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Hurricane Ship Sinking

Discussion in 'YachtForums Yacht Club' started by JWY, Oct 7, 2015.

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  1. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Sad story indeed.
    I have served on similar size ships and been through a hurricane or two.
    Never felt less than safe in hurricane conditions, but we had power, kept the bow into the waves and reduced speed. Not sure I experienced 50 feet waves though, but most of my ships were tankers laying low in the water, almost like a submarine, yet the spray from the bow waves kept coming back drenching the bridge. A day or two later and all was good again,
    I can imagine what was going on when these guys lost power and went sideways to the seas, severe rolling with cargo and supplies smashing about..
    Possible capsize and never came back up, scrambling for life rafts and lifeboats, but almost impossible to launch, then it was all over.
    Sad and avoidable, in hindsight anyway..
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Had everything had gone rite?
    I'm still at a loss that everybody knew the storm was hovering, had poor projected path, turned into a but kicker; Cat2 when he entered the north Bahamian waters, was building strength Wednesday (cat 3), and the ship motored at speed into it.
    I'm real sorry it happened, we pray for the loss of life.
    But I feel my concerns are getting down played.
    There had to be dispatch info from PR explaining bad weather ahead.


    Big ship or not, you avoid storms, mild, bad or a cat 2 (3, 4+).
    Los or damage of cargo would be my first TS concern and would try to avoid any TS to protect any and all cargo. Cargo transportation is what pays the bills (Crowley my first competitor), all things need to arrive intact.
    I'm not talking Bounty here (arrogant captain or Italian air pilot),,,,, OR am I???
  3. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    The Bounty?
    Incompetent Captain based on all I read about that disaster.
    (Leaky old tub with a volunteer hippie crew)
    :(
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    http://news.yahoo.com/vessels-messages-key-inquiry-ill-fated-ship-085457546.html

    "Another question is whether the five workers whose job was to prepare the engine room for a retrofitting had any role in the boat's loss of power, which set the vessel adrift in the stormy seas.

    The 41-year-old El Faro was scheduled to be retired from Caribbean duty and retrofitted in the coming months for service between the West Coast and Alaska, said Tote executive Phil Greene.

    When the El Faro left Jacksonville on Sept. 29, five workers from Poland came along with 28 U.S. crew members to do some preparatory work in the engine room, according to Greene. He gave no details on the nature of their work."

    A second article:
    http://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2015/october_2015/2015-10-05_el_faro.html
    Also onboard, five Polish nationals, apparently to conduct repairs on a boiler while the ship was underway (some reports say their job was “calibrating” the engine).

    Greene is the owner of the El Faro.
    These were the 5 Poles, mentioned in many articles. They were from the boiler manufacturer. I read elsewhere that they were doing repairs to the boiler, but cannot find the link now. The El Faro was a US Flagged ship that fell under the Jones act and was sailing between 2 U.S. ports. So how do you have 5 Polish nationals as crew, you can't, there is a clause in the CFR's where you could pick up temporary non-US crew members if you had a sudden loss of crew, but they left from their home port. The 28 U.S. crew, are the ships full time crew.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Tropical Storm conditions with 40-50mph winds would generally not normally be avoided by a 790' freighter. Those conditions are something that 790' ship has seen dozens of times over it's life.

    I followed the storm path very closely as I have a lot of management yachts I maintain. It sat at 40-50mph winds for days.....3 or 4 if memory serves me right, and it was hardly moving 3-6mph most of the time, then literally overnight (I think Wednesday night)it went from a TS to a 140MPH storm category 3 and 4 storm, and started moving almost 10 mph...by this time they were past where they could head West and would have to turn around and head North.......So I'm not sure I'd fault the Captain's decision at this time, he did venture 100 miles out of his normal course and closer to land and probably would have been well in front of it. Had they not lost propulsion which is not a normal occurance they'd probably be sitting in PR drinking rum and cokes and talking about it.

    Another story I have from someone fairly close to the situation is they lost propulsion earlier than what's really been reported and they contacted Crowley to see if Crowley had an ocean going tug in the vicinity to tow the El Faro. This is just heresay......of course.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I believe this question enters a cross-over between between the CFR's and immigration law. I think you'll find that the Polish nationals were required for a specific job because they had the expertise, and would not be considered part of the ship's normal crew. You might be surprised to see some of the people working on our Navy ships, but they're there to work on specific equipment.
  7. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    [QUOTE ]
    Greene is the owner of the El Faro.[/quote]

    Phil Greene is president and CEO of Tote Services. He does not own the El Faro and never did.

    And just which boiler manufacturer is that?

    They were not crew, they were what is called in the industry a "riding crew" of technicians or laborers who ride the ship to conduct cleaning or maintenance.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Phil Greene is president and CEO of Tote Services. He does not own the El Faro and never did.



    And just which boiler manufacturer is that?



    They were not crew, they were what is called in the industry a "riding crew" of technicians or laborers who ride the ship to conduct cleaning or maintenance.[/QUOTE]

    Sorry, he is just President and CEO of the company and ship. The President and CEO is pretty much the owner of most smaller companies and it's assets. Otherwise he would be CEO OR President, not hold both titles.

    All reports including sources state the Poles are from the boiler manufacturer and were there to make repairs to the boiler, I guess that would fall under maintanence now wouldn't it? I believe the ship has 2 boilers from what I've been reading. I have no idea what boiler manufacturer that would be. You asked me to provide links, of which took 2 minutes googling.

    Both El Faro and it's sistership were slated to be replaced very shortly with new more fuel efficient ships. They were both to be overhauled and then sent to the West Coast to do the West Coast to Alaska route. I've seen them in Port Everglades and the exterior always looked like rust buckets with poor exteriors compared to other freighters.

    Marmot, do you ever post anything with steam, instead of just hot air all of the time?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, you are correct. They were there to do maintanence on the ships steam propulsion. They were not crew, they were employed by the boilers manufacturer, and there to do a repair or maintanence.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  10. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Which sources are those J? Please provide a citation for at least one of those sources. Since TOTE is currently the only legitimate source for that kind of information it should be easy to find such a statement ... if it exists anywhere.

    Trying to attack me doesn't make you any more knowledgeable about ship operations, steam propulsion, or anything else related to marine engineering. I can't understand why you keep posting in this thread.
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Google it. I have to go Captain two different yachts today and don't have the time right now, but can tonight.

    Because I am the only one posting any useful information at the topic at hand (as well as a few others). All of your posts are literally slamming what someone else has written, yet you offer NO facts or information pertanent to either the ship, the propulsion, or the accident. You post hot air, with no steam in it. No knowledgable information about the situation or steam propulsion in general has been posted by you, which leads me to believe you are about as familiar with it as I am.

    TOTE is saying as little as they have to, which is I'm sure what their attorneys have advised.
  12. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    J, I know enough to know better than to add to the bulk of idiotic theories and "facts" presented by morons with less than zero experience or subject matter knowledge. I know better than to repeat nonsense posted elsewhere by idiots who know absolutely nothing. I also don't hesitate to point out such posts when I see them.

    I have to admit you either have a wry sense of humor or a profound fantasy life.

    Since you admit knowing nothing why do you insist on adding to the stuff that currently pollutes the web about the El Faro incident?
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    First and foremost I have never "personally attacked" you. You constantly make posts such as this one and the post before it refuting something and personally attacking someone. Yet, you never post any facts, information, or technical knowledge to back them up. Just dribble, such as this post. An expert in any given situation will refute something and then post either the correct facts or technical knowledge to back up why they are refuting it. I have seen nothing of the sort. Tote made a statement, stating that the Poles were there to do work to prepare the ship for it's refit. Until you post something useful with experience or subject matter knowledge, either facts or technical information I am not going to even entertain responding to your posts.

    If TOTE and it's Captain had a good plan, they would've never sailed this route and would've followed the US Coast all of the way down and headed East above Cuba. The TS/Hurricane track NEVER had the Mid/South Florida coast in it's projected path.
  14. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Ah so ... how did you manage to turn that into "All reports including sources state the Poles are from the boiler manufacturer and were there to make repairs to the boiler ..."?

    With your credentials and insight perhaps you should apply for a teaching position at one of the state maritime academies or Kings Point. If they don't have an opening maybe you can fill in at MITAGS or PMI.

    Having taught steam and diesel propulsion at the undergraduate and postgrad level to ab-initio trainees and unlimited licensed marine engineers I am quite happy to share knowledge with those who have a real interest and an apparent capacity to learn. Neither of which appear to apply in your case.
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    There have been several articles written that the Poles were there and work for the boiler manufacturer. They are all over the internet. Google it. There are even posts and comments from employees that have worked on the El Faro on previous voyages this year. They stated the vessel was a rust bucket and had an issue with flooding in the compartment underneath the galley. I'm posting information as it is posted. That is what you do on a forum.

    When you stated that my post on how a steam propulsion unit works was wrong, I asked you to post why it was wrong. You did not. I'm interested in learning anything in the marine industry that I do not know. Steam propulsion dates back to the 1800's and isn't exactly highly technical in and of itself. It surely isn't nuclear propulsion, and has less components than a piston driven engine on a ship that size.

    In my area of the marine industry most people feel that I am an expert in knowledge. I spend a lot of time helping a lot of people on this forum. My focus is >100' and I am intimately knowledgable about all aspects of maintaining and operating a yacht that size and have a very broad spectrum of knowledge in that size range. I have worked on yachts above that size and have zero interest in doing so, nor do I particularly enjoy turning wrenches anymore. I run over 100 different yachts each and every year of all types of propulsion and form, as well as maintaining many different yachts. Sailboats, trawlers, sportfish, motoryachts, crew boats, center consoles, you name it. I run all of the different engines and manufacturers, very few Captains can say this, can do it, and have the knowledge to do it.

    People say that everyone knows everyone within 7 degrees of seperation. In this industry, at least in the U.S., we are seperated from maybe 3 or 4 degrees of seperation. I know a few people that know you personally, as you most likely do I. That being said, there are people familiar with the vessel that have said things to people that I know.

    As to it's voyage, obviously based upon the circumstances and the outcome, the route was the wrong choice. I don't think there is a single knowledgable person that disagrees with that. Even if the ship had lost propulsion along the U.S. coast and had a 15 degree list on this same voyage, it wouldn't have even made the news as it was a relatively calm sea state off the U.S. coast at the time the ship went down, and more than likely, the damage mitigated. The reason the ship went down and all hands were lost was a subsequent combination of issues: route, propulsion, flooding, list, and hurricane. Had there only been 1 or 2 issues for the El Faro to deal with, it most likely would have survived.

    This is one of the largest accidents in Maritime history in the last 30 years and a very unfortunate event.

    Anyways, I'm off to work. Have a good weekend!
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Gentlemen, I've been doing a lot of reading here this morning, and in fact the past few days, and learned very little about a Hurricane Ship Sinking. Maybe we need to take a break from the keyboards until actual new information comes out.
  17. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Ditto +1 This thread is useless at this point
  18. Chasm

    Chasm Senior Member

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    I've speed read through the transcripts (here: automatic YT subtitles) of the 3 media briefings so far released by the NTSB. I did not see anything about the role of the 5 polish subcontractors.

    Feels like half is about the great teamwork of all US government agencies involved. Another third about the data recorder. Which they'll find sooner or later or not. Which they may be able to recover or not. Which may contain the necessary data points or not. Which may contain recoverable information or not. And so on and to forth.
    Overall, no specific or new information at this time as far as I can tell. Looks like we'll have to wait for (preliminary) documents released by the NTSB and/or USCG to learn more than what was established as fact in the early press releases by TOTE Maritime. (Loss of propulsion, contained water ingress, 15° list, then sudden loss of communication without any distress signal.)
  19. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    That is an excellent idea.

    For the time being, all the real information that those involved first hand are willing to release has already been published. No independent or remote observer can possibly add any factual information because they were not on the ship or part of the communications chain during the incident.

    Anyone, particularly anyone who is not a peer of the parties involved, peer meaning having the same training, experience, certifications, and qualifications, who posits a theory or claims that any of the crew should have or should not have taken any particular action should be called out for rumor mongering. For that is all it can possibly be until a great deal more information is made available from those directly involved in the incident.

    Real lives were lost in this tragedy. Uniformed speculation is not the same as debating about what kind of bait to use or the best bottom paint or sea strainer for a sportsfish. Regurgitating rumors and impossibly implausible theories published by armchair mariners is offensive and contributes nothing to a better understanding of the causes of a real disaster.
  20. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Idiotic, morons and idiots, all in 2 sentences.
    Marmot is back, yeeay..

    Marmot: Are you man enough to repeat that Sh!t to somebody's face if you meet them person to person, say in the upcoming Fort Lauderdale Boat Show?
    OR are you just a key board warrior, know it all Google expert sh!tting all over this board to lube your own ego?
    Would love to meet you face to face at the Boat Show,you are probably just a big mouth and a small dick.
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