The Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO) was meeting in London, England, during late October to revise international regulations governing shipping traffic at sea.
The Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO) was meeting in London, England, during late October to revise international regulations governing shipping traffic at sea. The meeting, due to end on Friday (October 20), was hoping to publish the first such set of rules for twelve years.
One of its main concerns was to reduce the dangers of bid-ship collisions at sea -- collisions which were resulting in sinking at the rate of over three hundred a year in 1971. Three basic improvements lay open to IMCO -- in navigational aids; in improved ship handling; and in enforcement of improved safety regulations governing traffic.
But navigational aids, however sophisticated, do not overcome the relative clumsiness of shops generally, and giant tankers in particular. Traffic regulations can be--and sometimes are, with disastrous results--ignored by inefficient captains and crews. So IMCO attaches great importance to any device which improves the manoeuvrability of vessels--devices like the subject of this film, a new rudder enabling ships to turn in much tighter circles and reduce stopping distances by up to three-quarters.
Simply, a motorised rotating cylinder at the leading edge of the rudder reduces the turbulence which limits a normal rudder's capability to about 35 degrees -- increasing it up to 90 degrees, and enabling a ship to turn on its own axis. Apart from improved handling in limited waters, this enables the ship to slow down by reversing its engines -- as is done now -- and twisting tightly in one direction then another, rather like the slalom effect used by skiers to slow down rapidly.
The idea is in the developing stage, and such a rudder has been fitted to a 200-ton British research ship. This film introduces the subject with spectacular sequences of the tanker 'Pacific Glory' blazing in the English Channel in 1970 after a collision with another ship, and shows the experimental rudder in the laboratory; on a test model; and in full-scale sea-trials on the research vessel.
SYNOPSIS: This is the tanker 'Pacific Glory' blazing after it's collision in 1970 with another vessel in the crowded sea-lanes of the English Channel. Several lives were lost, and the ship wrecked -- typical of sea-accidents which are resulting in sinking at the rate of three-hundred a year. And it's this sort of accident which has led to concern in IMCO, an international maritime body meeting in London this week, to revise shipping regulations.
One of IMCO's concerns is the relative clumsiness of shipping, especially larger tankers -- and this is one device, currently under development, aimed at drastically improving vessel handling. It's a new safety rudder, fitted with a motorised cylinder on its leading edge, enabling it to work efficiently at a turn of up to ninety degrees. A normal rudder becomes ineffective after about thirty-five.
The new rudder is currently being tried on an old two-hundred-ton British research vessel, and tests have shown that is can turn the ship on its own axis -- in shipping terms, an almost unbelievable manoeuvre. Normally ships require at least several hundred yards and sometimes even several miles of water in which to turn around.
It can also reduce a ship's stopping distance by up to three-quarters, by turning it tightly first one way and then another. It could revolutionise safety at sea.