Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


As of July 1, 2016, the IMO’s new SOLAS XI-1/7 regulation for enclosed spaces came into force. The new rule helps ensure safe practices for seafarers who may be required to enter enclosed spaces (determined on a ship-by-ship basis) that have limited oxygen. Ships are required to carry portable testing instruments to test the atmosphere for vapors or gasses that are flammable, CO2, hydrogen sulphide, etc., before anyone is put in harm’s way.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

A maritime cadet who was suffering from a bad case of pneumonia, had to be medevaced by helicopter from the Maunawili, a containership that was transiting Alaskan waters far from land. The long-range rescue involved the ship making for Cold Bay as fast as possible from its position about 700 nautical miles south of Kodiak Island.

Two ships – one a modern Coast Guard vessel, and one a wooden replica of Noah’s Ark – sustained damage after they collided in Oslo Harbor in Norway. The Ark was under tow at the time when it hit the moored Nornen patrol vessel.

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In Massasschusetts, at the Woods Hole Terminal, an engine malfunction caused the M/V Governor ferry on approach to a pier, to crash into the docked M/V Martha’s Vineyard ferry. Both vessels incurred damage but there were no injuries reported.

In Oslo, Norway, 156 passengers and crew had to be evacuated from the Johanna dinner cruise ship, formerly an early 19th Century fishing vessel. The ship grounded after apparently taking an abrupt turn, then took on water and partially sank.

A career at sea ended tragically for a 3rd Officer who, despite not standing in the snapback zone when mooring lines were released, had one of his legs severed at the knee after being caught between the fairlead and the mooring line. The accident was caused by the mooring line being stuck in the propeller after the line was let go and lowered too quickly.

In Alaska, on the Naknek River, another career at sea was cut short when a 20-year-old deckhand was killed while he and another deckhand worked to loosen a barge mooring line attached to a buoy. In a strange twist of fate, after falling overboard, the young crewman’s Personal Flotation Device prevented him from swimming to safety when it became stuck, pinning him between two barges.

Piracy Pulse

In Indonesia at the Dumai Inner Anchorage, a duty oiler aboard a bulk carrier at anchor was threatened at knifepoint by a band of three intent on making off with engine spares. The thieves made their escape with their loot without injuring anyone.

Also in Indonesia near Mangkai Island, a group of 10 bandits beat the Second Officer and the duty AB on board a tanker, while holding them at gun point, eventually taking hostage the entire crew as well as the Master. GPS and satellite communication equipment was taken as well as an undisclosed amount of cash and some personal effects. The Master was later released. As of this writing, it’s unclear what happened to the crew.

In a brazen attack at Conakry Anchorage in Guinea, six machine gun- and knife-wielding pirates were able to get aboard a heavy lift vessel, injuring the duty OS and taking another crewmember hostage. The accommodation area of the vessel was damaged when the attackers fired on crewmembers to warn them they meant business. Subsequently, the robbers were able to get away with some cash and personal effects.

Odds and Ends

A record low amount of sea ice in June 2016 was reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The satellite-retrieved data revealed an average of approximately 4.09 million square miles during the month. So far this year, March has been the only month that didn’t post a record low.

In early July, the MOL Majesty, a Neopanamax containership, was the first of its kind to arrive at PortMiami after safely navigating the expanded Panama Canal. At least $1.3 billion has been invested there for big ship infrastructure.

Wärtsilä’s data analytics, modeling and performance optimization is expected to be enhanced with the recent acquisition of Finnish energy management company, Eniram. Eniram’s specialty is helping shipowners reduce fuel consumption and emissions with onboard trim, speed and engine optimization through real-time analytics for single vessels as well as entire fleets.


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