View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 22 October 2010

Ferry collision

This image from Google Earth shows the small ferry that was run over by a German cargo vessel near Amsterdam early this morning. Dutch broadcaster NOS reports that a body has been recovered from the water. As it is half-term holiday in Holland, there would have been fewer people around to use it. Police are appealing for the one prospective customer who had been waiting on the other side, to come forward.

Hurricane update - 22 October

Tropical cyclone Giri in the Bay of Bengal is approaching landfall in Myanmar. This storm has undergone a stunning round of strengthening, 85 knots in 24 hours. Yesterday at this time, Giri was at tropical storm strength (50 knots); the latest warning from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center quotes it at a staggering 135 knots, which is equivalent to a category V hurricane in the Atlantic. Giri will make landfall in the Hunters Bay and Combermere Bay areas of Myanmar - these are apparently low-lying marshes.

Friday 22 October

Two maritime incidents dominating the news this morning. A small ferry has collided with a German cargoship in the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal south of Amsterdam. The craft would ferry pedestrians and cyclists across the canal, which links the port of Amsterdam to the river Rhine, which in turn links the port of Rotterdam to the industrial heartland of Germany. The ferry involved was shown to be lying upside down in the water, and at this moment, only the skipper is thought to be missing.

I have used the river ferries in Holland, and they are tiny craft, some 40 feet in length, if not less. You walk, ride or drive on; pay the ferryman, who then puts you across in a matter of minutes, and you get off on the other side. You do not register yourself as a passenger, hence the apparent confusion about the number of people missing. The accident happened at 7 am local time, and all canal traffic has been halted.

In Scotland, a nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Astute, has run aground in the Kyle of Lochalsh off the Isle of Skye. Eye-witnesses report that the submarine took a short-cut inside a warning buoy and promptly got stuck fast. Upon high tide, at 6 am, it could not refloat, so it is now awaiting the next high tide at 6pm. The Ministry of Defence has said there is no nuclear leak, nor is the submarine's hull breached, or is any crewman injured. The gibes are flying thick and fast on the local Twitter feeds: Isle of Skye -2, Royal Navy Nuclear Fleet - 0; Got to feel sorry for the Navy: it's those rocks under the sea - they do keep moving around (over millions of years and in mm).......