The accident of the large container freighter “Ever Given” (IMO 9811000) on March 23, 2021 in the Suez Canal will keep the global shipping industry busy for years to come. Many questions remain unanswered: Could an accident like this have happened in northern Germany, for example on the Elbe at the gates of the port of Hamburg? Or: What should be done to quickly remove a blockage? Hans von Wecheln, maritime consultant from Husum, shared his ideas with THB (Täglicher Hafenbericht) and FleetMon. We publish the letter with the kind approval of the THB chief editor.
The French philosopher Voltaire gave this as a reference to the famed shipwrecks in the Bay of Biscay, a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea, off the coast of Spain.
The history of human navigation extensively documented shipwrecks off the infamous Spanish Bay, known to many as “The Valley of Death,” “The Vomiting Venus,” and “The Trunk of the Atlantic U-Boat Menace.”
Albeit with the advent of modern technology, improved vessel route prediction, as well as improvements in vessel designing, the number of fatalities in the Bay has considerably reduced. But this shouldn’t stop us from delving into the past! But before we do that, let’s explore the historical context so you know just why the Bay became so infamous among the sailing community back in the days.