USS J McCain / Alnic MC collision near Singapore


#325

In 1981 when I was a cadet on a commercial cruise the Second mate called a vessel approaching us on the port side. The other vessel refused to change course of take any action. That should say something about some so-called mariners.


#326

I admit that I have not read everything but I do have a question: Is there any analysis of what happened with the McCain? It was hit in the port quarter at an angle that indicates an overtaking situation (unless the McCain cut across the bow of the other vessel, and then at a slow speed). Something seems very fishy in Denmark.


#327

Nothing official other than the claim of supposed steering failure. There’s a very plausible sounding theory about the McCain overtaking the tanker too close and getting her steering fouled by the hydrodynamic forced between the two and swerving across the tanker’s bow.


#328

Wow. That would be awfully close. I would not want to do that. And I
have not sailed on ships in a long time. I have been running fast
ferries in the San Francisco bay. Pretty fun having in excess of 11,000
hp in a light aluminum catamaran. Stay away from everything.


#329

Interaction is well known to bring two vessels together but I have never heard of interaction causing a vessel to turn 90 deg ahead of another vessel. Pre-emptive Interaction with Quantum Entanglement?..hmmm curiouser and curiouser.


#330

#331

Not enough seperation to begin with. If you are close enough to experience hydrodynamic forces you are too close, I mean within a couple hundred feet.


#332

If they were holding left rudder to counter the bow pressure pushing them off, I could see it happening. When I was working a seismic gun boat we damn near ate our supply boat when they did that and pulled ahead instead of out (new captain in training, guy had rocks for brains). Icebreaker bow vs ancient converted supply boat could have been real ugly.

But yeah, they’d be way too damn close to each other to begin with if that’s what happened. I realize the straits there are tight quarters, but there’s no reason to get THAT close to another boat there.


#333

There has also been speculation from the former SWO’s on this thread that they were trailing a shaft to conserve fuel. This would add to the lack of maneuverability when (as jbtam said) the navy ship may have been holding hard port rudder to counter the shear from the tankers bow wake. If you’re not anticipating that same sheer to have the same interaction with your stern as you go past, you bet your ass you could turn hard port across the overtaken vessels bow.


#334

Fair comment both as merchant ships don’t usually trail shafts under normal steaming. Would you really trail a shaft in a TSS?


#335

Usually you’d be at least at split plant(one engine per shaft running so you had both shafts), but it depends on where you are and when you were officially entering the straits.

Most OODs I’ve seen will bring the second engine/shaft online whenever they start to get that “man this is getting hairy” feeling, but I can’t speak for all of them.


#336

Not unless you had a bad case of cranial rectal insertion.

Trail shaft is a transit configuration, not a maneuvering configuration.


#337

This should not be left to the OOD to decide. The Captain’s Night Orders should have specified what changes in propulsion configuration and watch station manning needed to be made at a specific point, or position. e.g. "prior to entering the TSS, the engineering plant should be…, and additional watches should be set in … for xxxxx ". This should be standard procedure, a “no brainer”.

Of course, the OOD could certainly increase the watch station manning or the engineering readiness earlier, if deemed necessary or prudent.


#338

Another collision in Singapore Strait, but not involving any warship this time: https://fairplay.ihs.com/safety-regulation/article/4291571/five-missing-in-tanker-dredger-collision-in-singapore-strait?utm_source=Eloqua&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CL_FDN%20130917_PC9157_e-production_E-3031_FP_0913_0447

Lates from CNA: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/2-bodies-found-after-tanker-and-boat-collide-in-singapore-waters-9211028

PS> Something doesn’t tally here. The tanker came out from Western Anchorage and crossed to the East bound lane, while the dredger was transiting in the West bound lane, which would indicate that the collision damages should be on the port side of the tanker’s bow.

The short video showing the tanker at anchor on Eastern Anchorage after the collision show damages on Stbd. bow however. (???)

Official MPA notice: http://www.mpa.gov.sg/web/portal/home/media-centre/news-releases/detail/320bce96-f47f-4072-923a-744d180a526f


#339

unless the tanker just hit the rear end of the dredge?


#340

Looks like you are right: http://gcaptain.com/five-missing-dredger-capsizes-following-collision-tanker-off-singapore/

BTW: the JBB De Rong 19 was brand new, built this year.


#341

From today’s LL

BARELY three weeks after the warship USS John S McCain collided with the oil tanker Alnic MC on August 21, the waters around Singapore witnessed another fatal collision early on Wednesday.

The latest accident — involving the tanker Kartika Segara and the dredger JBB De Rong — brings the number of collisions so far this year to seven.

Data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence from 2007 shows that the number of collisions every year around Singapore waters has ranged from a low of six in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to as high as 11 in 2014 and 10 in 2013. From the 2014 high, the number fell to eight in 2015 and seven in 2016.

This equates to an average of 8.1 collisions per year over the period, or a minimum average of one accident at least every two months.

As in a busy highway where car crashes are sometimes expected, Singapore sits in the middle of shipping routes connecting east and west.

The Singapore Strait is one of the world’s busiest sea lanes where vessels are separated by less than a nautical mile, or about 1.8 km, and daily vessel movements total more than 1,000.

To further illustrate the density, the world’s second-biggest container port handles more than 30m teu every year.

So, are the waters around Singapore just too congested for ships to avoid colliding with each other?

The answer is actually a “no”, as both of the recent collisions could have been avoided.

As for the Kartika Segara and JBB De Rong collision, both vessels had not heeded warnings from the port’s vessel traffic control to avoid the collision, and in the case of the USS John S McCain and the Alnic MC, the warship was not detected, possibly due to not switching on the automatic identification system, and there was also steering gear failure.

The port also uses a traffic separation scheme to reduce collisions. The scheme involves neatly co-ordinating ships sailing through a busy strait by moving them into distinct lanes heading in the same direction.

An ex-naval officer with extensive experience said that 8-10 collisions a year is not much different from other very busy harbours in busy straits and narrow channels, while emphasising that more should be done to avoid fatal accidents.

More often than not, such accidents are due to human error or mechanical error.

Ship collisions have a greater probability of occurring at night when the crew may be tired and visibility is poor. The Kartika Segara and JBB De Rong collision was slightly after midnight while the John S McCain and Alnic MC collision occurred in the pre-dawn hours.

To further remind shipping crews, who sometimes pay with their lives in such collisions, the ex-naval officer suggested having a standby radar switched on during the night or when it is raining, and having an extra person on watch during the night, ideally someone senior.

And as the maritime sector embraces digitalisation, an over-reliance on technology can also be responsible for collisions. Actually seeing vessels from the deck is much better at avoiding collisions than just relying on the radar, which may not pick up small boats or where a miscalculation might suggest an approaching vessel being further way than it actually is.

There has been an increasing focus on safety at sea, highlighting issues such as mental health of seafarers, but perhaps more can also be done in terms of training and motivation of crews to keep them safe from collisions.


#342

I sail/power around Singapore and cross both lanes to go to Indonesia all the time, I dont see its too congested at all.

Look at the all the last plane crashes around the world, self inflicted crashes of perfectly airworthy aircraft, they pilots have far less skill today than years ago same in ships except they crash into each other rather than the ground

Did you follow the track of the tanker after it ran into the dredge, it looks like it was going to do a runner


#343

From Straits Times today: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/two-fatal-collisions-in-a-month-raise-maritime-safety-concerns
Can more be done to improve safety in Singapore waters and Singapore Strait??


#344

In my early Naval career I was an Officer of the Watch in antisubmarine exercises when it was common to over ride the commands order from the CIC to conduct a manoeuvre as we were the safety officer. The orders were always given as come left or come right which we then passed to the wheelhouse as Port 10 or Starboard 10. The amount of rudder used being varied as if the order was say to come hard right. We typically had 2 years bridge experience in a junior capacity before obtaining a Bridge Watch keeping Certificate and another couple of years under our belt before we kept a watch as safety officer… We were also assisted by 3 lookouts, Port Starboard and Astern who were rotated hourly. When meeting a US warship in US waters I have been ordered to manoeuvre to pass 2 miles off regardless of what the warship is doing. In common with many masters I have noticed junior officers are losing the appreciation of what the visual picture outside the bridge windows can tell them. Modern electronics and radar displays are an incredible improvement over the plotting sheet but seamanship and safe bridge watching are still vital.