THE BOURBON LIBERTY CLASS
The video of the SBS
Typhoon was sent to me by a a number of correspondents, some living as far
away as Australia. There is no escaping the pitiless spotlight of publicity
these days. And I have also received correspondence from South America about
the much publicised Bourbon Liberty Class. These ships, both the
anchor-handlers and the platform ships are apparently diesel electric and
and have three propellers. The engines can therefore be placed a main deck
level giving more room underdeck for tankage of one sort or another.
The downside of this
arrangement is that everybody up to the second mate are housed in four berth
cabins - and these ships are still rolling off the stocks, they are so new.
So here's the question, would we rather be housed in better accommodation
but without portholes - as per the Seacor ships in Brazil, or have a
porthole and be bunking with another three guys. What are these people
thinking? If you have a choice between sailing on a ship where you have a
cabin to yourself at least most of the time, or a cabin shared with a
number of others which are you going to choose? Surely the ships are big
enough now for everyone of a ten man crew to have a cabin of their own, even
the Liberty 101s, and surely any humanitarian organisation with an interest
in the welfare of their employees would be doing better. So we can conclude
from Bourbon's approach that actually they don't care, what-ever their
publicity material may say.
No doubt everybody who may
be reading this is familiar with Youtube, and the increasing number of
marine events and activities which are portrayed there. The latest and for
some most distressing is the video of the SBS Typhoon event. Some-one must
have been taking a photograph from the office building at then end of the
upper dock when the SBS Typhoon, which had been lying quietly there at
Regent Quay, suddenly dashed forward breaking its moorings, and then running
into the standby vessel VOS Scout. It made me realise how big offshore
vessels have become. Apparently the SBS ship was engaged in testing its DP
system when it took over. Well, these things happen. Here is the link to the
I have also uploaded a
couple of videos of my own. One of them shows three PSVs at work at a
semi-submersible, the Northern Gambler, the Maersk Feeder and the Skandi
Waveney. I cobbled this short film together to provide something for those
attending a risk assessment course to watch, and to take a view on. In addition to this I have in the past converted an eight millimetre film of some
ships and tugs working in the Baltic ice into a video, and then into a dvd.
Ships on the film include the Baltic Trader, the Baltic Jet, the tug
Jaarkotka and the Finnish icebreaker Voima, which was apparently the first
one to be fitted with propellers at the bow.
This very day things don't
look too good in Japan where technicians continue to battle with fires and
radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dalichi power plant, in the aftermath of
the earthquake and the Tsunami. Even at our great distance from the disaster
it is distressing, so it must be pretty awful out there.
On the radio in Uk over
the last couple of days, people have been arguing about whether it was a
good idea to build nuclear power stations, or whether we should be using
less electricity altogether, or relying on windmills, or on solar cells in
the Sahara desert. The European governments are deciding to make sure their
power stations are all safe, and actually the experts are saying that
despite the problems the Japanese stations have done what they were supposed
to do. What about terrorists some-one asked. Bring them on replied the
experts. Some-one fired a missile at a French nuclear power station and it
just bounced off. Well we hope its all going to work out.
Meanwhile I was
remembering that some time ago one of the environmental groups managed to
bring into the public gaze the fact that the Russians have yet to
successfully dismantle any of the nuclear submarines taken out of service.
Of the 88,yes 88,nuclear submarines taken out of service the locations of 70
of them are known. In addition to the submarines there are an unknown number
of merchant vessel lying in Northern Russian ports with their holds full of
nuclear waste and their hatches welded down. And no possibility now of
taking them anywhere and doing anything with them. There have also been
eleven serious accidents to nuclear submarines. So that's something else to
worry about then.
MORE BAD NEWS
I sometimes wish I could
write some good news in this column, but there is seldom the opportunity. I
seem to spend my time whingeing or muttering about something - so here's
In the weekly Towline
Newsletter to which one or two of our photographers contribute, there is
lots of tug news of various sorts. They get news releases from supply boat
owners announcing charters which raise the tone a bit, as well as the
reports on tug accidents particularly in American waters where tugs pushing
lines of barges, unsurprisingly, have a job to see where they are going.
However, my attention was
particularly caught by an item on the detention of a tug, the
Comarco Osprey, on the Tyne recently. This was as a result of a flag state
inspection which found the following defects:
No rescue boat, the engine
room deckhead and bulkhead rusted through in several places, an open cable
penetration in the engine room. No fire extinguishing system in the engine
room, three lifejackets missing, four immersion suits missing, three fire
hoses missing, no medical equipment, and seven crew members without medical
This tug, which was built
in 1981 and was registered in...would anyone like to guess which country
this vessel was registered in? TANZANIA!! I was reading the other day that
flag states should have the resources to administer their marine
organisations. One wonders whether this country in Africa which probably has
a job to look after its population, is capable of looking after a marine
FAKE EEBD (EMERGENCY
ESCAPE BREATHING DEVICES)
The UK Marine Safety
Forum, which is a loose association of organisations involved in the
operation of offshore vessels issued a safety flash the other day, which I
judge as being worth passing on.
Alarmingly, some-one has
been producing fake emergency breathing sets, which can't actually be used.
The original sets, used of course to assist people to escape from smoke
filled environments, were manufactured by Unitor and are stamped UNITOR
UNISCAPE 15H. The fakes are similarly stamped, and cannot actually be passed
over a normal sized head, because the neck seal is not sufficiently
Up to now all sets have
had a tag attached addressed as follows: UNIscan Marine Products & Services,
It makes one wonder what
else is out there.
Victor Gibson. March 2011.
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