, helicopters and aircraft have searched for survivors, but rough seas and strong winds hampered the search.  ….  the chance of finding any more survivors is now considered non-existent.
Dutch police are now investigating whether it is possible to start a criminal investigation even though the accident occurred in international waters.

Ship of the Day report:

Collision course: graphic

German freighter sinks Indian Navy frigate

February 4, 2011


Cargo Ship Nordlake IMO 9057173 by MSC Michi

Cargo Ship Nordlake 22,450 tons

A German cargo ship has slammed into an Indian frigate in the port of Mumbai, causing the military vessel to catch fire and eventually sink.

The ocean liner Nordlake, based in Hamburg and managed by the Klaus E. Oldendorff shipping company, crashed into the Indian navy vessel Vindhyagiri in a narrow navigation channel at the entrance to the port of Mumbai on Sunday, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported.

The nearly 400 people on board the Vindhyagiri – including the ship’s crew and their visiting families, who were celebrating Navy Day – were successfully evacuated before a massive fire broke out on the vessel some 12 hours later.

A preliminary investigation found that the Nordlake was exiting the harbour as theVindhyagiri was navigating its way in. The Nordlake swerved to avoid another ship and subsequently struck the Vindhyagiri.

INS Vindhyagiri 2682 tons

The Indian navy called the sinking of the Vindhyagiri India’s greatest peacetime casualty, noting that a frigate has never been sunk by a civilian vessel. Built in 1981, the Vindhyagiri suffered extensive damage, but the navy said the ship could possibly be repaired and eventually brought back into service.

The nearly 180-metre-long Nordlake, which flies a Cypriot flag, did not sustain any serious damage. The freighter supports an international crew, and no Germans were on board at the time of the crash.

“We are happy that, to our current understanding, the accident has caused neither environmental harm nor any human casualties,” Peter Rybarczyk, chief executive of the Klaus E. Oldendorff shipping company, told Hamburg broadcaster NDR.

The Director General of Shipping in Mumbai has ordered an inquiry into the collision, NDTV reported, while the navy has also filed a complaint that argues the ship from Cyprus did not follow standard operating procedure.

The Nordlake has a deadweight of 22,450 tons and almost ten times greater than the standard weight of INS Vindhyachal at 2682 tons.

Photo: DPA

Mumbai harbour after collision: photo DPA


Ships of the future

October 8, 2010

Freely translated from Ny Teknik

The Finnish shipbuilder Wärtsilä has drawn up three possible scenarios for 2030 and made concept sketches for the ships of the future which would fit into the scenarios. They are now inviting comments from the public.
Wärtsilä’s “future investigators” have sketched three types of vessels that fit on each of the three different visions – Rough Seas, the Yellow River and the Open Oceans.


Rough Seas Water Carrier: Wärtsilä



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