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    Re: Container ship grounding in English Channel
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2009 Nov 7, 18:47 -0000

    I had sent a posting, copied below, which contained an absurdly-long
    Lu Abel suggested I should re-create it in tinyurl form, and perhaps I have
    managed to do so. Let's see. For anyone interested, the new link is-
    This business is new to me, so I may not have got it right. If it gives
    anyone trouble, perhaps he will kindly let me know.
    This was an event that occurred in early 2008, about about which there seems
    to have been little publicity at the time.
    It concerns an immense German-registered container ship, Cortesia, of 90,000
    tons, which grounded on the Varne bank, at the most dangerous spot in the
    English Channel. Trying to understand why the ship had come to a stop. the
    Chief Officer, on watch, woke the Captain to report engine failure!
    Anyone interested will find a full account in the report of the enquiry,
    which is careful not to apportion blame, at this website-
    (you may have to cobble-and-paste the fragments of that absurdly-long
    address together.)
    I am reasonably familiar with that area, which at night is lit up like
    Piccadilly Circus. The ship had come to a stop less than half-a mile from
    (and on the wrong side of) an immense cardinal pillar buoy, halfway between
    two such buoys, marking the sides of the bank; buoys which carry radar
    reflectors and with bright quick-flashing lights.
    It wasn't foggy, though there had been light rain, visibilty several miles.
    The estimate was that somewhat in excess of 15 navigational alarms must have
    been activated. These had been taken to be engine alarms, neglected, and
    presumably switched off.
    The long, thin, Varne Bank lies slap in the middle of the SW-bound
    separation zone, at its narrowest and busiest point, aligned with the
    channel. It's only 3 metres below chart datum, and SW-going traffic has to
    decide whether to pass NW or SE of it, rather than ploughing through the
    Cortesia went on at an hour before high water, and was lucky to come off
    again, without serious damage, at the next HW, hauled by four big tugs.
    For anyone interested in that sort of thing, the report makes salutary
    reading, but it does contain its share of officialese gobbledegook.
    contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    NavList message boards: www.fer3.com/arc
    Or post by email to: NavList@fer3.com
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