Stormy seas

31st January 2012

Severe storms battered Britain earlier this month, with winds blowing at over 100mph. The UK, Scotland in particular, struggled with port closures, power failures, floods and wind damage to buildings and infrastructure.  The Sea Tankers vessels, the Clipper Burgundy and the Vedrey Hallarna, were sailing in the Firth of Forth and the Humber estuary during the worst of the stormy weather, and staying on schedule was a major challenge.

A storm at sea can cause operational difficulties on many levels: Strong winds and high waves make sailing on course difficult and slow going, and when it gets too dangerous the vessel can be forced to stop at a safe anchor point, in order to shelter until the weather improves; Berthing is also troublesome – during the January storms, our vessels had to use tugs to get from sea to berth safely, otherwise there could have been the risk of an accident or berthing delays, causing further setbacks; Even after the weather improves, further swells can occur, causing more concern for passage delays and safety onboard (swells can originate from many miles away, not just the point where the bad weather has been observed).

Bad weather typically causes scheduling problems because of knock-on delays, which can inconvenience customers and incur waiting time that isn’t claimable on demurrage. We did everything we could to recover from the onslaught of the January storms and get back on schedule as quickly as possible.

In order to keep a watchful eye on the weather, access to reliable and accurate maritime weather forecasting tools is essential for safe navigation, operational planning and minimizing risk.