The Ocean Explorer got into trouble on Monday in Alpefjord, a dramatic and rugged stretch of Northeast Greenland National Park, and has not been able to free itself, according to a statement from Denmark’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC).
I’d think this ship would have electronics out the ying-yang.
EDIT: To be clear I mean to say too much reliance on electronics can be an error in some instances.
North East Greenland is not very well charted yet, so even with all kinds of electronics it is risky waters to operate in.
PS> Don’t know if she is equipped with “forward looking sonar” though (??)
That is probably the best electronic equipment you could have in those waters.
Are you implying that the navigators MAY have lacked the required knowledge and skills?
I don’t know who was on the bridge at the time, but I would not make any assumptions about his/hers/their skills.
PS> Most likely there would have been an ice pilot, or eqv. on board on this expedition.
To operate in the uncharted waters of North East Greenland does require special skills, maybe even more so than around your old haunts in Alaska.
Whole islands are known to appear and disappear and bottom contours changes from iceberg scouring and deposit of sand and gravel as icebergs calf into the fjord
I followed your links regarding this particular “specialized” segment and found they have a pool of 42 nationalities including Latvia. Ukraine, India and many others. According to many comments here(gCaptain forum) it is a reservoir of FOC cheap labour . I find it difficult of mixing “cheap " with " high quality”. But I may be wrong of course. STCW is a standard but You know very well it is a " miniumum" standard"
In today’s international shipping it is not the passport you carry (nor your race or religion) that counts.
Are you qualified, able and willing to do the job that is offered, at a cost that is acceptable relative to what others with the same qualifications demand? That is the criteria that is used by the crewing department.
I don’t know the nationality, or qualifications of the Master, officers and crew of the Ocean Explorer, but I’m not prepared to accept that they were “unqualified” because the ship run aground in a place like Alpefjord, NE Greenland
Yes it is a “minimum standard”, as is most “standards”.
It is a lot better than in the days with no standard and a lot of fake licences.
There are many here that appears to think that all FOC-ships are manned by underpaid and unqualified crews, built and operated to inferior standards, but that is not the fact.
Yes there are ships like that, but the reputable FOC registers holds a good standard and is at or near the top of both Paris and Tokyo MoU.
PS> Pay and conditions are not bad either, if this is anything to go by:
I took over a ship years ago that was under Anglo Eastern management. ISM records were impeccable. The gremlins being hidden under the surface spoke otherwise. Not an indictment of the company at large or the people who work for them, just my experience with them. We also found all sorts of homemade tools and parts, parts that were used and repackaged in their original wrapping, etc. Not typically a good indicator of a top notch operation, but maybe I am just biased like you say.
For over 40 years (1974-2015) I inspected ships, rigs, barges and boats, owned, managed and crewed by people of many nationalities, and could tell you horror stories galore. (Incl. what you described and worse)
PS> Not limited to FOCs, or any specific nationalities.
In my experience things have changed for the better over time, especially since STCW was implemented and digitalization has made it easier to check credentials worldwide.
Stricter rules implemented by IMO, Flag states and Class has changed things for the better in shipping, as has IMCA and OCIMF (OVID) inspections in the Offshore industries.
Port State Control is intended as an “incentive” to keep the rules function, which it does to an extent.
I’m fully aware of the limitation of all these Authorities, Rules, Regulations and Organizations, but the alternative would be back to the not so “good ol’ days”, or worse.
I’ve had a similar experience in the Fiords of New Zealand’s Fiordland. With plenty of electronics on the bridge , plus forward scanning sonar, we ran aground in the very gradual sloping soft, silty sea bed that was not showing any return on the screen (because of the composition and angle of the sea-bed). That type of sea bed is very common in fiords being the result of many years of run-offs from the valleys, and I would not be surprised if the Ocean Explorer ran aground because of the same problem I had. Luckily I managed to back off without any damage.