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The dangers of parking your ship next to a cliff

Posted on: Sunday, 8 January 2012 @ 1:10pm
Blatting about
More specifically

If a storm rolls in unexpectedly (or just unexpectedly fast), it could get battered quite severely.

Ship getting battered into a cliff by waves during a storm

This was taken a bit earlier today by Josh who raced down with his camera as soon as my parents came back from church and informed us that the waves at the Cove were knocking the cargo ship that was in about the place.  Rumour has it the storm rolled in quicker than they could move the ship or possibly one of the moorings snapped.  Either way there is/was concern for the cantilever (if it breaks, we can't load phosphate anymore til it's fixed, and that thing would take ages to rebuild plus has been there forever).

Fortunately there were two navy patrol boats kicking around who raced in to the rescue, they managed to get all the crew off.  Think they're just letting the ship get battered now, not a lot that can be done about it til the waves calm down.

Update Jan 9 [-0001A16p]: the ship has broken in half and went from leaking oil to gushing it.  Additionally, it did some damage to either the loading crane or the cantilever while being bashed against the cliff.  At the time I heard this the Port workers had been unable to do whatever it is they needed to do to be able to check the foundation of the thing and do whatever else they needed to do to think about repairing it. 

I failed at getting photos from my godfather yesterday, but my sister has managed to steal some from her colleagues and posted on her dA journal.

From yesterday - ship getting battered by waves

Photo by Sprat's colleague Mr Fisher

Oil spill at Flying Fish Cove from the phosphate ship Flying Fish Cove without the oil spill

Flying Fish Cove from Territory Day Park, with and without the oil spill.  Oil spill photo taken by one of Sprat's Parks Australia colleagues

It also broke the news today.

The red crabs spawned recently and the crablets are due back sometime soon this week.  The ones that return to this area are probably not going to survive.  Anything that lives there is probably not doing great either.

Update2: Went past the Cove with Sprat to stickybeak.  The stench of diesel fumes was making my face hurt from the Roundabout.  It stank to high heavens when we got down to the actual beach, and instant headache getting out of the car.  We still managed to stand there and discuss it and get covered with a thin film of oil as the waves crashed in and scattered oily salt spray everywhere (Sprat had to clean her glasses when we got back into the car, and later on when Josh went down with the camera he had to clean his lens when they got back).  There were a few people down there taking photos.  The ship had split completely in two; the front half is stationary resting on the reef and the back half is still pounding against the cliff.  What had happened with the Port crane was that the crane from the back half of the ship had collided with the bottom of the crane on the Port so the foundations of that need to be checked now.  I felt really sorry for the people living in Kampong that have to put up with it all the time.  Can't be good for them.

Sprat and Josh headed back down to take more photos, I stayed home with Cub as I was feeling rather sick by that point.  I didn't want any of the kids to go but the big two were adamant.

The water was a disgusting colour.

Broken ship at Flying Fish Cove on Christmas Island, surrounded by the oil it spilled

On the way home they stopped off at Territory Day Park and took some photos from up there as well.  From the top it's easier to see how the ship crane has been knocking into the port crane.  Workers haven't been able to get near to check the thing out as when we were there the top of the ship crane was still hammering against the port crane and the area around it.

Broken phosphate ship at Flying Fish Cove on Christmas Island from Territory Day Park

Josh also took a couple of videos (which he didn't accidentally delete this time).  I've included the one from the top of the cliff as it shows the oil spill a lot better than the one from the beach.

Update3 Jan 11 [-0001A18c]: There were cleanup efforts going on yesterday.  We were intending on going down and helping out (or one of us was going to help out and the other going to take photos and mind the kids).  Due to various malarky involving not realising there was a specific start time for registration and training (which makes a lot of sense considering what was being cleaned up) and toddlers and husbands falling asleep almost randomly, we didn't make it.  We did stop off at Territory Day Park on the way home from one of our wanderings to use the lookout to see how things were going.

Due to the cleanup efforts and/or the tide going out, the oil has dispersed a bit.

View of Flying Fish Cove from the lookout at Territory Day Park - water looking a bit cleaner now that the oil has dispersed a bit

The tide going out also means the back half of the ship is now sitting still (the front half is pretty well grounded).  There's another cargo ship kicking around wanting to come in but is unable to do so due to the dock being occupied by the broken ship, and it can't go around to the other side of the island because the crane on the other side isn't working.

Some baby crabs have survived the oil and come up, though I haven't heard (and currently don't know anyone who knows) if they survived long and if they did, how well they're doing now.

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