MORE STRANGE SEA STUFF

MORE STRANGE SEA STUFF…

September 10, 2019 By Joseph P. Farrell

Yesterday I blogged about that case of the disappearing underwater German laboratory, and suggested that something may be "up" on the oceans and seaways of the world. Well, there are a couple more strange sea stories out there to add to the mix, if indeed it is a "mix." To be sure, all this could just be amazing coincidence, and hence, great data for those who might want to probe into the structure and architecture of coincidence theory.  But you know me, I have to indulge in some high octane speculation along the lines of "what if it is not just all coincidence?" Then we're left with some disturbing questions.

For example, consider this story found by C.M. on Zero Hedge concerning a capsized cargo ship off of the coast of the American state of Georgia:

Large Cargo Ship Capsizes Off Georgia Coast; Crew Members Still Missing

Doing a little digging brought up a few interesting things, like a map of ship accidents and capsizes around the world. It's certainly not a common occurrence, but happens more often than one might think. Admittedly, I'm certainly not the slightest bit familiar with naval or maritime architecture, but the design of modern cruise ships and cargo ships has always disturbed me; with their very high freeboards and very shallow keels they seem, well, "top heavy" and therefore prone to capsizing. Or to put it into maritime architecture terms: the metacentric height of these ships looks like it would be very low, and hence the ships prone to capsizing. But that's just a guess based on what my eyes tell me.

A further check into this story revealed that the lack of details in the Zero Hedge article is pretty much the standard fare; not much is being said in other articles either. The ship left port, then, for some reason - we're offered nothing in most articles by way of any data or speculation - the ship just capsized, and then caught fire. Again, not much information on where on the ship the fire was, nor how it started. In all the pictures in all the articles that I examined, the waters appeared calm, and hurricane Dorian had long since moved out of the area. One article noted that this incident occurred shortly after that diving boat caught fire off the coast of California and killed 34 people.

And speaking of cargo ships and strange incidents, remember that collision of an oil tanker (the Sola)  with a Norwegian navy frigate (HNoMS[His Royal Norwegian Majesty's Ship] Helga Ingstad)? Well, the transcript of the minutes prior to the collision were leaked to the press, and they're somewhat - disturbingly - revealing (thanks to P.A.I. for spotting and sharing this one):

Radar Images & Audio Log of KNM Helge Ingstad Frigate — Sola TS Oil Tanker Collision

I can't help but think of the similarities implied by this transcript and the USS Fitzgerald and USS John McCain incidents, where two American naval vessels collided with large cargo ships in busy sea lanes. Consider this:

0:19 —Sola TS: I didn’t get the name, do you know which boat is coming here?
0:25 — Sola TS: I have it on port side.

— 10 seconds silence. At this point Sola TS starts to accelerate and maneuver starboard probably to avoid a possible collision. But the tanker is big and slow to do both, it will reach 7.2 knots at around 2:07 in 42 seconds .

0:37 — Fedje VTS: No, it’s eh… I’ve not received any information about it.
0:43 — Fedje VTS: This wasn’t reported to me.

0:45 —Sola TS: I just see it on the screen here.

Well, Fedje VTS command should also be seeing the approaching unknown ship on their screens, but they don’t seem to bother at all. (Emphasis in the original)

This seems uncomfortably like the Fitzgerald incident in the waters of Japan; the bridge crew of the Fitzgerald should have been able to see the approaching ship, not only visually from its running lights but also on radar. In this case, one has to ask why the Norwegian traffic control was not seeing their own frigate on radar. Was the radar being interferred with? or was its crew being interfered with? We'll get back to that possibility in a moment, because P.A.I. spotted the same thing in the transcript. The author of the article accompanying the leaked transcript comments as follows, ending with his own speculation:

We know that the AIS tracking of Helge Ingstad was turned of only until after the accident. Also, until the 47th second of the video (0:54) the unknown ship doesn’t have a speed vector on the radar. Only then, it appears at 0.0 knots, gradually shifting up to 17.4 knots by 1:30. The unknown ship was clearly not accelerating — it was already moving before the speed vector appeared — only that its speed became fully visible in the radar within these 36 seconds (probably a stealth navigating feature turned off).(Emphasis in the original)

After a short exchange between the tanker and traffic control, there is a 43 second gap of silence, which means

The unknown ship cruising at 17.4 knots, Sola TS now at 6.4 knots and accelerating. So the two ships are approaching each other at 23.8 knots or 44km/h. So a 43 seconds silence meant they were now around 500 meters closer to each other. (Emphasis in the original)

In other words, both ships are accelerating, and are now half a kilometer nearer each other. By one minute and fifty-three seconds into the transcript, the two ships are a kilometer apart. They should be able to see each other. By two minutes and fourteen seconds, for whatever reason, the bridge crew on the tanker Sola become aware of something, and can be heard telling the Norwegian frigate directly to turn to starboard to the Norwegian naval frigate, the Helge Ingstad:

2:14 — Sola TS: Take starboard now! [Turn right in maritime jargon.]

2:17 — Helge Ingstad: Than we go to the nearest blocks. [Shore, reef? Here in the VG video the subtitle says “Da går vi for nærme blokkene” some other sources report it as “Da går vi for nærme båkene” båkene meaning boats, it doesn’t change the substance tough, as Helge Ingstad perceives a near obstacle on its starboard side.]

The collision occurs about three minutes and nineteen seconds into the transcript, at 4:01 AM Norwegian time. But then there is a remarkable exchange a few minutes after the collision by the crew of the frigate, Helge Ingstad:

7:50 — Helge Ingstad: We’ve a situation, we ran into an unknown object.

4 minutes 30 seconds after the collision Helge Ingstad’s command is still unaware that they hit the oil tanker, Sola TS. Where exactly they think they were?

7:56 — Helge Ingstad: We’ve no propulsion.
8:22— Helge Ingstad: Still not clear here, but we need immediate assistance. (Emphasis in the original)

Now, this is beyond exceedingly strange. P.A.I. wondered the same thing in the original email accompanying the article. I don't know about you, but how does one, even at night, miss the presence of a large oil tanker within a few meters of one's own ship? I've seen cargo ships of all shapes and sizes personally - including oil tankers - and seen them both at day and night, at distance and up close and personal. I've driven, for example, years ago, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-tunnel, and passed through Norfolk, Virginia, and done both during the day and night, and the size of these ships, miles away, is clear and unmistakable, even at night. I've seen then at night, at distance, silhouetted against the lights of shore installations and cities, with their running lights. They're hard to miss, even for a land-lubber like me. So I have to wonder: how does a Norwegian navy crew miss an oil tanker that, in maritime terms, is more or less "right next to" them? The Norwegians have been plying the seas longer than the British, French or Spanish, so it's not as if they lack experience.

Even more intriguing is that the frigate apparently turned to port, not starboard:

Now this is weird. I’m not a navigator, but simply superimposing radar course traces for both ships at 1:45 and 3:19 from the video, we see that in those 94 seconds Sola TS turns 5 degrees starboard, whereas Helge Ingstad turns 6 degrees port, instead of starboard as instructed!

...

Damage to the frigate being on the starboard back side corroborates to this theory. If the frigate maneuvered starboard and still collided, the damage would be on the port side.

How could this be possible? Navigation training gone bad? Seriously? Turning port instead of starboard? Or thinking they could turn port faster (didn’t accelerate) and avoid both the collision and the shore? Or were they simply blinded somehow, by something?

Even the author of the article is wondering the same thing as I, and I entertained the theory, you'll recall, way back when I was blogging about the USS Fitzgerald incident: had "something" clouded the minds of the crew of the Hegle Ingstad, making them turn to port rather than starboard? The fact that the traffic control was initially not showing the frigate on their radar does suggest that perhaps some sort of electro-magnetic interference (or cyber-attack) may have momentarily blinded them. The Wikipedia article on the incident maintains that the Helge Ingstad's crew thought the running lights on the Sola were shore installations. But I'm not buying that, because at a certain point, probably sooner rather than later, the Sola would have been apparent as a ship. Indeed, like the US Navy after the Fitzgerald and McCain incidents, the crew is being blamed by the board of inquiry, which recommended "good bridge and and sailor management practices" according to Wikipedia. But notably, there's no explanation as to why the frigate turned to port, rather than starboard. No matter how poor Norwegian naval training may have been (and I'm having difficulty believing that because the Helge Ingstad had just returned from NATO naval exercises!), I just cannot swallow that Norwegian sailors don't know the difference between starboard and port. Was the slow reaction time due to the use of digital systems, which the US Navy recently determined to replace with the "more intuitive" analogue systems, precisely because of incidents like the Fitzgerald? Maybe.

But to me, reading these transcripts, it looks like the crew of the Ingstad were, for whatever reason, in some sort of mental fog. How does one not see, either visually or on radar or both, a looming big cargo ship and do the obvious thing and steer away? How does one not see the cargo ships that slammed into the Fitzgerald, the John McCain, or the Helga Ingstad? Why does a freighter just capsize in calm waters, and then catch fire? The common element in these "weirdnesses" seems to be the crews, which seem to be responding to situations with less-than-optimal performance, as if they're in some sort of "fog of the mind".

I don't know about you folks, but it seems to me that something strange may be going on in the world's oceans. So for the moment, to all my Navy friends who are telling me that it's all just poor training or whatever, I'm sticking with my electromagnetic mind manipulation explanation. Indeed, I'm going to crawl out on the twig even further here and suggest that with all the electro-magnetic soup that a crew of a modern warship lives in, that perhaps we're looking at unintended interference or consequences of those systems to the human brain. Maybe. Perhaps. Or perhaps this is something much more deliberate going on, some sort of mind manipulation of ocean-going vessels' crews. If that be so, then who might be behind it and why?

See you on the flip side...