Foul up a propeller?


Just having a random thought and am looking for advice:

How easy is it to foul up a propeller so as to immobilise a container ship?

On the Glasgow coming along side twice during my draft someone lost the aft spring and got it wrapped around the turnning screw.

It's possible but depends on what the ship is doing and where I suppose
You must be really bored...

Depends what the cargo ship is doing really. If it's coming alongside/leaving the wall then you could certainly foul the prop- leading to loss of manouevrability. However, they will almost certainly have tugs in attendance and, apart from the cost of getting divers down, general annoyance, and potential delays to cargo, not massively massively serious.

In open water while underway, you could foul the prop on something like discarded pelagic/purse seiner lines (big nasty fishing kit) but this is highly unlikely to immobilise. For a start, most merchantmen aren't single screw, and can cruise along happily enough with one prop inoperable if necessary.

Warships tend to go around on one screw as a matter of course if they're in cruising watches.


Lantern Swinger
pluto said:
Just having a random thought and am looking for advice:

How easy is it to foul up a propeller so as to immobilise a container ship?

Why? Unless you are a pirate off the Sudanese Coast doing some research!
On the Chichester 58/59 heading to Capetown across the Indian sea when it was noticed the port engine was running slow.Shut it down and ran on one for a few hours,finally stopped ship and sent the whaler away with a crew and a couple of divers.
I wasn't in the crew but looking over the stern when.....!3/4 of a bloody great shark floated up!Everyone on the seaboat crapped themselves,the divers filled their suits and we had a good laugh.
Seems it had jammed itself in the A bracket.
I never thought that would slow down a prop but it did ,enough for it to be noticed and checked out.
I was lookout on the bridge when first reported there was much scatching of heads and the Eng.officer lost pounds running from engine room to bridge.
It was a massive bugger, even the part that floated up.No wonder the divers were pale.


kinross_special said:
I think I can see where you're going with this. Does this container ship have a few tanks and some very nasty men on board?

Have you gone completely mad? :thumright:
Just struck me that to stop these vessels in a non-destructive manner would have certain advantages in certain situations.

Bit like the bombs which go off over power stations and spool out lengths of copper wire, shorting out the installation, but not destroying it.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
One of the batch 1 T22's (Battleaxe if I remember rightly) momentarily stalled a shaft off Portland in the early 90's. Her prop hit the conning tower of a German sub.
Some cheky fecker took a lorry with a lowloader into Pompey dockyard in the 80s and fcuked off with a 42s Prop that was on the side of a dry dock while she was in DED
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