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March 7th, 2017 01:45 PM

Design To Fail Strikes Again!
60 Minutes last Sunday had the final findings of the inquiry into the sinking in a hurricane of the elderly container ship Faro in the Caribbean a few years ago and Design To Fail played a big part in the tragedy which killed the entire crew of over 30 souls.

The Faro was bound for Puerto Rico from I believe Charleston SC and was in the south west quadrant (the least active quadrant) of a hurricane. The primary cause of the sinking was the failure of the crew to secure one or more doors on the side of the ship. This let in water which caused the ship to list to one side.

This wouldnt have sunk the ship itself. But the list caused the oil in the engine sump (diesel?) to tilt away from the oil pickup. A computer detected this and SHUT THE ENGINE DOWN. Nothing the engineer did could restart the engine. The list itself wasnt serious enough to sink the ship but without the engine, the pumps wouldnt work to correct the list. WIthout oil at the oil pickup, the engine wouldnt run either. Helpless before the storm, the ship turned sideways to the wind taking on more water. That was the end of the ship and its crew.

What Should Have Happened

No way a computer should have been able to shut down the engine in a situation like that. No way the engine should have been the sole source of power for the pumps. Early single engine jet fighters had this flaw also. The controls were hydraulically operated by the engine. Lose the engine on takeoff or landing...the controls lock and the aircraft rolls and hits the ground before the pilot can do anything. Here in NJ a few years ago thats exactly what happened to an F86 at an airshow on takeoff.

Without a constant flow of oil the engine would have been damaged if it kept running, but probably not disabled. The engineer (or the designers) should have allowed ahead of time for a way to make the engine run in the event of a list that severe. Flooding happens in storms. The engine should have run with the ship listing.

But no, it was designed to fail. :eek:

ligito March 7th, 2017 03:57 PM

Re: Design To Fail Strikes Again!
Logic seldom conquers over finances.

Redfish March 7th, 2017 07:50 PM

Re: Design To Fail Strikes Again!
And if the motor had destroyed itself due to a lack of oil he would be saying that there should have been a safety shut device to shut it down. The motor would still have stopped and the ship would have still sank.

The problem was not the safety shut down device, it was the list of the ship. The fact that there was no way to correct the list and the fact that the crew failed to secure the hatches KNOWING they were headed into a hurricane throws the blame on the captain and crew.

End of Story.

chaissos March 7th, 2017 08:39 PM

Re: Design To Fail Strikes Again!
Sometimes, we just can't get out of our own way, and our demise is our own fault. Sucks, but that's the way it goes.

Having said that - which I firmly believe - some of the planes we used to fly didn't have those safety devices on the engines. In wartime, we'd rather have the engine power through to complete failure than shutdown on its own - all at the discretion of the crew, of course. They were trying to replace them with the new engines (attached to new planes, obviously), which had various engine saving "features" - loss of oil pressure was one. The new planes were refused. The cockpit lit up with warnings if there were problems, but the pilot and co-pilot had the ability to make the decision not to shut them down, or to just throttle back. Some thrust is better than none, and a failing engine will still give you a little bit of go. Getting those few miles may make the difference between life, death and capture.

So, there's something to be said for having the ability to ignore the warnings. For me, I'd rather be on a severely disabled - but floating - ship than a sunken one. BUT...there's no accounting for lack of "getting it done". Before we destroy planes, we make sure we take every action to save it. They failed on the most basic of actions, which is to secure the vessel.

Thought the tidbit might interest a few of you.

March 8th, 2017 01:46 AM

Re: Design To Fail Strikes Again!

Originally Posted by Redfish (Post 50979)
the fact that the crew failed to secure the hatches KNOWING they were headed into a hurricane throws the blame on the captain and crew.

Very true. At the time of the sinking the media painted a picture of a heartless company sending the crew of a decrepit ship into a hurricane to their certain deaths.:eek:


If the doors could not be secured due to age related deterioration, that complicates matters. It still might be the captains responsibility to sign off on a working, safe ship before leaving port.

Or legally the company could be held responsible at least in part. Im thinking there will be lawsuits by the crew's family at some point.

But yes, the only way for the crew to save their lives was to secure the ship. Maybe the doors worked and the crew failed to secure them. Their bad.

March 8th, 2017 02:03 AM

Re: Design To Fail Strikes Again!

Originally Posted by Redfish (Post 50979)

The problem was not the safety shut down device, it was the list of the ship. .

Very not true. The engine should have been constructed so it could lubricate itself in the event of a list. Number one. Plenty of ships during WW2 had lists from enemy attack but it was imperative to get the ship moving as fast as possible list or no list.

Number two the safety device prevented the engineer from restarting the engine. He was probably desperately trying to bypass the "safety device" but ran out of time. The time from engine shutdown to the ship sinking was not long about an hour. Im thinking the engine would have run a lot longer than that, keeping the ship into the waves and afloat and giving the engineer time to figure out how to get lubrication to it.

Theres also another contributing factor. The captain left the bridge for eight hours to sleep, leaving the ship in the hands of the third mate. (which would indicate operation of the ship in a hurricane was routine) The third mate did not have the authority to change the course of the ship in the captains absence. (according to 60 minutes)

The crew wanted to change course south and pass thru a string of islands which would have reduced the effect of the storm. But for some reason they didnt wake the captain. The whole thing happened pretty quickly and hindsight is always 20/20.

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