Maritime Monday 202

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February 21, 2010

Welcome to This Week’s Edition of Maritime Monday

You can find last week’s edition here

image Some fun from The Art of Dredging.  See their post Ten Tips for Captains »

imageEnglish Russia: When entering city of Odessa Port one can be greeted by a giant metal robot staying there for years already. Constructed mainly of auto parts, like hoods etc. – so looking at it we might guess where from the Transformers idea might has appeared.

imageRefurbishing Patty Nolan – Once this bikini was neon-yellowishgreen. Sunny months of braving the elements have faded the color of the Hudson River’s only tugboat figurehead. See Tugster for info on the Patty Nolan bikini contest »

imageBoom Tenders: Tanker Port; South Portland, Maine.  From BoatBanter

imageA match made in heaven: Roger Corman has teamed with SyFy to bring us the schlock science-fiction TV movie ‘Sharktopus’. The movie is being billed as the SyFy version of the movie ‘Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus’, a title that abandons all pretense of subtlety. More » 

Aboitiz Transport Buys Two Vessels to Hike Fleet Capacity

image 17 Feb 2010 / Business MirrorPHILIPPINES: Months after the sinking of one of its vessels, Aboitiz Transport System Corp. (ATSC) on Tuesday said it purchased two vessels in a move to increase the capacity of its SuperFerry fleet and to boost the growth of its logistics arm.

Aboitiz said in a disclosure that it had purchased two roll-on/roll-off-passenger vessels, currently named MV Sunflower Kogane from the Diamond Ferry Co. Ltd and MV Sunflower Nishiki from Kansai Kisen Kaisha. Both are Japanese firms based in Oita and in Osaka, respectively.

ATSC said it bought the vessels at $7.5 million each. It has a total capacity of loading 400 twenty-foot equivalent units and can carry 2,000 passengers each. Aboitiz Transport’s principal business is transporting people using its SuperFerry, SuperCat and Cebu Ferries brands of vessels, as well as transporting cargoes under 2GO.

Another Shackleton Explores Antarctica: CDR Scott Shackleton

image 18 Feb 2010 / Armed with Science – Commander Scott Shackleton is a Naval Reservist and distant relative of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose 1914-1916 Endurance expedition in Antarctica remains one of the great survival stories.

Q: What is your job, and what unit are you deployed from?

A: I am a Naval Reservist assigned to Military Sealift Command (MSC) as a Ships Operation Officer. My role in Antarctica is in support of Operation Deep Freeze, the Department of Defense‘s annual delivery of fuel, equipment and supplies required to sustain the scientist and support personnel conducting vital research across the Antarctic continent.


Austal Delivers Six-Vessel Fleet to Trinidad and  Tobago Coast Guard

image High Speed Firepower In Paradise

BYM Industry News – Capable of speeds greater than 40 knots and armed with general purpose machine guns and a 20mm cannon, the 30 metre vessels – designed and built by Australian shipbuilder Austal – will expand the TTCG’s surveillance and enforcement capability in the region.

The on-schedule, on-budget delivery of the fleet was achieved less than two years from the initial order, with the final vessels arriving in Trinidad and Tobago via heavy lift ship on January 18.

Bahamas Moves to Fill Seafarer Shortage

image 15 Feb 2010 / Freeport Tribune – The Bahamas is developing "a core of highly qualified" mariners to take a leading role in the maritime industry, in a bid to fill the gap created by a global shortage of seafarers.

Earl Deveaux, minister of the environment, said that to date some 300 persons have graduated from the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps, and another 50 are scheduled to graduate this year.

image Image from CargoLaw

Big Bunch ‘O Black Barges Go Boom!

19 Feb 20101 / Independent Online; South Africa – The wreck of the massive barge carrier Margaret, which towers over Jacobs Bay like a block of flats, will be broken up using explosives in a controlled demolition operation that will topple its cargo of smaller barges into the sea.

This is the sad end to what was a brand-new barge carrier when it ran aground on June 24 after the tug towing the vessel lost the tow connection in a storm near Saldanha Bay.

Canadian School Ship SV Concordia Sinks off Brazil; All 64 Aboard Rescued by Nearby Cargo Vessels

image Teachers and Crew of tall ship that sank in high winds spent 16 hours in life-rafts before being rescued Friday by three passing cargo ships

19 Feb 2010 / Associated Press – Officials say the 57-metre sailing school sank in strong winds about 500 kilometres southeast of Rio de Janeiro, forcing the 42 Canadians and remaining staff and students from other countries around the world to scramble into four life-rafts.

The ship’s owner is West Island College International, based in Lunenburg, N.S. Edgardo Ybranez, captain of the Philippine flagged Hokuetsu Delight cargo ship, told The Associated Press via satellite phone that his ship rescued 44 of the victims in rough, dangerous seas. The remaining people were picked up by two other passing ships.

Carnival Glory Returns to Service Following Extensive Multi-Million-Dollar Refurbishment

image 15 Feb 2010 – The 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory has resumed Caribbean service from Miami following a multi-million-dollar renovation that added a host of new facilities and features, including a Serenity adults-only retreat, a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen, and a Circle “C” facility for 12- to 14- year olds. 

Eighteen new balconies were also incorporated onto existing ocean view staterooms and a new Mongolian wok venue was added to the casual poolside restaurant.  Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi access was added, as well.

Cheaper Piracy Patrols off Somalia Needed, U.S. Official Says

18 Feb 2010 / Bloomberg Business Week – The U.S. says it wants to find cheaper options to battle pirates off the coast of Somalia, as an international naval force has pushed the seaborne brigands from the 1 million square miles of the Gulf of Aden into an area twice that size in the Indian Ocean.

“The locus of pirate activity has shifted and we are trying to deal with it,” Tom Countryman, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said in Washington today. “It’s expensive, and that’s why we feel strongly the need to pursue the lowest-cost options to deter piracy.”

Defensive measures taken by ship owners and crews are “the lowest-cost and most-effective way to deter pirate attacks,” Countryman said.

China’s Sri Lanka Port Raises Concern

17 Feb 2010 / – China’s construction of a port in Sri Lanka and a Chinese admiral’s suggestion Beijing build a naval base in the Gulf of Aden has raised fears in the Middle East that a confrontation between China and India is looming along vital energy export routes.

Both the Asian titans, whose economies continue to expand despite the global financial meltdown, are heavily dependent on Middle Eastern oil and will become more so as supplies dwindle.The Indians are building their naval forces across these vital shipping lanes through which some 85 percent of China’s oil supplies pass along with raw materials from Africa.


Chinese Ship Operator that Caused 2007 San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Fined $10 Million

Cosco Busan, This is Your Life!

image19 Feb 2010 / ABC News – U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston also ordered Fleet Management Inc. to better train its officers in navigation and safety. Court documents showed the company acknowledging its crew was poorly trained and the master failed to stop the pilot from leaving port in thick fog the morning of the accident.

Fleet agreed to the punishment in August when it pleaded guilty to obstruction, making false statements and negligent discharge of oil. The NTSB concluded earlier this year that a medically unfit pilot, an ineffective captain and poor communications between the two were the primary causes of the accident. Company lawyers declined comment Friday, citing active lawsuits over the spill.

image The “deep sea mining vessel” Hughes Glomar Explorer  (wink wink, say no more)  source

image CIA Owns Up to 1974 Project

Washington, DC

18 Feb 2010 / Associated Press – In 1974, far out in the Pacific, a U.S. ship pretending to be a deep-sea mining vessel fished a sunken Soviet nuclear-armed submarine out of the ocean depths, took what it could of the wreck, and made off to Hawaii with its purloined prize. Now, Washington is owning up to Project Azorian, a brazen mission from the days of high-stakes – and high-seas – Cold War rivalry.

After more than 30 years of refusing to confirm the barest facts of what the world already knew, the CIA released an internal account of Project Azorian, though with juicy details taken out. The account surfaced Friday at the hands of private researchers from the National Security Archive who used the Freedom of Information Act to achieve the declassification.

Communication: Intel and Nokia Merge to Create MeeGo

image 16 Feb 2010 – The world’s largest chip maker and the world’s largest mobile phone maker have merged operating systems to create a single platform for mobiles.The new MeeGo platform, unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will be used to power phones, netbooks, TVs and in-car entertainment systems.

The open-source software has been created by merging elements of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo software.

Contain Somalia’s Problems to Spare Yemen

image 15 Feb 2010 / Detroit Free Press; OPINION – Three hijackings by pirates already this year highlight the profound weakness of the international naval force tasked with patrolling the waters along the coast of lawless Somalia. Pirates kidnapped and now hold at least 100 crewpersons from just those ships—and over 300 hostages since April. The pirates’ release Thursday, after receiving a ransom, of the 30-person crew of a Taiwanese fishing boat, held for 10 months, again puts the issue into the headlines.

The charged Detroit-bound failed airline bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was allegedly trained in Yemen, an Arab country located directly across from Somalia over the Gulf of Aden, at the entrance to the Red Sea and gateway to the Indian Ocean. Yemen’s oil supply is estimated to run out in seven years, and its potable water in five. Yemen’s government is in danger of becoming a failed state, as weak as neighbor Somalia.

Crew Member on Holland America Cruise Ship at imageOlympics Tests Positive for Leprosy

20 Feb 2010 / USA Today A crew member on a Holland America ship docked in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics has been diagnosed with Hansen’s Disease, better known as leprosy.

In a statement issued today, the line says the crew member worked in the engine room of the 1,258-passenger Statendam, which has been chartered to house police and other security personnel during the Winter Games.

Crowley Signs Contract with Bollinger to Build Two Newly Designed Ocean Going Tugboats

image 17 Feb 2010 / TUGBOATLIFE.COM – These 10,880-horsepower tugs are the beginning of a new-build program at Crowley to further enhance its ocean towing, salvage and offshore support capabilities.

The new tugs will be ideally suited to work with Crowley’s new 455 series heavy lift deck barges, which measure 400 feet by 105 feet and offer increased stability for loads up to 4,200 pounds per square foot. Additionally, the tugs will be outfitted for, and capable of, rig moves, platform and Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit tows, emergency response and firefighting. 

“Deeper Than Light” at the National Museum of Natural History

image 18 Feb 2010 / Washington Post In many ways, the ocean floor can seem as alien and mysterious as the far reaches of space. This exhibition displays the efforts of scientists on a Norwegian research vessel who set out in 2004 to study the depths of the north Atlantic Ocean.  Art, models and multimedia are used to examine their work, which explores the lives of our planet’s hidden inhabitants. The traveling show is on loan from the University of Bergen’s Bergen Museum in Norway.

Through May 23 at the National Museum of Natural History

Do You Need Time at Sea to Work in Shipping?

The same prejudice that may hamper imageshipping’s growth, makes communication possible

15 Feb 2010 / 59° 56′ N – If you work in the shipping industry but you haven’t worked on a ship, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The condescension, even the contempt, of the mariner for the land-lubber. Even if the mariner has long since come ashore and he’s talking to an accountant, or lawyer, or PR flack (about accounting, law or PR), he’ll make it clear that only he knows what’s what in this industry.

It’s infuriating, to put it mildly. How many times have I asked myself: "Do astronauts express condescension for the rocket scientists who make space travel possible? Does anyone give a damn if you’ve flown a plane if you’re working in the airlines business? So who cares about time at sea?"

Eagle Bulk Shipping Takes Delivery of Two Additional Newbuildings

11 Feb 2010 / Your Shipbuilding NewsEagle Bulk Shipping Inc. today announced that it has taken delivery of two additional vessels, Thrasher and Avocet, from its newbuild program. The addition of these two vessels brings Eagle Bulk’s total on-the-water fleet to 32 vessels.

The Thrasher and Avocet have each entered into nine year time charters. The rate for each charter is $18,400 per day through February 2016 and March 2016 respectively; thereafter the contracts convert to a profit-sharing charter with a base rate of $18,000 per day. In aggregate, the Thrasher and Avocet will each contribute approximately $59 million in minimum contracted revenue.

Emergency Scenario: Operation Caledonian Sunset for Arran ferry

image 19 Feb 2010 / Arran Banner – Last Tuesday, Arran’s ferry MV Caledonian Isles was involved in a collision with a tanker in Brodick Bay and the 500 people on board had to be evacuated to safety. Among those on board was a party of Portuguese schoolchildren, a fuel tanker lorry and floats of cattle and sheep.

That was the essence of a make-believe scenario, codenamed Operation Caledonian Sunset, to test the ability of the emergency services to cope with such a hazardous situation. The exercise actually took place in the comfortable surroundings of the Seamill Hydro Hotel on the Ayrshire coast.


English-Russia:  A calm area on the Baikal Lake, not far from a port of the same name, keeps a secret of the ships laid up. This place is called “the graveyard” among residents. The majority of ships rusting here are towboats and barges having served for delivering construction materials, soil, timber and fuel for the purposes of the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline.

First of Three Semi-Submersibles Launched for TPI Mega Line

image 19 Feb 2010 / Heavy Lift The Mega Passion, a semi-submersible heavy lift ship, has been successfully launched for TPI Mega Line by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. Final delivery to the client is expected to be in May, 2010. She will be followed by two sister ships next year.

The Mega Passion has a length of 203 m, breadth of 63 m and a maximum load out capacity of 45,000 tonnes at a speed of 12 knots.

Florida’s Safety Harbor Museum Treks to Turks and Caicos on Shipwreck Hunt

image Tampa Bay Beacon – Led by James Dwyer, curator of archeology at the museum, an underwater archeological survey will be conducted to locate Spanish shipwrecks from around the time of Christopher Columbus. This project is licensed by the British government and the Turks and Caicos, a British commonwealth. Undisclosed private funding for the exploration will support his efforts.

The research vessel Osprey, a 100-foot research ship and old navy transport vessel, along with three Zodiacs will spearhead the mission at a maximum of 50 feet under water in the Turks and Caicos. Depending on the initial find of historically significant evidence, the excavation will begin.

Hanjin to Build World’s Biggest Container Ship in Subic

image 17 Feb 2010 / Business Mirror – Following the completion here of APL Bahrain, a 259.8-meter-long container ship which is said to be the biggest vessel to be built in the country, shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. Philippines Inc. (HHICP) announced it will next build the biggest container ship in the world.

Hanjin officials announced the firm’s next big project during the visit of President Arroyo at the Hanjin shipyard last week. “We will [soon start] fabricating the biggest container ship in the world,” said Jeong Sup Shim, whom Mrs. Arroyo acknowledged as the founding president of HHIC Philippines.

The ship will be finished by late next year or early 2012, Shim said during an impromptu press briefing upon Mrs. Arroyo’s arrival at the Hanjin shipyard in Subic’s Redondo peninsula. Hanjin officials announced earlier that the company—now the fourth-biggest shipbuilder in the world—will soon start the construction of ultralarge oil tankers and Capesize-type bulk carriers.


Hard Times for Some are Bargain Hunting Opportunities for Others

16 Feb 2010 / MarineLog – The latest delivery from STX Europe is the Multipurpose ROV and light construction vessel Tidewater Enabler. The vessel was originally ordered by Aquanos AS, but was bought by Tidewater while under construction at STX Europe’s Brevik yard in Norway for about $63 million.

The 96.25 m diesel electric vessel is equipped with a 100 ton active heave compensating crane, accommodations for 69 persons, firefighting equipment (Fifi I), DP2, a moonpool and a helideck. It also has the cargo capabilities to operate as a large platform supply vessel.

Hawsepiper; The Longest Climb has a Reminder…

image It’s snowing again. A week ago I was up to my nuts in snowdrifts on deck, and here it’s starting again. After I woke up, I headed out to the generator room to do a walk-through in the course of my morning ritual of eyeballing every valve, line and gauge on board. My boots are drying out nicely after a day of non-use, so I put on a pair of sneakers, and promptly slipped and slid down the catwalk stairs as soon as I stepped outside.

I landed on my ass, sort of sideways, on my hip, which was aching a touch when I woke up. Anyways, in cold, wet weather, my hip is always a little sore, courtesy of the bumps and bruises we all get in the course of time. Landing ass-first on a cold deck failed to improve the feeling. Anyhow, wet ass and all, I made my rounds, slipping and sliding the while…

Hollywood Ship Sets Sail for Green Bay Festival

image 19 Feb 2010 / Green Bay Press Gazette – Organizers of the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival announced today that the festival will include the H.M.S. Bounty, which also was used in the more recent movie “Pirates of the Caribbean II.”

In addition to the H.M.S. Bounty, the lineup announced today includes: Amistad, a floating classroom about the American slave trade; Roseway, which focuses on marine ecology education; and Pride of Baltimore II, a top-sail schooner.

A dozen ships will be showcased, including the previously announced S/V Denis Sullivan and Unicorn. The festival scheduled for Aug. 13-15 on the Fox River is expected to draw 75,000 people.

Improving Rescue – How Satellites are Making the Oceans Safer

image 15 Feb 2010 / Sail World – ORBCOMM Inc. is a global satellite data communications company focused on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and leading provider of space-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) services, and their AIS data was used to help rescue two yachters in distress and in detecting low power search and rescue transponders from space.

The report explains that ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS data was used to ‘identify a merchant ship not otherwise known to RCC Australia’. The AIS data was then used to direct the ship to the scene of a yacht in distress off the northern Australia coast, where two people were rescued.

Iran Launches First Locally Built Naval Destroyer

imageTEHRAN – Iranian state TV reports that the country has launched its first domestically built destroyer

19 Feb 2010 / Forbes (Associated Press) – Friday’s broadcast says the guided-missile destroyer called Jamaran is equipped with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles as well as torpedoes and naval cannons.

The report says the 94-meter (308-foot) destroyer weighs 1,500 tons and has a helipad and modern radar. The ship has a top speed of 30 knots and can carry 120 to 140 personnel.


I Want a Shipper with a Slooow Hand…

Danish shipping giant Maersk says, “slower is better”

16 Feb 2010 / NY Times – It took more than a month for the container ship Ebba Maersk to steam from Germany to Guangdong, China, where it unloaded cargo on a recent Friday — a week longer than it did two years ago.

In a global culture dominated by speed, from overnight package delivery to bullet trains to fast-cash withdrawals, the company has seized on a sales pitch that may startle some hard-driving corporate customers: Slow is better.


Montreal: Next Generation Ship Technologies – Polar Shipping Summit

image May 5th and 6th, 2010

Summit participants will be looking at providing solutions to the current major challenges being found by ship owners working in the Arctic Circle. Delegates will be drawn from the Maritime industry and include VPs, Directors and Managers of leading companies. There will also be representation from different stakeholders within arctic shipping which include oil and gas and mining organisations. 

Morse Code; A Blast from the Past

image Endless Possibilities blog – Yes, the Morse Code, is (was) the center of our universe… The bloodline on which the Maritime industry thrived, or even existed. The planet and it’s inhabitants were dependant on the ships calling their shores for their daily existence.

It was the CODE that took us to the right place at the right time! Samuel Morse & Marconi were our unseen but revered Gods. Yet all this has been consigned to the deep annals of history, whose custodians don’t even feign knowledge of these important facts…

MSC Puts 8,085-TEU Ships Into East Coast

19 Feb 2010 / Journal of Commerce Mediterranean Shipping Co. said it is temporarily using several 8,085-TEU ships, the largest to call at U.S. East Coast ports, in a new weekly Suez Canal service linking Asia with New York-New Jersey, Baltimore, Norfolk and image Charleston.

The first of the large ships in the service was the MSC Tomoko, which called at East Coast ports earlier this month. The MSC Rita was scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Sunday following an initial stop in New York-New Jersey, and continue on to Norfolk and Charleston.

The arrival of the 8,085-TEU ships is a notable event for U.S. East Coast ports, which have been rushing to prepare for the larger ships that will be able to transit the Panama Canal after 2104 when a multibillion-dollar lock-expansion project is completed.

Navy Times: CO of Amphibious Assault Ship Wasp imageTook Kickbacks, Fudged Records

17 Feb 2010 – When the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) pulled into Bahrain in 2007 for a port call, crew members thought it was odd that their skipper, Capt. Michael Hawley, kept making announcements on the 1MC about things he wanted them to buy.

A suit-maker was flying in from Rota, Spain, who would make sailors a great deal on some new threads. A Bahraini rug-seller set up his wares for the officers, who were all but required to browse and strongly encouraged to buy.

Skimming a little off the top, cashing in on his status as commanding officer, improperly taking gifts — life was sweet for Hawley during his time on Wasp, according to a report by the naval inspector general obtained by Navy Times.


Not the Kind of Raft-Up We’d Like to Seeimage

Slideshow: Sidelined ships

16 Feb 2010 / Financial Times – The sight that emerges from the mist during a trip up Loch Striven, on Scotland’s west coast, is a striking illustration of container shipping’s biggest-ever crisis. Five of the six ships lashed together here out of use include remarkable, highly expensive vessels all built within the last four years.

On Crete, New Evidence of Very Ancient Mariners

image 15 Feb 2010 / New York Times – Early humans, possibly even pre-human ancestors, appear to have been going to sea much longer than anyone had ever suspected.That is the startling implication of discoveries made the last two summers on the Greek island of Crete.

Stone tools found there, archaeologists say, are at least 130,000 years old, which is considered strong evidence for the earliest known seafaring in the Mediterranean and cause for rethinking the maritime capabilities of pre-human cultures.

Crete has been an island for more than five million years, meaning that the toolmakers must have arrived by boat. So this seems to push the history of Mediterranean voyaging back more than 100,000 years, specialists in Stone Age archaeology say.

Route Sharing: Shipping Lines to Cooperate on Asian – African – South American Route

image 15 Feb 2010 / Handy Shipping – Zim Integrated Shipping Services issued a press release on Friday stating they had reached agreement with Hanjin Shipping, Hapag – Lloyd, Wan hai Lines and CCNI to cooperate on the service from South Korea, Singapore and Southern China via South Africa to and from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, sharing vessel space and facilities.

Route sharing is likely to become even more popular with the major container carriers in the coming months as numbers of TEU remain consistently low compared to earlier years. Although such practices are often frowned upon by anti trust bodies they remain the only option for companies struggling to maintain service levels in a depleted market.


Salvors Making Headway on Removal of Navigation Hazards in Haiti

18 Feb 2010 / Maritime Journal – “We’re working closely with USTRANSCOM to re-establish port functionality”, said Dan Schwall, managing director of TITAN. “The faster the port becomes more usable, the faster relief and commercial cargo will make it into the hands of the people of Haiti.”

Seeing Panama Canal Growth, Port Manatee to Add image Container Crane

18 Feb 2010 / Tampa Bay Business Journal – The Manatee Port Authority approved the purchase of Port Manatee’s second mobile harbor container crane.The second crane will play a vital role in preparations for increased shipping expected from the Panama Canal expansion, said David L. McDonald, the port’s executive director, in a statement.

The purchase was made possible through a public-private partnership between the port authority, the Florida Department of Transportation and Logistec USA Inc., the company that partnered with the port for its first crane purchase in 2007.

The crane, which is expected to be operational at the port by October, will be titled to the authority.Logistec will handle operation, maintenance and insurance for the crane through a lease/mortgage arrangement with the port authority. Logistec USA is a subsidiary of Montreal-based Logistec Corp.

Seizure of Over $36 Million of Hashish at the Port of Montréal

image 18 Feb 2010 / CBSA Press Release РCanadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that its officers working at the Port of Montr̩al seized more than 1,700 kg of hashish with an estimated street value of over $36 million Canadian.

Border services officers at the CBSA Container Examination Facility discovered the narcotics on January 27, 2010, when searching a shipping container from South Africa. The drugs, portioned into 864 packets, were concealed in false-bottom wooden crates containing statues and masks.

An in-depth physical examination of the container confirmed the presence of hashish in 18 of the 19 inspected crates. The container in question had been examined by CBSA officers in July 2009 and returned to its country of origin because the wood packaging did not meet Canada’s plant health requirements. The drugs were handed over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port Poised to Become Biggest Harbour in South Asia

image 21 Feb 2010 / Sunday Observer – According to the Chairman of the Ports Authority, the first stage of the Hambantota Port Development is to be completed by the end of the year and is ahead of schedule. The total cost for the project is US$ 360 million.

The 600 metre long jetty is now nearing completion and the depth of the basin would be 17 metres. In the Colombo harbour the depth is only 15.5 metres. The turning circle would be 600 metres and the breakwater would be 1450 metres.

One of the biggest advantages of the Port site is the 22 metre depth to the mouth of the harbour, a unique geographical feature which even the Indian Ports could not match. When completed the Hambantota harbour could accommodate 33 vessels to berth at any given time after completion.

State of the Coast Guard: Always Ready?

image 13 Feb 2010 / Listening to Commandant Thad Allen’s State of the Coast Guard speech at the National Press Club in Washington on Feb 12, I was struck by a number of contradictions.

He eloquently described the good work done by Coasties in Haiti, and said personnel are now in Vancouver helping the Canadian government with security at the Winter Olympics. This is in addition to all the other things they do, from securing U.S. ports to to licensing to saving lives at sea. And they are doing it all with obsolete equipment, including 10 cutters that broke down in Haiti.

Then came the surprise: despite all these duties and an expanding national security role, the Obama administration has proposed a 3 percent cut in the Coast Guard budget and a reduction of 773 jobs, while also funding major replacements of aging cutters and aircraft…

StockWatch: Navigating Through Maritime Shippers

image There’s still time to get on-board shipping stocks but you have to tread carefully.

19 Feb 2010 / Forbes – While the rudderless U.S. market drifts, the Claymore/Delta Global Shipping Index ETF (SEA) is up 6% year-to-date, thanks to buoyant overseas demand. Choppy equity waters may have slowed some sea transporters, but one international shipper should be able to navigate past sluggish U.S. demand.

One of the strongest shipping stocks this year is international petroleum transporter Teekay which has mirrored the Claymore Shipping ETFs 6% year-to-date return. The 6% advance comes on top of a 46% surge in 2009, but most of Teekay’s indicators are approaching overbought levels after the strong run.

Towmasters Blows Some Sunshine — Jim Cavo: Shell Answer Man for the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center

image 18 Feb 2010 / Towmasters – As you’re all surely aware, websites, blogs and other forms of social media have become the new standard for communicating to the masses. The U.S. Coast Guard, though still suffering from some glaring communication problems with the mariners they oversee (this is a cultural problem, not a technological problem), has embraced this concept on many levels.  Many of the individual cutters and shore units have also jumped on the band wagon, such as the Boston-based CGC Escanaba. The more the better.

I will, however, single out an individual who deserves much praise for helping mariners struggling with our often user-unfriendly system of licensing, and it’s not on any Coast Guard site or blog. That would be Mr. Jim Cavo of the Policy Division of the Coast Guard’s Mariner Credentialing Program. He serves as the Shell Answer Man on the mariner forums of gCaptain, routinely fielding questions ranging from simple and routine to complicated and obscure…

Tuzla Shipyards in Dire Straits as Orders Dry Up

image 15 Feb 2010 / Hurriyet Daily NewsTUZLA, Istanbul; Pre-crisis, the Tuzla shipyards were building 150 ships each year, but as global trade screeched to a halt the shipyard zone has been pulled into toward economic paralysis.In the past 15 months, orders to build 200 ships were canceled. The number of workers retreated to 8,000 from 38,000. Nearly all subcontracted workers were fired and 60 percent of regular staff were laid off.

Last year, the shipyards, located at the southern tip of Istanbul, saw production plummet by 90 percent while employment declined 75 percent. The shipyards have received just one order for 2012. The government is rumored to be preparing a new stimulus package for the shipbuilding sector, but shipyard owners have lost hope and laid off workers are desperate. The stimulus rumors were fueled by Economy Minister Ali Babacan’s surprise visit to Tuzla last week.

image Immersed tube elements for the New Tyne Crossing are been floated into place.

Tunnels: The Tale of the Tyne Tube

18 Feb 2010 / New Civil Engineer – “This project was stuck in planning for over 10 years while the existing tunnel is running hugely over-capacity. Trevor Jackson, managing director of concessionaire TT2, which is part financing, designing, building, operating and maintaining the new 1.6km crossing, agrees the project is long overdue.

The bureaucracy involved in getting a project off the ground in this country is ridiculous,” says Jackson, who comes from South Africa. “After 10 years of planning, the construction process only takes four years.”

The £260M tunnel is the final stretch of the A19 from Yorkshire to Northumberland to be dualled. When fully operational, the new crossing will carry southbound traffic while the older tunnel will carry northbound vehicles, effectively doubling the capacity of the crossing.

click to see full size

Rather than boring below the seabed, a stretch of watertight tube forms the tunnel. It is laid down and covered with backfill in a dredged trench. Despite it being a common technique on the Continent, this is only the third immersed tunnel to be built in the UK. “This was the least risky method. It removes the need to tunnel under the river which is inherently risky. To minimise risk here we would have had to dig deep, which would be expensive,” says Jackson.

University of Rhode Island Research Vessel headed to Haiti

image17 Feb 2010 / Providence Journal The University of Rhode Island research vessel Endeavor is heading to Haiti Wednesday. The ship will conduct a two-week survey of the sea floor off of Haiti to look for geological evidence of the deadly earthquake that struck last month.

The 185-foot ship also will deliver dozens of large tents that have been collected by Warwick-based Plan USA for use as classroom shelters. The researchers who will be working on the Endeavor are not from URI.

Video: Research Expedition to North Pacific Gyre imageGarbage Patch

VBS.TV and CNN – The Garbage Patch is located at a natural collecting point at the center of a set of revolving currents called the North Pacific Gyre. The middle of the Gyre is more of a meteorological phenomenon than an actual place: a consistent high-pressure zone north of the Hawaiian Islands that, combined with the extremely weak currents, helps keep the ocean surface as placid as lake water.

Flotsam has been sucked into this area from the encircling currents for as long as the Pacific’s existed, but up until the last century this process ended with the refuse safely biodegrading and being reabsorbed into the food chain as nutrients. With the advent of plastics, however, the Garbage Patch has transformed from a fertile feeding ground to the oceanic equivalent of a desert. And a particularly crap-strewn desert at that…

Whaling Protesters are Behaving Like Pirates

image Activists are breaking international law

18 Feb 2010 / The Australian (opinion) – When Sea Shepherd Conservation Society member Pete Bethune climbed from his jet ski on to Japanese whaling ship the Shonan Maru 2 and presented a demand for money following weeks of hostile encounters between the whalers and Sea Shepherd, the environmental activists finally crossed the line from protesters to pirates.

The dramatic and violent encounters that previously have taken place in the waters off Antarctica during Japan’s whaling season have rightly given rise to allegations of violating laws relating to the safety of life at sea and failing to show due regard to the rights of other maritime users. Arguments continue to go back and forth as to the legality of Japan’s so-called scientific research into whales…

Yeah, I’ll Get Right on That…

MARINA asks public to avoid sea travel on March 1

image Manilla Bulletin – CEBU CITY: The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is urging the public, especially those in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, to avoid traveling or sending shipment by sea on March 1 so that they will not be inconvenienced by the “maritime holiday” being set by ship-owners.

MARINA Administrator Maria Elena Bautista, over local radio Wednesday urged the public to cancel their sea trips on March 1 and reschedule shipments before or after said date so that they will not be stranded in ports affected by the province-wide strike.

Gov’t rejects maritime holiday – “Shipping companies should reconsider staging a maritime holiday and instead follow higher safety standards on sea travel set by the government,” Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Charito Planas said Friday.

You Tube Video of the Week: A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything »


image Evening light on Rondout Creek – photo by Jessica DuLong via Facebook

imagePanama Canal Construction: Gatun upper locks looking north from lighthouse. c. 1910-1915. Click to see full size.  Library of Congress Flickr Photostream (original)

image Shorpy’s Photo Archive – On the Waterfront: Baltimore, Maryland, circa 1905
"Payday for the Stevedores." 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size »

image Monkey Fist’s Home Town: Clear and Bright Day on the Portland, Maine Waterfront
Photo by Corey Templeton / Portland, Maine Daily Photo. Click to see full size »



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