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SUMMARIES OF MAJOR  ACCIDENT REPORTS
(In event order)

THE KULLUK INCIDENT
December 2012
THE COSTA CONCORDIA
January 2012
THE TRINITY II
September 2011
THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
April 2010
THE BOURBON DOLPHIN
April 2007
THE STEVNS POWER
October 2003
THE OCEAN RANGER
February 1982
THE OCEAN EXPRESS
April 1976

PICTURE OF THE DAY
PIC OF THE DAY ARCHIVES
2007 - 77 Photographs
2008 - 101 Photographs
2009 - 124 Photographs
2010 - 118 Photographs
2011 - 100 Photographs
2012 - 97 Photographs

 

 

         

Go to 'Publications' to buy any of these books.

DON'T FORGET YOU CAN PURCHASE "THE HISTORY OF THE SUPPLY SHIP", "SUPPLY SHIP OPERATIONS" and "RIGMOVES" HERE FOR 52.50 TOGETHER

THE GREATEST INFLUENCE IN MY LIFE

This topic is often used to get the brain working during creative writing courses, and I suppose I must have responded to such a requirement when on such a course, or indeed when I was tutoring such a course. Since the person who might have had the greatest influence on my life was a ship-master it has a place here. Anyone wishing to contribute a similar memoir is welcome. The writing competition is almost at an end.

When I think about it, it might have been the hatch covers that caused the trouble, or at least the fact that I would have nothing to do with them.

Whenever the ship was working cargo the "old man", that's the name we seafarers have for the captain, used to expect the mate of the watch and the apprentices to open the hatches. A desire prompted by the wish to save crew overtime. The crew would have been really pleased to get out there at seven in the morning, rig the derricks and swing the hatch slabs off to the outboard side of the ship, then get down into the tweendecks, lift off the hatchboards and pull the roller beams back forward and aft. They would have been pleased because they would have been getting overtime for the job.

So for me there was a bit of a principle. I had no wish to deprive the crew of their overtime, but more importantly I resented some-one attempting to take advantage of me. So every time it was my turn to help open the hatches the Mate had to come out and take my place. I would watch them doing it and no-one ever said anything. Particularly the old man, whose only communication was a snarl, if ever we happened to meet.

On the other hand he might have disliked me because of the time the radar blew up.

This happened when the ship was heading north towards Panama through the Archipelago de las Perlas, a dense group of tiny jungle covered islands.  Solid water was falling out of a black sky reducing the visibility to almost zero, except in the lightning flashes. My job at the time was to try to find out where the ship was, so I would stand on the wing of the bridge ready to take a bearing of something using the bridge repeater. There would be a flash of lightning and I would take the bearing of an island the image of which was retained on my retina like an art photo.

Then I would plod into the chartroom dripping water and try to plot the position on the chart. I was having moderate success with this process because the lightning flashes were frequent and vivid and close to the ship. However the captain must have decided it was time for him to intervene because he arrived beside me in the wheelhouse brandishing the key to the radar, and it is probably necessary to explain that in those days all shipmasters were under the illusion that there was only so much time available in a radar before it would break down, so it could only be used when it was really needed.

We now know that this is not true and that radars are better left on rather than being switched on and off ad infinitum, but then the radar would be locked and the captain would keep the key.

The captain sneered at me but did not speak. This had become his normal form of greeting after the problems with the hatches. Then he approached the radar and inserted the key. He turned it to the right and flicked the on switch. There was a terrific bang from the radar set. The old man stepped back stunned and we both watched a small mushroom cloud form over the viewfinder. I laughed.

On the other hand it might have been the time he nearly ran onto the shore at Curacao. Curacao is the remains of a volcano sticking out of the sea and the harbour is in what used to be the crater. As a consequence the entrance is quite narrow and we were all standing on the bridge as the old man headed for a house on the south side of the entrance. I really had no idea he was so short-sighted, but I could actually see people through their lounge window before he realised he was so close. It was only the quick response of the engineers to his double ring astern that saved him. He looked at us as if it was our fault, and I suppose he was right. One of us should have warned him.

Anyway, when I think about it, he was the greatest influence in my life. After six months with him in charge I determined that I would never ever sail on a ship where I could not get off if I didn't like it. No more sailing round the  world for me. Being close to home became the first principle in any job application, which is why thirty five years ago I stopped going on deep sea ships and why twenty-five years ago I became involved in the offshore oil industry, and why I am in Aberdeen today.           

Oh, and this is a true story.          

 Vic Gibson

TO RETURN TO FEATURES INDEX CLICK HERE

 
 
FEATURES

THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
Deepwater Horizon -The President's Report
Deepwater Horizon - The Progess of the Event

OTHER ACCIDENTS
The KULLUK Grounding
The Costa Concordia Report
The Costa Concordia Grounding
The Elgin Gas Leak
The Loss of the Normand Rough
The Bourbon Dolphin Accident
The Loss of the Stevns Power
Another Marine Disaster
Something About the P36
The Cormorant Alpha Accident
The Ocean Ranger Disaster
The Loss of the Ocean Express

OPERATIONS
The Life of the Oil Mariner
Offshore Technology and the Kursk
The Sovereign Explorer and the Black Marlin

SAFETY
Safety Case and SEMS
Practical Safety Case Development
Preventing Fires and Explosions Offshore
The ALARP Demonstration
PFEER, DCR and Verification
PFEER and the Dacon Scoop
Human Error and Heavy Weather Damage
Lifeboats & Offshore Installations
More about PFEER
The Offshore Safety Regime - Fit for the Next Decade
The Safety Case and its Future
Jigsaw
Collision Risk Management
Shuttle Tanker Collisions
A Good Prospect of Recovery

TECHNICAL
The History of the UT 704
The Peterhead Connection
Goodbye Kiss
Uses for New Ships
Supporting Deepwater Drilling
Jack-up Moving - An Overview
Seismic Surveying
Breaking the Ice
Tank Cleaning and the Environment
More about Mud Tank Cleaning
Datatrac
Tank Cleaning in 2004
Glossary of Terms

CREATIVE WRITING
An Unusual Investigation
Gaia and Oil Pollution
The True Price of Oil
Icebergs and Anchor-Handlers
Atlantic SOS
The Greatest Influence
How It Used to Be
Homemade Pizza
Goodbye Far Turbot
The Ship Manager
Running Aground
A Cook's Tale
Navigating the Channel
The Captain's Letter

GENERAL INTEREST
The Sealaunch Project
Ghost Ships of Hartlepool
Beam Him Up Scotty
Q790
The Bilbao OSV Conference