I write this at the Christmas and New Year holiday period when the pressure is on the ferries to keep to their schedules, to make sure travellers and often festive goods and deliveries get to their destinations on time.
But in the middle of winter this can be fraught with problems. Checking the CalMac website, for example, it is remarkable how many of their services are keeping to the timetable, but inevitably, there are usually two or three, sometimes many, where delays are expected. I notice the dreaded phrase ‘delays or diversions due to stronger winds than expected’. Even in 2017 weather forecasting is not an exact science and it probably never will be.
In December, one vessel in the Philippines was caught out by the well forecasted Typhoon Nina. The ferry Starlite Atlantic 1,497,’75 was supposed to be in shelter, but reportedly succumbed to gale force winds and heavy seas between Puerto Galera on Mindoro and Maricaban Island. Liferafts and wreckage has been found and search vessels are said to be looking for a sunken wreck and at least eight (as I write) are reported missing.
From the image of the ex Japanese vessel, it does not look like a ship I would wish to be caught out in big seas, having large openings to the vehicle deck. Whatever the cause, it looks like a large number (mainly of crew) may have paid the ultimate price.
The German built Super Shuttle Ro-Ro 10 6,105,’80 is also reported stranded and damaged.