Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


September 1, 2017

The IMO recently released a new video on search and rescue operations in polar waters. This follows on the heels of a video created on the IMO Polar Code, published in May 2017. Concerns have been raised that there isn’t enough marine infrastructure to support these kinds of operations, in addition to having to deal with harsh weather conditions and vast remote stretches of open-ocean. Being able to effectively monitor ship movements and respond to crises can also be affected by the current state of limited satellite communications.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

Near St. Helena Bay, South Africa, a crewman was subsequently taken off ship to receive further medical assistance ashore after he fell on board the New Taizhou cargo vessel, suffering from pain in his back as well as lacerations.

In New Zealand, a pilot aboard the containership Shansi assisting in docking the vessel had to contact local maritime authorities, as the captain seemed under the influence of alcohol. Turns out he was, after taking a Breathalyzer test. He was subsequently arrested and charged for his offense.

More than 20 people were injured near Isla Magueyes in Lajas, Puerto Rico, after the 33-foot passenger vessel Andrea and the commercial passenger vessel La Nena II collided. At the time of the incident, the Andrea had 10 passengers on board and the La Nena II was carrying 28 passengers and two crew. Luckily everyone was accounted for after the collision.

A US man has been charged with the murder of his wife while the two were vacationing in Southeast Alaska on board the Emerald Princess cruise ship. Reportedly by the time the vessel’s security and personnel responded to the situation, the woman had already died, and it was evident she had suffered a severe wound to her head.

Piracy Pulse

In the Philippines at Manila South Harbour Anchorage, two robbers were able to get away with ship properties after they stealthily got aboard a containership by the hawse pipe.

Near Bonny, Nigeria, a refrigerated cargo ship was fired on by four pirate boats who gave chase until the vessel executed evasive maneuvers.

At Singatac Anchorage, Pulau Bintan, Indonesia, four marauders were able to get aboard the stern of an anchored offshore supply vessel before being thwarted by a duty AB who alerted the duty officer. The officer subsequently sounded the ship’s whistle, turned on the searchlights and yelled at the would-be thieves. The robbers escaped empty-handed.

Bad weather was a good thing for a bulk carrier underway near Dakar, Senegal, when pirates in a fishing boat tried to come alongside and board the vessel. The combination of foul seas, evasive maneuvers and the alarm being raised, dashed the hopes of the band getting their hands on anything.

Odds and Ends

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders have the proud distinction of having built Lindblad Expeditions’ brand new expedition vessel, National Geographic Quest, the first to be American-constructed for more than a decade. The 100-passenger vessel has already completed her maiden voyage to Southeast Alaska. National Geographic Venture, Quest’s sister ship is expected to begin plying the waters sometime in 2018.

The president of Cruise Lines International Association North West & Canada, Greg Wirtz, has expressed concerns that Vancouver, BC no longer has the capacity to accommodate the expanded cruise ship presence that’s been building over the past several years. Reportedly, business from visiting cruise ships and their passengers totaled approximately $1 billion in 2016. The infrastructure is woefully in need of updating for the larger-sized cruise vessels, particularly since the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority recently closed the Ballantyne Pier, leaving the congested one-terminal, three-berth Canada Place facility to handle the increase in cruise traffic. Additionally, larger cruise ships are unable to navigate under the Lion’s Gate suspension bridge due to its height limitations, resulting in cruise lines deciding to homeport elsewhere.

The Hong Kong Marine Department has put forth safety recommendations to all ship owners, operators, masters and crews, after a fatal mooring operation accident. The incident occurred aboard a bulk carrier. Apparently, the forward spring line became stuck beneath the berth fender and tightened, subsequently releasing itself quickly and striking the ordinary seaman on duty at the time. It was found that an unfortunate chain of events caused the death of the OS. The chief officer in charge did not carry out his duties efficiently, failing to alert the OS to keep away from the area. Other procedural failures included lack of effective communications during the operation and improper preparation of the crew to carry out their mooring duties.

Kathy Smith writes for global maritime trade journals and provides marketing copy to maritime businesses worldwide. She can be reached at


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