Don’t Panic- Write A Report

The following report from a ship’s Master is reproduced here by kind permission of the anonymous author who appears to be gifted with remarkable ‘sang froid’

It is with regret and haste that I write this letter to you, regret that such a small misunderstanding could lead to the following circumstances, and haste in order that you will get this report before you form your own preconceived opinions from reports in the world press, for I am sure they will tend to over-dramatise the affair.

We had just picked up the pilot and the apprentice had returned from changing the ‘G’ flag for the ‘H’ and,it being his first trip, was having difficulty in rolling the ‘G’ flag up, I therefore proceeded to show him how. Coming to the last part, I told him to let go. The lad, although willing is not too bright, necessitating my having to repeat the order in a sharper tone.

At this moment the Chief Officer appeared from the chart room, having been plotting the vessel’s progress and, thinking that it was the anchors that were being referred to, repeated the ‘let go’  to the Third Officer on the forecastle. The port anchor, having been cleared away but not walked out, was promptly let go. The effect of letting the anchor drop from the ‘pipe’ while the vessel was proceeding at full harbour speed proved too much for the windlass brake, and the entire length of the port cable was ‘pulled out by the roots’  I fear that damage to the chain locker may be extensive . The braking effect of the port anchor naturally caused the vessel to sheer in that direction, right towards the swing bridge that spans a tributary to the river up which we were proceeding.

The swing bridge operator showed great presence of mind by opening the bridge for my vessel. Unfortunately, he did not think to stop  vehicular traffic , the result  being that the bridge partly opened and deposited a ‘Volkswagen’, two cyclists and a cattle truck on the foredeck. My ship’s company are at present rounding up the contents of the latter, which from the noise  I would say were pigs. In his efforts to stop the progress of the vessel, the Third Officer dropped the starboard anchor, too late to be of practical use for it fell on the swing bridge operators control cabin.

After the port anchor was let go and the vessel started to sheer. I gave a double ring Full Astern on the Engine Room Telegraph and personally rang the Engine Room to order maximum astern revolutions. I was informed that the sea temperature was 53+ and asked if there was a film tonight : my reply would not add constructively to this report.

Up to now I have confined my report to the activities at the forward  end of the vessel. Down aft they were having their own problems.

At the moment the port anchor was let go, the Second Officer was supervising the making fast of the after tug and was lowering the ship’s towing spring down onto the tug.

The sudden braking effect on the port anchor caused the tug to ‘run under’ the stern of my vessel, just at the moment when the propeller was answering my double ring ‘Full Astern’ . The prompt action of the Second Officer in securing the inboard end of the towing spring delayed the sinking of the tug by some minutes, thereby allowing the safe abandoning of the of that vessel.

It is strange, but at the very same moment of letting go the port anchor, there was a power cut ashore, the fact that we were passing over a ‘cable’ area at the time might suggest that we may have touched something on the river bed. It is perhaps lucky that the high-tension cables brought down by the foremast  were not live, possibly being replaced by the underwater cable, but owing to the shore black-out , it is impossible to say when the pylon fell.

It never fails to amaze me , the actions and behaviours of foreigners during moments of minor crisis. The pilot for instances at this moment is huddled in the corner of my day cabin, alternately crooning to himself and crying after having consumed a bottle of gin in a time that is worthy of inclusion in the Guiness Book of Records. The tug captain on the other hand, reacted violently and had to forcibly be restrained by the Steward, who has him handcuffed in the ship’s hospital, where he is telling me do impossible things with my ship and my crew.

I enclose the names and addresses of the drivers and insurance companies of the vehicles on my foredeck, which the Third Officer collected after his somewhat hurried evacuation of the forecastle . These particulars will enable you to claim for the damage that they did to the railings of No.1 hold.

I am closing this preliminary report , for I am finding it difficult to concentrate with the sound of police sirens  and their flashing lights.

It is sad to think that had the apprentice realised that there is no need to fly pilot flags after dark, none of this would have happened.

For weekly accountability Report I will assign the following :

Casualty Numbers TE 750101 to TE 750199

Yours Truly,

Master.

Christmas Party 2018

Christmas Party 2018 

We are pleased to give details of this year’s Christmas Party: It will be held on the 13th December at the Little Haven Hotel, South Shields starting at 1830 hours.  The cost is £17.00 per head and includes a three course dinner and entertainment  provided by the well-known Beacon Band.   It is now our once-per-year Big Get-together –  with Members and their wives/guests Let’s see if we can really swell the numbers this year! – I am looking forward to it!  Please pay Phil Work at the November  Club night and indicate your menu choices for the meals.

Keith Atkinson

Chairman

 

The Expansion of the Panama Canal

The Expansion of the Panama Canal

(Opened June 2016)

A brief background

The Panama Canal will be very familiar to many of our Club Members and of course our website followers. The 48 mile (77 km) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 85 feet (26 metres) above sea level. The current locks are 110 feet (33.5 metres wide. A third wider lane was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016 and is due to open in June 2016

France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904, and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America  via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan

Increased capacity

Scale comparison of Panamax and New Panamax specifications. [Diagram by Julia Gold and the authors] – Places

The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway’s capacity. The existing locks allow the passage of vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs. After the expansion the Post-Panamax vessels will be able to transit through the Canal, with up to 13,000/14,000 TEUs. The Expansion will double the Canal’s capacity, having a direct impact on economies of scale and international maritime trade.
The Programme consists of several components:

  • New Locks (Third Set of Locks)
    • Pacific Access Channel
    • Improvement of Navigational Channels (Dredging)
    • Improvements to Water Supply
    The Panama Canal expansion is based on six years of research, which included more than 100 studies on the economic feasibility, market demand, environmental impact and other technical engineering aspects. Works on the Panama Canal Expansion began on September 2007 at a total cost of US$5.2 billion.

The Latest Cruise Ship…

Ovation of the Seas Overview

From Cruise Critic

Ovation of the Seas, the last of Royal Caribbean’s three 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger next-generation Royal Caribbean cruise ships, will launch April 2016 in China.

Like Quantum and Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas will feature many first-at-sea innovations including RipCord by iFly, a skydiving simulator; North Star, a jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level, providing 360-degree views from high above the ship; and SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with attractions ranging from bumper cars, roller skating and video gaming to a circus school complete with flying trapeze classes.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, Royal Caribbean has confirmed that Ovation of the Seas will be specially built with the Chinese cruise market in mind and will spend most of its time in China, with a short season sailing from Australia.

Shields ‘forgotten’ Freda ferry found in Ireland

A forgotten ferry which transported passengers between North Shields and South Shields for more than 20 years has been discovered in Ireland.

March 5th 2016

Fred Cunnincham
                    Freda  Cunningham

The Freda Cunningham, which worked on the River Tyne from 1972, was taken out of service in 1993 and sold.

Ferry operator Nexus said its fate had remained a mystery until the new owners contacted them.

Since 2006, the vessel, now named Mystic Waters, has been operating between west Cork and Sherkin Island.

Carbery Isle Ferries Ltd carried out research into the vessel’s service history and found her previous job was on the River Tyne.

Owner of the Sherkin Ferry, Rosaleen O’Driscoll, said: “It’s always lovely to find out about the history of the boats that we operate.

“She’s a great little vessel.”

Mystic Waters
                           Mystic Waters

Nexus has operated the Shields Ferry service, which transports more than 500,000 people each year, since 1972.

Shields Ferry Manager, Carol Timlin, said: “It’s really wonderful to see that the Freda Cunningham is still carrying passengers after all these years.

“We had wondered for a while what had become of her. It became a bit of a mystery.

“It’s always really nice to see a former Shields Ferry being put to good use and long may that continue.”

A Family Remembered..

At our January meeting of the shipping club, one of our senior members, Alan Johnson, whose latter part of his working career was spent as a senior lecturer at the famous South Shields Marine School and who currently in his retirement enjoys the subject of Local History.

Well, he handed me a couple of interesting documents to have a look at  A Passenger List and a Menu

dated February 12th 1930 for the luxury passenger liner RMS “Majestic”, part of the White Star Line. He told me that these are the property of a good friend of his, Ann Robson and the documents had belonged to her father who had come into possession of these documents when he sailed as a passenger from Southampton to New York on this ship in order to join, as far as known, a Furness Withy ship in some American port.

Continue reading “A Family Remembered..”

RMS Majestic

Going back to the beginning of the story A Family Remembered and the two documents from the Majestic, I thought it may be interesting to take a closer look at this ship; since it was at the time the largest ship in the world and before being renamed Majestic, this fine vessel was built by the Germans at their Blohm & Voss shipyard and named Bismarck. So here it is…

RMS Majestic (II), at 56,551 tons, the largest ship the White Star Line ever owned, was originally called Bismarck and belonged to Germany’s, Hamburg American Line. Bismarck along with two sister ships, Imperator and Vaterland, were intended to rival White Star Line’s Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and Cunard Lines Lusitania, Mauritania and Aquitania.

Continue reading “RMS Majestic”

“Modern Express”

World Shipping News

A short video clip showing this stricken vessel being towed away from the French coast

The operation to tow a listing cargo ship away from the French coast has succeeded, maritime officials say.

A Spanish tugboat “managed to pivot [the ship], point it towards the open sea and begin towing it,” spokesman Louis-Xavier Renaux said.

The vessels are travelling westward at a speed of three knots (5kmh; 3.5mph), he added.

The 22 crew members of the Panamanian-registered Modern Express were airlifted off the ship last Tuesday.

Officials feared the vessel, which was about 44km (27 miles) off Arcachon near Bordeaux in south-western France, could run aground.

But four maritime experts were able to attach a tow line to the vessel before being evacuated.

f the operation had failed, the ship could have hit France’s south-west coast between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Bad weather hindered rescue efforts on Sunday, two days after another tow line to the 164m (538ft) vessel was broken in rough seas.

The ship, which is carrying 3,600 tonnes of timber and digging machines, was listing at an angle of between 40 and 50 degrees.

The Atlantic maritime prefecture said it was “totally impossible to put the cargo ship upright”.

Around 300 tonnes of fuel are on board, French authorities say. The Sud-Ouest newspaper reported (in French) that emergency measures were to be put in place if the ship ran aground, in order to contain the fuel and remove it.

In 2002, the Prestige oil tanker sank off the coast of northern Spain, spilling 50,000 tonnes of oil and polluting thousands of miles of coast.

1st February 2016

Port of Tyne Wins New Contract

The Port of Tyne has announced a new commercial agreement with one of the UK’s leading importers of plywood.

In an initial three year deal with Gloucestershire based International Plywood the Port of Tyne in South Shields will provide office accommodation, cargo handling, covered storage and onward UK wide road distribution for timber products imported through the Port.

Multi-geared break-bulk vessels will import plywood and other timber products to the Port of Tyne from the Baltics and as far afield as South East Asia and South America.

It is understood that “The Port of Tyne is unique in its ability to not only manage break-bulk of non-containerised cargo but to also handle containerised products, storage and distribution providing optimal customer service.

“The Port’s ability to handle larger vessels presents not only greater economies of scale for International Plywood as larger volumes can be handled per shipment but it also creates a positive environmental benefit.”

Stuart Watts, Director for International Plywood, said: “Working with the Port of Tyne offers the ability to maximise the potential by creating a northern hub with an office based at the Port allowing International Plywood to firmly establish ourselves as one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of plywood and sheet materials.”

International Plywood,  supplies products to leading building merchants, housebuilders and various other UK markets.
(extract from Shields Gazette)