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MERCHANT MARINE COUNCIL
Published monthly at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., 20226, under the auspices of the Merchant Marine Council, in the interest of safety at sea. Special permission for republication, either in whole or in part, with the exception of copyrighted articles or pictures, is not required provided credit is given to the Proceedings of the Merchant Marine Council. Use of funds for printing this publication has been approved by the Bureau of the Budget November 20, 1962.
The Merchant Marine Council of
Admiral Edwin J. Roland, USCG
Rear Admiral Oscar C. Rohnke, USCG
Chief, Office of Merchant Marine Safety, Chairman
Captain C. P. Murphy, USCG
Deputy Chief, Office of Merchant Marine Safety,
Rear Admiral T. J. Fabik, USCG
Chief, Office of Engineering, Member
Captain Paul E. Trimble, USCG
Deputy Chief of Staff, Member
Captain George R. Reynolds, USCG
Chief, Port Security and Law Enforcement Division, Member
1 Nautical Queries_
11 Maritime Sidelights..
12 Amendments to Regulations
14 Equipment Approved by the Commandant
14 Articles of Ships Stores and Supplies --
14 FRONT COVER
The Norwegian freighter Fernview and the coastal tanker Dynafuel shown the next day after their fiery collision in fog 2 miles off Cape Cod Canal, near Cuttybunk Island. Coast Guard units removed 62 men from the vessels; 5 men were injured, no deaths. The Fernview's bow was originally imbedded some 20 feet into the tanker's port quarter. The vessels were eventually parted, and shortly after this picture was taken the Dynafuel
rolled over and sank by the stern in approximately 60 feet of water. BACK COVER
Oil pollution poster by Al Merrikin, Texaco.
A: a aa b c(2); remainder (1)
Captain William R. Sayer, USCG
Executive Secretary and Member
Mr. K. S. Harrison
LCDR N. B. Binns, USCG, Editor
This material on collisions is reprinted from the October 1962 edition of H.O. Pilot Chart 1400 published by the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office.Ed.
INTRODUCTION AN EXAMINATION of ship casualties for the years 1957–61, inclusive, indicates that, on the average, approximately 20 percent of these casualties resulted from collisions. For these years, collisions varied from a low of 1,288 to a high of 1,628, usually with an increase over the previous year's total; while total losses from collisions ranged from 7 in 1961 to 16 in 1957. Obviously, the prevalence of collisions constitutes a serious problem for the mariner. Therefore, the following cases are being presented both to focus attention on the problem and to consider some of the causes contributing to collisions; also, with the hope that serious consideration of these causes will lead to a significant reduction in the number of collisions.
CASE 1 The principals in this case were a Swedish cargo vessel (Ship A) of 5,137 gross tons and a U.S. merchant tanker (Ship B) of 531 gross tons. The collision occurred, at about 0025 hours EDST, 25 June, in the East River, N.Y., about 100 yards off the head of Pier 3, Brooklyn. The weather was clear, the wind southerly, force 2 to 3, and the tide was flooding at about 2.5 knots in the direction of 045° true.
In the early morning hours of 25 June, Ship A, a Swedish cargo vessel en route from New Haven, Conn., to Port Newark, N.J., was westbound in the East River, with 1,407 metric tons of cargo. Her speed was 10 knots through the water, bucking a 2.5-knot flood current. The pilot, who had boarded off City Island, N.Y., at 2300,
24 June, was directing the movements of the vessel. With the pilot were the master, a helmsman, and a deck officer handling the telegraph. A lookout was on the bow.
When Ship A was approximately 100 yards above the Manhattan Bridge, in midstream, heading for the green light affixed to the span marking the center of the navigable channel, her pilot noted ahead the green side light of an upbound vessel in the vicinity of the Brooklyn Bridge but closer to the Brooklyn side. He then blew a two-blast signal and altered his course to port with a 20° left rudder. No reply was heard, and the ship, which turned out to be Ship B, continued to show a green side light. WheShip A was about 100 yards below he Manhattan Bridge, her pilot haced Ship B, which was now approximately in midstream, turn toward the Brooklyn shore as its green side light passed from view and the red revealed itself. The pilot of Ship A then, at about 0023 hours, sounded the danger signal and backed his engines full, as Ship B continued to turn to its own right. With its way considerably lessened, the bow of Ship A struck the port quarter of Ship B aft of the wheelhouse and the ships remained fast.
At the impact, a muffled explosion emanated from Ship B. Both vessels and the surrounding water were
SHIP CASUALTIES AND COLLISIONS,
cent of total casualties
1957 1958. 1959. 1960. 1961.
7333 6944 7359 7368 7818
1288 1381 1592 1472 1628
17. 56 19.88 21. 63 19. 97 20.82
1 The tabulation of ship casualties and collisions is from the Liverpool Underwriters' Association Return of Casualties to Steam & Motor Vessels of 500 tons gross register and upwards.
quickly enveloped in flames from burning gasoline. Ship A's engines were used to maintain the position of the two vessels in the stream and to avoid their drifting onto the Manhattan piers. The forward deck of Ship A and both sides aft to the poop were afire. The bow of Ship A was firmly embedded in Ship B for about 112 hours. They were separated by use of a tug which placed a line to the bow of Ship B and forced it away. The tanker sank by the stern immediately, but its bow remained afloat.
Ship B, a U.S. tankship, en route from Bayway, N.J., to Mount Vernon, N.Y., with 6,500 barrels of automobile gasoline, was eastbound in the East River making 7.5 knots through the water with a favorable current of 2.5 knots. The pilot was at the helm of Ship B, and with him in the wheelhouse was an able seaman who was stationed as a lookout. The master was in his room adjacent to the wheelhouse. When just below Brooklyn Bridge, the pilot noted a tug with carfloats alongside heading downstream, about 50 yards off the Brooklyn shore between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. As Ship B navigated under the Brooklyn Bridge, it passed the car
floats, on its starboard hand about 150 yards off. At about the same time, the pilot observed a vessel which proved to be Ship A, about 200 yards above the Manhattan Bridge. Upbound at the Brooklyn Bridge, East River turns to the right. The pilot of Ship B stated that, while his ship was making this turn to starboard, he heard a one-blast signal from Ship A. He replied with one blast and continued to swing right, increasing his rudder. Observing the oncoming cargo ship swinging to its own port, the pilot repeated the one-blast signal about 30 seconds later. In about 10 seconds he heard a danger signal from Ship A, which was then slightly below Manhattan Bridge heading to the Brooklyn side of the river with only its red side light visible. With the helm hard right, the tanker was heading almost directly for the Brooklyn shore, when it was struck by Ship A's bow on the port side at about right angles in the vicinity of No. 4 tank. Slightly before the crash the pilot directed the lookout to call the master. He had already been aroused by whistle signals and responded immediately to the call from his room adjacent to the wheelhouse. The master arrived in time to shift the rudder to hard left in an effort to
throw his stern away from the oncoming ship. This maneuver was not successful, due to the close proximity of Ship A, and the collision occurred.
ANALYSIS The two vessels sighted each other less than one-half mile apart as Ship A was nearing Manhattan Bridge and Ship B was turning to her own right just prior to passing under the Brooklyn Bridge. Signals were sounded by both vessels but were not heard by each other. It appears that Ship A and Ship B were in sight of each other at the time a one-blast signal was sounded by a tug (in response to an earlier signal by Ship A). A subsequent one-blast signal by Ship B appears to have coincided with Ship A's two-blast signal, so that both vessels' signals were drowned out by the signal of the other.
After sounding a two-blast signal and without hearing a reply, Ship A altered her course to her own port in anticipation of a starboard-to-starboard passing. Ship B, desiring a port-to-port passing, continued to turn to her own right as she rounded the bend under the Brooklyn Bridge. Thus, the failure of both vessels to timely ascertain the intention of the other began the sequence of events which resulted in collision about 2 minutes later.
Under the circumstances prevailing at the outset, Ship B had the right to expect a port-to-port passing, but, when a few moments later it became apparent that Ship A was turning toward the Brooklyn side, Ship B had the duty to stop, and, if necessary, reverse. Her failure in this regard is considered to have contributed to the collision.
The pilot navigating Ship B stated that it was a one-blast signal that motivated his reply of one short blast and additional right rudder. When he observed a confusing situation developing, naely, Ship A heading toward the Brooklyn shore, he blew a second one-blast signal. He should have blown the danger signal, and his repetition of his own one-blast signal, without so sounding the danger sig. nal, was contrary to the Rules of the Road.
The principal cause of this collision was the improper alteration of course by Ship A to her own port upon sounding a two-blast invitation to pass. Within the meaning of the Pilot Rules for Inland Waters, the two vessels were clearly meeting and each recognized the situation as such. Accordingly, a port-to-port passing was indicated, and the circumstances did not warrant an assumption by the pilot of Ship A that Ship B might desire a starboard-to-starboard passing