Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


January 1, 2019

Ten women from around the world are learning more about port industry innovations, thanks to an IMO initiative. The selected participants, who attended the Port Senior Management Program held at the Galilee International Management Institute in late 2017, are taking a two-week fellowship program courtesy of the IMO’s Women in Maritime program.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

Two of 53 passengers aboard the ferry MS San Francisco were injured when the vessel inadvertently hit a pier in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building. Both the ferry and pier sustained damage, and an apparent mechanical issue was blamed for the incident.

In the Gulf of Mexico, off Grande Isle outside of Louisiana, the lift boat Ram XVIII had to be evacuated after it lost power and began listing heavily. Area Coast Guard personnel and a nearby offshore supply vessel helped get 15 people to safety.

Near Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, an accident in the engine room of the cruise ship Norwegian Escape required the evacuation of two crewmen who suffered burns. While the onboard medical team helped stabilize the two, they were sent to an onshore hospital to receive further medical attention.

Asphyxiation is believed to have been the cause of death for three crewmembers who were working in the cargo hold of the Apollo Kita cargo vessel on her way to Hannan, Japan from Kalimantan, Malaysia. The three were rushed to hospital after they were found but it was too late.

Piracy Pulse

In Guinea, near Conakry Anchorage, the AB aboard an anchored bulk carrier was threatened and taken hostage by eight bandits intent on him taking them to the bridge. But that wasn’t all. Once there, the sinister group also grabbed the Second Officer and took both hostages to the Master’s accommodations. The Master was struck by the conniving thieves who upped the ante by threatening to fire on the Second Officer. They then ransacked the ship’s safe and also gathered various personal belongings. If that wasn’t enough, they kept their hostages close until they could make their getaway in boats that were waiting to speed away.

Near Chittagong Outer Anchorage in Bangladesh, three marauders got themselves onto a container vessel during anchoring operations. They positioned themselves on the poop deck, and then subsequently threatened the Second Officer, who had arrived to investigate the unwanted arrivals, with a knife. Despite this, the bandits were still able to make off with some of the ship’s stores.

Some scary moments aboard an LNG tanker that was underway near Bonny, Nigeria. The vessel was pursued by a group of nine would-be thieves who repeatedly gave chase, even firing on the ship during the incident. But they were thwarted by the evasive tactics the Master and crew implemented to send them packing.

Odds and Ends

The first fully autonomous ferry successfully completed a voyage along an archipelago near Turku in Finland. The Falco car vessel was able to navigate autonomously using state-of-the-art intelligence technologies built by Rolls-Royce who partnered with Finferries on the project. A combination of high-tech sensors and artificial intelligence helped the ferry undertake collision avoidance and berth using an autonomous navigation system.

The first cruise vessels to be powered with liquefied biogas will be coming online in the next decade. Norway’s Hurtigruten, touted as the world’s largest cruise expedition operator, has laid out plans to use the fossil-free fuel in combination with large battery packs and LNG, on six of its 17 ships. Hurtigruten will also reportedly be introducing the first battery-hybrid cruise ship in 2019, which is being built by Kleven Yards of Norway.

The first all-electric ferry operated by Bangkok Metropolitan Authority in Thailand began service in late 2018. The 47.5-foot fiberglass vessel, which carries up to 40 passengers, offers daily service on its Hua Lampjong and Thewes Pier route.

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).

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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