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Old 09-09-2019, 10:07 AM
Paul in Qatar is online now
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The MS Golden Ray has Capsized.


The roro car carrier MS Golden Ray has capsized to its side in Saint Simons Bay in Georgia. Four crewmen are missing and at this point prayer is called for when hope fades.

-=Link=-

I was recently on a very large cruise ship. Help me understand how lethal this would be to those aboard.

How long would it take for a ship to go from right-side-up to laying on its side? If it happened quickly the danger would be greater than if it took twenty minutes to fall over. (Right?)

We were in a room, while all this happened we would fall from the floor to a wall. Say we would fall three meters. But the whole darn ship would be falling much further. Would we be protected from this greater force if our room remained intact?

I understand all furniture and big stuff on a well-founded ship are secured in place against such a accident. Is this correct?
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Last edited by Paul in Qatar; 09-09-2019 at 10:08 AM.
  #2  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
I understand all furniture and big stuff on a well-founded ship are secured in place against such a accident. Is this correct?
Really big stuff might be secured, but certainly not all the furniture. Here's a video that shows the piano has been locked down, but not much else.

On a seagoing RORO car carrier, I wonder whether cars would be strapped down or not. I am familiar with the two car ferries operating on Lake Michigan, the coal-fired antique SS Badger and the more modern catamaran Lake Express. On these vessels, motorcycles do get strapped down, but cars don't - and the lake can get pretty rough.

Even if cars on the Golden Ray were strapped down, I doubt the tie-downs would have been rated to cope with the entire weight of a vehicle in the event that the ship rolled 90 degrees as it did. My guess is that anyone in the cargo bay would have been crushed by cars sliding across the deck, and I wonder whether the cargo bay perimeter walls could have held all that weight back, either.

There was also the fire, which was serious enough to prevent boarding by rescue personnel.

OTOH, the vast majority of passengers were able to escape the Costa Concordia when it ran aground and capsized. To be fair, that ship took about half an hour to go from listing 20 degrees to completely aground on its side. No idea how quickly the Golden Ray rolled over.
  #3  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:36 AM
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the Herald of Free Enterprise, a large RoRo ferry capsised over 30 years ago; it took something like two minutes from the first roll to ending up on its side on a sandbank with the loss of nearly 200 people.

This report of a 19-year-old's experience gives a flavour of what it must have been like:
Quote:
Nineteen-year-old Simon Osborne was returning from a day trip to Belgium on 6 March 1987, when his ferry capsized off the port of Zeebrugge. He was trapped inside the Herald of Free Enterprise for over two hours before being rescued and taken to safety. Two of the seven friends with him died in the disaster.

"I was queuing at the perfume counter when it became clear that something was beginning to go wrong. The ship jolted - quite violently, but it didn't seem significant enough to raise any fears at that particular moment. But then within a few seconds, there was a second much more violent jolt and the ship literally tipped over as if you were knocking over a glass of water - it seemed that quick. I was thrown onto my back and I slid down the floor of the lounge. I came to a halt on the front of the bar - which as the ship had capsized had gone from vertical to horizontal.

So I was actually standing upright before the water started coming into the ship. By this stage the lights were still on and I saw some horrific sights. People were falling from one side of the ship to the other - somersaulting down.

Bottles of perfume and whisky were flying around - nothing appeared to have been bolted down. You can imagine what it was like turning something that size over - all the debris was crashing around about my ears as I stood there. And then I saw the water burst through the portholes and the deck doors. I was absolutely terrified.

By this stage all the lights had gone out and I felt the freezing cold water hit my legs and I floated up with it. I was fairly convinced the ship was going to sink and I'd be trapped and almost certainly perish. But that feeling only lasted until it became clear the ship finally - luckily - came to rest on a sandbank.

The noise was horrendous from start to finish - a terrible, unbelievable, metallic grinding noise, breaking glass and the screams of people who were injured, falling or terrified. I thought I should keep as calm as I could and a certain element of calm did come over me when I was floating in the water.

Last edited by bob++; 09-09-2019 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:53 PM
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At this time, the four missing Golden Ray crew members are reportedly alive, and rescue efforts are under way.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:09 PM
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argh... ninjaed!

Here's another article:
https://ktla.com/2019/09/09/noises-h...p-off-georgia/

Last edited by bump; 09-09-2019 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:15 PM
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Here is a detailed article about the salvage operation of the MV Cougar Ace. It seems most cars were still secured with straps.

All the cars in the ship - $103 million worth of brand new Mazda cars - were scrapped anyway, because selling them would have affected consumer confidence in their vehicles.

Last edited by scr4; 09-09-2019 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:41 PM
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They didn't send them to, uh, secondary markets?
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ziper1221 View Post
They didn't send them to, uh, secondary markets?
Nope. Destroyed. Car and Driver, maybe jalopnik IIRC, had a magazine article about the dismantling. Dealing with the airbags was one of the bigger issues. I also remember reading that a group of enthusiasts wanted to buy the Miatas, and start a spec racing league with them. Mazda, fearing liability, said nope to that too.

The problem with hypothetically dumping them onto the 3rd World is that Mazda couldn't guarantee that some vehicles might make their way back to someplace with a more robust products liability bar.

I wonder if this capsizing was due to improper ballasting?
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:49 PM
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All four rescued.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:01 PM
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Great news!
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Even if cars on the Golden Ray were strapped down, I doubt the tie-downs would have been rated to cope with the entire weight of a vehicle in the event that the ship rolled 90 degrees as it did.
I used to work at a place that made tie-downs, from giant reels of yarn to the finished product. Our strongest tie-downs were rated at 20,000 pounds break strenght. Some customers ordered those sewn together 2 or 3 layers thick. The full weight of a car is trivial.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:51 PM
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Wonderful news this morning.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I used to work at a place that made tie-downs, from giant reels of yarn to the finished product. Our strongest tie-downs were rated at 20,000 pounds break strenght. Some customers ordered those sewn together 2 or 3 layers thick. The full weight of a car is trivial.
Fair enough. Given my experiences with the Lake Michigan ferries not tying cars down, I'm surprised to learn that ocean-going RORO ships tie down their cars. high-strength tie-downs like the ones you describe are certainly useful for securing a car to a trailer, which can experience considerable jostling - but they seem like overkill for large-ship-based transport, especially when you think of the labor required to inspect/install/remove tie-downs for several thousand cars. In the case of the Cougar Ace featured in the excellent article scr4 linked to, they certainly kept nearly all of the cars out of the water, but ISTM the end result - the total loss of all the cars was the same as if no straps had been used.

My guess is the same outcome will befall the cargo of the Golden Ray - that is, deliberate demolition of all salvaged cars to avoid any potential liability.

Pleasantly surprised to hear the last four crew members are safe. I was not optimistic after hearing about the fire being so bad that it kept rescue personnel away at first.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:13 AM
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I've travelled on this ferry from England to France and back a few times. Only motorcycles get tied down.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:40 AM
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This paper has pictures of typical lashing of cars on 'Pure Car Carriers' like Golden Ray. Also picture of cars shifted in a previous casualty. It doesn't seem you can count on the vehicles not shifting when the vessel heels way over, past the point at which it can right itself. The lashings are there to (theoretically) prevent cargo shift from being the *reason* the ship heels over to where it can't right itself.
https://iumi.com/images/documents/OHC/3-John-Waite.pdf

On disposal of salvaged new cars on wrecked car carriers, in past cases the car company has contractually required complete destruction of each part of each salvaged car. In the real world of brand value and legal liability the risk/reward of trying to foist those cars or parts off on somebody is obviously massively negative for the owner of the brand. The risk to them is that somebody else does that on the side, so they are willing to pay more to document with a reliable salvor that all parts were destroyed.

Last edited by Corry El; 09-10-2019 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:16 AM
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So, what could cause the ship to capsize in the first place?
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:22 AM
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So, what could cause the ship to capsize in the first place?
either running aground (like the Costa Concordia) or incorrect ballasting, at least that's some of the speculation I've heard.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 09-10-2019 at 11:23 AM.
  #18  
Old 09-10-2019, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
Here is a detailed article about the salvage operation of the MV Cougar Ace. It seems most cars were still secured with straps.

All the cars in the ship - $103 million worth of brand new Mazda cars - were scrapped anyway, because selling them would have affected consumer confidence in their vehicles.
Googling up bits and pieces of that story, I learned that Rich Habib, the lead expert of the salvage team in that article, was killed in a snowboarding accident in 2016. A bit ironic, considering the risk he exposed himself to on just about every salvage project over the years. Also of note from the article in my link: he was involved in the salvage effort on the Costa Concordia.
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