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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 02-01-2012
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I've done a little research and it seems that the big ships don't draw as much water as I thought they did. The Concordia drew about 25 feet, and the cargo ships I found draw around 35. So, as long as it's not a low tide, they should be fine. Probably why the rocks were blasted to the mid 30's. 10 more feet off the top wouldn't hurt though!
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35ft is a relatively shallow shipping channel.

Panamax vessels fully loaded draft close to 40ft. The Delaware shipping channel is being dredged an additional 5ft to produce 45ft at low tide for newer Panamax vessels.

The Very Large Crude Carriers and Ultra Large Crude Carriers draft even more, but are usually lightered in deep water to barges.

Just had a look at SF Bay charts the shipping lanes appear to be all in 60ft + water.
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Last edited by Ulladh; 02-01-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulladh View Post
35ft is a relatively shallow shipping channel.
The rocks are in the mid 30's, not the channel.
Panamax vessels fully loaded draft close to 40ft. The Delaware shipping channel is being dredged an additional 5ft to produce 45ft at low tide for newer Panamax vessels.

The Very Large Crude Carriers and Ultra Large Crude Carriers draft even more, but are usually lightered in deep water to barges.
It's my impression and observation that the big tankers are not allowed in the SF Bay. Smaller (relitively) shuttle tankers receive the oil offshore. I see them sitting in the South Bay, waiting to unload in Richmond. I assume they would be empty going through the Westbound lane. However the COSCO was not a tanker. The fuel it spilled was it's own, which apparently is even worse than crude oil.

Just had a look at SF Bay charts the shipping lanes appear to be all in 60ft + water.
Thats true. Though, once again, it appears to me that the two rocks in question are also in the "Westbound San Francisco Traffic Lane" which is 60+, with the exception of the rocks. Thats a big exception if they are hit! Please correct me if I'm missing something. Otherwise, I hope they keep missing something!

Last edited by L124C; 02-01-2012 at 02:28 PM.
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Harding Rock, Shag Rocks and Arch Rock northwest of Alcatraz. They are charted with plenty of deep water around them. A pilot would have to be asleep to hit them.

Many shipping lanes have hazards and most are on the charts it is the responsibility of the pilot, captain or recreational boat skipper to be aware of charted hazards and plan a safe route.
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Old 02-01-2012
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Harding Rock and Little Harding Rock are actually the bounderies of the shipping channel. Most of the shipping channels are 80 + feet deep. I'd add that while the rocks the italian captain hit were not marked with buoys, they were charted and there apparently was a well known tradition of cruise ships steaming closer than they should to land to provide the local village with a view of passing ships. Sounds like showboating to me. (all puns being what they are.
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Old 02-01-2012
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I don’t know if it has been mentioned before, but Harding, Arch, Shag and Blossom were all on the surface up until the turn of the century (20th that is). The corps drilled and blasted them using the technology of the day which only got them down to their present 35 feet. They would love to “lower” them some more but anchoring a barge and drill over them given the currents isn’t very practical. Have no fear, the Panamax and supermax ships only go to Oakland so they pass on the San Francisco side of Alcatraz and Blossom. The Bay is over 90 feet deep there. The tankers that go to Richmond/Vallejo/Martinez are all of the smaller variety due to the shallowness of the facilities they go to. Likewise for the freighters that go up the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. If you want a thrill, encounter a freighter while going pass Middle Ground or the old entrance to Port Chicago!
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Old 02-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulladh View Post
Harding Rock, Shag Rocks and Arch Rock northwest of Alcatraz. They are charted with plenty of deep water around them. A pilot would have to be asleep to hit them.

Many shipping lanes have hazards and most are on the charts it is the responsibility of the pilot, captain or recreational boat skipper to be aware of charted hazards and plan a safe route.
I know they are charted. I provided the chart in my OP!
Funny you should mention sleep. The Pilot of the Cosco Busan suffered Sleep Apnia (sp?), and was on medication that wouldn't allow him to drive a car, much less a cargo ship (did prison time). Given human nature*, it seems prudent to eliminate submerged hazards, or at least mark them with nav aids when you can. It is certainly the "responsibility" of the Skipper to avoid them, however, the environment, wildlife and passengers pay the price when he is a bonehead! A surprising number, in command of huge ships have proved to be just that!
*In the Case of the Busan, The Pilot, Skipper, Vessel Control, Caltrans and the Coast Guard were all found at fault!

Last edited by L124C; 02-02-2012 at 05:16 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfchallenger View Post
Harding Rock and Little Harding Rock are actually the boundaries of the shipping channel. Most of the shipping channels are 80 + feet deep. I'd add that while the rocks the Italian captain hit were not marked with buoys, they were charted and there apparently was a well known tradition of cruise ships steaming closer than they should to land to provide the local village with a view of passing ships. Sounds like showboating to me. (all puns being what they are.
Yes, and being on the boundary, Harding happens to be marked. Shag and Arch, being closer to the center of the channel (where the ships happen to be), are not. "Showboating" (seems absolutely ridiculous to me!) or not, big ships in frequent proxity to shallow rocks seems like a good argument for marking or blasting! If the only ships that use the channel draw 25 feet or less, then I understand. Otherwise, it seems to me like an accident waiting to happen!

Last edited by L124C; 02-02-2012 at 05:04 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
I know they are charted. I provided the chart in my OP!
Funny you should mention sleep. The Pilot of the Cosco Busan suffered Sleep Apnia (sp?), and was on medication that wouldn't allow him to drive a car, much less a cargo ship (did prison time). Given human nature*, it seems prudent to eliminate submerged hazards, or at least mark them with nav aids when you can. It is certainly the "responsibility" of the Skipper to avoid them, however, the environment, wildlife and passengers pay the price when he is a bonehead! A surprising number, in command of huge ships have proved to be just that!
*In the Case of the Busan, The Pilot, Skipper, Vessel Control, Caltrans and the Coast Guard were all found at fault!
Here's the report on the accident.

http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2009/MAR0901.pdf

Essentially the pilot steered towards two marks on the chart which he thought marked the centre of the channel. In fact they marked the bridge tower.
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Old 02-03-2012
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Quote:
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Essentially the pilot steered towards two marks on the chart which he thought marked the centre of the channel. In fact they marked the bridge tower.
IMO, that's oversimplifying it by a long shot!
The report indicates that he was generaly disoriented. He should have recognized the landmarks in his own area of operation on radar, and shouldn't have even been relying on the electronic chart to navigate (the ship wasn't set up for it). In any case, he should have recognized the symbols, as they are the same on systems that ARE used to navigate!
In it's conclusions, the report lists "the pilot’s degraded cognitive performance from his use of impairing prescription medications," as the first of several probable causes of the accident. He was a mess!
Having said that, the report also reveals a reactive (as apposed to proactive) system, that allowed him to keep working as a Pilot. Traffic Control also failed to provide guidance when it perceived his course was incorrect, limited partially by lack of equipment due to budget constraints. Lots of "Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas" here!
The cost to repair the Cosco Busan alone was over $1,800,000 (cheap, as most of it was done in China). The relatively minor bridge repair was in excess of $1,000,000 (imagine if he hit the bridge head on, doing ten knots!). Factor in all the other accident related costs, and I have to wonder how cost effective it was not to provide proper Coast Guard medical supervision, or provide Traffic Control with state of the art equipment (as only two examples).
Which brings me back on topic. I can envision a similar report after a collision with the rocks, saying: "Lowering the rocks or marking them with navigational aids had been considered. However, due to budget constraints......" I mean really. How much would it cost to put a couple of buoys out there?

Last edited by L124C; 02-04-2012 at 12:47 AM.
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