View Full Version : Seattle Ship List

10-26-2002, 08:18 PM
Or listing ship that is...

A containership, the 600' "Westwood Rainier" developed a 20+ degree list while at dock in the Port of Seattle today. The ship was in port to pick up a load of wood and newsprint and was then bound for Japan.

The ship's superstructure came to rest against 2 container cranes, damaging them heavily. Officials reported that there was no hull damage and that the engine room was not flooded. The master ordered an evacuation when the ship started listing and, since the list has been reduced, personel have been allowed back aboard. The Coast Guard continues operations to right the ship and expect to have it on an even keel by tomorrow morning.

No explanation was offered for the incident.

My guess is someone didn't manage their balllasting correctly as the ship was offloaded and/or someone took too many containers off of one side. News videos showed water being pumped out a through-hull and there was no other visible sign of any urgent efforts to prevent sinking.

[ 10-26-2002, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

10-27-2002, 01:27 AM
Now they're saying the ship listed to 30 degrees and was in danger of capsizing at the dock. The two container cranes that prevented further listing look pretty wrecked - structure visibly wracked, equipment mangled. Ship is now level - investigation as to cause starts in the morning. One interviewee said the dock could be out of commission for at least a month.

I guess the unloading backlog will be that much longer.

Wiley Baggins
10-27-2002, 09:32 AM
Thanks for the report Meerkat. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

capt jake
10-27-2002, 09:38 AM
The two container cranes that prevented further listing look pretty wrecked - structure visibly wracked, equipment mangledIt will be intersting to see 'who' pays for this! :eek:

A. Mason
10-27-2002, 10:44 AM

10-27-2002, 11:37 AM
I can think of several scenarios that would result in this catastrophe, but will refrain from speculation until further info comes out. Maybe our NA forumite on the west coast could provide some info/commentary? I am certain, however, that there is a lot of dirty laundry out there to be cleaned this weekend - it must have been very frightening for everyone aboard or nearby.

John E Hardiman
10-27-2002, 07:06 PM
Originally posted by mmd:
I can think of several scenarios that would result in this catastrophe, but will refrain from speculation until further info comes out. Maybe our NA forumite on the west coast could provide some info/commentary? I haven't heard anything, but I can guess after having seen something similar before. I'll wait until the USCG gets through with it all.

From what I've seen, she really didn't hit too hard and no major damage to the shell.

Bruce Keefauver
10-30-2002, 07:16 PM
A local paper reported that she has an automated ballast transfer system, (that needs a little fine tuning.

10-31-2002, 01:51 PM
And following that "fine tuning," would you want to be on her next cruise? Two good things; 1) she didn't list to starboard, and 2) it didn't happen mid-Pacific!

They say the investigation will likely take WEEKS!

10-31-2002, 02:10 PM
Ballast system programmed on MS Windows? <g>

Navy has done some tests using Windows NT on a carrier. Left the ship dead in the water and having to be towed into port. Reportedly this was due to a database error. I read this in the "Procedings of the Naval Institute" I think. (One of the interesting things gleaned from these articles is that the Navy makes inadequate and improper use of automation already installed and so causes damage to major systems (engine turbines) by insisting on manual control in situations where a human could not possibly respond fast enough. Another point is that automation is reducing crewing below the point needed for sufficient damage control parties.)

Now MS has a contract to provide the entire ship management function (including weapons launchers!) for a new carrier on the ways. OS to be used is Windows 2000 or "son of Windows 2000". Gonna be hell if the ship has to be rebooted while making a tight chanel into port. http://www.gcn.com/vol19_no27/dod/2868-1.html
I wonder if they'll have to be online to MS if new hardware is installed ;) "Sorry Captain, the ship's license key is invalid until MS renews it". "Captain we've narrowed down the sea-sparrow launch on the DD to a parity error"!

[ 10-31-2002, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

10-31-2002, 02:38 PM
Kermit, that would not likely have been caused by any instability of the ship that would exist in port-departure condition. These types of vessels are remarkably stable. It is most likely due to a combination of transient conditions caused by ballasting, fuelling, and offloading operations and probably aggravated by free-surface effects in the tankage. With the wonderfully short time allotted to perform these operations and them occurring more or less simultaneously, it is a very nerve-wracking time for the deck officer in charge. Things can get out of control very quickly when you are offloading 20-ton containers at the rate of one per minute and onloading bunker at 500 gpm and trying to manipulate ballast pumping on the fly to compensate. The wonder is not that it happened, but that it doesn't happen more often.

What I find remarkable is that none of the container stacks broke free. I have prepared SOLAS lashing manuals for such ships and I know from calculating the stresses involved that the sockets can take the strain, but intellectually knowing versus believing it when you see it are two different things. Looking up at a thirty-foot-high stack of 20-ton containers that are held together with twist-locks the size of 10-lb dumbells and a few lengths of wire while it is leaning over you at thrty degrees is certainly unnerving. Certainly a good poster for urging the loading crew to do it right, do it fast, and do it now.

[ 10-31-2002, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]

11-01-2002, 11:23 AM
mmd--it's good to hear that. But I'm still glad the list was to port. Rolling that ship over--where? in the Duamish, Meer?--would have been another set of problems. Hoo, boy!

Art Read
11-01-2002, 12:30 PM
MMD... That was my first thought when I saw that picture. The manufacturer of those container tie-downs ought to put that in their next brochure. Makes you wonder about the forces involved that make those things break loose on the high seas. Of course, if that ship had been rolling 30 degrees from side to side, I suspect things might have ended differently?

11-01-2002, 02:00 PM
Kermit; It would have been somewhere in the south end of Elliot Bay. Not sure the Duamish actually has any container docks.

11-17-2002, 09:44 PM
Thought I'd bring this back up to the surface (pun intended) and ask if any of our west coast US bretheren have any further info on what caused the minor embarrassment. Mr. Hardiman? Anyone?

11-17-2002, 10:05 PM
I don't think I ever heard an "official" reason given, but the reason I did hear was that the ship has an automated ballast compensation system that was an over-achiever ;) This is a new ship, less then 6 months old and apparantly all the kinks haven't been worked out. Perhaps "ro/ro" got misinterpreted by the software developers as "roll on/roll over"? ;)

Good news is that automated ballast compensation systems are offline at sea. They're primarily used during cargo load/unload.

11-17-2002, 10:29 PM
Ah-ha! Computers again, eh? You know the old saw: "anybody can make a mistake, but to really screw up you need a computer". Or to paraphrase a line from the NRA, "Computers don't make mistakes, only the people who write their programs!" ;)

11-17-2002, 11:44 PM
Additional pics of "Westwood Rainier" listing at http://www.piersystem.com/external/photos.cfm?CID=21

(slow loading for me)

Seattle Times:
"... Officials could not say for certain what caused the ship to heel, but they think the ballast system was probably at fault. A malfunction became evident about 3:30 a.m., when the 653-foot ship started to tilt. The crew was evacuated and no one was hurt.

The upper port ballast tank pumped out water, according to the Coast Guard, and the Westwood Rainier adjusted by tipping some 35 to 40 degrees.

The ship, operated by Westwood Shipping Lines, was 90 percent loaded and top-heavy with containers of pulp and newsprint, plus lumber, all of which stayed in place with lashes and steel bracing. As the tide came up, the ship, tied to the dock, rose with the water level. Two cranes alongside the ship were damaged.

The ship, in operation since June, has an automated ballast system that adjusts water levels in 28 compartments to keep it righted on the high seas.

The ship was involved in a “fender-bender” with a cement barge in the Columbia River on Tuesday, Amundson said. Despite minor damage to the plating on the port quarter, the ship was deemed seaworthy after an inspection..."

(This would have been the Tuesday before the listing incident.)

BTW, I found this interesting site with all kinds of information about such incidents: http://www.cargolaw.com - be sure to scroll down since the top of the pages seems to often be much the same.

Bruce Keefauver
11-18-2002, 07:35 PM
What a cool link. Thanks Meerkat!