Wednesday, April 24, 2013

HMCS Winnipeg - note to the press it was an allision

The incident in Esquimalt BC on the morning of April 23, wherein the American trawler American Dynasty rammed HMCS Winnipeg has almost universally been called a collision by the press.
Initial reports made it sound like the Winnipeg actually collided with the trawler.
In my opinion a collision can only occur between moving objects. Winnipeg was decidedly not moving!
It was tied up at at a pier completing its FELEX refit, and the six injured civilians were all below deck working on the ship.
In marine parlance the correct term is allision - when a moving object strikes a stationary one.
(Wiktionary doesn't support me on this one-it calls the action of striking another vessel a collision, but never mind.)
(Merriam-Webster does agree with me, to whit: the running of one ship upon another ship that is stationary —distinguished from collision)
Why am I making a point of it? In an allision, the moving ship must prove that the allision was the stationary object's fault. In a collision one or the other or both may be at fault, and the burden of proof is shared.
American Dynasty, 3659 gross tons, built in 1974 is a 250 foot long, 54 foot wide, 41 foot deep behemoth, whose knife-like bow towers over that of Winnipeg. That bow tore into Winnipeg forward of the bridge, at nearly a 90 degree angle and heeled the frigate over against the jetty.
American Dynasty is a twin screw vessel, with controllable pitch props and a bow thruster. Normally a very maneuverable type of ship.Something went wrong however, and it did not or could not stop itself in time.
The extent of damage is clearly enormous, and in fact is probably the equivalent of a constructive total loss, were it a merchant ship.  However in the case of a naval vessel that term may not be useful. The amount of damage will very likely exceed any coverage the trawler might have had, and the RCN is self-insured.
If the ship is damaged beyond "economical" repair, it still may be necessary to repair it, even if it adds two years or more to the FELEX refit, and many dollars to the taxpayers' bottom line. We do not have too many surplus warships that we can afford to lose one.
A very regrettable incident - let's be thankful no one was killed.

1 comment:

  1. The International Maritime Dictionnary by deKerchove also agrees with you.

    Allision: "The stricking of a moving vessel against one that is stationary"