Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad Decisions

Source: 25 July 2008/Shiptalk news

US Federal authorities said the potentially “catastrophic” decision to assign an inexperienced sailor to a key position led to the grounding last spring of a cruise ship that was carrying nearly 300 people in southeastern Alaska. “The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the grounding of the Empress of the North was the failure of the officer of the watch and the helmsman to navigate the turn at Rocky Island, which resulted from the master’s decision to assign an inexperienced, newly licensed junior third mate to the bridge watch from midnight to 4:00 a.m.,” the agency said in a report made public Wednesday (23 July). “The third mate was not familiar with the route, the vessel’s handling characteristics, or the equipment on the vessel’s bridge.”

An Update on M/V Princess of the Stars Marine Inquiry

Based on a news item in Shiptalk News dated July 25, 2008, the BMI has uncovered more facts regarding the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars incident. What follows shows how callously Sulpicio Lines have disregarded and neglected measures to ensure vessel safety and passengers safety.

* It is very depressing to find out that life jackets being used on their ships are those that had been banned years ago, but were still in use. The fact - these cheap life jackets comprised 50 percent of those in use by inter-island ferries. Esguerra, a PCG doctor and trainer who guided dive missions in the upturned ship, says the vests he saw on recovered bodies are the old boxy types that gain buoyancy from Styrofoam.

* Photographs of vessels by three of the nation’s largest shipping companies, including Sulpicio Lines, showed thick black smoke belching out of chimney stacks, indicating aging engines, and accommodation steel ladders welded to their sides, which are considered hazardous in the event of abandon ship situations.

* The life rafts should carry standard provisions under international maritime rules. But, “There was no food or water in the life raft, only a flashlight,” Philip Vasquez ( survivor), says in his testimony during the BMI hearing.

* A Sulpicio Lines safety officer, Ernelson Morales claims that the accommodation ladders were approved by MARINA.

Reading upon all these, there is only one fact more disturbing than all the facts listed above - Safety is no longer a concern. These shipping companies are merely able to do their business because the MARINA and PCG are allowing them to run their ships even if they are not fulfilling the standards set up by existing policies or regulations. This kind of system will create more incidents and we will be losing more lives in the future

Recorded Vessel Loss Dispatches for July 28, 2008 (Maritime Losses Around the World)

N2007-built 54,454-dwt Panama-flagged Japanese-owned bulker Stella Maris, with 18 crew, was seized and captured by Somali pirates on July 20 near Calula, a port in Somalia’s breakaway northern region of Puntland. (Mon. July 28 2008).

Malta-flagged cruise ship Zenith, with 1,819 passengers and 619 crew, collided with the Greek-flagged cruise ship Aegean Pearl, with 504 passengers and 349 crew, at Greece’s main port of Piraeus on July 28. No injures reported but port authorities were not allowing the vessels to sail until the damage to both ships was assessed. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).

113-m Cypriotic flagged cargo M/V Wilson Saga (IMO 8918461) was caught by currents and collided with a pierhead in at Bremen on July 27. The starboard bulwark of the ship was damaged, the hull suffered breaches and gashes. The ship suffered water ingress. The repair will be undertaken in Bremen and is to last until July 30. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).

Dutch tug Gepke III, built 1957, took on water and developed a port list at a quay on the Merwede river on July 27. With the assistance of other vessels, the tug was soon dewatered and righted. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).

Russian cargo ship Borealis collided with the wreck of Volnogorsk, which had sunk last November, in the Ukrainian part of the Strait of Kerch. No assistance was requested. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).

Unidentified cargo vessel sank at the confluence of the Meghna and Dakatia rivers in Chandpur, Bangladesh, on July 25. One of three crew reported missing. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).

Unidentified barge with 182 passengers sank after hitting a rock on the Oubangui river in northern Congo on July 23. At least 45 people reported drowned and 70 others remain unaccounted for. At the time of the accident, the barge was on its way to the capital of the Central African Republic Bangui, having filled up with passengers, sacks of maize and barrels of oil in the Congolese town of Mobayi-Mbongo. It sank near Gbongi, in Bosobolo territory, more than 600 kilometres (370 miles) northeast of Mbandaka, the capital of northern Equateur region. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).
Belgian inland water craft Amorsita ran aground at Enkhuzen on July 25. The vessel suffered water ingress but was patched and refloated. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Mon. July 28 2008).

IMB PIRATE REPORTS for the month of July 2008

July 2008: 0135 LT: Posn: 21:48N – 091:42E, Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh. Two pirates using a rope & hook boarded a tanker at anchor. Alert duty watch-keepers raised alarm. Robbers disembarked into a waiting boat, which had 4 other robbers & escaped. No injury to crew. Nothing reported stolen. (Sat. July 12 2008).

1 July 2008: 0330 LT: Nha Be River, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Three pirates boarded and broke into the forward locker on a container ship at anchor. Alert anti piracy watch-keepers raised alarm. Robbers jumped overboard & escaped. Nothing stolen. No injuries to crew. (Sat. July 12 2008).

1 July 2008: 0230 UTC: Posn: 10:15N - 107:07E: Vung Tau Anchorage, Vietnam. Pirates boarded & stole ship stores from the forward locker on a tanker at anchor. Anti piracy watch-keepers spotted the robbers & raised the alarm. Robbers escaped with stolen goods. No injuries to crew. (Sat. July 12 2008).

Last LibertyShip Leaves James River Reserve Fleet

From World Maritime News

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Department of Transportation announced that the last of America’s famous Liberty ships, the Arthur M. Huddell, will be towed from the James River Reserve Fleet site at Fort Eustis, Va., to Norfolk, on July 28, to prepare the World War II-era vessel for a cross-Atlantic tow to its new homeport in Greece. Greek officials say the ship will become a merchant marine museum of that nation’s shipping industry.

California Passes Law to Reduce Emissions

From Maritime News

Reminder for ships trading in Californian ports

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation that eliminates 15 tons of diesel exhaust daily from ocean-going vessels.The new measure requires ocean-going vessels within 24 nautical miles of California's coastline to use lower-sulfur marine distillates in their main and auxiliary engines and auxiliary boilers, rather than bunker fuel. About 2,000 ocean-going vessels visiting California ports annually are subject to this restriction.
The regulation will be implemented in two steps, each requiring lower sulfur content in the fuel- first in 2009 and final in 2012. Both U.S.-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels are subject to the regulation which is the most stringent and comprehensive requirement for marine fuel-use in the world.Using the cleaner fuels required in 2009 will result in immediate and significant reductions in the emissions from ocean-going vessels. Reductions will increase as the fuel sulfur content is progressively lowered through the regulation's phase-in. In 2009 about a 75 percent of the diesel PM, over 80 percent of the sulfur oxides and 6 percent of the nitrogen oxides will be eliminated. In 2012, when the very low sulfur fuel requirement is implemented, reductions of diesel particulate matter will be 15 tons daily, an 83 percent reduction compared to uncontrolled emissions. Sulfur oxides will be reduced by 140 tons daily, a 95 percent reduction and nitrogen oxides will be reduced by 11 tons per day, a 6 percent reduction.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cruise ship traffic a threat to Arctic waters, U.S. expert warns

Walter Nadolny, an associate professor in marine transportation at the State University of New York's Maritime College, has called for eastern Arctic waterways to be protected from a growing influx of cruise ship traffic, which has jumped from 50 ships in 2004 to 250 ships in 2007, with the most increases in Nunavut and Greenland. With even more cruise ships expected this summer, Nadolny said, he's worried about what those vessels may be bringing with them, including invasive foreign marine species and ship emissions that could harm fragile Arctic areas. The problems include "oil emissions from bilge water, sewage emissions from sewage treatment plants, [and] ballast emissions as far as conveying invasive species up here from other areas in the world, which to me is a huge threat that nobody sees right now," Nadolny told CBC News at a symposium in Iqaluit this week on adapting to climate change.

Demands for Greek safety probe after LPG carrier blast kills eight.

Source: Lloyd's List
Greece has launched an investigation into a fatal blast on board the liquefied petroleum gas carrier 4,965 dwt Friendshipgas, which killed eight men, but workers are calling for a wider probe into shipyard safety standards at the country’s crowded Perama shiprepair zone. The 1981-built liquid petroleum gas carrier of 5,667m³, had been under repair in Perama, about 12 miles west of Athens, on Thursday afternoon when a fire started.
Saving whales from deadly ship collisions

Source: Tehran Times
Marine scientists say several right whales are struck and killed each year by commercial ships passing through their feeding grounds. But when researchers blasted warning noises from ships to scare the whales away, the lumbering giants instead swam to the surface to see what was going on -- a response that put them in greater danger. Scientists found the animals are either so used to loud sounds, or so curious about them, that the noises apparently do the opposite of warning them. Since the whales were not budging, marine mammal experts have designed a plan to encourage cargo ships to take a short detour around them during certain months of the year.

France overhauls pollution laws

Source: Lloyd's List
The French parliament has introduced an anti-pollution law that will abolish the threat of shipping companies facing fines of up to four times the value of the cargo carried by their vessels. It will also end the threat of prison sentences of up to 10 years, but It will also end the threat of prison sentences of up to 10 years,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Welcome to IMDEX Asia 2009

Riding on the huge success of IMDEX ASIA 2009, the 7th International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference 2009 is all set to be an even greater and more successful event. Renowned as the region’s premier Maritime Defence Event, this biennial Show offers a one stop opportunity to keep abreast of the latest maritime defence technology, platform design and developments. The Event which consists of an Exhibition, Conference, VIP Delegations and Visiting Warships has established a reputation within the maritime defence industry as being a ‘must attend’ show for exhibitors, delegations, professionals and visitors alike.
4 swimmers dead, 3 missing in N.Y. ocean waters

NEW YORK - Four swimmers drowned and three were missing Saturday in two days of treacherous ocean currents at Long Island and New York City beaches, authorities said. At least three more had been rescued.

Microbes beneath sea floor genetically distinct

Tiny microbes beneath the sea floor, distinct from life on the Earth's surface, may account for one-tenth of the Earth's living biomass, according to an interdisciplinary team of researchers, but many of these minute creatures are living on a geologic timescale.National Science Foundation, NASA Astrobiology, US Department of Energy, Pennsylvania Department of Health
Amazon outflow is found to power ocean capture of carbon dioxide
Nutrients washed out of the Amazon River are powering huge amounts of previously unexpected plant life far out to sea, thus trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study. Until now, the areas around the Amazon and other great rivers had been thought to be emitting CO2, so the study may affect climate scientists' calculations of how the greenhouse gas acts. National Science Foundation, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Scientists break record by finding northernmost hydrothermal vent field
Inside the Arctic Circle, scientists have found black smoker vents farther north than anyone has ever seen before. The cluster of vents -- one towering nearly four stories -- are venting water as hot as 570 F. Dissolved sulfide minerals that solidify when vent water hits the icy cold of the deep sea have, over the years, accumulated around the vents in what is one of the most massive hydrothermal sulfide deposits ever found on the seafloor.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tough call helped forestall disaster

Source: Lloyd's List
The decision by then UK Secretary of State’s Representative Robin Middleton to beach the MSC Napoli played a key role in averting a grave environmental disaster off the south coast of England last year, avoiding 2,318 containers and around 3,600 tonnes of bunker fuel sinking in the English Channel, according to the vessel’s protection and indemnity club, the London Club.

Harris conducts successful live demo of new maritime radio

Source: ASD-Network Daily News Headlines
More than 50 representatives of the U.S. Navy and industry last week attended a live, "over-the-ocean" demonstration of Harris Corporation's new Sea Lancet(tm) RT-1944/U tactical radio - designed to provide network-centric communications from maritime-based networks to both ground- and air-based networks.
UK shipping industry to speak with One Voice

Source: Lloyd's List
Six UK maritime organisations have formed a new forum, called One Voice, which will meet on a quarterly basis to identify strategic goals and reach common positions on matters of mutual interest or concern, in an effort to raise the industry’s profile, strengthen their lobbying power, and eliminate the risk of confused or mixed messages.

France overhauls pollution laws

Source: Lloyd's List
The French parliament has introduced an anti-pollution law that will abolish the threat of shipping companies facing fines of up to four times the value of the cargo carried by their vessels. It will also end the threat of prison sentences of up to 10 years, but It will also end the threat of prison sentences of up to 10 years,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Amazon outflow is found to power ocean capture of carbon dioxide

Nutrients washed out of the Amazon River are powering huge amounts of previously unexpected plant life far out to sea, thus trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study. Until now, the areas around the Amazon and other great rivers had been thought to be emitting CO2, so the study may affect climate scientists' calculations of how the greenhouse gas acts. National Science Foundation, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Amazon powers tropical ocean's carbon sink

Nutrients from the Amazon River spread well beyond the continental shelf and drive carbon capture in the deep ocean, according to the USC-led authors of a multi-year study. The finding does not change estimates of the oceans' total carbon uptake, but it reveals the surprisingly large role of tropical oceans and major rivers.National Science Foundation
Strong quake jolts north Japan, 107 hurt
By Chisa Fujioka
HACHINOHE, Japan (Reuters) - A strong earthquake jolted northern Japan early on Thursday, injuring more than 100 people, trapping hundreds in halted trains and affecting production at some high-tech factories.

Levees hold but waters rise in Dolly's rains
By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Hurricane Dolly slammed ashore and then loitered over deep south Texas as a tropical storm, dumping as much as a foot of rain in places and ripping roofs off buildings with 100 mph winds.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Washington, DC July 22 - The United States National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the grounding of the Empress of the North was the failure of the officer of the watch and the helmsman to navigate the turn at Rocky Island, which resulted from the master's decision to assign an inexperienced, newly licensed junior third mate to the bridge watch from midnight to 4:00 a.m. The third mate was not familiar with the route, the vessel's handling characteristics, or the equipment on the vessel's bridge.
"The flawed decision making in this accident created the potential for a catastrophic disaster," said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "Those in leadership positions need to make sure they consider every option possible when making critical decisions that could put lives at risk."
On May 14, 2007, the 300-foot passenger vessel Empress of the North, operated by Majestic America Line, grounded on a charted rock at the intersection of Lynn Canal and Icy Strait in southeastern Alaska, about 20 miles southwest of Juneau. The vessel was negotiating a turn west out of Lynn Canal into Icy Strait on its way to Glacier Bay, the next stop on a 7-day cruise, carrying 206 passengers and 75 crewmembers. The vessel struck the rock, known as Rocky Island, which was illuminated by a flashing green navigation light. Passengers and crewmembers were evacuated safely without injuries. The vessel sustained damage to its starboard underside and propulsion system.
In the report adopted yesterday, the Board noted that because of the senior third mate's illness, the master replaced him with the new junior third mate for the midnight-to-4:00 a.m. watch. The third mate held an unlimited, any-ocean third officer's license but had never before stood watch on the vessel or traveled the waters of Lynn Canal.
The master had ample time to consider the watchkeeping assignment, the Board stated. However, the Safety Board investigators found no evidence that the master considered other options and did little to prepare the junior third mate for his first underway watch. The third mate lacked any knowledge of the route and should not have been left to make this critical maneuver on his own, the Board said. The Safety Board concluded that the master jeopardized the vessel's safety by allowing the third mate to stand a bridge watch before he was familiar with the route and the bridge equipment.As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board recommended that state and U. S. maritime academies use the circumstances of the accident to teach students about their responsibilities as newly licensed officers. The Safety Board also recommended that the Passenger Vessel Association inform its members about the circumstances of the accident.

Huge Sand Hotel Open for Business

From BBC News Channel

The world's first ever sand hotel has been made in Dorset and is accepting its first guests for £10 a night.
It took 1,000 tonnes of sand and a team of four sculptors working 14 hours a day for seven days to build the structure on Weymouth beach.
Guests can book to stay in the hotel, which includes beds made out of sand, until the rain washes it away.
The structure was created by a hotel company to celebrate a resurgence of holidaymakers flocking to the seaside.
The beds are made of sand so it can get everywhere, especially between the toes
The sand hotel offers a twin and double bedroom, while the roofless structure gives guests the chance to "star-gaze" at night, the firm said.
But there are no toilet facilities and people were warned the sand "gets everywhere".
Mark Anderson, creator of the sand hotel, said: "It is the biggest sandcastle-like structure ever in the UK.

Russian Manned Spaceship Design Unveiled

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

The first official image of a Russian-European manned spacecraft has been unveiled.
It is designed to replace the Soyuz vehicle currently in use by Russia and will allow Europe to participate directly in crew transportation.
The reusable ship was conceived to carry four people towards the Moon, rivalling the US Ares/Orion system.
Unlike previous crewed vehicles, it will use thrusters to make a soft landing when it returns to Earth.
Russian firm RKK Energia has spent two years designing the vehicle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Societies to share stability research

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 22nd Jul, 2008
The collaboration between ABS and the Polish Register of Shipping announced last week will involve two projects focusing on research into dynamic stability and bulk vessel safety. The two societies have pledged to investigate the impact of extreme wave conditions, and how these dynamic load conditions affect vessel stability.

APM in $180m Vietnam box terminal tie-in

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 22nd Jul, 2008
APM Terminals has signed a joint venture with Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group subsidiary Pharung Shipyard Company to develop a container terminal at the Dinh Vu Industrial Zone in in Haiphong, its second in Vietnam.
ISO publishes draft ship-recycling guidelines

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 22nd Jul, 2008
The International Organisation for Standardisation has published the first two of eight specifications for ship recycling, covering the minimum criteria for ship recycling facilities and various bodies that will audit them.

Russia sends warships to Arctic as relations with Norway cool

Source: Jane's Defence Weekly
Source Date: 23rd Jul, 2008
The Russian Federation Navy has deployed warships from its Northern Fleet to the Arctic for the first time since the Cold War, increasing its presence in the region in response to Norwegian territorial claims.

News Bits-Somali Pirates and Exxon Valdez

From hawaiioceanlaw

Somali Pirates Make Strange Bedfellows

The U.S. Navy came to the aid of a North Korean vessel besieged by pirates off the coast of Somalia, as reported here.

As the Navy spokesperson stated, the U.S. Navy will help mariners in distress regardless of their country of origin.

Posted at 12:15 PM
Supreme Court to Hear Exxon Valdez Punitive Damages Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition to hear Exxon's claim regarding the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Exxon claims that the $2.5 billion punitive damage award was unlawful.

Reported by New York Times

Monday, July 21, 2008


BEIJING, July 20 -- A wind power plant has become operational in suburban Beijing, considered a major step towards making 20 percent of the power supply to the city's Olympic venues during the games wind-generated. The Guanting Wind Power Plant, beginning operation on Saturday, would not only help fulfil Beijing's promise of a "green Olympics", but symbolize the first-ever large-scale employment of wind power generation project in the Chinese capital, said a spokesman for the project. With an installed capacity of 64,500 kilowatts, the plant has 43 domestically developed wind power units at work.

Since its first unit went into operation on Jan. 20, the plant has supplied 35 million kWh of "green power" to Beijing. It is expected to supply 100 million-kWh electricity per year, enough to meet the daily demand of 100,000 households.
The power plant could help cut yearly emission of carbon dioxide by 100,000 tons and save 50,000 tons of coal each year. The Beijing Olympics opens on Aug. 8.



MANILA, July 20 — The Supreme Court, in a 10-page decision, affirmed an earlier ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) which states that shipping company Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) and agent Overseas Agency Services, Inc.
(OASI) is only liable to reimburse shipper Fukuyama Manufacturing Corporation and its insurer, Philippine Charter Insurance Corporation (PCIC), US$ 1,500 for three sets of warp yarn which was lost at sea during the course of the voyage from Hongkong to Manila in 1993.

The SC’s First Division, in the decision penned by Associate Justice Adolfo Azcuna, junked the contention made by PCIC, who is acting as Fukuyama’s representative that the CA erred in limiting the damage to be paid by NOL and its agent OASI to US$ 500 per package. The SC also dismissed claims made PCCI that the crew of the ship threw overboard the three yarn shipments during the course of the voyage due to lack of merit as reports coming from the vessel’s commander, Capt. S.L. Halloway, who indicated that the cargo fell overboard when the ship encountered rough weather while cruising along “Lat. 20 degrees, 29 minutes North, Long. 115 degrees, 49 minutes East.” This report was further bolstered by the fact that the ship’s captain immediately filed a report regarding the loss upon arrival at the Port of Manila which was duly notarized.

”The records show that the subject cargoes fell overboard the ship and petitioner should not vary the facts of the case on appeal. This Court is not a trier of facts, and, in this case, the factual finding of the regional trial court and the CA, which is supported by the evidence on record, is conclusive upon this Court,” the decision added. In affirming the CA’s earlier ruling, the SC intensively quoted two sections of the Civil Code specifically Articles 1749 and 1750. Article 1749 states that a stipulation that the common carrier’s liability is limited to the value of the goods appearing in the bill of lading, unless the shipper or owner declares a greater value, is binding.

While Article 1750 states contract fixing the sum that may be recovered by the owner or shipper for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods is valid, if it is reasonable and just under the circumstances, and has been fairly and freely agreed upon. In addition, the SC also quoted Section 4, paragraph 5 of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) which is applicable to all contracts for the carriage of goods by sea to and from Philippine ports in foreign trade, provides: ”Neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connection with the transportation of goods in an amount exceeding US$ 500 per package lawful money of the United States, or in case of goods not shipped in packages, per customary freight unit, or the equivalent of that sum in other currency, unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and inserted in the bill of lading. This declaration, if embodied in the bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence, but shall be conclusive on the carrier.”

The SC also said that the bill of lading submitted by the petitioner “did not show that the shipper in Hong Kong declared the actual value of the goods as insured by Fukuyama before shipment and that the said value was inserted in the Bill of Lading, and so no additional charges were paid. Hence, the stipulation in the bill of lading that the carrier’s liability shall not exceed USD500 per package applies.” Court records showed that on Sept. 30, 1993, L.T. Garments Manufacturing Corp. Ltd. shipped from Hong Kong three sets of warp yarn on returnable beams aboard respondent Neptune Orient Lines’ vessel, M/V Baltimar Orion, for transport and delivery to Fukuyama Manufacturing Corporation (Fukuyama) of No. 7 Jasmin Street, AUV Subdivision, Metro Manila. The said cargoes were loaded in container no. IEAU-4592750 in good condition under Bill of Lading No. HKG-0396180. Fukuyama insured the shipment against all risks with petitioner PCIC under Marine Cargo Policy No. RN55581 in the amount of P228,085. During the course of the voyage, the container with the cargoes fell overboard and was lost.


Namegiving of newbuilding L 213 from Odense Steel Shipyard

Source: July 17 2008, Odence (

Last 12 July 2008 Odense Steel Shipyard presented its latest newbuilding, a 7,000 TEU container ship, for the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group. Named MAREN MÆRSK, it is the third ship in a series of six container ships. The ship is designed and built to meet the highest demands for safe, precise, environmentally friendly and economic transportation of goods all over the globe. Among other things, a waste heat recovery system is installed to optimize the use of the energy produced. MAREN MÆRSK is a highly automated ship thoroughly monitored by advanced computer systems to ensure an optimal and efficient operation. To minimize the fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions the 12-cylinder Wärtsilä RT-flex diesel engine has been optimized for a more efficient and economical service speed. The propulsion machinery on MAREN MÆRSK develops 84,000 BHP.

Ports Fighting Climate Change

Source 20 July 2008/Shiptalk News

Over 50 ports in the world gathered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 9-11 July 2008 to show their commitment to fighting global warming at the C40 World Ports Climate Conference. C40 is a world alliance of large cities dedicated to the issue of global warming. The Conference was organized by the Port of Rotterdam and the Rotterdam Climate Initiative and under the support of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). The Conference discussed a range of ways to improve air quality and reduce green house gas emissions in ports, covering those for ocean-going shipping, terminal operations, logistics chain, as well as new technology of biomass and carbon capture and storage. At the closing session that took place on 11 July, the Conference adopted the World Ports Climate Declaration , in which the attending ports proactively committed themselves to reduce CO2 emissions and improve port air quality by developing and implementing their integrated programs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

GLONASS Navigation System Free of Charge

From GPS Daily
Putin Makes Glonass Navigation System Free For Customers

by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti)
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the Glonass navigation system to provide the service free for customers, the Kremlin press service said. Glonass is a Russian version of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), which is designed for both military and civilian use, and allows users to identify their positions in real time. The system can also be used in geological prospecting.
The satellites currently in use are of two modifications - Glonass and its updated version Glonass-M. The latter has a longer service life of seven years and is equipped with updated antenna feeder systems and an additional navigation frequency for civilian users.

State-of-the-art Integrated Bridge System

From Marinetalk
One of the most advanced, integrated bridge systems available to commercial shipping has been specified for Donsotank's innovative, 19,500 dwt chemical product carrier on order with Shanghai Edward Shipyard in China.
The proprietary ship control centre (SCC), designed and supplied by Hamburg-based STN Atlas Marine Electronics, will be a further major German feature of the Swedish tanker, along with the Siemens-Schottel Propulsor (SSP) system of podded propulsion drive. The turnkey deal for the bridge installation in the 20,000 cu m capacity newbuilding at the Shanghai yard takes worldwide sales of the state-of-the-art SCC to nearly 100.
Characterised by an ergonomic layout and modular assembly, SCC integrates and automates basic navigation, communication and ship operating equipment to provide for centralised command and bridge management. The layout features sophisticated Multipilot consoles for integrated radar, electronic charting, conning and central alarm management functions.

Shipping Regulations Go Digital

From Kelvin Hughes

Aid to Mariners to Ease Documentation Work

Kelvin Hughes Ltd has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with marine regulation specialists Regs4Ships Ltd, to provide the most up to date regulations and ancillary information at the click of a button. This is a unique service to the Mariner that saves time and space on board ship and saves time and effort in the office.

This service provides all the relevant documentation required to be carried by the Safety of Navigation Regulations 2002 on a CD or through the Internet. It covers all Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice and every current M Notice; all up to date and fully amended. The service is recognised by the MCA as an electronic equivalent to M notices.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

138th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society Ottawa, ON, Canada

Plans and outlooks for the sustainment of the world's fisheries are the focus of this meeting. With the factors such as global warming, species invasion, habitat degradation and others, the theme of the meeting, "Fisheries in Flux: How Do We Ensure Our Sustainable Future" is very timely.

2008 Joint Annual Meeting: GSA, ASA-CSSA-SSSA, GCAGS, SEPM Gulf Coast Section, Houston Geol. Soc. Houston, TX, USA

More than 10,000 scientists, professionals, and students will gather in Houston on Oct. 5-9, 2008, to discuss the latest research and current trends in energy, water resources, science education, earth systems, and related sciences.
Oil tumbles again; prices fall over $10 in 2 days
By ADAM SCHRECK, AP Business Writer Wed Jul 16, 4:12 PM ET

NEW YORK - Oil prices settled sharply lower for the second time in a row Wednesday, leaving crude more than $10 cheaper in just two days of frenzied trading and prompting speculation that the hard-charging market may be running out of steam.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $4.14 to settle at $134.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier sinking as low as $132. The drop follows a $6.44 sell-off Tuesday, crude's biggest since the Gulf War.
The two-day slide of $10.58 a barrel marks a dramatic turnaround in crude prices, which as recently as Friday traded at record highs above $147 a barrel. But even with this week's sell-off, prices remain about 80 percent above where they were a year ago and up about 40 percent from the start of the year.
More US troops may go to Afghanistan this year
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 11 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Pentagon leader on Wednesday signaled a surge in U.S. forces in Afghanistan "sooner rather than later," a shift that could send some units there within weeks, as officials prepare to cut troop levels in Iraq.
Senior military officials are looking across the services to identify smaller units and other equipment that could be sent to Afghanistan, according to a defense official.
Although there are no brigade-sized units that can be deployed quickly into Afghanistan, military leaders believe they can find a number of smaller units such as aviation, engineering and surveillance troops that can be moved more swiftly, said the official, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private.
Princess survivor tells of cargo shifting
Source: Fairplay Daily News

A survivor of the Princess of the Stars tragedy has told the inquiry that the capsizing might have been caused by cargo shifting in huge waves. The witness testified that he heard loud sounds coming from the cargo deck, an indication that items were moving as the ship battled Typhoon Fengshen.
UK production facing 5% drop

Source: Upstream
The UK offshore industry body Oil&Gas UK has warned that the nation's oil and gas production could fall by 5% over the next five years, and that rising costs and the increasing challenges of exploiting UK fields continues to threaten the overall viability of North Sea projects.

North Sea could be 'Gulf of future'

Source: The Press Association
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will tell fellow EU leaders at the inaugural summit of the Union for the Mediterranean in Paris that the North Sea could become "the Gulf of the future" for wind power thanks to the development of off-shore windfarms in the coming years, and he will urge them to build an equivalent role for the Mediterranean in solar generation as part of a multi-billion-pound drive for "green" renewable energy technology.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Freedom (LCS 1) Begins Final Dockside Testing in Preparation for Underway Trials

Source: World Maritime News/ July 10, 2008

In 2004, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Raytheon submitted preliminary designs to the U.S. Navy for a design and production of the new Lockheed Martin design (LCS-1) On 9 May 2005, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England announced that the first LCS would be named USS Freedom (LCS-1).

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is the first design of the U.S. Navy's next-generation surface combatants. Intended as a relatively small surface vessel for operations in the littoral region (close to shore), the LCS is smaller than the Navy's guided missile frigates, and has been compared to the corvette of international usage.

The agile 378-foot Freedom is powered by an innovative, combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion plant, with steerable water jet propulsion. This system will power the ship at cruise speeds out to ranges exceeding 3,500 nautical miles and will also allow the ship to sustain sprint speeds over 40 knots. It is powered by four 750-kilowatt Fincantieri Isotta Fraschini diesel generators and its three-megawatt electrical power plant was successfully tested. In March and April, initial testing of the two Fairbanks Morse diesel engines occurred. The two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine engines -- the largest and most powerful ever installed on a Navy ship -- were successfully lit off and tested in May, as were the steerable Rolls-Royce Kamewa water jets.

For additional information, visit this website:

Tag Plea

Source: 14 July 2008/Shiptalk News

Philippine Sen. Richard Gordon has pushed for the mandatory use of electronic identification tags by ship passengers for easy identification during sea disasters. The identification tags/bracelets will be embedded with microchips that will provide information on passengers, said Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine National Red Cross (PNR). Gordon said his office is working on a proposal on how the use of electronic ID bracelets, similar to hospital tags that will be implemented on all passenger ships in the country. The e-ID bracelets will also need to be resistant to salt-water exposure. In a press conference, Gordon also called on the government to beef up the resources of the Philippine Coast Guard and other agencies dealing with sea vessels, including sea worthiness and security.

new bill/s?

Senator Mar Roxas seeks to raise to international standards Philippine laws in prevention of maritime pollution and in controlling the damage to the country's rich marine resources as a result of shipping operations.

He filed Senate Bill No. 2440, the Ship Pollution Prevention and Control Act, which is based on the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, otherwise known as MARPOL 73/78, to which the Philippines is a signatory. "Recent disasters have brought to light our government's insufficiency in dealing with man made threats to our waters. We need better inter agency cooperation rather than the finger-pointing that goes on when a maritime disaster happens," he said, in light of the M/V Solar I oil spill off Guimaras Island in August 2006 and last month's sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars.

A counterpart bill has already been filed at the House of Representatives by fellow Liberal Party stalwart Laguna Rep. Ivy Arago. The bill outlines the tasks of various agencies such as the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in preventing ship-generated pollution as well as pollution control in the case of an oil spill or similar event. "Our marine resources suffer threats from being damaged as the quality of our coastal water continuously deteriorates over time," he said, noting a Greenpeace estimate that the degradation of waters that comes from shipping operations accounts for 12 percent of the total sources of marine pollution.

The bill also outlines the specific prohibited acts and penalties in the discharging or dumping of various pollutants in Philippine waters, and other offenses. "Up till now, the law on maritime pollution, Presidential Decree 979, relates to dumping of waste by ships in general, but lacks the specifics that would enable our agencies to act as needed," he said.

Non-compliant shipowners may be subject to a fine by the Secretary of Transportation and Communications of up to P10 million, without prejudice to the filing of a criminal case against the shipowner. Last month, Roxas filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the discovery of 10 tons of hazardous pesticide in M/V Princess of the Stars' cargo and the insufficient insurance coverage of the ship owned by Sulpicio Lines. Roxas has also filed a resolution calling for an inquiry on the status of a Global Marine Distress Safety System contract signed 10 years ago, intended to prevent maritime disasters. These resolutions and his new bill on maritime pollution have been filed in order to further ensure maritime safety in the country.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mærsk signs up for super-reefers

SSG-RINGKØBING. A. P. Møller-Mærsk has signed up for another batch of container vessels from a Korean shipyard. This time the Danish giant has signed up with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co for 16 ships for delivery between 2010 and 2012. The vessels, 100,000 DWT, will have a capacity of 7,450 TEU. The ships will be fitted with 1,700 reefer plugs making them the biggest ever-built reefer-box ships. If all plugs are used on 40 foot reefer container the total capacity will land on four million cubic feet. In comparison the largest dedicated built reefer vessels, the Lauritzen family class vessels, have a capacity of 765,000 cbf. According to a statement from Maersk Line the new vessels will be used in the North-South trade from South America, Southern Africa and New Zealand, which all have a huge export of fruit. The price tag for these units is around USD 125 million.
Yard spying evidence mounts

Source: Fairplay Daily News
Prosecutors in Busan say they have sufficient evidence to charge a Chinese surveyor with illegally obtaining shipbuilding technology from a South Korean shipyard. According to a statement from prosecutors, the Chinese citizen known only as 'Mr J' stole "core technology" while stationed as a ship surveyor at the yard on behalf of a Chinese shipping company that had ordered container ships. The prosecutor’s office, which said today that it has completed its investigation, added that the suspect is from an unnamed American classification society and that 1,500 files with information relating to vital technology for construction of LNG carriers and drill ships had been downloaded into a notebook computer last year.

AAPA hails passage of vessel air emissions bill

Source: MarEx Newsletter
The American Association of Port Authorities has praised Congress for passing H.R. 802, the Maritime Pollution Prevention Act, which will implement Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, more commonly known as MARPOL, providing air quality benefits for port communities in countries that are signatories to the treaty. Annex VI is a global treaty that establishes emission limits for oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulfur (SOx) and other pollutants from vessels.
Shocking’ failures of new engines are revealed/MAN and Wärtsilä lay blame on engineers

Source: Lloyd's List
Speaking at a meeting of the International Institute of Marine Surveying, the president of the Society of Consulting Marine Engineers and Ship Surveyors, John Lillie, has complained that machinery systems are not becoming more reliable, as evidenced by a shocking incidence of damage to engines, often aboard new ships. In response, engine manufacturers have defended their quality record, saying statistics show reduced incidents of engine failure, and that any perceived problems could be due to inexperienced engineers.

Futuristic ferry pushes the limits

Source: Maritime Journal News Update
The biggest and possibly the most sophisticated luxury ship ever to sail on the Lake of Constance, the futuristic MS Sonnenkönigin, is nearing completion for Swiss owners at Germany’s Bodan Shipyard in Kressbronn. At 69.16m long and an impressive 11.2m high, it is reportedly 30% bigger than any previous ship on the Lake and has been built in the open air simply because it would not fit into the Bodan building hall.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Somalis demand ransom for German sailors

June 27 2008, Yachting World
Somali pirates have demanded a ransom for the release of a German couple kidnapped from a yacht sailing in the Gulf of Aden, making this the first instance of a small cruising yacht's non-professional crew being held hostage. Up to 100 small yachts make the Red Sea transit each year, most with short-handed crew - usually families - with or without children. 'The foreigners invaded our waters,' a spokesperson for the group holding the middle-aged couple from Germany said. The couple was abducted early Monday (23 June) as they sailed through the Gulf of Aden on a trip from Egypt to Thailand. Early reports claimed that four Europeans were kidnapped, including the French skipper and a German child, but the pirates said they are holding only the couple. The district commissioner of the Las Korey area Yusuf Jama Dabeed said that troops from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland found the yacht abandoned on the shore, but that by that point the kidnappers had taken their captives into the mountains.It is believed that the kidnapping was an opportunistic action that involved both pirates and local fishermen. The German Foreign Office said that it was attempting to find more information. Piracy is rife off the coast. Cargo ships and one luxury yacht have been targeted by heavily-armed pirates, who then hold the crew ransom. The most high-profile case in recent months involved the capture of a luxury French yacht in April and its professional crew. French troops rescued the hostages and captured six of the pirates.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Handling a crisis

Source: - Philippines
Source Date: 7th Aug, 2008
Source Pages: -
This article expresses astonishment that, judging from events since the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars, the owner Sulpicio Lines does not have a mechanism, or even a contingency plan, for dealing with disasters.

Norden first to sign up at Guangzhou Longxue

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 8th Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.4.
The Danish bulk shipping giant Norden has become the first foreign shipowner to order vessels at China State Shipbuilding’s new Guangzhou Longxue Shipbuilding with a brace of 82,000 dwt bulk carriers.
UK needs heavy oil spill review

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 7th Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.4.
A risk assessment conducted by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency has warned that plans to deal with a major pollution incident involving very heavy fuel oil require amendment as a result of the steep increase in the quantity of such oil now moving through north European sealanes. The study found that cargoes of very heavy fuel oil moving through UK waters increased from approximately 26m tonnes in 1998 to approximately 50m tonnes in 2003.

Empty ballast tanks may have caused ferry disaster

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 7th Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.5.
The inquiry into the capsizing of Philippines ferry the Princess of the Stars has highlighted insufficient ballast as a possible cause. The 23,824 gt ferry capsized in shallow waters in a typhoon leaving over 800 passengers and crew either dead or missing.

List of New Seven Wonders of the World Out...

...sadly, the Philippines is not included. Not even in the finalists.

1. Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico
2. Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero, Brazil
3. Colloseum in Rome, Italy
4. Great Wall of China in China
5. Machu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru
6. Petra in Jordan
7. Taj Mahal in Agra, India
Honorary Status:
Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.

Better luck next time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to approve the Senate version of the Maritime Pollution Prevention Act of 2008 (H.R. 802), which President George Bush, who supported the bill, is expected to sign soon. The law is expected to be submitted by the U.S. government to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as part of its official accession to MARPOL Annex VI rules.

Despite the relatively quick passage of its Marpol VI compliance, the United States government has earlier stated that it intends to follow up the move with several petitions seeking to have the IMO declare some coastal waters including California as Emission Control Areas. Other coastal waters will also be added in the near future.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stability Questions

The Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) on 03 July questioned the port captain of Sulpicio Lines Capt. Benjamin Eugenio regarding the stability of the M/V Princess of the Stars when it set sail last June 20 after it was discovered that two of the ship's ballasts were empty. Based on the stability report of the M/V Princess of the Stars before it sailed, the ballast tanks of the ship were not filled to its capacity. The Port Captain said "Some have to be empty to accommodate cargo."

Source: Shiptalk News dated July 4, 2003

Personal Note: It is basic seafarer’s knowledge to know the consequence of this action. For the benefit of those who are not seafarers in the class - a ship with unfilled ballasts may find it hard to stabilize if slammed with strong winds. But my biggest question is how can the Port Captain allow the ship to be loaded with toxic cargo in a passenger ship and more so to allow it to leave port with facts given above and more so under a determinable amount of risk involved because of a predetermined bad, bad weather condition?

Broken System

Excerpt: The Board of Marine Inquiry hearings on the M/V Princess of the Stars disaster are not over but some obvious conclusions may now be made. Meanwhile some “facts” are already known, among them:
- The M/V Princess of the Stars is a passenger ferry, not a cargo ship. But the ship was carrying toxic cargo.
The ship’s ballast tanks were not filled to capacity, precisely to accommodate the cargo. Ballasts are necessary to stabilize ships in strong-wind and big-wave situations.

Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan, irked by Sulpicio Lines’ ability to go unpunished all these years despite the tragedies its ships have been involved in, wants special courts created to hear maritime cases. He calls the Philippine record of maritime disasters “deplorable.” He calls the shipping companies “unscrupulous” and deplores their ability to escape their liabilities.

Source: Shiptalk News dated July 6, 2008

Personal Note: I cannot help but be sorry by what Sen. Pangilinan has commented regarding the issue about escaping liabilities. No further inquiry is needed, because for me the facts stated above is enough to declare conviction of a case. Persons liable can be pinpointed already based on the facts: The Company itself, The Master of the ship, the Port Captain, Phil. Ports Authority, and the Phil Coast Guard. A broken system indeed …..

Carbon enters deep Arctic Ocean mainly from continent edges
Scientists predict that the consequences of human-induced climate change will be greatly amplified in the Arctic, both on the surrounding continents and in the ocean. Changes in nutrient supply and diminishing sea ice extent have the potential to alter primary production, ecological structure, and carbon cycling in the Arctic Ocean. Currently, little information exists on carbon export and associated biogeochemical processes in the central Arctic Ocean, hindering predictions of how this system will respond to change. To address this knowledge gap, Hwang et al. analyze organic matter on particles settling out from the waters within the Arctic Ocean above the Canada Abyssal Plain. They find strikingly old radiocarbon ages (averaging about 1900 years) for the organic carbon. This, along with a spike in abundances of sediment from continental sources rather than deep-sea sources, suggests that the majority of the particulate organic carbon entering the deep Canada Basin is supplied from surrounding continental margins.
Navy signs deal to build biggest ever UK super-carriers

The UK Royal Navy has been promoted into the maritime superleague after ministers signed the long-awaited contract for two 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers. They will be the second biggest of their kind in the world, each the size of the QE2. Only the American Nimitz Class aircraft carriers, at 90,000 tonnes, have a more impressive tonnage.

University of Hawaii researchers discover new pathway for methane production in the oceans
Honolulu, HI – A new pathway for methane production has been uncovered in the oceans, and this has a significant potential impact for the study of greenhouse gas production on our planet. The article, released in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience, reveals that aerobic decomposition of an organic, phosphorus-containing compound, methylphosphonate, may be responsible for the supersaturation of methane in ocean surface waters.
Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 on a per weight basis. Although the volume of methane in the atmosphere is considerably less than CO2, methane is much more efficient at trapping the long wavelength radiation that keeps our planet habitable but is also responsible for enhanced greenhouse warming. Today, between 20-30% of the total radiative forcing of the atmosphere is due to methane. Terrestrial sources of methane production are well known and studied (including extraction from natural gas deposits and fermentation of organic matter), but those known sources did not account for the levels of methane observed in the atmosphere.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


TOKYO, July 4 -- Climate change and African development are the two key topics at the Group of Eight (G8) summit scheduled for July 7-9 at the Lake Toya (Toyako) resort area in Hokkaido, northern Japan, said Tomohiko Taniguchi, deputy press secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

"The issue of climate change is high on the agenda of the G8 summit because global warming is a grave problem that confronts the whole human race," Taniguchi said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. The United Nations intends that an agreement on a framework for global greenhouse emissions reduction as of 2013 should be reached by the end of 2009 when the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference is to be held, said Taniguchi, adding that as time is running out, the issue must be addressed at the summit.

On the issue of African development, he said the underdeveloped continent may breed a host of problems, such as poverty, crimes and terrorism, which pose threats to the whole world. And the eight industrialized nations cannot turn a deaf ear to it. "In response to the two major topics, the G8 summit is to invite two groups of non-G8 nations to the conference," said Taniguchi. Leaders of seven African nations of Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, along with those of the African Union, will discuss the issue of African development with the G8 leaders on July 7, he said.

Heads of state from China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico as well as Australia, Indonesia and South Korea are to attend the outreach sessions on July 9, he said, adding that the former five countries are members of the 8+5 Dialogue while the latter three countries will attend the "major economy conference," discussing the issue of climate change. "It is unprecedented that so many countries have been invited to the summit," Taniguchi said. As the host nation, Japan hopes that principled consensus could be reached on the two major topics in order to formulate the guideline for the resolution of the issues, Taniguchi said. "We hope that all participating nations at the meeting make commitments with a common sense of crisis and responsibilities in the face of the climate issue, and reconfirm their willingness to assist African development," he added.

However, Taniguchi admitted that climate change may be the thorniest issue at the meeting, as countermeasures against global warming involve the most extensive range of issues in human history, and all countries care about their own interests though recognizing the importance of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Japan will push for the establishment of a reduction framework involving all major emitters, but it's very difficult, Taniguchi said. "It's still unknown what guidelines could be set, but Japan expects a consensus to be reached within the G8 members." Of the traditional G8 topics of world economy, rocketing food and oil prices will dominate discussions, Taniguchi said, adding that consistent actions by the eight wealthiest countries are sure to be conducive to the settlement of problems. "Speculation may be one of the factors behind oil price turbulence," Taniguchi said. "Although there is no perceived conclusion to the issue, Japan hopes that related consultations will be conducted among leaders and what has been discussed is to be included in the chair's statement."

Friday, July 4, 2008

MOL Receives New Box-ship

Built at Japanese shipyardOn July 2

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has delivered the "MOL Сompetence" containership to

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), reports Bloomberg. The container ship marks the 300th vessel delivered from MHI to MOL. The 8,100 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), 90,000 gross ton "MOL Competence" is the largest container ship built by MHI.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Environmental Article

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known variously as the Plastic soup, the Eastern Garbage Patch, or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is an area of marine debris in the North Pacific Gyre in the central North Pacific Ocean. Size estimates vary from an area equivalent to the state of Texas to double that of the continental United States.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been in the Pacific Ocean for over 2 decades. The person that had found this patch was a Professor Greenberg. The center of the North Pacific Gyre is a relatively stationary region of the North Pacific Ocean, an area often referred to as the horse latitudes. The circular rotation around it draws waste material in and has led to the accumulation of flotsam and other debris, so much so that the plastic debris gathers in concentrations of one million pieces of plastic per square mile in some areas. While historically this debris has biodegraded, the gyre is now accumulating vast quantities of plastic and marine debris. Rather than biodegrading, plastic photodegrades, disintegrating in the ocean into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces, still polymers, eventually become individual molecules, which are still not easily digested. Some plastics photodegrade into other pollutants.

Humanity, if this goes on and on we may have one ocean less for our great grandchildren. Worse, if a trend fills the other oceans.
Species have come and gone at different rates than previously believed

Diversity among the ancestors of such marine creatures as clams, sand dollars and lobsters showed only a modest rise beginning 144 million years ago with no clear trend afterwards, according to an international team of researchers. This contradicts previous work showing dramatic increases beginning 248 million years ago and may shed light on future diversity.
Contact: Lily Whitemanlwhitema@nsf.gov703-292-8310National Science Foundation
Public Release: 3-Jul-2008Science

Acidifying oceans add urgency to CO2 cuts

It's not just about climate change anymore. Besides loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, human emissions of carbon dioxide have also begun to alter the chemistry of the ocean. The ecological and economic consequences are difficult to predict but possibly calamitous, warn a team of chemical oceanographers, and halting the changes already underway will likely require even steeper cuts in carbon emissions than those currently proposed to curb climate change.
Contact: Ken Caldeirakcaldeira@stanford.edu650-704-7212Carnegie Institution
Eisa to build $218m Itaqui shipyard

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 2nd Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.18.
The Brazilian shipyard Eisa has signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government of Maranhão to develop a R$350m ($218.1m) facility close to the port of Itaqui.

Victims of Hebei Spirit spill to receive payouts within months

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 3rd Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.3.
Victims of South Korea’s worst oil spill could start to receive compensation in months rather than years, following the signing of a landmark co-operation agreement between P&I club Skuld and the Korean government. This comes as total losses from the Hebei Spirit spill, including damage to fish farms and the tourist industry, are estimated at Won573.5bn ($553m), according to Willem Oosterveen, director of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds.
Climate change: Time for deeds not words to reach emissions target, PwC study warns

Source: Guardian
Source Date: 3rd Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.25.
A major report from PricewaterhouseCoopers has warned that severe adverse effects from climate change can only be avoided at reasonable cost if politicians stop talking and start acting. It now estimates the cost of a 50% reduction in global carbon emissions by 2050 at around 3% of global economic growth, at the top of the 2-3% range it estimated in 2006.

Slow but steady progess as shipping seeks answer to CO2

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 3rd Jul, 2008
Source Pages: p.1.
The recent International Maritime Organization meeting on greenhouse gases has made limited progress on developing the technical basis for how shipping should reduce CO2 emissions. The week-long gathering in Oslo included developments of a design index for new vessels, the development of an operational index, and the possibilities of implementing some form of market-based measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

IMO to back mandatory ECDIS

(July 3 2008) The years of debate about the mandatory carriage of ECDIS (electronic chart display information systems) seem to be close to a conclusion, with reports from IMO’s NAV54 subcommittee meetings suggesting that members have reached a consensus in favour of making the technology a required fit for ocean going vessels.
While confirmation of this decision has not been given by IMO at this time, it appears that the decision has been reached, and the further necessary steps to add this requirement to IMO’s Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) convention are now being mapped out.
2012 has been mentioned as a possible implementation date, but this is still subject to confirmation and would most like vary to a significant degree for different classes of vessels.
Any decisions taken at NAV54 would also have to be further ratified by IMO’s MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) at its 85th session later this year, but it seems likely that approval would be granted and that mandatory ECDIS would become a reality on future vessel bridges.
Such a step has been a while coming for some members of the NAV subcommittee. Last year’s NAV53 also considered the topic of mandatory ECDIS, and featured an in-depth study by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) outlining some of the safety benefits that could result from using the technology.
The recommendation from that study, that a carriage requirement be introduced, was supported by Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and supplemented by a further proposal by Japan calling for the mandatory carriage of ECDIS on certain vessel classes.
These proposals were rejected however, and the consideration of mandatory ECDIS postponed until this year’s NAV54. It would seem that the arguments of these delegates have now proven convincing enough for the subcommittee to accept such a move this time around, and that ECDIS will become a standard feature in future vessels.

Questionnaire automation website launched for dry bulk market

(July 3 2008) The Baltic Exchange and have launched '' , a new website for the dry bulk shipping industry that aims to improve accuracy and efficiency when dry bulk shipowners complete and distribute vessel questionnaires to charterers and port terminals.
In conjunction with the launch, the Baltic Exchange has revised Baltic99 its standard dry cargo questionnaire for owners and charterers. A new version is available for download from
This new website allows for automatic completion of required documentation by linking 90 of the currently required questionnaires to a common database. In addition, the website also allows the user to search the database for specific information about each vessel and to keep track of certificate dates.
New subscribers can use this service at no cost until January 1, 2009. Thereafter each subscriber will be charged an annual fee per ship.
Access to is via a password-protected login.

Maritime electronics standard approved

(June 20 2008) The US National Marine Electronic Association’s NMEA 2000 Standard for Serial Data Networking of Marine Electronic Devices has been approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The IEC prepares and publishes international standards for electrical, electronic and related technologies across a number of industries, including maritime, and has approved the NMEA 2000 Standard as a means of connecting marine navigation and radio communications equipment aboard all classes of vessels.
The IEC now lists the NMEA standard on its website under the designation ‘IEC 61162-3’, which can be found at
NMEA 2000 is a moderate capacity, bi-directional multi-transmitter/multi receiver instrument network standard, that operates controller area network (CAN) technology over connectors and cables that are compatible with industrial bus systems.

Chart agents to offer weather services

(June 16 2008) Admiralty chart agents Lilley & Gillie and DPM have teamed up with weather company Meteo Consult to provide weather forecasting data to their customers by offering Meteo Consult’s Ship Performance Optimisation System (SPOS) with their chart services.
SPOS is an onboard weather advisory software tool that provides wind, sea and swell forecasts, and ocean current, hurricane/typhoon and ice formation data twice daily.
Alternative routes can also be provided, allowing the master to make better informed decisions on final voyage plans.

BIMCO Updates Bunker Emission Clause to Meet MARPOL Annex VI Requirements

International shipowners’ organisation BIMCO has updated its Standard Fuel Sulphur Content Clause for time charter parties in response to the new MARPOL air pollution regulations that came into force on 19th May. The aim of the Clause is to provide a clearly worded and balanced provision to help owners and charterers comply with the requirements of Regulations 14 and 18 of Annex VI of MARPOL and with the requirements of other regulations relating to fuel sulphur content emission limits.

The new Clause takes stock of the obligations of owners, time charterers and their bunker suppliers under the new MARPOL regime. According to BIMCO “The basic premise of the Clause is that the charterers must provide the vessel with fuels of the necessary sulphur content to allow the vessel to trade within the emission control zones ordered by the charterers”. The charterers are also required to use bunker suppliers that operate in accordance with Regulations 14 and 18 of MARPOL Annex VI. The Clause gives emphasis to the provision of bunker delivery notes and sampling procedures.
Flag ‘bias’ sees Turkey frozen out of Paris MoU once again

Source: Lloyd's List
Source Date: 30th Jun, 2008
Source Pages: p.1.
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control has again refused a membership application by Turkey, alleging that Turkish port inspectors target their flags for reasons other than safety

Kerry targets cruise safety

Source: Fairplay Daily News
Source Date: 27th Jun, 2008
Source Pages: -
US Senator John Kerry has put forward a Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which proposes major revisions to shipboard policies and hardware.
Coast Guard Cutter hits Ferry
NEW LONDON, Conn. - A Coast Guard cutter collided with a Block Island Ferry carrying more than 250 passengers in dense fog Wednesday, but no serious injuries were reported, authorities said.
The ferry was on an hour-long run to Block Island, and the cutter, a buoy tender named Morro Bay, was returning to its home base in New London, Conn., when the collision occurred about 12:15 p.m., the Coast Guard said.
"At this point, the circumstance as to how the crash occurred is part of the investigation. It is not available this early," Chief Petty Officer Amy Thomas said. "We regret any inconvenience or distress this might have caused anybody on the ferry."
Visibility at the time of the collision was about 200 yards, the Coast Guard said.
The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash.
The 175-foot ferry sustained a 44-inch-long dent about 5 feet above the water line, and was escorted to Block Island by another Coast Guard ship. The cutter, which has a crew of 18, sustained minor damage, Thomas said.
The Coast Guard vessel had radar equipment, and Thomas said it was her understanding that all equipment was operating properly. Crew members from both vessels will undergo drug and alcohol testing, she said.
The Coast Guard said the Morro Bay was returning to its homeport after a ceremony in Newport on Tuesday to welcome its new commander, Lt. Douglas Wyatt.
The 1,000-passenger capacity ferry, named Block Island, always uses radar and was using it at the time of the collision, said William A. McCombe, the ferry company's security officer. It is the primary year-round vessel that services the island, he said.
Three people reported minor injuries. Two were treated at an island medical center and released, McCombe said. A car on the ferry had minor damage after a motorcycle fell onto it, he said.
"That boat has made thousands of trips. This is the first incident that I know of like that involving that vessel," he said.
The fog was thick and the ferry's horn was blowing every five minutes, said Brad Barco, 28, who was with his girlfriend on the top, outside level of the ferry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


BRUSSELS, July 2 - The EU has issued a set of guidelines June 26 for its member countries to pursue the development of a regional unified maritime policy that covers transportation, energy, manpower, environment and other strategic issues.

The document is entitled “Guidelines for an Integrated Approach to Maritime Policy: Towards best practice in integrated maritime governance and stakeholder consultation.” In its introduction, the paper said that this approach lies at the core of the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (the “Blue Paper”) proposed by the Commission in October 20071 and, since then, endorsed by the European Council and the European Parliament.

The EU said the strategy is also driven by the recognition that there is a maritime dimension to virtually every major issue facing Europe today, including energy, climate change, environmental protection and conservation, research and
innovation, competitiveness and job creation, international trade, transport and logistics

The report noted an unmistakable trend among major maritime powers to ensure a cohesive development of maritime policy such as: in the USA, a Committee on Oceans Policy has been set up in the Executive Office of the President to implement an Ocean In Action Plan. Australia, lead responsibility for coordinating oceans policy lies with the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, while the National Oceans Office coordinates efforts to deliver oceans Canada’s Oceans Act, Strategy and Action Plan provide the policy initiatives. framework for ocean-related programs and policies.

Japan’s “Basic Act on Oceans Policy” of 2007 provides for an integrated approach to maritime affairs. It established a “Maritime Policy Headquarters” under the responsibility of the Prime Minister. The Chief Cabinet Secretary and a newly assigned Minister for Ocean Policy will serve as Headquarters Deputy Chiefs. An Ocean Action plan has been adopted9. Norway presented a Maritime Strategy in October 2007. The work is coordinated by a network of State Secretaries, led by the State Secretary for Transport.

The EU guidelines said as part of its efforts to promote steps towards integrated maritime policymaking at different levels of governance, the Commission will provide information about action in this direction at global, European, Member State and regional levels, in order to facilitate this process and provide guidance to stakeholders looking for models of best practice. The Commission invited EU institutions and member states to share information about the steps they are taking towards integrated maritime governance. As called for in the Blue Paper on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, the Commission will report on progress towards an integrated
approach to maritime affairs by the end of 2009.


TOKYO, July 3 – Mitsui OSK Lines today announced that its Technology Research Center has successfully completed tests of a water-based antifouling treatment technology called Water Coat on six ferries. The test was a joint project with MOL Group company M.O. Engineering Co., Ltd. and NM Corporation Watercoat enterprise.
Water Coat has already been widely adopted on buildings, automobiles, electric railcars, and so on. However, this is the first time that it has been used on large-scale vessels. And, this is the world’s first adoption of the water-based antifouling treatment technology to large-scale vessels. The function is semi-permanent after application with a high-pressure washer. There is no alligatoring or streaking because it is not a continuous coating. It reduces cleaning and coating frequencies and eliminates the need to clean with detergent, etc., reducing water consumption and the overall environmental burden. The coating reflects ultraviolet rays and increases weather resistance.

The system, developed by the University of Fukui and NM in an industry-academic project, utilizes the characteristics of a special ceramic containing about 10 kinds of minerals found in nature to apply electrolysis to water, and uses that mechanism to produce a coating on the concave-convex surfaces of a target object, using the principle of electrolysis.
This coating technology is completely different from conventional chemical coatings including fluoride and silicon resin. It electrodeposits 100% inorganic glass ingredients (boric acid silica) to the molecules of a target object, crystallizing them by carbon dioxide in the air. The aggregation of crystallized glass molecules becomes the coating and covers the target molecules. This prevents fouling over a prolonged period of time.

OSLO, July 2 - Progress towards developing a mandatory regime to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping was made during the first intersessional meeting of IMO's Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships, held in Oslo, Norway June 23-27. The meeting was attended by more than 210 delegates, comprising experts from all over the world.

The week-long session was tasked with developing the technical basis for reduction mechanisms that may form part of a future IMO regime to control GHG emissions from international shipping, and with developing drafts of the actual reduction mechanisms themselves, for further consideration by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which next meets in October 2008 and, notwithstanding the importance of the Oslo meeting, will have the final, decisive role to play on the issue. In particular, the Oslo meeting made progress on developing a mandatory CO2 Design Index for ships and an interim CO2 operational index, and held extensive discussions on best practices for voluntary implementation and economic instruments with GHG-reduction potential

Although, to date, no mandatory GHG instrument for international shipping has been adopted, IMO has given extensive consideration to the matter and is currently working in accordance with an ambitious work plan, due to culminate, in 2009, with the adoption of a binding instrument. IMO is working to have measures in place to control GHG emissions from international shipping before the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2011. The meeting developed further a formula and the methodology, as well as draft text for the associated regulatory framework, for a proposed mandatory CO2 Design Index for new ships. Once finalized, the index will serve as a fuel-efficiency tool at the design stage of ships, enabling the fuel efficiency of different ship designs, or a specific design with different input such as design speed, choice of propeller or the use of waste heat recovery systems, to be compared.

The design index will contain a required minimum level of fuel efficiency related to a baseline, which will be established based on fuel efficiency for ships delivered between 1995 and 2005. The actual minimum level, and the frequency with which the limit will be tightened, are among the matters that will be considered by MEPC 58 in October. The Oslo meeting thoroughly considered the different elements in the formula to avoid so-called "paragraph ships", meaning future ship designs optimized for certain conditions but which do not actually deliver greater fuel efficiency. The different correction factors to make the formula relevant for all ship types were given extensive consideration, as was verification of the design index, as there might not be a Flag state dedicated to the ship at the design stage. The meeting encouraged Member States and observer organizations to test the robustness of the agreed draft formula by conducting simulations and submitting the outcome to MEPC 58. With this outcome, MEPC 58 should be in a position to approve the CO2 Design Index for new ships and agree on the final details.
Interim CO2 operational index
MEPC 58 will be held in London from 6 to 10 October 2008 and is expected to consider further the reduction mechanisms developed by the intersessional meeting, with a view to their forming part of the future IMO regulatory regime. MEPC 58 is also expected to consider the related legal aspects and decide whether the GHG regulations should form part of an existing convention or whether an entirely new instrument should be developed and adopted. However, no clear conclusion was reached as to whether any such instrument should apply to all ships, irrespective of flag, or only to ships flying the flag of Parties to the UNFCCC and listed in Annex I to that Convention. MEPC 58 will also decide on the work needed prior to MEPC 59, to be held in July 2009, when final adoption of a coherent and comprehensive IMO regime to control GHG emissions from ships engaged in international trade is planned.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

N.S. researchers use cellular technology to track ships in protected whale habitat

Source: The Canadian Press
Source Date: 29th Jun, 2008
Source Pages: -
Researchers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, are using cell phone towers to pick up identification signals from ships travelling the North Atlantic, and are monitoring the signals to see if ships are detouring around the Roseway Basin, a habitat for endangered whales southwest of the province designated as a voluntary "area to be avoided."
Navy saves millions in fuel costs

Source Date: 27th Jun, 2008
Source Pages: -
The US Navy's Energy Conservation (ENCON) Program is saving millions of dollars in fuel costs, while keeping ships at sea to support the nation's Maritime Strategy. ENCON includes two major energy conservation and management programs, spearheaded by Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., which are projected to save more than 1.14 million barrels of oil in 2008.

New Technology for Ballast Water Management System

For shipowners who may be interested

The "Sedimentor"
Frisian Marine Technologies introduces a new and powerful shipboard Ballast Water Management System. This System will perform to maximum effectiveness and is the most suitable and appropriate Ballast Water Management System for ships with ballast flow rates from 50 m3/hr up to 5000 m3/hr pump and even more.
The sediment removal system is engineered of modular parts. There are two volumes. A 50 m3/h volume and a 100 m3/h volume.
For example a 250 m3/h sediment removal system is made of two 100 m3/h and one 50 m3/h volume. The size of a 100 m3/h sediment removal system is comparable with the size of an oil drum.

It is designed to achieve virtually every Standard proposed by IMO’s MEPC 52 and MEPC 53. [approved by Lloyds Register]

Product Addresses:

Frisian Marine Technologies - L-59 Executive Mews - 1930 Route 70 East - Cherry Hill, NJ 08003-4201 - USA
T : +1-856-489-6411 - F : +1-856-489-6449 - E : - I :

Info on the Ballast Water Management Convention Adopted by the IMO

From DNV - Managing Risk

The IMO held an International Conference on Ballast Water Management for ships 9–13 February. The new International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments was adopted at the conference.
The main impact of these requirements is that ballast water exchange will be phased out as an acceptable method of complying with the Convention during the period from 2009 to 2016, depending on the vessel’s ballast water capacity and delivery date. After this, ballast water treatment will be the only remaining option for complying with the Convention. The Convention contains a treatment standard that cannot be met by current treatment methods and technology. However, the standard is believed to be obtainable by the time ballast water exchange is to be phased out. Should this not be the case, the Convention contains opportunities to reconsider and amend the treatment standard in line with technical developments.

Entry into force
The Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 states which represent 35 per cent of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage.