Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


Earlier this year, the IMO’s Ship Design and Construction sub-committee met to discuss drafting a new SOLAS chapter that will outline various safety measures regarding the safety of ships that operate in polar waters. It is set to be reviewed by the Maritime Safety Committee at their next meeting in May. Other Polar Code initiatives this year include meetings with the Marine Environment Protection Committee as well as the Human Element Training and Watchkeeping, Ship Systems and Equipment, Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue sub-committees.

Methanol is on its way to becoming the next non-sulphur fuel for use in the shipping industry. Four new 50,000-dwt tankers, being constructed for Marinvest and Westfal-Larsen by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, will be the first vessels classed by DNV GL for the low flashpoint liquid fuel.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

Costa Concordia claimed another life when a Spanish diver died after he sustained a leg injury during sponson work on the ship’s hull.

A daring rescue was made by a volunteer crew of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and a Royal Navy rescue helicopter near Cornwall in the UK, when they plucked six trawler fishermen out of the water after their vessel had lost power in a storm that had tossed them about in waves more than 30 feet high.

In the US Virgin Islands near St. Croix, the 221-foot cargo ship MV Commander ran aground on a reef near Christiansted Harbor. The ship was refloated without incident and initial investigations revealed two of the vessel’s rudders were missing. Twenty-four crewmembers evacuated the cargo ship Rich Forest, sailing off Guam, after the engine room flooded. The C.S. Sunshine steaming nearby rescued the mariners before transferring them to the US Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia.

One of six crewmen aboard the Norfolk Tern working near Great Yarmouth in the UK had to be airlifted to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after the wind farm support vessel’s starboard engine caught fire. Major holiday woes were felt by nearly 700 people who developed a perplexing gastrointestinal bug aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas. Seven Chinese Shipyard workers were killed at Haizhou Shipyard when the Indian oil tanker they were working on exploded.

All crew evacuated and were rescued after the cargo ship Elland bound for Izmir, Turkey from Constanta, Romania, developed engine failure and a resulting heavy starboard list when the cargo of plywood shifted. Later efforts to salvage the ship were unsuccessful.

Piracy Pulse

In the Gulf of Aden, 12 pirates aboard three skiffs were thwarted by private armed security personnel who fired warning shots as they approached a cargo ship. Flares were also fired by the crew who took refuge in the ship’s citadel.

Armed robbers in Indonesia were able to get into the engine room on a bulk carrier at anchor near Batam, escaping with some of the ship’s spares. There were no injuries as the crew stayed inside locked cabins until the robbers left the ship.

Asia’s piracy and armed robbery rates have been improving despite increasing incidents; most have been described as petty theft. Meanwhile, the presence of international navy patrols has reduced piracy in Somalia to its lowest incident rate in almost a decade.

Offshore Onlookers

Bumi Armada is set to design a new floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO) for Deltamarin, with what BA claims will be one of the world’s largest FPSO turrets. The unit is expected to begin work in the UK‘s North Sea by 2016.

Preliminary work on the Sea Lion offshore drilling field in the Falkland Islands has been estimated to cost more than 5 billion. The UK’s Premiere Oil Company will be developing the field in several phases, primarily using a Tension Leg Platform.

The world of dynamic positioning for offshore vessels and oilrigs continues to advance. DP3 technology helps meet the extreme demands placed on vessels that must maintain position in the harshest conditions while greatly reducing the risk of human accidents and environmental damage. Rolls-Royce is supplying its first DP3 system to Farstad Shipping, part of the Vard Shipyard group, for installation on two of its offshore construction newbuilds.

What’s believed to be the world’s largest prototype three-bladed wind turbine is currently nearing completion in Scotland, off the coast of Fife. The turbine, once fully installed, will boast a nacelle 110 meters in height, while its blade tips will soar 196 meters above sea level.

Odds and Ends and More Industry Firsts

The cruise industry is sailing into an upswing in 2014. Estimates from the Cruise Line Industry Association reveal 24 new ships are to be built over the period 2014 to 2015. This year, approximately 21.7 million passengers worldwide are forecasted to book cruises. North America has continued to enjoy 55.1 percent of the total market share.

The largest energy-efficient container ships to date, the Maersk Triple Es will now be equipped with Trelleborg’s low-friction Orkot Marine Bearings, which have a solid record in long-term, maintenance-free operations. The bearings will help optimize the performance of the vessels’ large rudders.

What’s being called the world’s first oil mist separator is now on the market. Manufactured by UT99 AG and classed by Germanischer Lloyd, the new product will help reduce oil emissions from combustion engine crankcases and turbine oil tank vents.

Drydocks World will be building what they’re touting as the largest Jack-up rig to date. The fuel-efficient, DNV-classed, tier 3-compliant green rig is designed to be a 101 x 110m, 5,500-square-meter unit, which will have the capacity for 160 people and drill to depths of 40,000 feet.

Kathy A. Smith enjoys writing for US and international fishing and maritime trade journals. She can be reached at


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