Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


By 2020, Rolls-Royce hopes to bring to the shipping world a cutting-edge fleet of human-less ships. Working with various partnerships that include Finnish government investing body DIMECC and Norway’s Maritime Administration’s Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships, Rolls-Royce hopes to help cut shipping expenses by nearly 20 percent. Meantime, seafaring labor unions are up in arms about what that would mean from both a vessel safety perspective and the potential loss of jobs.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

The inhalation of toxic fumes from a gas leak was responsible for killing one crewmember and hospitalizing three others working aboard the Vimaru Pearl cargo ship on its way to the Philippines from Vietnam.

Off Newfoundland, Canada, an engine room fire brought sailing to a halt in Cabot Strait for 13 crewmembers aboard the Thorco Crown cargo ship. Despite the fire being extinguished, the vessel could not continue on without a tow. The Coast Guard arrived to assist and no one was injured in the incident.

High winds in the port of Timaru, New Zealand, were responsible for the cruise ship Seabourn Encore snapping from its moorings and crashing into another berthed vessel.

In England, high winds resulted in the the Ben-my-Chree ferry crashing into King Edward Pier as she arrived in Douglas Harbour on the Isle of Man. The pier sustained significant damage but no passengers or crew were hurt.

Near Tonga in the South Pacific, six fishermen used an EPIRB to get assistance when their fishing vessel took on water after its battery-operated motor stopped working. The German cruise ship Albatros, closest to the distressed vessel’s location, was dispatched 186 miles to rescue the crew who reportedly had not had any fresh drinking water for three days.

Piracy Pulse

In Peru, at Callao Anchorage, a crewmember aboard an anchored bulk carrier was tied up by four raiders who stealthily got aboard with a climbing rope. The thieves then proceeded to take crew personal items and some ship stores before leaving the ship.

A band of three robbers brandishing knives were able to get aboard an anchored bulk carrier in Sierra Leone, and make away with ship properties, threatening one crewmember in the process.

In Bangladesh, at Chittagong Anchorage once again, knife-wielding pirates were able to board a vessel – this time, an anchored container ship – and make off with a number of ship’s stores despite the alarm being raised.

Still in Bangladesh, this time near Kutibidia Island, paint was stolen from an anchored OSV by an apparent overnight raid by a group of bandits.

Odds and Ends

In 2010, specialty cruise ship, the Clipper Adventurer grounded after hitting an unchartered rock in Nunavut in the vicinity of Kugluktuk. Nunavut is a massive, sparsely populated territory of northern Canada, forming most of the Canadian arctic Archipelago. The ship’s owner, Adventure Canada, tried to argue that the Canadian government had not warned the vessel of the navigational obstruction, but the judge in the case said it was clear the Coast Guard had informed the captain and crew via a shipping notice, which was apparently not among the ship’s reports. As a result, the company was fined approximately $500,000 for the damage it caused to the environment.

In 2016, a deadly decision by a relief captain caused the towboat Ricky J Leboeuf to capsize and sink in the San Jacinto River, killing one of five crewmembers. The vessel was transiting in the barge fleeting area near Channelview, Texas and had encountered high water conditions, due to a series of storms that had pummelled the area with a significant amount of rain. Advisories were issued by the US Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Houston/Galveston, which included advising against attempting a downstreaming maneuver. Despite this, the relief captain executed the move, which resulted in the disaster.

Have questions?

Could be about news, trends, basic industry terms, ‘how-it’s-done’ or something you’re observing in your own industry sector. Send them to and I’ll do my best to answer them, either by email or in one of my upcoming columns (where first name-only references will be used).


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