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Container Ship Stuck In The Suez Canal OT

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  • #16
    The cross-wind was gusting (not continuous) to 31mph, which for an ocean-going ship, even one with a vast windage area, should be imperceptible. If a mere gust of a 31mph (27 knots, Beaufort Force 6) can blow quarter of a million tons off course, the naval architect is going to face some tough questions about the size and efficacy of the rudder,and the canal authorities some tough questions about the wisdom of allowing such a monster in there in the first place.

    Weirdscience is right—the Suez has no locks.

    Although the Captain does bear ultimate responsibility for his ship, the local pilot is actually in command of the bridge. And when the ship takes several miles to stop, and is roughly twice as long as the canal is wide, you need some serious vigilance and professionalism—and very fast reactions—on the bridge.

    What effect would setting the anchors have? The time delay from ordering the anchors to be dropped and the hook actually hitting the bottom would be several minutes at the least, far too late to be any use at all. With a ship that size, you drop the anchors only when the speed is down to a fraction of a knot, else the momentum simply rips the windlass brake or chain stopper off the deck.

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    • #17
      Maybe the helmsman dropped his phone and was reaching for it and ran off the road. There has to be more to the story than poor weather.
      Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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      • #18
        If I recall correctly, there were both extraordinary (for that area) high winds and a sandstorm, which destroyed visibility. Without visibility, they could have been out of position by a few feet and not known, then being blown off by a few more feet, they might have not known til they felt the ship stop.

        It probably was a combination of things, no one of which would have been enough to cause the problem, but when all added together ...


        also I seem to recall that a higher than normal tide is expected real soon now (maybe today?) to help lift the ship


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        • #19
          Originally posted by wierdscience View Post

          Suez is sea level, there are no locks. Cargo removal would take forever, last I heard it is capable of 10,000~ 20footers. It would also have to be taken off in the reverse of loading to maintain stability.
          I just read that there are about 21,000 containers on board and they are stacked over 100 meters high.Those ships are immense, it's mind boggling. Aside from the fact that they will need to bring in equipment large enough to remove some of them, imbalance is apparently a concern as well. They fear that they could cause the thing to capsize due to imbalance, which would be an even larger disaster. Strange times we are living in.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by fjk View Post
            ....

            It probably was a combination of things, no one of which would have been enough to cause the problem, but when all added together ...
            Yep. That's pretty much always the case with these major malfunctions and accidents.

            I wonder how much draft the ship had beneath it.
            Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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            • #21
              Originally posted by JRouche View Post
              What kind of Moron gets that thing stuck in a Canal..

              He should have set the anchors when things looked bad.

              I was in the USN for eight years. We have survived a few Typhoons in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

              Sailed (USN) in the Gulf of Arabia for a year (2x6 months, two separate tours), heavy waters there in October. 30 foot Seas JR

              The Skipper screwed up maybe
              Their still investigating ! I doubt dropping anchors would have been able to be done in time to stop the ship.

              I always thought these ships had GPS / computer control that kept them on course within a few feet of drifting.

              JL...............

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Mike Burch View Post
                The cross-wind was gusting (not continuous) to 31mph, which for an ocean-going ship, even one with a vast windage area, should be imperceptible. If a mere gust of a 31mph (27 knots, Beaufort Force 6) can blow quarter of a million tons off course, the naval architect is going to face some tough questions about the size and efficacy of the rudder,and the canal authorities some tough questions about the wisdom of allowing such a monster in there in the first place.

                Weirdscience is right—the Suez has no locks.

                Although the Captain does bear ultimate responsibility for his ship, the local pilot is actually in command of the bridge. And when the ship takes several miles to stop, and is roughly twice as long as the canal is wide, you need some serious vigilance and professionalism—and very fast reactions—on the bridge.

                What effect would setting the anchors have? The time delay from ordering the anchors to be dropped and the hook actually hitting the bottom would be several minutes at the least, far too late to be any use at all. With a ship that size, you drop the anchors only when the speed is down to a fraction of a knot, else the momentum simply rips the windlass brake or chain stopper off the deck.
                I was reading that ships of the same size have passed through the canal with cross winds of the same speed and greater and were basically unaffected.

                There is no such thing as fast reactions when it comes to changing course or stopping a ship of that size. You almost have to plan days ahead !!

                JL...............

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by alanganes View Post

                  I just read that there are about 21,000 containers on board and they are stacked over 100 meters high.Those ships are immense, it's mind boggling. Aside from the fact that they will need to bring in equipment large enough to remove some of them, imbalance is apparently a concern as well. They fear that they could cause the thing to capsize due to imbalance, which would be an even larger disaster. Strange times we are living in.
                  Not only capsize but they say it's hull is starting to sag. The ship is designed to move and twist but not to be supported on each end.
                  If the hull should crack and start taking on water they have to cut it up into pieces to remove it. That could take years.

                  They may have better luck trying to move it by pulling each end back into the center of the canal from land, and maybe several tugs pulling it backwards at the same time.
                  I think they could get more pulling force from dry land then they could get from tugs trying to move it.

                  JL..................

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                  • #24
                    Just confirms my believe at how many systems stacked on top of systems stacked on top of systems --- times about a thousand that it takes for the average human being to have their semi-rotten ungrateful day...

                    All kinds of "perfect storms" just a waiting to happen and will due to the lack of foresight and pert near impossible odds of it all coming together now without a hitch.

                    we've gotten out of control - it will take care of itself... eventually.

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                    • #25
                      A lot of the answers show very little knowledge of what is involved in navigating one of the biggest ships in a confined space. At low speeds, steerage response is very limited, and even with bow thrusters it is remarkable that there are not even more accidents like this. Don't underestimate the power of the wind, that huge slab side has more area than a fleet of sailing ships. When you see film of RAS (refueling at sea) it is stressed that the maneuver is one of the most hazardous things for a ship.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by fjk View Post
                        If I recall correctly, there were both extraordinary (for that area) high winds and a sandstorm, which destroyed visibility. Without visibility, they could have been out of position by a few feet and not known, then being blown off by a few more feet, they might have not known til they felt the ship stop.

                        It probably was a combination of things, no one of which would have been enough to cause the problem, but when all added together ...


                        also I seem to recall that a higher than normal tide is expected real soon now (maybe today?) to help lift the ship

                        One thing for sure --- once that Bow started to "catch" in the sand the ship was already at a mild angle,,, can you imagine what it took to stop that pig? it's also why the stern is jamming in the other direction --- all that weight decided it wanted to keep moving and took that mild angle to the max.... who knows how high the tide would have to get to release that thing...

                        What if it takes a pig to release a pig? they have some unbelievable energy sources there, find a chain big enough and line about 5 pigs up in series --- tension up then gun it lol

                        Drag it stern out, you will never budge the bow...
                        Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 03-27-2021, 11:24 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Couple of things to ask about.....

                          Are the two 3400 hp bow thrusters operational and employed?
                          Freeboard on a fully loaded container ship is massive, but those thrusters would seem to have adequate power to overcome wind pressures.
                          Is a pilot required for Suez passage and who and where was he/she.

                          Are the belligerents in the area taking notes on how disruptive this even has been?

                          S E Michigan

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by old mart View Post
                            A lot of the answers show very little knowledge of what is involved in navigating one of the biggest ships in a confined space. At low speeds, steerage response is very limited, and even with bow thrusters it is remarkable that there are not even more accidents like this. Don't underestimate the power of the wind, that huge slab side has more area than a fleet of sailing ships. When you see film of RAS (refueling at sea) it is stressed that the maneuver is one of the most hazardous things for a ship.
                            This^^^^^^^^^^^^

                            Just think of this. if the ship had a side surface area of 400 feet x 75 feet toward the bow, and the wind was sufficient to produce 10 lb per square foot, that is 30,000 sq ft, and the wind pressure would be 300,000 lb, or 150 tons force pushing the bow sideways. I believe the effective area is larger than that.

                            There is a huge mass of ship, so if it gets off-line even a little due to an outside force (wind), it may be very difficult to get back in-line before you hit the side of the channel, since you must get all that mass turning the other way.

                            Then also, ships do not turn like cars..... the bow goes one way, but the stern goes the other.... Not much space in that channel, easy to get fouled up bigtime if there is a wind. I don't know how many miles it might take to stop that ship, nor how much space to turn it, but if you get "behind the ship" when steering, you are in trouble. The pilot would have to start the turn well before the channel actually has a turn to it. And counter steer ("catch her") well before the channel straightens out. So with wind input, it could (and did) get very messy fairly fast.

                            The error, as someone mentioned, was probably in letting a ship with that much length and "sail area" go into the narrow channel under those conditions in the first place.
                            Last edited by J Tiers; 03-27-2021, 12:21 PM.
                            2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan


                            It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by J Tiers View Post


                              Then also, ships do not turn like cars..... the bow goes one way, but the stern goes the other.... Not much space in that channel, easy to get fouled up bigtime if there is a wind.
                              This is well stated --- I do wonder how much "wiggle room" is in the channel to begin with as the surface view is probably deceiving as all hell too and it's much narrower,

                              still - this was not some "gust of wind' this was compounded and steady enough to either overwhelm rudder/thruster efforts or was caught to late, like all great shipwrecks --- knowing what's going on at an early stage is key, like if only those words "iceberg dead ahead" were shouted just one minute earlier... takes time to move a pig but that also means that early on every second counts too...

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                                They should have this dog help them out:

                                https://twitter.com/i/status/1374835984852996101
                                aah yes. The Muttrench 4000

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