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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Samothraki KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 3
source OTTO
type A
volume N
material
dead
link

Gibraltar officials announced that potential environmental calamity had been averted after a laden double hull Handymax tanker ran aground off the Rock on 17 march. The 1989 built, 46,538 dwt Samothraka,i part of the Eletson-managed fleet of product tankers, sustained damaged to three starboard ballast tanks after hitting a reef off Europa Point. At one point the ship, loaded with 44,000 tonnes of fuel oil had a 17 deg list to starboard, but no oil spill was reported. At the time of the accident, the tanker was on a voyage from Libya to the UK and had slowed down to embark crew members. Samothraki shifted to safe anchorage in the Bay of Gibraltar to undertake a ship-to-ship transfer of the whole cargo before being permitted to sail.


source GIB_GOVERNMENT
type A
volume N
material
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link www.gibmaritime.com/modules/downloadFile.php?fileID=148

At approximately 0200 (UTC + 1) on 17 March 2007, the fully loaded 27,793gt Greek registered oil tanker, Samothraki grounded on the Eastern side of Europa Point. The Gibraltar Maritime Administration was informed and an investigation started on that day. The Samothraki was on passage from Libya to the UK, calling off Gibraltar to embark additional crew / technicians by launch at a RV position 1 n.mile East of Europa Point. The Samothraki approached the coast closer than was intended in the ship’s passage plan, resulting in her grounding. She sustained damage to the shell plate on her starboard side in way of her permanent ballast tanks, causing the ship to list heavily. There were no injuries to personnel. Due to the double hull construction, no oil escaped from the cargo tanks and consequently there was no damage to the environment. Following the incident, the ship was initially anchored in the Eastern Anchorage and later re-anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar at the direction of the Captain of the Port. Her cargo was transferred to another vessel and temporary repairs were completed prior to a voyage to a repair yard. Several factors contributed to the accident including: • The failure of the Master to take early action to avoid approaching shallow water when it became necessary to depart from the passage plan. • The failure of the Master to allow for the onshore current. • The absence of the OOW from the bridge for a short period during the approach to the RV position. • The position of vessels anchored on the Eastern side of Gibraltar, which limited the Master’s option to alter course towards the North. • Proximity of other vessels manoeuvring in the vicinity. • The limited availability of effective monitoring of shipping movements within the territorial waters of Gibraltar. • The limited shore based facility able to provide navigational assistance or advice to vessels approaching Gibraltar. Appropriate recommendations have been made which can be found in Section 4 of this report.


source CTX
type D
volume N
material
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Photos of the ship in Algeciras Bay confirm the 17 degree list.

Very disappointing Gibraltar report. Basically, just blames the Captain for picking a rendevous point too close to shore given the onshore wind. (The point was actually picked by the agent.) No drafts. (World have been about 12 m.) No tank arrangement. No loading pattern. No description of the damage other than "Holed in shell plating starboard side in way of permanent ballast tanks." which sound like the damage was on the side shell or right on the bilge radius.

This casualty was widely trumpeted as a demonstration of the value of double hull, but the case is (and was) easily overstated.

The key here is that the ship did not strand. This is good because she hit almost exactly at high tide (0150 +0.89 m). She apparently drifted broadside onto a ledge pushed by the easterly BF4 winds and possibly a westerly set in the current. The master was able to get her off by powering southward, possibly extending the damage aft. before the flooding into the double bottom planted her solidly on the bottom. We can be sure that the damage was both very low and very close (if not on) to the side shell. In such a situation, there is a very good chance double sides would have been just as effective as a double hull without as much risk of flooding stranding the ship.

The Samothraki, a very early double hull, apparently had an unusual cargo tank arrangement: 6 center tanks with a total cubic of 39,354 m3, flanked by 2 cargo tanks on either side, with a total cubic of 14,232 m3. (Is she were a more modern double hull she probably would have been a one-across ship with only 5 or 6 cargo tanks.) If she had been a Marpol single hull, she probably would have been a 2x5 ship with two ballast tanks on each side. If the three starboard cargo tanks and the two ballast tanks had been holed, she would have taken on at least as much list and draft as the DH ship, but as long as she did not strand, (and she would have flooded more slowly than the DB ship) this would have aided hydrostatic ballance. On top of that, oil would have flowed from the 3 cargo tanks into the 2 ballast tanks. (See Diamond Grace, Exxon Valdez.) In such a situation, it is highly unlikely she would have lost a meter from the 3 cargo tanks (about 1,500 m3) to the sea, and quite possible that hydrostatic balance would have kept essentially all the cargo on board.

The actual number is easily calculable if we had the necessary data; but as usual the regulatory system has failed to make this data public.

As of 2009-12-15, GISIS has nothing on this casualty.