Boats bumping into boats

You might have seen some of the pictures of the damage caused when two Holland America cruise ships bumped into each other in Vancouver. Passengers on board said they didn’t feel anything – but I bet the Captain did – and the person who was responsible for guiding the parallel parking.

Look – I have a certain amount of sympathy for whoever was steering – remember that parallel parking you had to do to get your drivers’ licence. OMG – terrifying to have to do that. Today of course we have digital parking… not quite what I had back in the day I got my licence. And let’s face it tight parking can sometimes be a challenge…

However it seems that steering a big ship into port is more complicated than trying to parallel park a car … of course … look at the size of the vessels these days – over 100.000 tons in some cases. Also bumping into each other in port is not uncommon.

Two MSC cruise ships collided in port while one was parking – accompanied by the cries of “no, no, no”. And Norwegian Cruise Lines have also experienced parking problems …. in San Juan the Norwegian Epic demolished two mooring points –

Norwegian uploaded a statement to Twitter following the crash: “Today as Norwegian Epic was manoeuvring into Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico with a local pilot on board & the help of two tug boats, prevailing winds caused the ship to veer towards the pier, damaging two mooring points at Pier 3 East.”

Now it seems in all of this that the pilots are crucial to getting things right and play a huge role – especially huge when dealing with very big cruise ships and very tight parking areas. If you are interested in the role that pilots play you might want to read this article—pilots.html

To hone their skills some pilots work with miniatures of the mega ships. There is a school just for that in France. What a cool job – these guys get to play with toy ships The website is fascinating.

Wow – maybe there is a new career for anyone who is interested. Not me however! I have had my fair share of scraped car doors and bashed up headlights to make me realise that this would not be my chosen field 😦

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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