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SHIP NAME: Christopher KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 4
source IMO
type D
volume
material
dead 27
link

Failure of watertight doors.


source Lloyds
type A
volume
material
dead 27
link

Reprted that CHRISTOPHER 83/83784gt with coal cargo sank north of the Azores after engine failure and flooding of forward hold, crew of 27 lost in yet another tragedy of this nature. She was completed at Hoboken as FEDERAL SKEENA and then sailed as LA CORDILLERA for Dreyfus 1995-2000.

London, Dec 24 - Following received from Ponta Delgada MRCC, timed 0836, UTC: Bulk Christopher (83784 gt, built 1983) lost communication with owners at 2300, UTC, Dec 22, after reporting engine stopped, one bow hatch open and vessel taking water in heavy weather. Vessel's last reported position lat 41 02N, long 29 19W, at 1900, UTC, Dec 22. Winds easterly force 7 (near gale), with seven-metre seas. A Coast Guard vessel sent to the scene Dec 23 found a patch of fuel oil. Search continuing today, using aircraft and vessels.

London, Dec 24 - A press report, dated Dec 23, states: Bulk Christopher, with 27 crew on board, has gone missing in rough seas off the Azores and is feared to have sunk, Portuguese rescue officials said today. The vessel disappeared yesterday evening about 150 nautical miles north of the Azores island of Graciosa. A search has so far proved fruitless, according to the Azores naval command quoted by the Lusa news agency. The crew of the Christopher, which was loaded with coal, informed her owner yesterday evening that the vessel was taking in water through a forward hatch in seas with waves of up to seven metres, rescue services said. No other communication has been received from the vessel since yesterday evening. A French vessel in the area and an aircraft failed to locate the vessel, which the Portuguese naval command said had probably sunk.

St.Michael's, Azores, Dec 24 - It has been reported locally that bulk Christopher, fully loaded with coal, is considered missing since 1900, local time, Dec 22, in a supposed position abt. 150 miles north of Graciosa-island. The vessel has on board 27 crew members. The vessel was in contact with her owners advising that she had stopped engine and that forward compartment has been flooded through a ventilator. After that the owners have made several attemps to make contact with the vessel but have not succeeded. According to local source it as advised that the above possible reported position cannot be made more correct since all contacts of the vessel with her owners were lost suddendly. Searches are being made by the Portuguese Airforce arcraft, one P3 Orion and 2 Puma helicopters under adverse weather conditions, but unfortunately nothing has yet been found. The search continues today. The Norwegian general cargo Matisse, being also in the area, is making several calls by VHF and UHF but no reply received. -

Lloyd's Agents. Ponta Delgada, Dec 24 - At about 1530, local time, today, one liferaft and one lifejacket, from bulk Christopher, found adrift in lat 41 00.3W, long 30 04.2W, by tank Stolt Spray. Both liferaft and lifejacket being collected by Stolt Spray.

Lloyd's Agents. Ponta Delgada, Dec 25 - Understand a second life raft from bulk Christopher has been found by general cargo Regal Star at about 1330, local time, today, in position lat 40 58N, long 03 35W. It was reported that an oil spot was also seen in the area. Unfortunately no signs of the vessel and her crew members were found. Also understand that all the search operations have been cancelled.


source Woinin
type D
volume
material
dead 27
link http://users.skynet.be/p.woinin/sdbyxsto.htm

2001-Dec.-22. Capesize bulker CHRISTOPHER (83784grt, built in 1983 ) loaded with coal, sank with all hands after reporting damage on fore ship and broken hatchcovers. This during an Easterly near gale 7 with a 7 meter swell.

This is the kind of weather a Capesize ship should expect to encounter at least 5% of the time. This 290 m ship with no raised forecastle had a summer freeboard of 6.4m. Here are some exerpts from Captain Woinin's paper.

On the night of 9 to 10 September 1980 the Capesize OBO DERBYSHIRE disappeared with all hands, 44 souls, some 400 miles off Okinawa. After many years a thorough inquiry concluded that there had been a flooding of the forward compartment: boatswain store and forepeak, followed by a collapse of the hatch-covers of the forward holds. During the night of 22 to 23 December 2001 the Capesize bulker CHRISTOPHER disappeared with all hands, 27 souls, 150 miles from the Azores. Shortly before the master reported the flooding of the forward compartment through a ventilator, then further flooding of the forward hold through collapsed hatch covers. Both ships had been constructed and surveyed for all their service years by the Lloyd’s Register. The two ships were roughly of the same size: about 165000 tons deadweight. The DERBYSHIRE was however younger when she sank and, as an OBO, had the benefit of a double hull but this did not appear to have been a factor in the sinking. The CHRISTOPHER was a lengthened bulk carrier, she had a single hull and this also was unlikely a factor in the sinking.

Besides sharing the same LR classification others common factors are:

  1. caught in bad weather, although the DERBYSHIRE met a typhoon while the CHRISTOPHER had to cope only with a moderate storm.
  2. no raised forecastle, a common feature on all cape size bulkers.
  3. high longitudinal inertia due to cargo distribution. The DERBYSHIRE had iron ore in alternate holds, with a rather higher amount in the extreme forward and aft holds while more could have been taken in the centre holds if the staff had been warned that a smaller inertia could help the ship to ride the wave. The CHRISTOPHER was loaded with coal, a cargo which does not afford much choice in the longitudinal distribution as all holds are loaded up to their maximum capacity. Therefore we can assume that the longitudinal inertia was also rather high..

But the main difference is that the second sinking took place 21 years after the first, and 40 months after the implementation of the ISM Code, while one of the main purpose of this IMO regulation was to prevent more casualties with the bulkcarriers. These facts imply that nothing serious had been done to improve the safety of these weak ships during more than two decades. There is an obvious collective irresponsibility of all the bodies which are in charge of the safety of the bulkcarriers as they preferred to keep discussing the problem and to take only fainthearted half-measures, then wait for the next casualty, instead of giving back to those ships a real seaworthiness.

Thanks to a former master of the FEDERAL SKEENA who provided the trim table of the ship, it is easy to calculate that a flooding of the upper fore peak of the CHRISTOPHER would have increased the fore draft by 42 cm, a flooding of the lower forepeak if the valve separating the two tanks was no more effective, would have added a further 113 cm, while the inevitable flooding of the anchor chain lockers and of the forward storage spaces which could have contributed to another 50cm to the forward draft. This could have come on top of an astonishing reduction of freeboard after the lengthening of the vessel from a LOA of 265 to 289 metres, this while the Summer freeboard went the other way from 7.209 meter to 6.399 metre, or a reduction of 81cm for a bigger ship. If the original draft/freeboard had been kept, the lengthened ship would have loaded 9462 tons less cargo. But I do not know if any B minus allowance is responsible for this difference. A pity we do not know the draft/freeboard or the deadweight of the CHRISTOPHER when it went down, likely this generous freeboard reduction (a real insult to Plimsoll spirit) could have been a main factor in the sinking as the main fore deck would than have been at most 4.5 metres above the water, not much for a mass of about 190,000 tons which fight its way against head waves.


source CTX
type D
volume
material
dead 27
link

The similarities of this casualty to the Derbyshire are obvious. After 20 years the only real difference is that this loss of 27 lives in moderate weather generated no real investigation by either the flag state, Cyprus. nor the Classification Society, Lloyds Register, Of course, this is standard operating procedure. The Derbyshire was a nearly unique bulk carrier exception in this regard.