Very sad breaking news out of Baltimore…..yet another allision. M.V. “Dali”

You are more than welcome. Do you have any info on the electrical distribution arrangement on this or the MSC Zoe? Curious if the alternators are high voltage. Efficient design, but comes with its own headaches for the ER crew with locked cages around the high tension switchboard. Personally do not have sailing or managing experience on HT switchboards on merchant vessels. 11KV is very common in the oil and gas industry (FPSO, Drillships, Semi’s). Spent the last 15 years in this industry.
PS: What is STW as in STW of 2.5 kts.

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Possible … but I think unlikely. All the more so that we do seem to have any track/heading change when the main engine came on. Almost as it the rudder was stuck/frozen.

Speed Through the Water I think.

Thank you much! Stupid question I guess … dumb! :slight_smile:

This is another example of the value of small boat experience. Someone that learns to steer small vessels without rudder angle indicators by eye—- can also steer a large vessel with a failed rudder angle indicator. It may take a little bit to get the feel of how a particular vessel handles, but it’s easily done by someone with a lot of small boat experience.

An autopilot almost always steers better than a man. Autopilots don’t get bored, drifty, stressed or whatever. Men lose focus.

A helm order may be given backwards by mistake, but if the officer turns the knob on the autopilot himself instead of giving an order, he won’t be turning it backwards.

Of course a man is usually required to make large turns or to promptly check a large swing.


You can also have someone run down to the steering gear room with a radio and just tell you where the rudder is - take a minute or 3.

Large ships will always be in hand steering for inport transits. Job of Pilot, Captain, Mate and helmsmen to check all helm commands.

If the master or mate feel the pilot is giving an incorrect order - a simple " are you sure about right 10 Captain" is usually all it takes.

Closest I came was as a pretty new 3rd mate - going thrrough the panama canal - Master was below - I felt the pilot was distracted and was getting late on an upcoming turn. After being blow off by the pilot a few times by the pilot - with his back to the window - I said " it is just that I have never gone between 2 red bouys before" - he turned around.


I don’t even HAVE a rudder angle indicator right now, so if it vanished that meant I had to buy it first for it to then break down. On the other hand my direct-cable steering provides plenty of force feedback and I can turn quick enough to launch anyone on deck into the water.
Steering a small coastal freighter with hydraulic steering that had no feel, no rudder angle, and slow response to any inputs was different, one had to learn to mentally keep track of turns on the wheel and the time lag involved before anything happened. I can imagine a container ship is that times a hundred. If worse came to worse, someone could go down where the steering gear is and just tell you where the rudder was I guess.

No sir I am not an engineer just a driver so only a layman’s knowledge of systems.
I think I take more interest than most but it is still layman’s knowledge

How do you follow rudder commands by feel?

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We did a regular passage with up to 50,000t dwt tankers. We were generally on dead slow or slow at this point when we came a 130 degree river bend.
The order midships was given coming up to the bend. The ship would then start to turn to port on its own so our next order would be a starboard one that often went as far as hard over and an increase in rpm to counter this.
Your average helmsman is generally very proud of his ability to steer a good course and looking out of the window can see the ship needs to turn to port so there can be a disconnect in his brain and he inadvertently applies port helm. Something we recognise and are prepared for. Usually a quiet word in the helmsman’s ear.
With small ships the autopilot could cope easily.
But on a large deep draft ship you need a helmsman

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The pilot must say something like “come right to 090” or “come right and steady up on that smokestack” or “keep her headed down the center of the channel” , or he must take over and steer himself.

A properly functioning rudder angle indicator is necessary, and normal steering routines require it, but you can get by without it in a pinch.

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Mr Yacht Sailor
You are once again comparing a PA 38 to an A380.


Understand- I can think of quite a few like that- very often the easy turn in the Houston ship channel is “midships” if the ship was up on the bank carrying rudder.

But still more than a good idea as master or mate to politely check if you think the pilot may have made an error.

As you said in a situation like you shared- the pilot would understand.

Absolutely TT.
If you don’t like it .
Challenge it.
I and I hope my colleagues, would never get bent out of shape about a challenge.
Just explain.

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Kind of hard to tell the helmsman to stay in the middle of the channel when the buoys are 1 mile apart but the channel is only 400m wide.
Also the pilot actually steering the ship is very poor practice on a large ship, not so much on a small ship when you can see everything from the helm position. But on a bridge 60m wide it is extremely bad practice.


Yes, I can see that.

We don’t often take pilots on domestic US tugs, but when we do, the pilots who frequently handle tugs and barges usually prefer to steer and handle the throttles themselves.

That was my entire point, absent rudder feel and quick response the job gets much harder :wink:

I appreciate that tugsailor.
I am a former AHTS captain myself.

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I found that to be the case going up the Mississippi River with a Federal pilot. And I was glad for it because I had never steered up or down the river myself. The captain was happy to have the pilot steer as well.

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How much feedback do you get from the rudder pedals on a large jet.
Got loads on relatively small turbo props
Don’t bother I know the answer
And how often do you look at your rudder angle indicator.
Don’t bother
Different strokes for different folks.
I know a little about your industry but you are an amateur in mine as I am in yours