Southampton docks

19th July 2005, 18:27
Today19/07/2005 90000 ton Savannah Express lost engine control while docking and hit another ship and a shore installation

John Leary
19th July 2005, 19:39
Thought you might like to see a picture of her taken today when inbound to Southampton before the accident happened

19th July 2005, 19:48
Not much time wasted in this part of the world john.

19th July 2005, 20:03
It was'nt that pilot Rick O'Shey was it, or was that what the ship did ? (LOL)

Cant really drop the hook in a situation like that, it dosnt hold very well on a deck or a quay for that matter. OOps.


michael james
19th July 2005, 21:12
Chris our minds think alike.
It didnt happen in our day (well, it did but we didnt have fail-safe systems then), it shouldnt happen in this technilogically advanced age, computer problem or human error ?

19th July 2005, 21:31

You are so right, probably a blown 5 amp fuse somewhere, or a chip ( not the potato kind ) failed. Something which weighs less than an ounce can send 90,000 tons into catastrophy.

I remember when our ship got its first ever auto steering gear. Worked off the magnetic compass, ( seem to think it was made by Sperry.) Used to have a mind of its own and suddenly go hard a port at the most unopportune times, gave me a number of heart stopping moments.

I remember one off Durban, when it went hard a port across the course of an approaching SAF Marine ship. Sweating and shaking like mad, I managed to switch everything off and go into manual steering, however the wake looked like I was travelling through a chicane, port then starboard then port again as I tried to steady her up.

The SAF Marine ship signalled me " I give up, you win, can I pass you now, or is it war "

My signal of " Sorry faulty steering, OK now " was answered by " Well you will buy British "

I did'nt know whether to laugh or cry. ' ba.t.rds '


fred henderson
19th July 2005, 22:31
At the end of the 1960s unmanned engine rooms were just arriving on the scene. Manchester Liners had one of these new systems. It was programmed to stop the engines if anything failed. In due course this happened in a gale off a lea shore. The ship was able to restart engines in time but the owners felt that this concept was not a good idea.
They then ordered four early all container ships from Smiths Dock with the engine control system changed so that in event of failure it went into service speed ahead. The first time this happened was as one of the ships was entering Manchester Ship Canal locks outward bound. She went through all the lock gates at speed, drained the canal and flooded Stanlow Refinery.
Someone must remember the details.


Bruce Carson
19th July 2005, 22:35
On the first of this month the British Columbia ferry Queen of Oak Bay lost propulsion approaching the Horseshoe Bay Terminal on her regular run across the Strait of Georgia from Nanaimo. The captain steered her towards a marina and the ferry smashed 24 pleasure boats to pieces and then grounded herself: the passengers were left high and dry for about nine hours.
'twasn't a chip or an expensive piece of electronic gear that caused the kerfuffle, but a missing 3cm cotter pin. Without the pin in place a nut came off a control arm, allowing the propulsion system to overspeed. That, in turn, kicked in a tripping device, releasing the clutches and disengaging the engines from the propellers both fore and aft. Without power, but with steerage way, the 139m ferry majestically barged her way through the marina's small cruisers.
News releases valued the cotter pin at about ten cents (Canadian).

A picture of the incident:

19th July 2005, 23:30
I never did understand why they didn't drop the anchor(s) then. I happen to be friends with one of her Captains (ex) and he wonders the same. I guess we'll have to await the enquiry findings.

20th July 2005, 11:36
Statement from Southampton deputy harbour master" when a ship loses its engines, its quite a problem" In this case 90000 tons worth and no gangway left to load cars on/off car transporters.

Jan Hendrik
20th July 2005, 11:42
Bruce, sounds like Comedy Capers.
Stan and Laurel eat your heart out.

Bruce Carson
20th July 2005, 12:26
Bruce, sounds like Comedy Capers.
Stan and Laurel eat your heart out.

Another fine mess you got me into?

20th July 2005, 14:55
Anyone Think Of The Fenders??

20th July 2005, 19:26
' Fenders ' very fine guitars ' fenders ' , best in the world. Hank Marvin played a fender. (Smoke)

20th July 2005, 19:48
Savannah Express leaving Soton tomorrow 21/07 (Thursday) Engine room permitting!!

20th July 2005, 19:49
So you reckon we should've wedged Hank and his stratocaster between the Courage and the dock gates then eh?

Would have been worth a try in my book! Could have put Cliff in for good measure too!

Dave (*))

No NO NO, Cliff might have sung to the crowd and caused more damage (LOL)


20th July 2005, 19:57
Carnival line statement. QE2 going on to 2010. plans shelved for 200000 ton ship owing to a weak dollar. Maybe the $ will be stronger by the time the order is placed.??

20th July 2005, 20:11
Oh All right then, Cliff can sing!

Go and look at the photos of the Irlam Lock gates I went to all that trouble to find!


OK (Fly)


20th July 2005, 20:31
Thanks Dave, very interesting pictures.

I seem to remember in the dim past, that the cause was blamed on the Variable pitch prop that the Courage had. I could be wrong but i seem to remember hearing that it was either a malfunction of the prop or an error in operation.

Those variable pitch props caused some scares and headaches when they first came out.


fred henderson
20th July 2005, 22:14
Thanks Dave, I was involved after the event in the insurance argument. I had plenty of reports but no photographs. In the end Smiths insurers successfully argued that the shipyard had no liability as the ship behaved exactly as the owners had specified. In the event of a system malfunction select service speed ahead.


John Rogers
20th July 2005, 23:25
And there was Freddy Fender!

21st July 2005, 02:16
interesting canal site Dave. you were quite "The Gatecrasher" in those days eh! LOL

21st July 2005, 06:48
Bruce, as usual nothing is ever quite what it seems. Firstly, the Master couldn't steer that ship without the prop turning and at such a low speed. Much play was made by the media and the company of a "hero Captain" steering his ship to minimize the damage. Having "driven" that ship frequently over the past two years I can tell you that she ended up where she did because that is where she was going. Because the rudder is 25-30% too small almost all the rudder power is derived from prop wash at above idle speed. Also, there is no mention of the sole anchor being dropped. In fact on the "double-enders" nobody stands by the anchor as they do with the conventionally designed ferries with a forecastle, bow and stern. Guess What!!! From the day of the accident all "double-enders must have someone standing by the anchor during arrival and departure. I hear the receding clatter of horses hooves on the cobblestones as the barn door slams shut.
Further, I have heard from colleagues who were on board at the time that the order to go down and drop the lone anchor (at the offshore end) was given too late to be of any use. I don't know quite where she blacked out, but some say that she was blowing the whistle for up to four minutes. That would have been enough time to get someone in the achor compartment and let go a reasonable amount of chain such that
she could have been stopped. I believe she could have been stopped before she did all that damage and ran aground, but I've yet to find out exactly where she lost power.
All the Best

Bruce Carson
21st July 2005, 12:06
Hello Smudger, welcome aboard and thanks for the reply.
It was a story begging for an human interest angle and the press. I guess, played up the story of the Master heading for the safest way out of trouble. There's also something mesmerizing about a large ship plowing through an armada of small boats. The ten cent cotter pin fiasco only added to the coverage overkill.
Oldbosun, in another reply to my posting, also questioned the non use of the anchor.
One thing I've learned quickly about this forum--if it's a maritime question, there will be replies from experts, and often some fun along the way.
Reading your posting, I've now a much better idea of the working of the ferry and the ship's actual physical capabilities.
Bruce C.

21st July 2005, 23:12
Yes, I do believe that this is covered in one of the three volumes of "No Tides to Stem", the history of the Manchester Ship Canal pilotage. Author, ex pilot and all round really great bloke, Derek Clulow.

I'll root it out and see if there is a summary I can post.

Dave (Thumb)
I was at a gathering of seamen and Derek Clulow related to us his flight to New Zealand, with his Wife, I have never heard anything like it for humour, If you can get him to repeat it on here I'm sure it would be a winner

michael james
21st July 2005, 23:28
Smudger. Firstly welcome aboard. Secondly your description and explanation above is very enlightening to us that are not familiar with the particular ship/ferry, yet have a working knowledge of ship handling and the best way to prevent the worst happening in such circumstances. Operational organisation was found wanting at a critical time.

22nd July 2005, 08:38
The story of Savannah Express was missed in my part of the world.
Can R58484956 tell me which ship she hit and what damage was done to both ships.

fred henderson
22nd July 2005, 18:00
In the early 1960s Hawthorn Leslie had launched a ship in the traditional manner, using drag chains to turn and halt her in mid-river. The chains were released when the tugs had the ship under control. A few days later, having posted the usual notice to navigators, the riggers were recovering the drag chains. We had a steel punt with a swan neck at one end and a boiler, steam winch and a mast flying a red flag at the other. The yard launch towed the punt trailing a grappling iron until they located one of the launch chains, it was then hauled on board and stowed on the deck of the punt. Once the chain was starting to come on deck, the punt was not going to go anywhere until the chain was off the river bed, so the launch was secured to the punt and its crew assisted in the heavy work of stowing the chain.

Half way through a lift the riggers realised that a coaster, the Leicesterbrook was heading down the Tyne straight towards them. The boys decided to jump into the launch and get out of the way!

An officer came out of the wheelhouse with a mug of tea in his hand glanced ahead and saw the trouble he was in. The Leicesterbrook crew was galvinised into frantic action, men running in all directions. The rudder started to go towards hard a port and she began to turn and struck the punt at a slight angle, which had the effect of increasing her rate of turn and she was now heading towards the PAMATRADA quay.

The Leicesterbrook's engine stopped, then went into full astern. She went about six feet into the wooden quay, just as the crew dropped both anchors into the quay heading. The crew stopped the anchor chains. Then with the engines still in full astern she pulled back into the river, bringing a great deal of timber with her.

Dropping an anchor is not always a good idea.


22nd July 2005, 19:10
Savannah Express,only a quick mention of the ship she hit was mentioned on radio, which I missed,and no other time was it mentioned on radio or printed form.She wrecked a gangway with which they load/unload cars from the car carriers

michael james
22nd July 2005, 20:03
fred henderson, you have written a most descriptive bit of prose, I was with you all the way, absolutely great. Anchors - dropping of - not always the answer, but nearly always in a critical situation !

fred henderson
22nd July 2005, 20:43
Thanks Mike. The system will not allow me to quote the comments made at the time, especially when the owners of the Leicesterbrook (Combden Longstaff) claimed it was all the shipyard's fault for leaving an unattended punt in the middle of the river.


25th July 2005, 05:41
I have gleamed this information from another web site concerning the difficulties Savannah Express experienced docking at Southampton.
She had earlier lost power at anchor.
She did if fact drop anchor as she lost power, just before berthing.
Hit a car loading ramp and the ferry Bergen Castle(chartered to Red Funnel to stand in for Red Osprey and Eagle, away for maintenance/work) .
No significant damage caused. Savannah Express required attention to her engines before she departed.
(thanks to "daywalker" for the details).

david smith
25th July 2005, 11:28
Recent press statement
"Brand new boxship battered
Hapag-Lloyd’s 8,400-teu chartered newbuilding Savannah Express will need repairs to its engine after colliding with a ferry and a links span at Southampton.
The vessel, owned by Nordddeutsche Reederei, was entering the port on Tuesday, escorted by two tugs, when it lost its main engine power and was unable to go astern.
The $83m Daewoo newbuilding then collided with the unnamed ferry and the ramp which allows vehicles to board the passengership, the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.
The span was extensively damaged and there was some superficial damage to both vessels, but no pollution resulted.
An MCA surveyor has inspected the vessel and ordered it to investigate the problem and make repairs ready to set sail on Thursday.
A service engineer has now been called to the vessel and has started work. All repairs will be overseen by the class society, Germanischer Lloyd."