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Source Wikipedia.
On 17 January 2013 following a port call and fuel stop in Subic, Guardian proceeded across the Sulu Sea and entered the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. After appearing on Park radar, at approximately 0400 hours local time Guardian was radioed a warning by park officials that the vessel had entered a restricted area. Park officials claim their lawful warning was met with disregard by Guardian, which radioed back to “bring [their] complaint to the US Embassy.” Shortly thereafter, the captain of the USS Guardian ran his vessel aground on Tubbataha Reef, about 130 kilometres (70 nmi) south east of Palawan in the Philippines. At the time of the accident the ship was travelling from Subic Bay in the Philippines to another port. The extent of any damage to the reef is unknown, but there is no evidence that fuel oil is leaking; damage to the reef has been estimated at 10 meters by the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines. The U.S. Navy evacuated all 79 crew members from the minesweeper to the USNS Bowditch and MV C Champion on 18 January. On January 19, an assessment team was deployed would plan and execute the vessel’s extraction. On January 20, 2013, the Navy Times reported the ship is taking on water in multiple places and is experiencing a slight list to port.

pb-130120-guardian-cannon_photoblog900a

The comments in the article of the Park Rangers on the Reef calling the USS Guardian by Radio reminded me very much of the following………Click the picture below to play the Video……

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USS Guardian

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America its time to act

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Now fix the Planet !

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Recap.

The Lamma IV, a 24 metre boat owned by Hongkong Electric carrying about 124 staff and their family members, with a crew of 3, travelling to watch Fireworks in Victoria Harbour, collided with the ferry Sea Smooth, in waters off Lamma Island at about 8.23pm on October 1, 2012. More than 100 passengers on the boat fell into the water, and at least 39 are confirmed dead. This is the deadliest boat accident in Hong Kong in 40 years. The Fireworks were scheduled to start at 9.00pm, and attracted around 150 spectator vessels. It was reported the Sea Smooth was travelling around 24 knots and the Lamma IV around 14 knots. Visibility was good. It appears the Sea Smooth Port Bow made contact with the Lamma IV Hull in the area of the Stern Port Quarter, where the Engine room compartment is located. It was reported that the impact caused a hole of 9 sq. metres. The Lamma IV engine compartment became inundated with in rushing sea water, causing the stern to rapidly sink to a depth of 15 metres trapping people inside. Eyewitness reports state the Lamma IV was barely visible as a dark shape after the crash. It’s reported the Sea Smooth stayed for around 5 minutes before leaving the scene. Eyewitness reports state the Lamma IV, sank with it’s Bow sticking out of the water within 5 minutes of the collision.

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The following drawing was published in the SCMP. It illustrates the differences between the two vessels that collided, and shows how the Lamma IV,  was very vulnerable to a large breach of the Hull in the Engine Room section, or next aft section, which they have called the Sterntube compartment.

The drawing of the Lamma IV shows Five Bulkheads built into the vessel, each of which would either be a sealed bulkhead with no penetration, or have a watertight door to gain access from one section to the next, such as was likely the case between the Engine Room and the Sterntube section.

In some of the news reports, there has been speculation that watertight doors may have been left open allowing more than one compartment to flood.  The investigation will answer that question. If the Sterntube section did as seems likely flood, then there may be additional reasons for that to happen, including additional cracks or openings in the Hull that allowed seawater into that section.

Some survivors have been quoted in the news papers to say that they felt they only had a minute or two after the collision before the Lamma IV aft passenger section was inundated with sea water, and the stern started to slip below the water.

Based on assumptions of the dimensions of the Lamma IV engine room together with the anticipated water flow with a large opening below the water line, I believe it would only have taken around 1 to 2 minutes for the engine room compartment to be filled with more than 80 to 100 tons of sea water.

It is staggering to realise that an opening of less than one square foot, a metre below the sea surface could allow sea water to rush into the vessel at a rate of around 1,000 gallons per minute. Bear in mind that reports mention the opening in the Lamma IV Hull caused by the impact was around 9 square metres.

If there was one watertight door open between the engine room and the sterntubes compartment then at most it would have taken less than six minutes for the compartment to fill with sea water.

These are ‘broad brush’ estimates based on published tables of ‘Estimated Water Flow Rates’, taking into account the size of opening and fall distance. They are also conservative estimates.

With both compartments filled with well over 100 Tons of seawater, and the buoyancy of the aft section removed, the vessel’s stern would rapidly sink, and the vessel upturn into the Bow Up condition as seen in so many photographs.

Anyone trapped in the passenger compartment in the aft section would now be under several metres of water, in a vessel that is vertical, with loose items freefalling down on top of them. A very perilous situation.

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To give some support and context to the above assumptions, there follows below an eyewitness report of the aftermath of the collision as recounted by Chris Head, who was seated on the upper open deck of the Sea Smooth. This was published in the SCMP.

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Teacher and Lamma resident Chris Head, 48, who was sitting outside at the back of the upper deck of the Sea Smooth, relived the moment of impact and the harrowing minutes afterwards when he thought his 12-year-old son was aboard the stricken vessel the ferry had hit.

“Visibility was fine, it wasn’t crystal clear, there was that haze, but you could see quite clearly. The water was calm,” he said.

“I just heard this enormous whack. I thought we had hit the biggest wave of all time. The force of the collision toppled me out of my seat, I ended up on my hands and knees on the deck. My first reaction was that of shock, just simply ‘wow! what happened?’ I didn’t know if we had hit a rock, a reef, a lighthouse or what.

“Then, because I was at the back of the ferry, I could see the other boat and realised what could have happened. All I could see was this very dark, silhouetted vessel limping away, it was leaning over to one side. It didn’t seem to me like a ferry, it was so dark, there were no lights on it. I thought it was a fishing boat.

“I couldn’t hear any shouts for help or screams, nothing, the boat was just so dark.

“Initially we were trying to put on our life jackets, so we were more concerned with that. But after a few minutes, probably about five, I could see the end of the boat – I couldn’t tell whether it was the bow or the stern – sticking vertically out of the water and I thought ‘Shit! This is real’.

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Lastly take a look at the following photographs taken of the Lamma IV as she was lifted onto a Barge to remove her for further investigation.

The massive tear in the Hull caused by the impact can clearly be seen in the Blue Hull. It is also possible the massive impact on the Hull caused other cracks to open further aft.

These are quite chilling photographs as after looking at these it is not hard to imagine just how quickly the stern section would have filled with sea water and sank.

There is an eyewitness report from ‘gac’ on the Lamma Forumn, who saw the Lamma IV as she was lifted onto the barge. He describes the tear in the Lamma IV to be like in an L shape, with a vertical tear from the top of the Hull down to the chine (foot of the side) linking with a horizontal tear along the chine, as illustrated below. In addition there appears for be an opening at the rear bulkhead of the engine room, likely caused by the force of the impact on the Hull shell plate at the time of impact.

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So in summary the Lamma IV sank so quickly due to the massive breach of her hull. Her fate was sealed the instant the two vessels collided. As soon as the Hull had been ripped open to the extent it was, then rapid flooding and sinking was the only outcome.

Given the force of the impact, any vessel of the same specification and construction as the Lamma IV would surely have had the same outcome.

The tragedy is that the collision took place in the first place, and the Investigation will seek to provide answers to how could that happen, as well as to “Why the Lamma IV sank so quickly”.

The last two Photos are courtesy of contributors of the My Lamma Forumn.

Lastly I’d like to pay my respects to all those affected by this tragic accident with such a sickening loss of life.

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Yeah Russel..heaps of room…

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Well hang on there Russell a bit to the left mate ….

Nah the other left you daft Kiwi……

Ouch……Akward….

Oops…..give us me Bow back Mate !

You can see the Video of it all at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxZ9P5FCGNI&feature=g-u-u

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0li5rH_2j0&feature=share&list=PL59BD5480A8795C5F

No sleep for the shore team !

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I recieved a call yesterday afternoon from Steven in Kuala Lumpur to break the news that Bruce Cramond had passed away. I have copied Steven’s follow up email below, which everyone agrees exactly captures the Bruce that we all knew and liked so much.

We shall miss him.

It is with great sadness to have to tell you that our friend and colleague Bruce Cramond has passed away on Friday 23 March 2012 at 08:20 AM at University of Malaya Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. He was to be 62 years old next month.

After his initial operation and successful removal of his melanoma from his sinus three years ago and subsequent numerous operations to his palate, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor three weeks ago.

Bruce being Bruce did not want to “bother others with it” and kept it private. He was operated on recently in an attempt to remove it, and, until a few days ago, there was some hope to cure it, however complications arose last Wednesday whereby he was urgently admitted to the hospital. He then went unconscious and never recovered.

Friends shall remember Bruce from his stories; his Antarctica days with the Royal Navy, his Greenpeace days in Amsterdam, his Oceonics days in the late eighties, his startup days of TLGH in the nineties, his life and stories in Jakarta, his endless stories of New Zealand rugby games, from the “Chiefs” to the “All Blacks”, wild pub crawls in the most exotic places around Asia, his endless tennis games, miles of jogging and fitness training, the beauty of his home town “in the middle of nowhere” in NZ and the bars of Taman Desa, where he was immensely popular.

Colleagues shall remember Bruce for his commitment, honesty, morals, ethics and dedication to his work, his long working hours and “let’s get it done” approach, I like “lifting boxes” he would say and let’s not forget his gift of writing reports, knowledge of survey work and interest in the well-being of fellow colleagues.

Bruce being Bruce would have said: “I’m sorry to leave this way”.

May he rest in peace, we shall miss him.

Steven Kusters

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I can only add that I knew and worked with Bruce over much of the last twenty years. I owe Bruce a great debt of gratitude for all that he did during that time.

May he rest in peace, we shall all miss him greatly.

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Exclusive: Costa Concordia in previous close call – FREE CONTENT

Wednesday 18 January 2012, 00:30

by Wally Mandryk and David Osler

Data provided by Lloyd’s List Intelligence

But cruise line insists Friday’s deviation from route was unauthorised

EXCLUSIVE analysis of Lloyd’s List Intelligence tracking data shows that Costa Concordia sailed within 230 m of the coast of Giglio Island on a previous voyage, slightly closer to the shore than where it subsequently hit rocks on Friday.

The cruiseship, which capsized off the Italian coast, had previously changed course to get closer to Giglio on the night of August 14 last year — for La Notte di San Lorenzo, the night of the shooting stars, owners Costa Cruises have said.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the company’s chief executive officer, Pier Luigi Foschi, stressed that the decision was taken under the authorisation of the local martime authority and the permission of Costa, after the route was reviewed. He also claimed that the vessel was never closer than 500 metres from the coast at any pont in the voyage.

The route taken on January 13, however, was described by Costa Cruises as a deviation from the pre-planned route to make a manoeuvre that was “unauthorised, unapproved and unknown to Costa”.

Both routes passed within a few hundred metres of each other and the tracking data, obtained through Lloyd’s List Intelligence proprietary land based AIS receivers, proves that the vessel would have been less than 200 m away from the point of collision when it took the previously authorised route. The route also took the vessel far closer than the 500 metres claimed by Costa Crociere.

Meanwhile, the UK Hydrographic Office has issued a statement, declining to comment on whether Costa Concordia was using one of its charts.

However, UKHO has confirmed that Italian charts of the area around Giglio are available on a larger scale than the 1:300,000 charts it issues.

Although this might seem to be a technical matter, the master of the vessel, who is under investigation for suspected manslaughter, has blamed the casualty on the cruiseship hitting an uncharted rock. This could make charts critical to the case for the defence, should the master face a criminal prosecution.

No rock is shown on the UKHO chart at the position in which Costa Concordia sank.

The UKHO said: “This is a regrettable incident where life was lost and a full investigation will be undertaken by the Italian maritime authorities. A report will be published following that investigation.

“The UKHO expects that the report will contain information about the chart or charts used by the vessel at the time of the incident, and also expects the report to describe what features were present on the charts being used.

“The UKHO does not wish to prejudice the investigation, and so will not enter into speculation about which chart may have been in use by the vessel at the time of the incident.

“The UKHO’s most detailed paper chart of the area in which the vessel grounded is Chart 1999 at a scale of 1:300 000, which is up to date for all relevant information known to the UKHO. It should be noted that this small scale chart is considered to be unsuitable for close inshore navigation.

“Larger scale paper charts, produced by the Italian hydrographic service, are available. The official digital charts are Italian with larger scales available.”

Link to Original Article on Lloyds List :http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/sector/ship-operations/article389069.ece

YouTube Video of Costa Concordia Sail Past at Giglio Island in August 2011  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKJszx8NgMY

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