Thursday, June 26, 2014

Allision

The title of the NTSB report on the Marseilles Dam accident is "Allision of the Dale A. Heller Tow with Marseilles Dam" (new URL). I looked up Allision in my regular dictionary and did not find it. So I got the bigger dictionary off the shelf. Still no joy. I know the NTSB avoids using terms like "accident" or "crash". I've seen "incident" as one of their favorite euphemisms. So I was wondering of "allision" is a new euphemism or if it really means "running barges into a dam". A web search quickly determined that it is a maritime law term that means a moving vessel violently running into a stationary vessel or an object. It is distinguished from "collision", which means two vessels running into each other. So a ship does not collide with a bridge, it allides with it. Furthermore, an allision is a violent contact. For example, a ship scraping a bridge pier fender as it passes under the bridge is not an allision.

Speaking of allisions, I came across a video of a ship entering the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks on an angle and smashing one of the mules.

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