News Brief by Kip Hansen – 18 February 2022
There is a lot of talk about reducing CO2 emissions from international transportation. There is an item in the news today that might lead you to a new insight on the issue. (It did for me.)
The news is on the front page of the online NY Times as “Ship Carrying 1,100 Porsches and Other Luxury Cars Is Burning and Adrift”.
This vessel is 200 m (or 600 feet) long and 32 m (100 feet) wide, with about 30 feet of it underwater (draught or draft).
The Portuguese Navy supplies this photo of the vessel as of yesterday:
The NY Times reports:
“A mammoth cargo ship believed to be carrying thousands of vehicles including 1,100 Porsches was on fire and drifting off the coast of the Azores on Thursday after its 22 crew members were rescued from the vessel.”
“The fire broke out on Wednesday morning in the cargo hold of the ship, called the Felicity Ace, which had departed from Emden, Germany, on Feb. 10 and was scheduled to arrive in Davisville, R.I., on Wednesday, according to a ship tracking website. The ship was about 200 miles from Terceira Island in the Azores, the Portuguese island territory, when Portuguese forces moved in on Wednesday to evacuate the crew.”
“The Drive, an automotive website, reported that the Volkswagen Group estimated nearly 4,000 vehicles were on board, including 189 Bentleys.”
The Portuguese Navy performed a successful and dangerous rescue of the 22 crew members and the ship is now adrift, currently shown below with others vessels in the immediate vicinity. The three islands to the north are the Portuguese Azores islands of Faial, Pico, and São Jorge:
Shipboard fires are terrifying. They are furnaces fueled by diesel bunker oil in a confined steel box. The heat quickly builds to incredible levels and the crew is most often unable to enter or even get near the area of the fire to fight the flames. Pouring water on the flames often just spreads the burning fuels. Luckily for these mariners, the Portuguese keeps naval vessels in the Azores and rescue came in time. Had they been in the middle of the Atlantic, their fate would have been different.
Somewhat amusingly, the Times includes a human interest bit: “Matt Farah, a car enthusiast and editor of The Smoking Tire, had been waiting for his 2022 frozen-berry metallic Boxster Spyder, with a retail price of about $123,000 and modified to his precise specifications, since August. “The best sports car of all time, hands down.”
Fun Fact: Porsche describes the Boxter Spyder this way:
A firebrand. A go-getter. Aiming for the skies. The new 718 Spyder is an exclamation mark in a world full of ‘what ifs’. A roadster like no other. Without compromise. Without regrets. Without rational arguments.
So, how many ships were in the vicinity when the Felicity Ace caught fire? I count about half a dozen within 50 nautical miles – too far to help in a man-overboard situation, but close enough to come and rescue mariners from lifeboats. In this case, the Portuguese Warship Setubal (red) was involved and can be seen approaching the island of Faial in the Azores after it took the mariners off the Felicity Ace by helicopter.
Why report this ongoing incident on WUWT? What’s the climate or science connection?
This image can give you an idea:
That’s a lot of ships……
“The shipping industry now uses more than 5 million barrels of fuel a day, including the high sulfur fuel, lighter marine fuel and a tiny amount of LNG, according to Citigroup.” … “The fuel now used in shipping is the bottom of the barrel. It’s a very heavy black diesel oil that shippers use because it’s cheap. It also is one of the most polluting fuels.” (CNBC here)
The quote refers to bunker fuel which is a thick, black, dirty heavy fuel oil.
We are in the midst of a supply chain snarl-up due to the governmental responses to the Covid pandemic all around the world – which has impacted not only manufacturing but shipping, ports and trucking segments of the supply chain.
In the Mad Mad World of Net-Zero, how will we power all those ships and boats? How will we move manufactured products from Asia to North America and Europe? How will we move grains and other foods to Asia and Africa? How will we accomplish this in a Net-Zero world without petroleum products?
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Thankfully, I have never had to fight a major fire on an ocean-going vessel. In the merchants, I trained to prevent fires and trained to fight fires aboard ship. Fought a couple of minor fires – galley fires, an electrical fire or two, fires resulting from welding (mistakes….always involve a failure to mount a proper fire watch) and small fires in the engine room. Steel vessels are not flammable but almost everything in them is.
And, man, that’s a lot of ships and boats at sea – now publicly detectable and reportable due to the new AIS (automatic identification system). VesselFinder.com has both a free and a paid version to find registered vessels. There are cell phone apps as well, though I haven’t used them. Readers with insight into the best AIS cellphone apps should share them with us in comments.
I’m afraid Net-Zero is entirely impractical or, in other words, currently and near-future impossible.
Despite the bad news of the loss of all those Porsches and Bentleys, the rich and famous will continue to waste precious resources on fast cars, fast boats, big houses (usually more than one), junketing for pet causes, and expensive holidays.
Me, I’m settled in at home and planning on staying warm.
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