Hole on Port side, capsized to Starboard?

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#1
Missouri City, TX, USA
464 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
As a ship captain myself, I wonder how that happened. Damage stability is taught in all maritime academies, and on all license exams. Free surface could have done it, but would require partial flooding of damaged compartments, and with a hole that size, I would think that the compartments would have fully flooded almost immediately. When the ship listed to port initally, was there intentional flooding of starboard ballast tanks? If so, that was a mistake. Lowered stability (GM) requires you to flood the bottom tanks evenly. I have been waiting to hear an explanation of this.

Also, officers on all passenger vessels are required by international convention (STCW) to take courses in crowd control and crisis management. The thrust of those courses is that communication (preferably from the Captain) be timely, concise, believable, and as accurate as possible, and if you don't know, you need to say so.
#2
4,575 Posts
Joined Mar 2000
Would you risk turn turtle?

I think he chose to bring her portside alee and shift ballast to bring the breach above the surface while "beaching" her.

Crisis management training.. yes. However, ask any shrink what happens during a serious emergency. There's theory.. and there is reality.
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Babette
#3
Bolton / Accrington, Lancashire, UK
7,687 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Lack of water under the Keel and loss of Stability! not Rocket Science really.

"There's theory.. and there is reality" How true that is ...amen.
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#4
Connecticut
1,906 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
There is two basivc possiblities:

1. The cross flooding of the tanks with the damage of the port side extending to the starboard tanks and /or cross over valves were open causing overall flooding.

2. I really think there is more bottom damage on the starboard side, causing more of the the starboard tanks to flood., thereby letting her flop to starboard.

We will see as the salvage and inspections continue.

AKK
#5
Minnesota
859 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
In light of the ship rolling and not sinking do you have a guess as to which cabins will likely be the least desired on future cruises. As in lowest deck cabins which are always suggested for passengers who have not cruised before. Just wondering?
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#6
Bolton / Accrington, Lancashire, UK
7,687 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Tonka .... Have you seen the Night Vision Video from the Coastguard Helicopter? the ship is totaly on its side and you can see the Keel, it may well be that they were trying to list the ship enough as you say to get the damage out of the water which is what i think they were trying to do but were unable to stop it going over due to lack of water under the Keel! i believe a Draught of around 28 feet needs something like 26 feet of water under it to keep it stable.

JT .... if you were in an Outside and saw the sea getting closer and the ship at an angle believe me any sensible person would be out like a shot!
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#7
Florida
178 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by jtamchay
In light of the ship rolling and not sinking do you have a guess as to which cabins will likely be the least desired on future cruises. As in lowest deck cabins which are always suggested for passengers who have not cruised before. Just wondering?
I'd prefer to be up as high as I can afford to be. Empress and higher.
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#8
Jacksonville Beach FL
140 Posts
Joined May 2004
There are some animations posted and a explanation of the reason for the ship going over 'the wrong way'. The accident occurred quite a bit south of where the ship ended up. The ship was apparently being navigated closer to shore at the end to make it easier for the passengers to reach shore. But it apparently was being brought in closer sideways (like they come into the piers). The underwater wash from this huge ship moving toward shore sideways hit the shore and rebounded, creating a backwash that hit the keel and pushed outward, causing the top of the ship to fall towards land. Imagine a running back in football being hit from the side at the ankles with a crossbody tackle. He falls back over the tackler.

I've seen so many posts and links on the whole thing that I can't remember where the animation of this is shown.
#9
Connecticut
1,906 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by sidari
Tonka .... Have you seen the Night Vision Video from the Coastguard Helicopter? the ship is totaly on its side and you can see the Keel, it may well be that they were trying to list the ship enough as you say to get the damage out of the water which is what i think they were trying to do but were unable to stop it going over due to lack of water under the Keel! i believe a Draught of around 28 feet needs something like 26 feet of water under it to keep it stable.

JT .... if you were in an Outside and saw the sea getting closer and the ship at an angle believe me any sensible person would be out like a shot!


you raise a very good point.........and are correct.the lack of floatable water depth or less then 28 feet as you say......could indeed have flopped her over.

We will see as time goes by!

AKK
#10
Ontario, Canada
18,502 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I read very early on that they flooded the starboard side to even out the flow of water from the port side... dunno if it is true or not.. but it that is the case they over compensated and that caused the major list to the starboard side
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#11
Bolton / Accrington, Lancashire, UK
7,687 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Jackofhearts ... I refer you to my earlier post re lack of water under the Keel ... the wash you talk about had nowhere to go.

The 1st time Oasis of the seas tried to dock at St Thomas in the Caribbean it took them an age, it was only when they realised that there was a lack of depth under the Keel to the sea bed and that the water being pushed into the pier as the ship got close had nowhere to go! eventually and by moving very slow they managed to tie her up.
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MSC Seaside December 2017 Caribbean
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MSC Orchestra November 2014 Venice to Dubai
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Ruby Princess November 2009....
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#12
Sunny Southern California
377 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by captainmcd
As a ship captain myself, I wonder how that happened. Damage stability is taught in all maritime academies, and on all license exams. Free surface could have done it, but would require partial flooding of damaged compartments, and with a hole that size, I would think that the compartments would have fully flooded almost immediately. When the ship listed to port initally, was there intentional flooding of starboard ballast tanks? If so, that was a mistake. Lowered stability (GM) requires you to flood the bottom tanks evenly. I have been waiting to hear an explanation of this.
I am a retired US Naval Officer with some background as a Damage Control Officer. I agree that free surface effect can easily explain the starboard capsize. Looking at the gash photos, I think it probably crossed several water tight compartments. The forward end of the damage may have been intact enough that only partial flooding occurred--leading to the free surface CG shift as the Concordia was steered back towards shore. Any wind that evening, if on-shore, could also have contributed to the shift.

It's frustrating to watch how one man's ego, ineptitude, and cowardice created this tragedy.
#13
2,253 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Originally posted by OldSeaDog
I am a retired US Naval Officer with some background as a Damage Control Officer. I agree that free surface effect can easily explain the starboard capsize. Looking at the gash photos, I think it probably crossed several water tight compartments. The forward end of the damage may have been intact enough that only partial flooding occurred--leading to the free surface CG shift as the Concordia was steered back towards shore. Any wind that evening, if on-shore, could also have contributed to the shift.

It's frustrating to watch how one man's ego, ineptitude, and cowardice created this tragedy.
You've managed to sum it up ... ego, ineptitude and cowardice. Has anyone heard a 1st hand account of whether the ship first listed to port and then to starboard? The suggestion that it was going sideways hadn't occurred to me and does make sense. Have you seen the video of the cook who says the Captain ordered dinner? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfTbHga8HBg Everytime I read one of these outrageous accounts, I say "that can not be true ..." And, then it is.
#14
Missouri City, TX, USA
464 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Originally posted by OldSeaDog
I am a retired US Naval Officer with some background as a Damage Control Officer. I agree that free surface effect can easily explain the starboard capsize. Looking at the gash photos, I think it probably crossed several water tight compartments. The forward end of the damage may have been intact enough that only partial flooding occurred--leading to the free surface CG shift as the Concordia was steered back towards shore. Any wind that evening, if on-shore, could also have contributed to the shift.

It's frustrating to watch how one man's ego, ineptitude, and cowardice created this tragedy.
Yes, OldSeaDog, I think that may have done it, free surface in one of the partially flooded compartments, maybe some heeling effect caused by the 180 degree turn to port after the grounding. Of course I had not considered the wind factor, which on those ships is large.
#15
105 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by ocngypz
Would you risk turn turtle?

Crisis management training.. yes. However, ask any shrink what happens during a serious emergency. There's theory.. and there is reality.
Better to ask a sergeant than somebody who deals in theory. The principles of leadership in a crisis are very simple - take charge, be direct, be clear, be decisive, be visible, and require that people do as you say. When you tell somebody to do something - address them by name. Use the 'command voice' so your words cut through the crown noise, and don't be afraid to hurt people's feelings.

Everybody is going to be looking for somebody in a uniform to tell then what to do - even if they already know what they should be doing. Take advantage of that and you have a huge advantage in terms of getting people to do what they are supposed to.
#16
Florida
760 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
What must have been going on on that bridge? Maybe we will find out when the investigation is done, maybe not. Every officer must have been on the bridge, alarms must have been going crazy. They were dealing with more emergency situations, all at once than any other cruise ship in history. All at the same time and many of the things they tried weren't working. All the while knowing that human error caused this and it was the end of many of their careers, possibly even their lives.

I read a book about an airline pilot once, he said when he thought the plane was about to crash, he thought " how did my Mom's little boy grow up to get himself in this impossible mess?"
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#17
59 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Regarding the damage and flooding, another point is it remains unclear how much damage there is on the starboard side. In one of the underwater photos, it appeared there is significant additional damage to the hull, but it was not clear to me just where it was located.
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#18
Sunny Southern California
377 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by captainmcd
Yes, OldSeaDog, I think that may have done it, free surface in one of the partially flooded compartments, maybe some heeling effect caused by the 180 degree turn to port after the grounding. Of course I had not considered the wind factor, which on those ships is large.
It may just be the angle of the photograph, but it also appears that the stabilizers were attempting to correct for the initial port list. This may also have contributed the the capsize.



I would expect damage on the port side caused by grounding as she capsized. Ships are not designed to lay against hard objects.
#20
Sunny Southern California
377 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by H82seaUgo
i guess a 9 ton rock wasn't good for balance either......
Miniscule compared to the ship's 114,500 ton displacement.