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Precis File
SHIP NAME: AGIP Abruzzo KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 9
source LMIU
type C
volume Y
material
dead
link

In contact with m.ro/ro ferry Moby Prince while anchored in Leghorn Bay Apr 10 1991, causing fire and oil spill Abandoned by crew Towed out to roads Explosion Apr 13 Fire extinguished Apr 17 Cargo since transhipped Towed out Oct 22. Ar Gadani Beach Jan, 1992, as Zeus, for break-up.


source REMPEC
type D
volume 2400T
material Crude oil
dead 142
link

Ferry collided with anchored tanker. 141 passengers died in fire which broke out after collision. Part of spilled oil burned out.


source HOOKE
type D
volume
material
dead 141
link

Ferry Moby Prince had just sailed from Leghorn when she hit the starboard bow [not correct] of anchored AGIP Abruzzo loaded with 82,000 tons of crude. A quantity of crude estimated at 2000 tons spilled from 1 damaged tank out of 21 poured out and over the ferry. Ferry was engulfed in flame, only one survivor, a crew man, who said most of crew were watching a soccer game at the time. Abruzzo also caught fire and tanker crew was taken off. Ship was towed 3 miles offshore, fire finally extinguished on April 18th, and remaining cargo transferred. Both ships were CTL's.

January 1993 Investigation concluded that the primary cause was ferry speed of 18-19 knots and by her sailing without the radar switched on. Other factor were limited visibility due to patches of fog and failure of Abruzzo to turn on fog lamps.


source YOUTUBE
type L
volume
material
dead
link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JBjyo59odo

The most important of the Italian video clips.


source YOUTUBE
type L
volume
material
dead
link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djoj_i8rsb8

This is the first of a seven part Italian TV series on the casualty. The most telling point is in the fourth episode which shows the anchored ships including the Agip Abruzzo heading in a southerly direction. CTX desperately needs an Italian speaker to translate this for us.

This link no longer works, but you can click on the link below, and the TV series episodes will show up in the related video column.


source YOUTUBE
type L
volume
material
dead
link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln2HjutB0Qo

A video from Italian TV which claims that a technical consultant for a lawyer named Carlo Palermo carrying papers attempting to re-open the case (after two failed attempts in the past), was assaulted, drugged, robbed of the papers, and his car burnt in the mountains.
[See below. Apparently Palermo was representing Angelo Chessa, son of the Moby Prince Captain. Palermo has a history of prosecuting the Mafia and some claim has survived attempts on his own life.]


source WIKIPEDIA
type D
volume
material
dead 140
link http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby_Prince

This valuable source is in Italian. Here are some machine translated excerpts. CTX comments in brackets.

At 22.03, 10 April 1991, the ferry Moby Prince, in service between Livorno and Olbia in Sardinia, spring mooring for the crossing. On board are the crew, consisting of 65 people under the orders of the commander Ugo Chessa and 75 passengers. Shortly after departure, at 22:26, the Marconia board launches MayDay [probably meaning the Radio Officer (marconista) sent a MayDay]; start immediately the means of resue at sea, but the wreck is not identified at that 23:35. From the coast of Leghorn someone starts to notice stranges flashes off (visible from the central Terrazza Mascagni). What has happened has never been clarified, and still form the most varied interpretations and assumptions. The only certainty to emerge from the data collected during the process are: the Moby Prince collides with the sea tanker Agip Abruzzo to a rather sustained speed (the Moby covers more that 20 meters before you stop completely: 8 meters deformation of the bow, and 14 m of penetration into the tank with an impact angle of about 70 degrees.

Probably if the relief had been timely and coordinated, it would be possible to save many lives; at first it all means to rescue parties from the port of Livorno focus on Agip Abruzzo (which is reached about 23:00), because for reasons never sure of the May Day Moby Prince arrives weak and disturbed, in addition the the master of the Agip Abruzzo Renato exceed [Eccede?], in a radio communication with rescuers at 22:36, refers to impact with a lighter, not with a passenger ferry, and then go to the Agip Abruzzo, and especially the "non-exchange them for us" because both vessels were in flames. Even the first to achieve by pure chance the Moby Prince to 23:35 are two mooring a small boat: Mauro Valli and Walter Mattei, who collected the only survivor, the mozzo (ship boy) Bertrand Alessio. who was left hang from the parapet of the stern. [The Wikipedia translation refers to Alessio as a "hub napoletano". mozzo can mean either hub or ship-boy. Other sources call him a cabin-attendant. The Wikipedia entry claims Alessio told his rescuers that there were still people alive on board, and the rescue boat called for help. Apparently, Alessio later retracted this statement. In any event, nothing much was done, and it was not until 03:30, that the first rescuers boarded the Moby Prince after the ship had been cooled by water cannons.]

[The Wikipedia entry then talks about a completely carbonized body on the upper aft deck which indeed is clearly visible in the helo clips on Italian TV. The entry casts doubt on the validity of this image, but the translation is badly garbled, and the reasoning behind this is not clear.]

[The Wikipedia entry then appears to criticize the Captain of the Port, Admiral Albanese, for lack of action and/or communication. Once again the translation is badly garbled.]

[The enty then refers to "immediately launched investigations by the Judiciary and the Harbor. It also establised an administrative investigation, but was closed after only 11 days."]

Among the official cause of the disaster is attributed to the significant role that fog that night were levied on the area. The judges have spoken in favor of the so-called phenomenon of fog by advection, which can cause the sudden formation of a bench [bank?], even very dense and localized, due to the descent of warm air and moist on the cold surface of the sea.
[Advection fog is extremely unlikely in perfectly calm conditions at 2300, when the atmosphere is becoming more stable. Radiation fog is far more possible, but radiation fog tends not to be localized and often takes the form of a mist.]
The bench would fog suddenly fell on the sea area surrounding the Agip Abruzzo, preventing the Moby Prince to identify correctly the tanker. However, there are some elements that make doubt on the actual presence of the conditions of poor visibility. The initial statements of the surviving hub [Alessio] (later withdrawn) speak of good visibility. Even an amateur video sent to news of the events that seem to confirm the absence of fog on the evening of the tragedy. Then there is the testimony given in court by the master of the Guardi di Finanza Cesar Gentile. A leader of one of the rescue boat leaving the port of Livorno around 22:35 says that "at that time there was a beautiful time, the sea calmissimo, and a wonderful vision".

[The entry then points out that anchored in the same area as the Abruzzo were five ships leased by the US Military (Cape Breton, Cape Flattery, Cape Syros, Edfim Junior, and Gallant II) bringing back muntions from Gulf War I to Camp Darby, located just north of Livorno. One of these ships, calling herself Therese (probably a code name) decided to up anchor and move away due to the flames. She reported herself as moving at 22:45. CTX guesses this was the Cape Breton which according to the Italian TV series was anchored closest to the Abruzzo. Another Agip tanker, the Agip Naples was anchored in the same area. The presence of these ammunition ships, plus later (several years later) evidence of arms trafficing in the area has generated a school of thought that somehow the US military/arms dealers were involved. One form of this is the theory that the Moby Prince had to change course to avoid a barge that was illegally off-loading arms from the American ships.]

On the Agip Abruzzo immediately before the accidents, there are disputes. The master said, immediately after the accident, to be oriented with the bow facing south, while the ship turned north appear in the hours after the collision. Some see this discrepancy in a test of whether the Moby Price returning to the same port [almost certainly a mis-translation of "turning to port"] or that had visibly changed its route in the minutes, prior to the accident.
[This is an absolutely key point. The Abruzzo was hit on the starboard side just forward of the bridge at a high angle. If the Abruzzo was headed south and the Moby Prince was headed SSW, then the Prince had to make a 90 degree turn to port to hit the Abruzzo the way she did. Other sources confirm that the other anchored ships were headed south. The CTX sees no reason to question the Abruzzo master's statement in this regard. A later heading of north could be the result of the impact or simply a change in the tide.]
It should be mentioned also that the exact position of the Agip Abruzzo has been a source of dispute in the investigation.

[The entry then talks about the fact that a ship called the 21 October II was in dock for repairs at the time. Several years later this ship was allegedly involved in arms smuggling and a journalist investigating the matter was killed. The entry hints that the 21 October II was loading the night before.]

[The entry then claims that an amateur video shot on board on the night of the casualty which had survived and "comes into the hands of the magistrate" had been altered by replacing a section with blank tape.]

Immediately after the collision, the Prosecutor of Livorno opens a file for failure to rescue and manslaughter. The first process can begin on November 29, 1995. The defendents are 4: the third deck officer of the Abruzzo Valentino Rolla, accused of manslaughter and fire multiple fire: Angelo Cedro, according to the commander-in-harbor and the deck officer Lorenzo Checcacci, charged with multiple manslaughter not to have activated the rescue in a timely manner; Gianluigi Spartano, sailor leverage, charged for manslaughter for not having sent the distress call. Investigation were stored in the positions of owner of Navarma, Achille Onorato, and the commander of Agip Abruzzo, Renato exceed (Eccede?).

The process, full of moments of tension, ending in two years after the sentence is pronounced on the night between October 31 and November 1, 1997. In a classroom full of police and carabinieri, asked the court fot he protection of public order, the President Germano Lamberti law of the sentence by which they were acquitted all the defendents because "the fact does not exist". The ruling will, however, partially reformed in appeal: the third section of the Criminal Florence says not to proceed to action requirement of the crime.

Simultaneously with the main process, the then District Court judge were withdrawn two positions: that of the boatswain Ciro Di Lauro, which is itself of tampering on the carcass of the ferry, a piece of the rudder, and the technical maintenance of Navarma to, Pasquale D'Orsi, called into question by Di Lauro. The two were accused of fraud case, for having altered the terms of the place of the crime, or to have otherwise directed the gear wheel of the engine room. At a dramatic hearing, Ciro Di Lauro confessed that he had tampered with the rudder. But the magistrates absolved of Livorno for both defendents lack of offense. The ruling will be upheld by the appeal process is Cassazione.
[The CTX thinks this is at the heart of the matter. The translation is badly garbled and slightly ambiguous; but by far the most likely reading is that employees or agents of the owner tampered with the steering gear, presumably to hide the fact that it had failed. This reading is supported by the next source.]

In 2009, the association of relatives of victims, the Association 140, in a letter addressed to the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, asking them to become ambassadors to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, a request to make public the radar, the satellite image, or other material held by the US authorities of the roadstead of the port of Livorno during the hours of the disaster of the Moby Prince. [The entry later calls Loris Rispoli the head of the association. Perhaps the Freedom of Information Act can be used to get the data?]

On 16, November 2007, a consultant in the field of telephone tapping and environmental Fabio Piselli while he was investigating the death of his cousin used to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Embassy American University of Rome, had gathered useful information to the tragedy of the Moby Prince for this after having met the lawyer Carlo Palermo to organize the hearing of a potential witness, was attacked by four people that after they stunned then closed in the car which was set of fire, luckily the man was able to leave the car in time.

The prosecutor of Livorno has opened a case of attempted murder in damage Fabio Piselli by unknown, his car has been subjected to scientific studies by the Carabineiri of the RIS.

Bibliogrpahy

Andrea Rispoli Affric and Loris, 140. The book by two men who do not forget, the Association, 2003.

Elizabeth Arrighi, 140 The tragedy of the Moby Prince, Pisa, 1993.

Enrico Fedrighini, Moby Prince, One case still open, Editorial Pauline Books, 2005.


source altrzcitta
type D
volume
material
dead 140
link http://www.altracitta.org/?p=1650

[This source is clearly a polemic, and once again the machine translation is garbled, but the important nugget is the clear claim that Ciro Di Lauro and Pasquale D'Orsi are Navarma employees.]

Little was said of the structural weaknesses of Moby, a ferry was presented as the flagship of the Moby Lines, former Navarma, but in reality only deemed suitable to carry out coastal links. Interior luxury but reversed the route, a radio that did not work, a single radar (the three on board) and running, the fire sprinkler system out of service as the so-called size-fire dampers. In light of with tampering with the rudder by the bosun of Moby, Ciro Di Lauro, by order of the inspector Navarma, Pasquale D'Orsi, with the aim to put all the responsibility of the commander Chessa. "A despicable act but not punishable" for the magistrate to Livorno, and so, even for the owner of the fleet Navarma Achile Onorato, the request will be accepted for filing.

[This source rejects the claim of fog, saying that Canavina, the master of the Agip Naples, anchored 1.5 miles from the collision, quickly called in to find out what was happening. This source also says Federico xxxxx, the pilot who took the Prince out said there was no fog and said the Agip Abruzzo was well lit and visble. It adds] The doubts are dispelled by an amateur video broadcast by Tgl two days later.


source CTX
type C
volume 2400T
material
dead 140
link

This is the worst big tanker casualty of all time (so far) in terms of people killed. (The Dona Paz/Vector collision may have killed 4,000 or more, but is not in our database do the small size of the coastal tanker Vector.) Many sources claim that the Abruzzo had 80,000 tons of naptha on board at the time of the collision. This material is incorrect. The cargo was Iranian Light, as the Abruzzo Captain pointed out in his calls for help. But the 186,000 dwt ship was at a light draft at the time, so the amount may be correct.

The best source we have is a set of clips from Italian TV. They can be viewed on youtube by going to www.youtube.com and searching on Moby Prince. Everything is in Italian, and we have yet to have this reviewed by an Italian speaker, but several facts are clear from the video.

Weather is dead calm, with a light mist. No evidence of real fog. The Agip Abruzzo was anchored on the southern edge of the Livorno fairway, possibly just inside the fairway itself. At one point the captain gives his position as 43.29N, 10.16E. At another point, he says 43.29.8N, 10.15.3E. She was lying headed roughly South to Southwest.

The Moby Prince was outbound from Livorno headed roughly south-west.

The Prince hit the Abruzzo on the Abruzzo's starboard side, just forward of the bridge. It looks as if the angle of impact is fairly close to 90 degrees. The Abruzzo was so light in the water, that the top of the Prince bow was still a good 4 meters below the Abruzzo deck. The Prince's bow is broken off about halfway back to the bridge, more or less symmetrically. Penetration must have been 10 m or more, but impossible to tell from the video. The Wikipedia estimate of 14 m is reasonable.

The Prince must have hit one of the tanks that still had cargo in it. Since the Abruzzo was so light, the cargo flowed out over the top of the Prince foredeck, and unsurprisingly -- Iranian Light is a volatile crude -- ignited. The Moby Prince apparently got off some sort of Mayday but, if so, it was weak and essentially ignored.

The ship quickly parted, and ended up a mile or so apart.

The surviving Prince crew man, Alessio, said many of the passengers sought shelter in an interior lounge, where they died of smoke or toxic fume inhalation. He also said that most of the crew were watching a big football game. This was probably true, but a cabin attendant would have no knowledge of what was happening on the bridge.

The initial rescue efforts were apparently all directed to the Abruzzo which had radio contact with shore. Somehow the Moby Prince was ignored for a while, despite the fact that it must have been a blazing inferno.

There is a great deal of discussion about radar on the Italian tapes, but CTX is unable to follow. At one point somebody apparently suggests the radar might have been on true/relative when the crew thought it was the opposite.

What is clear is that the Agip Abruzzo was hit on the wrong side for a navigation error. To hit the Abruzzo where she did, the Prince had to make a sharp turn to port of at least 90 degrees, No navigator, however misguided, makes this kind of a turn. Visibility was not that bad, numerous navaids around, she could probably see the lights on shore. The ship knew where she was; she was initially on course on a regular route. Even if one accepts that the crew thought the radar was in the other mode, which is extremely unlikely especially since they would have been able to see the land on the screen and they knew where the land was, there is no way an OOW is going to order a course that would be more than 90 degrees off their normal course for the leg. To make such a turn voluntarily is nearly inconceivable.

The idea that a big ferry leaving port at night had its radar turned off is simply not credible.

Some people claim the Agip Abruzzo was lying headed north. This seems extremely unlikely.

  1. The same sources concede the other ships in the anchorage were lying headed SW. The lightly loaded Abruzzo did have a lot more windage than the other ships, but the conditions were flat calm. The current was just about the only force.
  2. If this were the case, the Abruzzo must have anchored right in the middle of the fairway, something the harbor VTS would have caught.
  3. This would have put the light loaded, near-VLCC Abruzzo broadside to the Moby Prince making an immense radar and visual target.
  4. The Abruzzo's Captain said he was headed south.
It is possible that the impact of the Moby Prince pushed the stern of the Abruzzo south so she ended up on a more northerly heading.

Based on what CTX currently knows, the most likely cause is a steering faiilure, This is strongly supported by the attempts of Navarma employees to tamper with the hulk's steering gear.

It's pretty clear the Prince was going astern when she hit; otherwise it is highly unlikely that the ships would have come apart so quickly in dead calm conditions.

We desperately need an Italian speaker to review the TV clips for us. Apparently, there is a book in Italian on this casualty by Enrico Fedrighini, a journalist entitled Moby Prince, Un Caso de Ancora Aperto" which I think means "A case still open". But CTX has not seen this book, and as a practical matter the case is closed without learning any lessons. And if the story of the car hi-jacking is correct, that is just the way certain parties want it.

We need to get into the Italian source material.

One source says 588,000G spilled, but seems low. But IOPCF also says 2000T. Maybe they are not counting burned oil.