CHCH News in Hamilton interviewed me yesterday via Facetime about my thoughts on the collision between the Alanis and Florence Spirit in the Welland Canal which occurred July 11th. The Canal, and entire lakes shipping industry got lucky that neither ship sunk. You can see the interview here.
The collision was caught by at least two individuals who were out watching ships. the two video’s of the collision are included below. both of these videos were pretty promptly posted to Social Media.
in what was likely a steering failure, the general cargo ship Alanis loaded with wind turbine parts bound for Cleveland, and the bulker Florence Spirit, Port Colburn for Grand Anse PQ collided. It looks as though the Florence Spirit crossed the channel in front of the Alanis, in the video an alarm can be heard sounding prior to the collision.
had the Florence Spirit sunk, across the canal, it could have taken weeks or months to clear the vessel. Photos of the Florence Spirit taken after the collision show it listing and down in the bow, suggesting that the hull was punctured by the Bulbous bow of the Alanis.
Despite Pilots being aboard the vessel, they can do little in the case of a machinery issue. a blockage in the canal would trap ships on both sides of the canal, and would have major trade impacts due to the quantities of bulk product that moves through the canal, including Grain and Iron Ore. Perhaps its time to consider compulsory tugs for vessels transiting the canal.
The Welland Canal is located in Ontario. The 43 km passage is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie through the Niagara Peninsula. It enables ships to bypass the Niagara Falls.
Approximately 40million tonnes of cargo are carried through the Canal each year by some 3,000 vessels,of various types. These vessels are comprised of ocean-going vessels, along with Canadian and U.S. lakers.
At approximately 8:30 on July 12, a fire was discovered aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Approximately 160 Sailors were aboard at the time. USS Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability and normally has a crew size of approximately 1000.
the fire is believed to have started on one of the vehicle storage decks and spread to the well Deck. the ship is designed for amphibious assault, and features a flood-able space at the rear for launching landing craft and has 2 vehicle decks with direct access to the well deck.
throughout the day, the fire spread, into the the hanger deck, and by last night into the island, destroying the bridge area and causing the forward mast to collapse on deck. the ship developed a 3 degree list to starboard.
As of this morning,6:30 a.m. Pacific time, firefighting teams continue operations on board, 57 personnel, 34 USNavy Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
US Navy Officials are optimistic the ship can be saved, however the extent of the fire may mean the ship is a total loss.
this post will be updated.
UPDATE 22:50AST: as of 3:30 p.m. Pacific time July 13, firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard. 59 personnel, 36 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Currently, there are no personnel hospitalized.
Several commentators are further suggesting the heat stress on the ship from the still burning fires will result in the ship being declared a loss. replacement cost for the ship would be in excess of 1.5 billion dollars.
SAN DIEGO (July 13, 2020) An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, provides aerial firefighting support alongside Sailors and civilian fire crews on the ground to fight the fire aboard amphibious assault ship USS #BonhommeRichard (#LHD6). pic.twitter.com/Ky7sEUzO89
SAN DIEGO (July 13, 2020) An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, provides aerial firefighting support alongside Sailors and civilian fire crews on the ground to fight the fire aboard amphibious assault ship USS #BonhommeRichard (#LHD6). pic.twitter.com/b07grBqAMZ
SAN DIEGO (July 13, 2020) An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, provides aerial firefighting support alongside Sailors and civilian fire crews to fight the fire aboard amphibious assault ship USS #BonhommeRichard (#LHD6). pic.twitter.com/A0FDKKiTAS
UPDATE July 16: 06:00 a.m. Pacific time July 15, firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), 63 personnel, 40 Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Currently, there are no personnel hospitalized. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE has conducted more than 1,500 helicopter water bucket drops, which is cooling the super structure and flight deck enabling fire crews to get onboard internally to fight the fire.
The fire is now thought to be mostly under control, with teams chasing hot spots. Apparently the superstructure was constructed from Aluminum, which is why the Island was able to burn through – the Heat melted the metal.
today brought the arrival of the Mearsk Chicago, a 6000TEU container ship, and the Second Maersk Lines call of the day. regular Caller Maersk Penang sailed, as the Maersk Chicago was arriving at the Pilot Station.
Maersk seems to have added Halifax as a call on its MECL1 Service. The service runs from the middle east, India, via Suez and Spain to Newark, Charleston, Savannah and Houston.
Official Schedules have not been updated, however Maersk Pittsburgh is also scheduled to call in Halifax,
Maersk Cutter, another relatively new new Offshore vessel put into Halifax. it is expected to sail overnight.
Built in 2015, and Flagged in Canada, the ship normally works in the Newfoundland offshore. The Thalif may be taking a break from Sable decommissioning work to install 2 cranes on the Hiberina platform, so this visit may be related to that.
the general cargo ship Wilson Mistral arrived just after midnight, and tied up at pier 9. Loaded with anchors and Chains, these will be installed in Mulgrave by the Horizon Arctic (due in Halifax July 6) to hold the Boa Barge in place with the Deep Panuke Production platform aboard.
the ship arrived from Montrose, Scotland, and is very small.
the ship is due to move to pier 27, likely for fuel, at 10pm tonight.
the tug Boa Odin delivered the Boa Barge 34 to Pier 9. The Barge will be used too remove the production platform for the Deep Panuke offshore gas project. The Platform features jack up legs. Once the platform is positioned underneath the platform, the platform will lower itself onto the barge, and then withdraw its legs from the Seabed.
Nobel Regina Allen is Currently plugging the last well of the project.
Since the platform is still relativity new, a costing trade application was filed to allow the platform to be stored aboard the barge, at anchor in Mulgrave for 1 year.