Some things you just can’t make up. Two of the vessels I was researching just before going to press, both hale and hearty and going about their business in their own parts of the world, the North Sea off the North of Scotland, decided to ram into each other.
If they had to do it, as far as my deadline is concerned, I wish they had done it slightly earlier. Still, joking apart, it was a life threatening situation when the little bunker tanker Erin Wood, a recent acquisition by “Northern Oils”, was in collision two miles off Peterhead with the container vessel Daroja, on her regular route on the Aberdeen-Northern Isles link for Streamline.
The little tanker had a crew of two, who prepared to abandon ship as water surged into the accommodation and fl ooded the engine room, stalling all machinery and producing a dangerous list. Fortunately, the Peterhead lifeboat got to them in time and saved the situation with pumps, until the tanker was stable enough to be towed into Peterhead by the fi shing boat, Ocean Endeavour. It is not recorded whether the cargo tanks were breached but the freighter apparently received lesser damage and was able to sail for Lerwick after inspection.
The Erin Wood had been heading for Scrabster when a spokesman claimed they were “rundown from behind” and had almost turned over. It seems to have been in broad daylight. He said the Daroja had “split our backside” – which I take as new nautical terminology for “stern”. Noone died but this is an MAIB report I look forward to with relish.
I do think there is something wrong in the manning and operation of coastal shipping when such blatantly avoidable near tragedies are happening with almost monotonous regularity. The numbers of crew, their training, their manning procedures, and competence to use the sophisticated equipment they have on the bridge, must all surely be reviewed. Some incidents are beyond bizarre.