Going down

Cruise ship sinking off Argentina says the BBC. And “Passengers and crew have been rescued off Argentina from a cruise liner, which began sinking after it hit ice. The M/S Explorer ran into trouble near King George Island in the Antarctic Ocean, near the South Shetland Islands. Andy Cattrell, of the UK’s Falmouth Coastguard, told the BBC about 100 passengers and 54 crew members have been evacuated and are in lifeboats.”

I hope “rescued” isn’t too optimistic… they are still a long way from civilisation in small lifeboats.

[Update: everyone is now xferred to another ship, it seems. And the ship is variously reported as “going to sink”, “listing 25 degrees” and “tilting 8 degrees” (a tilt is so much better than a list). But a pic from hampshire.net looks more like a list that a tilt :-). Meanwhile the hole in the hull varies from “fist sized” up to “10cm by 25cm”]

Comments

  1. #1 Adam
    2007/11/23

    A little more here: http://tinyurl.com/2o575q

    Apparently a press release will appear here:

    http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mcga-newsroom/mcga-press-releases.htm

  2. #2 Alex
    2007/11/23

    Reuters says there are two other passenger ships in the area.

  3. #3 Hugh
    2007/11/23

    Considering the ecological risks in relation to bunker leakage let’s hope it’s further out to sea than the Bahia Pariso was if/when it sinks.

  4. #4 James Annan
    2007/11/23

    Apparently there’s a steady stream of boats down there all trying to stay out of sight of each other to maintain the illusion of isolation :-)

  5. #5 john
    2007/11/23

    Back in the days of wooden ships and iron men, when a cannonball holed a ship below the waterline, they weighted a pitch-soaked piece of sail and hung it over the side. The water pressure pushed the canvas into the hole and sinking as a result of a leak wasn’t common. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if the Titanic crew had ripped up carpets and hung them over the side. It took several hours for the Titanic to sink with no effort to stop the water coming in. Delaying the sinking for even a couple of hours might have allowed one of the power launches to get close enough to the Carpathia to get the attention of the crew and get a rescue effort going.

    Sinking as a result of a fist-sized hole (or even a larger one as in some of the stories about this cruise ship) makes no sense at all.

  6. #6 RNB
    2007/11/23

    Good point John. And I’m happy that the people on board seem to be safe. But if Mrs Thatcher comes on the news and announces that there was no British warship anywhere near those Argentine waters, then don’t believe her – trust the evidence instead :)

  7. #7 guthrie
    2007/11/23

    john, it wasn’t that simple with the Titanic. FOr starters, the damage was spread along the hull. It was also exacerbated by weakness in the hull or rivets, such that you didn’t have a nice even hole to place something over. Finally, it was a modern steamship that is very unlikely to have had tarred sailcloth on board, operating at night in near freezing conditions.
    Or in other words, the sinking makes perfect sense.

    Do you have a primary reference for the tarred sailcloth over cannon ball holes?

    [Patrick O’Brien. But they had shotplugs to deal with most of them, fothering was only if all else failed -W]

  8. #8 JesusChristHimself
    2007/11/23

    Where the damage is makes all the difference. My father was at his battle station about 60 feet back of where the bow sheared off the USS New Orleans after a magazine between the two forward turrets was ignited by a Japanese long lance. The bow tore holes in the side of the ship as it sailed by it. The captain turned her around and sailed her backwards, and it is thought that is what prevented her sinking (less pressure on exposed bulkheads). Scroll down to see the battle damage photographs: http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/032/04032.htm

  9. #9 Hank Roberts
    2007/11/23

    Now reported a 45 degree list, last I saw. And the accident has been clearly attributed to global warming — because global warming has created this situation where there are so many tourists rushing to see Antarctica before it’s gone that even though there aren’t any more icebergs, there are more ships to hit the ones that are there.

    Did I get that right, William? BAS was quoted in the Guardian article, but I may have pushed the logic a wee bit:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/antarctic/story/0,,2216335,00.html

    “According to climate scientists the area where Explorer ran into trouble is warming faster than any other part of the globe. This led to speculation yesterday that there had been a subsequent increase in the number of icebergs breaking away from the ice shelf making the waters increasingly dangerous for ships. But BAS scientists said there was no evidence to back up the theory. “Our information is that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the area at the time,” added a spokeswoman.

    “Shears said there had been a huge growth in the number of tourists visiting Antarctica in the last 10 years.”

  10. #10 James Annan
    2007/11/24

    Hank, it’s actually been rather icy there this year (at least compared to recent years). Of course that will be due to global warming too :-)

  11. #11 Hank Roberts
    2007/11/24

    So there’s more ice, but BAS says there is no evidence of — what? no evidence of faster warming, or of that causing more icebergs, or of those causing more danger to ships? With so many assertions in once sentence, it’s hard to figure out what BAS says is unsupported.

    Maybe the icebergs increased, but at the same rate as the cruise ships, so the proportion didn’t change? That’d be, um, confusing, statistically. Oy.

    By the way, the ship sank. Sounds like they went like the Titanic did, the water reached the engine room and the power failed.

  12. #12 john
    2007/11/26

    guthrie and W: That method of patching holes was indeed in O’Brian and Forrester and other novels about the wooden navy. It worked for reef damage also.

    The Titanic didn’t have sail but it did have lots of high quality carpeting. And the crew didn’t have to prevent sinking, just delay it for a few hours. The captain didn’t organize anything at all if I remember.

  13. #13 Peter McGrath
    2007/12/02

    Small, open lifeboats. Everyone is not back safe, but had there been a gale blowing and high seas, it could have been a very different story and a lot of dead. Liberian flagged. Must go and have a look at their safety requirements for arctic operation.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.