Tuesday, January 17, 2012

KARL - questions for you!

Like many others, am mortified, appalled and intrigued with the cruise ship disaster.  Am hoping to hear from Karl with his take on this tragedy, and more specifically, about those rescue efforts and the problems the divers are facing in going through the ship -- all the floating furniture and gear.  This must be a nightmare of epic proportions.  God bless all those who are working on this tragedy.  Hollywood couldn't have written a script like this.


chickory said...

well I dont blame you for kalling on Karl - but, lemme give ya MY take on this. Just like Katrina, it illustrates there isnt really any "authorities" when things go south. Let this be a wake up call for future order breakdowns. Any situation you are in that has potential danger? assess it and strategize your just in case game plan. just saying.

that said, with the exception of the old and infirm...there is NO WAY I would die inside that ship. with shore that close? un uh. The human chain thing was awesome and the passengers did a great job of maintaining their own sense of humanity. but i was struck at how often they said "nobody was in charge" - yeah. no joke.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Pam,

My Take. It's a stupid accident the cost a lot of people their lives that never should have happened. By all accounts I've read so far. It appears the captain deliberately left is preplanned course to get the tourists a better view of the island. For some perspective, the ship is longer than the titanic. Draws 27 feet of water as compared to titanic's 35 feet. The gash in the hull is 160 feet long. Not only was he too close to the island he was traveling at high rate of speed. The accounts of his conduct after the collision would make any professional mariner hang their head in shame.

Regarding the diving, the good news is the water is relatively warm by diving standards just under 60°, I will usually dive a wet suit until 50°for dive durations up to about 6 hours. The diver you've seen on TV are wearing dry suits, primarily due to the possibility of contamination. The other thing they have going for them is the visibility, it is very good.

Now the bad part, think about trying to move in where everything is sideways. Every piece of junk that can float is floating there are long hallways, plus rooms to serch. Since they're using scuba, they have to be very careful about not getting too far from their point of egress and they have to mark their path of travel with lines wherever they go. This is why the demolition teams are blowing holes in the hull, to increase the access for the divers. Body recoveries are never fun, doing so inside a ship that could shift and move into deeper water increases the risk dramatically. At this point it is highly unlikely there are any more survivors. When a rescue becomes a recovery there's a fine line of risk that needs to be carefully avoided.

The heavy salvage teams from Smit International will be onsite soon. They will first stabilize the ship's position and transfer the fuel and oil off the ship. Then they will patch the ship, pump her out and tow to dry dock. This may be were the final bodies are recovered. Unless they were washed away from the ship and drowned. If this is the case they will float up in a few days.

There you have it, my take. A classic example of one man's foolishness costing other people dearly.

Karl said...

@ Chickory: the outcome of bad situations often has to do with the character of the authority and the character of its constituents. In the case of Katrina, the authority was corrupt as was many of the constituents. In the subsequent flooding, a year later in the Midwest. There was no major breakdown of the governmental structure or looting or murdering. That flooding took place over a wider area.

Command the situation, don't let the situation command you.

Boxer said...

I listened to the Italian Coast Guard today yelling at the Captain of the boat. WTF??? He left the ship??? Was told to reboard? and he refused?

I read the Tina Fey book last Spring and she talked about her Honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas (not far from NYC) At one point there was a small fire and she said the lack of direction/education/etc with the diverse crew (i.e. they all don't speak the same language) scared the hell out of her. I've never been interested in a cruise but after this? Oh yeah, file me under NEVER!

"Command the situation, don't let the situation command you."

well, that's just another great T-Shirt/Coffe Mug quote. So thank you!

moi said...

I never travel anywhere without thinking about all the possible FUBAR-esque scenarios and what I'd do if one should rear its head. Doesn't necessarily mean MY head will remain cool when the poopie hits the fan, but mental preparation can go a long way towards actual.

Fascinating stuff, Karl, thanks for giving us your perspective. SIX HOURS under water? That's impressive.

Pam said...

Chickie: "Kalling on Karl" --- love it. The authorities that helped the passengers turned out to be everyday workers and that folks is how we define heroes.

Karl: Thank you for the long post. It is fascinating and I appreciate your comments. Six hour dive and I would be a screaming basket case. I don't go under water. Ever. Not even in the shower. I have no idea how I would react to this situation. Re authorities -- here in OK I guess we respect our Author-i-tays ... too much tornado potential that the emergency responders deal with ... we know there is someone somewhere that knows what to do.

Boxie: Yep, we need to work that quote up into tee shirts and send them off to Cafe Press and then order us one. In fact, that could be a weekend project for me! We have been on a couple of cruises and enjoyed them, but can't imagine doing it again.

Moi: Girl, I do believe we think alike much of the time. The husband (aircraft guy) has taught me to count the rows to an exit as we sit down on an airplane. There are situations that I just do not get myself into that I perceive as dangerous. Have had plenty of danger, don't know need to go looking for it.

Thanks again Karl. Let us know if you get called into action into this situation!

Buzz Kill said...

The captain abondoning ship before the passengers is only the tip of the iceberg (yeah, I know - Titanic reference), there was a total breakdown in command.

The Mrs and I did a cruise about 10 years ago. The first day onboard ship, we had life jacket and life boat drills. And I could see a life boat out of the cabin window. We felt pretty safe and the crew seemed well trained. From what I read, none of that happened here and was probably a contributing factor to the crew not knowing what to do and the passenger panic and deaths.

All of this is the captain's responsibility. This guy seemed to be using the ship as a chick magnet with no regard for passenger safety. A lot of competent captains are going to lose their jobs when the cruise industry tanks. If the courts don't get this guy, a bunch of uneployed ship drivers will.

Troll said...

I'm going to wait until the facts come out before condemning the Captain and/or the Company. It won't be the first time the leftist media oligarchy got it all wrong and ruined somebody's life.

Remember the Security Guard at the Atlanta olympics?