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"Rocknes Monster"

On The Scene In Norway

Feature Date: Feb, 2004

Event Date: 19 Jan. 2004

Countryman & McDaniel

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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene -- in Norway !

 A 2004 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

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"Rocknes Monster"

On The Scene In Norway

A Posiden Adventure

19 January 2004

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Time: 4:30 p.m.

The Date: Monday 19 January 2004

The Place: Inlet Along West Coast of Norway

M/V Rocknes In Better Days

Built - 2001

Overall Length - 166.3m (544-foot)

Beam - 24.5 meters

Draught - 10.5 meters

Registered Deadweight - 28,115t

Loading Capacity - 25,500t

Accommodation - for 50 persons.

Main Power - 4 stroke engine 7,300 kW Output

Service Speed - 14.1 knots

Classified by Germanischer Lloyd under:

100, Bulk carrier - A5 - IW - NAV-Ø - ESP MC - AUT - D.P. Class 2

Lips Controllable Pitch propeller - 4,900 mm diameter with a 3C13 hub

Transverse Tunnel Thrusters

Bow: Lips CT200 unit with an output of 1,200 kW while the other

Stern: Lips CT175 unit with a 750 kW output.

New: Lips CT 200 (1,200 kW) and a Lips CT 225 (1,480 kW) thruster & motor installed fore & after of the existing transverse thruster in bow.

Additional 360° Steerable Thrusters: installed for additional movement in all directions during dynamic positioning. Thrusters retractable to allow unrestricted free-sailing speed from one job to another. The retractable azimuthing thrusters were CS225-250/MNR units with 2,100 mm controllable pitch propellers in nozzles.

Navigation & Processing Computer Systems - HiPAP, bathymetric systems, mechanical scanning profilers, underwater cameras & lights - Seabat 8125 multibeam scanning sonar. Thales GeoSolutions was awarded a contract to supply four Seabat 8125 units to be used in combination with the latest PDS2000 system used for data acquisition, processing & charting of the Seabat data.

M/V Rocknes -- Cutting Edge Technology
Owned by offshore contractor Van Oord ACZ, the M/V Rocknes fallpipe vessel was the largest of its kind in the world. Built in 2001, the hull was originally fabricated by J.J. Sietas Shipbuilding in Hamburg.

However, recognizing the applicability of the basic design to its own requirements, Van Oord immediately took the bulk carrier to the Keppel Verolme yard to have fallpipe facilities installed.

M/V Rocknes was designed to carry out a number of offshore rock dumping operations. These included the stabilization, protection and covering of cables, pipes & flowlines, freespan correction, upheaval buckling prevention & filling up holes around platforms, structures & rigs. Other operations include seabed preparation prior to pipe laying, construction of underwater berms, thermal insulation of oil lines, protection against anchors and fishing operations and ballasting of platforms, structures & loading buoys. M/V Rocknes -- one major workhorse!

Vessel Controls: Navigation & processing computer systems included a HiPAP, bathymetric systems, mechanical scanning profilers, underwater cameras & lights and Seabat 8125 multibeam scanning sonar. Thales GeoSolutions was awarded a contract to supply four Seabat 8125 units to be used in combination with the latest PDS2000 system used for data acquisition, processing & charting of the Seabat data.

For all activities during pre-installation, installation & post-installation, a very accurate positioning system based on real-time kinematic GPS (Global Positioning System), used in combination with DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) receivers & subsea transponders, was used to feed the DPS (Dynamic Positioning System) in order to ensure maximum accuracy.

"Flexible Fallpipe": M/V Rocknes had 40% more loading capacity than the 2nd largest fallpipe vessel in the world, M/V Seahorse. The aggregate material was discharged through the flexible fallpipe, a tubular structure the length of which could be adjusted according to the working depth. The material could be accurately deposited just a few meters above the seabed. The fallpipe measured 1.1m in diameter and provided a dumping capacity of up to 2,000 tons per hour.

A powerful cylindrical shaped ROV (remotely operated vehicle) was installed at the lower end of the fallpipe to funnel the sand & rock material. Called the "Medusa", it was a cylindrical ROV with a diameter of 3.8m & height of 3.7m -- weight15t in air & 12.8t in water. Medusa was based on an S355 (ST52) carbon steel space frame with a vertical tunnel through the center to accommodate the Rocknes' fallpipe. The ROV was equipped with state-of-the-art survey equipment such as subsurface positioning, sonar sensors, cameras & monitoring equipment.

AT RIGHT: ROV "Medusa" is on the sea floor.

M/V Rocknes was surely cutting edge.

PROLOG TO DISASTER >> It is 19 Jan. 2004 early evening, near Bergen, Norway.

Instruments at the Geophysical Institute at Bergen University record three powerful seismic measurements in the area -- later determined to be where M/V Rocknes capsized, just before the ship overturned. Experts can see no other explanation for the readings other than the vessel striking bottom.

"The readings are consistent with the boat scraping along the mountain edge first. Afterwards we have the 1st, powerful impacts," Institute professor Jens Havskov told the Bergens Tidende newspaper.

The readings at 4 measuring stations in the area show a minor impact followed by a larger one. Finally a powerful blow is registered, and two minutes later the 1st mayday came from M/V Rocknes. Prof. Havskov said that the Institute's measurements have no other likely explanation, the only alternative being a series of powerful explosions in a 50-second time-span within a kilometer of the capsizing.


An Historic Fear of Mariners - Capsize !

Impact - Noise - Noise - Impact - Noise - IMPACT - Violence - Rotation - Disorientation - Noise - Fear - Panic - Rotation - Panic - Panic - Darkness - Noise - Darkness - Silence - Fear - Cold - Fear - Cold - Disorientation - Cold - Fear - Silence - Despair - Thought - Training - Training - Training - Consideration - Cold - Fear - Silence - Training - Thought - Darkness - Hope - Action - Training - Action - Hope - Cold - Very Cold - Hope - Training - Training - Action - Darkness - Action - Hope - Cold - Training - Hope -- Sounds On The Hull - Action - Darkness - Hope .... ?
There really is no international appreciation for what these men & women do -- of the 31 persons on board M/V Rocknes, 18 did not survive this disaster. The 30 crew included 24 Filipinos, 3 Dutch, 2 Norwegians,1 German & 1 Norwegian pilot. Our prayers for this brave crew.

The rescue vessel Odd Fellow II could see a tear in the bulker's hull.

On Mon Jan. 19 2003, The Cargo Letter broadcast the following news story:
The Cargo Letter ALERT>> 26,000 dwt Antigua & Barbuda-flagged 544ft. specialty M/V Rocknes [built 2001], Bunkret, Norway for Emden Germany with stones & pebbles, used in oil industry & 29 crew, plus Norwegian Pilot -- had just bunkered at Skålevik near Bergen -- sent out distress call before overturned 200 yards off western island of Bjoroey 4:30 p.m.-- capsized south of Bergen, off coast of Norway. Rescuers can hear trapped people banging on hull -- ship remains afloat, with keel to sky -- 15 to 20 ships surrounded vessel & rescuers trying to enlarge hole cut in hull -- progress slowed by need to ensure no one inside hurt -- towing to shallower waters before attempting to rescue. On deck crane catching on ocean floor, hindering efforts to move ship to shallows -- water temperature 41F -- 2 dead -- 12 people pulled safety -- 16 trapped/missing. Correspondents Dan Massoni & Per-Ake Kvick. (Mon. Jan. 19 2004)

M/V Rocknes in the darkness - silence for a trapped crew.

Rescue vessels race to the scene. 

Tapping is said heard from inside the hull of M/V Rocknes!

Rescue crews worked intensively to reach trapped crew members......

....pulling three crew from a hole cut in the hull.

Rescuers ended the search for the missing crew on Jan. 20, nearly 24 hours after M/V Rocknes capsized, saying there was no hope of finding more survivors after so long in icy waters.

At the time of the incident, M/V Rocknes contained 446 tons of heavy fuel oil (IFO 380 CST) & 90 tons of Marine Gas Oil; contained by feverish work of Norwegian Coast Guard to install booms, but hundreds of sea birds have already been killed or contaminated -- some oil reached shoreline near homes outside the city of Bergen.

M/V Rocknes lies turtled near shore -- being kept afloat by air pumped into its hull.

On Tues Jan. 20 2003, The Cargo Letter broadcast the following news story:

The Cargo Letter UPDATE>> Death toll from capsize of specialist bulk carrier M/V Rocknes looked certain to rise to 18 on Jan. 19 after emergency teams abandoned searched for missing crew in freezing fjord near Bergen. Bergen-based operator Jebsen Management, which bareboat chartered the 2001 built ship from German KG financier Hartmann, had last year converted her into world's largest flexible fall pipe vessel. Rescue teams worked around clock to find survivors among 15 crew unaccounted for -- included 57-year-old Norwegian Master Jan A Juvik -- described as "highly experienced" officer. Casualty is worst major accident for shipping group since single deck cargo vessel, S/S Garnes, sunk by German mine & crew drowned after cessation of 2nd World War in 1945. Now seen 18 dead -- our prayers. (Tues. Jan. 20 2004)

POSTSCRIPT>> Norwegian newspaper VG reported that maps dated before 2003 do not indicate a newly discovered shallow only 9 meters deep in the narrow sound. M/V Rocknes draft extended 10.5 meters beneath the water.

Indeed, divers found signs of a recent sea bed impact from a ship on a shoal along the Rocknes' route. Experts report that a large gash seen in the hull indicated M/V Rocknes probably tore open its ballast tanks on rocks, causing it to become unstable. The cause will be determined at a maritime hearing in Bergen.

Survivors have said M/V Rocknes hit either ground or rocks before the accident. Others have said they heard stones crashing just before the vessel flipped, suggesting its cargo shifted & left the vessel out of balance.

Both the vessel's Norwegian captain, 57-year-old Jan Aksel Juvik, and the Norwegian pilot, Vermund Halhjem (41), were on the bridge when M/V Rocknes allegedly grounded. The pilot survived but the captain remains missing.

For the 18 lost crew, their dear M/V Rocknes unfortunately, but truly became the "Rocknes Monster."

The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To The Crew of M/V Rocknes and their families.

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs brokerIt's dangerous out there.


City of Bergen - gateway to the Fjords

Jebsen Management - charterer

J.J. Sietas Shipbuilding - Hamburg, since 1635

Keppel Verolme Yard - converted M/V Rockness

Norwegian Coast Guard - part of navy


Thales GeoSolutions

University of Bergen

Van Oord ACZ - owner - in Norwegian

Van Oord ACZ -- in English

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.  It's dangerous out there.
Thanks To Our Contributors For The
"Rocknes Monster" Feature

Our Contributors for this feature are:
* Anonymous contributors who wish to be anonymous

Dan Massoni

Fred McCague

Per-Ake Kvick

Capt. James Mize, J.D. Candidate, 2006, UCLA School of Law, Program in Public Interest Law and Policy

NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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