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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Albion Two KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 6
source Lloyds List 1997-03-13
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M bulk carrier Albion Two with Greek and Russian officers and a mixed crew of Sri Lankens and Indonesians left Antwerp Feb 15 heading down the channel. Albion Two cleared the Ushant control system two days later and headed into the teeth of a violent Atlantic storm. Then she disappeared. At 1543 Feb 18 Danish m trawler Peter Marlene, hove to in heavy seas, noticed on her sonar a large and unexpected object on the sea bed. It observed oil welling up on the water. It noticed other objects detected by the sonar that were not fish. But hearing nothing to indicate that a vessel was in distress in the region, her crew thought no more of the matter. They waited for the storm to abate and continued fishing, only triggering an investigation when they returned to Denmark.


source Lloyds List 1997-03-18
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Doctor Lemos Shipping Corp, the Piraeus based managing company of m bulk carrier Albion Two said tht it did not become worried about the vessel until nearly two weeks after she probably sank. In February, the vessel had loaded a total of 25,000 tons of steel products in Gdansk, Hamburg and Antwerp under a voyage charter to Jamaica. The last time the office spoke to the master was on Feb 17, just after the Albion Two had left the Belgian loading port. A cable with voyage maintenance instructions was sent via the UK radio station at Portishead the next day but it was not until five days later that Portishead reported it was unable to communicate with the vessel, a spokesman for Doctor Lemos said. "We assumed something was wrong with the radio station", the shipping company said. It then tried to send the same cable thropugh another station at Land's End but after a further two days learned that this too had failed to get a response.

At the start of the month the managers became worried when the Jamaican authorities failed to raise the vessel on VHF when she should have been within range of the coast. They declared her missing to the operations centre in Falmouth on Mar 3., the day the vessel was scheduled to arrive in Kingston.

Described as a "good vessel" by her owners, the Albion Two had passed her special survey last summer under the supervision of the American Bureau of Shipping. She was insured inthe London market, with liabilities covered by Sphere Drake Insurance. All 25 crew members, including Greek and Russian officers and Indonesian and Sri Lanken ratings are presumed to have perished in the accident. The Cypriot maritime authorities confirmed today they have launched an investigation into the tragedy.


source Lloyds List 1999-02-17
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Maintenance neglect was a major contributory factor in the sinking of Albion Two, which went down with the loss of all 25 hands two years ago today, according to a preliminary report into the incident. The document, which implicitly lays blame for the tragedy with single shipowning company Oinousse Navigation fo Cyprus, was produced by surveyors as part of proceedings before the Antwerp commercial court. It dismissed claims by Piraeus-based managing company Doctor Lemos Shipping Corp that the sinking was attributable to exceptional weather met by the ship some 40 miles west of Ushant. "The weather and sea condtions... should not be considered exceptional during that winter month at the exit/entrance of the English Channel," it argues.

"Albion Two was affected by very serious corrosion problems, whereas the last owners restricted ship's maintenance to the strict minimums; minimum steel renewal based on a minimum of measurements of the important ship's structures."

"A staunch and strong seagoing ship could easily have faced the southwest storm"

According to the report, everything indicates a catastrophic and final collapse of the ship's structures. The vessel sunk in seconds, before she even had a chance to put out a may-day message.

The International Transport Workers' Federation is supporting 14 of the victim's families in legal action to secure compensation. So far the families have received no compensation from either Oinousse Navigation of P+I insured Sphere Drake.

ITF legal officer Deirdre Fitzpatrick commented: "This report confirms our own findings on the cause of the loss."


source Lloyds List 1999-02-19
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Owner and insurer (now called Odyssey Re) issued a statement calling the Belgian surveyor's report misleading and inaccurate and pointing out The views and opinions expressed in that report are that of the surveyor only. They are not the confirmed findings or decisions of the court.


source ITF
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dead 25
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The ship sank about 40 miles west of Ushant shortly after leaving Antwerp for Jamaica loaded with steel products. There was no distress signal. The owners raised no alarm until the vessel was reported overdue by the cargo receivers in Jamaica two weeks later.

ITF claims that major structural defects were discovered in the bow area and forepeak tank by ABS, after which the ship underwent repairs in Durban in 1996. ITF says some of these repairs were not class approved, but at the same time says she passed Special Survey in 1996.

There were two underwater surveys. The first merely identified the wreck as the Albion Two. ITF claims that the second showed the forepeak tank was "missing from the wreck". The survey showed no sign of explosion. Appartently,the owners had claimed that the calcium carbide on board may have exploded.


source CTX
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Apparently, 14 of the 25 families refused to sign the release papers required to received compensation and supported by the ITF instituted a suit against the owners. But CTX does not know where that went.

Thanks to Capt Pierre Woinin for copies of the Lloyds List articles excerpted above.

As usual nothing public from the flag state (Cyprus) or ABS. But the Belgium government completed a report on the Albion Two in February, 1999. CTX has not seen this report; but, according to ITF, the Antwerp court found

  1. The sinking could not be attributed to weather "because the weather and sea conditions could not be considered exceptional during that winter at the westerly end of the English Channel".
  2. "Albion Two was affected by very serious corrosion problems, whereas the last owner restricted the ship's maintenance to the strict minimum, i.e. minimum steel renewal based on minimum measurements of the important parts of the ship's structure."

For now buying the Belgian findings, but we need to see the actual report. Even I am amazed that an owner could let a ship go missing for two weeks.