Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


March 1, 2020

In a first of its kind operation, two Tote Maritime Alaska Orca-class ro/ro vessels will be upgraded to LNG while still in service. Midnight Sun and North Star trailerships provide much-needed supplies to arctic communities, arriving twice a week in Anchorage, Alaska from Tacoma, Washington. The conversions are being carried out in phases during a four-year period.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

The crew of a bitumen tanker had to be rescued after the ship began taking on water. Despite using pumps to try to contain the rapid flooding, the Reem 5, which had been transiting in the Arabian Sea from Basrah to Hazira, India, lost her battle to stay afloat. The bulk carrier Ganga K was in the area and was dispatched by the Indian Coast Guard to assist after receiving Reem 5’s distress call. Thankfully all crew were safety taken off the stricken vessel without injury.

Near Nacala, Mozambique, a challenging situation developed for crew aboard the EM Oinousses containership. First, they faced dealing with a fire that started in the engine room. After successfully extinguishing the flames, they had to be rescued as the ship’s steering function had been compromised. All this while the vessel was also battling rough weather. Luckily, the crew of two KOTUG rotortugs, RT Spirit and RT Magic, were able to come to the EM Oinousses’ aid after receiving her Mayday call.

Proper use of an EPRIB resulted in the safe rescue of three crewmembers aboard the tug Gulf Man that had taken on water near Andros Island, Bahamas. Area Coast Guard were dispatched and deployed a helicopter to successfully hoist the three off the 62-foot vessel.

Four crewmembers had to be rescued from the Everett Fisher dredge barge after it began to flood near Port Lavaca, Texas. The Dana Robyn towboat was called to provide assistance and was able to take the crew off the barge, after pushing it until she ran aground. Subsequently, Everett Fisher was raised and removed from the Matagorda Ship Channel.

Piracy Pulse

A band of five pirates chased and fired upon a tanker that was transiting near Bonny, Nigeria. But they were thwarted when warning shots were fired by the tanker’s armed security team. The marauders engaged in the battle and fired back, but then thought better of pressing their mission and left.

In another fiery exchange, this time near Bayelsa, Nigeria, a container vessel that was underway had to take evasive action. The alarm was raised, and the onboard armed guard pursued an exchange of gunshots with 15 bandits focused on chasing and firing on the ship. In the end, the would-be robbers decided to abandon their attempt to gain the upper hand.

Odds and Ends

Mardi Gras, the first LNG-powered cruise vessel in North America, will begin service in late 2020. The 5,200-passenger vessel is the largest ship in Carnival Cruises’ fleet to date. Mardi Gras will be homeported at Port Canaveral where its new 163 million cruise ship facility is expected to open in May this year.

Waiting too long to report a ship in distress resulted in the Master of the Asphalt Spirit being fined AUD $3,000. The tanker had been on her way to Australia from Korea, with 14,000 metric tons of asphalt aboard, when her main engine broke down near Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island late last year. As a result, the ship drifted without power and ran the risk of grounding and creating an environmental disaster. According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Master delayed reporting the situation for six hours after the initial incident occurred.

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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