MSC Michigan VII - Out of Control, Charleston

Wow, she was pushing/sucking a lot of water at that speed. I’m surprised there was not more damage.

Still, that platform should have been able to stand it. I guess it’s rotted or scoured away under the waterline.


But then it could have done a heck of a lot more.

May even have knocked a bridge over :thinking:

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Rumor says the pilot was told he could either have all the engine, or no engine.

If I was him I would have shit my pants and held on for the ride too.



That dolphin looked like someone had run into it before and bent it toward shore. Still, it’s amazing that the entire dolphin collapsed before the lines parted.

The pilot and captain did a helluva good job making the best of a bad situation.

There must have been a decision on board to either, cut fuel and power, then take the chance of loosing control of the ship as they were coming up on the shipyard and layberths off the old Charleston Navy yard. Second, intentionally find a place to ground the ship, but risk damage to the hull and potential spill. Or third, ride the ship out of the harbor.

According to AIS, the USCG sent several 29 foot cutters to clear the channel ahead of them, and they were able to hold major ships against the berth while MSC Michigan departed. The SC police evacuated the bridge, and they still had control to beach the ship if they did not think they could clear the span.

As in all these situations, they did not have much time, once they realized the ship was doing 15 knots.

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WTF? There is no wake near the dolphin yet. So how/why did it collapse? I’m not seeing any evidence of surge ahead of Michigan. [For the naval engineers out there - how much water is pushed ahead of a ship, I guess is the question.]

It’s not about how much it’s pushing. It’s about how much it’s sucking. You wouldn’t believe how far ahead of a ship you move water unless you really look for it.


For a time a large Austral Catamaran ferry ran a service across Cook Strait between the North and South Island’s of New Zealand. Even though it operated only during the summer months it was quickly christened as the Vomit Comet.
It was required to slow down at the entrance to Wellington Harbour but even with this requirement cargo operations were suspended when the vessel was a mile from the berth and ships alongside were subjected to movement even though there was no visible disturbance.

Step out on the bridge wing and have a look aft in places like the C&D canal.

On a river or a canal a passing ship will pull moored ships off their berth. The effect is apparent when the bank is a gentle slope, like a beach. The water first pulls away then sweeps back in. It can be dangerous to beach-goers.

It was what pulled this ship off it’s berth: M/V Jupiter fire.

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Hello Sal – I watched your video with the track analysis of the vessel – as usual very informative. If as you note the pilot ordered a dead slow ahead soon after the vessel turned around, it would also stand to reason that there would be no need for any further engine movement commands.

On the main engine control system (such as Kongsberg AutoChief) the start rpm usually is half ahead rpm regardless of the command and a few (3-5) seconds after the engine starts and rpm is stabilized, the rpm would be adjusted to the telegraph command.

So possible here that the engine started (on half ahead) and engine rpm corresponding to DSAhd was not noticed until the ships speed started increasing beyond 6-8 kts and increasing by the seconds. Looks like a 24+ kt vessel - so perhaps half ahead rpm of around 45-48 may translate to about 15 kts in the river.

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I agree with the approximate speeds

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Do we know what engine this thing has

Main Engine: MAN B&W 10K98MC-C, i.e. with camshaft.


Source: scheepvaartwest - Sealand Michigan - IMO 9196864


Thanks Bugge … interesting. Ship design speed is not mentioned though. With B&W engine and HHI built, more than likely NorControl/Kongsberg system for engine control, alarm monitoring, PMS, etc.
PS: Funny anecdote. In 2000 or so, we contracted NorControl to retrofit the obsolete alarm system on 3 sister vessels. When I first visited their office in Horten, I noticed quite a few of their engine control systems that was being manufactured had the logo ‘Hyundai NorControl’. I asked why Hyundai and the response was HHI is their largest customer and they kept squeezing us on cost until we could go down no further. They then sucked in some air and demanded their logo is etched on the panels. :slight_smile:

98 is the big boy. The 90 on one ship of this vintage was prone to going up to full ahead if maneuvering or 92 turns at sea if there were feedback signal issues with the governor I think, I remember maneuvering at the engine side because it got stuck at full ahead and resetting the bridge control required some elaborate dance. The regular crew was used to it.

I wish I remembered what automation that was, Lyngso maybe. I never saw how it got fixed on that ship, unfortunately, there were several problems with the system and I’m not clear which one was the issue.


Big boy indeed. Both MAN B&W and Wartsila Sulzer in the race to pass the 100k HP came up with the 98 and 96 (respectively) bore engines. Looks like they are going out of style.

I vividly recall an incident in Mississippi River while discharging just south of N.O rather early in my career loading cargo. One ship was overtaking the other and got rather close, It busted most of our lines and almost the cargo hose. Was fortunate engineers got us going in time to push the 250k barge back to the dock without breaking the hose and staying off the 6 o’clock news. our lines were tight. . Pardon the expression, Ship suction is real

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