The Costa Concordia disaster spawns something new

I’m sure readers recall the grounding, refloating and salvage of the cruise liner Costa Concordia a few years ago.  It was one of the most complex and difficult marine salvage jobs in history, and success was far from a foregone conclusion. Whilst the ship is no more, the technologies developed and used to salvage her wreck are now being applied in a new and innovative way. Scottish marine salvage group Ardent is adapting the tanks it used to refloat the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship wrecked off the Italian coast in 2012, to decommission North Sea oil platforms. It is one of several companies trying new ideas to

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Recovering from Pearl Harbor

Today the USA, and the US Navy in particular, remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 that dragged this country into the Second World War.  There will be many words written and spoken about the solemnity of the occasion, and exhortations to “Never forget!”. However, there’s another aspect to Pearl Harbor that we mostly do forget.  That’s the enormous, complex, expensive salvage efforts that commenced almost at once, to repair as many damaged ships as possible and return them to the fight.  Many people don’t realize how successful it was.  Of the battleships that fought and won the Battle of Surigao Strait in

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Sailing on the ragged edge of disaster

I received this video clip last night via an e-mail list to which I belong.  I must admit, having sailed aboard yachts now and then during my younger days, I watched it with my mouth hanging open in amazement.  I “raced” according to the standards of 1970’s ocean yachts – not the pro’s, but weekend sailors out for some fun.  The high technology of these modern boats, and the speeds at which they move . . . it’s breathtaking!  I can’t imagine how the helmsmen keep them under control.  In fact, I wonder whether computer-assisted steering (possibly by adjusting the

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This may add an entirely new dimension to marine pollution

I haven’t heard the British-English idiom “to cry stinking fish” used in American English much, but it may be very appropriate to this report. Norway’s Hurtigruten, best known for the ships that ferry tourists along the country’s fjords and coastline and up into the Arctic, is investing 7 billion crowns ($826 million) over three years to adapt its 17-strong fleet. Six of its older vessels will be retrofitted to run on a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG), electric batteries and liquefied bio gas (LBG). “We are talking about an energy source (LBG) from organic waste, which would otherwise have gone up

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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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