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Объяснительная капитана
Dear Sir,

It is with regret and haste that I write this report to you. Regret that such a small
misunderstanding could lead to the following circumstances, but haste in order that
you will receive this report before you form your own pre-conceived opinions from
reports in the world press, for I am sure that they will tend to over-dramatise the

Having just picked up the pilot, the apprentice had returned to the bridge after
changing the ”G” flag for the “H” flag and this being his first trip, was having
difficulty in rolling up the “G” flag. I therefore proceeded to show him the correct
procedure for this operation. Coming to the last part, I told him to “let go” and the
lad, though willing, is not too bright necessitating my having to repeat the order in a
sharper tone.

At this moment, the Chief Officer appeared from the chart room, having been
plotting the vessels progress and, thinking that it was the anchors that were being
referred to, repeated the “let go” to the Third Officer on the fo’csle. The port anchor,
having been cleared away, but not walked out, was promptly “let go”. The effect of
letting the anchor drop from the pipe while the vessel was proceeding at full harbour
speed proved too much for the windlass brake and the entire length of the port
chain and stopper was pulled out by the roots. I expect that the damage to the
chain locker may be extensive. The braking effect of the port anchor naturally
caused the vessel to sheer in that direction - right towards the swing bridge that
spans a tributary of the river up which we were proceeding.

The swing bridge operator showed great presence of mind by opening the bridge for
my vessel, but, unfortunately, he did not think to stop the vehicular traffic, the result
being that the bridge partly opened and deposited a Volkswagen, two cyclists and a
cattle truck on my fo’csle.

The ships’ company are presently rounding up the contents of the latter, which from
the noise I would say are actually pigs. In his effort to stop the progress of the
vessel, the Third Officer also dropped the starboard anchor, too late to be of any
practical use for it fell on the swing bridge operator’s control cabin. After the port
anchor was let go and the vessel started to sheer, I gave a double ring of “full
astern” on the engine room telegraph and personally rang the engine room to order
maximum astern revolutions. I was informed that the sea temperature was 53° and
asked if there was a film on tonight; my reply would not add constructively to this

Up to now I have confined my report to the activities at the forward end of my
vessel. Down aft they were having their own problems. At the moment the port
anchor was let go, the second officer was supervising the making fast of the after
tug down to which he was lowering the ship’s towing spring.

The sudden braking effect of the port anchor caused the tug to run in under the
stern of my vessel, just at the moment when the propeller was answering my double
ring full astern. The prompt action of the Second Officer in securing the inboard end
of the towing spring, delayed the sinking of the tug by some minutes, thereby
allowing the safe abandoning of that vessel.

It is strange, but at the very same moment of letting go the port anchor there was a
power cut ashore. The fact that we were passing over a cable area at the time
suggests that we may have touched something on the riverbed. It is perhaps lucky
that the high-tension cables brought down by the foremast were not live, possibly
being replaced by the underwater cable, but owing to shore blackout, it is impossible
to say where the pylons fell.

It never fails to amaze me the actions and behaviour of foreigners during moments
of minor crisis. The pilot, for instance, is at this moment huddled in the corner of
my day cabin, alternatively crooning to himself and crying after having consumed a
bottle of gin in a time that is worthy of inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records.

The tug captain on the other hand, reacted violently, and had to be forcibly
restrained by the Steward, who has him handcuffed in the ships hospital where he is
telling me to do impossible things with my ship and my person.

I enclose the names and addresses of the drivers and insurance companies of the
vehicles on my foredeck collected by the Third Officer after his somewhat hurried
evacuation of the fo’csle. These particulars will enable you to claim for the damage
that they did to the railings on the number one hold.

I am closing this preliminary report because I am finding it difficult to concentrate
with the sounds of police sirens and the flashing lights.

It is sad to think that had the apprentice realised that there was no need to fly pilot
flags after dark, none of this would have happened.

For the weekly accountability report, I will assign the following casualty numbers.
T/750101 to T/750200 inclusive.

Yours truly,

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