Blue Boat, way to go in Dam

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

4 Responses

  1. DefJef says:

    Ben,
    Have you any comment on the SF oil spill collision?
    Can you comment on how the position of these huge vessels is actually fixed? A GPS will give the position of the antenna and since these vessels are so large a POINT is hardly a position in the case of these huge vessels.
    How do they plot their actual “footprint” on charts and calibrate a single point to accurately convey the SCALE of things… especially for navigating in harbors like SF Bay?

  2. Eliboat says:

    DefJef,
    I believe they have multiple antenna units that can account for the size of a boat, and there are also units available that can factor in the boat envelope relative to the antenna. Reading some of the comments that have emerged from the tragedy, it seems that there were a few things at fault here, none of them GPS related. According to the pilot, the radar on the Chinese vessel had been malfunctioning, so they did not have an accurate fix on the bridge span as they made their approach in the fog. The pilot asked the captain to point out the center of the span on their electronic chart, and he told the cpatain to head for it. He was under the impression that this is what the captain was headed for, but had no way to verify. There are AIS transponders marking the channel through the center of the bridge span, but since the radar was down, they could not access this either, though they should have seen it on the chart. From what I have read here, I was under the impression that pilots carry their own gear aboard with them to prevent issues with handling unfamiliar or malfunctioning equipment. Obviously they can’t bring a radar with them, but a handheld GPS would have shown the boat headed for the tower vs the center of the bridge.

  3. Mark Read says:

    Pilot blames faulty radar…”the Cosco Busan’s radar “conked out” twice – first before departure and again as the ship was near the lighthouse on Yerba Buena Island.
    Cota was forced to rely on an electronic chart display, showing the track of the vessel and its speed, plus charts of San Francisco Bay. Meadows said the pilot told him he was “not familiar” with the electronic system on the Cosco Busan. “They are all different,” Meadows said.
    Cota asked Mao Cai Sun, the captain of the Cosco Busan, to point on the display to the center of the bridge span between the Delta and Echo towers on the western side of the Bay Bridge.
    “The master pointed that out,” Meadows said. “In fact, several times during the trip. That’s what the pilot was heading for.”
    The channel between the two towers is 2,210 feet wide and is marked with a transponder device, which should have been picked up by radar or the electronic chart, mariners say. The channel is commonly used by large ships going to and from the Port of Oakland.
    “The pilot had to go along with what the master indicated on the electronic chart display was the center of the span,” Meadows said. “That turned out to be the tower instead.”
    From San Fran paper: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/11/14/MNC5TBQ9R.DTL

  4. saint says:

    The ‘tender tracker from Mother ship. was a great toy with a bonus of ‘safety’. but it priced out at $15k. plus notebook PC. In my ( ha ha ) spare time i am trying to incoporate a ‘sat.-phone’ design. or something cheaper to add to my http://www.stcroixboat.org Tenders for fun and as a selling feature. Does anyone know of a product more reasonably priced that exist ?

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