Tag Archives: sinking

MARITIME NEWS: Supply ship sinks off Elefsina; captain’s body recovered

The body of the missing captain of a supply tanker that sank off Elefsina on Monday morning was found and recovered shortly after noon.

Divers found the body of the 48 year old trapped inside the vessel.

The Alpha 1 sank with an 11-member crew and loaded with 1.8 tons of crude oil and 253 tons of oil. The authorities have said that that there were no signs of any oil spill or pollution so far.

The rescued men have been taken to a nearby hospital for observation.

According to initial reports, the vessel, belonging to the Viamare company, sank after its hull rammed into an old submerged shipwreck.

The ship was sailing from Piraeus to nearby Elefsina when it began taking on water at around 10.30am for reasons that authorities said were not immediately clear. 

Source: http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/1/53785

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COSTA CONCORDIA: Blame game in, hope out

As hope fades for the successful rescue of the 20 people still missing a week after the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, the focus of operations on the Italian island of Giglio is shifting towards the prevention of future catastrophe and the allocation of blame for that which has already occurred. With some 500,000 gallons [roughly 2 million litres] of fuel oil still sloshing around in the hull of the ship, “We need to prevent an environmental disaster,” says Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy’s civil protection agency, who is coordinating the emergency response. He added that while the agency wasn’t giving up rescue attempts, the risk of rupture of the ship’s fuel tanks was becoming an increasingly important worry.

Rescuers have been investigating whether the ship can be chained to the rocks on which it capsized last week, to halt its slow slippage towards deep waters, which would dramatically complicate further salvage efforts. The consequences of an oil spill would be disastrous. The mayor of Giglio has called the ship an “ecological time bomb.”

The potential for pollution puts at risk not only the area around the tiny Mediterranean island, but also the entirety of the nearby coast of Tuscany, one of the engines of Italian tourism. On Saturday, light oil was discovered floating near the Concordia, but rescue workers speculated it may have been diesel from rescue boats or lubricant from some of the on board machinery, not the heavy engine oil that could spell environmental devastation.

The plan is to extract the fuel oil and replace it with water, to avoid destabilizing the ship. Experts estimate that draining even those tanks closest to the outside of the hull could take as much as month — providing storms don’t cause delays — and that the inner tanks could prove harder to reach. Still, “there is a very good chance that the fuel oil can be removed,” says Paul Wright, associate director of the Marine Institute at Britain’s Plymouth University. Contamination from the kitchen oils, chemicals, sewage, and personal belongings of the crew and passengers are likely to be contained using booms.

What could prove more challenging is the salvage operation of the $450 million ship itself. “I would be very surprised if she is righted and floated off,” says Wright. “The most likely solution is that she will be cut up and dismantled in position.” It’s an operation that could take months.

Meanwhile, the legal process is gearing up as Italian authorities work to establish the criminal liability for what some experts predict will produce the most expensive insurance claims in maritime history. As of Saturday, the death toll for the accident stands at 12 and is likely to rise; the Costa Concordia‘s captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest and facing charges of manslaughter. At the heart of the investigation will be determining what happened in the 70 minutes between the moment the ship tore itself open on the rocks and Schettino’s first formal call for help. In the interval, the coast guard was misinformed by a member of the Concordia‘s crew about the condition of ship, even as it was taking on water. And passengers were told by an apparently confused or oblivious crew that the problem had been resolved and that they should return to their rooms.

Lawyers for civil plaintiffs will be eager to show that responsibility for the tragedy extends beyond the incompetence of the captain. “You have an incentive to find the deep pockets,” says Luca Melchionna, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law. Was the Costa Concordia‘s dangerous approach to the island part of a pattern that the cruise company had previously sanctioned or tolerated? To what extent did company policy contribute to the disarray in the early minutes when lives could have been saved? How well prepared were the crew for the event of an emergency?

For now, the cruise company has joined the criminal case against the captain as a civil party, formally putting itself among the injured and (not coincidentally) forestalling civil action in Italy while the criminal trial plays out, something that could take months of years. “It’s a strategic legal move that protects them, at least for a while,” says Melchionna.

But such maneuvers won’t protect the company in other jurisdictions. While lawyers for potential plaintiffs have complained that the waivers their clients were asked to sign have ruthlessly limited the cruise line’s liability, at least two law firms have announced they plan to file a class action lawsuit in the U.S. next week. Meanwhile, several passengers have already sought representation with the British law firm Irwin Mitchell. “With thousands of passengers and crew on board this huge vessel, their safety should have been the first and only priority,” Clive Garner, the head of the firm’s international law team, said in a statement. “Tragically, it seems that this was not the case and passengers and their families have paid a very heavy price.”

Source: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2105029,00.html#ixzz1k7VvAtS1

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Deepwater Horizon’s sinking could scupper US drilling plans

Martyn Wingrove – LLOYD’S LIST

THE sinking of the Transocean’s semi-submersible rig Deepwater Horizon last week will weaken the US administration’s attempts to open up the Atlantic seaboard for oil and gas drilling.

The oil pollution coming from the blown subsea wellhead is creating not just a physical scar on the environment but also a psychological one in the minds of the US public, which could scupper any plans for expanding the areas allocated for drilling.

Last month, US President Barack Obama unveiled plans to open up areas off Virginia, Alaska and Florida to drilling rigs and seismic survey ships from as early as 2012 as part of a broader energy package.

His plans were based on those proposed by his predecessor George Bush and need to go through Congress and in the Senate before they can be enacted.

But the oil slick from the rig disaster in the Mississippi Canyon area will make the path of the energy bill even tougher, delaying the leasing of new exploration areas by the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service.

“It will definitely ratchet up the debate on offshore drilling. But at this point the administration looks pretty committed to opening up the eastern coast,” said Judson Bailey, an analyst with Houston-based Jefferies & Co.

Oil companies can only drill in the US Gulf, except off Florida, in limited areas off Alaska and only from existing platforms off California.

They have been calling for new areas to be opened off Virginia and Florida to drilling rigs as a way for the US to eventually reduce the amount of oil and gas it imports.

The sinking of Deepwater Horizon and loss of 11 oil workers will also bring into question the safety of exploration drilling in what was though to be a region of good health and safety management.

The focus will tomorrow turn to British oil major BP, which hired the drilling semi-submersible. It will come under pressure from investors and the media to explain how the explosion occurred on the rig as it reports first quarter profits.

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PRINCESS OF THE STARS | Master and executive to be arraigned

SULPICIO Lines lost its appeal to halt the arraignment of two company officials in the Princess of the Stars sinking, which killed more than 800 people.

The ferry sank off San Fernando, Romblon, at the height of typhoon Fengshen.

Arraignments will now go ahead against Philippines shipowner and ferry operator’s VP for administration Edgar Go and Princess of the Stars captain Florencio Marimon.

It is interesting to note that Marimom is listed as missing since the disaster in June 2008.

They will face charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple deaths, serious physical injuries and damage.

Manila’s Department of Justice has cited in a resolution Go’s “failure to exercise extraordinary care and precaution considering the brewing storm along the vessel’s route”.

Go failed to direct Marimon to cancel the voyage even after the weather forecasters raised the typhoon signal to 3 along the intended route, according to the resolution

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Strange sinking

From TRADEWINDS.NO

Mystery surrounds the sinking of a containership off the coast of St Lucia, as a US salvor examines whether the ship can be salvaged.

Owned by Germany’s Brise Bereederungs, the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged 657-teu Angeln (built 2004) was en route to Guyana when the incident occurred. The accident happened late Sunday night after the ship departed the port of Vieux-Fort.

The cause of the sinking is unknown. According to a statement released by Brise, the weather conditions at the time of the accident were fair, the ship did not touch ground and a collision did not take place.

Brise says the 15-man crew was able to escape without injuries.

No pollution has been reported.

Titan Salvage has been hired to secure the site and assess the possibility of salvaging the vessel and the cargo. It is unknown whether the ship will have an impact on trade routes in the area. A spokesperson at Titan refused to comment on the current operation.

Brise says the vessel’s hull underwriters and P&I club are involved in the ongoing investigation.

The ship was chartered to Miami-based Bernuth Agencies for a Caribbean liner service. Local media reports the containership’s cargo included more than $40,000 worth of printer ink.

The containership has P&I cover from Skuld and is classed by Germanischer Lloyd.

By Aaron Kelley in Stamford

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