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Peter B

South Korean ferry sinking

32 posts in this topic

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/grieving-south-korean-parents-consumed-by-anger-and-agony/5397406

Anger is growing among grieving parents and relatives as confusion and conflicting reports emerge about the South Korean ferry disaster which has killed at least 14 people.

Among the 282 people missing are hundreds of teenage school children, believed to be trapped after the ferry sank about 20 kilometres off the south-west coast of the country.

I have to admit that when I first heard this story I wondered whether a North Korean submarine was responsible. Given the descriptions of what happened that seems implausible.

Instead it seems the ship drifted off course and hit a reef. Hopefully the cause will be established fairly quickly, although that will be faint comfort for the relatives of the missing.

I also note that the captain did a "Schettino" and got off the ship before most of the passengers.

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north korea are now targeting south korea's teenagers

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Of course, there's a handy scapegoat north of the border that I bet the SK government will be keen to insinuate may have had some involvement to cover up shortcomings in safety standards.

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Of course, there's a handy scapegoat north of the border that I bet the SK government will be keen to insinuate may have had some involvement to cover up shortcomings in safety standards.

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I must admit, as I started to read about this tragedy, my thoughts where...

Well....

WAS this an accident, or a North Korean torpedo ?

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Another tragedy in this world , so sad my heart goes out to the parents,hopefully they find some alive trapped in pockets.

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negligence ~ and cowardice ~ on the part of the 'captain' ~

made off with the first lifeboat on his own and without ensuring other life boats were dispatched ~ I doubt he'll survive till the end of the month ~

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Just like that movie Posiden adventure they should have never told those kids to stay where they are now they have to climb to the botten of the boat that turned up side down to get out before the water gets in.Sadly I just don't think the two hundred will survive in the cold or the water .

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If ever I find myself on a listing ship,the last thing I would do is head inboard to my cabin. It would take a big crewman with a shotgun to get me to leave the open deck.

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If ever I find myself on a listing ship,the last thing I would do is head inboard to my cabin. It would take a big crewman with a shotgun to get me to leave the open deck.

There would not be even a thousanth`s of a second BEfore I would be out on the deck also ! Cutting a Life boat free myself ! People The Ocean will Kill you If you dont know whats going on ! S/A is the order of the Day!

Pray for the Families ! the Children have perished ! Even there Head master Took His own life in respect for the Loss ! Old School solution !

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I just don't understand this.

The stories include the theory that the ship hit an underwater rock, sufficiently large to create a gash along the side (Titanic-style) that allowed more water to flood in than the stabalisers could deal with.

But the ship sank in 30m of water. And why has no journalist reported on the exact location of the ship, and correlated that with sea charts ?

Now we hearing that the ship suddenly swerved just prior to the event. The helmsman stated that he DID turn, but that the steering gear hugely over-reacted and produced an uncommanded, abnormally sharp turn. So a new theory (pure speculation) is that the cargo shifted as a result of the turn, destabalising the ship and causing it to list.

But surely a list - in and of itself - wouldn't then cause the ship to sink ? OK... sure.. if it listed to the point that cabin windows where underwater then perhaps water could get in - but that would require a list of 90 degrees or more (e.g. the ship would have to be on its side). Could "shifting cargo" REALLY cause a list of that magnitude ? On first glance, that seems to break the laws of physics. I mean... the entire contents of the cargo hold would have to spontaneously plaster itself against one side of the hull ?

I seem to recall one article that cited passengers as having heard a 'bang'. Well... that could be the ship hitting a rock, or the cargo shifting I guess.

And then there is the sheer speed at which it happened... something like five hours between "the event" and the final sinking ? OK, the Titanic sank in just 2.5 hours, but the gash in its hull was HUGE.

Wouldn't such a gash have been visible when the ship turned upside down ? Wouldn't the dozens of divers have noticed it ?

To summarise:

Journalists are interviewing "experts" to produce various theories, but are they realistic ?

  • In regards the 'shifting cargo' theory: why has nobody reported on the cargo manifest to see what was IN the ship ?
  • In regards the 'submerged rock' theory: Why has nobody reported on the precise location of the ship, and discussed this with oceanography experts to see if an underwater collision with a rock is possible in that area ?
  • Why has nobody reported on the location of the ship, and compared that with the standard route to see if the ship was off-course ? I mean... isn't that a BASIC aspect of this event ?

Something is just WRONG with the story as it is being presented.

There is an elephant in the room, and everybody is studiously avoiding mentioning it.

Romeo_clsss_submarine.JPG

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Yup, as I said, enter the usual scapegoat. Yes, i expect it won't be long before they announce that they've found the actual torpedo that was fired by the N. Korean sub, and which (of course) will be miraculously so little damaged that they're able to read the actual N. Korean writing on it, just like with the Cheonan. I don't suppose the absence of any sign of an explosion, and the fact that, for a ship hit by a torpedo, the ferry seemed to display remarkably little sign of damage in the pictures that have been released, really matter, since this was probably one of those non-exploding torpedos that the NK Navy seem to be getting so proficient with. And also at their ability to penetrate S. Korean waters unnoticed, and make their exit unnoticed, although of course there's no S. Korean or US naval presence anywhere in those waters, is there.

Would you like to bring in MH370 as well while you're at it?

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Posted (edited)

I just don't understand this.

The stories include the theory that the ship hit an underwater rock, sufficiently large to create a gash along the side (Titanic-style) that allowed more water to flood in than the stabalisers could deal with.

But the ship sank in 30m of water.

I don't see what your problem is. If the ship hit a rock then it would still travel a distance before stopping - presumably enough to move from the reef to deeper water. However, as you point out below, that theory appears to have been discarded.

And why has no journalist reported on the exact location of the ship, and correlated that with sea charts ?

Why do you say that? It's location is given on Wikipedia. Perhaps someone has and you haven't found it. However, unless you know the ship's location to within 100 metres you can't really be sure what the sea floor is like in the vicinity.

Now we hearing that the ship suddenly swerved just prior to the event. The helmsman stated that he DID turn, but that the steering gear hugely over-reacted and produced an uncommanded, abnormally sharp turn. So a new theory (pure speculation) is that the cargo shifted as a result of the turn, destabalising the ship and causing it to list.

But surely a list - in and of itself - wouldn't then cause the ship to sink ? OK... sure.. if it listed to the point that cabin windows where underwater then perhaps water could get in - but that would require a list of 90 degrees or more (e.g. the ship would have to be on its side).

Yes, a list alone would be sufficient, if the list was severe enough. But it wouldn't need to be 90 degrees. If you look at photos of the ferry when it was listing, when it was at about 45 degrees the entire port side of the ship was under water. Even at that point the ship would be in a lot of trouble.

Could "shifting cargo" REALLY cause a list of that magnitude ? On first glance, that seems to break the laws of physics. I mean... the entire contents of the cargo hold would have to spontaneously plaster itself against one side of the hull ?

Well, the cargo could shift if the ship turned suddenly (as you paraphrase the helmsman saying), the stabilisers didn't operate and the cargo wasn't properly secured. It could also shift if the ship was hit side-on by a large wave. However I don't have any evidence about either such event happening, so I realise I'm speculating.

It's worth noting that the ship is a Roll-On-Roll-Off ferry, and a weak point for these ships is the point where the vehicles enter and leave the ferry. In the case of the MS Estonia, which sank in 1994, the entry point was the ship's bow. I'm unsure where it is on the MS Sewol, but if it's the bow it doesn't seem to be damaged in the photos as far as my non-expert eyes can tell.

I seem to recall one article that cited passengers as having heard a 'bang'. Well... that could be the ship hitting a rock, or the cargo shifting I guess.

Yes, at the moment the information we have is inconclusive. Perhaps more information will come to light once the crew are interviewed.

And then there is the sheer speed at which it happened... something like five hours between "the event" and the final sinking ? OK, the Titanic sank in just 2.5 hours, but the gash in its hull was HUGE.

According to Wikipedia, the ship was reported sinking around 9am local time, and had capsized by 11.15am. Given the number of potential entry points for water, it doesn't surprise me.

Wouldn't such a gash have been visible when the ship turned upside down ? Wouldn't the dozens of divers have noticed it ?

Presumably yes. Presumably this is why the reef collision theory has been discarded.

Edited by Peter B

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Posted (edited)

Continuing from above...

To summarise:

Journalists are interviewing "experts" to produce various theories, but are they realistic ?

  • In regards the 'shifting cargo' theory: why has nobody reported on the cargo manifest to see what was IN the ship ?
  • In regards the 'submerged rock' theory: Why has nobody reported on the precise location of the ship, and discussed this with oceanography experts to see if an underwater collision with a rock is possible in that area ?
  • Why has nobody reported on the location of the ship, and compared that with the standard route to see if the ship was off-course ? I mean... isn't that a BASIC aspect of this event ?

Something is just WRONG with the story as it is being presented.

Some of this information at least is available at Wikipedia's entry. For example its location is given to six decimal places of a degree, and many statements are backed by links to online articles. Perhaps checking them might fill some of these gaps.

There is an elephant in the room, and everybody is studiously avoiding mentioning it.

Eh? I mentioned it in the first post in this thread.

The reason I now discount the idea of a submarine attack is that a torpedo attack would have (1) caused an almighty explosion and gout of water and debris which would easily be seen by anyone able to see out of the ship, (2) probably broken the ship's back, and (3) created a large hole which would have been visible in photos and to divers.

Check out this footage of a torpedo attack on a decommissioned warship of about 2000 tons (about a third of the Sewol's tonnage): https://www.youtube....h?v=RV8MF-440xg

I think it's unlikely an attack like that happened to the Sewol.

{Apologies for the way this reply appeared. Each time I attempted to reply the system said my opening and closing quotes didn't match.}

Edited by Peter B

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I, too thought immediately of the NK angle - and for sound reason since NK routinely causes provocations before, during or after US and SK annual drills. Anyone who denies this is simply ignorant of history or trying to be a provocateur. That said, the SK government is probably trying to find ANY other cause since to acknowledge such an attack surely will mean open warfare.

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I, too thought immediately of the NK angle - and for sound reason since NK routinely causes provocations before, during or after US and SK annual drills. Anyone who denies this is simply ignorant of history or trying to be a provocateur. That said, the SK government is probably trying to find ANY other cause since to acknowledge such an attack surely will mean open warfare.

If the North Koreans were responsible for the sinking, how did they achieve it?

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If the North Koreans were responsible for the sinking, how did they achieve it?

the same way they sank the Cheonan, with their devious non-exploding torpedoes, which just make a hole big enough to sink the ship but not cause a suspicious explosion.

I'm getting good at this manufacturing conspiracy theories stuff!

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The captain takes responsibility guys, he left the controls to a junior officer who had not much experiance. The Captain froze i thinnk, nerves got the better of him

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PeterB - thanks for the info about the location being on Wikipedia. My point, though, was more to do with the media.

You see, I don't have the resources to easily correlate that position with ocean-floor depth charts. Nor could I easily find the Sewol's intended route. A professional news agency WOULD be able to access these .. and a simple statement as to whether the Sewel was on - or off - course at the time of the sinking would be highly germane to the "story".

So why havn't they ?

As for a 45-degree list; well, obviously I'm not a naval architect, but looking at the stock photographs of the ferry, I would have thought that such a list would be insufficient to bring any portholes underwater. Even if they did, I would have expected that cabin doors, plus internal bulkheads, would have limited the ingress rate even if the portholes had shattered .

the same way they sank the Cheonan, with their devious non-exploding torpedoes, which just make a hole big enough to sink the ship but not cause a suspicious explosion.....

Not far off the truth. The consensus opinion was that the torpedo was a wake-following homing torpedo which exploded under the Cheonan, not hitting it directly. The resulting shockwave was sufficient to break the ship in half.

I'm getting good at this manufacturing conspiracy theories stuff!

There where a LOT of different countries involved in several separate investigations, including Russia and China.

Ummm... who concluded that it WASN'T necessarily a torpedo, but could have been a mine.

The Sewel is a LOT bigger and heavier than the Cheonan, so a torpedo might not immediately destroy it, simply make a big hole in the hull.

Mind you... seeing as no hole was in evidence when the ship turned turtle, then perhaps this is a red herring after all ?

As for the Captain... I've heard statements about him leaving the ship early in these forums, but I HAVN'T seen that in any of the media reports; does anyone have a link to one ?

It is common practice for the captain NOT to be on the bridge, though the remaining staff DO have to be competent to perform their duties.

Is anybody aware of ANY precedent whereby a sharp turn - coupled with shifting cargo - has caused a modern ship to immediately sink ? We've lost roll-on-roll-off ferries before now, but only when the bow door was lost. (or left open by accident).

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PeterB - thanks for the info about the location being on Wikipedia. My point, though, was more to do with the media.

You see, I don't have the resources to easily correlate that position with ocean-floor depth charts. Nor could I easily find the Sewol's intended route. A professional news agency WOULD be able to access these .. and a simple statement as to whether the Sewel was on - or off - course at the time of the sinking would be highly germane to the "story".

So why havn't they ?

As for a 45-degree list; well, obviously I'm not a naval architect, but looking at the stock photographs of the ferry, I would have thought that such a list would be insufficient to bring any portholes underwater. Even if they did, I would have expected that cabin doors, plus internal bulkheads, would have limited the ingress rate even if the portholes had shattered .

Not far off the truth. The consensus opinion was that the torpedo was a wake-following homing torpedo which exploded under the Cheonan, not hitting it directly. The resulting shockwave was sufficient to break the ship in half.

There where a LOT of different countries involved in several separate investigations, including Russia and China.

Ummm... who concluded that it WASN'T necessarily a torpedo, but could have been a mine.

Of which there are very many in Korean waters, both left over from the Korean war and more recent, with no need for devising any more elaborate weaponry. Who are the consensus, by the way?

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Is anybody aware of ANY precedent whereby a sharp turn - coupled with shifting cargo - has caused a modern ship to immediately sink ? We've lost roll-on-roll-off ferries before now, but only when the bow door was lost. (or left open by accident).

if there was flooding on the car deck, the amount of water moving to one side could very easily cause it to capsize. That was what happened to the Herald of Free Enterprise and the Estonia, and neither of them needed to hit a rock (or be torpedoed) for the car deck to be flooded.

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PeterB - thanks for the info about the location being on Wikipedia. My point, though, was more to do with the media.

You see, I don't have the resources to easily correlate that position with ocean-floor depth charts. Nor could I easily find the Sewol's intended route. A professional news agency WOULD be able to access these .. and a simple statement as to whether the Sewel was on - or off - course at the time of the sinking would be highly germane to the "story".

So why havn't they ?

I don't know. Why don't you ask them. Alternatively, perhaps there is information, but it's only available in Korean.

As for a 45-degree list; well, obviously I'm not a naval architect, but looking at the stock photographs of the ferry, I would have thought that such a list would be insufficient to bring any portholes underwater. Even if they did, I would have expected that cabin doors, plus internal bulkheads, would have limited the ingress rate even if the portholes had shattered .

When I mentioned a 45 degree list, I was looking at photos showing exactly what I described: at that angle, the ship's left side was entirely underwater. If you search for images on Google using "sewol ferry" you'll find plenty. Here are a couple of examples: http://www.koreaittimes.com/story/36327/sewol-ferry-who-can-penalize-s-korea%E2%80%99s-deplorable-handling-ferry-capsizal

As for cabin doors and internal bulkheads stopping water flow, not particularly. Cabin doors are unlikely to slow the water down for long before the weight of water bursts them open. As for internal bulkheads, remember this is a ro-ro ferry - the cargo deck will have no bulkheads: once water is in there it's going the length of the ship.

Not far off the truth. The consensus opinion was that the torpedo was a wake-following homing torpedo which exploded under the Cheonan, not hitting it directly. The resulting shockwave was sufficient to break the ship in half...

The Sewel is a LOT bigger and heavier than the Cheonan, so a torpedo might not immediately destroy it, simply make a big hole in the hull.

Mind you... seeing as no hole was in evidence when the ship turned turtle, then perhaps this is a red herring after all ?

Did you watch the video I linked of a torpedo attack on a decommissioned warship? That ship, of about 2000 tons, or a third of the MS Sewol's tonnage, was broken in two. An equivalent torpedo hitting the MS Sewol would almost certainly break its back. Plus the initial explosion would be hard to miss. No one has reported seeing a cloud of water and debris blasting into the sky above the ship.

As for the Captain... I've heard statements about him leaving the ship early in these forums, but I HAVN'T seen that in any of the media reports; does anyone have a link to one ?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-19/south-korean-ferry-disaster-captain-arrested/5399608

The ship captain has come under scrutiny after witnesses said he was among the first to escape the sinking vessel, which was on a 400-kilometre voyage from the port city of Incheon to the Korean holiday island of Jeju.
It is common practice for the captain NOT to be on the bridge, though the remaining staff DO have to be competent to perform their duties.

That's fine, but presumably the captain should be responsible for co-ordinating the evacuation of his ship, which he can hardly do unless he's on the ship. Or at the very least in clear communication with the senior officers on board - which he couldn't have been given he was in a lifeboat.

Is anybody aware of ANY precedent whereby a sharp turn - coupled with shifting cargo - has caused a modern ship to immediately sink ? We've lost roll-on-roll-off ferries before now, but only when the bow door was lost. (or left open by accident).

Not that I know of, but I'm not a marine accident expert. However, I'll echo Colonel Rhubarb: once water gets into the cargo deck, the ship is in great danger as its sloshing is unrestricted.

In the meantime, perhaps it's best we wait for the surviving crew to be interviewed.

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But the ship sank in 30m of water. And why has no journalist reported on the exact location of the ship, and correlated that with sea charts ?

Last position as per marinetraffic.com:

http://www.marinetraffic.com/de/ais/home/centerx:125.8471/centery:36.33022/zoom:8/oldmmsi:440000400/olddate:lastknown

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.....

Not that I know of, but I'm not a marine accident expert. However, I'll echo Colonel Rhubarb: once water gets into the cargo deck, the ship is in great danger as its sloshing is unrestricted.

...

Well, that just smacks of sloppyness.

I mean.. they ban smoking, but there is no restriction on Sloshing ?

How hard could it be to put up a few "Sloshing Not Permitted" signs, for pete's sake ?

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Well, that just smacks of sloppyness.

I mean.. they ban smoking, but there is no restriction on Sloshing ?

How hard could it be to put up a few "Sloshing Not Permitted" signs, for pete's sake ?

Not hard at all. The problem you seem to have missed is that water can't read. ;-)

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