Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


May 1, 2019

The Port of Vancouver BC, Canada’s largest port, handled a record 147 million tons of cargo in 2018, reportedly an increase in volume of 3.5 percent over the previous year. Additionally, the Port enjoyed a 5.5 percent increase in cruise passenger numbers.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

Near the Farasan Islands in Saudi Arabia, the ro/ro vessel Al Fayrouz suffered a fire which destroyed the ship. Luckily, area border guards and the Saudi Arabian navy were able to safely rescue the 31 crew aboard.

A ship moving faster than it should have in the Kiel-Holtenau Lock in Kiel in Germany resulted in the BBC Amethyst cargo vessel alliding with the lock control center. Two people inside the center were unharmed. The ship was entering the lock from the Baltic Sea when the incident occurred, and also ended up damaging portions of the quay.

In a bizarre incident in Brazil, at the Port of Santos, a runaway truck with no driver slammed into the ro/ro ship Grande San Paolo, resulting in the vessel catching fire. Thankfully no one was hurt, and a small amount of damage was done to the ship.

Exposure to phosphene gas was responsible for a crewmember being medevaced from the freighter Great Fluency that was transiting near Washington’s Strait of Juan De Fuca. An area Coast Guard response boat was dispatched to help transport the injured man to a shore-based medical facility.

Near Galveston, Texas, a crewmember aboard the tanker Lotus suffered injuries while on duty and had to be medevaced by area Coast Guard response boat to the Galveston Coast Guard Station.

Three people had to be air-rescued from the fishing boat Miss Saturia after it sank off Naples, Florida. Reportedly two cruise ships, Rotterdam and Norwegian Pearl were also involved in helping figure out the location of the vessel, with the Norwegian Pearl diverting to help in the search. After the fish boat’s crew set off its EPIRB beacon, area Coast Guard were able to finally reach the crew waiting in an inflatable life raft and get them to safety.

Piracy Pulse

At Jose Terminal Anchorage in Venezuela, five knife-wielding marauders got aboard an anchored tanker and into the paint store after tying up the aft watch keeper. Despite the alarm being raised, they were still able to escape with stolen goods.

In Nigeria, at the Lagos Secure Anchorage region, oil was stolen off an anchored product tanker by two robbers who used a hose pipe. However, their mission was interrupted by a navy patrol boat that was dispatched and able to stop the bandits from getting away Scott-free.

In the Philippines, at Manila South Quarantine Anchorage, the bosun store was infiltrated by a band of robbers who stealthily removed razor wire at the hawse pipe to get at their target. The group were able to get away with their prizes from the anchored container ship.

Odds and Ends

Royal Caribbean International recently took delivery of its new Quantum-Ultra class ship built for the growing Chinese cruise market. The massive floating vacation magnet, Spectrum of the Seas, constructed by Meyer Werft, boasts capacity for 4,246 passengers, along with a crew of 1,551, standing high above the waves with 18 decks.

In what’s being touted as an historic agreement, the first Great Lakes US-flagged bulk carrier in 35 years is under construction. The project partners are Interlake Steamship Co. and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The 639-foot vessel will be a self-unloading bulk carrier which will carry raw materials throughout the Great Lakes region.

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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