Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


A long-unmanned 13,500-ton mobile offshore production unit (MODU) located approximately 62 miles off the coast of Norway in the North Sea has been removed by one of the largest ships ever built. The 382-meter long by 124-meter wide Pioneering Spirit, a heavy lift installation, decommissioning and pipelay vessel, completed her maiden lift in late August. Pioneering Spirit, built by Allseas, has a 122-meter by 59-meter wide slot in her bow that allows her to remove topsides in one single lift.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

In the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Washington, the bulk carrier Rosco Palm grounded not once but twice. After the first grounding, the vessel was refloated and moved further upstream in order to avoid any potential collisions with other ships. While the ship was at anchor overnight, awaiting an assessment by the US Coast Guard the following morning, she grounded again.

Glare might have been the culprit that caused a ferry on the Hudson River to collide with and injure a group of kayakers. The Jersey City ferry was reportedly departing from a pier in Manhattan when the accident occurred. Five of 10 kayakers were injured; one man had his arm severed.

A drill rig meant for the scrap yard that was under tow from Norway to Turkey had to be refloated after running aground in bad weather. The Transocean Winner broke free from its towline and also spilled a yet-unknown amount of diesel fuel as a result.

Piracy Pulse

A group of knife-wielding bandits tied up a duty oiler aboard an anchored bulk carrier in Dumai Inner Anchorage, Indonesia so they could steal engine spares and take off. The crewmember was able to break free of his shackles and get word to the duty officer who deployed the alarm. Thankfully no one was injured in the skirmish.

Two crewmembers aboard an anchored bulk carrier near Conakry, Guinea, were beaten by members of a seven-strong pirate band who were able to steal cash and various properties before leaving the ship.

In a brazen attack, five gun- and knife-wielding pirates boarded an asphalt tanker on its way to Haiphong from Singapore. During the incident, the robbers threatened the crew at gunpoint, confined them to the crew mess, and took the Master and Commanding Officer hostage on the bridge. The Bridge Navigational Alarm System was ordered turned off and the ship’s speed was slowed as the thieves helped themselves to money and various personal properties before making their getaway. The Master was subsequently locked in the crew mess room with the crew and later all were able to get free.

Odds and Ends

A US National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a bulk carrier alliding with a grain elevator in Houston, Texas in 2014 found that miscommunication and lack of specific procedures around emergency engine measures resulted in the incident. The Anna Smile’s diesel engine was being manned by the engine control room (ECR) at the time of the accident (the vessel’s fixed pitch propeller could be remotely controlled from the bridge or ECR). Several ensuing commands given to continue docking maneuvers were met without response. The engine was not responding, but neither were the crew responsible for carrying out the orders. They had moved from the ECR into the machinery space, while switching the engine to local control. The chief engineer, third engineer or electrician failed to advise the bridge team or the pilots of their location. By the time the chief engineer and the bridge/pilots were in contact again, it was too late. Subsequently it was also found that the pneumatic changeover valves were not functioning correctly due to excessive moisture in the control air system.

Three 100-gauge electric container cranes are now part of the Post-Panamax vessel infrastructure at Florida’s Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT). The cranes, which will operate using regenerative power, have the capability to reach 22 containers across. Located at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Terminal, the state-of-the-art cranes are expected to be operational by year’s end.


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