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Cabin-boy

Ferry collision

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Thanks Ed.  Quite a spectacular photo....looks as if someone on the ferry was not looking where they were going.  Takes some doing to slam straight into the  side of the middle of an anchored container ship!

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Silly question, I know, but is there no automated traffic warning system installed on these things ?  Commercial aviation has TCAS, and even humble glider pilots like me have £500 Flarm boxes on board which similarly give an audible warning of increasing risk of conflict just in case you don't pick up traffic.  And yes, I know, it's drummed into us as well as mariners - these systems do not excuse you from the need to look out of the window - the Mk 1 Eyeball is still a fantastically versatile piece of kit !

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Without wishing to pre-empt the investigation, or cast unfair aspersions with limited facts available - the only conceivable explanation for what happened here that makes any sense is that there wasn't actually anybody on the bridge at the time.

(The above makes an assumption that a deliberate ramming is not a conceivable scenario).

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Yes, possibly, although if there were collision alarms sounding on the bridge you'd think they'd have woken a sleeper up.  Maybe that did happen, but too late to avert the collision.

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There are some more pictures of the aftermath of the collision here:

https://gcaptain.com/watch-ais-animation-shows-mediterranean-ship-collision/

There is also an intriguing image and replay of the track followed by the ferry and the container ship.  It is clear that the impact had the effect of rotating the container ship sideways, around her anchor, by more than 270 degrees.  Looks like it must have been one heck of an impact.  Looks like some attempt at avoiding action was taken on the bridge of the ferry at the very last minute, but far too late.

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Wow. There was nothing else to hit in the area and the track was straight for the middle of the vessel. Plus the last minute turn, if anything in the wrong direction, made the colision worse. Ed. 

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Yes, I suspect it was an instinctive response based on an assumption, when they finally saw the container ship, that it was making way - and the instinct was to alter course to pass astern of it rather than to steer into what they would have thought was its path.  However, all mariners will know that a turn to port is the incorrect action in any collision avoidance measure involving powered vessels.  Had the container ship actually been under way, then the ferry would have been the stand-on vessel and the container ship the give-way vessel, with the container ship obliged to pass astern of the ferry.  So any instinctive avoiding action should have been to change course to starboard under the international collision regulations.  (Although that was a relatively minor infringement of the colregs compared with the obvious failure to keep an adequate look-out!).

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Some more pictures of the aftermath of the incident:

https://gcaptain.com/ulysse-heads-to-port-day-after-detaching-from-containership-in-the-mediterranean/

Apparently, crew of the ferry has described what happened as "a small incident that could have happened on any ship".

No comment.

Of course it could happen to any ship, if they don't have anybody on the bridge with their eyes open.

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There have been reports of oil, suspected of coming from the damaged container vessel, washing up on beaches in the Var department of southern France. The first sightings were on the beach at Ramatuelle near St Tropez and yesterday on the island of Porquerolles which is part of a natural maritime park ( and well worth a visit if you are in the area). Ed. 

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It turns out the Skipper was on watch as sole watch keeper and at the time was engaged in personal phone calls away from the windows and radars. amazingly the container ship was also censured for anchoring on a ferry route.

"However, all mariners will know that a turn to port is the incorrect action in any collision avoidance measure involving powered vessels." A sweeping and incorrect statement. when overtaking, even in fog, altering to port is allowed.

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21 minutes ago, seadog said:

"However, all mariners will know that a turn to port is the incorrect action in any collision avoidance measure involving powered vessels." A sweeping and incorrect statement. when overtaking, even in fog, altering to port is allowed.

Was it foggy? No.  Was it an overtaking situation? No.  Was it a situation where one vessel believed there was an imminent collision situation with another vessel that was assumed to be under way and on a crossing course?  Yes.  Was a turn to port the correct course of action in such a situation?  No.  The correct instinctive action to avert an imminent collision is always a turn to starboard.

But thanks for the update on the events on the bridge.  At least there was somebody on it!  (Even if no effective watch was being maintained).  Censuring of the container ship is unbelievable!

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Incidentally, do you happen to have a link to a report, or has it just been press-reported?  Would be very interesting to see what the rationale was behind criticising the container ship.

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Apart from calling the ferry on the VHF the container ship could not really do much. At 17 knots there would not have been time to start the engine or heave the anchor.

What if it had been a drifting not under command ship?

Pretty poor to criticise the anchored ship.

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