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Tug Forum => Tug Talk - Tug News & Discussion => : Volker October 01, 2019, 01:02:23

: Bourbon Rhode sunk on Sept. 26 2019
: Volker October 01, 2019, 01:02:23
Bourbon Rhode, a Robert Allen Ltd RAmpart 5000 design, sunk on Sept. 26 2019 when she encountered Hurricane Lorenzo. Three crew members were rescued, one crew member was found dead, and 10 are still missing.

Reports say the BR was as close as 60 nm to the eye of the hurricane.

I don't understand why a 50 m tug risked to encouter a hurricane. So I tried to gather some data.
The Bourbon Rhode: https://ral.ca/2006/12/05/rampage-5000-class-offshore-support-tugs-delivered-groupe-bourbon/
The Bourbon Rhode left Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) for her about 2760 nm long trip to Georgetown, Guyana in the afternoon of 18/09/2019.  On 26.09.2019 she sent an emergency call after a water ingress in the aft area. According to the rescued three crew members has sunk the same day. ^She sunk at about N15 35 'and W40 10' about 970 nm west of Cape Verde, after about 60% of the way.

The Hurricane Lorenzo started on 22.09.2019 as a tropical depression on N10 of Africa's west coast. The probability of developing into a hurricane within 5 days was reported by the National Hurricane Center in Miami at 60%.

Here is an animation of the NHC by Lorenzo: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2019/LORENZO_graphics.php
The control keys allow the activation of certain days.
Here are two predictions from 23.09.2019 on http://bernews.com/2019/09/tropical-depression-13-forms-in-the-atlantic-2/
From this website a NHC forecast from 23.09. of route and wind speeds: http://cloudfront.bernews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Tropical-Depression-Thirteen-Bermuda-September-23-2019-NHC.jpg

The prediction of the path seems quite good already on 23.09. .

I think the Bourbon Rhode had only two options. Dodge to the south, which would have been a major detour or would have led to the right, more dangerous hurricane side. Or continue the course and try to cross before the storm. Dodge far to the north was no alternative in a storm, which moved at about 17 kts, I think . One would have to cross anyway.

It has apparently been decided to continue (perhaps with a small northern deviation) of the course.

I never went to sea. So, would there have been other alternatives?
Regards, Volker
: Re: Bourbon Rhode sunk on Sept. 26 2019
: Volker October 06, 2019, 00:25:42
As of October 5th, 2019 three crew members where rescued and four were found dead. Seven are still missing.
Regards, Volker
: Re: Bourbon Rhode sunk on Sept. 26 2019
: Capt.Towline October 07, 2019, 06:01:43
Although its always easier with hindsight Volker, it seems like the vessel continued pretty much on its direct routing which, on the predicted path of the hurricane made on 23rd, was going to put the vessel right in the middle of it when its force had intensified, which is difficult to understand!
The nature of how these storms develop, gather energy and track is well documented and highly likely to move west with an increasing northerly element.
A rough calculation of where the vessel was on the 23rd would have given the option to head back towards the east, maybe with a southerly element and get in behind it or possibly even hold position for 3 days and monitor its track, providing weather reports were being sought and received and bunkers were not an issue.
In any case, unfortunately hindsight cannot help now and it is a sad loss of life.
: Re: Bourbon Rhode sunk on Sept. 26 2019
: Volker October 09, 2019, 01:24:54
I overlooked the two alternatives you mentioned. Thanks for pointing them out.

You're right it is much easier to observe with hindsight. With all the details known about hurricane Lorenzo now the decision to go on isn't easy to understand. But don't know what the crew really know only what the should have known.

Perhaps the French authorities can shed some light on the resoning behind the Boubon Rhode's course.
Regards, Volker