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1  Shipspotters all over the world / Site related news, functions and modules / Re: Cees Bustraan on: June 17, 2018, 09:27:18 am
Shocking news. Sad to hear. A great loss.

I have always appreciated Cees' contributions to the site. Since the early days of my membership here, I have always looked at his photos with respect, and as a source of inspiration for my own work.

My condolences to his loved ones.

2  Shipspotters all over the world / Site related news, functions and modules / Re: Is there a site problem? on: June 11, 2018, 08:29:52 am
Good job, Heinrik!

I have been test-connecting to the site often for 48 hours now, and no trace of the annoying pop-ups anymore. All clear!

Accessing with Google Chrome running on W10 from near Lisbon, Portugal.

Thanks for your time and effort.


3  Shipspotters all over the world / Site related news, functions and modules / Re: Is there a site problem? on: June 08, 2018, 07:03:36 pm
Did an update on Java and problem disappeared right away.

...and hopefully you did not import a virus...

Have you run a virus scan afterwards? If affirm, what does the report say?
4  Shipspotters all over the world / Site related news, functions and modules / Re: Is there a site problem? on: June 07, 2018, 08:08:25 am
I regret to inform the mysterious pop-up is still there this morning...

Sticky thing!

And it seems to appear at a perfectly random rate when accessing the website, not at log-in. Got it the first time seconds after the home page opened, closed the connection, re-connected to the site again, and this time no annoying interferences showed up.

Unfortunately, I am totally unaware as to what causes it. All I know is that it must be erradicated soon, or the site will suffer.
5  Shipspotters all over the world / Site related news, functions and modules / Re: Is there a site problem? on: June 05, 2018, 09:04:42 pm
Just had it popping-up while accessing the site as usual, using Chrome on Windows 10.

Downloading suddenly in progress, stopped it and exited the site as advised above.

Re-accessed the site one more time again, logged-in, no trace of the Java 8.0 pop-up this time.

By the way, I had already logged-in to the site at least twice earlier today, after this thread had already been started, and no problem with pop-ups then.

Why I got it now is a mystery.

Thanks for the alerts, anyway.
6  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Bulk Carrier Crashes Into Historic Mansion in Bosphorus Strait on: April 08, 2018, 08:29:14 am

Crash with wooden building after a major breakdown in the engine room, so it seems. The historical building is seriously damaged. Nobody got hurt. Traffic in the Bosphorous was interrupted for hours.

The vessel is "Vitaspirit" (IMO 9231377), and she has photos available here:

Casualty also reported here (in Portuguese):

7  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 19, 2018, 09:29:47 pm
My pleasure, David.

That's what I think we're all here for, I guess...

Best regards,

8  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 18, 2018, 02:41:28 pm

The last attempt was a successful one!

The big tug started the pull at high tide by around 1:00am on Friday night, 16/3, and by 2:30am the 'Betanzos' was floating again (at last!).

The salvaged vessel was then towed in the morning hours by several harbour tugs of the Rebonave fleet to the same Beato Multipurpose Terminal (TMB) that she had left in the night of the 6th only to find herself grounded at the big sand bank by the Tagus river South entrance an hour later, to the E of the Bugio lighthouse.

At Beato, she moored safely, and is being unloaded there before she enters dry dock for a thorough inspection.

She shows a 15-18 degree inclination to the port side, which was the one most exposed to the high waves during the 10 days she was stuck in the sand. The reason for that inclination is undetermined. It could be due to a cargo shift, or to structural damage due to the waves, or to the abnormal pulling efforts she endured during the period she was grounded. Some damage appears to exist also on the superstructure, on the same side. Damage may also include the small tender boat pictured on the 4th, by then still positioned correctly at level, and that now is hanging vertically and pointing to the water. The outboard engine of the tender boat appears to be missing.

All things considered, a success story, and a happy end!

Congratulations to the Fairmount experts, including the crew of the Fairmount Alpine high seas tug (IMO 9344784), that made this salvage possible!
9  Shipspotters all over the world / Site related news, functions and modules / Re: Historical/unidentified ships logos on: March 15, 2018, 09:16:28 pm
Hi Emmanuel,

I have always assumed that there were two sides to this coin, i.e, one thing is the group of logos that  are of an "Historical" nature. The other, and of a totally different nature, is the group of logos that are trully "Unidentified".

So, my interpretation has always been the following:

* To the first group, the "Historical" one, belong logos that are well identified, but that belong to shipping companies that for one reason or another (bankruptcy, merger, etc.) are no longer active. They belong to this category, and there is no reason for them to be moved to any another category.

* To the second group, the "Unidentified" one, belong all logos that the original photographer had difficulty in assigning to a particular shipping company, and that may require third party review to be finally assigned to the correct logo owner company. Once identified, those logos should either remain in this category, if they are of the "Historical" nature, or be moved to the main logo category, if their owner company has been positively identified as a still active shipping company.

Am I wrong?

But that leads me to another doubt...

My doubt has always been about the logos uploaded to the main logo category at a time when their logo owner company was an ongoing concern, and that over time have left the maritime business... and their logos are still there!... When that happens, should the logos in the main category be moved to the "Historical" category, because they have indeed by now become historical in nature?

Clarifications will be very welcome, please!

Best regards,

10  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 15, 2018, 10:04:04 am
Latest news on this saga:

Indeed, not an easy salvage operation. Getting her out and refloating her again is not going to be an easy task (IMHO).

The monster tug and the reinforced traction line that was brought to the scene have been in place for two days. A fourth attempt at freeing the vessel was made at high tide last Monday night, and she appeared to have moved some 80 meters. For that they had to cut the anchor chain, which was left buried in the sand, as it was impossible for the crew to pull her up out from the immobile, grounded ship. Since then other attempts have not produced much results - the vessel is buried in the sand, and does not move.

They are now considering taking out the ship's cargo, before attempting at pulling her out again. However that will also not be an easy task. The vessel is fully loaded with natural aggregates, which will require heavy duty cranes in place to take them out. And no vessel can come alongside, without risking grounding on the same sand bank. Flat bottom, keeless barges of a large size are not present in the Lisbon harbour. Besides, they may not be able to endure the rough seas that are being felt at the Lisbon harbour entrance. Where the vessel is, there is no natural protection, and the waves are high, so a flat bottom barge may easily break during the cargo transfer added risk the salvage team will need to consider.

Meanwhile, and as time passes, and with big storms hitting the area at least once a week, the risk of the ship's hull breaking increases. This may entail a fuel leakage, with all the unwanted environmental risks the spillage will bring. There are some 150 tons of fuel on board.

11  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 08, 2018, 05:23:40 pm
Latest news:

An even stronger storm is due to hit Lisbon tonight and maybe continue throughout the day tomorrow, so for precautionary reasons, all aboard the 'Betanzos' were removed this afternoon by a SAR helo of the Portuguese Air Force, and taken ashore, for a total of 14 people (10 crew, 2 members of the Dutch salvage company hired by the ownership to oversee salvage operations, and 2 representatives of the Owner who had come on board after the grounding). All are fine.

The big tug from Gibraltar appears to have arrived already in Lisbon, but it is not certain when she is scheduled to resume the towing attempts of the stuck vessel, in light of the worsening weather forecasts for the casualty area.

12  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 07, 2018, 06:02:13 pm
Thanks for following up this salvage, David.

Vessel still stuck in the sand bank. Second attempt at 6am failed to release her.

Next try scheduled for this afternoon, to start between 6 and 6:30 pm (next high tide).

A new storm is hitting the Lisbon area this afternoon, so waves are likely to increse by then. Wind gusts may also complicate matters a bit. According to the last report I heard over the radio, they'll try to pull her out this time with 2 lines, one at the bow (as before) and a new one at the stern. A more powerful tug will also be employed.

The major problem appears to be the distance, as the vessel is at maybe close to a mile away from where the tugs are working (to ensure sufficient water depth under their keel), so the lines are long, and that does not facilitate the traction effort. Too much energy is perhaps wasted along those lines before it reaches the stranded vessel for a full pull effect.

By the way, I'll upload shortly some of my shots from yesterday. Nothing too special, though. Just for the record.

Best regards,

13  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Re: Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 06, 2018, 11:04:58 pm
Thank you very much for your interest on this subject, David.

I am sure your list contains all possible root causes for what was described by the press here as a "major blackout onboard the ship".

I have no further news, at least from official, bona fide sources, so I can only possibly speculate, and I prefer to avoid doing that. In all honesty, I do not know what caused this fatal crash of the major onboard systems. Might it have been inexperience on the part of the new ownership or the present crew? Lack of proper procedures, lack of training and misaligned control systems, for example... Or cost cutting affecting maintenance... Maybe, but I do not know, and I cannot tell. I have no info.

I went to the area myself this afternoon, and found 4 Lisbon harbour tugs standing by near the Bugio Lighthouse (Svitzer and Rebonave vessels). Punctually at 6pm they gave a try to pull the ship out, and from the North river bank she appeared to have moved some 300m or so after 20 minutes. Looked like a good sign. I left at sunset, so I did not witness their efforts at night. Maybe by now they have already taken her out. In any case, if they were successful at rescuing her, she has probably by now been towed back to Lisbon, to be taken for a complete inspection at a shipyard, probably NavalRocha. Once there it will probably finally be possible to get a full report with the main causes of the incident. And then we can draw conclusions.

By the way, I found another Portuguese news item that has 3 excellent photos taken this morning by a professional press photographer at the actual site of the casuality:

I also took a few shots there today, but from the distance mine are not likely to show much...

Best regards,

14  Shipspotters all over the world / Shipping News and information / Cargo 'Betanzos' aground while leaving Lisbon harbour on: March 06, 2018, 11:28:54 am
Spanish flag cargo 'Betanzos' (IMO 9263552), with crew of 10 aboard, went aground at Bugio (Tagus river South entrance) last night, and is currently stuck on a sand bank. Reason for the casulaity appears to have been a sudden energy blackout onboard while on her way out, that stopped all systems, including the engines, leaving the ship without command.

An attempt to remove the vessel safely is scheduled for 6pm today (high tide) with the help of several port tugs.

The casualty is in the Portuguese news. For example:

(article in Portuguese)

15  Shipspotters all over the world / Trip reports / Re: Just booked a cargo cruise with CMA CGM. Advice for a great trip? on: March 03, 2018, 01:20:37 am
Hi again,

And congratulations for starting this thread. You managed to collect a very complete set of highly instructive insights on life onboard a containership from a vast array of contributors, to all of whom I am sure you are very grateful. They reflect accurately the perspective of the professional seaman working onboard.

Summing up, you have booked a trip on a containership. The trip will extend over two continents, will last for some three weeks, and you will visit several ports along the way.

And by now you already know all the DO’s and DONT’s that will make your presence onboard a success. This thread already contains 99.9% of what you will need to know.

From your own personal standpoint, however, and in order to be able to enjoy every minute of the trip on an end-to-end basis, I think you will need to view yourself according to a dual framework:

-   As a Passenger
-   As a Tourist

Expectations and behaviours are likely to differ in the two cases.

Passengers onboard a container ship can be tolerated, even be considered welcome, but are infrequent, as they are not the rule. Facilities and services onboard are not designed to cater for any special needs of passengers, but whatever exists onboard can be used by the sporadic, courageous few that come onboard, provided they comply with the prevailing rules (written, and unwritten) regulating life on board the ship.

What does a Passenger want? As a Passenger you simply want to go from A (starting port) to B (arrival port) onboard a non-conventional mode of transport (for most Passengers). You are now concerned with fitting well in the well-established, on-going, well-organized, safe and comfortable (within reason) non-standard mode of transport you have chosen to travel from A to B. There is no doubt this can be achieved by the environment in which you are embedded, i.e., the ship and her crew.

If, as a Passenger, you behave just likely any crew member, even if they have a mission (job) onboard and you don’t, your trip will be a success.

Allow me only to suggest a couple of things for your consideration that may help improve your stay, and your experience, onboard. Up to you to judge whether my suggestions may be of interest to you, or not.

•   On Binoculars:
Maybe you can consider investing on a pair of long range binoculars, and bring them as part of your luggage. Carry them with you at all times while on the bridge, or outside. If you have them with you, maybe they end up bringing endless joy to you, and be a source of very lively entertainment when you least expect. You’ll be amazed how curious you may get sometimes, when you finally spot a dot on the horizon, and wish to know more about it…Binoculars do not cost much, and you may find them easily  on the internet or at your local maritime store.  At the end of the trip, you may even keep them for future use, or as a souvenir…

•   On staying outside while sailing (on deck, or wherever they will let you…):
Maybe you can give some consideration to investing in a light weight folding chair, that you may buy at any department store at Le Havre before reporting onboard. I do not think anybody will object to you bringing it onboard, but you may wish to check with your handling agent before the trip starts. If that is OK, you can carry it folded under your arm when you check-in onboard, and inside the ship. After departure, when you find a good spot where you may want to sit outside, your own foldable chair may give you lots of freedom to sit there for a long period of time in reasonable comfort, without risking having to sit on a rail or pipe, and be frown at by whomever is in charge at that time… When you retire to your quarters, you simple fold the chair up again, and take it with you. A couple of elastic cords with hooks at the end (that you may also purchase at the same department store) will help you quickly and firmly secure the folded chair inside the cabin when not in use. Remember always that containerships have no stabilizers, and unrestrained objects are subject to the laws of gravity… At the end of the trip, you may perhaps give the chair away as a gift to a crew member, and leave it on board. No need to carry it with you on the flight home!

Of course, during the trip you may decide to be a 100% Passenger. This means you stay onboard at every single intermediate port, and await departure wherever they tell you is a safe place for you to be during the loading/unloading (or bunkering) operations. Fine! If that is the case, please disregard what I say below, which attempts at expanding your insights on what it may mean and entail being a Tourist under the extraordinary circumstances you have chosen.

As a Tourist your aim is probably Discovery. This means you will want to disembark at every intermediate port, or at least at some of them, and move around freely outside of the port area.

For that you will be essentially on your own. And in a foreign environment (not to confuse with a foreign country, which may also be the case).

Little has been said so far about the container terminals that the ship is scheduled to visit along the way. On the other hand, containerships travel frequently on a tight schedule and have quick turnarounds at most ports. And like all ships, they wait for no one when it is time to leave.

Please be aware that when you disembark at an intermediate port, you will need to comply with a severe constraint, which is Time. Again, I stress the fact you will be on your own. Excellent time management will be essential to ensure the success of the Tourist part of your trip.

 You need to be concerned not only with your personal safety on land, but also with the organization of local transport that will take you back and forth to the places you may want to discover. Remember, while on land you are on your own... Unlike what happens with passenger cruises, you will have no-one organizing things for you. And you will have no ship-related support on land… no cruise tour guides, for example. All support, if any, will be limited to the contacts you may have established by yourself in advance, or during your stay ashore.

That is why, in my humble opinion, you need to pursue the subject of disembarkation further. Some additional considerations and information that might help plan your intermediate port visits may also be very useful.

So, please allow me only to add just a few more words to clarify this last point, provide a few more hints, and hopefully help you plan better, and in due time, the land part of your trip.

To become a happy Tourist in this case you may need to consider in advance a few things:
-   Pro’s and Con’s of disembarking at a given port (ie., Go/No-Go)
-   What is required to disembark, and then come back onboard again
-   Where to go and what to do while on land (your ‘discovery’ goals)
-   How to get there and back in time to catch the gangway, still on the quay
-   Whom to contact on land to obtain all information, and for support in case of need

Please give some consideration to the following aspects regarding the shore environment:

The ship can be viewed as a mobile industrial plant of the seagoing type that is part of a global containerized logistics chain. Intermediate ports visited during the trip can then be viewed as land-based industrial parks that are part of the same global logistics chain, where ships moor, but where multiple modes of land-based mobile transport (cranes, tractors, trucks and trains) operate also. This array of vehicles renders the container terminals a highly hazardous environment. You may easily describe them as organized chaos. It is an hostile environment for anybody, where it is not advisable to walk around on your own, especially if you do not know the place…

Container terminals are usually huge, and are often located in remote areas. This means they may be miles away from the city centre. They are not meant for Tourists. So, do not expect to find rent-a-car services, for example, outside the container terminal main entrance, or even a taxi stand nearby…Even bus stops may be hard to find, and bus schedules may very well be irregular, and aligned mainly to the port workers’ shifts, which may not suit you…

Container terminal areas are also extra-territorial industrial facilities. In Europe, this means that there are border controls to access or leave the premises. In most container terminals there is no terminal building as such, so those controls normally take place at the terminal gate.  Please bear in mind that the distance from a moored ship to a port gate may easily be half a mile, or even more. That means a 10-15 minute walk as a minimum, often even a lot more, as a straight path from ship to gate may be obstructed (by stored containers, freight trains, etc.), be offlimits due to ongoing work, or not be allowed due to miscellaneous safety reasons. Add to that the time required by the border controls at the gate, and if you estimate half an hour per leg (out, and back in again), it may be close to an hour or so before you are finally outside, turnaround, go back to the gate to re-enter the port facilities, and go back by the ship’s gangway again...

Each port is different. What may be easy to achieve in one may be extremely hard to achieve in another. Each container terminal has an operator, as each port has a port authority. These entities have their own rules and regulations covering movements inside the container terminal premises. Also for them, safety is a primary concern. So you may not be allowed to walk freely in there, unless you are duly authorized by those entities. Authorizations take time (maybe a couple of days) and may entail having to sign a Port Safety Rules compliance document in advance. And when you enter the area, you often are required to wear a safety helmet and vest... Theoretically, that may be required also in case you come to the quay from the moored ship only to take a photo of your lady... Beware of port security if you are a non compliant photographer…Naturally, and on top, only duly authorized vehicles will be allowed inside the terminal premises. So, disregard taxis by the gangway…

Last but not least, bear in mind that most container terminals work around the clock. Which means that your ship may very well arrive at an intermediate port after dusk, and leave before dawn the following morning…That may render going into town even more difficult! And what you may do in town at night will be completely different from what you may expect to see or do there during the daytime…in that case, will your interest in going ashore still be the same?

So, allow me to give you a few suggestions for the homework you will invariably have to do if you want to be a successful Tourist during this trip:
-   Obtain your ship’s intermediate ports’ schedule for reference asap
-   Calculate effective available time to be on land at each intermediate port (and factor in appropriate margins)
-   Visit the websites of Port Authorities and Container Terminal Operators of the intermediate ports, and obtain info on access to the facilities for non-Workers (as a minimum, for your general information…)
-   Get familiar with port lay-outs in the greatest possible detail (expanded satellite views, for example, may help…)
-   Identify tourist targets in the area that you wish to visit. Check their exact location, distance from the port, opening hours, means to get there, land travel times, etc., and prioritize them according to your interests (you may not be able to visit every single tourist sight if the duration of your stay on land is short…)
-   Compare time to visit preferred targets with the effective available time above, and check if they are compatible
-   Check mobility in the area with the help, for example, of applications such as Google Maps, Street View, Bus schedules, etc.
-   Discuss the subject of disembarkation at the intermediate ports with your handling agent before the trip starts
-   Obtain the lists of the ship’s port agents at all intermediate locations, including emergency contacts
-   As soon as you enter the ship, identify the person onboard that is responsible for liaising with the port agents (clerical work…), and obtain info on the process to follow for disembarkation at the intermediate ports
-   Confirm to that person onboard with at least 48 hours’ advance notice your intention to disembark at the next intermediate port
-   Check if it is possible for the ship’s port agent to come and collect you with a car at the gangway immediately after mooring, take you to the port gate (as a minimum), and, for the return trip, to collect you at the port gate (or downtown, if at all possible…) at a set time, to take you back in the car across the terminal facilities to the ship’s gangway
-   Ask if there is a charge for any service that will be provided in relationship to your disembarkation at the intermediate port, and if so, how much that service will cost
-   Leave your private mobile phone number with the Captain before disembarking, so that he may warn you if the ship has to leave ahead of schedule for whatever reason…not likely, but it might happen!

So, Passenger? Or Passenger and Tourist? You decide!

I hope this helps.

Have a great trip!

Best regards,

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