Friday, 14 November 2008
Monday, 3 November 2008
The RFI loss scenario thus considered that the forward trim of the vessel (brought about by flooding of the stores spaces, chain lockers and forepeak) was the initiating factor in a chain events leading to the final loss.
Whilst the evidence indicating that the Derbyshire’s hatch covers had failed due to seawater loading is conclusive, the court was unable to demonstrate in a satisfactory manner that the vessel’s slight forward trim was indeed the causative factor of that failure.
Having noted the limitations of the MARIN model tests used by the RFI, we argue, on the contrary, that the forward trim that was taken into account would not necessarily have been sufficient in itself to bring about the tragedy.
The loss of forward freeboard due to flooding and trim, about 1.3m only (excluding flooding of the Fuel Oil Deep tank), was not of a magnitude that could significantly alter the ‘ballpark’ hatch cover loads expected to arise from the large waves and ship motions generated by typhoon Orchid. The hatch covers in this trimmed condition would still be about 8.9m above the sea surface and only about 630 mm below their normal position, with the ship in an undamaged but fully laden condition.
Therefore, the small trim by the bow could not realistically and satisfactorily explain the cycle of floodings and the resulting sinking that were suggested by the inquiry. Yet, under the label of unknown and unforeseen causes for the loss of the vessel, the RFI piled together and discarded many other possible alternatives.
Out of this class of unforeseen causes, we have now decided to present one alternative theory in which the spare propeller carried onboard the vessel, due to its position and location on the upper deck as well as due to its securing arrangements, becomes detached from its deck supports and wreaks damage to adjacent weathertight structures.
The damage to these structures, it is argued, would lead to flooding, the failure of the hatch covers, flooding and ultimately to the loss of the vessel.
Quite understandably, this alternative scenario, again, opens up discussions about liability and compensation, and this was something, which the RFI tried very hard to avoid.
(More details, explanations, diagrams and supporting evidence are contained in the attached DOCUMENT)
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
The wreck was eventually found in June 1994, during a search launched by the International Transport Workers' Federation and led by the American shipwreck hunter David Mearns. The search team were also able to deploy a ROV to survey the wreck and collect photographic evidence from the site.
Later on, using evidence from the underwater survey, the Investigation assessors purported - on the basis of a rope seen emerging from the Bosun’s store hatch opening and of an examination of the disposition of that hatch’s toggles - that the loss of MV Derbyshire had been caused by the negligence of the crew, who had allegedly failed to secure the hatch lid, which lead to fore end flooding and structural failure.
The discovery of the wreck prompted the British Government to re-open the Formal Investigation into the sinking of the vessel - investigation which began in April 2000. This time, the investigation reached the conclusion that the ship had sunk because of fore end flooding and structural failure, and as a result of inadequacies in the legislation in force at the time of build, and that the rope emerging from the Bosun’s store hatch opening was nothing more than post-casualty debris, thus absolving the crew of any responsibility for the tragedy.
The Investigation found that damage to the forward vents, hatches and equipment on the upper deck initiated the unfortunate sequence of events that led to the vessel's loss. Flooding of the vessel’s forward spaces through these damaged vents and hatches gave the vessel a trim by the bow, thereafter the main cargo hold hatch covers were subjected to seawater loading and collapsed – flooding number 1 hold first, then number 2 hold, then number 3, and so on until the vessel sank.Several important questions, however, have remained unanswered:
2. The vessel had been issued with a Load Line certificate. But did the vents comply with the requirements of the Load Line Convention?
3. Did the construction and workmanship of these vents conform to the shipyard's or appropriate British standards?
4. Did the fillet welding on the windlass seat have adequate throat thickness and, was the workmanship satisfactory?
In due course, these questions and several others will finally be addressed.