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Alan de Enfield

Norwegian Cruise Ship Mayday Call

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2 hours ago, howardang said:

I am very glad that I am sitting in my armchair but as happens on a discussion forum, you have expressed your views and so have I. Just for the record, the last thing I am doing is second guessing the Master's decision, or indeed the local emergency services. I am totally sympathetic to all the efforts taking place at the moment, and wish them every success.  I was actually trying to point out that the comment that "they could have taken to the lifeboats" made by a couple of people on this thread is actually not as easy as it sounds  and is  often fraught with problems in bad weather,  especially so  in a fire scenario,  which makes speed of evacuation  to be of the essence. Yes, of course  I do know that ships have a fire fighting capability, but there is a limit to what they can do in a major fire scenario,  and trying to fight a fire with a thousand or sometimes many more passengers to look after, not to mention many hundreds of crew and then to possibly to evacuate is a situation which is not always as easy to resolve as you seem to think and sometimes doesn't bear thinking about. Consider, too, if an incident - engine breakdown, fire etc - happens in a more remote location, out of the range of local rescue services. with no outside help. 

 

However, you have your view and I have mine, and we are both entitled to express them, but if nothing else, please understand that I am not, and never will, criticising any member of the crew who, as I said in my post, "and with great respect to a large proportion of the crew, who I am sure are doing their best," are, I am sure, doing their job  to the best of their abilities in very difficult conditions and I am hopeful that the situation will be resolved during the day with no injury or worse.

 

As an aside, something which I thought might interest those who read this. You refer to salvors; I read on another web site this morning which was discussing this subject, that tugs and oil rig supply vessels were standing by to assist,  and they were described as "vultures" - a comment which I thought was disgusting and showed total ignorance about what goes off in scenarios such as this.

 

Finally, this vessel is now being resurrected. Heaven forbid it never gets built!

 

https://keepcruisingworld.com/2019/03/freedom-ship-a-mile-long-vessel-with-60-000-passengers-onboard.html/

 

 

Howard

nobody is suggesting that lifeboats are easy to launch in difficult conditions.  My response was to your implication (possibly mistakenly interpreted) that there is no alternative to helicopter evacuation of a stricken ship.  Perhaps you should also bear in mind that the wind was not particularly strong (reported as 38 knots); it will be very difficult and dangerous to attempt evacuation by helicopter in extreme weather conditions. 

 

Your extensive explanation of the problems faced by a relatively unskilled crew if they are required to man the lifeboats may be valid - but one could question why the international maritime standards do not insist on better arrangements.  Whoever wrote the standards certainly did not assume that helicopters would be able to assist.  In the interests of saving lives at sea, perhaps you should petition the IMO if you feel the existing requirements are inadequate or unworkable.

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The Viking Sky lost power on Saturday and sent out a distress signal after it began drifting towards land.

Rescuers airlifted almost 500 of the 1,373 mostly elderly passengers from the ship in bad weather.

The vessel's engines have been restarted and it is heading towards the port of Molde.

Evacuations have been halted for now but rescuers said they could resume if the captain deems it necessary.

How did the drama unfold?

The Viking Sky suffered engine failure on Saturday afternoon while en route to Stavanger from Tromso in a notoriously treacherous stretch of waters.

Fisherman Jan Erik Fiskerstrand, whose boat was one of the first to come to help Viking Sky, told Aftenposten newspaper, "it was just minutes before this could have gone really wrong".

The ship could have hit the rocks "if they had not started the engine and fastened the anchor" he added.

Five helicopters and several rescue ships were called in but poor weather meant the lifeboats were forced to turn back.

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

poor weather meant the lifeboats were forced to turn back.

That probably describes the weather better than anything - those guys rarely turn back

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31 minutes ago, Murflynn said:

nobody is suggesting that lifeboats are easy to launch in difficult conditions.  My response was to your implication (possibly mistakenly interpreted) that there is no alternative to helicopter evacuation of a stricken ship.  Perhaps you should also bear in mind that the wind was not particularly strong (reported as 38 knots); it will be very difficult and dangerous to attempt evacuation by helicopter in extreme weather conditions. 

 

Your extensive explanation of the problems faced by a relatively unskilled crew if they are required to man the lifeboats may be valid - but one could question why the international maritime standards do not insist on better arrangements.  Whoever wrote the standards certainly did not assume that helicopters would be able to assist.  In the interests of saving lives at sea, perhaps you should petition the IMO if you feel the existing requirements are inadequate or unworkable.

I have never suggested that there is no alternative to heli evacuation. I am also aware of the wind strength as I am also aware that the vessel was very close to running aground on a lee shore. If you are familiar wi IMO recommendations you will also know that they suggest a maximum evacuation time of 30 minutes from the time that eveyone is at muster stations with lifejackets donned. That minimum is relaxed depending on the size of vessel

 

My "extensive" explanation was intended to assist those who are not familiar with some of the realities of such incidents, no more and no less, which are my opinions. You may wish to express your own view and  thank you for your advice, but I don't need lectures from you about saving lives at sea. 

 

Howard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Norwegian newspapers, the wind gusts are described as up to 25 m/s (56 mph), and wave heights of 10-15 m. So the weather was pretty bad. Hurtigruten, which is the Norwegian coastal express, chose not to leave port on that stretch on saturday night.

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1 minute ago, Sally Grim said:

In Norwegian newspapers, the wind gusts are described as up to 25 m/s (56 mph), and wave heights of 10-15 m. So the weather was pretty bad. Hurtigruten, which is the Norwegian coastal express, chose not to leave port on that stretch on saturday night.

The wind and sea conditions were very bad - those who doubt it should look at the many video clips around. That is why it would have been very difficult tyif not downright dangerous to attempt to launch the ships lifeboats. To maker matters worse the vessel broke down pretty close to a  very rocky lee shore - i.e. if allowed to drift it would have run aground on rocks very quickly - which would have led to a much bigger calamity with potential for loss of life. In my view, the Master deserves congratulating because he seems to have made the best decision he could by getting at least one anchor down quickly. (I am not sure if he managed to get the other one deployed) but whatever, it has certainly saved a very serious incident from becoming much worse. The vessel was in a perilous state, however until they managed to get some power back on line and thank goodness the anchor(s) held. 

 

Howard

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BBC were reporting on R4 this lunchtime that three of the four engines were again running. 

 

FOUR engines all stopped at once? AND the rescue ship engine failed too? What on earth could be the common fail point for at least five engines across two ships? 

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3 hours ago, bizzard said:

At £4,000 a go just go and look at the northern lights!!   At that price I'd have been quite content to go and see the Southend lights, ''half hour on the bus from Tilbury'', or even Blackpool's lights.

   The bus ride from Tilbury to Southend-On-Sea is quite a splendid trip, which includes stops at the wonderful Basildon, the delights of Pitsea, Pints of Fosters at the Tar Pots in Benfleet, Taking in the sea air and mud and gorging on cockles at Leigh-On -Sea, Chalkwell with its almost tropical sandy beaches and mud,  Westcliff with its towering cliffs with flats and hotels mounted atop, and then Sunny Southend, gateway to the east, with its golden sands and mud, balmy sea air, fish'n'chips, Strolls along the pier, fun fairs with'' Knock the lady out of bed''. and ''What the butler saw machines'', toffe apples and Candy Floss and of course more Lager, and last but not least not forgetting those spectacular and most splendid illuminations, ''The Lights'' when it gets dark. All for a paltry few quid. And you won't get shipwrecked.

Billy Bragg?

 

A13?

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12 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

FOUR engines all stopped at once? AND the rescue ship engine failed too? What on earth could be the common fail point for at least five engines across two ships? 

Lobster Pots

Drifting fishing nets

Contaminated fuel

Dirty tanks

Brexit (Norwegian option)

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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My friends were on a cruise a few years ago, where a fire in the electrical control board caused a total shut down of all power on the ship.  They were in calm seas and not real danger so they had to suffer 24 hours on a boat with no cabin lighting, very dim corridor emergency lighting, there was obviously no hot food or drink and the vacuum toilets ceased to function, which after a few hours became a big problem. They were towed into port about 26 hours after the fire which the crew put out quickly and efficiently, but they could not repair/bypass the electric control panel. My brother in law used to be a chief engineer on ships, and on one trip across the pacific from Japan to Chili their computer system emitted the magic smoke so they stopped and drifted for two days before they were able to bypass various systems and get the engine running again, albeit with manual controls and very few if any safety systems.  Modern ships and society have too much faith in electronics and computers and all too many seem to have been designed with a single point of failure, with no bypass, Boeing seem to be following the trend as well recently. KISS works for everything not just narrowboats.

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23 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Lobster Pots

Drifting fishing nets

Contaminated fuel

Dirty tanks

Brexit (Norwegian option)

It does seem strange that two completely different type of vessels have suffered loss of propulsion. As we know "Viking Sky" is now underway again and so is "Hagland Captain" which is making around 12 knots at the moment. If it was pots and or nets it seems unlikely that they have both spontaneously freed themselves in the prevailing weather conditions. Brexit seems unlikely, although nothing is impossible these days, so my money is on contaminated fuel although it is still one hell of a co-incidence considering the sophisticated filtration and oily water separator systems on both vessels, and they both operate in offshore conditions where the fuel is being agitated all the time. Very odd, but thankfully they both seem to be well on their way to a safe haven, when we will be able find out the cause. It must have been especially traumatic for the passengers, not to mention the crews who had to deal with both incidents. 

 

Howard

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3 hours ago, Detling said:

My friends were on a cruise a few years ago, where a fire in the electrical control board caused a total shut down of all power on the ship.  They were in calm seas and not real danger so they had to suffer 24 hours on a boat with no cabin lighting, very dim corridor emergency lighting, there was obviously no hot food or drink and the vacuum toilets ceased to function, which after a few hours became a big problem. They were towed into port about 26 hours after the fire which the crew put out quickly and efficiently, but they could not repair/bypass the electric control panel. My brother in law used to be a chief engineer on ships, and on one trip across the pacific from Japan to Chili their computer system emitted the magic smoke so they stopped and drifted for two days before they were able to bypass various systems and get the engine running again, albeit with manual controls and very few if any safety systems.  Modern ships and society have too much faith in electronics and computers and all too many seem to have been designed with a single point of failure, with no bypass, Boeing seem to be following the trend as well recently. KISS works for everything not just narrowboats.

Hard to believe that the whole electrical system was so vulnerable to a fire in a control board.  In my experience (oil and gas installations - pumping, storage, safety systems, etc.) it would be designed such that there was sufficient redundancy that a single fire would not shut down all the main power.  I fondly imagined that passenger vessels would have at least the same level of redundancy for all components of the system.

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6 hours ago, Mike Tee said:

That probably describes the weather better than anything - those guys rarely turn back

The official motto of the US Coastguard is "Semper Paratus" (Always Ready).

 

The unofficial motto is "We gotta go out, but nobody said we gotta come back."

 

My brother drives an RNLI inshore boat, and he thinks the offshore skippers are nuts!

3 hours ago, howardang said:

Brexit seems unlikely, although nothing is impossible these days

:clapping:

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A truly scary situation, thankfully turned out ok in the end but I would be surprised if it does not result in changes to maritime safety law. Complete power failure indicates redundancy provision was not robust. Evacuation provision for passenger vessels needs to be revaluated to be able to cope with this, now obviously a very real scenario. Abandoning ship into life rafts and lifeboats in those conditions close to a lee shore would have been disastrous, the life rafts in particular, would rapidly end up being smashed onto rocks . Transfers to other vessels likewise unworkable. In this case thankfully the anchor was deployed and held. Must have been very  close thing.

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3 minutes ago, DandV said:

In this case thankfully the anchor was deployed and held.

It always pays for everyone to practice 'emergency anchoring'

Breakdowns don't always happen under perfect conditions and you need to be prepared.

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2 minutes ago, DandV said:

A truly scary situation, thankfully turned out ok in the end but I would be surprised if it does not result in changes to maritime safety law. Complete power failure indicates redundancy provision was not robust. Evacuation provision for passenger vessels needs to be revaluated to be able to cope with this, now obviously a very real scenario. Abandoning ship into life rafts and lifeboats in those conditions close to a lee shore would have been disastrous, the life rafts in particular, would rapidly end up being smashed onto rocks . Transfers to other vessels likewise unworkable. In this case thankfully the anchor was deployed and held. Must have been very  close thing.

Quite, and those "pundits" who spoke about lifeboats don't seem to have a grasp of how hairy the Viking Sky situation actally was.

 

Howard

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4 hours ago, howardang said:

It does seem strange that two completely different type of vessels have suffered loss of propulsion. As we know "Viking Sky" is now underway again and so is "Hagland Captain" which is making around 12 knots at the moment. If it was pots and or nets it seems unlikely that they have both spontaneously freed themselves in the prevailing weather conditions. Brexit seems unlikely, although nothing is impossible these days, so my money is on contaminated fuel although it is still one hell of a co-incidence considering the sophisticated filtration and oily water separator systems on both vessels, and they both operate in offshore conditions where the fuel is being agitated all the time. Very odd, but thankfully they both seem to be well on their way to a safe haven, when we will be able find out the cause. It must have been especially traumatic for the passengers, not to mention the crews who had to deal with both incidents. 

 

Howard

Pure conjecture but I wonder if the combinations of wind, tide, and a shelving coast gave such a wave length and height such that both ships were lifting their props beyond the ability of the overspeed protection controls to cope. The master mariners on this forum would be much more authoritive.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, DandV said:

Pure conjecture but I wonder if the combinations of wind, tide, and a shelving coast gave such a wave length and height such that both ships were lifting their props beyond the ability of the overspeed protection controls to cope. The master mariners on this forum would be much more authoritive.

 

 

I think your last sentence is correct. That is why this master mariner has given his opinion. 

 

Howard

Edited by howardang
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We were in Madeira one christmas when tenders were needed to go ashore. Three got badly damaged just trying to tie them to the cruise ship. It was an interesting cruise, gales all the way :-)) 

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1 hour ago, DandV said:

A truly scary situation, thankfully turned out ok in the end but I would be surprised if it does not result in changes to maritime safety law. Complete power failure indicates redundancy provision was not robust. Evacuation provision for passenger vessels needs to be revaluated to be able to cope with this, now obviously a very real scenario. Abandoning ship into life rafts and lifeboats in those conditions close to a lee shore would have been disastrous, the life rafts in particular, would rapidly end up being smashed onto rocks . Transfers to other vessels likewise unworkable. In this case thankfully the anchor was deployed and held. Must have been very  close thing.

A sensible post at last!  Agree entirely, with emphasis on "very close thing".  Transferring mostly elderly persons from a ship to a boat in still water is perilous enough; doing so in a 2m swell is close to suicidal and, in the weather this ship was in, unthinkable.  I do rather doubt whether any changes to safety regs will come about.  Quite simply, difficult to imagine how much safer cruise shipping can be made without putting it far beyond the pockets of its market.   

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18 minutes ago, David Lorimer said:

Transferring mostly elderly persons from a ship to a boat in still water is perilous enough; doing so in a 2m swell is close to suicidal and, in the weather this ship was in, unthinkable.

 

How would it be done? On the cruise liners of the last century we used to see rows of lifeboats hanging on davits and I gather the people boarded the lifeboats in the davits and before they were launched. No evidence of that in the photos of the Viking Sky.

 

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3 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

How would it be done? On the cruise liners of the last century we used to see rows of lifeboats hanging on davits and I gather the people boarded the lifeboats in the davits and before they were launched. No evidence of that in the photos of the Viking Sky.

That's because they didn't launch the lifeboats!

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