Concerns expressed over ‘Maritime Maisie’

Feb 21 2014

Lloyd’s Register’s (LR) emergency response experts claimed that the hull strength of the chemical carrier ‘Maritime Maisie’ is severely impaired.

More than 50 days since the vessel was involved in a collision, which started a fire, the vessel’s maximum bending moment exceeds estimated damage strength limits. The ship will be in danger of breaking up if subjected either to worsening weather, or a long ocean tow, LR said.

LR’s Ship Emergency Response Service (SERS) has been working with ‘Maritime Maisie’s’, Singapore based, manager MSI Shipmanagement, to develop a plan to best manage the casualty and help ensure the ship can be taken to a secure anchorage where the remaining cargo can be transferred safely.

She was opened to the sea well above and below the waterline in way of cargo tanks NOs 4 and 5 following the collision with the PCTC ‘Gravity Highway’ off Busan on 29th December last year.

The combination of the collision damage and subsequent fire has severely weakened the local and global structural strength of the vessel. The prolonged exposure to swells of up to four metres may also have contributed further damage and continued exposure will only make this worse.

It has now been over 50 days since the collision and a month since the fire was extinguished. Now the maximum bending moment for the Hong Kong-flagged vessel exceeds estimated damage strength limits.

Following new data and images from the ship, there is a growing concern for her structural integrity. Thus, the call for a port of refuge is most critical, LR said.

In planning for this worst eventuality, MSI Shipmanagement had requested LR to investigate the survivability of the ship should the hull girder fail and break in two, including the effects of escalation by failure of exposed bulkheads. Calculations show that immediately following a structural failure, both halves of the ship will remain floating upright.

If sheltered water can be found then further calculations have demonstrated that the ship’s remaining cargo can be offloaded without exceeding estimated strength limits. Stability is not a concern.

"Continued exposure to seas will weaken the ship’s structure – at some point it is likely to fail," said Wijendra Peiris, LR SERS team leader. "’Maritime Maisie’ needs to be taken to a safe haven and offload its cargo – as soon as possible. We would be very concerned if the ship is towed for a lengthy period in the open ocean, or remains where she is for an extended period."

The ship was carrying 30,000 tonnes of cargo at the time of the collision. It is estimated that about 4,000 tonnes of cargo was lost to the sea, atmosphere, or was consumed by the fire. 

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