What Causes Ships to Sink?
From the Titanic to the Costa Concordia, when it comes to shipwrecks, there is only one thing that’s for sure: whenever anyone heads out on the water, the last thing they want to happen is to wind up a victim of such a disaster.
And by and large, you would think as shipboard technology has advanced, incidents involving ships sinking into the depths would be all but a thing of the past. Unfortunately, modern-day vessels are still prone to sinking more often than you might think, which begs the question, why?
According to the National Geographic Channel’s website, modern ships still sink because of one or more of three reasons: a mistake by the ship’s captain, inclement weather or two or more ships colliding with each other.
However, there are sometimes incidents that fall outside the norm. That seems to be the case with a recent tugboat sinking in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The sinking happened in late September on the Merrimack River, just off Deer Island, according to The Daily News of Newburyport.
Prior to its sinking, the tugboat—the 90,000-pound SPS Virginia—was one of two tugs transporting contractors, crane barges and equipment from and to the John Greenleaf Whittier Memorial Bridge project. While on a break from its transporting duties, the SPS Virginia was moored to Deer Island’s northern shore in Amesbury, and during that time, the vessel went missing.
By the time the tugboat was found, it was reportedly on its side in around 20 to 30 feet of water and fast on its way to sinking. However, it’s still unclear how the boat went missing or sank. According to the ship’s owner, all the hatches on the SPS Virginia were secured with padlocks and an examination of the sunken vessel found no holes, ruptures or gashes.
“It doesn’t make any sense at all,” said the owner. “It’s a mystery to everyone, us included.”
More than likely, an investigation by governmental authorities will be done to determine the cause of the sinking in hopes of preventing future sinkings.
Who Can I Call If I Am a Sinking Victim?
Latti’s Little Extra: The size of tugboats range from 117 feet long by 30 feet wide to over 200 feet long by 45 feet wide, according to the Alabama River Improvement Association.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys