Sometimes in this game of news, pictures can sell really well. Shipping tends to be a tricky industry to source decent images when something goes wrong as many incidents happen far out at sea, or are at ports and yards sealed off to the general public. At Splash, our whole site is designed to show off strong images, so we do spend much time and money getting the best photos to illustrate the stories we carry. It is still rare however that exclusive pictures can make a story.
So when a Splash reader was kind enough to send us incredible images of the havoc wreaked by a cyclone on a yard in Chennai we leapt into action. There were just a few minutes left until our daily newsletter went out, but we quickly sourced the facts to make an article to hang around the incredible images of 13 OSV newbuilds that had been badly damaged at Larsen & Tourbo’s yard. The story went live, and the site nearly melted – thus far more than 21,000 of you have read that story.
While getting pictures can be difficult as a shipping news editor it is a fact that the explosion of social media has made my life easier, and given many a shipowner and manager cause for worry.
Nowadays, crews are increasingly being drilled not to share too many images of life at sea on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Nevertheless, despite the pleas by their employees, seafarers and port workers continue to be an incredible resource for a news hound – that particular Pandora’s box will be nigh on impossible to shut.
Elsewhere this week, it was not images, but audio that brought the most emotional report carried on Splash for a long time. The release of the audio transcript of the final hours of the El Faro, which sank off the Bahamas in a hurricane last year, was a tough read – our US correspondent Don Scully told me he was close to crying while writing up the article.