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Litigation Support for Containership Casualty

A 937’ containership was transiting from France to Boston with a full load of containers when it encountered a storm with 30-foot seas and broke in half. Half of the vessel sank, along with its cargo of French wine. A shipyard had elongated the vessel 13 years earlier by installing a mid-body insert. When the vessel split, it did so near one of the seams joining the original hull with the insert. One of the primary issues was whether the modifications had been performed properly and according to the approved design. The concept of the case was simple enough to understand, but the details of the engineering behind the design modification were difficult to visualize. JMS was selected to develop computer animations that would explain the ship’s general arrangement, design and construction. The mid-body addition was modeled in detail and the process of dividing the ship and adding the insert was illustrated. Miraculously, the stern portion of the vessel, including engine room, bridge, accommodations and crew, survived the storm and was towed to safety. Metallurgical samples taken from this valuable source of evidence were used extensively in combination with animated “morphing” sequences to show details of the failure.