Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


In an effort to mitigate mis-declared and unsafe container exports, new IMO container weight verification requirements will become mandatory next year. After the adoption in late 2014 by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee on new SOLAS requirements, the onus is on shippers, terminal operators, vessel operators and freight forwarders to develop and implement new policies and procedures in readiness for the regulation entering force on July 1, 2016.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

The cruise ship Boudicca suffered an engine room fire resulting in the loss of engine power for a five-hour interval while the vessel was sailing near Casablanca, Morocco. Thankfully, no injuries were sustained by either passengers or crew.

In the Panama Canal, a seaman died after trying to rig an accommodation ladder for the purpose of disembarking pilots and the canal mooring crew. Unfortunately, the seaman had not followed the correct safety protocols for wearing PPE equipment, but neither had the ladder been properly maintained.

Philips Publishing Group

A crane operator’s cabin was responsible for the death of four Busan, South Korea Shipyard workers after the 40-ton cabin fell from a height of approximately 20 meters. Apparently safety procedures were not followed in the disconnection process, leading to the tragic accident.

In Indonesia’s Tanjung Emas port, nine contract welders, working on installations on the tug Sandia III, were rushed to the hospital with injuries suffered after a gas cylinder burst and sparked flames from a leaking LPG hose in the engine room.

In another gas leak explosion, this time in Ulsan, South Korea, four crewmen were injured while the Hanyang Ace chemical tanker was taking on a shipment of nitric and sulphuric acid.

Strong winds were apparently the cause of the Pura Vida Princess vessel capsizing near Punta Leona in Costa Rica, killing three of the 99 passengers and 10 crew aboard the 100-foot catamaran tour boat.

Piracy Pulse

In Indonesia, in the Pulau Karimun Besar region, five thieves brandishing long knives surprised a bosun aboard a bulk carrier. Despite the alarm being raised by the Officer of the Watch, the band picked a fight with crew who came to assist, injuring the bosun during the ensuing scuffle. Finally the robbers, outnumbered, escaped from the vessel with nothing to show for their efforts.

Near Accra, Ghana, pirates came aboard a bulk carrier, physically roughed up some of the crew and damaged communication equipment before stealing some crew’s and ship’s properties. The band of eight fired shots to force the crew into complying with their demands.

Nine crewmembers on board a product tanker in the vicinity of Bayelsa, Nigeria, were taken hostage and manhandled by a band of 10, AK-47 rifle-wielding raiders who stole fuel oil by transferring it to a waiting pirate vessel. Two of the gang took off with the prize cargo, while the Ghanaian navy subsequently took the rest into custody.

World’s Firsts

The largest containership afloat, ordered in 2013 by China’s Bank of Communications, is now plying the Asia-Northern Europe route. The 395.4-meter (1,300-foot) MSC Oscar, built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, has the capacity to carry 19,224 TEUs. The Mediterranean Shipping Company is chartering the vessel.

The keel has been laid for what Fincantieri shipbuilders say is the ultimate luxury cruise vessel. Apparently the Seven Seas Explorer will “exude elegance and grandeur”, accommodate just 750 guests and offer gourmet restaurants and impeccable style from one end of the ship to the other. Cruising aboard the opulent 54,000-ton Regent Seven Seas Cruises vessel will begin in mid-2016.

Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. is building a huge drydock facility near Marugame City, Japan, in order to accommodate construction of the world’s largest next-generation ULCCs, which are expected to be delivered in 2018. A partnership between Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. and Marubeni Corporation will see 11 of the 400-meter length, 20,000-TEU vessels built, far surpassing the 14,000-TEU ships recently completed in Japan.

Odds and Ends

A deadly accident involving the towing vessel Shanon E. Settoon near New Orleans in March 2013, was apparently the result of the vessel company providing the captain incomplete navigational information to carry out the job of pushing a loaded tank barge in the Bayou Perot. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the tug struck a submerged pipeline, her main propulsion engines ignited after LPG gas was released into the air intake, and she succumbed to the resulting fire. The barge remained intact with minor fire damage, spilling none of its load of 93,000 gallons of crude oil. Of the four crewmembers aboard who managed to escape the vessel, the captain, who suffered serious burns, later died.

Earlier this year, Crowley Maritime Corporation (CMC) released a downloadable PR document revealing an insider’s look at the historic Costa Concordia mega salvage job carried out in Giglio, Italy. CMC’s subsidiary TITAN Salvage, in partnership with Italy’s Micoperi salvors and dozens of other experts and organizations, completed the massive task in the summer of 2014. Titled “Raising the Costa Concordia”, the publication can be downloaded from CMC’s website at http://www.crowley.com.

Kathy Smith writes for global maritime trade journals and provides marketing copy to maritime businesses worldwide. She can be reached at maritimewriter@gmail.com.


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