FREIGHTER ON A RAMPAGE: Crushes Boats In a Marina

11 Jul

Here’s a nice demolition-derby video: a cement-carrying freighter named Cyprus Cement (creative name that) lost control of itself and wiped out 10 to 15 recreational vessels (none of them sailboats, fortunately) in the Levanger marina in Trondheim, Norway, earlier this week. Word has it this was the result of a bow-thruster failure, though you’ll note the freighter does have a tugboat strapped uselessly to its side.

I personally witnessed a similar sort of event in St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda, way back in 1992. A cruise ship tried to exit the harbor in the middle of a 40-knot blow and lost control as soon as it pulled away from its dock. It got swept down into the nearby yacht anchorage and crushed three boats whose owners didn’t happen to be onboard. All the others slipped their anchor rodes and got underway faster than you can imagine.

These days they don’t let cruise ships go into St. George’s anymore, much to the relief of everyone’s insurance companies.

IN OTHER NEWS: This is totally irrelevant, but I had to share it.

Poisson D'Avril rescue

A 70-year-old Frenchman, Daniel Alary, age 70, abandoned his 7-foot yacht, Poisson D’Avril (or April Fool) in the Coral Sea this week after suffering from heart problems and seasickness in the midst of a 40-knot gale. He was 100 days into leg one of a circumnavigation out of French Polynesia when Australian authorities plucked him from his speck of a vessel.

Serge testa

Presumably Daniel was gunning for the smallest-boat-to-circumnavigate record, currently held by Serge Testa, who tied the knot aboard an 11-foot boat back in 1987.


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  3. Charles Doane

    @Stewart: At last, a friendly voice! Thanks for your support. And your read of the sailboats comment is exactly as I intended. Just because I prefer sailboats to powerboats doesn’t mean I want to destroy the latter. Also, I will note that sailboats in the same situation would have suffered much more damage, due to the vulnerability of their rigs.

    @JB: Yes, vessel traffic and medical emergencies are always my biggest fears at sea. AIS is a tremendous help with the former. If you don’t have a transceiver (or even just a receiver), you should get one!

    @Steve: There may be small cruise ships in St. George’s these days, but I haven’t seen a full-size one there since 1995. Small ships are very different from those behemoths!

  4. Steve Burrows

    Charlie, Are you sure about the St.Georges harbour traffic? I was there in 2012 with my boat and saw small cruise ships in there and also I think, small ships like the Cyprus Cement. Training ships like the State of Maine were also using St Georges that year. Then there´s all the 50m plus megayachts. Having worked on a few of those I know that things often don´t go to plan, despite the limitless running budgets. I like to read the accident reports published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in the U.K. Some interesting and totally avoidable things happen at sea and in harbours.

    Enjoy your posts. Informative and humourous.


  5. JBWrites

    There be monsters out there…and they’re called ships!

    When friends ask me if I’m afraid of sharks or storms while out singlehanded sailing, I tell them yes, of course, but they don’t scare me at all compared to when I see a leviathan shadowing the horizon or blotting out the entire western horizon. Especially in those first few seconds when you don’t know which way it’s wandering a will take it.

    A side note, I ant wait for “All is Lost” to premier this fall. Robert Redford’s new movie about my greatest fear — these sea monsters we call ships.

    SV Sine Metu

  6. Stewart

    Charlie, I’m impressed. Your response to that last comment was less than 4 hours after it was posted, and you show some good humour, much more than I would manage. As for the comments about sailboats being mercifully unaffected, I read that as some degree of expected parochialism. After all, this is Sailfeed, not Boatfeed, and some slight preference to sail over power might be expected of most of the contributors
    Unfortunately ships can lose control at times, and cause havoc among smaller craft. Sometimes, that’s even the better choice, as when a terminal or bridge is the other option, e.g. BC ferry Queen of Oak Bay crashing into a marina rather than destroying the ferry terminal, back in 2005.

  7. Charles Doane

    Good heavens, RJ. How did you become such a bitter person? I wasn’t complaining about the vessel’s name. I was simply noting that it is unimaginative. They can name their vessel anything they want, as far as I’m concerned. As for the tugboat, I’d rather the tugboat had control of the situation, not that it wasn’t there… obviously. Next time I recommend you just watch the video and skip the text, since you find it so aggravating. We would welcome any contributions you might like to share with us, since we obviously need help in that department. Thanks for the comment! charlie doane

  8. RJ

    Very poorly written article.

    “… a cement-carrying freighter named Cyprus Cement (creative name that)”

    – What is the point of complaining about the vessel’s name? Does this add to the story? Not in my opinion.

    “… wiped out 10 to 15 recreational vessels (none of them sailboats, fortunately)…”

    – Again, poor judgment in choice of words and taste while totally unnecessary.

    “Word has it this was the result of a bow-thruster failure, though you’ll note the freighter does have a tugboat strapped uselessly to its side.”

    – Strapped uselessly? Would you rather have no tugboat at all? Are you an expert on these sorts of things? This is a presumptuous comment that adds nothing.

    Sail Magazine has definitely lowered its standards for contributors. Many, many blog posts on Sail Feed are high school level english and some are very poorly written, this one being a prime example. A publication such as Sail would benefit greatly from an editor’s review before this garbage is posted as “news”.

  9. First Last

    The author’s comment “…none of them sailboats, fortunately” is a rather crass comment and I am a sailor. The loss or damage of any vessel; recreational or commercial is to be lamented.

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