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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Cherry Duke KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 5
source HOOKE
type A
volume
material
dead 5
link

The Singapore motor tanker Cherry Duke was on a ballast passage from Karachi to Jebel Dhanna, UAE, when she sank following an explosion in the Persian Gulf about 17 miles off Das Island in lat 25.02N, long 53.10E on August 26, 1979. Five crewmen were lost. The 42 survivors were rescued by numerous vessels and a helicopter, with two men suffering from burns injuries being flown to a hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Declared a CTL, a Japanese salvage contractor was hired to attempt to raised the wrecked vessel. However, while being lifted in May 1980, the Cherry Duke broke in two.


source Taylor, SN
type A
volume
material
dead 1
link

Whilst looking through my collection of memorabilia, I came across four photographs of the tanker Cherry Duke which suffered an onboard explosion.

I was working on the Umm Shaif Complex at the time and the event would have taken place around about 1980. We heard the explosion on the platform and then the details started to trickle into us. There was a big panic on because of fears that she might sink on top of and damage the main oil and gas lines from the Complex to Das Island. As I recall there was only one fatality. Fortunately, the incident occurred close to Das and their tugs and our helicopters were able to provide immediate assistance.

I was shown other photographs that were actually taken on board the tanker after the explosion which showed severe wastage and perforations of the gas lines. In fact you could see daylight through the coamings of the cargo tank hatches. So obviously this tanker was well past her sell by date and the explosion had loosened the rust that had been keeping her together. I hovered over the wreck in one of the helicopters prior to the after end sinking. It was a proper mess.


source ETC
type C
volume 7330BBL
material Bunker fuel oil
dead
link


source MSC 49/15
type C
volume
material
dead 7
link

Explosion near aft cargo tanks, ripping open decks after tank cleaning. Source of ignition not identified. Fire spread from deck to after accommodation. Ship abandoned and sank by stern. Circular on safe practices on oil tankers issued.


source CTX
type C
volume
material
dead
link

49 man crew is over-sized. Maybe they had a repair team on-board.

The Taylor pictures indicate a tank explosion between the two houses. Holed hatch coamings would put gas on deck and allow a source of ignition on deck to get into the tanks. The two-house design protects the intervening deck area from the wind, and can allow vapor build up. See Sansinena.

We don't know if the ship was inerted, although Taylor's reference to "gas lines" indicates maybe she was. But inerting wouldn't do much good, and possibly harm, if the IG lines are holed. Clearly lousy maintenance, abetted by an understanding Classification Society. Most of the Cherry tankers were classed Det Norske Veritas, but we need confirmation.

The MSC entry is a summary of the flag state (Singapore) investigation report. It is typical. No real cause, but it must have been the crew's fault. Solution: issue a circular on safe practice.

But for once we have real info from a third party. Without Taylor's input, this would simply be another case of who knows/must have been a crew screw-up. The evidence of owner and class malpractice was obvious to any non-layman (and probably most laymen as well), yet it never showed up in the flag state report, and whatever class knew is under the Class/Owner Confidentiality agreement.

We don't have a good cause code for this sort to thing. Called it HP.