Thursday, December 24, 2009

Update on the Pathfinder grounding

The tug Pathfinder with boom to corral spilled fuel. USCG photo

Here's some quick update items from the U.S. Coast Guard on the grounding of the tug Pathfinder on Blight Reef in Prince William Sound:

• A dive team found extensive hull damage, with a section of the keel missing.

• Alcohol testing of all six crewmembers was completed with negative results.

• The Pathfinder is still anchored and boomed south of Busby Island.

• The Valdez Star, an oil response vessel, is skimming the water in the vicinity of a light silver diesel sheen. The sheen is a mile or so east of Glacier Island and is three miles long and 30 yards wide.


Philip Munger said...

There used to be a computer on board Pathfinder that tied its GPS location and the locations of other vessels in range with GPS transponders to the main bridge radar. It was set up with alarms. It was removed from the vessel some time ago, and wasn't replaced. My sources indicate it may be the only vessel involved in PWS tanker support that doesn't have that unit.

Unknown said...

It was all just a matter of time for something like this to happpen it wont be the last time phil Lloyd Montgomery

Anonymous said...

I don't believe anybody was Drunk,But I Can't Believe That Happened. I used to work on the Pathfinder. Who was the Captain and did it happen on his watch or did it happen on the mates watch?

Anonymous said...

"Alcohol testing of all six crewmembers was completed with negative results."

Did they test for stupidity? Sheesh...the same friggin' rock?

Anonymous said...

Bligh first went to sea in 1762 – at the tender age of 7, as a Captain’s personal servant on board HMS Monmouth. He joined the Royal Navy in 1770 where he served on HMS Hunter and became a Midshipman in 1771 serving on HMS Crescent and HMS Ranger. He was an intelligent man, well-versed in science and mathematics and was also a talented writer and illustrator. He became Sailing Master on the Resolution, commanded by Captain James Cook, quite an achievement as he was only 22 years of age. This voyage ended with the death of Cook on February 14th 1779 in Hawaii (known at that time as the Sandwich Islands).

Shortly after his marriage he saw action at the battles of Dogger Bank in August 1781 and also fought with Lord Howe at Gibraltar in 1782.

In 1787 aged 33, he was given command of ‘The Bounty’, a three year old merchant ship, his mission was to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. Various books and films have portrayed him as a villain, a violent and unpleasant man – but is this the truth? Commanding a ship required a man of strong character, his crew would have comprised of mostly illiterate men, probably recruited by the press-gangs and he was most likely no better or worse than any other commander of his time.

The Bounty set sail on December 23 1787.

In April 1789 the famous mutiny took place, led by Bligh’s one-time friend, Fletcher Christian. The following is an extract taken from Bligh’s logbook. Entry for 28th April.

It reads – ‘Just before Sunrise Mr Christian and the Master at Arms… came into my cabin while I was fast asleep, and seizing me tyed my hands with a Cord & threatened instant death if I made the least noise. I however called sufficiently loud to alarm the Officers, who found themselves equally secured by centinels at their doors… Mr Christian had a Cutlass & the others were armed with Musquets & bayonets. I was now carried on deck in my Shirt in torture with a severe bandage round my wrists behind my back, where I found no man to rescue me…’

Bligh and 18 other crew members loyal to him were set adrift on April 28th in the Bounty’s launch, an open boat, 23-foot long by 6’9” wide. In most cases such an act would have led to certain death for the men aboard, but Bligh was a magnificent seaman and he sailed from Tofua, one of the Friendly Islands, landing in Timor, Java, without any loss of life on June 14th. The journey of 3618 nautical miles took them 47 days.

The mutineers, meanwhile, continued on to the Pitcairn Islands where Fletcher Christian and eight others founded a colony which remained undiscovered until 1808. (Descendants of the mutineers still live on Pitcairn)

Bligh eventually returned to England and his career in the Navy continued, seemingly unaffected by the mutiny. In 1790 he became Captain of the sloop HMS Falcon, followed by service on HMS Medea and HMS Providence. In 1792 he again visited Tahiti and successfully transported breadfruit to the West Indies.

In 1797 he commanded HMS Director at the battle of Camperdown and as Captain of HMS Glatton in 1801 took part in the battle of Copenhagen, after which he was commended for his bravery by Admiral Nelson. Also in 1801 Bligh was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, in consideration of his distinguished services in navigation, botany etc.

Just look at todays Sailor, on the Pathfinder, who couldent find his way out of the path to the john.

Just another great example, of the Alaska Superintendent of State Colony for the Epileptics and Feeble Minded.

Anonymous said...

The Alaska State Colony of Epileptics and Feeble Minded, in Steerage, Admiral Shawn Parnell!

"...But let us suppose, that in this our ship of state, the pilot is drunk, the most of his associates are asleep, or after large and unreasonable tippling together, they regard their eminent danger in approaching a rock with idle and negligent jollity; the ship in the mean season instead of following her right course, that might serve for the best advantage of the owners' profit, is ready rather to split herself. What should then a master's mate, or some other under officer do, who is vigilant and careful to perform his duty? Shall it be thought sufficient for him to pinch or punch them who are asleep, without daring in the meantime to put his helping hand to preserve the vessel which runs on a course to destruction, lest he should be thought to intermeddle with that which he has no authority nor warrant to do? What mad discretion, nay, rather notorious impiety were this? Seeing then that tyranny, as Plato says, "is a drunken frenzy or frantic drunkenness," if the prince endeavour to ruin the commonwealth, and the principal officers concur with him in his bad purposes, or at the least are lulled in a dull and drowsy dream of security, and the people (being indeed the true and absolute owner and lord of the state) be, through the pernicious negligence and fraudulent connivency of those officers, brought to the very brim of danger and destruction, and that there be, notwithstanding, amongst those unworthy ministers of state, some one who does studiously observe the deceitful and dangerous encroachments of tyranny, and from his soul detests it, what opposition do we suppose best befits such a one to make against it? Shall he consent himself to admonish his associates of their duty, who to their utmost ability endeavour the contrary? Besides, that such an advertisement is commonly accompanied with too much danger, and the condition of the times considered, the very soliciting of reformation will be held as a capital crime: so that in so doing he may be not unfitly resembled to one, who, being in the midst of a desert, environed with thieves, should neglect all means of defence, and after he had cast away his arms, in an eloquent and learned discourse commend justice, and extol the worth and dignity of the laws. This would be truly according to the proverb, "To run mad with reason." What then? Shall he be dull and deaf to the groans and cries of the people? Shall he stand still and be silent when he sees the thieves enter? Shall he only hold his hands in his bosom, and with a demure countenance, idly bewail the miserable condition of the times? If the laws worthily condemn a soldier, who, for fear of the enemies, counterfeits sickness, because in so doing he expresses both disloyalty and treachery, what punishment can we invent sufficient for him, who either maliciously or basely betrays those whose protection and defence he has absolutely undertaken and sworn? Nay, rather than let such a one cheerfully call one and command the mariners to the performance of their duty: let him carefully and constantly take order that the commonwealth be not endamaged, and if need so require, even in despite of the king, preserve the kingdom, without which the kingly title were idle and frivolous, and if by no other means it can be affected, let him take the king and bind him hand and foot, that so he may be more conveniently cured of his frenzy and madness..."

Anonymous said...