Monthly Archives: November 2014


An interesting article from GCaptain. Clever devils those Danes, especially it seems, the female ones.


Danish Naval Architect Uncovers Important Clues to MOL Comfort’s Demise



Pretty much the entire world was caught by surprise when images of a huge crack in the fully laden containership MOL Comfort surfaced last summer. The ship design rules at the time should have mitigated such a situation from ever happening.

While conducting research for her PhD thesis at the Technical University of Denmark, Ingrid Marie Vincent Andersen, PhD had found clues prior to this incident suggesting the possibility of catastrophic failure was more real than previously thought.

Digging deep into the hydro-elastic structural response of containerships similar to the MOL Comfort, she had discovered some very interesting details.

Clearly, the ship had broken up when the hull girders failed, but what led to that failure was not so obvious. She, like many others, say it very likely had a lot to do with the cargo loading condition of the ship, but the full answer was quite a bit more complicated than that.

Anderson says the MOL Comfort and her sister vessels were simply under engineered by naval architects that didn’t fully account for enormous additional loads which were being placed on the ship.

“It is believed that the hydro-elastic effects and the effect of hull girder flexibility are capable of significantly amplifying the hull girder stresses and thus contribute to fatigue damage as well as to the extreme hull girder loading in container ships,” Andersen notes in her PhD thesis.

In her research, she studied ships in the 8000-9000 TEU range and discovered, “the hull girder vibrations due to hydro-elastic effects is capable of doubling the stress response amidships in some cases – also in the extreme loading cases.”

“I don’t think the incident was fatigue-related, but it could be due to under-estimation of the hydro-elastic effects on the wave-induced vertical bending moment at the design stage. The major uncertainty at the design stage is related to estimation of the wave loads,” notes Anderson.

Research published by Lloyd’s Register (LR) engineers Nigel White and Zhenhong Wang support Andersen’s research.

LR notes the principle design challenge inherent to large and ultra-large containerships is the combined effects of whipping, springing and warping/distortion of the hatch openings.

Until recently, Andersen notes that hydro-elastic effects have not been directly taken into account for in the classification societies’ design rules for container ships. In 2014, LR updated their design rules to reflect the discovery of much higher loadings inside the structure of containerships.

Andersen, White and Wang all cite strain data captured aboard a 2006-built CMA CGM 9,600 TEU containership over a four year period showing severe spikes in the vertical bending moment as wave strikes on the bow resonate down the ship.

The following video was produced by Anderson as part of her thesis to show the global structural response of these wave loads on a containership:

These bending moments, according to their research can be upwards of 300 percent the traditionally calculated wave bending moment using linear ship motion codes – the ones that ships have traditionally been built to.

Thee traditional codes have a realized safety factor of around 200 percent.

Underestimated loads

Anderson notes that due to a large uncertainty around sea state conditions a vessel will encounter, maximum wave loading is subsequently uncertain. Wave loading is compounded by containerships that opt for greater cargo space forward, and thus greater bow flare such as on the MOL Comfort and the ultra-large 14,000 TEU+ sized vessels that are currently in operation.

mol creation

Bow of MOL Creation, sistership to MOL Comfort, image courtesy Yoshihiro Matsuo

“The high strength steel used for the construction of the ship will result in a slightly lower natural frequency and possibly, together with the pronounced bow flare, making the vessel more susceptible to whipping vibrations,” adds Anderson.

Since the MOL Comfort sinking, all of the sister vessels to the MOL Comfort have been retrofitted with additional structural steel, but certainly other ships in that size range have not.

Considering the step changes being made in containership design, logic would dictate that additional study and consideration be taken when designing and operating such vessels, including the installation of strain gauges to properly measure what is happening inside the ship.

Funnily enough, my old Danish mucker Preboen called the other day, says he’s going to Ireland for the Christmas holidays (he has loads of dosh to burn…..seemingly) and wanted to know how it’s been lately. On the  ‘troubles’ front I assume? Anyway, I pointed him this way, said it explains everything past and present!!

A poem by James Young.

A Dutchman called Prince William

And an Englishman King James,

Fell out and started feuding

And calling all the names.

It was for the throne of England

But for reasons not quite clear,

They came across to Ireland

To do their fighting here.

They had lots of Dutch and Frenchmen

And battalions and platoons,

Of Russians and of Prussians

And Bulgarian Dragoons.

And they politely asked the Irish

If they’d kindly like to join,

And the whole affair was settled at the battle of the Boyne.

Then William went to London

And James went off to France, and the whole kaboosh left Ireland

Without a backward glance.

And the poor abandoned Irish

Said goodbye to king and prince,

And went on with the fighting

And they’ve been at it ever since.


But, will it fit in a Peugeot 108 hatchback?


ClassNK has granted approval to the design of the new 28AHX-DF dual-fuel engine developed by Niigata Power Systems Co., Ltd. The new engine is slated to be used as the main engine on a new LNG-fuelled tugboat being built by Keihin Dock Co., Ltd. for NYK Line.

The vessel will be Japan’s first LNG fuelled vessel, excluding LNG carriers.  Last year, Keihin Dock Co delivered Japan’s first hybrid tug, Tsubasa, to NYK Line.

New regulations for Emission Control Areas (ECA), including new stricter limits on sulphur emissions as well as the IMO’s Tier III NOX emission limits, are driving demand for new engine and emission control technologies. The high costs associated with low sulphur fuels, and the increasing availability of LNG is driving both vessel owners and machinery manufacturers to consider the use of LNG as a vessel fuel.

Niigata’s 28AHX-DF is a medium-speed duel-fuel engine with a maximum rated power per cylinder of 320kW and was developed for use primarily in offshore support vessels and tugboats. The engine, which operates on both diesel fuel and LNG, will meet the strict 0.1% sulphur emissions regulations in the ECA that are set to go into effect in 2015, as well as comply with the IMO’s stringent Tier III NOx emission requirements.

Technologies used in the new engine were developed with the support of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation & Tourism (MLIT), as well as ClassNK as part of the society’s Joint R&D for Industry Program.

Mr Yukihisa Shibata, General Manager of ClassNK’s Machinery Department said: “The demand for dual-fuel engines is increasing as IMO restrictions tighten and the industry recognizes the importance of environmental accountability. Supporting the development of such low-emission engines is one way we can help ship operators and manufacturers practically address the challenges of these new regulations, and encourage the wide

spread use of this new technology.”The state-of-the-art dual-fuel engine has a maximum rated speed of 800 min-1 with a cylinder bore of 280mm and a 390mm stroke. The model engine will undergo trial operational testing and is expected to receive type approval from ClassNK in December.

Ed! All very interesting but no specific fuel consumption figures are included in the article, poor show, bah and humbug.


COPENHAGEN, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Major ship brokerage firm Maersk Broker is looking into possible mergers and joint ventures after a spate of deals in the broking industry which is gearing up for a revival in the international shipping business after a five-year downturn.

Earlier this month, London-based ICAP said it was in talks to combine ICAP Shipping with Howe Robinson Group and ship broker Clarkson is seeking to buy Norwegian brokerage and investment bank RS Platou.

In July, ACM Shipping Group and Braemar Shipping Services’ shipbroking arm Braemar Seascope completed a merger deal.

“We are looking into different kind of possibilities,” Maersk Broker Chief Executive Anders Hald said when asked by Reuters for his reaction to the industry consolidation. He said Maersk Broker could look at mergers or joint ventures.

“We face growing demands from customers and the trend is that the biggest brokerage firms get bigger,” Hald said. “We will come out with a very satisfactory result for 2014 but we must continually position ourselves for the future.”

He emphasised that privately-held Maersk Broker was not up for sale and it would continue to buy and sell vessels and act as broker between shipowners, charterers and shipbuilders.

The shipping industry has had to try to absorb a glut of new vessels ordered between 2007 and 2009 just as the financial crisis hit. This plunged shipping into one of its worst ever downturns. This year, a revival in global trade is helping to improve conditions for shipping firms and has also spurred the run of deals, with ship brokers seeking greater scale to help them to benefit from a market recovery.

Copenhagen-based Maersk Broker is one of the world’s top five ship brokerages. It is wholly owned by the Maersk family, which is also in charge of the foundation which controls the majority of voting rights in conglomerate A.P Moller-Maersk .

For its first 75 years, Maersk Broker focused on serving companies in the Maersk group but the business has expanded in the last 25 years to offer services to other companies.

Back in the mists of time allatsea was sent to the Maersk Training Centre at Svendborg to undertake a 5 day ‘command assessment course’. It was very very very very very full on and come the end of it he felt drained, prodded, rammed, emptied and transparent. The course instructors knew more about him than his mother, wife, brother and best muckers. No secret remained. It was a ‘chastening’ but  enlightening experience. Two elements of it remain vividly in his conscience.
One/ Allatsea’s biggest weakness is his desire to be liked. Not good when you make you earn your wedge as a shipmaster or indeed as a MWS, when being disliked can come with the territory.
Two/ Never ever ever ever ever ‘assume’ because it ‘makes an arse out of you and me’.

Why is that revelation relevant?
Well because at a Christmas reunion of a bunch of chaps wott used to be in the RNXS together and subsequently, amongst other good things,  took up the maintenance and care and general running of a listed vintage vessel, allatsea rather got the wrong end of the stick and assumed a state of affairs that wasn’t the case. He thought that the fine old Little Ship ‘Sundowner’ had been taken away from his old sea muckers. He thought that after years of loving attention, long hours of volunteering and general responsibility for the upkeep of the old yacht, their responsibility had been taken away by the new owners and passed to a new group of enthusiasts. This needled old allatsea, a meritocrasist at heart, he thought it was terribly unfair and declared to himself to right the wrong if and when  the opportunity arrived.
That opportunity presented itself in May when he spotted Sundowner on the blocks at Ramsgate and undergoing a maintenance programme. Now what a lot of folks don’t realise about ship surveying, is that a report can be as glowing or as detrimental as the author or rather the commissioner of the report wants it to be, regardless of the ‘true’ state of the vessel. In this very case, a rather unglowing ‘report’ was produced by allatsea and published on this very site. This was done to cast poor light onto the new owners and volunteers and to highlight their poor performance compared to the old lot, allatsea’s muckers.
Pity then that the ‘new lot’ were in fact the ‘old lot’ and much chagrin and upset  ensued. This was not the intention of course, far from it. Allatsea had broken that very important point above, #2, never never never never ever ‘ASSUME’. He did and and it all went tits up, as we say.


Not Sundowner, but a very horrid boat that really did deserve a bad report and it got one.

This arrived in the  inbox this morning. Thank you Lordy of Sailors and warranty surveyors. All is now well in the world. What a lucky lucky lucky organisation we are. Is it real? Well the yahoo email address clinched it for us here at the Towers, it’s got to be, surely?





Abuja Nigeria

Contact phone number : +2348162362366

                                                    INSTRUCTION TO RELEASE YOUR FUND


This is to intimate you of a very important information which will be of a great help to redeem you from all the difficulties you have been experiencing in getting your long overdue payment due to excessive demand for money from you by both corrupt Bank officials and Courier Companies after which your fund remain unpaid to you.

I am Mr. Ken Richard a highly placed official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It may interest you to know that reports have reached our office by so many correspondences on the uneasy way which people like you are treated by Various Banks and Courier Companies/ Diplomat across Europe to Africa and Asia /London Uk and we have decided to put a stop to that and that is why I was appointed to handle your transaction here in Nigeria.

All Governmental and Non-Governmental prostates, NGOs, Finance Companies, Banks, Security Companies and Courier companies which have been in contact with you of late have been instructed to back up from your transaction and you have been advised NOT to respond to them anymore since the IMF is now directly in charge of your fund.

The most annoying thing is that the bad officials wont tell you the truth that on no account will they ever release the fund to you, instead they allow you spend money unnecessarily, I do not intend to work here all the days of my life, I can release this fund to you if you can certify me of my security.

I needed to help you release the fund because you need to know the statues of your funds and cause for the delay, please this is like a Mafia setting in Nigeria, you may not understand it because you are not a Nigerian.

Listed below are the mafia’s and banks behind the non release of your funds that i managed to sneak out for your kind perusal.


1) Prof. Charles soludo(CBN)

2) Senator David Mark

3) Chief Lamido Sanusi(CBN)

4) John Rob(Barclays bank plc)

5) Mrs Stella Brown(Barclays bank plc)

6) Ronald Franklin

7)  (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

8) Mr. Ernest Chukwudi Obi

9) Mr. Mike Jombo

Deputy Governor – Policy / Board Member

10) Mr. Tunde Lemo

Deputy Governor – Financial Sector Surveillance / Board Member

(11) Mrs. W. D. A. Mshelia

Deputy Governor – Corporate Services / Board Members

12) Mrs. Okonjo Iweala

13) Mrs. Rita Ekwesili

14) Ian Driver (Thanet Council)

You are hereby advised NOT to remit further payment to any institutions with respect to your transaction as your fund will be transferred to you directly from our source.

I hope this is clear. Any action contrary to this instruction is at your own risk. Respond to this e-mail on  with immediate effect and we shall give you further details on how your fund will be released.

Reconfirm the information bellow

1. Full Name:

2. Address:


4. Age: Date of Birth:

5. Occupation:

6. Phone: Mobile/Cellular…………………Fax:..

7. State of Origin:

8. Copy of your identity Card

Also Call me as soon as you receive the letter so that you will be given an immediate response: Direct Hotline:


Mr Ken Richard

She’s asleep when I arrive, laying propped up in the ward bed, mouth open, hair straggly, looking older than her 79 years and vulnerable. I am sad but feel little else. I call gently, ‘Mum?’ and she wakes immediately and smiles on seeing me. I cannot return the smile. I don’t know why. I manage a sort of grimace/leer attempt at one, it doesn’t work, I know this is bad. I can do no better.
Until 23 months ago mum had never been ill, never been in hospital. She, it has to be said, was quite sniffily superior to anyone who wasn’t fully fit and medication free. It’s true she’d aged at an accelerated rated these last 7 years or so, most likely down to the drink. Always readily quaffed at appropriate moments, the quantities, rates and frequency had increased dramatically. The volumes involved would have downed a rugby player at times, mum is around 50kg. Her body just didn’t, couldn’t, deal with it.
Until 23 months ago though she was still robustly mobile, busy and, when sober, interesting. Then at Christmas 2012 she became short of breath, much less mobile and un-driven. She was fidgety when sober, quiet when inebriated. It was concerning and we urged an immediate visit to the Doctor. She didn’t go. We applied pressure and finally, in the New Year, she went. She was hospitalised immediately and remained there some days before being released with strict orders for a lifestyle change, a monitoring programme and a whole wodge of medication to take, some of it on a long term basis.
Mum is a believer in faith healing, God, Reiki and Reflexology. She reads healing books written by quack cave dwelling Californian nutters and believes every word. She once told me that my close friend’s ‘Downs Syndrome’ baby could be ‘cured’ by taking herbal supplements and that Uncle Brian’s prostrate cancer could be sorted with Sage tea. She meant what she said. Therefore her reaction to this development, which went along the lines of ‘They’ve got another think coming, they’re no idea what they’re on about’, came as no surprise, sadly.
So, she didn’t take the medicine as prescribed to, failed to renew the prescription (believing that folk are out there monitoring her) and got worse. Her drinking however was reaching to new heights. Her sole surviving sister came to stay with her to celebrate her 78th birthday. They celebrated it by getting drunk. Mum more drunk than the sister. Mum fell out of bed and broke her hip. She was hospitalized and remained there for some time. She told the ward stuff repeatedly that the reason she’d fallen was because she’d drunk too much wine. She told the story many times and with gusto and, I fear, with pride.
On her return home, on the first night, we got a phone call at around 0300. It was from a clearly drunk mum asking us to go to her house and put her into bed because she was incapable. We arrived and sure enough she was sitting on the bed but couldn’t lift her legs up onto and into bed. Somehow she’d also managed to foul herself, smear it on the toilet walls and elsewhere.  Carolyn cleaned her mess up (I was heaving too much to do this task I have to admit) and we went home. The following day we called to see how she was, there was no mention of the previous evening’s events. None at all. Whether forgotten of studiously ignored, I don’t know.
In June this year she had a new hip put in. It cost her £22,000. On her release from hospital she was given a strict exercise programme to assist the hip to settle. She did no exercises. She refused to do them when I asked her to observing that she ‘Couldn’t be bothered’. Over the months following she was in pain, the hip had not settled.
She has been hospitalised 5 times since having the new hip, following falls, to have the hip ‘reset’, whatever that means. On each occasion I believe booze was the root cause. She maintains, vehemently, that it’s her balance that let her down not the alcohol abuse. Funny old thing, but I’ve found over the years, that my balance too can be suspect following two bottles of wine.
The last fall has resulted in her being hospitalised for over a week now and brings us to the point that started this little story. She has a week more to ‘detox’ from her blood thinning medication and then they’ll operate again and put a new hip in. This could be the start of the circle again and to me at least seems a bit daft without some fundamental change being involved. I asked her (again), with love, to stop drinking because it lays at the root of her sad state today. She told me to mind my own business as she deserves some pleasure in life.
One woman’s pleasure it seems, is another person’s, families’, friend’s anguish and pain. To that end I see no way ahead for us. It is sad. I can no longer smile at my own mother. I don’t think I ever can again. The booze has won.


He’s off to sunny Paris then on to Le Havre. He’d like to have made it a poem but he’s not a poet and he knows it.

A ship is on the way to Korea and it’s got to stop at Le Havre and load 300 tonnes of packages, some which are ‘out of gauge’. That’s where us warranty wallahs step in and scratch our heads and look at calcs  and slings and certs and people’s faces and weather forecasts and audit reports and stability statements and passage plans and seafastening malarkey and stuff. Oh the fun wott can be had, the fun, the fun. There was a time when he would trot to somewhere on the globe that had a port, clamber up the gangway to his AHTS, drive it about the place (usually quite badly) for five weeks or thereabouts, eat three times a day, get paid (tax free), stare out of the window, sunbathe, dream of home and better things and wish he was doing  that better thing, then go home for five weeks on full pay and dread going back to the boat.  Hmmm. What a twat. If only he’d realised that  his bread WAS buttered on the right side and the field that seemed greener, really, wasn’t.


Ahhh we live live and learn. Pity some of  us need so many lessons.


In 1976 BP Tanker Comapny laid up just about all of their 'Bird Class' product tankers. These notor tankers of 16000 tonnes deadweight had a single ring main and steam reciprocation pumps. Gently, easy, popular. They were a loss to us BP wallahs at the time. Cormant and  Swift pictured, allat sea was a first trip 3rd Mate at the time on Cormorant. Happy days.

In 1976 BP Tanker Comapny laid up just about all of their ‘Bird Class’ product tankers. These notor tankers of 16000 tonnes deadweight had a single ring main and steam reciprocation pumps. Gentle, easy, popular. They were a loss to us BP wallahs at the time. Cormant and Swift pictured, the author was a first trip 3rd Mate at the time on Cormorant. Happy days.

Many people today were out attending parades and services for Remembrance Sunday. Many (probably most) of these attendees and service goers are completely ignorant of the fact that the MN (Merchant Navy) had greater wartime losses pro-rata then any of the military services. A fact glossed over the the Royal British Legion. All MN personnel were volunteers, unlike the military. Incidentally, the RBL would not accept MN personnel as members until very recently.

These same attendees will also be unaware that once a British MN mariner was shipwrecked through enemy action he went off pay until such time as he was able to restart work. If he was a POW for years, he was unpaid, his family received nothing. If he was killed, his family received no pension from the British Government. Unlike the Military.

You rarely see the MN represented at Remembrance Services, many of us will not go for the very reasons identified above. The whole thing sticks in our throats.

“The Tower Hill Memorial is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission war memorial on the south side of Trinity Square Gardens, in London, England. The memorial commemorates those from the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets who died during both world wars and have “no grave but the sea”. The memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens with sculpture work by William Reid Dick, the Second World War extension was designed by Edward Maufe with sculpture work by Charles Wheeler.

The First World War memorial takes the form of a vaulted corridor, 21.5 metres long, 7 metres wide and 7 to 10 metres high. Inside are 12 bronze plaques engraved with 12,000 names. Those commemorated include Victoria Cross recipient, Archibald Bisset Smith.

The Second World War memorial takes the form of a semi-circular sunken garden located behind the corridor, to its north. It contains the names of 24,000 British seamen and 50 Australian seamen, listed on the walls of the sunken garden. In the centre of the garden is a pool of bronze, engraved with a compass pointing north. Between the two memorials are two columns with statues representing an officer (western column) and a seaman (eastern).

Not all Merchant Seamen who died during wartime, and have no known grave, are commemorated here – they may be commemorated elsewhere, for example, the Liverpool Naval Memorial.

The memorial was unveiled by Queen Mary on 12 December 1928 and the Second World War extension by Queen Elizabeth II on 5 November 1955.”

Capture Cooper Schulz Brigden Jenkins

A Sailor’s Song


Paul Laurence Dunbar (from Lyrics of the Hearthside, 1899)

clr gif

Oh for the breath of the briny deep,
And the tug of a bellying sail,
With the sea-gull’s cry across the sky
And a passing boatman’s hail.
For, be she fierce or be she gay,
The sea is a famous friend alway.
Ho! For the plains where the dolphins play,
And the bend of the mast and spars,
And a fight at night with the wild sea-sprite
When the foam has drowned the stars.
And, pray, what joy can the landsman feel
Like the rise and fall of a sliding keel?
Fair is the mead; the lawn is fair
And the birds sing sweet on the lea;
But echo soft of a song aloft
Is the strain that pleases me;
And swish of rope and ring of chain
Are music to men who sail the main.
Then, if you love me, let me sail
While a vessel dares the deep;
For the ship’s wife, and the breath of life
Are the raging gales that sweep;
And when I’m done with the calm and blast,
A slide o’er the side, and rest at last.

Pegwell Hotel


Lumpy tum

Bursting colon

Too big a breakfast

Must put a face on