Cruise Ship Sinking

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Statendam Grounding October 30 2007

Holland America Line Statendam Near Grounding Incident in shallow harbor Queenscliff rip with 1700 passengers

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Statendam Grounding October 30 2007

Holland America Line Statendam Near Grounding Incident in shallow harbor Queenscliff rip with 1700 passengers

Holland America Line Statendam Near Grounding Incident Comes To Public Light Nearly One Year Later October 30 2007. The Statendam, nearly grounded with 1700 passengers onboard, as she entered a shallow harbor without authorization or a pilot aboard. Putting passenger, crew and the ship in danger and resulted in serious damage to the ship.

It was a little before 0500 (5am) on December 6, 2006 when the bridge staff of the Statendam, owned by Holland America Line, a vessel with a draught of 7.5 meters took it upon themselves to begin entering Queenscliff rip in rough weather conditions with reduced visibility, at a higher than advised rate of speed. It was a recipe for disaster.

The pilot had not arrived, the captain decided not to wait any longer and took off steaming towards the harbor, through an area where the draught was only 7 meters.

The official report of the incident said that Statendam violated compulsory pilotage for all vessels measuring 35 meters and longer, and the ship continued towards the heads, traveling at a speed well above the recommended limit.

When the pilot arrived on her bridge after a mandatory security check, he needed to adjust his eyes in the reduced visibility to get his bearings and then noticed that Statendam was veering dangerously close to Point Lonsdale and the outlying reefs. He ordered an immediate 90-degree turn.

Engineers on duty reported hearing "a loud knock". It was determined that divers would have to inspect the vessel hull before she could continue on. Divers found that one of the ship's stabiliser fins had been damaged as the ship struck bottom.

The irresponsible decision on the bridge, if not for a last minute decision by the pilot, nearly resulted in Statendam being gutted like a fish, with certain catastrophic results due to increased rate of speed over the regulation guidelines, and the shallow course she was on before the hard 90-degree turn was ordered.

It is negligent for the line to have not made this incident public so their potential passengers would be aware of the level of competency onboard that vessel. There has been a number of recent similar incidents that did result in catastrophe. There have been eight other groundings from December 6, 2006 through October 30, 2007.

The report, by Victoria's chief marine safety investigator, found serious lapses by both the ship and the Port of Melbourne Corporation.

The investigation report found both the pilot and the communications officer at Point Lonsdale had failed to challenge the ship's entry into the port.

The report also said several other ships strayed from the main channel entrance into the port and struck bottom.

The details of this incident only come to light as the State Government prepares to announce its approval of the dredging plan this week to increase the depth of the channel.

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