There has been much speculation about this incident but I just wanted to add a couple of points - I'm sorry if I repeat anything that's already been said!
First of all, I'm a civilian officer on a military ship (Royal Fleet Auxiliary - stores, ammunition etc.) so I've completed a mix of Royal Navy and Merchant Navy courses. I don't remember ever doing damage control on a civilian course but I have done with the RN
There are very different attitudes in the merchant world as opposed to the military one. The emphasis in the Navy seems to be more (and rightly so) on "keep the ship afloat to carry on fighting". Therefore a lot of effort is taken to teach people to "get stuck in and save the ship". The merchant training is more about getting everyone off if you have to. This leads me to my first point:
I remember being told by a civilian instructor that "The ship is the best lifeboat you have" and "Don't leave the ship until the ship leaves you". I can't help thinking that the Captain of that ship, and let's spare a thought for that guy because he will be pretty miserable at the moment, made the decision to abandon based on the proximity of vessels able to assist. If there were no ships in the area then more effort may have been made to save the ship.
Secondly, the ship would have (should have) been able to pump out water without the main engine or portable pumps. Every ship must have a seperate generator to be used in the event of losing the main machinery space, the pumps should have run off this. Also, the emergency fire pump (mandatory) will have given them the option to use fire hoses and inline inductors to work as pumps. This is not ideal but gives you an option if you need it.
Then there is the question of the hole in the side of the ship, who said it was fist sized? Is that something that gets put into a press release to calm relatives? If the hole was sighted by the crew then it would have been from the inside of the ship and some quick measures may have stemmed the ingress of water. Is it not a possibility that the hole was in fact much bigger or harder to get to than we imagine?
Lastly, to compare this incident to warships is incredible. Take the HMS Nottingham incident (embarassment) off Australia. Those damage control teams worked miracles in saving the ship but how many were there in the teams? For a Naval Officer to order twenty people into a flooded, cold and dark compartment is one thing but for a Cruise Officer to do the same with a few Deck/Engineering personnel (Hotel Services would be dealing with passengers), that just wouldn't happen - the manpower isn't there and tends to be slightly more militant when it is!
Whatever happened, I'm sure that they did their best, taking to the boats was probably a better option than sending people down into such a dangerous area when rescue was so close at hand!
|Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 71):|
Fortunately the crew managed to restart the main engine (after difficulties, since the main switchboard on the bridge was soaked with water) and to get the ship back under control.
If there is water on the bridge, you really need to start thinking about getting off!
|Quoting Halls120 (Reply 81):|
While a cadet on four summer cruises, I scraped buoys, stripped insulation, cleaned the engine room bilges, helped overhaul a main diesel engine, etc. As a new officer, I was trained properly by the CPO's on my first ship. When I was XO and CO, I never asked the crew to do something I couldn't do myself.
I totally agree, lean manning means everyone has to be flexible, we just don't have the option of saying "I'm an Officer, I don't have to know how to do that, I just want it done"!