Costa Concordia as it looks today (January 2014)
The Ornark, a 751 foot cargo ship ran aground Tuesday night (4/15/2014) in Virginia Beach near First Landing State Park. High winds of up to 70 mile per hour gusts pushed the vessel into shallow water.
Large cargo ships can often have a towering freeboard height of 80 feet above the water. Multiply the overall length of the ship by the freeboard height and we see that the wind gusts had more than 60,000 square feet of surface area to push on. Knowing that, it becomes easy to understand how a crew can loose control of such a large ship in high winds. Furthermore, when we calculate the force of the wind (called wind load) we see that the wind was pushing against the ship with more than 744,000 lbs of force.
It was the early 1800’s. A convoy of three ships in the Gulf of Mexico sailed with privateer crews carrying their cargo of guns, leather and tallow. Perhaps they were hoping to make some money or trade. Perhaps they sailed from the Texas territory or other places along the gulf. We don’t yet know the details but we do know this, today all three ships lay on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico beneath 4,500 feet of water.
This week archaeologists announced that they had found numerous items among the debris from these three wrecks which were discovered in 2011 during a deep water Shell Oil survey. They found anchors, muskets, cannons, a ship’s bell, bottles, remnants of a wheel, rolls of leather hide, navigational equipment and tallow which was used for making candles.
The three ships went down within site of each other which most likely means they sank during a storm. They are located 150 miles Southeast of Galveston Texas. In an article on ABC 13 Eyewitness News, Researchers led by a team from Texas State University in San Marcos called it the deepest shipwreck that archaeologists have systematically investigated in the Gulf of Mexico and in North America.
Objects from the wreckage were brought ashore on Thursday in five-gallon tubs with labels.
Researchers say they found about 60 artifacts, ranging from beer bottles to compasses to three British muskets and more.
“We also have an octant, sand clocks that they used to tell time on the ship, so there are a number of things that are extremely fragile, especially three muskets that we recovered,” said Fritz Hanselman with Texas State University. “They appeared to be British muskets. The wood is largely intact. The barrels are largely gone, but we were able to get diagnostic information from those guns themselves and those are probably some of the most fragile artifacts we’ve recovered.”
Unmanned Cargo Ships could become a reality
We’ve heard of unmanned aerial drones being flown by a pilot sitting in office building on the opposite side of the planet, but Rolls Royce wants to do the same thing with cargo ships on the high seas.
According to an article on Bloomberg, Rolls-Royce’s Blue Ocean development team has set up a virtual-reality prototype at its office in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge. Eventually, the London-based manufacturer of engines and turbines says, captains on dry land will use similar control centers to command hundreds of crewless ships.
Turning water into fuel
Imagine turning seawater into fuel. It sounds like something from a science fiction novel but the U.S. Navy believes it has worked out how and believes it will be able to implement the technology into ships within 10 years.