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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Pine Ridge KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 2
source USCG MBI, 14 July 1961
type D
volume
material
dead 7
link

The Pine Ridge was a T2 that broke in two off Hatteras in ballast in a Force 9/10 storm in December of 1960. The break was in way of the sixes, just forward of Frame 56. The bow turned up, sank and the seven crew forward were killed including the Captain and the Chief Mate. The bow section stayed afloat for about six hours. But, as always in these cases, there was no way the forward lifeboats could be launched. The MBI recommended requiring life rafts on the forward house but the Commandant did not act on this. The stern with 29 aboard stayed afloat and was eventually towed in, where it could be inspected.

The Marine Board of Investigation report of this casualty is far better than the normal USCG report. It contains the loading pattern at the time of the sinking. The Master had gone to a very heavy (13,460t) ballast condition concentrated near mid-ships. Presumably he did this to avoid putting ballast in tanks that had not yet been cleaned. The result was a sag numeral of 150, one-third higher than the ABS recommended max of 100.

Even more surprising the report contains wastage numbers. Inspection of the stern revealed that the fracture was largely ductile, It also revealed that the deck plate was 23% wasted, side plate and bottom plate 17% wasted, longtiduinal bulkheads 37% wasted, deck stiffeners 65% wasted, side stiffeners 60% wasted at the top dropping to 25% at bottom, bottom stiffeners 28% wasted. The Marine Board very politely called this "borderline". The ABS measurements taken a year earlier were similar to the USCG measurements. ABS and the USCG had inspected the vessel two months earlier and OKed it despite the fact that some tanks could not be inspected because the ladders were too wasted to be used.

The owners intended to jumboize the ship by putting in a new mid-section. The MBI guessed that this was "in the minds" of the inspectors and surveyors in allowing the ship to trade.


source CTX
type C
volume
material
dead 7
link

Clearly the structure was in horrific condition and this was the Primary Cause of this casualty. When you see averages like these, the structure is basically shot. Averages are biased downward by both technical problems and commercial pressures. And even if these averages were correct, we can be sure the worst areas are far worse. There is no point in having surveys or inspections if steel like this is allowed to go to sea. Of course, if the ladders are this unsafe, you cant inspect the steel anyway.

But the T2's were far stronger than modern tankers so it still took very poor ballasting in heavy weather to break the ship. CTX called the lousy ballasting a Necessary cause although this ship was an accident waiting to happen.