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Those are the names I was trying to remember!
My time in SEVONIA was cushy indeed. Anchor watches... 12 on, 12 off, 12 on.... 24 off... for three months. Plenty of time running a lifeboat back and forth to shore, weekend cruises round the small fishing ports near Eleusis Bay, parties on board, evening at the British Residents Club in Athens. All good times. Derek Fuller was master, Colin Rowden mate, Sloan Kelly as 3rd Mate. I took over from Peter Hewitt as 2nd. Certainly better than WARWICK FORT, NORDIC CLANSMAN or AVON BRIDGE!
I think that this thread should be left alone with reverence to those that passed away and that a new thread be started about these type of ships and their problems, it is not nice that people should be arguing, slanging each other and making silly mysteries on a thread about a ship which took its crew to the bottom of the sea, call the thread OBO or Bulk carriers and their problems or something like that
From Grey Funnel to any Funnel, just show him/ me the money Mabel
Last edited by chadburn; 9th March 2013 at 18:05..
The historical facts in relation to the Builders Yard at that time are now just too hazy for me, so far down the track.
I had a feeling that somewhere out there would be some guys from the Senior Marine Engineer fraternity and more importantly with sea service experience of OBO's or Ore / Oilers in those days.
If I recall correctly, they were very turbulent times so far as Shipbuilding and the Yards were concerned.
When takeovers, mergers etc. occur, then that is most likely the time at which major blunders will occur .
It is at such times also, that the somewhat turbulent environment of mergers/takeovers (call it what you like) may be used as a convenient smoke screen for cost and corner cutting practices.
It is the area, which in my view deserves much more focus, and it always has been in my opinion.
Flush deckers may be just, ( and I repeat just ), acceptable for straight tankers, but never in a million years for an ocean going combination carrier.
If you and I were discussing this matter at an on board ship management meeting, over a cup of coffee perhaps,the I would be saying to you, well look at it this way chief - look at it from an imaginary ship conversion project. I would then say, it might be acceptable to convert a combination carrier to a straight tanker but not the other way round. (I hope you "get the gist" of what such an " imaginary " scenario would entail).
I wonder sometimes, whether Derbyshires basic hull design was in fact a basic tanker design, then someone approached the yard and demanded a combination carrier be built.
O.K. then, yes we can do that, says management, we'll just cut much bigger holes in the decks, much much bigger in fact, and we'll weld some larger coamings around them and stick inferior style side rolling hatches on top.
Of course, that is probably not how she, the Derbyshire was born , I use the scenario as a simple demonstration in words, as an approximation of what may have occurred as she evolved from the desks of the naval architects until her final completion.
Although the foregoing text is just a very "general concept" of that sort of evolution process, (design through to completion), the end result would be the same - and that is, a "beast" of a ship, that really should never have been born.
No wonder OBO's got such a bad name - some were far superior in every respect - and with time, I feel they would have, or should have evolved into a very usefull ship within the concept of the climate change considerations.
We all know they require special skills and expertise to operate them correctly and much hard work - but if that's what is required to save the planet - so be it.
The hard work factor of course, is another reason they were not popular with some officers and crew, unless they were in semi - lay up - as sometimes they could be.
As for me, I always prefered the OBO to a straight "round the cape tanker". I was also extremely lucky to stand by the building of two of the superior class of OBO, then sail on them and others for several years as both C/O and Master.
Had I been required to serve in the Derbyshire or one of her class, I think I'd just have turned around and gone home, or at least given it serious consideration.
I'll leave it there chief, and hope we may bump into each other again some time, in another world, or forum perhaps.
Amazing, but I have to agree with you again as I believe Swan's who were building "Supertanker's" in the 1960's with Flush Deck's at their Yard on the Tyne carried that design through to vessel's like the unfortunate "Derbyshire". I think it was you that thought the "Derbyshire" may have lost her M/E and I agree she was then left at the mercy of wind and sea. As far as Tanker's were concerned I did in the 1960's consider them but as they were blowing up I gave them a miss.
From Grey Funnel to any Funnel, just show him/ me the money Mabel
Last edited by chadburn; 9th March 2013 at 23:32..
It is indeed very interesting.
I can't remember with clarity what was going on in the shipyards in those days - my priority was of course the BoT requirements for Masters and Mates. Someone engaged in Marine Engineering, I reckoned, would have a better recollection than I.
I have no idea if M.E. failure or near failure contributed to Derbyshires loss, I rather suspect not, but one never knows for sure.
My company knew about the fuel problem very early in the drama with my OBO, and also knew we were in trouble because of it. My company, a good ship manager at the time liaised closely with Amver to try and monitor our progress with whatever means was available to them, (AMVER) although just what technology that was, I don't know. US Military stuff I believe. However it was reassuring to believe that they were doing the best that they could, even if it was not actually occurring.
The R/O (Tom) I think, and Portishead bent over backwards, trying as best they could to keep communications open throughout, as the drama developed, sometimes with success, sometimes not so. (We got fitted with Satcom quite quickly after that, next time back in Long Beach I think. One positive out of it all).
In the case of My OBO on that North Pacific crossing in late 1980, near engine failure prevented the vessel being turned, as was required, she had lost steerage way and just sat there, helm hard over at a maximum achievable RPM of around 30 (roughly DSA), which gradually further reduced to the point where she was in extreme danger of broaching completely, and also the very real possibility of the HFO dropping to its Pour Point - that would really have put the cat amongst the pigeons had it occurred, and it came very close on too many occasions for my likening. (It was Winter and the sea temp not on our side). We did have D.O. of course, but nothing like enough to change over to it full time, so some other solution had to be found. I can't go into that on here though. One thing for sure Amver would have been a bit "perplexed" in respect of the vessels progress - if they were actually "acoustically" following us as I have reason to believe that they were. The normal plot will show it though, irrespective, provided it was archived.
The reason for that (FUEL Issue), or so it was believed at the time, was that the HFO fell far below specification. There followed the inevitable big time battle between owners and the Long Beach (USWC) fuel suppliers. It was heading for the courts in big style, but to this day I am not sure what finally happened there, ( there was “something” else about it – I recall,) in fact the case might still be going on for all I know, although that’s probably unlikely. There comes a time when you become no longer privy to such matters.
On finally reaching Pohang, detailed inspection of the M.E. was carried out, and the findings were “grim”. On top of that we still had something in the order of 4000 tonnes of the crap HO on board, and you just can't just get rid of it like that. Even the boilers didn't like it, let alone the M.E. but they only consumed 20 tpd (about) when going flat out in port discharging oil cargoes, or when being utilised for inert gas generation. It would have taken years to get rid of it that way.
The total fuel issue itself is a long story but after discharge of coal in Pohang, we limped down to Singapore for docking and a major M.E rebuild. The Crankshaft was ok, but everything else was “changed out”. There were sufficient reconditioned pistons, fuel pumps, liners, valves and cylinder covers etc. lying in our fleet stock warehouse in Singapore, to provide for about 6 units but the remainder we had to wait for whilst they were reconditioned locally. That figure of 6 is just a rough one; it may have been 5 or 7 that were available from fleet stock immediately. Not that it matters much, as all 9 units were “stuffed”, and had to be rebuilt/ reconditioned.
There were big problems with the T.C.'s also, as you would expect, but we were fully aware of that all the way across, - and they had to be landed and refurbished also. Another costly exercise, but it took top priority at the time. The full extent of the hatch cover damage, had not even been recognised yet, it was only after we had oil in her again, and hit some heavy weather, that it began to dawn that something was “disturbingly wrong” with the cargo hold hatch covers.
It was no longer just a case of them being “something less than gas tight”; they were no longer “anything” tight. A bit "messy" at times and damned right depressing, I can tell you – she was generally a beautiful looking ship – all orange and grey, with some cream. Anyhow the necessity for total hatch cover refurbishment #1 to #9 was now recognised, and the appropriate planning put in place. That job was done late the following year 1982 or maybe early 1983, - Singapore D.D. also.
Had we been able to get more power on that crossing, then it might have been possible to have been able to avoid the worst of the weather, but I doubt it - the whole North Pacific was angry, very angry, indeed.
I never saw anything like it (weather wise), for such continuous extended period before, nor again afterwards.
The fuel problem was, in the main, Vanadium content related, but there was a bit more to it, than just that - but I'm damned if I can remember the details.
 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
When one starts quoting the bible it is usually a sign that the poster has lost the argument. The hypocrisy gene is a major part of all of our make up but there is always a magnification attached to these type of posts.
The Good Lord tells us to forgive and forget but you seem hell bent on revenge against 1980's politicians even when you acknowledge that there was no evidence available at the time to base anything on and that a fuel problem you may or may not have experienced on a ship that we don't know whether you were or weren't on might or might not have had an effect on the Derbyshire incident.
As the Good Book says, "let he that is without sin...."
Oh Lord! I'm getting as bad as you now!
THE MV DERBYSHIRE PROLOGUE
We know much of this paper will find agreement with the Derbyshire Family Association: we hope
all of it will. But it is the sole work and responsibility of Paul Lambert (Chairman of the Derbyshire
Family Association) and Dave Ramwell (Captain), and it must not be taken as necessarily reflecting
the views of any other party.
SAFETY FIRST - COMMERCE SECOND
The "Derbyshire", an oil/bulk/ore (OBO) ship, loaded with 150,000 tons of iron ore and carrying 44
persons, disap peared in a typhoon she should have shrugged off with ease - and so quickly that not
even a distress signal escaped.
"Derbyshire" was supposedly well found, classed to highest standard and barely four years old. (In
terms of working life, three, as she had been laid up at Stavanger for a year). Her crew consisted of
competent, qualified men, she was fined with the latest navigational equipment and all her papers
were in order.
News other loss in September 1980 prompted an instinctive reaction from seafarers : "She's too big
to disappear ......."
Indeed, when nine year old "Mineral Diamond" disappeared in uncannily similar circumstances 11
years on, the subsequent inquiry, instituted by the Hong Kong Director of Marine, concluded: "...... it
seems most likely that a major structural failure of her hull, which resulted in her breaking in two, is
the cause of her sinking ....."
Events following the severe cracking of sistership, "Tyne Bridge", in 1982 were to prove "Derbyshire"
and all her sisters were weak just forward of the accommodation superstructure, and in all but the
first of the six ship series extemporaneous construction methods in the region of frame 65 introduced
a potentially fatal flaw.
The UK Department of Transport recognised this in its first report after preliminary investigation of
the loss of the "Derbyshire" conducted in 1985. The report was changed in 1986 to blame the
weather. Parties who perceived possible compromise of their position in the 1985 version, were
happier with the second - not surprising when it is known their input led to the change.
The only ill built and un-restored "Derbyshire" sister, in a collapsing and abandoned state, collided
with Southern Ireland and, in doing so, precipitated the Formal Investigation of the loss of
"Derbyshire" over six years earlier.
Hopes, by those who lost loved ones in "Derbyshire", that the Formal Investigation would deliver the
truth at last, were dashed when, by ignoring or trivialising the history of the damage throughout the
fleet, and by failing to call crucial witnesses, the Court nursed ''Lost in Bad Weather" over the
finishing line well ahead of all other runners.
But the whitewash was at least blatant enough to excite the anger of others who, like most of the
families^ knew they had just witnessed a cover-up. A formidable team, formed almost
spontaneously by a shared burning desire for justice, joined forces with the Derbyshire Family
Association. Together they forced a review of the Formal Investigation, captured the interest of the
media (investigative programmes were broadcast on national stations, both TV and radio), wrote a
book on the case, published articles, initiated questions and debates in both Houses of Parliament,
and, most crucially, stemming from the initiative of Shaun Kent, working with John Jubb, located the
wreck of the "Derbyshire" 2.8 miles deep.
The DFA and its helpers provided the wherewithal to find "Derbyshire" when others said it could not
In searching the wider bulk carrier scene for any corroborative general evidence it was inevitable that
this team would stumble on "the bulker problem"; it was too big to miss. Put simply the problem is:
most bulk carriers are not strong enough to do the job for which they were built over the lifetime that
was originally projected for them. Hundreds of seafarers have lost their lives as a result.
It is being argued by some that, regrettable as the losses are, the problem cannot be cured quickly.
We, the two authors of this paper present the wherewithal to show that it can.
The "Derbyshire" is a separate case covered by separate argument; she was a new ship and only
carried the ageing bulker problem in embryo. But our knowledge of the unacceptable toll of life, and
our awareness that, through a profile raised by the "Derbyshire", we can make an impression,
emboldens us - indeed, we feel, leaves us no alternative other than - to open this wider front in the
battle for justice, in the interests of all who still sail in these coffin ships. If we complicate matters for
ourselves, so be it..... we cannot just walk away.
LOSSES IN BULK
How could the late Doug Foy, retired seafarer turned marine journalist, pre-empt the classification
societies, with their vast data banks, in warning of the inadequacy of bulk carrier design? It was
November 1990 before Lloyd's Register conceded that the then current spate of losses signaled a
need for investigation into the type. At the beginning of that same year one spokesman claimed
those losses were "atypical", another told a BBC Interviewer, Lloyd's Register "don't believe the
vessels have a fundamental design fault; they believe the ships' sides simply wear out because of
corrosion and punishment they receive as cargo is loaded and unloaded".
Which prompts the question, if it was not the job of the classification society to foresee and cater or
such corrosion wastage and natural punishment, then whose job was it? Perhaps the authors of "A
Ship Too Far; The Mystery of the Derbyshire" (one of them Dave Ramwell) touched on the truth:
“The classification society system no longer works in today's fiercely competitive environment. It
should be ended."
We think ail the classification societies have fallen short of those standards which could reasonably
be expected of them; that measures could have been taken much earlier and that, even now, their
diagnosis does not properly disclose the severity of the malady.
During the. five years before the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) reviewed
the safety and structural integrity of bulk carriers, losses averaged 10-per year and 700 seafarers
died in the type. In 1990 the total bulk carrier fleet represented 7% of the world's fleet -and
accounted for 57% of its casualties.
In the period 1980 to 1996 43 'standard' bulk carriers of over 20.000 dwt were lost in
circumstances where structural failure could well have played a part. (Taking a 'standard' bulk
carrier to be a vessel with a configuration where there is a single skin, transversely framed side,
double bottom, with topside and hopper tanks running through the cargo holds). Other bulk
carriers failed structurally but were fortunate enough not to be lost as a result.
The age of the ships varied - from only eight years to thirty nine years old. The average age was18,
with 78% of them fifteen years or over.
At the time of writing statistics (source: MARINE ENGINEERS' REVIEW, April '97) give 4,200
bulk carriers (of all configurations) of 150 m or more, 1,900 of these are fifteen years old or
As the MER points out, "...... the ships were built to class and international regulations that applied at
the time of their construction."
But the plain fact is many of these ships were built when the classification societies knew, or ought to
have known, those regulations were inadequate.
Track records spell out the only sure way of eradicating the danger posed by the fifteen year old bulk
carrier – scrap it.
Recently IACS has claimed its Enhanced Survey Programme (ESP), started in 1993, has reduced
bulker losses. We believe such reduction could have more to do with the raised level of awareness
of the mortal dangers attaching to old bulkers. It is not a case any more of clapped out rustbuckets
slipping quietly below the waves, with a "can't lose" owner recovering his "total loss" from the
underwriters. Now the public increasingly demands an answer, and it harbours a sympathy for the
seafarer that would countenance the spending of £ millions to investigate one "classic case" lying 2.8
miles down. This awareness, together with recent moves to update the marine insurance industry
towards better actuarial practice, is the real medicine to start the cure.
To what extent, we wonder, was the "raised awareness factor" instrumental in dictating the fate of
the "Nafsika M", last of the "'Derbyshire" sisters? Despite her owners having spent thousands of
dollars to (one would suppose) extend her life just two and a half years ago, she is now destined for
breaking up in Bangladesh. Paul Lambert warned the major classification societies of the difficulties
in making such an old bulk carrier safe. He was rewarded with threats from the Greek lawyers of her
owners with action against him in the civil and criminal court. That legal action may still be pending,
but, in the meantime, given "Nafsika M's" implications for the "Derbyshire" case swivelling the
spotlight on her, would any classification society now dare to put her in class unless she was
absolutely seaworthy? Conversely, without such spotlight, would she have been granted a few more
years to justify all that expenditure in the Gdansk shipyard?
Whatever the case with "Nafsika M", we believe the IACS' ESP is ineffective.
Early February 1997 the bulk carrier, "Leros Strength" sank off Norway, killing her 20 man Polish
crew and sending 15 tons of oil ashore to foul the coast.
•"Leros Strength" had been through the ESP.
• "Leros Strength" had been classed by RINA, the Italian classification society and an
accredited member of IACS
• Transfer of "Leros Strength" from the American Bureau of Shipping had conformed to all
reporting requirements laid down by IACS.
Just a few weeks later the bulker "Albion Two" was discovered broken in two on the seabed some 70
miles west of the tip of Brittany. She is now the grave of 25 men. She had been through the ESP.
When the sinking of a deliberately scuttled, loaded bulk carrier ("Gallant Dragon") takes six seconds,
when a 22 year old bulker ("Trade Daring") simply snaps in two alongside whilst loading, when plates
peel away from ships' sides, and when, over a period of only eighteen I months, the deaths number
nearly 300, with thousands over two decades .... then we think we are justified in demanding of
IACS, and all who help keep these old bulker carriers in circulation; take more positive action,
because the measures you have taken so far are clearly not enough.
In December 1996 IACS ratified its decision requiring the corrugated bulkhead between holds No. 1
and No. 2 and the double bottom structure in way of No. 1 hold, to meet new criteria for single skin
bulk carriers of 150 m in length or over, being, at the same time, fifteen years or more in age, and
likely to carry cargo that includes material of bulk density lt/m3 or more.
This requirement was shaped by statistical indication that tonnage over fifteen years old was most at
risk, and hold No. 1 was most likely to flood - making the corrugated transverse bulkhead between
holds 1 and 2 the most structurally vulnerable. (Some 40% of the bulker losses involved water
ingress to No. 1 hold). But, again, given the vast data banks of the classification societies, why did
it appear to us that John Jubb, Welding Consultant, beat the whole maritime regulatory system to the
draw on this one, when he was promoting awareness of the relative fragility of these connections
during talks he gave (and still gives) on "Derbyshire"' and bulk carriers, generally?
We believe most fifteen year old bulkers cannot be made safe without spending more than the ship
is worth. Tinkering about with bulkheads could even prolong the sickness by creating the impression
that something positive is being done. You cannot make a silk purse out of an old sow's ear.
We believe all bulk carriers should be scrapped on their fifteenth 'birthday', unless the owner makes
specific appeal on the grounds that his ship is well above average condition for her age. If the owner
does so appeal there should be an initial and relatively cursory inspection by an independent suitably
qualified professional to check whether the ship in fac t tallies with her owner's optimistic assessment.
If it does there should be a further inspection, this time of a thorough and rigorous nature, using the
most sophisticated crack detecting and weardown measuring instruments available. The ship would
be taken out of service for as long as the inspectors 'considered necessary. It would be for the owner
to ensure his ship was brought to such condition as would best facilitate such survey.
This second survey would be carried out by an International Maritime Organisation (IMO), or IMO
appointed, team. (It is envisaged the IMO would be "empowered" as in point 10 of the 30 point
presentation attached). And we would suggest an owner be assisted with his survey costs should
such IMO team agree to extending the life of his 15+ bulker, monies being taken from an IMO
centrally administered fund created with levied contributions from the shipping industry and the
marine insurance industry - both of which stand to gain from this policy in the long term.
The policy puts the onus on the shipowner and, if he believes his ship warrants it, encourages him
to avail himself of such option. Conversely the rust bucket, cowboy will have little choice but to cut
his losses (and, as a happy incidental, the seafarers' death rate in bulk carriers) by sending his ship
to the scrapyard where he can at least get the price other metal.
IACS may be making moves in the right direction, but the loss of "Leros Strength" and "Albion Two"
do not inspire confidence in the effectiveness of those moves. More, much more, needs to be done.
Old bulk carriers - rundown ships generally - are a global problem requiring a global strategy. Self
regulation has failed; a radical, new approach is needed.
We believe safety at sea can be enhanced, and enhanced quickly, but it would require the
implementation of '"people orientated" policies, and these days such a bias is out of fashion. It
would require safety first, commerce second.
We are certain that once such policies have been established, such commerce as grows out of the
new regime will be on sounder and more profitable footing. And not in spite of, but because safety is
the first consideration.
Some may think us arrogant for taking upon ourselves to advise the maritime establishment.
Indeed we know we have entered territory that should rightly be occupied by others - but now
we’re here, we've looked around, and we seem to be on our own.
PROPOSALS - 30 POINT PLAN
So - here is our 30 point plan to make things better ...
1. Damage arising from possible design flaws in a ship should be promulgated by M.
Notice, or other means, to alert others in similar ship type to their potential danger.
2. Should any party not so broadcast such possible danger, it shall count as having
recklessly endangered life and attract meet penalty
3. An International Ship Data Base (ISDB) should be established to record the salient
details of every ship. It should be managed by the International Maritime Organisation
4. There should be a basic "core record" for each ship, and this core would reflect those
conditions against which a good maritime insurance company would set its judgment as
to what constitutes a "good risk". For example, criteria would include: ship's age;
condition at last survey; history of insurance claims/accidents; number and nationality of
5. Anyone should have access to ISDB information provided they can prove good intent to
the IMO. For example, parties engaged in safety exercises should have unimpeded
access, but where suspicion of seeking knowledge to secure, say, commercial
advantage over rivals exists, the IMO would have to be circumspect to greater degree.
(Charges for information should be only that necessary to cover costs. There is
philosophy behind the ISDB such that seeking to profit by it would compromise it as a
6. Anyone having knowledge of what he/she considers to be a dangerous defect in a ship
should have the right to cause such defect to be appropriately recorded with the ISDB.
Should the IMO refuse to so record such alleged defect then the IMO should give to the
complainant its written reasons. Such response would then, potentially, have the force
of a legal document and a copy would be retained by the IMO.
7. Similarly, if an applicant is refused details he/she has requested from the ISDB, and
same applicant is not satisfied with the IMO verbal explanation for refusal, then same
applicant should be given a written letter detailing the reason(s) for such refusal.
8. The criteria as to what constitutes a seaworthy ship must be agreed between: the IMO.
the marine insurance industry, maritime regulators, seafarers, seafarers' unions and
professional bodies (e.g. Nautical Institute), ship-builders, shipowners and naval
architects. In the event of disagreement the final arbiters would be the IMO in
collaboration with the marine insurance industry.
9. There should be global standardisation of rules and regulations governing the building
and operation of ships in order to stop the downward spiral of safety standards caused
by solely profit relat ed flag of convenience 'standards'.
10. The IMO, presently responsible for formulating and bringing to ratification, rules and
regulations, should also be responsible for the implementation, and then policing, of
such rules and regulations.
11. Where safety is concerned (e.g. reserves of stability in a damaged roro, or the current
unacceptable rate of bulk carrier losses and associated deaths) there should be an
agreed "fast track" towards implementation of necessary measures.
12. The classification society system is failing to protect life at sea to satisfactory level; it
should be ended - along with the shipping industry's over reliance generally on self
regulation. No replacement system should be profit orientated, inter-classification
society competition having helped to drive standards down to present state.
13. Respective governments should 'take charge of issuing all licences and certificates
through different shipping levels - from certifying the seafarer's qualifications to granting
licence for a shipping company's formation.
14. Governments should ensure that the responsibility for both promoting and regulating
the shipping industry does not reside with the same Government (or Government
appointed) Department. (This has been done in the off shore UK oil industry. After the
Piper Alpha explosion safety matters were removed from the Department of Energy
and given to the Health and Safety Executive).
15. The current UK ship accident investigation body is the Marine Accident Investigation
Branch of the Department of Transport. It cannot be seen as truly independent; there
should be a Civil Maritime Authority (analogous to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA))
recognised by all parties as being professionally impartial, and the CMA alone would
make official investigation post accident.
16. Such CMA would count as "any party" within the context of point 2 of this presentation.
17. An individual, or a board of directors, should be named as being solely responsible for
the efficient running of the ship(s) within their company, and an address should be
given. Such address being the place where the responsible party can be accessed at
all times by anybody having legitimate cause for enquiry. This should be a condition of
their licence to operate as a shipping company.
18. Every ship must be appropriately insured and carry proof of insurance.
19. Underwriters should accelerate moves to update actuarial practice (still rooted in the
days of Samual Plimsoll) and simplify procedures after an accident. In associated legal
proceedings, lawyers unnecessarily complicating or drawing out cases would be named
20. If, during insurance related, legal, or any other proceedings, there emerges information
with the capacity to enhance safety elsewhere, that information shall be promulgated as
per points 1 and 2 of this presentation.
Confidentiality or other judicious precaution shall, as far as possible protect the
interests of parties specific to the case, but, whatever, the promulgation of such
information must take precedence.
21. When standards have been internationally agreed they must be treated as minimum;
enhancement above the benchmark should be encouraged.
For example, the UK DOT cites roros as meeting the highest standards - and they do. But
presently agreed standards, where they address matters of reserve buoyancy and
stability in the event of accident, are themselves too low.
Again, the US has decreed above minimum standards for the construction of tankers
sailing in US waters, in deference to environmental safety. This has pushed up general
standards as owners anticipating trade with the US have to meet those US standards.
Also, a ship not complying with these enhanced standards would lose resale value vis a
vis one that did.
22. Anyone having legitimate cause for concern over matters relating to safety should
never be discouraged from expressing such concern for fear of adverse consequences.
Any party threatening such adverse consequence in order to protect their own position,
or for any other reason, should be severely penalised.
23. A system for the confidential reporting of "near misses" (akin to that run by the CAA)
should be established internationally. (The Nautical Institute runs such a scheme
voluntarily; it could serve as a model).
24. The location of ''Derbyshire" 2.8 miles down demonstrates that a sh»p need never bi?
"lost" again - only "missing pending location".
Where a foundering has similar controversial connotations to "Derbyshire's" case, or
where forensic examination of the wreckage could usefully add to the store of scientific
maritime knowledge, then such wreckage investigation should proceed under the
authority of the CMA proposed in point 15 of this presentation. Findings should be made
public in every case, or, if there is compelling reason for secrecy, such reason should be
given as fully as possible. The usual''.... It will not serve the public interest..." will no
longer be acceptable.
25. Following such wreck examination by the CMA there should first be published the CMA
findings; but these should be regarded in the first instance as 'draft' only; responses
from various and acknowledged expert individuals and organisations shall be fully
considered and the draft, if appropriate, amended and published in 'final' version.
Where there is disagreement between parties this should be noted with, as appropriate,
explanations to support opposing views to those published in the body of the final version,
and such views shall be published as an annex to and integral part of same final CMA
publication. (In event of similar accident this will alert parties involved to all likelihood.
Such a mechanism, had it been in place, would have long ago accelerated moves to
improve bulk carrier safety and saved many hundreds of lives).
26. The proposed CMA should undertake the monitoring of quality control at shipyards,
mainly by un-announced spot checks. Regular reports on the different yards should be
sent to the IMO by the CMA (and its equivalent in other countries, using the same
criteria by which to make judgment).
The IMO should publish the names of any shipbuilders who fall so short of good practice
as to compromise safety.
27. If inspection of a ship reveals evidence of bad practices at her builders (for example,
welding rods, found during repairs, which were used in the building as ‘fillers’ in a weld),
then it should be investigated by the CMA and the builders brought to account.
In each such event the CMA would report to the IMO, and as soon as possible where the
CMA judges other contemporaneously built ships from the same yard could have been
similarly the subject of bad practice.
28. Records of all shipyard related reports should be retained by the IMO, and yards should
be aware that bad practices could adversely affect future cases involving ships built at
their yards, especially in legal context.
29. If statistics alone indicate patterns giving cause for concern (e.g. excessive losses in
the older sections of the bulk carrier fleet, and in the fishing fleet) then this should be
sufficient reason for the IMO to mount appropriate investigations. Any protests resulting
from such initiative should be made in writing, and protesters should be aware that
attempts to compromise safety, by seeking excessive accommodation of factors
conducive to profit for example, would meet with severe penalties.
(Again, had such facility been in place 10 years ago hundreds of lives would have been
30. The IMO alone, using its ISDB and established ground rules, shall' -decide what
constitutes "fair treatment", and then it will ensure global implementation of same.
Paul Lambert Captain Dave Ramwell
Chairperson Cheshire, UK
MV Derbyshire Families Association
Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Last edited by alastairrussell; 21st March 2013 at 22:28.. Reason: inserting space between names
Monday next will be the 33rd anniversary of the loss of Derbyshire and her 42 crew +2 wives.
Remember that these souls have no grave but the sea.
I will remember them.
I can recommand the books: A bridge too far and Return of the
Coffin Ships. Very interesting.
Tomorrow 9th /10th September will be the 34th anniversary of the loss of Derbyshire and her 42 crew +2 wives.
Remember that these souls have no grave but the sea.
I will remember them.
I thought I would make a small contribution here, it was 35 years ago but the events of the period made it all quite memorable
I was on the Sir Alexander Glen from feb 82 for 6 months
The pumproom plates were around an inch and a quarter thick and had a number of random cracks within the plates themselves, but not the welds, the welds were fine. We would drill these plates out periodically and keep an eye on them. The cracks were focussed around the centre section of the plate, spreading outwards
To me this suggests that the metal was prone to stress fracturing within it's own structure because of stress fatigue, (perhaps the grade of metal was too hard/brittle)
After one drop off in japan we went to a huge dry dock in a tiny place called Aioi to get checked out. We all expected to see most work being done around the pumproom but it was discovered that the rudder was about to drop off kinda thing and they had to do a huge amount of work to sort it out so us cadets got a two week holiday
(The Kowloon Bridge has it's rudder drop off)
I was never in those huge seas which the pacific can produce on SAG, seas which are far bigger than anything I ever saw in any north atlantic storm
She didn't ride well on the waves and seemed to "punch" her way through a sea. There was no foc'sle and her freeboard was the lowest I ever sailed in, you could almost hang off the bottom rung of the deck railing and touch the water with your feet so the sea was never far away when sailing loaded, and not far away from those hatch covers in heavy seas
Definitely not a good ship design for sailing into a Typhoon, and the class had documented structural issues as well, related either to the metal being not up to the job or the design
Since both the rudder AND the pumproom had serious cracking issues my own guess would be the grade of metal used in the construction
Last edited by SAGcadet; 25th August 2015 at 11:58..
I Joined the Tyne Bridge in 1978 Rust bucket (understatement) in November in Piraeus Greece.
Sailed to Livorno Spent six weeks watching the cracks being welded up flown back home to Newcastle as no heating impure water so they gave us beer instead.
Hunting and Son knew of the problems with the design.
We crossed to Newport news Virginia took forever as we were down to 3 knots and wish I had the I phone as to see that ship bend as we were crossing WHOA.
Just a reminder that to-morrow 9th September will be the 36th anniversary of the loss of the Bibby Line (Liverpool) OBO, M.V. Derbyshire taking with her 44 souls.
No doubt, many of us here on S/N will have known or sailed with some of those lost, who I'm sure, had it not been for their fate, would be subscribing to S/N.
We will remember them all to-day, to-morrow and thereafter - those who have no grave but the sea.
Remembered as always.
Last edited by jmcg; 8th September 2016 at 08:37..
Fortunately I have only good memorys of this class of ship, being with Houlders / Furness I sailed on two of them as Second Engineer . These were the Sir John Hunter ( With my wife Hazel ) and the Sir Alexander Glen . We had the usual upsets to routine but no disasters . I never
sailed on the first of the class the Furness Bridge , which Houlders
Engineering Superintendent , Hartley Reid , told me was a " Character
building experience ". This when he visited the Ocean Transport in
Liverpool . Now there was a steady job , a four legged Doxford with a DC shaft generator , two Allen diesel generators , once you got " Full
away " leaving Liverpool on with the shaft geny. off with the Allens and
next stop Santos or Montevideo . If you were lucky ! ! !
Remember the Ocean Transport well. I was in the last year of my apprenticeship in Leslie's Hebburn yard where she was built. Wired up most of the winches and installed tween deck lighting with a couple of other apprentices.
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