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TROPICAL REVOLVING STORMS

 

The memory is an organ of perception in the past, much as the eyes and other senses are organs of perception in the present. The casual links between originating experiences and present memories form a bridge to past time. When I recall the tropical revolving storm which hit the then East Pakistan in 1960, followed by political storm of 1970/71, which resulted in loss of one wing, but the origin is dated back to prior 1970. Our beloved homeland is in turbulence again since 2007, but now a political revolving storm is heading towards the hills the reason could be any, be it betrayal, poor, Governance, spiraling high prices, depreciation of rupees or as said to be conspiracy.  I am not a political scientist, but as a Maritime professional having weathered many storms at Sea, can safely say that the after math of such storms on the ground causes significant damage. Pakistan since inception has a history of weathering such storms, hope at present, we weather it without serious devastation. I, find it prudent to deliberate on the 1960 cyclone which created history in the maritime world, thus restraining myself to metrological and maritime wonders of the history only being eye witness to 60/70's both.

I, recall when in October1960, Chittagong then East Pakistan was hit by cyclone it had put a ship " CLAN ALPINE " of 7168 gross tonnage on the Palm trees ashore. It is unbelievable, but true to the core, thus such storms are not to be taken lightly in one's life. A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure centre and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rains. Tropical cyclones feed on heat released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air. They are fuelled by different mechanism as nor'easters. They originate in doldrums near the equator about 10 degree away from it. The term tropical refers to both the geographic origin of these systems, which form at most exclusively in tropical region of the globe and their formation in tropical air masses. In, northern hemisphere as our case be it is clock wise rotation, whilst in South it is anti clock wise.    Depending on its location and strength, a tropical revolving storm in our region is known as cyclone, in Atlantic Hurricane, Typhoon in Pacific and Willie Willie in Australia.

Whilst cyclone can produce powerful winds and torrential rains they also produce high waves (Tidal bore) and damaging storm surge as well as Tornadoes. They develop over large bodies of warm water, and loose their strength overland. The effect on human population could be devastating, but it relieves from drought conditions. Cyclones carry heat and energy away from tropics and transport it towards temperate latitudes, which makes them an important part of the global atmospheric circulation mechanism. As a result tropical cyclones help to maintain equilibrium in the earth's troposphere and to maintain relatively stable and warm temperature world wise. Present drought in the country is attributed to ELNINO effect in Pacific / Bay of Bengal which resulted in 34% less rains, thus expected failure of crops this year. Many tropical cyclones develop, when the atmospheric conditions around a weak disturbance in the atmosphere are favorable. The eye of the storm is normally 150 km and Barometric pressure of 960 millibars. 

" CLAN ALPINE " of 7168 gross tonnage and length of 424 feet sailed on 16th September 1960 from the Mersey for Chittagong East Pakistan via Glasgow, the Suez canal etc and arrived Chittagong at 0130 hours on 31st October, and anchored to wait for available berth at Docks. The Radio Officer reported to Master through Marconi Gram received that a Cyclone was heading towards Chittagong and by 1835 hours there were reports that the wind is exceeding force 12 on Beaufort scale. The engines of CLAN ALPINE were full speed ahead to stem to cyclone, but she was dragged in the Karnaphuli River 65 km/hours with a 35 feet (11 m)surge that had struck the area. The wind peaked at 250 km/hr and at 1850 hours, the eye of the storm passed over the ship and at 1925 hours a bump was felt and it was reported that Ship has run aground in fields. The engines were stopped, but Master requested to re-start the engines as the ship was apparently near the rocks, however the rocks were quickly revealed to be the top of Palm tress, where the vessel was first placed by surge, subsequently kissing the ground, when surge was over. One can only believe who may have seen the ship sitting upright in the fields of Chittagong City, away from the channel. It is also on record that the then President Ayub Khan flew on helicopter to see and believe the might of a cyclone.

The people of Chittagong showered praise on Master and the crew, all British men by honoring them, the membership of Chittagong Club which enabled the crew to live in Scenic Club Bungalows as a break from staying abroad. Another remarkable measure was construction of a Road to ferry the cargo of 2400 tons from the Ship. I, recall that even Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited the ship, when she was stranded to see and believe the might of cyclone/sea and that of God, as it was unique, so many people from the world visited to see the ship, after the cyclone. The ship was declared constructive total loss, thus was scrapped in 1961. It was a miracle that despite riding a surge of 11 meter the 7000 toner setting firstly on trees well inside the field, away from harbour and finally resting upright without loss of life is virtually unbelievable, but it did happen. I "quote THOREAU men talk of Bible because there is no miracle in their lives cease to gnaw the crust. There is a ripe fruit over your head. Unquote"

I, weathered storms in Atlantic and Bay of Bengal, but never of that intensity, which can fly the 7000 ton ship by Surge, ashore beyond Chittagong in the fields. I, also had privilege of meeting the Master of the Ship, later who became a firm believer of God, despite many life lost in Chittagong, not a single soul lost life being on ship.

The moral of this write up is to seek mercy from God, thus may fear such awesome tropical / political revolving storms, which may cause surge to fly any object, how might be it . I, remind people to read E.M. Foster, Mark Twain and legendary Antenor, whose betrayal / treachery delivered troy to Greeks.  We must learn from the history and be prepared to safe guard our beloved homeland, from storms, drought and political storms too..



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MMSP ELECTION - 2015

Dear Members
kindly note that submission of Nomination form has been extended till 9 May 2015, due to annual dinner event. Ensure that the Nomination form should reach MMSP office on or 9 May 2015.

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Capt. Khawaja Wasiuddin Siddiqi Dupty Election Commissioner

MMSP IS HOLDING ITS ANNUAL DINNER- 2015

To honour
Chief Patron of MMSP and Chief of Naval Staff Who has kindly consented to be the Chief Guest on this Occasion at Convention Hall, Pakistan Maritime Museum Near Karsaz, Karachi,
on Friday, the 24 April 2015

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PAKISTAN MARINE ACADEMY IN DOLDRUM

If, we go into time Tunnel, the era from 2003-2007, efforts were made to convert Pakistan Marine Academy to Pakistan Maritime University, so that different faculties of Maritime education may be established locally.

 

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Monthly Meeting :

 

May 14, 2015

Executive Committee Meeting of Master Mariner Society of Pakistan will be held at 17.30 Hrs. at Room No 18, Old Ralli Brothers Building, Talpur Road, Karachi.

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