Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


April 1, 2019

The IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment is working to ensure the safety of lifting equipment such as anchor handling winches and cranes. The hope is to soon have industry-wide SOLAS regulations and guidelines for using preventative measures in operation, avoiding accidents with people, vessels, and the environment.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

In Antarctica, the US Coast Guard cutter Polar Star suffered an incinerator room fire several hundred miles from McMurdo Sound. The firefighting crew battled the blaze for nearly two hours and were able to contain the inferno from spreading beyond the incinerator housing. There were no injuries among the 150-person crew.

An unsuspecting moored support vessel was hit by a bulk carrier in Singapore off Tuas in the Straits of Johor. The 84-meter-long Polaris was minding her own business when she was scraped by the 225-meter-long Pireas who was on her way to Tanjung Pelepas. Luckily there were no injuries or any pollution spill in the incident.

A sobering incident resulting in death in Sydney, Australia aboard the passenger ferry Lady Rose resulted in the call for better management of waste water systems such as chemical toilets. The area in question on the vessel was searched by HAZMAT crews who determined a large amount of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas in the room. At time of writing, it was unclear the exact cause of the passenger’s death, but looks likely this nasty gas played a part. Installing appropriate gas detection sensors has been suggested as a possible solution.

Piracy Pulse

In Nigeria near South of Brass, a large band of would-be thieves set their caps on a tanker that was under way. But the group of 16 was still unable to get to their intended target, even after they fired at the ship. A combination of raising the alarm and asking for help from a nearby security vessel were enough to send the marauders packing.

Still in Nigeria, this time near Bayelsa, three crewmembers experienced the wrath of five armed pirates who decided to kidnap their live bounty from a landing craft that was transiting the area. Subsequently, the ship headed for safety followed by a naval escort, and eventually, the three hostages were safely released.

Ship’s stores were taken from a berthed product tanker in the Port of Monrovia, Liberia, after a lone bandit, who carried a knife, got aboard the vessel. The alarm was raised but it didn’t stop the robber from taking loot away.

Odds and Ends

An unusual sea rescue call was made to the cruise ship Regal Princess while she was en-route to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Passengers had their vacation interrupted when the vessel was asked by the US Coast Guard to divert to the scene of an aviation crash in the vicinity. Two small aircraft survivors were picked up by the passenger ship’s rescue boat as overhead surveillance was carried out by the Coast Guard to ensure all was well.

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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