Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Failure of Anchor Gear on Cruise Ship

Professional Mariner Magazine reports that an 85 kt gust of wind pushed  a Carnival Cruise Ship off the pier where it was moored.  No surprise there. The standard mooring arrangement isn't going to hold a ship with that much sail area alongside in 85 kts .What caught my eye was this:
"The company said the anchor retrieval equipment malfunctioned after the incident."
I don't know what happened to the anchor gear, no details are provided. (It's standard practice to let go an anchor or two in this type of situation)  My guess is at some point during the excitement the anchor gear took a very heavy strain and damaged the anchor windlass. My experience has been that the windlass  will fail before the chain or anchor will. A heavy strain on an anchor windlass can bend the main shaft, or twist the winch so that the main gears are misaligned.

If you are using your anchor gear to hold the ship off the rocks it's a good thing if the chain or anchor doesn't fail. If the windlass fails you'll likely still be able  veer more chain or hold what you've got.

One thing is, after the yelling dies down and  you want to get out of Dodge you're going to have to recover your anchor and chain without the windlass.


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