Black Watch incident 21/10/2009 - La Coruna, possible pilotage problem?

27th October 2009, 11:18
Does anyone have any information surrounding an incident involving Black Watch as she entered La Coruna harbour on 21/10/2009, please?

Apparently whilst under pilot control she entered the incorrect channel and in changing position listed heavily causing some interior damage & passengers to fall. The initial report comes from a passenger on board at the time who has shared their concerns with a friend of mine & who wanted to know what happened & if anything came of the incident after the ship left port later in the day.

The local media do not seem to carry any coverage of the incident, which does seem quite unusual...especially in light of the extensive coverage of her gangway accident last year in Spain.

So if anyone can fill in the gaps either here or over on the cruise board, please do so as it would be appreciated.

Thank you :)

13th November 2009, 20:16
I have just returned from a visit to see my mother and stepfather. They are still somewhat traumatized by the incident that you have referred to. I have now heard their story for the second time in my two visits to see them since disembarking at Southampton in late October. Thier horrific tale prompted me to see what I could find on the internet and your thread is the only item that I have come across so far.

Unfortunately I do not have much technical information to add but can tell you what I know from their experience. My stepfather was on HMS Duckworth for the duration of WWII yet he counts the Black Watch incident as a near miss to equal any that he survived whilst serving in the Royal Navy. Granted, he is in his mid eighties now but he is lucid enough. He did not know that Black Watch was in the wrong channel but did say that the ship "turned too sharply". He also recounts that during the list, he hung onto a pole whilst his feet dangled beneath him and all he could see out of the window was a wall of sea. It listed one way ant then the other before righting. He believes that they were only a few degrees away from capsizing.

My stepfather also believes that the crew were told to keep quiet about the incident and that not one of the crew mentioned it there after.

If you would like further information I can see what more I can elicit. I would also like to hear whether you have any more information.

Please send me a private message

13th November 2009, 20:40
I found this ......

A passenger writes: I was a passenger on board the Black Watch on 21.10.09. The pilot had been taken on board to guide the ship into La Coruna Harbour (Spain) at around 11.00 am. Rough winds were battering the local coastline but the weather was otherwise fine and the approach into La Caruna was otherwise unremarkable. Apparently, due to the pilot with the captain's permission misreading red and green marker bouys, and taking the wrong line into the harbour, the ship was steered into dangerous waters on its approach and in a very short space of time, ie 15 minutes, was unbalanced and listed severely resulting in passengers flying across the reception rooms on chairs, cabins and balcony doors/windows being damaged and the ship taking on water.

Copied and pasted from this website: ies&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

13th November 2009, 21:42
This is worth a look

It is a film clip taken of the day in question (posted on YouTube 24.10.09) but I do not know if it was after or before the serious list.

13th November 2009, 22:59
Nice bit of surfing there - some people would pay plenty to enjoy that - dont know what all the fuss is about - not even rough, bit of a swell seen worse in my bath tub.

If you go on a ship then you must expect what the sea and wind throw at you - the sea dosnt stay calm just because you are on a cruise, no matter how much you pay (Jester)


13th November 2009, 23:02
I doubt that the Black Watch had a "list", as that implies a ballasting problem and would take some time to fix. Looking at the video, she is pitching heavily and keeping her speed up, probably to be sure of maintaining steerage way. Likely her stabilisers were already withdrawn for the port approach. It is therefore possible that she may have heeled significantly if she made a tight turn.
That's not apparent on the video, but the latter part of the video shows her rolling more than cruise ships like to do, and enough to frighten many passengers, I am sure. There is an effect called parametric rolling where the pitching motion of a hull causes an exacerbation of any roll motion present, and I wonder whether that is what we are seeing in that video. Just my thoughts, for what they are worth.
This is worth a look

It is a film clip taken of the day in question (posted on YouTube 24.10.09) but I do not know if it was after or before the serious list.

14th November 2009, 05:16
Looks like a heavy heel to me, bloody speeding drivers, good job the wings were in, or they would have been a bit bent, then there would have been trouble!

15th November 2009, 13:40
All I can say is that it is a good job it was not a modern high rise cruise ship with a shallow draught rolling like that. Black Watch is a good sailor like those of her era having sailed on her myself, and although it looks bad, she does not look to be in danger. Not the sort of video to show to future cruise passengers however who think the ship stays as steady as a rock (Jester)


Ron Stringer
15th November 2009, 14:53
Perhaps the sales brochure for the cruises should make it clear that when the sea goes up and down, the ship also goes up and down! Then there could be no misunderstanding.

There seemed to be quite a swell running there and when you are sailing at right angles to a big swell, the ship will move, no doubt about that.

15th November 2009, 15:55
I was a regular trader there on small gas ships and the swell is very heavy coming from the Atlantic lost three anchors in the Port. and at times had to wait outside for the swell to come down. After the breakwater there is a right hand turn which means you have the swell on the beam and she will roll in that untill inside the mole.

15th November 2009, 20:19
I couldn't but smile at Askeetoe saying his 82 year old stepfather was still lucid !! As an 83 year old sod I can still get up each morning and, if my father is anything to go by I have another 20 years to go !
Re the video of the Black Watch - she did roll a bit but the weather was fine and I expect it was the unexpected motion which caught the passengers out as she turned abeam of the swell.
When I was in 8000 ton tankers on the western ocean in winter we rolled a damn sight more than that and since circumnavigating in a 250 ton ketch when we were on our beams end once or twice, it makes the Black Watch roll seem tame in the extreme.

Alasdair Cook
21st November 2009, 19:21
I was on this cruise and I was on deck when the incident happened but I just assumed that a heavy swell hit us on the side as we turned past the break water.I also hav some video footage of it happening

21st November 2009, 21:18
Is it only me, or can I scent the malodourous 'niff of litigation on the wind? The sea is, as it ever was, "fit only for fish and fools". I take great pleasure in sharing this site with ladies and gentlemen who subscibe to this dictum; for the others....???!!!
Stick to the telly!

21st November 2009, 23:06
Is it only me, or can I scent the malodourous 'niff of litigation on the wind? The sea is, as it ever was, "fit only for fish and fools". I take great pleasure in sharing this site with ladies and gentlemen who subscibe to this dictum; for the others....???!!!
Stick to the telly!

Of course you can Geoff - dont you know that cruise firms must calm the waves, lessen the wind and flatten the swell otherwise they will be deemed unworthy and sued for every penny ( sorry Euro - oh Lord I apologise for sinning against our EU masters ) they have if any passenger is forced to miss a step or stagger a little, even if it is the alcohol that causes the unbalence and not those disgraceful unfair elements called the weather (Jester)


John Rogers
21st November 2009, 23:46
I was recently on a cruise ship Volendam off the Vietnam coast and we caught the tail end of the Typhoon that was blowing from the Philippines, we pitched and rolled but the ten deck high ship handled it well,however some of the ladies did not heed the captains warning not to wear high heels shoes and use the hand rails, this resulting in some sprains and sore arms from falling.


john g
22nd November 2009, 17:50
Looking at the video she is running fast with the swell and is bound to roll as she turns, its looks dramatic but the foreground swell possibly makes it look worse. There are a couple of points though, with that swell why did she enter harbour at all ? Strange that someone got such a good video....were they expecting this to happen ?

Mike S
23rd November 2009, 05:36
"Rolling and scending moderately".........

You should have seen the old Rangitane have a roll of three with the Southern Ocean swells up her butt departing Wellington and turning the corner for the run up to Tahiti.

Now THAT was rolling......(Smoke)

5th December 2009, 04:16
Bit of a roll at the end but nothing to serious. looked no more than 15-20 the P&O ship Aurora has a point of no return in excess of 40 and I once experienced 25 either way on her when the 2nd mate spun the wheel at full speed,, wiped the crockery service off both restraunts 15 minutes before dinner which was a bit of a laugh.

5th December 2009, 06:08
I wonder if there is a speed restriction while entering the port.
The combination of a speed restriction, and a following sea pushing her along at roughly that speed would make for a quite uncomfortable ride, at least for those not expecting it, especially when one is virtually in harbour.
I imagine that steering her wouldn't have been a lot of fun.
Most people I guess wouldn't know what caused the roll Did we hit something? Have we run aground? Have we stopped? The speed through the water might have been much less than the speed over the ground giving an impression perhaps of drifting.
Probably nothing would have been said if the event had happened in open waters, and the ships sails could have been trimmed accordingly.
Just a bad following sea I reckon.
I was on a tanker once, we left the Clyde bound for the Persian Gulf. For over a week we rolled through an arc of 60deg. We were in light ballast, and a biggish ship. No danger, or even really uncomfortable, but extremely tireing, even when just keeping lookout on the bridge wing. We were well out of the water, and on the bridge, the effect of the long slow rolling was quite spectacular. The weather was good though, and the swell was hardly visible. The Cape Rollers were always a lot of fun, no matter what state of loading the ships were in. Sometimes a glassy sea, but rolling like a pig.
Happy days :o

Robert D
5th December 2009, 10:09
Smart looking boat doing what it was built for and a cracking good skipper,boats are for water,cars for land,planes for the air.