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  • The mystery around "Berge Istra" and "Berge Vanga"

    The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet published today an article about the mystery around these accidents. A former Captain in the company "Bergersen" reveals the secret he has kept for him self in over 30 years.

    Sadly the article is on Norwegian, but those who uses "Google Chrome" should be able to translate it directly in the web browser.

    http://www.dagbladet.no/2011/01/21/m...esen/15151445/

  • #2
    Don't know how well the Google translation works, so in very short, the article says:

    Bergesen had several ships sailing in a very, very profitable combination traffic: ore from Brazil to Japan and via the Persian Gulf to load oil back to Europe.
    The ships had a 'neutral-gas' filling system of poor quality, often not working at all.
    This led to the fact that they, after emtying their wing oiltanks, left Brazil again with ore in the center rooms and highly explosive oil gas in the wing tanks.
    This gas did not explode until reaction with oxygen..., and that was bound to happen.
    Capt. Eilers, who's now talking freely in the newspaper Dagbladet, knew what happened and he wanted Bergesen to pull their last combination megaships out of the business, or he would go to the press.
    To his astonishment, Bergesen accepted this deal, and rebuilt their last ships to only carry ore.
    Finally, when Bergesen now are sold and the c ompany director and owner himself at the time of the tragic accidents are dead, 30 years after capt. Eilers made the deal, he can't have all this knowledge kept inside any more.

    Of course the article say more, but this was a short summary.
    Hope this article/info will be published in english some place, because it is very interesting. Also what happened after the accidents and how the work for more safety on ships has progressed as a direct result of the loss of "Berge Vanga" and "Berge Istra"
    "IF GOD COULD MAKE ANGELS...., WHY IN HELL MAKE MAN?"

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    • #3
      A great article... I must read it twice, to make sure I got the details correctly.
      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
      Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
      Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
      Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

      Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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      • #4
        The fact that there were gas in the wing tanks has been known for years. What is the mystery is what sparked off the explosion in these two and one British Ore/Bulk/Oil (Obo) Carrier???
        It has been suspected that tank washing, without earthing the Butterworth Machines m ay have created static electricity to create the spark.
        Last edited by ombugge; January 23rd, 2011, 20:45.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sterkoder View Post
          Don't know how well the Google translation works, so in very short, the article says:

          Bergesen had several ships sailing in a very, very profitable combination traffic: ore from Brazil to Japan and via the Persian Gulf to load oil back to Europe.
          The ships had a 'neutral-gas' filling system of poor quality, often not working at all.
          This led to the fact that they, after emtying their wing oiltanks, left Brazil again with ore in the center rooms and highly explosive oil gas in the wing tanks.
          This gas did not explode until reaction with oxygen..., and that was bound to happen.
          Capt. Eilers, who's now talking freely in the newspaper Dagbladet, knew what happened and he wanted Bergesen to pull their last combination megaships out of the business, or he would go to the press.
          To his astonishment, Bergesen accepted this deal, and rebuilt their last ships to only carry ore.
          Finally, when Bergesen now are sold and the c ompany director and owner himself at the time of the tragic accidents are dead, 30 years after capt. Eilers made the deal, he can't have all this knowledge kept inside any more.

          Of course the article say more, but this was a short summary.
          Hope this article/info will be published in english some place, because it is very interesting. Also what happened after the accidents and how the work for more safety on ships has progressed as a direct result of the loss of "Berge Vanga" and "Berge Istra"
          Tank you Sterkoder
          I'm not so confident to my English just yet, so tank you for the translation
          Google Translate doesn't work to well so you will have to guess on some sentences witch could be very demanding on a long article
          like that

          Comment


          • #6
            Quite all right, Daniel
            Last edited by Sterkoder; January 24th, 2011, 13:03.
            "IF GOD COULD MAKE ANGELS...., WHY IN HELL MAKE MAN?"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ombugge View Post
              The fact that there were gas in the wing tanks has been known for years. What is the mystery is what sparked off the explosion in these two and one British Ore/Bulk/Oil (Obo) Carrier???
              It has been suspected that tank washing, without earthing the Butterworth Machines may have created static electricity to create the spark.
              I finally got around to read the entire article, incl. Capt. Eilers theory that the explosion was set off by a faulty, or empty, Water Lock on the Inert Gas System. From the description of events by the two survivors, this appears likely as ignition source.
              It is something that shouldn't be possible to happen, but if routine gas checks and check on water level in the lock was not carried out properly, it obviously can and will happen.

              Inert gas is normally taken from the Main Engine or Boiler exhaust, scrubbed and cooled before being distributed to the various tanks. For a large vessel like the Berge Istra and Venga it will take quite some time to produce sufficient inert gas to fill the entire tank volume. This would have been done after discharging Crude Oil in Europe and while under way to Brazil. The Centre Tanks/Holds would have been gas-freed and cleaned at the same time.
              Since the explosion occurred on the voyage from Brazil to Japan, only topping up inert gas to maintain the atmosphere in the wing tanks below the explosion limit would have been required, unless selected tanks had been vented for inspection. (or repairs)

              Older tankers did not have Inert Gas System, or segregated ballast tanks. During and after discharging, ballast would be taken in selected cargo tanks without any cleaning or gas-freeing. On ballast voyages other tanks would be cleaned and used for ballast, while the dirty ballast would be pumped overboard in open sea. The cost of delivering dirty ballast to shore facilities was too high for most Owners/Charterers.
              Total gas-free condition would only be required for docking, or major repairs.

              Comment


              • #8
                About two years before the Berge Istra accident, my company at the time,
                Gotaas-Larsen Inc had a similar loss of a VLCC.

                The Golar Patricia had an explosion during tank cleaning, broke and sank.
                Pictures on this website:
                http://www.warsailors.com/oddswar/oddsbaater.html

                The Patricia in better days here:
                http://www.aukevisser.nl/supertankers/part-1/id101.htm

                Because of this accident the Golar Betty, mentioned in another thread (as the Energy Concentration), had an inert gas system retrofitted.
                The "scrubber" part of this is the large "box" on the port aft quarter of the superstructure:
                http://www.aukevisser.nl/supertankers/part-1/id417.htm

                Comment


                • #9
                  In every picture found of the Energy Concentration she appears to be permanently hogged:




                  Is this something that happened around that time or was this the case while Golar Betty as well???

                  PS> I notice that she has Pertamina funnel markings, although owned by C.Y.Tung at time of breaking. Presume she was on long term charter to Pertamina at the time, as was a lot of the C.Y.Tung fleet at the time.
                  Last edited by ombugge; January 28th, 2011, 05:00.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I believe that these pictures showing her "hogged" are taken after the Rotterdam accident.
                    Probably patched up in some way, before being towed to the brakers in Spain.

                    Earlier, the salvage company had some photos on their website,
                    but I cannot find it any more.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nichu View Post
                      I believe that these pictures showing her "hogged" are taken after the Rotterdam accident.
                      Probably patched up in some way, before being towed to the breakers in Spain.

                      Earlier, the salvage company had some photos on their website,
                      but I cannot find it any more.
                      There are pictures of her cut in two separate pieces. (Post #8)
                      It is unlikely that these were put back together before being towed to the breaker's yard, I believe?.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Is history repeating itself??: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/...w/3645364.html

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