Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


June 1, 2018

Recently the maximum allowable vessel beam for Neopanamax vessels transiting the Panama Canal was extended to 168.14 feet, enabling even more giant ships to keep global trade moving.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

A gas leak was responsible for killing two crewmembers and injuring a third aboard the COSCO-owned and operated Feng Hui Ha bulker. The vessel was transporting a load of coal and was in the vicinity of Navlakhi, Gujarat, India, when the incident occurred. An investigation into the accident was underway at the time of this writing.

In Texas, at Matagorda Bay, crews had to be evacuated after a fire quickly erupted on a dredge that hit a gas pipeline. The Jonathan King Boyd was in the middle of dredging operations when the incident occurred. Thankfully the crew suffered no injuries.

In British Columbia, a routine rescue boat safety drill turned out to be dangerous for two crewmembers of the BC Ferry fleet’s Queen of Cumberland. The two were retrieving the boat and getting it back onto the ferry when one of the boat’s davits gave way, sending them both into the water. They were wearing helmets and survival suits at the time. As it turns out, another rescue boat had to be dispatched to help the two get to safety.

A cargo vessel grounded on a reef near Fulidhoo Island in the Indian Ocean. The Maavaa Star subsequently sank but all crew were safety rescued.

In another grounding, this time in New Zealand, the commercial long-liner fishing vessel Jay Patricia foundered just off the entrance of the Waipaoa River. Eventually a Harbor tug freed the vessel and master and crew continued on their journey.

In Argentina, operations at terminals were slowed at the General San Martín port after the Ocean Treasure cargo vessel hit a dock, causing some damage and slightly injuring one person working nearby.

Piracy Pulse

A brazen pack of six robbers were unsuccessful in their mission to steal items from an anchored cargo vessel at the Chittagong Anchorage in Bangladesh, India. Although one bandit, brandishing a knife, was able to get aboard, the attempt at threatening the crew was soon thwarted when the alarm was raised.

At Douala Port in Cameroon, an onboard security guard fired a warning shot to dissuade two marauders who tried to climb scaffolding that has been placed at the stern of an offshore support vessel. An eagle-eyed Duty Watchman was able to get word to the security guard, and subsequently, the two robbers made their escape, empty-handed.

Robbers who were able to get into the engine room of a bulk carrier near Nongsa, Pulau Batam, Indonesia, still left the ship without any loot once the alarm was raised.

A group of four pirates fired on a bulk carrier underway near Brass, Nigeria, damaging some of the vessel’s equipment and accommodation areas. In this case, the thieves were able to get their hands on ship properties, and some cash before making their getaway.

Odds and Ends

Recently, ground was broken on a new cruise terminal specifically dedicated to Norwegian Cruise Lines at PortMiami. The new facility will enable the Port to receive Norwegian vessels carrying more than 5,000 passengers and crew. The newest vessel in the fleet, the Norwegian Encore is set to make its debut at the terminal once construction is completed in the second half of 2019.

Successful first tests were carried out on what is being touted as the world’s first autodocking operations. Wärtsilä’s new technology was put into motion on the Norled-owned 83-meter ferry Folgefonn, allowing a “hands-off” approach to docking via software automation. The software can also be used to depart docks as well. The system gradually slows transit speed from about 200 meters out from the dock then puts the docking manoeuvres into motion right up until the ship is accurately berthed. While the software takes control of the vessel, manual control can override it at any time.

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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