Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Coast Guard, Army Save Merchant Crew
Hat Tip: Murdoc
A Coast Guard and two Army National Guard helicopters have rescued the crew of the MV Cougar Ace a Ro-Ro ship 230 miles south of the Aleutians.
No word on what caused it but my completely uninformed guess would be a ballasting mishap. Merchant ships have ballast tanks to deal with asymmetrical cargo loads and other weights.
For environmental reasons...like zebra mussels....ships are required to change out ballast water again in the deep ocean to prevent critters being introduced in littoral areas. My guess would be that one set of tanks did not empty for some reason and the ship flipped beyond its ability recover before the crew could act. If the cars it was carrying shifted to one side as a result the ship would likely be unable to right itself, especially if the ballast intakes were no longer immersed.
This could be due to a breakdown or human error, both odd in a Singapore flagged/ Japanese owned ship. The seas in the photo don't seem rough. The 10 foot seas reported in the article are not especially dangerous, especially for a ship of that type.
This concludes my unliscenced foray into marine casualty investigation.