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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that the Graudian has exhausted itself with dark hints that some big noise is to blame for the Suez Canal incident, I thought I'd bring my expertise, (for what its worth), to the question of who is to blame and what is going to be the cost.

A) The Pilot is always in charge, but the Master will be first in the dock. What where his instructions to the Pilot and did he understand them? Was it in written form and did he get a signature? You get my drift here.
B). The pilot is employed by the Canal Authority. Was he competent? Where was he trained? The Authority gets substantial fees in the hundreds of thousands for each transit and failed to complete the construction of a second canal.
Can the Authority be blamed for a myriad of reasons. Forget it. This is Egypt.
C) Let us examine what the rest of the Navigating Officers were up to. Are they any good these days. They are not as good as our boys. Can we blame the Ship Managers? Not on your Nelly. Everything on those lines will be laughed out of any Admiralty Court. These vessels would be manned by the finest money could by.
D). Who was on watch down below and why did he cause the blackout. Now we are onto something here. He's a junior officer so there is no problem here. No big noise to back him up.
Let's have a look at the Engine Room Log.
What! What do you mean, "It's missing!"

And it won't be the only thing missing. By the time the paperwork is submitted, half the cargo - especially on the first two tiers- will be subject to claims. Trust me on this. Did the owner employ any security the second it hit the bank?
No?. Dear me, M'lud. It's gross incompetence.

And, finally, after my tongue has been taken out of my cheek, I am willing to make a good guess that the only people to come out of this will an immensely large fee will be the Dutch Salvage Companies. I know these blokes very well. They are VERY good at what they do and they would have had a very big contract in their locker BEFORE they started.
 

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Agree with a lot of what you say except for the bit about the deck containers . Would you please elaborate ?.
 

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Normal practice these days seems to be, test everyone for alcohol and drugs and throw the book at anyone that fails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Agree with a lot of what you say except for the bit about the deck containers . Would you please elaborate ?.
Their doors are accessible from the edge of the hatch lids
 

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Now that the Graudian has exhausted itself with dark hints that some big noise is to blame for the Suez Canal incident, I thought I'd bring my expertise, (for what its worth), to the question of who is to blame and what is going to be the cost.

A) The Pilot is always in charge, but the Master will be first in the dock. What where his instructions to the Pilot and did he understand them? Was it in written form and did he get a signature? You get my drift here.
B). The pilot is employed by the Canal Authority. Was he competent? Where was he trained? The Authority gets substantial fees in the hundreds of thousands for each transit and failed to complete the construction of a second canal.
Can the Authority be blamed for a myriad of reasons. Forget it. This is Egypt.
C) Let us examine what the rest of the Navigating Officers were up to. Are they any good these days. They are not as good as our boys. Can we blame the Ship Managers? Not on your Nelly. Everything on those lines will be laughed out of any Admiralty Court. These vessels would be manned by the finest money could by.
D). Who was on watch down below and why did he cause the blackout. Now we are onto something here. He's a junior officer so there is no problem here. No big noise to back him up.
Let's have a look at the Engine Room Log.
What! What do you mean, "It's missing!"

And it won't be the only thing missing. By the time the paperwork is submitted, half the cargo - especially on the first two tiers- will be subject to claims. Trust me on this. Did the owner employ any security the second it hit the bank?
No?. Dear me, M'lud. It's gross incompetence.

And, finally, after my tongue has been taken out of my cheek, I am willing to make a good guess that the only people to come out of this will an immensely large fee will be the Dutch Salvage Companies. I know these blokes very well. They are VERY good at what they do and they would have had a very big contract in their locker BEFORE they started.
A) Unfortunately, by law the Captain is always in command and is totally responsible for the safety of the vessel, it's cargo and souls on board. I've always wondered what is the point of a pilot if those are the conditions. I've also wondered what would happen if, when the pilot boarded, as required by the local laws, the Captain over ruled any orders given by the pilot that he didn't agree with.
B) I understand there were two pilots on board for this transit. In the cir***stances like this, the Captain should be able to sight do***ents listing their qualification and experience, and reject anyone he felt might not be acceptable. After all, he is going to be responsible for any cock ups on the part of the pilot(s)
C) What the rest of the Deck Officers were up to is largely irrelevant, and unless there is any negligence on the part of the owners/managers, they are bullet proof also.
D) If there was a blackout, did it contribute directly to the grounding?

In my mind, there are a lot of unanswered questions which would have influenced the outcome.
1. Why are vessels of that size and draught allowed to proceed without any navigational security? (escorting tugs)
The few times I transited the canal in a large tanker (for those days) we were fully ballasted outbound at an experimental draught, last in the convoy flying the Z flag with a tug following.
2. Why, with a vessel with that amount of windage, did it not have the bow thruster "warmed up" and ready for immediate emergency use?
3. Why weren't the anchors walked out to the water level?
With the angle of repose of sand being 20 -25 degrees, the maximum canal depth would only be about half as wide as the canal itself. Combined with the beam of the ship, and allowing for squatting, there would be very little room for error, so I am rather surprised no one took any extra precautions. I suppose complacency played a major role here.
As far as the salvage companies fees go, I'll be prepared to bet they come a distant second to the lawyer's haul.
 

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I believe, these newer and gigantic container ship with such a high wind surface while carrying over 20,000 40 ft or married 20 ft containers should not be allowed to transit the Suez Canal nor the New Panama Canal, just completed recently, as they may also be too large for the locks on the new Panama Canal. If it's necessary for them to transit the Suez Canal, that they have two tugs with them, when transiting that part of the Suez Canal in either direction.
 

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This looks to me to be yet another case where true experience and ac***ulated expertise has not been fully brought into play. Complacency rather than care.
 

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OzBoz ; think you answered your own question. The Master is always responsible so he can override pilot's
advice if required. Remember the standard movement book entry - Master's orders and pilot's advice ?.

We need to await the outcome of any enquiry but one may speculate ; at the speed over the ground she was
reportedly dooing and given canal restrictions , very doubtful dropping an anchor even from the water would have
had much effect. Same argument for the bow thruster(s) , speed through the water would be too high for them
to have had much effect.

Containers were 10 high on deck . As I noted on a previous thread , size and capacity of these ships have
overtaken our perception regarding operation , handling , lashing and securing . The concept has run away
from the people responsible for them.
 

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John, just a few points if I may. I am aware of the bridge movement log and the Captain can certainly record is views on the pilots instructions, but in the words of Sir Humphrey Appleby, it would be a very courageous decision to actually try and over rule the pilot. The result of that would be, that ship and it's company would be subject to some serious sanctions, Like the ban on Israeli ships and other ships that had been to Israel.

Max speed is between 7.5 and 8.5 knots. The spread is because it's not easy to nail exact speeds by engine room telegraph. When the pilot comes aboard, he usually gives the master the required canal speeds for each position of the telegraph.

Dropping the anchors, particularly the port anchor in this case, probably wouldn't have stopped her, but the bang into the bank would have been lessened. Incidently, good seamanship would require anchors always be let go from just above the water, and if there's any possibility that they may be required, such as as river passages entering or leaving port etc, they should always be walked out. Similarly, the bow thruster on this vessel was designed to push the bow around on a 200,000 dwt ship. Thats a lot of "James Watts". Even at 8 knots I would have expected it to have some steering affect, which would also help to lessen the ramming affect.

Totally agree with your last paragraph, and would add that size and capacity are not the only things that have overtaken our perception of operating ocean going vessels.
 

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As a recently retired Pilot I can't comment on any procedures in the Suez Canal having only transited as a bridge officer.
In the area I worked in South Wales I worked on ships up to Capesize (292m x 45m, 17m draft). My input could vary greatly. On the larger ships the Master/Pilot relationship was clear cut. Once the passage plan was agreed and use ot tugs, berthing plan discussed, and any questions answered, I was usually left to get on with it. The responsibility of the bridge team wouldn't change. Helmsman and bridge officer would react to my instructions overseen by the Master. Our progress would still be charted ,usually electronically these days and the officer would still track other vessels.
On smaller coastal vessels my responsibilities did not change but the way in which they were delivered could vary. My advice would regard local port knowledge with tides assuming a major influence with a tidal range of up to 15m . Some Masters preferred to handle their ships themselves others let me do it. As long as you were clear who was doing what it usually wasn't a problem.
Every ship and Master/crew was different which meant you had to get a feel for how the job was going to go pretty quickly. I could get a good feel for things on my walk to the bridge - the state of the pilot ladder, conditions on deck whether I could understand the crew. Its what made the job so interesting.
Looking at the Ever Given I would suggest a bit of complacency was involved. This size ship has transited plenty of times before at all times and in all weather's so what was different this time?
 

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All ships tend to have the bow blow off course with beam wind, cure is to steer slightly into the wind so the vessel is advancing slightly crabwise along the course,. as the winds increase the bow has to be pointed more into the wind to stay on course. In this case with a ship the size of the largest Bunnings store the wind caused the ship to steer more and more into the wind till the bow strayed onto the side of the cutting. An offset of 5 degrees is enough. At Max draft the canal is only 120 metres wide so a 59 metre beam is a bit tight. The diagram shows the max navigable width at max draft. Speed is reported as 13 Kts, so bow thrusters may not have been much use

May be an image of text that says Draft Max Loaded Ship 35 ft 30 000 DWT Development of the Cross Sectional Area Cross Sectional Area 1956 53ft 150 000 DWT 14.00m 1200 m2 60m 11m depth 3600 m2 1980 62 ft 210 000 DWT 19.5m 175m at 11m depth 303 m 2001 4800 m2 -22.5m 66ft 240 000 DWT 215m at 11m depth 123 313 201 0 5200 m2 24.00 The Side Gradient 1 in the north and 3:1 225m at 11m depth the south
 

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"All ships tend to have the bow blow off course with beam wind"

Except those with a huge mizzen sail of accommodation all aft, and deeply laden in which case it's the opposite. (from experience)

Also in this case, if the vessel was making 13kts, it was speeding and begging for trouble.
 

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Should have said " Most Ships", The post was a cut and paste from another site where I was explaining to a non nautical group of friends the difficulties involved, With a beam of 60 metres and a clearance of 30 metres either side its a wonder that the ship can get through at all
 

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"All ships tend to have the bow blow off course with beam wind"

Except those with a huge mizzen sail of accommodation all aft, and deeply laden in which case it's the opposite. (from experience)

Also in this case, if the vessel was making 13kts, it was speeding and begging for trouble.
Around 1990 I was master of a 45,000 DWT bulk carrier loaded with only 1,200 tons of manufactured homes from US East coast to Saudi Arabia passing through Suez. The homes were two high on deck, overhanging on both sides. Visibility directly forward was non existent from the bridge. When approaching the Suez pilot I was having to allow 30 degrees leeway because of the wind to stay in the buoyed channel. At 0200 not the best way to start the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
No they're not , lashings are in the way and doors are sealed anyway.
Twist locks only these days, I think. It's been 30 years since I last looked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
"All ships tend to have the bow blow off course with beam wind"

Except those with a huge mizzen sail of accommodation all aft, and deeply laden in which case it's the opposite. (from experience)

Also in this case, if the vessel was making 13kts, it was speeding and begging for trouble.
What is the source for this info? A ship that size and shape doing 13knots in the Suez Canal would leave a trail of damage behind her that would clog the canal for weeks.
Anything in the press was just speculation and that bit of speculation was straight out of the gr***dian I expect!!!
 
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