Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


According to Clarksons, over the next decade, LNG tankers, cruise ships (together at 20 percent) and offshore vessels and mobile assets (estimated at 30 percent) will drive capital investments in the shipping industry to the tune of $1.4 trillion.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

The Ocean Drover livestock carrier endured more than 18 hours with a fire onboard in Western Australia’s Fremantle Harbor. The fire, which began in the accommodation area, sent three of 52 crew to hospital but the vessel was not carrying any cattle at the time.

The Taiwan research vessel Ocean Researcher V sank near the Penghu Islands after battling wild weather courtesy of Typhoon Vangfong, leaving two dead and 43 crew scrambling for their lives.

The crew of the Malaysian Navy gunboat CB 204 were found safe after the vessel suffered an engine failure in a storm which disabled propulsion and all communications. Several Malaysian navy ships took part in the search near Borneo in the South China Sea.

Four people were safety evacuated by several US Coast Guard assets in Cook Inlet, Alaska after a natural gas drill platform caught fire.

Ten passengers were injured when the ferry Peralta hit a piling at Pier 41 in San Francisco.

In the North Sea, in the vicinity of the Moray Firth in Scotland, the M/V Parida, carrying radioactive nuclear waste cargo, suffered a funnel fire which resulted in the nearby Beatrice oil platform being evacuated. Subsequent radiation tests revealed no risk to humans or the environment.

Piracy Pulse

In the South China Sea, the Sunrise 869 product tanker disappeared off radar after leaving Singapore. A group of 10 pirates with guns and knives hijacked the vessel, wrecked the navigation equipment, and injured two crewmen while transferring a part of the gas/oil on board to a waiting vessel before later releasing the tanker and crew.

In Georgetown Port, Guyana, an alarm had to be used twice aboard a berthed offshore supply tug after armed robbers forced watertight doors leading to the vessel’s laundry and hospital areas open, scurrying to their boat after the first sound-off. Later two errant robbers were found still aboard. They escaped with stores after the second alarm was raised.

Eye on LNG

If all goes well, 2017 should see the first LNG/CNG facility open in Louisiana, to be built by Tenaska NG Fuels, LLC and Waller Marine, Inc. The Baton Rouge facility is expected to produce 200,000 gallons of LNG daily and expand as needed.

Wärtsilä will be providing gas handling systems for the reportedly largest ethane carriers currently under construction at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries. The six VLECs will begin delivery in Q4 of 2016 for India’s Reliance Group and will be used for transporting the ethane from America to India for processing into plastic.

Offshore Onlookers

A partnership that included ExxonMobil, Nord Atlantic Drilling, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, Baker, Trendsetter, FMC and Rosneft, a Russian petroleum company which headed operations, found new oil in the world’s most northern well located in the high arctic. The Universitetskaya-1 well contains light oil that is apparently equal to Siberian Light oil.

While the global tidal energy market is still in its infancy, it’s expected to grow 24 percent to 2018 across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Asian-Pacific (APAC) regions. The increase in demand globally for green energy has been cited as the major reason, however capital costs to build plants that are run by underwater turbines are still very high.

Shipwrecks of Old

New finds in Greece’s Antikythera shipwreck have underwater archaeologists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute excited. The ancient wreck dating back 2,000 years has been explored for more than 100 years but this is the first time the wreck area has been found to be significantly larger than original estimates. The new-found tantalizing artifacts include a bronze spear, several lead anchors and pieces of bronze rigging.

After a six-year search, the Nisbet Grammer, a canal ship that sank in 1926, has been found by local explorers in Lake Ontario using side-scan sonar technology. The 1923-launched, 253-foot steamer carried grain and coal on her St. Lawrence Seaway route through Welland Canal before meeting her end, rammed by another steamer in heavy fog. All crew survived.

Odds and Ends

A Canadian Newfoundland tugboat company has pleaded not guilty to a May 2013 accident in which a deckhand aboard the Western Tugger was hit and killed by brake drum shards. The Transportation Safety Board determined several factors contributed to the unfortunate outcome; the load of steel rebar on the towed barge was not properly secured while underway in heavy fog. The vessel eventually capsized. The captain also entered a not guilty plea.

In a rather unusual at-sea rescue, a Florida Coast Guard team medevaced a male marathon runner trying to jog the perimeter of the Bermuda Triangle after he became exhausted and disoriented aboard his inflatable hydro bubble.

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


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