Casualty Outlook

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July 30, 2009

It’s been a week of fire, ferries and fortunate rescues, as well as tragedies.

Sweden saw the collision of two ferries, Gotlandia and Gotlandia II, at Nynäshamn port, south of Stockholm, possibly with the help of a small barge. Some 15 injuries were reported. A boiler room fire, apparently in the thermal heating unit (thermal heating?! BDC) forced the ferry Atlantic Vision to return to port in Nova Scotia, the second fire on the vessel since December last year.  A smaller ferry, Captain, grounded on a boat launch on Balboa Island on July 21.

Apart from Atlantic Vision, fire ranged far and wide in the past seven days. Fire gutted a passenger-cum-cargo ship, MV Pemba at Dar es Salaam habour. Thiswas the second fire and fourth incident in Tanzanian waters in the past four months, which included a capsize with loss of life and another in which, says a Tanzanian report, “its backdoor fell off while in the Indian Ocean”. Three men were rescued, one sent to hospital, when the shrimp boat Kemo Sabay caught fire off Protection Island, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the somewhat larger,2,545 grt, containership Forum Avarua suffered an engine room fire.

Two whale stories, one of which got worldwide coverage: Princess Cruise Lines’ Sapphire Princess, went inadvertently spear fishing with its bulbous bow and came up with a 70-tonne, rare, fin whale. At the other end of the scale of size and intelligence were the 32 passengers aboard the whale-watching boat which sank off Mayne Island, Canada – none were wearing lifejackets in the open inflatable.

Thanking their lucky stars this week were two seafarers from the coal carrier United Treasure whose scaffold collapsed while they were painting a hold, resulting in four badly broken legs, a broken arm and serious spinal bruising. Also in the lotof the fortunate were the 20 crew of the bulker Ioannis NK, rescued by helicopter after the ship capsized and sank 98 nautical miles off Cape Columbine on the West Coast, near to Saldanha Bay.

Inevitably, there were the aftermaths of tragedy: the burial of the first victim of the Aguila sinking and the naming of an oilman whose body was found after he went missing from the Brent Delta platform in the North Sea.

Be safe out there

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