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Precis File
SHIP NAME: British Ambassador KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 6
source SIS83
type D
volume
material
dead
link

er flooded after sw inlet pipe leaked, sank


source Robertson, The Last Voyage of the Lucette, p 352
type A
volume just over 50,000 tons
material Saudi Arabian crude
dead 0
link

A large diameter condenser intake pipe in the ship's bottom had fractured and a serious leak had breached the vessel's watertight integrity. The second engineer shouted in my direction, asking me to help him shut the sea valve. We both struggled with the heavily corroded valve wheel, then became alarmed at the ease with which it turned. A few seconds lated the spindle fetched up against its stop but the water flooded into the engine room with undiminished force.


source CUTTER
type D
volume
material
dead
link

er flooded, no 8 and 9 cgo tanks ruptured, got under tow but towline was disconnected in bad weather, and sank 333 mi west of Iwo jima


source ETC
type D
volume 330,000B
material
dead
link


source Brown
type D
volume 38000tons
material
dead
link

Could I report slight inaccuracies in respect of the above?

This relates to the loss of the British Ambassador.

(1) The deadweight tonnage of this ship was 42,514 tons. She was actually carrying just over 38,000 tons – not 50,000 as stated by Mr Robinson.

(2) The actual source of the ingress was the main condensor inlet pipe splitting on the seaboard side of the valve. Whether or not the valve worked was immaterial. The ship had drydocked in the summer of 1974 and a full safety certificate had been issued.

My source? I was the second officer on board at the time, and as such was in direct liasion with the Master and Chief Engineer. Mr Robinson was in fact a Cadet on his first trip in that position.

Regards

Michael A Brown


source CTX
type D
volume 44700 KL
material
dead 0
link

This is a rare case where we have two first hand accounts, and there are some significant differences.

Robertson's account claims there was two failures. First, the big seawater inlet line failed. Secondly, the main seavalve that could have isolated this line failed. This valve is normally only closed when the condenser has to be inspected, which in some ships may not happen for two or more years. When something is used this infrequently and not tested, things go wrong.

Mr. Brown claims the failure was outboard of the valve. in which case closing the valve would have made no difference. It is still quite possible that the crew attempted to close the valve as Robertson claimed, perhaps because they were not yet sure where the failure was.

Mr. Brown is clearly right about the cargo. A 42,514 dwt ship could not be loaded to 50,000 tons, so until new info appears we are accepting his version.

All tankers should be designed so that an ER can be flooded with the ship loaded without the ship sinking. This is expensive to do in a single screw ship, but is almost automatic in a twin screw, two engine room ship.