Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


September 1, 2018

BC’s coastal waters are getting a much-needed boost in oil spill response operations and equipment. The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has entered into a lease agreement with the City of Nanaimo, located on Vancouver Island, to construct a new centralized hub for WCMRC bases. More than 130,000 square feet of land that fronts Nanaimo Harbour will be used for the project, which, when construction is complete, will house 35 full-time response personnel and 15 response vessels.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

In India, off the Car Nicobar Island, in the Bay of Bengal, Swaraj Dweep, a passenger/cargo ship suffered a cargo hold leak which resulted in major flooding that proved too much for the vessel’s onboard pumps to manage. Luckily, the area Coast Guard arrived before too long, and work was carried out to dewater the hold and halt flooding. Passengers were taken off the stricken ship by another vessel, and there were no injuries sustained in the process.

In the Netherlands, a fire that began in the engine room quickly made its way through the Stella Maris self-propelled barge, engulfing the wheelhouse in the blaze. The sole occupant of the vessel was rescued without incident. Nearby fire departments were dispatched to help extinguish the fire once a workboat helped get the barge to shore for the fire-fighting operation.

In Rafina, Greece, a mechanical failure was responsible for the allision between a high-speed catamaran passenger ferry and a breakwater on the Flyingcat 4’s approach to dock. The vessel had six crew and 209 passengers on board at the time of the incident, but no one was hurt. Area Coast Guard vessels were used to ferry the passengers from the breakwater to shore.

Running out of gas is not a good thing on the water, as the operator and three passengers found out when the 15-foot motorboat they were in, was hit by a multiple-barge tow on the Upper Mississippi near Red Wing Marina. The force of the impact threw the two of the passengers into the water. Between a nearby Good Samaritan boater, the motorboat’s operator, and the barge crew, the two passengers made it to safety.

Piracy Pulse

At Chittagong Anchorage, Bangladesh, the aft mooring ropes were the target of choice when eight knife-wielding bandits got themselves aboard an anchored bulk carrier. Along the way, they tied the deck watchman up, then took off with the stolen goods.

One single would-be thief tried to get aboard an anchored product tanker at Lagos Secure Anchorage, Nigeria. After tying his boat up to the anchor chain, an eagle-eyed AB spotted him and informed the Master. The alarm was raised, the crew mustered, and the robber quickly departed without anything to show for his efforts.

Near Bayelsa, Nigeria, a long skiff was spotted by a tug’s duty officer as it was being lowered from a nearby fishing vessel. On board the skiff was a group of bandits, determined to close the gap between them and the tug. The quick action of the Master saw the tug increase speed, while the alarm was raised. The weather was fairly rough at the time, and the tug continued to try to evade the thieves who made a marathon five-hour chase out of their scheme, but they eventually gave up.

Odds and Ends

Two new 22,000 TEU container vessels are now under construction for CMA CGM, part of a new fleet deal signed last year between CMA CGM and China State Shipbuilding Corporation. The 400-meter vessels will have capacity for 2,200 4-foot refrigerated containers and be powered by LNG engines, reportedly the first container vessels of this size to use this greener-burning fuel.

Early October will see the maiden voyage of American Song, a new modern-constructed riverboat. Built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding, the floating 5-deck vacation ship, will carry up to 190 passengers. Besides being powered by Caterpillar main engines and Azimuth forward and aft propellers, the state-of-the-art vessel also boasts a unique retractable gangway that can be fully deployed from the ship’s bow.

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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