Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Clipper Pacific Update

It has been reported in the New York Times that "Commander Hitchen said that a temporary patch had been applied to a one-inch hole in the ship’s hull by its crew before it docked. “It’s a minor leak that could be handled by the pump, but any hole is of concern,” he said at a news briefing."

A ship with a hole is not acceptable and, to be sure, relying on a pump to address the hole is unsafe in most any instance; especially when it is below the water line. In that regard, it is the cause of the hole that can be more disconcerting than the hole itself.

NY1 reports, "A commercial diving company has made temporary repairs with cement to the hull, but the vessel is being held at Pier 92 on the west side of Manhattan, until the Coast Guard gives the all clear. Coast Guard officials say the 38-year-old ship might be suffering from corrosion. "

I do not know which classification society is involved or which insurance companies are involved, but I don't think either is going to approve open ocean travel with a cemented patch to a potentially corrosion caused hole in steel plate. Normally a welded patch, at a minimum, would be required with a requirement that the damaged plate be replaced within a specified time. I do not think that can be permitted until the plate thickness is determined.

But there is more. It is reported that there were blocked emergency exits, doors marked as exits that are not exits at all, damaged lifeboats, shortage and/or unapproved life vests, etc., etc.

I will let you know more when I know more.