Ship versus crane – ship wins

The Italian roll-on/roll-off ferry Excellent was docking in Barcelona, Spain yesterday after its regular trip from Genoa, Italy.  Things didn’t go as planned. The fire started by the falling crane, among a group of containers, grew worse, spreading a pall of smoke over the harbor.  It took a while to bring it under control. I imagine the officers of the Excellent have a little explaining to do, both to the harbor officials and to their employers . . . Peter

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Floating drydocks, accidents, and ingenuity

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has been damaged during the sinking of a floating drydock.  It’s shown below in the dock before the undocking maneuver. The news reminds us, once again, that floating drydocks are enormously useful, but also potentially very hazardous.  They require very well-trained operators to partially submerge the dock, bring a ship into it and secure it to the dock, raise up the dock, and (after repairs are completed) submerge it again to let the vessel out.  The whole operation relies on pumping water into or out of various tanks along the length and breadth of the drydock.  Any

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The rain in Spain – submarine edition

I’m sure those who follow musicals remember this song from the 1964 movie “My Fair Lady“. I daresay the Spanish Navy and Navantia are wishing, round about now, that they too had “got it” years ago concerning their new S-80 class of submarines. The saga began in 2013, when it was discovered that while the new ships would submerge, coming up again was likely to be a little … er … problematic.  As you can imagine, this would have done little to enhance crew morale. A new, Spanish-designed submarine has a weighty problem: The vessel is more than 70 tons too heavy, and officials fear if it

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A very big ship, and a very big building

Here’s a fascinating video for those who think that size matters more than almost everything else.  It shows a brand-new cruise ship, AIDAnova, emerging from her immense construction shed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.  The ship is the first of a new class of cruise liners fueled by liquid natural gas, rather than fuel oil or diesel.  She’s being built for AIDA Cruises, the German arm of Carnival Corp., ‘the world’s largest travel leisure company’. I suggest watching this in full-screen mode, and comparing the size of the ship to the people visible dockside and aboard the vessel.  She weighs over

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Doofus Of The Day #1,023

Today’s award goes to an anonymous idiot in England. A canal boat user accidentally drained [a] 200-year-old waterway – causing £3m [about US $3.9 million] worth of damage – after leavinglocks open. Water ended up gushing down the Shropshire Union Canal, washing away the banks and leaving a huge gaping hole in the waterway. Trees along the canal were torn from their roots, hundreds of fish died and boats were lifted from their moorings. The ‘human error’ by an unknown Shropshire Union Canal user – thought to be on a boat or barge – will cost £3 million to repair. . . . About 15

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A blast from the past – naval history edition

The chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck was one of the highlights of naval combat in World War II.  Accompanying her for most of her maiden (and final) voyage was the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, one of five ships of the Admiral Hipper class.  In her prime, she was a powerful and good-looking ship, as seen below. Prinz Eugen was captured by the Royal Navy at the end of the war, and handed over to the USA as part of war reparations.  She was used as a target in the 1946 nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, and later sank in Kwajalein Atoll, where

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Tugboats at work

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, the so-called “Tavern of the Seas”.  Its harbor hosted vessels from all over the world as they made their way around the Cape of Good Hope.  It boasted several hard-working tugboats, busily bustling from berth to berth as they assisted with the docking and undocking of all sorts of ships.  Their crews and captains were mostly experts at their trade . . . with a few exceptions.  I’ve watched tugs come boiling up to a ship at what looked like a dangerously high speed, only to put their propellers into reverse and come to a

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Oops!

A brand-new container ship, the CMA CGM Mumbai, delivered from the shipyard in May this year, had an embarrassing steering failure at the port of Mumbai the other day.  It left a mark. Fortunately, the collision was at very low speed, but even so, it’ll take a while to repair the quayside and replace the ship’s stem post.  Embarrassing, that, particularly with a brand-new vessel. Peter

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