Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


The Port of Los Angeles is ratcheting up their 2016/2017 budget for daily operations and to ensure they’re keeping pace with growing demand and larger ships. The Port has seen an uptick in cargo volumes since the early 2015 slow-down due to the dockworker’s strike. The Port is forecasting handling nearly 8.5 million TEUs annually, a 1.9 percent increase over last year’s budget.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

A wedding reception aboard a Boston Harbor cruise ship came to an abrupt halt after the vessel grounded in the vacinity of Georges Island. Although 137 passengers were aided by the Coast Guard and other first responder agencies, the captain was subsequently suspended while a Coast Guard investigation got underway.

In Hamburg Harbor, six people were transported to a nearby hospital when the small cruise boat Irma II collided with the tug Jörn. Reportedly, the cruise vessel’s stern was hit, sending glass breaking and 39 passengers scrambling for safety. The incident occurred near the Blohm + Voss Shipyard.

Two tugs owned by the same company collided off Vancouver Island, sending two people into the water when the smaller vessel sank. Apparently weather was not a factor when the larger C.T. Titan smashed into the Albern. Thankfully neither crew member was injured. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

A tour boat that shouldn’t have been in the Bloodsworth Island area in Chesapeake Bay, sank after it apparently hit an underwater obstruction. Five of the 22 students and teachers aboard were injured, however all were safety transferred from the 40-foot Karen N. to a nearby commercial fishing boat.

It seems inaction and an inadequately designed bridge console contributed to a ro/ro crashing into a berth on its regular European route, heavily damaging the vessel when it hit a linkspan. None of the more than 500 passengers and crew where hurt and nothing spilled into the ocean. Apparently the Master had difficulties properly reading the indicator lamps on the console. While adjusting the brightness, he ended up switching the controllable pitch propeller to back-up mode. Engineers figured out what was going on but failed to inform the bridge. As the vessel approached the berth, the Master adjusted the pitch settings on both starboard and port CPP control levers, went out to the port wing bridge and continued the approach not seeing a very faint CPP back up indicator lamp. By then it was too late.

Piracy Pulse

Impersonating marine tradesmen seems to be a growing piracy trend. In China, at Yangzhou Conch Terminal, several pirates dressed as stevedores were able to get aboard and make off with ships’ properties while cargo operations were being carried out.

In another costume drama, a pirate boarded a berthed tanker in Durban Port, South Africa, disguised as part of the bunker crew and was able to steal properties and cash and get away.

In the Gulf of Aden, five skiffs carrying bandits chased a container ship whose Master then increased speed. The would-be robbers had a ladder in one skiff which moved closer but armed guards were able to dissuade them by firing warning shots, while a helicopter dispatched from a Japanese warship nearby also thwarted the raiders’ efforts.

Odds and Ends

People do all kinds of weird things in the heat of the moment... a woman reportedly jumped off a tour boat transiting San Francisco Bay after she had a fight with her boyfriend. While no one was injured in the incident, the ship’s crew had to take immediate action to rescue her. She was fined $5,000 for interfering with the safe operation of the vessel.

The US National Transportation Safety Board found a number of safety and operational issues caused the collision between the Conti Peridot, a 623-foot bulk cargo carrier and the Carla Maersk, a 600-foot tanker in the Houston Ship Channel in the spring of last year. Apparently the pilot aboard the Conti Peridot had trouble handling the ship during limited visibility and failed to inform other nearby ships of his predicament. Inadequate communication between the pilot and the Master on the Conti Peridot was also cited as causal factor as well. The collision resulted in the spillage of nearly 88,200 gallons of methyl tert-butyl ether.

BC Ferries recently christened its newest ship the Salish Eagle at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk. Salish Eagle is the second of three 107-meter, LNG-powered ferries the company is building. Each has the capacity to carry approximately 600 crew and passengers and 145 cars.


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