ship sinks in antartica - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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Here's a photo, and understand the damage shows here, looks like a *long* indent/fracture, which with the black color may have clipped a bunker tank too.,...41,00.html#9_0

So it looks like multi-compartment damage. Evidently the "fist-size" hole report came through the PR department first.

Since she listed opposite the damage, maybe they tried to transfer ballast to stbd, then got surface-effected? But even if so, this may have slowed her sinking, since the large breach (assuming we're seeing it right) thereby rolled above the waterline, leaving a series of smaller openings (vents, portholes?) to take her down more slowly.

Speculation on my part, for sure. But I wouldn't rush to slam the DC efforts (or lack thereof) without more information from plans, naval architects, and especially those on-scene.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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Multi-compartment damage can be dealt with effectively. Simultaneous fire and flooding can be dealt with effectively. Simultaneious fire, flooding, and loss of all power can be dealt with effectively. My point is that unless properly lead and equipped and trained, these folks had no business sailing into arctic waters where they could reasonably assume they would encounter ice. They were incredibly lucky, but all entire cast of characters should find another line of work.
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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It’s a shame- xxx deleted -personal attack- you can post with impunity. You are using old news that is inaccurate to slander a skilled, well-respected captain and his crew. You have no idea what you are talking about and you have no concept of damage control and ship handling. You owe them an apology and should just shut up after that.
My last word on the subject,
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Don’t waste time making the same old mistakes but instead make new ones and to insure your place in history be sure the mistakes are big ones.

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Never design a boat that is weaker then the mast

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Last edited by Tartan34C; 11-26-2007 at 03:44 PM.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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Thank you Robert for posting that.

I wanted to say much the same thing; but felt that I do not have the "gravitas" to make it stand on it's own.

You and your experience stand the test.


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She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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If you've managed to piss off not only one of the more experienced sailors here, but also one of the noticeably more civil, you're probably on the wrong tack.

The company that ran the ship in question is based in my city, and consequently we are getting a lot of information on the local news, as well. My impression is that while the experience was very unpleasant for everyone, all are well aware that it could have been much, much worse, and the crew and captain are being praised for their professionalism.

Some may have heard that the Explorer passed a safety inspection on Oct. 21, just prior to this trip. What you may not have heard is that a company V.P. said on the local news today (almost in passing, because it wouldn't signify for most) was that the inspection was in drydock, implying at least to me that the plates and welds were inspected, the metal checked for wastage and the general structural integrity assessed. The ship passed, having fixed some other safety concerns (not, as far as I know, to do with a problematic hull).

Were the inspectors imcompetent? Maybe...that will be discovered by the insurers, I'm sure, who won't want to foot the entire bill for a specialty vessel like this. But I am unconvinced that negligence on the crew's part or decrepitude of the vessel prior to leaving was at fault.

The steel boat I own is very small compared to these sort of quasi-icebreakers, so I am no "expert", but I think that you are arguing from bias and not facts, and that the ass-chewing will continue.
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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Merchant ships are not designed, nor manned, for multiple compartment flooding, fire suppresion, and loss of power concomittantly. CG and USN vessels are much more compartmentalized due to the anticipation of damage control. And merchant ships also do not carry an extra 100 men with little to do other than be trained, and so are not available in an emergency situation.

And if CGMojo thought that that Master abandoned ship precipitously he is willfully ignoring the fact that all lives were saved and the ship sank in short order thereafter. A rudimentary knowledge of ship construction (available within the pages of Baker's Introduction to Steel ShipBuilding, originally published in '43) would reveal that the vessel was likely constructed under SOLAS convention as a two compartment, or possibly three compartment, vessel. What that means is that the ship was designed to be able to withstand flooding of those numbers of compartments and remain afloat. By comparison, the average freighter is a one compartment vessel. Given those design parameters, and we do know she was designed and certified for polar waters, it's most likely that the damage reports the Master received impressed upon him that the saving of the ship was unlikely and that his primary efforts should be expended in lifesaving. And that judgement proved to be correct.

The idea that a ship can be drydocked, inspected, and serious hull or plate deficiencies missed is not at all impossible and probably more common than not. As a practical matter, one could X-Ray a sample of every plate on the ship and still not reveal serious deficiencies. And nothing approaching the X-raying of every plate is even attempted. Areas of common concern to all ships are inspected thoroughly and usually give a decent indication of the overall fitness of the ship. It's just the nature of the beast. All those old buckets I sailed in, that were perpetually sinking, were annually drydocked and inspected as well. None of which stopped them from sprouting new leaks at any time. And some leaks be worse than other leaks. (g) It would be unusual, with a 1969 launch, to have weld cracking, but not unheard of. Crack arrestors were still commonly used in those days as the welding technology was still not to the level of trust we put in it today. The bottom of the hull, except possibly along the keel plate, would not have had crack arrestors (rows of rivets) installed. If damage was sustained and a weld crack started, it could very quickly threaten the life of the ship. Older welding technology, most identified with WWII but later also, involved welds that, if cracked, responded like a piece of glass etched with a line and then stressed. The crack just keeps running, changing course with the plates.

The only future evidence I would expect to be forthcoming would be that of Master and crew. I doubt the yard will have much to offer and it would be highly unlikely and very expensive (2 intimately related factors) to conduct any type of underwater survey. And, she was an old ship.

Val-please keep us updated as this will probably be followed more closely in your local new sources.

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post #17 of 17 Old 11-26-2007
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So it seems to be. It's 9:59...I'm off to watch the national news. This is a surprisingly long-lived story.
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