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.
at 2:30 am pst, the USN Surface Warriors twitter account tweeted that “Out of an abundance of caution the pier and ship were cleared of personnel due to an initial shift in the ship’s list. Personnel are now pier side. ” there have been no further updates.
the 6 am update indicates that fire teams are back on board. the ship has a noticeable list towards the pier, no smoke is visible, and external water application has ceased.
On Friday, a 15y/o was taken to hospital after an incident where two personal watercraft collided. According to a report by CTV, at the time of the incident, the watercraft were participating in a Guided tour led by Harbour Watercraft & Adventure Rentals owner Ossama Nasrallah.
it is still unclear what exactly happened. the Boy was taken to a waiting ambulance at Kings Wharf by Nasrallah. it is reported that the boy walked to the ambulance with assistance, but has been hospitalized with life threatening Injuries.
Staff Sgt. Fox with Halifax Police confirmed to me that the collision involved 2 personal watercraft, and that the “injured 15 year old male was operating a personal watercraft, and was the only rider on that watercraft.”
Harbour Watercraft & Adventure Rentals operates from the Halifax Waterfront behind summit place.
Since the early 2000’s, all operators of pleasure craft are required to show competency. and meet age and Horsepower restrictions. this change came about in part, to a number of fatalities in boating accidents, ironically, involving personal watercraft and teenagers. This is why the horsepower restrictions apply to those under 16.
Note the Restriction on Personal Watercraft
Proof of Competency normally takes the form of a Pleasure Craft operator Card or PCOC. To get a PCOC, you take a course, or self study, and write an exam. In the case of rental operators, a checklist serves as an equivalent, and requires the renter to cover important safety topics.
Transport Canada says the following about the the Checklists:
A rental boat safety checklist is a ready-to-use safety briefing. Rental agencies use the checklist to review safety information with clients before they head out onto the water. Clients check the boxes on the list to confirm they have understood each item.
Checklists include information on boat operation, boating safety rules, local hazards, and what to do in an emergency. Safety checklists are available for many different kinds of boats and personal watercraft.
Anyone operating a power-driven boat in Canada must carry proof of competency while on board. Your completed rental boat safety checklist is considered proof of competency.
You can find the various checklists on the TC Website. Here is the Checklist for a Personal Watercraft.
among the items is
Harbour Watercraft & Adventure Rentals webpage seems to comply with this, as it states that the Seadoo driver must have a valid drivers license.
so yah, clearly Transport Canada rules and, the companies own procedures are not being followed. Since the owner was involved in this incident, it suggests the company from has a lax safety culture from the top, since if the checklist was completed, it would require acknowledging in two places that the operator was at least 16.
the report has cleared up a few details. First the Crew was transferred to the tug Smit Nicobar, and then transferred to the Dalian Express for transport to Halifax. That cleared up the question of how they got to Halifax.
The Tug Atlantic Enterprise showed up in Halifax Jan 14. It turns out it was enroute to the scene, but was damaged by weather, and came to Halifax instead. the Smit Nicobar had to render some assistance to the tug.
The Fire began in a container of Coconut Charcoal in bay 11, row 7. Bay 11 would be the Forward 20′ container in Bay 12. since the ship turned stern to wind, the spread of the fire forward is not surprising. The container was misdeclared as Coconut Pellets. Charcoal can Self heat, and it is believed this led to the fire. Coconut pellets are basically balls of coconut fiber.
The report indicates Coconut-based pyrochar is characterized by the fact that it burns at a high temperature (600 °C to 650 °C) and produces a very low amount of smoke
this afternoon on the evening commute, a 31y/o male went into the water from the ferry Vincent Coleman around 5:30pm, mid harbour on the Dartmouth to Halifax run. the ferry crew was able to quickly recover him, and returned to Alderney landing, where he was checked over by EHS.
Police later issued a release stating that alcohol may have been a factor, and no significant injuries were reported. Water temperatures in the harbour are around 13 degrees – about the same as the air today.
JTFA just tweeted that 8 people were rescued from a sailboat early this morning off Lunenburg.
A quick check of marinetraffic.com appears to show the vessel Esprit De Corps IV aground off cross island. it stopped broadcasting AIS just after 6am this morning.
Esprit De Corps IV is the former Amver Sport 1, the VOR60 yacht that was owned by Derek Hatfield, as Spirit of Adventure. Hatfield died in 2016. the yacht was a frequent participant in the Route Halifax Saint Pierre and Marblehead races.
I have sent a message to Atlas Ocean racing for confirmation. – Updates to Follow.
UPDATE May 24: Atlas Ocean Racing released a statement on Facebook yesterday:
At 4am AST on the 22nd of May, whilst returning from a season of racing in the Caribbean, SV Esprit de Corps IV was shipwrecked on Cross Island, NS.
20nm before Lunenburg, NS, her final port of destination, and under a very reduced set of sails, gale force winds complicated the manoeuvre of dousing the sails before entering the chanel leading to Lunenburg. The strong gusts and a loss of the ability to use the propeler led the boat to drift towards Cross Island where she ran aground. The crew prompted a PAN PAN to get the boat towed but later a water breech made the situation to upgrade to MAYDAY.
Maxime Grimard, skipper of the delivery of Esprit de Corps IV, acted in accordance with his safety in offshore sailing certifications and with the team’s safety procedures by protecting the crew first and foremost.
The 8 crew members of the sailboat wish to thank the Canadian Coast Guard and the crew of MV Salvage Monarch for their exemplary assistance in evacuating the crew. All members of the crew returned to land safe and sound.
After the crew, the team’s next priority became the recuperation of the vessel for environmental reasons and in order to salvage any equipment left. The team has set a protocol in motion to handle the recovery of any wasteful debris, in collaboration with Environmental Response of the Canadian Coast Guard.
Atlas Ocean Racing, Maxime Grimard, and Gilles Barbot (owner and official skipper of the boat), the insurance company and local experts, are actively seeking the most cost-efficient and practical solutions to recover what’s left of the boat as soon as possible.
We will keep you informed of the next steps in the recovery of the shipwreck. The goal is to return the boat ashore for inspection and evaluation of damage and potential repairs.
Thanks for your support,
Atlas Ocean Racing Team
They also posted that the yacht had been looted since it went aground, and before they could return to remove fuel.
the Second Officer on board the Maersk Patras, inbound for Montreal, fell overboard Sunday morning near the Les Escoumins pilot station around 0930 am. the coast guard called off the search at 8pm. The ship is due in Halifax, after the Montreal Call.
The search was conducted by several coast guard vessels, boats from the Maersk Patras, and RCAF SAR aircraft. Its currently unclear what happened. the officer likely was not wearing a life jacket aboard the ship, and the fall was likely high enough to incapacitate him.
UPDATE May 23: The ITF Conducted an investigation and discovered that the 2end officer went overboard while conducting lashing operations. the crew were removing lashings on containers prior to arrival in montreal, presumabley to speed discharge. The officer was reported to be handling a long lashing rod, able to reach the third row of containers in the stack, when he went overboard. Those rods are often used on the outside ends of the stack, and our both heavy and long.
the ITF also identified the 2nd officer as Ravindu Lakmal Pieris Telge, a Sri lankan national. His body has not yet been recovered. Apparently having crews lash ships in the river, while under way is a common practice at the port of Montreal. besides being dangerous, the practice increases the chance containers can go overboard in the river, as they are not properly secured when the ship leaves port.
the container ship Yantian express finally made Halifax this morning, anchoring in the basin. The ship was bound for Halifax, when it suffered a container fire, and was towed to Freeport Bahamas. Our original coverage of that incident, and updates to the Departure from freeport Can be found here.
All salvageable cargo is onboard, and will likely be discharged in Halifax. Cargo where security was paid will probably be loaded onto the next Ship on the route, while the remainder could remain aboard the ship, or dwell in the container yard. the ship is scheduled to move to the pier at Fairview Cove tomorrow morning.
we know there was damage to the front 2 hatches, and the covers were repaired. however the weather this morning obscures the ship, so other damage is not apparent at this time.
UPDATE May 21: the ship moved to Fairview Cove this morning, and work began to offload. I have been told 3500 moves. As of yesterday, 2975 containers have provided security, with close to 500 providing security since the ship departed Freeport. The ship has an appointment with a Shipyard in China in August.
UPDATE May 22, 0845: It looks like the first containers removed yesterday were the original container bound for Halifax. the ship was worked overnight, and i am aware of ~1300 containers to be removed. Yantian Express is due to move to the east end of the pier Tonight, and the Brighton will take its place at the pier working the eastbound EC5 leg. I have also been told the ship will load 1000 empties to take back to china.
UPDATE May 23, 0924: the offload will continue slowly, due to lack of yard space for the containers. I have been told it will probably take 10 days to fully discharge the ship.
UPDATE May 24: Yantain Express shifted back to the west end birth last night, and work removing containers began again this morning. The ship is scheduled to move to Anchor tonight to make room for MOL Partner and Atlantic Sun who arrive tomorrow.
UPDATE May 27: the Yantian Express spent most of the weekend shifted to the east birth to allow regularly scheduled ships to call at the western birth. it is due to move back to the western birth tonight. Hapag lloyd issued a statement last week about the offload.
Given the particular complexity of the operational handling and considering the fire damage sustained by the vessel and related repairs to be undertaken, the intent is to totally discharge all containers (over 3,200) in Halifax. Once ashore, containers for which General Average and Salvage security has been provided (“secured containers”) will be stacked apart from those which remain unsecured (“unsecured containers”).
It is anticipated that discharge of the 3,200 containers will take an estimated 85 hours of work. During this time, the MV “Yantian Express” must, at times, shift along the berth in order to allow access to other regularly scheduled vessels, and will thereafter shift back in order to resume cargo operations. We anticipate that the actual discharge operation will take 12 days or more.
As part of these operations, the vessel must also back load empty containers to achieve the necessary stability criteria for a subsequent safe passage to Asia where the vessel will undergo permanent repairs.
As of the 24th, 3128 containers have posted the required security.
UPDATE May 29 word is 1200 containers remain on Board, with the offload set to be finished Saturday.
UPDATE June 2: The offload is complete, and 800 empties have been re-stowed aboard the Yantian Express. The Ship is scheduled to sail at 1400 local, bound for Tanger. I have been provided with photos of the Damaged Bow Section of the Ship.
UPDATE June 3: the Yantian Express Sailed yesterday, 6 months less a day of when it ran into trouble. As of May 31, 3217 Containers had provided security. Ceres continues to be full, with an extra row of stacks covering the last set of rails – tracks 8, 9, and 10.
UPDATE June 5: Hapag Lloyd issued a statement today that says forwarding of Containers will take 2-3 weeks to complete. there are also 200 for which no security has been provided.
UPDATE July 31:
Tim Bousquet discovered a Sheriffs Warrant related to the ship, and wrote about in today’s morning File
One warrant is SMIT Salvage Americas LLC vs Yantian Express. The Yantian Express is the container ship that caught fire in the North Atlantic back in January and was eventually towed to Halifax, arriving in May. SMIT Salvage is a Houston-based firm that is perhaps best known for its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon response — president Doug Martin’s testimony before Congress detailed how his firm was frustrated in the response by BP. I called Martin yesterday and asked him what was up with the Yantian Express. He told me he had no idea. He said he has a team dealing with the ship, but he hasn’t been informed of any legal action. “It’s nothing big,” he assured me, as otherwise he would know about it. He did say that the fire was related to a single container on the ship.
The warrant from Smit likely relates to cargo that has not yet paid the Salvage Security. That Cargo would be sitting at Fairview Cove, and if the Security is not paid by the cargo owner, it can be sold. Given Cargo was delayed 6 months, and the Salvage and General Average Securities are 60% cargo value, and not everyone had insurance, they are likely taking action to secure the cargo. 3432 Containers have now provided security.
One of my pet peeves, is that the Discovery show “Mayday” is almost exclusively about Plane Crashes. Yah Yah, the show is called “Air Crash Investigation” in other countries, but there have been 2 episodes involving trains – a 1989 derailment in California that led to a pipeline explosion, and the 1986 Hinton train collision. Sure plane crashes make good TV, but there are so many other Transportation disasters that would make good episodes.
Given the Number of nautical disasters, it always struck me as odd that the show never covered shipping. Well now the folks at discovery have. Disasters at Sea premieres April 16th
Each episode of DISASTERS AT SEA tells the unimaginable true story of a maritime disaster, combining harrowing re-enactments with expert analysis from marine investigators. Whether it’s survivor testimony about a sudden sound, GPS data about the ship’s speed, or the scatter pattern of wreckage at the bottom of the ocean, each piece of evidence helps investigators build a dramatic picture of the deadly chain of events.
Armed with the newly-discovered facts uncovered by investigators, archival footage is combined with evocative re-enactments, CGI, and special effects to immerse viewers in each story and dramatically convey the catastrophic events. Each episode delivers a suspenseful journey into one of the deadliest jobs on the planet, the working men and women who choose this dangerous life, and the marine investigators who work tirelessly to help make the high seas a safer place.
See Nautical Mayday.
you can tune in into Disasters at Sea premiere April 16th at 10pm ET / 11pm ATL, after Deadliest Catch. The First episode looks at the sinking of the Derbyshire, a bulk carrier that went down in the South China Sea in September 1980 with all hands.
I Caught a release from Hapag-Lloyd. Seems the Atlantic Sail broke. from the release:
“M/V “Atlantic Sail” employed in the ATA Service under current voyage ATS29 suffered technical issues and therefore requires dry-docking. The vessel will terminate its current voyage in Hamburg and phase out for dry-docking.”
sounds like a replacement vessel will be put in place.