home   Picture of the Day     ship information   articles and features     news and views   publications   webcam 

Locations of visitors to this page








Photo from the Blue Star Line Press Release.



You could embark on a facsimile of the Titanic in 2016, according to a press release by Blue Star Line. The new ship is being being built in China and its first voyage will be from Southampton to New York.

It will have accommodation for 2435 passengers and 900 crew. The article about the ship which features in the April edition of the Nautilus paper, the Telegraph, states that it will be provided with 372 first class cabins, 206 second class and 257 third class. And very much against the modern trend in passenger ship design, the second that third class cabins will be as close to the originals as practicable. Does this mean that they will be pokey little spaces without sufficient room to swing a cat. Well, yes probably. I realise that I have just described the average ferry cabin.

The Nautilus Telegraph, being a union paper, also asked from what country the crew would be sourced. The reply was that the crew would be sourced from the “global community”. Good words, one suspects to convey the possibility that they will be crewing the ship as cheaply as possible.

Alan Graveson of Nautilus suggested that it might be a good time to action all the recommendations from the investigation into the loss of the Titanic, which was chaired by Lord Mersey. One recommendation still to be carried out says “ In order to facilitate an orderly evacuation it is necessary to improve the water-tight integrity with increased subdivision including the provision of two longitudinal bulkheads – extending from as far aft, to as far forward as possible. This would facilitate counterflooding…” I’m not quite sure how this would stand with angles of loll, but we live in a age when investigations take place, recommendations are made and then nothing is done.


I write this on the day Lady Thatcher is being buried, and there are many words being spoken for and against her. I have a memory of going to see my MP who was a Tory, a couple of years after the Falklands War, in which numerous merchant ships were involved, to protest at the lack of government support for the declining British merchant service. Of course they did nothing and I believe they showed the shipping industry the way to become the cutthroat business it is today. I left the MP’s office, and he followed me out, to see me unlocked the driver’s door of a new bright red Audi Quattro. “So, nice car!” he said, obviously consigning my complaint to the “no action” bin.


Photo of the Emma Maersk from the internet.

What in 2006 was the world’s largest container ship is not the luckiest in the world. In early February it was well reported throughout the marine press that it had sprung al leak somewhere, which resulted in the engine room filling up with water. I was amazed at the spec of the engine by the way, a single 14 cylinder prime mover developing 108000 bhp.

Anyway, As it has turned out it seems that on operation of the stern thruster some sort of a seal leaked water into the prop shaft and from there into the engine room which flooded to a depth of 18 metres.

There-after the ship was rescued and put alongside in Port Said, and the 13,500 containers unloaded. Then one of the Fairmount ships, the Fairmount Alpine took it in tow and it ended up in Palermo, Sicily on February 25th, where repairs were being carried out. I had meant to feature the accident before but it was elbowed out by other events.

But as our photo shows, this is not the only misfortune to befall the ship. During construction the bridge caught fire, to the point that it was completely burnt out.

Fortunately the shipyard happened to have another bridge to hand and so was able to remove the damaged one and replace it with a new one.

This extremely large ship apparently supposed to be operated by a crew of 13 entered service in 2006 – it seems like only the other day. It was followed by a further 7 of the same class. Maersk have on order a number of 18000 teu ships and I think some of even greater capacity.

One assumes that they will be using the new London Gateway – see the next page!


 The Maersk D Class vessel Maersk Detector in Aberdeen in 2006. Photo Vic Gibson

On November 24th 2011 the Maersk Detector collided with the third port side leg of the semi-submersible, GSF Grand Banks resulting in both vessels being holed, the rig in a void space and the ship in a drill water tank. There were no injuries, but never-the-less the Transport Safety Board of Canada carried out an investigation and their report was released on 9th April this year, hence its feature here.

I have read this report fully several times, and am still having a job to make sense of it, and if anyone else wants to have a look it is “Marine Investigation Report M11N0047”.

The ship is a modern Maersk design with about 18000 bhp available, an azimuthing thruster and a tunnel thruster forward and two tunnel thrusters aft, all of which can be controlled manually, by joystick or by a Kongsberg SDP 21 DP system. This is a Class 2 system provided with 3 gyros two consoles, multiple reference systems including 2 GPS systems, 1 laser radar system and 1 acoustic system.

The GSF Grand Banks is a thirty year old eight legged semi-submersible moored at the time by eight chains in a water depth of 122 metres (403 ft).

The accident took place during the afternoon of 24th November. The ship had taken up position on the port side of the rig at 0806, which was at the time was the lee side, and started work, and during the morning the ship moved off to allow the Maersk Chancellor to go alongside to do something.

The Maersk Chancellor went away and the Maersk Detector returned to the rig and took up position at 1330. The report says that the vessel moved into a position about 100 metres off in joystick mode and then switched into DP and edged into position about 15 metres off the rig.

During the period between 1330 and 1400 the wind veered from northerly to southeasterly, turning the lee side of the rig to the windward side. At that time there was discussion between the rig – the crane operator - and the ship – the master. They decided that they would keep going for the time being. The actual words in the report are “they agreed to stop when conditions became unsuitable”.

At about 1400 the relative positioning laser radar system was added as a third position reference for the DP system. And at about 1430 the heading had been changed putting the wind about 45º from the starboard bow.

At about 1445 the master took over as DP operator from the First officer (Navigation), who remained on the bridge observing the cargo work. (And now we get to some technical stuff about DP – outside by area of knowledge.) The master did a capability plot using a swell of 5 metres with positive results. No problems then. And the heading continued to be changed. But on the rig the crew were taking notice of what was going on.
The driller, having a cup of coffee, spied the ship through the porthole and called the BCO to say he thought it was too close! And the barge supervisor went out and observed it for 10 minutes. At 1510 the Husky rep called the ship and discussed the weather. It was collectively concluded that the operation could be terminated at any time by the master, if warranted by the weather conditions.

By 1530 the ship was heading due south head to wind, and the rig was about to load pipe at the stern. The swell was about 4 metres. The first lift of pipe was landed and during a series of five larger swells the ship began to move astern at about 0.4 m/s. Despite the fact that the master input an instruction into the DP to step forward 4 metres the ship continued astern and hit the leg. He said that he did not engage the manual controls because he was afraid of pulling the crane down, the hoist of pipe being on the deck.

After the contact the ship immediately moved off into its assigned DP position.

There is much more to the report, including stuff from the VDR – voyage data recorder - and the DP system. It struck me that there were 75 position/heading alarms once the ship was on the weather side, one every 1.2 minutes. There must have been a lot of button pressing going on, surely writing on the wall!

The report made some recommendations, the main one being that the crew should be trained in Bridge Resource Management. However they failed to determine why the ship had backed into the rig.

I have two ideas. When I was driving head to the swell I used to power the ship up the swells and then reduce the power as they passed. Can a DP system do this? The other is that rigs do move on their moorings. Was the rig oscillating and therefore confusing the DP system which had its laser system engaged. Read the report and give me a view which I can publish.



Photo from the London Gateway website - status in March 2013

You would probably have to be in that part of the business to be aware of the enormous port development taking place on the North side of the Thames seemingly just a bit down river from Thameshaven, which back in the day used to be a small refinery with an associated jetty for a couple of small tankers. Maybe it still is.

The new port is the London Gateway, and it will be capable of supporting six of the largest container ships currently no more than a twinkle in the naval architects eyes. They will probably have a capacity of 22,000 teus.

Much dredging has taken place in the approach, and maybe well down the river, because the Thames is not very deep, and even deeper alongside the berths, which indicates that probably they are expecting that at some point the ships will only be able to approach at certain states of tide. How far away this is from the ships I described in the last newsletter which used to sail to distant parts of the world and then lie alongside, sometimes for weeks discharging and loading cargo, to the point that the crew almost became residents of the port. Even if you could get ashore in Thameshaven, would you want to?


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

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 Far Sitella
The Paul B Loyd
The Miss Netty
The Noble Homer Farrington
The Rem Mermaid
The Agile
The Atlantic Kestrel
The Iramis Falcon
The Azure

Shipping Company Information updated:

IOS                            L&M Botruc
Indus Shipping            Maersk Supply
Island Offshore           Mar Sol
J Ray McDermott         MCT
Jasa Merin                  Med Offshore
Jaya Holdings              Mermaid Australia
JP Knight                     Mermaid Asia
K Line                         Mermaid Maritime
Klyne Tugs


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 - yes, not kidding.

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. April 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.




December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
 April 2009
 March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
 June 2007
 May 2007
 April 2007
 March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
June 2005
April 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Nov 2004
Oct 2004
Sept 2004
August 2004

July 2004

May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002 
July/Aug 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
July 2001
May 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000