Berge Istra -berge Venga

BERRIET
20th December 2009, 17:21
Hello evryone ,

every body knows about what happened to these two OO ships , but , even on Google , no more is known about what happened to the two survivors ; i spent times to look for their interviews , but nothing found !

anyone has more details to share ?

My father , a second engineer in the french Merchant navy , had to deal with two similar built vessels , the "CHAMPLAIN " and the "LICORNE ATLANTIQUE ",
owned by the French Messageries( around 1979 - 1984 .

Best regards ,

Thierry.

Pat Kennedy
20th December 2009, 18:12
The curious thing about the loss of these two ships, four years apart, is that the inquiries were both held behind closed doors, no findings were ever published, and apparently those who attended the inquiries were sworn to secrecy.
Certainly the shipowner has steadfastly refused to release any information to this day.
Inevitably, conspiracy theories have sprung up, the most common one is that these two OBO ships had a designed in method of tapping into the cargo to use as fuel, and something happened to this system causing a massive explosion.
The two survivors of the Berge Istra were apparently painting over the side when they felt the hull become hot, immediately followed by an explosion which threw them both into the sea. One was unconcious, his companion managed to grab a life raft and dragged him aboard.
They survived for 30 days before being rescued by a Japanese fishing boat.

Regards,
Pat

luigi
20th December 2009, 22:46
The curious thing about the loss of these two ships, four years apart, is that the inquiries were both held behind closed doors, no findings were ever published, and apparently those who attended the inquiries were sworn to secrecy.
Certainly the shipowner has steadfastly refused to release any information to this day.
Inevitably, conspiracy theories have sprung up, the most common one is that these two OBO ships had a designed in method of tapping into the cargo to use as fuel, and something happened to this system causing a massive explosion.
The two survivors of the Berge Istra were apparently painting over the side when they felt the hull become hot, immediately followed by an explosion which threw them both into the sea. One was unconcious, his companion managed to grab a life raft and dragged him aboard.
They survived for 30 days before being rescued by a Japanese fishing boat.

Regards,
Pat

The way I remember it Pat was that they were painting on the fo'c'sle head and heard a series of explosions working their way forward. The ship then 'sailed straight beneath the waves' and the crewmen simply floated off. Fortunately the for'd liferaft deployed and they got into it.

Peter B
20th December 2009, 23:32
The way I remember it Pat was that they were painting on the fo'c'sle head and heard a series of explosions working their way forward. The ship then 'sailed straight beneath the waves' and the crewmen simply floated off. Fortunately the for'd liferaft deployed and they got into it.
That sounds more like the description I heard or read, many years ago. Unfortunately I am blank as to the source of that.

Pat Kennedy
20th December 2009, 23:38
That sounds more like the description I heard or read, many years ago. Unfortunately I am blank as to the source of that.
You could well be right, the whole thing is shrouded in mystery. I heard the story from the fire safety officer of Ocean Fleets in 1980, and he had heard it from someone else, etc etc.
Who knows?
Pat(Thumb)

Robert D
21st December 2009, 01:09
Read an article about the "Berge Istra". The two survivors had been painting the deck when there was three explosions, they ran to a liferaft and suddenly they where in the water,one of them was knocked out but was requickend in the raft. After the "Venga" accident transporting of oil and iron-ore together was stopped. The article I read was from Dagbladei.com

Robert D
21st December 2009, 01:22
Sorry, should have been Dagbladet.no

Cisco
21st December 2009, 08:34
After the "Venga" accident transporting of oil and iron-ore together was stopped.

They never carried the two together. It was oil one way and ore the other or whatever was paying the best freight at the time. What they stopped doing was carrying oil cargoes in ships of that class. I think the explosions were believed to have been caused by gassed up void spaces.

Robert D
21st December 2009, 10:01
Sure it sounds strange. There is not much to tell how it happened but the investigating commitee came up with there was too much oil leftovers before loading iron-ore and goes on to say that transporting these products together will stopped. I dont know anything about these combi-boats, Sounds unrealistic loading both products but that is what it said in the article.

Billieboy
21st December 2009, 10:25
The two casualties, coming so close together, nearly destroyed Mr. Bergeson the Owner. It was shortly after the two survivors were rescued that he stood down from the board. It was a really miserable time, I was repairing and supplying cargo and ballast valves to the Bergeson fleet.

pensioner
21st December 2009, 16:47
Hi Berriet.
I had the misfortune to be "Shanghied" on a sister ship to these two vessels for a maiden voyage. It's name was the Oloibiri, see my comments in Gallery, I'm given to believe "Its" yard number was #13. I am of the opinion that if Ujlianik Shipyard, Pula had built 1113 of them they would all still be C**p.(Cloud) (Cloud) (Cloud)
Apologies if didn't spell yard name correct.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and all SN Members.
Rgds.

Cisco
21st December 2009, 19:16
Sure it sounds strange. There is not much to tell how it happened but the investigating commitee came up with there was too much oil leftovers before loading iron-ore and goes on to say that transporting these products together will stopped. I dont know anything about these combi-boats, Sounds unrealistic loading both products but that is what it said in the article.

Hello Robert, I think there may be a bit lost in translation there. When loaded with ore there may still have been oil residues and possibly even slops on board. Oil could also get into void spaces through pipeline leaks, etc and gas them up. After thorough cleaning and then reverting solely to the ore trade this risk would be removed.
Cheers
Frank

jmcg
28th December 2009, 19:35
Any coincidental matters akin to the demise of the Derbyshire?

BW

J

Billieboy
28th December 2009, 20:22
Any coincidental matters akin to the demise of the Derbyshire?

BW

J

Not really, both of these casualties were explosions, on calm seas, during tank cleaning or other activities, before the invention of IG systems.

jmcg
29th December 2009, 10:08
Thanks Billieboy - will save a few hours research.

BW

J

uisdean mor
29th December 2009, 11:15
jmcg
See http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=8084&highlight=derbyshire for an excellent thread on the derbyshire
Rgds
Uisdean

Billieboy
29th December 2009, 13:36
I should add, jmcg, that it was [then] practice to tank clean with a load of ore on board, so that the sudden loss of any part of the ship's structure would be catastrophic, as was the case with the two survivors, one second the were on the deck; the next they were in th water and there was NO ship to be seen!

vectiscol
29th December 2009, 15:20
Quite a few years ago there was a report of a research project into these OBO disasters by one of the classification societies. It suggested that if a concentration of gas in a ballast tank were ignited then the flame would accelerate through successive lightening holes in the transverse floors until accumulating sufficient energy to tear the ship asunder.

jmcg
29th December 2009, 16:32
Vesticol

I will need to revisit my records - the theory has considerable merit and weight. Can you remember which Classification Society produced the Report?

Many thanks

J.

Billieboy
29th December 2009, 20:01
I'd bet on DNV for the report, as they classed both vessels, personally I can't remember the report, it'll be '77-78 I expect.

hughesy
30th December 2009, 03:19
I was on an ore carrier in Canada1980 or round about then. I was told to rig an aerial forward on the mast to accommadate an emergency transmitter set up.
The mate a Canadian lad told us the yarn about the Bergistra, how it split in two, so they figured if they was survivors forward of the split they would have, an emergency Radio set up for them. it was'nt a great big ship but it was big enough. An OBO, whilst we was rigging this set up me and this deckhand, well he was really a shoresider whose Mum had got him the job (I kid you not). Anyway the mate had been sounding the tanks, we were carrying a half cargo of deisel for the drilling fleet to fuel off in the Beaufort Sea. When this kid sparks up a fag. On the deck like, I knocked it outa of his hand like, and asked if he had missed the GAINT 'NO SMOKING' SIGN on the fore part of the Accomadation??.
Anyway the Old Man with us was this Blue Flue guy he torn into this kid summat wicked, which in my opionion he deserved (He could have sent us all skyward to meet our final reward).
Anyway needless to say that kid never even took his smokes anywhere near the deck after that. That Blue flue skipper was not a happy camper, wish I had quid for every time he remarked on the crew on that ship, it would have been a nice pay off lol.
6 weeks on 6 off stuck in the ice for the winter and all that, it was like "Ice Station Zebra" But it was good crac you know make the most of it.
After the season was over them young lads was yarning like they where KG5
cowboys and Merch to the bone lol ( I was a young lad meself then, what the hell am I on about lol)

all the best for coming decade(Thumb)

Hughesy

Naytikos
30th December 2009, 07:22
I hesitate to contribute to this thread, having spent 7 years on a very similar but larger ship launched by Uljanik in the year of the Berge Istra's demise. The cargo hold/tank arrangement was slightly different in that we had 7 holds and 22 wing tanks. Beneath the holds was a 'void space' running the length of the vessel from the pumproom to the forepeak. Four main cargo lines ran within this space with branches off to the tank/hold suctions. There were no separate stripping lines.
In the third year of operation we began to experience leakage in the piping in way of the vulcan couplings. By use of the ventilation fans and occasional flooding of the space during ballast passages it was kept gas-free most of the time. Effecting repairs at sea was an experience one does not wish to dwell on.
Preparation for carrying iron ore was really no different to normal tank-washing; the holds having very efficient permanent rotating water cannons.
During ore passages the wing tanks remained empty and inerted.

barnsey
30th December 2009, 10:53
Somewhere in SN there are more details about these two incidents .....

Contrary to the initial items in this thread that the findings were all hushed up there were several articles on the theories as to what happened found by the inquiry's.

NAYTIKOS description of the ship he was in lays out pretty much what was found out in developements aboard the Berge boats.

There was voyage maintenance being undertaken in the Duct keel due to hold cracks and or pipeline leaks and it is assumed that that was the source of gas build up and site of the initial explosion which, because the duct keel did not have watertight divisions propagated the whole length of the ship subjecting it to the huge forces involved.... no wonder they sank very very rapidly.

If one had been in a small boat as the ship passed the sight would have been unbelievable .... one minute a huge green bulk ship ploughing along and then a series of explosions and then a liferaft with two men struggling aboard and no ship. Terrible.

There was also the case of the Sinclair Petrolore another but smaller OBO which suffered a very similar fate to the Berge boats....

Line
5th January 2011, 15:26
I want to recommend Doddy Hay's book, Beyond Endurance. The Sinking of the Berge Istra.

Published in 1989, it is the story of the two survivors (based on interviews), plus the background information on the ship, the company and several other crewmembers. There is also information on some of the troubles the ship had on the final trips leading up to the disaster.

After having read this book, I was amazed at how much information there was on this topic, which is not available online (considering the hearings were never made public).

Pat Thompson
5th January 2011, 17:27
Greetings,

I am sure I read somewhere that the problem was attributed to welding operations in the duct keel coupled to an installed explosimeter reading the quality of the inlet air rather than the exhaust air.

Blackal
9th March 2011, 05:18
You've aroused my interest - I'd forgotten about the Istra. Must do some reading.

Was that really before Inert Gas Systems?

Al

Billieboy
9th March 2011, 08:28
What Pat says is about right, this was part of the inquiry's findings, which was based on the comments of the two seamen who were rescued after some 100+ days at sea on a pallet! Was a long time ago and I haven't a copy of the report.

O.M.Bugge
10th March 2011, 10:27
There have been some recent development around this case. A former Master on these vessel has finally spoken about a deal that was made at the time, between him and and the old Bergersen.

This development and the cause of the explosions have been discussed in another forum. Here is a link:
http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.com/showthread.php?2079-The-mystery-around-quot-Berge-Istra-quot-and-quot-Berge-Vanga-quot&highlight=berge+istra

FILIPVS
22nd April 2011, 16:01
Not really, both of these casualties were explosions, on calm seas, during tank cleaning or other activities, before the invention of IG systems.
A book was published in Spain about this accident...
Part of the crew were from Canary Islands.
Included the two survivors.

I read a resume of the book...
At the time of the explosion there were crew members welding on deck...

John Farrell
22nd April 2011, 16:31
Ore/Oil carriers were particularly dangerous ships. Hard work for the mates and no 'duck walk ' for us either.