Some idiot left a coastal wall right in front of a ferry

Originally published at:


It will just buff out. No worries.


I’ve seen similar things in the past where this is a conscious decision because of engine failure leaving the boat dangerously out of control in a busy shipping lane. Better to ground it than let it drift with minimal steering. I wonder if this is one of those cases?

Edit: one example:

Edit2: reading more into it, this one might be an idiot Captain rather than a deliberate thing, but meh. i’ll leave the video link up anyway as it’s awesome in it’s own right :slight_smile:


Twas but a scratch.


My God, that little white car!


Incredible aim. It hit the wall right where there was a pile of stuff up against it partially blocking the road. If i was an Alex Jones listener i would assume this was a false flag.


Apparently they’re building all kinds of things in front of moving boats:


The wall is a part of a pier, as those are ships tied up to it on the right. This is why they usually recommend that someone be on the bridge of a ship during docking maneuvers. You know, steering and piloting and stuff. Bad time to be in the head.

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Now I’m picturing a Four-Lions style dark comedy where terrorists seize control of a boat and try to drive it into the new world trade center.


Dammit, if you publish photos showing it’s possible to build walls in the ocean Trump will want even more stupid walls built.


If you notice, the anchor is being dragged along. The way it usually works, the engine controls are transmitted by air pressure. There is a gauge on the bridge and engine room that tells you the pressure in the system, which allows you a certain number of “starts”. if that system fails or runs out of pressure, you cannot send commands to the engine. that does not mean the engine stops, it means that it will not respond to new commands. If the system fails at full ahead, it just keeps chugging along until someone can manually stop it in the engine room. It appears to me that it under forward power at the time of impact. If they had control of the engine, they would be backing. if it were backing, you could see disturbed water moving from the stern forward.
When entering or leaving port, it is normal to have an officer and usually the bosun on the bow, with the anchors ready to drop. Then, they can be dropped just by manually releasing the brakes. Sometimes, everything fails at once. Then, the guy on the bow can drop the anchors to stop the ship. Even that is a slow process, with all that inertia.
If it is a steering failure, the first step is to switch systems. normally there are two complete and independent sets of hydraulics for steering. Those can be switched in about 2 seconds from the bridge. both systems are tested prior to arrival or departure, as is the engine control system. The steering can be run manually, but that requires a person to get back there, turn some switches and valves, then they can very slowly respond to rudder commands over the phone or radio.


Well, another captain’s career comes to an end.

The way it usually works, the engine controls are transmitted by air pressure

Seems a strange way to do it in this day and age, With SCADA systems being so mature.

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Indeed. It seems odd that underneath the telegraph there is usually a complex system of brass tubes. But it might be a situation of proven technology with known failure rates, and liability with using uncertified systems. And it theoretically can continue to be used when there is electrical power failure, although in my experience, complete electrical failure results in so many other systems cascading into failure that the engine will trip anyway.
But that reliability depends on close adherence to maintenance and inspection schedules. My company is very obsessive about such things, but that is not universal.
Most of our ships are certified to not need the engine control room continuously manned, because of redundant safety systems. That does not apply in coastal waters.
What often happens with ships where big accidents occur is that investigation will reveal a pattern of eroding standards leading up to the event. Long periods between equipment failures can lead to complacency.
That is what scares me about autonomous cars and other equipment. You get used to everything working well, so you get bored. Sometimes at sea, we might go a couple of days without seeing anyone else, or even making any course changes. It is on autopilot, of course. So it is hard to maintain a constant sense of alertness, hour after hour. When things do go wrong, it happens quick and catastrophically. I think it is a reasonable guess that the ship in this post had an engine control and/or steering failure. So the officer on the bridge calls the engine control room, and nobody answers. Maybe the engineer on duty went to the bathroom or into the engine room to fiddle with something. So the next step is to call someone else to run to the ECR. Meanwhile, they drop the anchors, but there is too much speed for that to have much immediate effect.
The worst thing about ship accidents is that even after the accident is inevitable, you often have quite a bit of time between that realization and the crash. On our larger ships, stopping takes miles.


Long long ago… I was on a sail training vessel. The captain had been assigned to dock at a berth at the South Street Seaport, but it had not been dredged for some time. Consequently, when we tried to come in, we hit a berm of silt that threw us sideways. We slewed into a ferry that was berthed alongside us, with minor damage to both vessels. The lawyers were out and exchanging business cards before either ship had stopped rocking.

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Which one?

I would be wondering if they’d had some sort of engineering casualty; stuck rudder, or jammed throttles. Notice that the ship’s anchor chain appears to be dragging behind rather than pulled up to the hawsepipe.

That boat was called “Adventure Hornblower”. I’d say it lived up to its name 100%, with adventure and horn blowing in schedule!


Yes, let’s try to get Trump to follow BoingBoing - who knows what might happen!?!

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