Problems at Sea

I bet this was frightening for those passengers… I’m watching the videos and seeing how folk could not walk straight…and stuff was rolling around… oh my… :roll_eyes::thinking:

I’ve been on some choppy cross channel crossings but nothing that even comes close to this.

Our worst crossing was on a hovercraft… I was stuck in a wheelchair and it was awful. The staff were wonderful though and took great care of me.

Saw this on the news. In the Navy we called it Tuesday. Seriously, I do not like passenger ferries or cruise ships because of their layouts and sea going abilities, multiple death traps. Some are necessities for A - B crossings, and always have an uneasy feeling when using them - like checking exits and layouts of decks… I even imagine what the internals would look like upside down.
Its not fear , but a healthy respect for the sea, and self preservation :wink:

Do expand.

Yes Glenn, I had a few dodgy moments in my sea-going days. Once on a container ship the containers were stacked up on the deck so the ousides of the ship were sheer walls. All was fine until we hit rough seas in the South china Sea and the Denny-Browns (stabilizers) packed in. The ship pitched and rolled at dangerous angles and I was pretty scared but we got through it ok.
I spent a couple of months on a ro-ro ship across the North Sea (Grimsby-Esjberg). I left the ship and a few weeks later the ship sank in the N Sea due to a container itoppling over in the hold in heavy seas. The container shift produced a domino effectand water got into the hold. Emergency services managed to get to the scene and only one crew-member lost his life in the rescue.

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I’ll try and expand to make sense of what i mean Paul. On ships ( such as different navies), the are made with main bulkheads ( internal walls ) that are vertical cross sectional …traversing front to back. They also go from the keel all the way to the uppermost deck. Then there are decks ( as main cruise liners have).
All the individual spaces, are sometimes called compartments, and segregated by watertight doors that can be opened as a right of passage. ( they are closed by clips).
Cruisers and ferries are top heavy. When you get above a certain level on cruisers and ferries , there are hardly any sub-dividing bulkheads, certainly not watertight ones. And as you know on a lot, you can see from one side of the ship to the other.
Well this means any water, is free to flow - unstoppable. If you have enough water free flowing, on a level high enough in the ship, the fulcrum or pivotal point, can suddenly make capsizing a very real problem.
What makes it worse, is usually people panicking, or doing the wrong thing, being told the wrong thing.

All Norwegian shipping had been confined to port.
The real question is why was this ship still at sea?
One can only suspect it was trying to stick to the journey schedule.

Two friends of mine were on board the Hurtigruten coastal ferry when it was overtaken by the Viking Sky. The commander of the ferry took refuge at his next port of call and stayed there until things calmed down. Ever since the Herald of Free Enterprise “accident” like Glen I too try and assess possible escape routes. The layout of cabins along identical looking corridors always seem potentially very confusing.

It doesnt have to be that high up in the ship to cause a capsize - evidence the Herald at Zeebrugge.
Free-flowing water on the main car deck - just a couple of feet above sea level -was enough, and it only took about 2 inches of depth! The fact that it was free-flowing was the clincher. Once the ship started to heel, all the water on the car deck sloshed to one side and the weight of that water (quite some tons!) would not allow the ship to right itself.

Unfortunately, ferries need the open space of a car deck to perform their function - it is a balancing exercise during the design process.

Oh i totally agree Carl, it certainly does not have to be higher in the ship ( or “a” ship) , design has a big influence of course.
There was a story going around in my younger days, that an inch of water on the main hangar deck of the Ark Royal, would be enough to capsize her …how much of that was folk lore or scare mongering I have no idea. …
Some incidents in a few years have highlighted issues, but needs must, and we need to get across the channel with our vehicles besides using the Tunnel.
This was one of my old ships…Leander, a survivor of the Cod War, remember that ? . She limped home after the “bump”. I joined her in refit afterwards, and the following year we visited the States for 6 months…as good as new. But undoubtedly, the multiple watertight compartments saved her.

We had a severe force nine from Dublin to Cherbourge last Saturday week which turned it into a 21 rather than a 19 hour trip. I could barely hang onto the bar as we rounded Land’s end let alone keep my pint level. We had another severe force nine going the same way last year but the poor saps that got on as we got off had a severe force 10 going back. In 1981 when the ferries were much smaller and it was a 23 hour trip we had a force ten and had to hove to off Land’s end for several hours. When we arrived on Rosslare and went down to the car deck several 40ft lorries had fallen over and shed their loads. Choclates and alcohol if I remember correctly. Once the cars were off they used a bulldozer to drag the wrecked trucks off.

Yes - after that dreadful accident on the ferry in the 80’s I always check where the exits and life jackets are when I travel. However the Brittany Ferries ships are very comfortable to travel on. Newspaper reports said that the bad weather that hit the ship had been well reported and expected so may have been possible to avoid.