Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


The Wärtsilä 31 engine has been recognized as the most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine in the world by Guinness World Records. The recently-launched product boasts diesel consumption as low as 165 gallons per kWh. The Wärtsilä 31 engine can be operated using a range of different fuels, comes in three alternative versions and is designed for use on various offshore, ferry, cruise ship and other marine applications that require a power range between 4.2 to 9.8MW.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

Off the coast of Mumbai, India, the Vestfonn supply vessel suffered a major engine fire, resulting in the evacuation of most of the crew. A handful stayed on board to deal with the incident while two Coast Guard ships and the patrol ship Achook responded.

Approximately 10 vessels came to the aid of the Lung Orawan 2 in the Gulf of Siam after the tourist boat carrying 102 passengers suffered an engine room fire. There were no injuries and the vessel was subsequently towed to Pattaya for repairs.

In another engine-related incident, an explosion aboard the Wahana Gili Ocean 4 fast ferry tourist vessel that was enroute from Lombok Island to Bali resulted in 25 passengers being injured. All 129 passengers, some of whom hailed from Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the US and Canada, were successfully evacuated.

Piracy Pulse

All crew on board the product tanker Orkim Victory that was underway in the Pu Aur region of Malaysia were safe after a hostage-taking incident. Several armed persons boarded the vessel and altered its course in order to meet with another vessel and transfer part of the oil cargo. In addition, the tanker’s communications equipment was damaged and ship and crew properties taken.

In the Philippines, at Batangas Anchorage, three robbers were able to board an anchored product tanker unnoticed and steal ship’s properties. Their weapon of stealth was a hook attached to a rope. Despite the alarm being raised, the looters got away.

A fast boat with four robbers in it came alongside a berthed product tanker in Kandla, India. One of the raiders was able to climb aboard and lift some of the ship’s stores before taking off after the alarm was raised.

Shipwrecks of Old

After several years of investigation, the identity of a 221-year-old Portuguese slave ship has been confirmed – the only documented wreck known to have been lost with human cargo aboard. The São José-Paquete de Africa was lost while transporting slaves from Mozambique to Brazil in 1794.

The final remains of the La Belle shipwreck are now at the Texas Bullock State History Museum. The famous ship was one of a group of four that Robert de La Salle used to explore the Gulf of Mexico in 1865, with the intent to start a French colony near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The vessel was found in 1995 after 17 years of searching. The excavation of the shallow-water wreck was unusual in that it was done using a cofferdam, which is a temporary enclosure that allows for the pumping out of seawater in order to create a dry environment for archaeological work to take place.

Odds and Ends

In December 2012, in the vicinity of Ocean Bay on the eastern coast of Sitkalidak Island, the Kulluk, a conical ice-class Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit, (MODU) grounded as a result of towing complications in harsh weather conditions. The US-flagged Aiviq, an ice-class anchor-handling towing vessel was engaged for the 10-day towing trip from Captains Bay near Unalaska, Alaska to Seattle, Washington. An escalating chain of events ensued that included Aiviq’s towing line failures, subsequent loss of all propulsion, assisting towing vessels difficulties and worsening weather. An investigation by the National Transportation and Safety Board recently found Shell Offshore Inc. was ultimately responsible for not properly mitigating the risks of such a voyage at that time of year. Kulluk was severely damaged and four of her crew suffered minor injuries.

The first LNG bunkering loading arm has been established in Norway. Replacing the standard method of bunkering from a truck or tank by hose, this practice is reportedly a faster and safer way of transferring liquefied natural gas. The station, owned by Skangas, is currently being used by Fjord Line’s cruise ferries, which run on single-fueled LNG engines.

A first for Indonesian shipbuilding is the 2,500 m3 capacity Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) Barito Equator, the largest standard hopper dredger ever built for Damen. Barito Equator is already performing maintenance dredging on the Barito River in South Kalimantan, which is prone to heavy siltation.


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