Precis File
SHIP NAME:Kowloon BridgeKEY:NUM. ENTRIES:5
sourceHooke
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The 169,080 dwt British flag, Hong Kong registered OBO motor vessel, Kowloon Bridge which was built in 1973 as a sister ship to the ill-fated Derbyshire herself also became a total loss in November, 1986 whebn she was wrecked off the coast of Southern Ireland.

The Kowloon Bridge was on a voyage from Sept Iles Quebec, where she sailed on November 7, 1986 bound for the River Clyde terminal of Hunterston, loaded with a cargo of 160,000 tons of iron ore consigned to the British Steel Corporation. However enroute she had to seek shelter in Bantry Bay, to effect repairs to deck cracks sustained during heavy Atlantic weather.


sourceFaulkner, RINA Transactions 2001
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the Kowloon Bridge came to grief with No 3 hold perched on the Stag Rocks off Bantry bay following steering gear failure. There had been deck cracking aft, which had been temporarily reinforced to allow the ship to complete her voyage. Nevertheless, the stern eventually broke off near Frame 65.

It is interesting to note that from the wreck of the Kowloon Brdige, it seems that coaming failure also occurred which could perhaps explain her noticeable trim down at the bow on the completion of her Atlantic crossing.


sourceLambert and Ramwell in Faulkner, RINA Transactions 2001
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Kowloon Bridge was cited in the March 1986 DOT report as evidence of the sound construction of the ships in general. The DOT inspection of her in Bantry Bay, where the Captain had sought shelter and advice about cracking damage, was incomplete. The Minister told the House his inspectors had found no damage to suggest the sort of damage that some say caused the Derbyshire. Yet the inspectors had painted round cracks on deck in the area of frame 65 and two large girders were plainly visible welded across the bulkhead 65 on deck in photographs taken at the time.

As the Professor says, the Kowloon Bridge was suspended on Stag Rocks by No 3 hold. But not only was the after part floating in good weather, as it slowly filled, stresses were actually being relieved, as they countered water pressure externally. The weather was fine at the time. In fact divers worked thoughout the period. Despite all this, she cracked across at frame 65, snapping the two girders as did so.

Lambert and Ramwell then point out that tests of Grade A steel taken from the Kowloon Bridge show poor toughness, supporting the view that brittle fracture was a factor. However, they don't give any numbers.


sourceWoinin
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1973. Launching of the DERBYSHIRE sister ship: ENGLISH BRIDGE, later KOWLOON BRIDGE.

1982-May.> Cracking in stb wing tank of KOWLOON BRIDGE, in way of frame 65.

1985-Oct. Unauthorized repair carried out on the KOWLOON BRIDGE.

1986-Aug. On KOWLOON BRIDGE crack in main deck in way of frame 65. Plating cropped and renewed. T-stiffeners welded on main deck.

1986-Oct. On KOWLOON BRIDGE utlrasonic testing reveals cracks in weld in way of bulkhead 65.

1986-Nov.15. KOWLOON BRIDGE met storm force 11, swell about 10 meter high, gangway cracked.

1986-Nov.16. Starboard gangway of KOWLOON BRIDGE taken away by seas. Stern wave reported to have submerged the ship up to boat deck for nearly one minute.

1986-Nov.17. Undulation of deck found on KOWLOON BRIDGE after a period of bad weather. [DTP Surveyor J.L.NOBLE report].

1986-Nov.18 Gun shot sounds heard on KOWLOON BRIDGE, indicating a structure which starts to fail. [DTP Surveyor report].


sourceCTX
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CTX had divided this saga into two casualties. The first is this structural failure. The second casualty is a steering failure on the 22nd when she was forced to leave Bantry Bay after losing an anchor.

The structural failure was bad cracking on the deck just forward of the accomodation near the foward pump room bulkhead. This bulkhead was at Frame 65. The longitudinal bulkhead was discontinuous at this bulkhead. This is extremely poor practice that should be illegal. but under Class rules is not. The longitudinal bulkhead stress is transmitted thru the transverse bulkhead in a direction in which the plate's mechanical properties are much weaker that when the stresses are in the plane of the plate. It also allows misalignment between the forward and aft portions, which would generate very high shear stress in the transverse bulkhead. This misalignment actually was found in other ships of this class. The working of the transverse bulkhead in turn would lead to cracking on deck.

This class of ship had a bad history of such cracking (see Tyne Bridge, 1982). The Derbyshire herself had to repair a fracture iwo Frame 65 in Nov 1977. And in fact the Kowloon Bridge had repaired deck cracks on at least three occaisions (we can be confident there were more). They had also installed additional stiffeners on deck to attempt to fix the problem.

On 18 November in heavy weather (a nearby ship called it Force 8/9), the crew heard gun shot sounds on the deck near Frame 65. The ship was able to make it to Bantry Bay where the failure was inspected by a DOT surveyor, and presumably by Class (LR). But CTX has not been able to located either the DOT or Class report. Lloyds Register later called this a brittle failure, which is consistent with the gun shot sounds. But we need the inspection reports. (Woinin indicates the surveyor was a J. L. Noble.)

Apparently, they had affected some repairs when she was forced to sail out on the 22nd.

This ship was originally the English Bridge, then Worcestershire, then Sunshine, then Murcurio, then Crystal Transporter, then Kowloon Bridge.