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Monday, October 6, 2014

collision of container vessels at Suez Canal

Strange things happen at Sea !!!  Collision is the act of colliding; a coming violently into contact; crash. A collision is an isolated event in which two or more bodies (colliding bodies) exert relatively strong forces on each other for a relatively short time. Collisions involve forces and there is a change in velocity. In traffic such a collision can be between two vehicles, a vehicle and a person, a vehicle and an object, two persons or a person and an object (and more if an animal is involved). It is an accident or even a disaster.

There is lawless on the road, people drive mad ~  with various categories of vehicles trying to rule the little space.  You see so many accidents on road, and when you sit in beach enjoying the breeze and waves of the Sea, you tend to think that in the serene atmosphere – accidents are unlikely…… no, there are collisions at sea  too and there are near misses too…  depending upon the size and speed, damage occurs and sometimes fatal too. The International Maritime Organization(IMO) has set out the navigation rules to be followed by the ships ~ the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972. Although rules for navigating vessels inland may differ, the international rules specify that they should be as closely in line with the international rules as possible. There are well codified rules and laws, still collisions do occur.

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction, it allows ships to travel between Europe and eastern Asia without navigating around Africa thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometres.   On Sept. 29, 2014,  two massive container ships slowly collided at the mouth of the Suez Canal, prompting delays along the heavily trafficked route.  The vessels involved were reported to be : German-flagged MV Colombo Express and the Singaporean-flagged MV Maersk Tanjong.    In the video that is now seen in social media, people  can be heard shouting off-camera as the two vessels gradually crash.

According to news reports, the two vessels were moving side by side when Colombo Express appears to have veered to its  left suddenly during an apparent attempt to overtake the Maersk Tanjong. Three shipping containers from Colombo Express  fell into the water as a result of the impact, and the Colombo Express was also left with a 65-foot dent.  No casualities were reported.  It's unclear what caused the Colombo Express to change course.  Both ships have been moored while an investigation is underway, according to a statement from Inchcape Shipping Services.

In an age, when navigation is done with advanced communication equipments, it appears strange that a super tanker was missed to be seen and a collision occurred.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Oct. 2014.

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