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Precis File
SHIP NAME: New Flame,Torm Gertrud KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 3
source Gibraltar Investigation
type D
volume
material
dead
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New Flame loaded with scrap was leaving Algeciras Bay after bunkering headed south with the intention of turning east. Torm Gertude loaded with gasoline Sicily to Port Everglades was calling off Algeciras to land a crew member. She was headed west. Visibility was good, west winds B4-5.

Both ships were equipped with ARPA, AIS, GPS and were well aware of each other, including identity. Neither had a VDR. In addition, the Torm Gertrud was equipped with ECDIS. Both masters were on the bridge plus the OOW, but at 0540the Master of the Gertrud went below to attend to some paperwork.

The New Flame master assumed the Gertrud was headed into the bay and would turn to starboard. But very late in the process, he realized that was not the case and started a turn to port. TG was the burdened ship but her ARPA indicated New Flame would pass ahead with a CPA of 0.3 miles.

New Flame was speeding up but also slowly turning to port. The Torm Gertrud altered a bit to starboard to get a little more clearance, and OOW claimed he was so sure that the New Flame had crossed in front, that he changed his attention to other ships. And indeed the ships hit on the "wrong" side as the New Flame crossed in front of the Gertrude showing her starboard side.

At about 0542 a small vessel passed closed to the New Flame resulting in a target swap which may have confused the Torm Gertrude. Indeed at 0545, the Torm Gertrude altered course from 263 to 272 [to port!] and then to 275 and then to 284. [This appears inconsistent with the TG OOW's testimony].

Neither communicated with the other until the very last minute when immediately prior to the collision the New Flame called "Gertrud, New Flame. Gertrud, New Flame. I turning to port." In extremis, Torm Gertrude went hard starboard.

The ships collided at 0549 about 1 mi SSW of Europa Point. The bow of the TG penetrated into the starboard side of the NF, flooding No 1 and No 2 holds, and NO 1 and No 2 double bottom tanks. The angle of impact was said to be near 90 degrees. The TG suffered damage to her forepeak tank and No 1S ballast tank. No spill from the Gertrud.

According to the Rules of the Road, the stand-on vessel is supposed to maintain course and speed. The stand-on New Flame did neither. According to the Rules of the Road, the burdened vessle is supposed to make an an early and substantial alternation of course and speed to avoid a close encounter. The burdened Torm Gertrude did neither, blithely accepting a CPA of less than 0.3 miles.

The Gibraltar report faulted both ships for violating the Rules of the Road.


source Tsavliris
type A
volume
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Tsavliris was engaged to salvage (under LOF Aug. 2007) the craned bulk carrier NEW FLAME (46.000 dwt laden with about 42.000 tons scrap) abandoned/ stranded half sunk off Europa point,Gibraltar following collision. The Tsavliris super salvage tug Fotiy Krylov and Megas Alexandros were deployed from the North Sea and Greece respectively. An array of tanker barges, local tugs, antipollution equipment, salvage equipment including generators, compressors and underwater magnet also salvage personnel were deployed. In conjunction with the Gibraltar authorities, immediate diving surveys and studies were undertaken, and the removal of the ships bunkers by pumping into barges was made the priority of the operation. Despite adverse weather conditions Tsavliris removed about 1000m3 of fuel lubricants and pollutants. No fuel spilled from the New Flame into the sea. The Gibraltar Government congratulated the Tsavliris Salvage Group for the successful completion of this important part of the salvage operation. The next stage was the removal of aft part of the ship. The floating part due to structural degradation suffered by the vessel during the collision and subsequently in storm weather, it was not possible to extract the ship in one piece. The ship would therefore have to be cut into two sections, at a point about one-third of its length, from the bow. It was finally decided to sever the vessel in two using the cheese wire method in combination with two chartered in anchor handling tugs which provided stable platforms in order to install the winches, control rooms and power packs. Atrocious weather damaged and sank the casualty further, whereupon the P+I club decided to put out to tender the wreck removal. Tsavliris operations lasted 5 months.


source CTX
type C
volume
material
dead
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Overall, the Gibraltar report is disappointing. No chart, no tracks, no real speed, no detailed timeline. No quantitative damage data. But the conclusion is probably correct.

What amazes the CTX about this one is the failure to communicate even though each ship knew the other's identity. And the Torm Gertrud's Master leaving the bridge in this situation to do some paperwork, shows a badly warped sense of priorities.