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A Greetings Card from the now famous, or infamous, Carnival Triumph.



Sadly, Carnival are in it again, or rather their passengers are. About six days ago maybe on 10th February the Carnival Triumph, which was less than one day into a four day cruise, caught fire. Actually it was a fire in the engine room, and up to now it seems that the installed fire extinguishing system operated effectively and put the fire out. But there-after the ship was powerless, one assumes except for the emergency generator, and so drifted about while waiting for the arrival of rescue vessels. First to arrive on the following day was a US Coastguard vessel and this was followed by two tugs which took it in tow and brought it safely to Mobile on the evening of 14th February.

In the initial reports the Carnival spokesmen suggested that all was well, and despite the lack of motive power passengers were comfortable and were enjoying almost normal food, and in general normal conditions. But it all changed when the ship arrive in port and the passengers began to talk to the media and were filmed kissing the ground at the bottom of the gangway. As we might have guessed, the engine room fire knocked out most of the cooking facilities and probably all of the toilets. And so by the time the ship arrive in port the alleyways were awash with excrement and the smell was difficult to bear.

The Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill said the following, “We pride ourselves with providing our guests with a great vacation experience and clearly we failed in this particular case”. Yes they did!

Back in 2010 we reported an incident which was very similar to this one and resulted in the same sort of distress. Regardless of what anyone says I have difficulty believing that the toilets can’t be wired up to the emergency generator. It will be an unfulfilled recommendation somewhere.


If I choose to think about it carefully I am just a bit distressed, but it is all my own fault so I try not to think about it too much. A little more than a year ago I completed a science fiction book which was inspired by a three month trip I did on a little anchor-handler in Saudi Arabia back in the 1990s. I completed it, had it edited and published it, but did not sell many copies. So am now offering it free, and paying for the postage, but very few people have taken me up. Can it be that bad? Those who have read it have enjoyed it, and mariners recognize many of its features. So give it a go – just go to the website and click on the link to “RigMoves”. The clue is in the title. The fault was making it too cheap and not promoting it properly.


Photo from the internet

In late January I was sent an email by a correspondent in Tasmania suggesting that the loss of the Hallin Penrith might make a piece in the newsletter. It might, and so here it is.

The Hallin Penrith is a former 8000 bhp anchor-handler operated by Seacor, as the Seacor Penrith. Hallin go in for subsea activities of one sort or another and so this ship was converted into an air diving and ROV support vessel, and at the time of its loss was engaged, apparently, in pipeline inspections. Indeed there was a time when all that ROV vessels did was inspect pipelines. So times have changed.

By now you may have detected that I have little to say about this accident. It occurred. It happened offshore Myanmor, The ship hit a rock and is no more. And there was no loss of life. I had to google Myanmor to find out what it used to be – you will have to too.

The press which enquired of Hallijn what had happened had the following to say – “ Hallin Marine confirmed that the Hallin Penrith had met with a major accident”. Well, you could not really get more major than being sunk. But all 42 people on board had been rescued, and no-one is talking about the environment. Today no more is known to us little people.


 The Maersk Challenger which was briefly involved with the Lyubov Orlova early in February (here in Aberdeen).
Photo Victor Gibson

The recent tugs and Towing Newsletter has a picture of the Maersk Challenger in it. It is there because it has Canadian grandfather rights, so today can be found working out of St John’s Newfoundland. Only a couple of days ago it might or might not have been hired by Transport Canada to tow the Lyubov Orlova outside Canada’s 200 mile limit and then to release it to the elements.

But maybe we should start at a point during the story which begins in 1976 when the Lyubov Orlova was constructed in Yugoslavia as one of 8 small passenger ships. It appears to have been refitted in 2006 as a small Antarctic adventure ship, and have operated more or less successfully for a couple of years under the Maltese flag with a Russian crew. It was detained in 2008 in Ushuaia which is a port in the southern extremities of Tierra del Fuego, Chile. One assumes that this was its regular port of call when it was active.

On November 8th 2008 it was released by the port authorities, and it seems that as far as the media is concerned it disappeared over the horizon, one assumes working away for a charter company. So there might be a moment of surprise that it was arrested at the other end of the world, St John’s Newfoundland on 1st October 2010 apparently owning its charters, Cruise North, $250,000 and its crew five months wages. It was briefly claimed to have been purchased by a Norwegian company, which said it would sort everything out. But the ship did not move from its berth and over what turned out to be a further eighteen months accrued over $200,000 in port charges.

On 18th February 2012 the ship was sold at auction for $275,000 to what was reported at the time to “Carribbean Buyers”, but it still did not move, and obviously lots of folk had lost a lot of money. The owners, announced as “Neptune International Shipping Ltd” reflagged the ship to the Cook islands. It then seems possible that the ship, now without crew, had been towed out of St Johns in August 2012 but that it had caught fire and had to be towed back, The crew by the way had been supported by the populace of St John’s until they had been repatriated with public assistance.

And this brings us to the present day almost, when another player joins the scenario. Enter stage left, the Charlene Hunt a typical old American river tug which looks as if it should never have left port limits, or at least not have left areas of the world were weather conditions are more predictable that they are in the North Atlantic. Some time in November 2012 it arrived in some distress in Halifax and was reflagged from USA to – guess – Bolivia!!! There-after it got itself back into order, which included nailing plywood over some of the bridge windows, and finally sailed for St John’s.

On 19th January the Charlene Hunt towed the Lyubov Orlova out to sea heading for the Dominican Republic where it was to be scrapped, and the people of Newfoundland heaved a collective sigh of relief. But maybe they sighed too soon. On 23rd January the tow as lost, and almost immediately the Canadian Coastguard ordered the Charlene Hunt to return to port (Can they do this?), leaving the derelict drifting about.

It now seems that the Atlantic Hawk which was probably on standby duties in the vicinity of the Canadian offshore installations, took the derelict passenger ship in tow and then may have handed over the tow to the Maersk Challenger which, at the behest of Transport Canada, took it outside the Canadian 200 mile limit. The tow wire may then have failed again or the derelict may have been intentionally released to the elements.

This would seem to be a unique occurrence, a state entity issuing instructions that a ship (for which it has limited responsibility one must admit) be towed outside its area of responsibility and released into the wild. They have also told the owner that he is responsible for the vessel, so in the event of anything unfortunate happening then it will be his fault.

The whole bizarre sequence of events illustrates what a tenuous grasp the major nations of the world have on maritime activities. Gone are the days when half the merchant ships on the planet sailed under the red ensign, and as consequence were governed by the 1894 Merchant Shipping Acts which controlled everything from the reports of accidents to the amount of butter each crew member was due to receive every week.

So as I write, the Lyubov Orlova is drifting about in the North Atlantic, the Charlene Hunt is lying in St John’s and I imagine that Transport Canada is wondering if it did the right thing.


THE GUARDIAN                                   


Every ship captain’s nightmare is to wake up and find that your ship is aground, stuck fast, immovable. Even worse for the captain of the USS Guardian was the fact that they found themselves on the Tubbataha Reef, which, if the media is to be believed is the most hallowed spot in the whole of the Philippines.

The Rainbow Warrior flagship of the Greenpeace fleet had been a previous occupant of the reef, and as a result Greenpeace had been fined lots of money.

Well, no problem we would think. Just get a couple of tugs and heave it back into the oggin, and send it on its way, but no such luck.

The precise area of the very valuable reef which the ship has damaged has been calculated and no doubt the necessary recompense to the government of the area has been identified, although we don’t know what this is. And worse, the ship is to be cut up and removed in pieces using a floating crane.

Latest news is that the crane with the four point mooring, the Smit Borneo cannot be used, and so a DP crane barge, possibly the Jascon 25 is going to have to be hired.



This newsletter expresses the views of the author Victor Gibson about marine events which are considered to be worthy of interest. It is meant to be a five minute read. Sources of information include:

International Tug and OSV Magazine
Maritime Bulletin (Now apparently no more)
The Tugs, Towing and Offshore Newsletter.
The Nautilus Telegraph
The Nautical institute Magazine Seaways
The BBC Home Page
The MAIB Website
Carnival Cruises Website

The Ships and Oil website contains comprehensive information about many offshore vessels and approaching 10,000 images.

By this month I have done quite a bit of work on the website, since I am taking a bit of a rest from using the brain. There is more ship information, slightly more frequent Pictures of the Day, and hopefully a better means of moving from one page to another, up to now in the News and Views.

People have continued to send pictures of the day for which I am very grateful. I am getting into my stride again and regular updates are taking place. The photos brighten the days of our hundreds of visitors as they sit at their desks – I have noticed that our numbers are considerably reduced at the weekends.

Recent Pictures of the Day include:

The Brent Field
The Vitus Bering
The Far Fosna
The Lewek Ambassador
The PW Reliance
The Leonard Tide
The Oleg Strashnov
The C-Macae
The HD Contender
The UP Esmeralda
The Saipem 10000r

Shipping Company Information updated:

Eastern Navigation
Edison Chouest
EDT Offshore
Five Oceans
Eide Fletcher
Emas Offshore
Fratelli d’Amato
ER Schiffahrt
Global Offshore
Global Workboats


THE HISTORY OF THE SUPPLY SHIP £37.50 inc P&P anywhere
SUPPLY SHIP OPERATIONS £27.50 inc P&P anywhere
RIGMOVES Free at the moment

Buy all three books for the bargain price of £52.5

If you would prefer not to receive further news letters please email me vic@shipsandoil.com .


Buy all three books for the bargain price of £52.5
If you would prefer not to receive further news letters please email me vic@shipsandoil.com .

Vic Gibson. February 2013.

To view earlier News and Views Click Here.

If you would like to receive News and Views as a PDF - with photos - email me.




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