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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Mimosa KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 3
source LMIU
type C
volume Y
material
dead
link

Disabled during heavy weather abt 25 miles E of Port Elizabeth, in 34 04 S 26 07 E Aug 03 1991. Hull cracked, causing oil spill. Towed to Algoa Bay Aug 6. Cargo transhipped. Towed into Dubai Sep 21. Repairs completed prev Feb 11 1992.


source CREW
type A
volume Y
material
dead
link

[I was] on the "Mimosa" in the summer of 1991, when we ran into heavy seas at south tip of Africa. We were fully loaded on the way to Rotterdam when this happened.

First we had a steering gear break down. This was a Hastie type steering gear. A non-return valve in the valve block between the two cylinders cracked, the pipe connected could not take the pressure, the pipe went out of its screwed socket and, since the non-return valve was flawed, all oil the system went on the flooring. Hence the rudder slammed from side to side as the outside sea would drive it. The noise and the speed with which the rudder went from side to side was tremendous. Finally, the port cylinder of the steering gear broke into pieces. The starboard cylinder seemed to stay in the same position after this, and we managed to some how secure the cylinder in a fixed position with everything we could find of chain blocks. Then we sealed off the steering gear room. The bridge was then able to go dead slow astern for some 12 hours, and we went in a circle in the hurricane. This probably saved us from ending up on the South African rocks. After 12 hours, there was a loud bang from the steering gear room, and the rudder was "free" again. By then the seas had subsided and we got tug boat assistance.

When it was safe to go out on deck, we saw the 340 sq.meter hole in # 5S(ballast tank). The shell plate was nowhere to be found. And yes, corrosion did play a major role in this


source CTX
type C
volume Y
material
dead
link

Contrast the non-informative Lloyds report with the crewman's harrowing account. Compare "hull cracked" with "340 m2 hole". 340 m2 is a large part of the starboard ballast tank side shell. We desperately need more first hand reports.

This should have been an Amoco Cadiz; and, if it were, it is likely the crew would have been blamed.

Since there was a spill, we know there was leakage from at least one cargo tank into the starboard ballast tank. In fact the condition of the ballast tanks was so bad that the ship was in Dubai Drydocks for over three months during which time they replaced some 1100 tons of steel.

Not at all clear where to put the primary cause on this one. Sometimes the ships are so bad that is is impossible to say which problem was the real cause. CTX went with the sequence and made the steering gear failure the primary cause. But I can't bring myself to say that twin screw would have made any difference. This ship was a Kockums 350 which were built with extremely light scantlings. This design had a long record of structural problems. If as the crewman claims the ballast tank was corroded, it was only a matter of time before it failed.