Maritime news from the seven seas
The Cruise Lines International Association predicts that 24 million people will embark on cruises this year with their member lines. Not only will the large ocean-going vessels be seeing more business, but many of the river and specialty adventure cruise ship companies are also enjoying an uptick in newbuilds and revenue in response to demand.
Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents
The livestock carrier M/V Ocean Outback spent nearly two weeks berthed at Perth, Australia, after engine problems forced the ship to port. The vessel had 5,600 cattle and 7,500 sheep aboard but three cattle and 30 sheep died while the vessel was held up. Subsequent tests by vets and other agricultural experts found the remaining animals in good shape.
Four tourists were injured off Whakatane, New Zealand during an evacuation of the Pee Jay V sight-seeing vessel after she suffered a fast-moving fire that burned her to the waterline. Search and rescue teams and a nearby fishing boat were among first responders who raced to help the bewildered passengers after they had to jump into the water. The crew had given everyone life jackets. Some people ended up in the vessel’s dinghy. All 53 passengers and seven crew members were saved.
Twenty-two crewmembers working aboard the Panamanian-flagged car carrier Modern Express had to be air-evacuated after the vessel, which was enroute to Le Havre, France from Gabon, West Africa, lost propulsion power and listed in heavy seas.
A cargo ship waiting to be scrapped, sank at anchor near the Panama Canal in the waters off Colon. The VFM Alita had apparently collided with another vessel and, as a result, become holed. Thankfully there were no injuries and no pollution was sustained.
In Denmark, crewmembers had to be evacuated from the Sea Worker jack-up barge after its tow line broke in heavy weather and it ran aground.
The maiden voyage of the container ship Al Zubara was marred when the ship lost at least three containers, and several others were damaged while the vessel was transiting the Mediterranean in southern Europe. The ship had 12,600 TEU on board at the time of the incident, and was reportedly hit by several monster waves during a storm.
The Elbe Highway car carrier allided with a berth in Emden, Germany during rough weather, despite having tug assistance and a pilot on board. The ship and the pier suffered minor damage but the vessel was able to eventually leave port after being inspected.
An attempted boarding of the car carrier Silver Sky off Bayelsa, Nigeria, resulted in injury to one crewmember after two pirate boats approached the ship and opened fire.
Also in Nigeria, a tug was fired on by 10 brazen pirates who were able to board the vessel underway, steal cash and personal effects and damage the ship’s navigation equipment before taking off. The crew were not harmed.
In India, at the Kandla OTB Anchorage, ship’s properties were stolen after robbers stealthily boarded an anchored bulk carrier that was in the midst of cargo operations.
Ship’s stores were also taken from an anchored bulk carrier in Hon Cam anchorage, Vietnam. Three pirates brandishing knives were noticed by the duty AB, who managed to escape to the vessel’s accommodation, then alert the duty officer who raised the alarm. Unfortunately, the robbers were still able to carry away their prize.
Odds and Ends
An LNG Facility Permit has been given to LNG Canada by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission for an export facility at Kitimat. Approximately 6.5 million tons is expected to be processed via two units in the initial phase, with future capacity for four processing plants. Marine infrastructure will include a marine terminal, offloading facility, waste collection and treatment areas, and room for two LNG carriers and a tugboat dock. An emergency response plan is also part of the Permit requirements.
The health of the world’s oceans is the driving force behind a new five-year partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and the World Wildlife Fund. By 2020, RCL commits to a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and to educating its travelling public on ocean conversation while also assisting the WWF in their conservation goals.
In the January column, I reported that the Salish Orca, one of three new BC Ferries dual fuel vessels, will replace the Queen of Burnaby on the route between Comox on Vancouver Island and Powell River on the mainland. Powell River is located on the Sunshine Coast, on the eastern shore of the Strait of Georgia, just northwest of Greater Vancouver. While indeed on the mainland, communities in the region are only accessible by ferry or plane.