British maritime authorities have reportedly chartered winter tugboats early to help head off a possible shipping disaster anticipated on Thursday - the ninth day of the ninth month, 1999. The date entry "9/9/99" is a "stop file" in some old computers - a command that could shut down systems
on an unknown number
of ships plying the open seas, Maritime and Coastguard Agency officials said.
The failure of navigation or other operations on large ships is the main concern for the MCA when the nines tick up on Thursday.