Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Black Sea Storms

Back on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 we reported on a severe storm that sunk several Russian ships on the Black Sea ( See Mother and Her Fury!). We recently reported on severe weather grounding the vessel Vanessa, (See Dar be Storms Ablow'in! ) and severe weather effecting Bulgaria and Romania. These at-sea storms have a deadly impact on ships and their crews while most of the incidents go unreported by electronic media outlets both in the United States and worldwide. For example, Cargolaw reported on the Vanessa,

"Bulgarian cargo M/V Vanessa, with 10 crew and a pilot aboard and cargo of scrap metal, sank in the Kertch Strait in severe seas on Jan 3 at 0600LT. There were 11 people on board the ship -- 10 Bulgarian crewmen and a Ukrainian pilot. Two ships proceeded to M/V Vanessa after its SOS-call but were unable to help due to the storm. Rescuers found only one survivor and the bodies of three crew. The bodies were taken aboard a rescue speedboat. Before the sinking the bulwark was torn from the ship. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen and our Moscow Correspondent Mike Voitenko (Thurs. Jan 3 2008)."

Anyone remember seeing this report on any of the US major news outs? At-Sea Storm reports are just as critical if not even more critical than shore-side reports, since severe weather happens at sea more often than on shore. I include subsea storms or weather pattens exclusive to the oceans. Of course chasing these weather systems is not that easy either.

Chasing maritime weather systems is very different from chasing shore-side storms. Normally a seaman is not chasing, he is normally being chased or caught in the storm with limited escape possibilities. Meaning he is forced to ride out the storm. I can assure you that riding out one of these storms is not pleasant and scary. Like the old saying, "there is no atheists in a fox hole", well there are no atheists at sea either... As its been said, "Ship Happens!"

Thanks to my good friend and shipmate Captain John Konrad of, These dramatic pictures are from Novembers storm.

storm in Ukraine 2

storm in Ukraine 2

storm in Ukraine 4

storm in Ukraine 5

storm in Ukraine 6

storm in Ukraine 7

storm in Ukraine 8

storm in Ukraine 6

storm in Ukraine 7


Cargolaw has a posting asking for assistance in solving this mystery. Dr. Beach Asks: What Vessel Lost This?

This little note from our British friends...

Gale-force winds of more than 75mph buffeted parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland today, causing flooding and danger on the roads. Ferry services between Northern Ireland and Scotland were suspended last night because of the weather conditions, which reached 78mph in the Isle of Islay off the west coast of Scotland. The Forth Road Bridge remained closed to all vehicles except cars, and Fife Constabulary said roads in the area suffered from minor flooding. The high winds would continue today, shifting further north as the day continues, leading to a bright day with blustery showers, forecaster said. The Met Office issued a severe weather warning of winds up to 80mph with the the prospect of structural damage. Tony Conlan, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said the highest gust measured 78mph in the Isle of Islay. He said even stronger gusts were expected today across Northern Ireland and central Scotland. He said that by the evening most places will have seen the last of the bad weather, for now. Stena Line cancelled both fast ferry and conventional ferry services between Belfast and Stranraer because of the severe weather.

The firm warned of further possible disruptions today. Police warned of a road closure in Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland after power cables were brought down. The Foyle Bridge in Londonderry, Northern Ireland was closed to all traffic. A spokeswoman for Fife Police said: "Numerous trees have been blown down blocking the roads and we have had some minor flooding across the region. "But it has not been a disaster, it has just been a bad winter night due to high winds and sweeping rain." Rough sea conditions in the English Channel were causing delays this morning to some ferry services, the Port of Dover said. All sailings from the Eastern Docks with P&O Ferries were running about 90 minutes late. Norfolkline services to Dunkerque were also experiencing some disruption to their timetables, a port spokeswoman said.