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Old March 27th, 2006, 01:48 PM
Rev22:17 Rev22:17 is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
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I am amazed by the interest this single news event has generated over a period of only 5 days. At this time there has been more than 2,682 viewings.

I'm not surprised. A fire at sea is one of the worst possible casualties that a ship can have. It can claim the lives of all passengers and crew aboard a vessel.

Obviously, as mere mortals (myself included) participating in this discussion, few of us can lay claim to being expert or sufficiently informed enough to authoritatively comment on the actual cause.

Some of us undoubtedly have more knowledge and experience than others. As a former naval officer with a fairly solid knowledge of ship design, engineering, maintenance, and damage control, I can tell that several other posters in this thread also know from whence they are speaking.

Probably without exception, not one of the respondents can claim to be on the inside beltway in this debate.

That's true. We're more like the retired colonels and generals who appear as commentators and subject experts on the television news. We don't have knowledge of all the details of the incident, but we know enough about ships and shipboard systems to read between the lines and to grasp the implications of what's said in the official releases. Perhaps there's also an element of knowing where to look for relevant details when we see the photographs and the televised footage of the damaged vessel.

Any fire on board a ship at sea is a public safety issue and debating the possible or potential cause is (to me at least) equally important to knowing how to prevent a similar fire from happening again.

I'm sure that the experts will do everything possible to improve safety at sea based upon what they learn from this incident. As I noted in an earlier post, we probably will see changes to the SOLAS treaty to require fire sensors and sprinklers on the exteriors of ships, or at least in recesses such as balconies on passenger cabins, for example, but it will take some time for the political process to work this out.

I'm most anxious to hear what the official investigation uncovers. There's much that we don't know as yet, beginning with the cause of the fire.

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