The Maritime Executive 2020-11-25T22:33:50-05:00 <![CDATA[The Outlines of a European Strategy on the Indo-Pacific]]> [By Lisa Louis]

The Netherlands recently published its first official strategy paper for the Indo-Pacific, just ten weeks after Germany had brought out its own. The two countries are now part of a club of three in Europe, after France led the way in 2018.

In the diplomatic world, this feels like lightning speed.

And Amsterdam is stating clearly where this new approach is supposed to lead: “The Netherlands believes that it is desirable for the European Union to develop its own vision of the Indo-Pacific,” reads the country’s strategy paper (so far only available in Dutch).

That statement should come as no surprise to analysts, says Céline Pajon, research fellow at the Centre for Asian Studies at the French Institute of International Relations, a Paris-based think tank. “It’s the logical consequence of what’s been going on behind the scenes for years, where especially the French have been pushing for a European approach.”

The very existence of these papers makes for a fascinating recognition of what is often remarked to be the shifting economic and geopolitical centre of gravity in international relations towards the Indian and Pacific oceans.

The German and Dutch strategies are both comprehensive and include areas such as climate change, peace and security in the region, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The two countries make the case for free trade and enhanced connectivity, with the Germans putting an extra emphasis on closer cultural cooperation. All this under multilateral umbrellas, such as the United Nations or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Economics is in large part what is driving this shift. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated in the strategy paper that his country’s prosperity would in the coming decades “depend on how we work together with the countries of the Indo-Pacific region”. Meanwhile the Dutch also emphasise that developments in the Indo-Pacific will have “direct consequences for our prosperity and security”.

Asia indeed accounted for more than 60% of global economic growth in 2018 and 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund. German exports to the Indo-Pacific rose by 7% in recent years, while the country’s exports overall went up by only 3%. About a fifth of all Dutch imports come from Asia.

Keeping shipping routes safe will be crucial to keep up that pace. About 90% of global trade is conducted by sea, with two thirds passing through the Indo-Pacific.

But this is not only about strengthening economic ties – it’s also about diversification. Europe seems to want to decrease its dependency on China. The country is both Germany’s and the Netherlands’ biggest trading partner in the region.

And the Covid-19 crisis has further highlighted how being dependent on China can lead to bottlenecks for certain goods, such as medical equipment. The new strategy papers of both countries specifically mention South Korea, New Zealand, India and Australia as alternative trading partners. As memorably described by Bonn Juego, a researcher on international relations with a focus on Asia at Finland’s University of Jyväskylä, this diversification amounts to an “enlargement of the shopping basket”.

Lake Tai, the largest freshwater lake in China, located in Jiangsu province (European Space Agency/Flickr)

Keeping a careful watch on the risks in dealing with China also seems an imperative, given the rising international criticism of Beijing’s policies at home, including a crackdown on opposition in Hong Kong and reports of Uighur internment camps in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

And German companies, which have so far shown a strong preference for realpolitik, seem to have understood that they could benefit from their government asking Beijing to respect rule of law. As Juego puts it, “That’s actually good for their business – it gives them security.”

The danger was apparent in 2016 when robot maker Kuka – with headquarters in the German city of Augsburg but factories in China – was taken over by Chinese appliance maker Midea Group. The episode was seen as a reminder of how important it can be to protect European intellectual property.

What’s more, Germany and the Netherlands – just like France – seem to want to break away from too strong a dependency on the US, and stay clear of the economic battle lines between Washington and China. Germany specifically warns “a new bipolarity with fresh dividing lines across the Indo-Pacific would undermine [our economic] interests”.

That awareness of the downsides of getting caught up in between the lines will not go away, even if a newly elected President Joe Biden promises calmer waters than those under Donald Trump.

Thus the German strategy even includes a military element.

Berlin pledges to expand its security and defence cooperation and participate in maritime exercises in the region. A first warship, the frigate Hamburg, is to be sent there next year, a plan currently slightly delayed by the pandemic.

Such a military push, albeit a timid one, is not natural at all for a country that has been, at least since the end of the Second World War, regarded as pacifist and whose military is constitutionally defined as purely defensive (although it has increasingly contributed to UN and NATO operations in conflict prevention and crisis response).

France has no such compunction. In the 2018 French Indo-Pacific strategy, there is an emphasis on defending French sovereignty in the region as a resident power. Paris has several overseas territories with roughly 1.5 million inhabitants in the Indo-Pacific and about 8000 soldiers already based in the region.

How these diverging perspectives can be merged into one European strategy remains to be seen. Even within the German government, opinions seem to differ, with Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer recently stressing that “Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a security provider” – and the focus of her comment was the European continent. This led French President Macron to call these words “a historical misinterpretation”. For all the change these papers presage, the age-old search for common European stance will go on.

Lisa Louis is a Paris-based freelance journalist working for international TV, radio, and online outlets.  Lisa studied international economics in her home country Germany and has been living in France for more than ten years.

This article appears courtesy of The Lowy Interpreter and may be found in its original form here.

<![CDATA[Three Crewmembers Rescued From Barge After Tug Sinks off Rhode Island]]> On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued three crewmembers from a small barge after their tug sank off Point Judith, Rhode Island.

At about 0815 hours, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England received a VHF mayday call from the tug Warhawk. The crew reported that their vessel was taking on water, and it had a barge in tow. 

A Coast Guard Station Point Judith response boat crew launched to assist. A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod helicopter crew and the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Coho also launched to assist.

Images courtesy USCG

When the response boat arrived on scene, the tug was completely submerged and all three Warhawk crewmembers were on the barge. The boat crew rescued them and transported them back to the station. No injuries were reported.

Watchstanders have issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners about the potential hazard to navigation. The Coast Guard is working with the Warhawk's owner to salvage the tug and barge.

<![CDATA[Bristol Bay Fishermen Thank USACE for Pebble Mine Permit Decision]]> In an unexpected turn, the Army Corps of Engineers has denied a Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Pebble Mine, a open-pit copper extraction project located near the headwaters of the world's largest sockeye salmon run. The Pebble site contains one of the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in the world, and its backers have signaled their intention to appeal. 

"In its record of decision, USACE determined that the applicant’s plan for the discharge of fill material does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines and concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest," the agency's Alaska District said in a statement.

Pebble Partnership's share price fell from $0.87 to $0.40 within hours of the announcement. The project's opponents hailed the decision as a recognition of the Pebble Mine's risk to the billion-dollar-per-year Bristol Bay fishery. 

“A permit denial from the Army Corps is a triumph for the people of Bristol Bay who have fought tirelessly against Pebble mine for well over a decade," said Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) president and CEO Jason Metrokin. "We thank the Corps for acknowledging this reality in its decision."

“Sometimes a project is so bad, so indefensible, that the politics fall to the wayside and we get the right decision. That is what happened today,” Tim Bristol, the executive director of SalmonState, which represents Alaska's salmon fishing industry. 

“The opposition to this project from all corners of the political spectrum runs strong and deep. The process has played out, and the science is clear. There is no way this ill-conceived project can coexist with Bristol Bay salmon,” said Nelli Williams, the Alaska director of sport fishing organization Trout Unlimited. “The denial of Pebble’s permit is a victory for American jobs, rural communities, and a fishing and hunting paradise long threatened by this shortsighted and reckless proposal."

“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s Permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work, asking the Environmental Protection Agency to reestablish protections for Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act,” said Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay Executive Director Katherine Carscallen. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized."

The Pebble Mine has come down a long road. The mine was proposed in the 2000s with backing from Northern Dynasty Minerals, an NYSE-listed firm sharing an address and a management team with Canadian mining company Hunter Dickinson. It has faced stiff opposition from salmon fishermen and Bristol Bay residents for years. 

 In 2014, the EPA halted the mine's permitting process, finding that the project posed unacceptable levels of risk to Bristol Bay's salmon runs. Risks EPA identified included salmon habitat loss; elevated levels of dissolved copper in stream water; and (in the worst case) mine waste containment failure. The risk of low-level release of copper into the watershed was a particular concern, as research suggests that copper is hazardous to salmon at concentrations measured in millionths of a gram per liter.

In July 2019, under new leadership, the EPA reversed its decision and allowed permitting to proceed once more. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a draft Environmental Impact Statement in February 2020. The draft document was widely seen as favorable to the mine's development, and it drew considerable controversy. 

"The draft EIS . . . lacks critical detail and contains an unacceptable number of deficiencies, omissions and errors. In many cases its conclusions are clearly wrong," wrote Rich Borden, the former head of environment for Rio Tinto’s Copper and Diamonds Product Group in an op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News. 

Revisions and revelations

In August, the USACE asked Pebble's backers to revise its project plan. However, that did not dampen the mood at Pebble's offices: in a series of videoconference meetings recorded by undercover activists, Pebble's leadership team expressed confidence that the mine would still be approved, citing their close personal relationships with high-ranking political figures and regulators - including Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and the USACE Alaska District Regulatory Division's director, David Hobbie. The conversations also suggested that Pebble's executives expected a 200-year expanding operation at the mine site, not the constrained 20-year timeline described in their Clean Water Act permit application (and in statements to Congress). 

After these "Pebble Tapes" were released to the public, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan disavowed any ties to Pebble and said that they would oppose the project. Sen. Murkowski went further, promising to use the appropriations process as leverage to block the mine's development. The fallout continued in the House, where the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee launched an investigation into USACE's handling of the Pebble permit application process.

When USACE announced that it would deny the mine's permit application, the Pebble Partnership's share price fell from $0.87 to $0.40 within hours. Though the outcome is a setback, Pebble said that its work would continue. 

“Our team has worked closely with the USACE staff to understand their requirements for responsibly developing the project . . . All of these efforts led to a comprehensive, positive EIS for the project that clearly stated it could be developed responsibly. It is very disconcerting to see political influence in this process at the eleventh hour," said Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively in a statement. “For now, we will focus on sorting out next steps for the project including an appeal of the decision by the USACE."

<![CDATA[Video: Update on Progress with the First Cut into Golden Ray Wreck]]> Nearly three weeks after the cutting began on the wreck of the Golden Ray, the St. Simons Incident Response team reports that they are making progress although it has taken far longer than anticipated. 

The cutting operation began mid-day on November 6 after the VB-10000 heavy lift vessel had been positioned over the bow section of the capsized ro-ro in St. Simons Sound. While it is a very complex salvage operation, the cutting process was selected as it was believed it would be the fastest and most efficient of the options available to complete the salvage.


“The cutting process was carefully engineered and modeled, but it remains a highly complex operation. This is the first of seven cuts. During each cut we will continue fine-tuning our cutting parameters, including speed and tension of the chain, to improve its efficiency,” said Deputy Incident Commander Tom Wiker of Gallagher Marine Systems in a statement earlier in the cutting process. “Though the cut is taking longer than expected, we’re gaining valuable knowledge that will guide the rest of this operation.”

Since the cutting began, the engineers have also encountered several unforeseen issues. This included approximately 25 hours into the cut, the cutting chain broke. There were no injuries or damage to the VB-10000. Responders retrieved the chain and repaired the broken link while also inspecting the chain for any additional fatigue.



The cutting was also forced to briefly suspend operations and implement their heavy weather plan due to the expected impact of Tropical Storm Eta. The team used that pause to refine cutting equipment and methods to increase their efficiency. They made a number of modifications to the cutting apparatus which they reported would improve its performance.

At this point, the cutting has progressed through the keel, where they encountered as expected thick, dense structural steel. After gathering data and modifying operations, the engineers expect cutting to progress more quickly through the remainder of the section. 

The lift equipment remains on-site prepared to undertake the next step in the operation once the cut is completed. In the meantime, the team has also been responding to small environmental issues during the cutting process. A light oil sheening was observed on the water and a small amount of oil was recovered. Also, responders continue to recover small pieces of debris, some oiled, within the proximity of the wreck and at the shoreline. 

The team has not provided an updated timeline or a target for when they expect the first cut might be completed. 

<![CDATA[FMC Increases Reporting Requirements for Major Carrier Alliances]]> After announcing that it was opening an investigation into the tactics used on container fees and the logistical challenges, the Federal Maritime Commission announced that it has also increased the reporting requirements for the three global carrier alliances.  The limited carrier space to deal with the surge in shipping volumes and rise in rates has brought increasing scurrility on carriers with many countries calling for action.

The FMC announced that it has sent letters to the carrier alliances 2M, THE, and OCEAN, requiring that certain carrier-specific trade data historically filed quarterly must now be submitted monthly. The Commission’s Bureau of Trade Analysis determined that given recent fluctuations in the markets, they need to receive key trade data directly from alliance carriers on a more frequent basis to better position staff economists to timely evaluate changes in the transpacific and transatlantic trades and report findings to the commission.

According to the FMC, one of its core functions is the monitoring of ocean carrier alliance agreements analyzing the information from the ocean carrier alliance agreements, along with other information. The FMC determines trends in the marketplace and is seeking potentially illegal behavior.

The FMC review and oversight responsibility for filed agreements is ongoing and continues after a filed agreement has gone into effect. The FMC prioritizes the monitoring of more than 300 cooperative agreements giving a high priority and scrutiny to the three major global carrier alliances.

These three agreements have the greatest potential to cause or facilitate adverse market effects based on the agreement’s authority and geographic scope in combination with underlying market conditions says the FMC. The FMC is monitoring key economic indicators and changes to underlying market conditions for all global alliance agreements to detect any joint activity by agreement members that might raise and maintain freight rates above competitive levels, or unreasonably decrease services. 

“If we detect any indication of carrier behavior that may violate the Shipping Act’s section 6(g) competition standard, we will immediately seek to address these concerns with direct carrier discussions,” said Chairman Michael  Khouri. “If necessary, the FMC will go to federal court to seek an injunction to enjoin further operation of the alliance agreement.”

The pressures on the major carriers have been mounting since the summer. In September it was reported that China’s transport ministry summoned more than a dozen of the major carriers to a meeting to discuss rising rates and urging the shipping lines to take steps to slow the cost increases.

With demand unusually high there has been increasing speculation that carriers moved to lock in long-term rate increases while also benefitting from low oil prices. 

<![CDATA[Herman Sr. Selects Sea Machines’ Wireless Remote Helm System ]]> Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics, a leading developer of autonomous command and remote-helm control systems, announces today that Herman Sr. BV, a Netherlands-based tug and workboat company, will add a Sea Machines’ SM200 wireless, remote-helm control system to one of its Shoalbuster tugboats, the 23.35-meter Teddy, for the purposes of increasing productivity and operational safety during offshore operations. The SM200 provides wireless helm and propulsion control, as well as remote control of auxiliaries and payload equipment (including pumps, winches, anchor windlasses and more), freeing mariners from the wheelhouse to conduct operations from any location that offers the greatest visibility and safety. Sea Machines empowers the pilot to be in full control of the tugboat and on-board payloads with a direct local view of the task, as compared to conventional methods that often rely on signals relayed from another crew member to the wheelhouse.

Herman Sr. operates Teddy in offshore waters for a variety of marine projects, from towing and cable pulling to mooring and dredge support. 

“No longer bound to a fixed control station, our crew will use Sea Machines’ wireless helm to monitor operations from the tugboat’s upper decks or wherever visibility is greatest, a valuable capability that increases both productivity and safety,” said Herman Sr.’s Erwin van Dodewaard, operations manager. “This system is intuitive to use and, once installed, will be valuable to our crews as they operate our vessel Teddy during challenging projects, such as large and overweight offshore tows.” 

“Improving visibility and at-sea safety is a game-changer for any marine operator, but it is especially true for Herman Sr., which operates in challenging offshore conditions that include reduced visibility, waves and weather,” said Sea Machines’ Frank Relou, European business development manager. “Working conditions that fall into the ‘dull, dirty and dangerous’ category are ideally suited for our systems, as they support crews with new, innovative capabilities that deliver greater productivity, reliability and safety. We look forward to delivering the SM200 to Herman Sr. and the crew aboard Teddy.” 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) approved the SM200 for installation aboard an articulated tug-barge (ATB) class of U.S.- flag tugboats. An industry first in wireless vessel control, the two bodies granted their approvals after an exhaustive review of Sea Machines’ technology and the SM200’s applications aboard these tugs, deeming the system satisfactory for shipboard installation and trials.

Sea Machines’ SM Series of products, which includes both the SM200 and SM300, provides marine operators a new era of remote, task-driven, computer-guided vessel control, bringing advanced autonomy within reach for small- and large-scale operations. SM products are ideally suited for existing or new-build commercial vessels, including fireboats, commercial survey workboats, spill-response vessels, security/patrol/search-and-rescue craft, offshore wind support vessels, aquaculture workboats and others. 

<![CDATA[Prevention at Sea Signs Safety MoU with KPMG in Cyprus]]> Prevention at Sea Ltd (P@S) and KPMG in Cyprus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an aim to jointly design, develop and promote services and products that reduce safety risk to the maritime industry and ensure a safe business environment.

The MoU was signed by Mr. Petros Achtypis, CEO of P@S and Mr. George Tziortzis, Head of Management Consulting at KPMG in Cyprus.

Under the MoU, both companies will work collaboratively to promote mutually agreed projects and initiatives that support the digitalisation of the maritime industry with a focus on safety, efficiency and performance. P@S and KPMG will bring to the industry services and products aiming at minimising safety risks, particularly those associated with human born unsafe acts, as well as continuous compliance and operational excellence. 

Commenting on the collaboration, Mr. Petros Achtypis said: “We are extremely proud to be working in alliance with KPMG in Cyprus to develop and promote both existing and new expert maritime services, operational risk assessments and software products. Both companies are driven by determination and passion to make purposeful and significant contributions to the improvement of safety in the maritime industry. It is time two organisations serving the industry from different fields to join forces in making prevention a habit.” 

Mr. George Tziortzis commented: “KPMG in Cyprus is dedicated in supporting and promoting data-driven innovation to our communities, clients and ecosystem. We are excited to embark into a collaboration with Prevention at Sea, which will supplement the efforts made to better serve our customers, by enabling us to offer the best solutions that support safer and optimised maritime operations.”

<![CDATA[W?rtsil? to Provide Support for Eight Teekay Shipping LNG Carriers]]> The technology group Wärtsilä has signed LNG Support Agreements for eight LNG Carrier vessels owned by Teekay Gas, a part of the global Teekay Group. The two agreements, each for four vessels, were signed in August and September of this year. The agreements took effect from one month following their signing and are valid for 5 years. Wärtsilä has earlier supplied the LNG reliquefaction systems onboard all of the vessels covered by the agreements.

Under the contract terms, Wärtsilä will provide both remote support, as well as 24/7 technical support for the vessels’ onboard Gas Process Plants. In carrying out an analysis of the process plants, Wärtsilä utilises its digital OPERIM (Operational Performance Improvement & Monitoring) tool. This provides data to support performance improvements needed to achieve optimal efficiency, and allows adjustments to be made taking into account changes in the operating conditions.

“Lifecycle support to our customers’ installations is a central pillar in the strategy of Wärtsilä Gas Solutions. Agreements such as these are the best way for ensuring that the products, systems and solutions that we deliver are properly maintained, and that their reliability and performance are at the optimal level,” commented Rene Christian Olsen, Director Services, Gas Solutions.  

Wärtsilä has a long-standing relationship with Teekay, and has supplied multiple products for their fleet.

Wärtsilä Gas Solutions is a market leader with innovative systems and lifecycle solutions for the gas value chain. Our main focus areas are handling of gas in seaborne transport (storage, fuel, transfer and BOG management), gas to power, liquefaction and biogas solutions. We help our customers on the journey towards a sustainable future through focus on lifecycle, innovation and digitalization.

<![CDATA[Video: Good Samaritans Rescue Crew of Sinking Fishing Vessel]]> On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard worked with a good samaritan vessel to rescue five people after their fishing vessel began to sink at a position about 150 nautical miles south of Sabine Pass, Texas.

At about 2210 hours, the Coast Guard 8th District command center received an EPIRB alert registered to the Miss Lena, a commercial fishing vessel, at a position off Sabine Pass. Watchstanders also received an InReach text from a neighboring vessel reporting that the Miss Lena was taking on water and sinking.

Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston issued an urgent marine information broadcast and dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew. An Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew diverted from their flight to attend the scene. The fishing vessel Morning Star was 15 nautical miles away from the last known position of the Miss Lena and diverted to assist as well.

The Ocean Sentry aircraft crew arrived on scene and deployed an inflatable liferaft, and the five crewmembers recovered it and abandoned ship. All five safely embarked the liferaft and were safely recovered by the Morning Star. No injuries were reported.

A fishery observer from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aboard the Morning Star helped to relay communications to the Coast Guard during the rescue, drawing thanks from the 8th District.

"Having the proper emergency equipment onboard made a vast difference in helping our aircrew quickly locate and render assistance to the crewmembers in distress," said Lt. Cmdr. Ian Murray, command duty officer. "We thank our network of assisting organizations, including NOAA, and mariners . . . who were essential in the crewmembers safe recovery."

<![CDATA[Damen Delivers FCS 1204 to Total Offshore]]> On 18th November, Damen Shipyards Group delivered a Fast Crew Supplier 1204 to Total Offshore B.V. The crew transfer vessel is the first in the company’s fleet. They will use the FCS 1204, named Swift, to transport offshore personnel to wind farms in the North Sea. 

Damen and Total Offshore signed the contract on 7th October. Thanks to Damen’s practice of building standardised vessels in series for stock, the FCS 1204 was ready for delivery just over a month later, after some final preparations at Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld. 

The FCS 1204 is a versatile design that can be configured for diverse operations. As a crew transfer vessel, it can transport up to 12 industrial personnel. The vessel is lightweight, strong and durable. 

Onboard safety and comfort come courtesy of the FCS 1204 design’s proven semi Sea Axe Bow that enables the vessel to cut through waves and from its outstanding wheelhouse visibility and open deck area.

Damen sales manager Vincent de Maat said. “We are honoured that Total Offshore approached Damen for their first vessel. I’m confident that the FCS 1204 will serve their needs well. This vessel offers high levels of safety, comfort and reliability, well suited to the requirements of the offshore wind sector.”

Jan van Dam, one of the owners of Total Offshore said, “When we decided to enter the offshore crew transfer market, we were aware of Damen’s reputation in the industry. They responded quickly to our request, providing us with a suitable vessel in the fastest possible timeframe.”

<![CDATA[EGR Offered for Dual-Fuel ME-GA Engine]]> MAN Energy Solutions has announced that it is to offer its proprietary EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system as an emissions solution for its new, low-speed ME-GA engine, the Otto-cycle variant of its established ME-GI dual-fuel engine. EGR is a NOx-emissions-reduction technique that ensures IMO Tier III-compliance in both diesel and gas mode.

The company has long experience with the emission-reduction technology and reported the first order for an EGR system in 2011 when it was fully integrated within the MAN B&W 6S80ME-C9 main engine of a 4,500 teu containership newbuilding.

Thomas S. Hansen, Head of Promotion and Customer Support, MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Nine years have passed since our very first EGR system passed its Factory Acceptance Test, and the knowledge we have subsequently gained in the field has led to today’s fully-mature solution. Our EGR system not only achieves NOx-compliance, but also delivers a performance upgrade for both conventional and now ME-GA engines.”

MAN Energy Solutions reports that EGR will enable the ME-GA to reduce specific gas consumption by ~3%, and specific fuel-oil consumption by 5%. It will also significantly reduce methane slip by 30 to 50% and solve the issue related to pre-ignition on Otto-cycle engines.

Hansen continued: “With our hard-earned experience – added to the rigourous testing that all our EGR systems undergo – we are the de-facto market leader and play a vital role in decarbonising the maritime industry. Our robust EGR solutions fully integrate with other ship systems and are easily integrated with the ME-GA engine.”

MAN Energy Solutions states that it has received orders for over 241 engines with EGR, with more than 33 units already in service. The company expects to deliver the first, commercial ME-GA low-pressure dual-fuel engine by end-2021.

EGR solution

As previously stated, EGR will help reduce the ME-GA’s methane slip by 30 to 50%, while lowering specific gas consumption by around 3% and specific fuel-oil consumption in diesel mode by 5%. EGR will enable the ME-GA to meet Tier III requirements in both fuel oil and gas modes without additional aftertreatment.

MAN Energy Solutions plans to make the EGR option available from late 2021, concurrent with the introduction of the ME-GA. The company’s experience with designing and delivering low-pressure and high-pressure EGR versions has enabled it to bring the new solution to market in a relatively short time.

The ME-GA EGR solution is a high-pressure system, which can be integrated into existing engine-room designs, and the EGR unit itself does not change the engine footprint. Its design-similarity to that of ME-C engines’ EGR systems will lower its price point, since the supply chain and components are already matured.

The EGR system works through drawing around 30 to 50% of the engine’s exhaust gas into the EGR receiver, where it passes through a pre spray to lower its temperature, before passing through a cooler spray. After passing through a water-mist catcher, the gas then goes through a blower to increase pressure back up to scavenging air pressure, before being fed back into the compressor and the engine.

The volume requirements of the ME-GA EGR system are significantly lower with, for example, less pipework required than for low-pressure EGR solutions.

Introducing an EGR solution also improves the stability of the combustion process. MAN Energy Solutions is currently researching how far it can lower methane slip while maintaining a good equilibrium with recirculation.

<![CDATA[Korean Trade Commission Fines GTT Over LNG Licensing and Sales Tactics]]> In a dispute over licensing and sales tactics related to the construction of LNG ships, South Korea’s antitrust regulators took the unusual step of fining France’s Gaztransport & Technigaz S.A. (GTT) for unfair sales tactics and ordering a correction. GTT responded by disputing the decision saying it was an inseparable offering integral to the technology.

The dispute stems from the licensing of LNG technology to South Korea’s eight shipyards which are leaders in the construction of LNG carriers. GTT accounted for 95 percent of the global LNG ship cargo containment systems licensing market based on 2018 sales according to the Koreans giving the French company a lock of the market. 

According to South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, GTT had licensing agreements with the major shipyards for the patented technology but requiring the shipbuilders to also buy engineering services. The additional services included design, testing, and field inspections. The regulators ruled that this was an unfair trade practice linking the sale of services to the license and filed GTT $11.5 million.

“We expect the fine will improve competition and will lead to better pricing and quality by creating a condition in which new developers will be able to enter the LNG carrier containment system and engineering services market,” the FTC said in announcing its decision.

GTT responded in a written statement saying that it challenges the rationale of the decision and, upon receipt of the KFTC’s written decision, it intends to appeal the decision before the Seoul High Court requesting suspension of the decision. GTT emphasized its belief that the license of the technology and the technical assistance constitute an inseparable offering, which guarantees the integrity of its technologies, and that any separation could be detrimental to the entire LNG carrier industry.

Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, was quoted in the statement saying, “We are convinced that our commercial practices comply with the Korean competition rules and that the structuring of our offer, which has contributed for decades to the safe development of LNG maritime transport, makes it possible to provide our shipyard partners with ever more innovative, safe and efficient technologies, for the benefit of the entire industry.”

<![CDATA[Fincantieri Signs Agreement to Develop New Mexican Ship Repair Yard]]> Fincantieri announced plans to develop a new ship repair yard in coordination with the government in Mexico’s Yucatan state. Strategically located close to the cruise trade and oil and gas industry, the yard will feature some of the largest facilities in the Americas.

Under the terms of a letter of intent signed with the Ministry of Economic Development and Labour of the Yucatán State, Fincantieri will participate in the design and construction of the new ship repair, conversions, and maintenance yard. Fincantieri will advise during the construction phases and will be granted a 40-year concession for the exclusive management of the new yard.

The shipyard will be located at the Port of Progreso, the main port in the Yucatan, in a new expansion and modernization zone dedicated to industrial activities. It is anticipated that construction will begin in the first half of 2021 with the government managing the dredging and construction of infrastructure. The yard will be developed in phases, which they plan to complete by 2027.

Among the facilities planned for the yard are two masonry dry docks able to accommodate ships up to 400 meters (over 1,320 feet) in length. The largest dry docks in the Americas, the yard will be able to service large cruise and cargo ships as well the oil and gas sector. 

The yard will also have a lifting platform for units up to 150 meters in length, about 1,000 meters of docks, cranes, workshops, special equipment, offices, and warehouses. Once the shipyard reaches full operational capacity, it is anticipated that it will employ up to 700 full-time personnel as well as supporting a network of up to 2,500 people during peak times.

The new Progreso shipyard will be strategically placed to serve a broad range of the commercial shipping industry both with repairs and ongoing maintenance. The location and size of the facility will be especially important to the cruise industry which prefers yards close to the ship’s area of operations. The cruise industry supported the development and is a major customer of the shipyard at Freeport in the Bahamas because of its proximity to the cruise ships’ U.S. homeports. The location in Progresso also provides good access to the oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

<![CDATA[UN Received Approval to Board Decaying FSO Off War-Torn Yemen]]> After months of stalled negations, UN representatives said they have received official permission to inspect and repair an aging FSO off Ras Issa, Yemen. Since 2019, the UN has been sounding the alarm that the vessel built in 1976 and not maintained in over five years poised a serious environmental threat to the region.

The FSO Safer is believed to be holding about 1.1 million barrels of oil stored in her tanks. Called a ticking time bomb, the UN said that the condition of the 1,188-foot single-hull vessel was unknown. Visible signs of decay from lack of maintenance have led to several alarms that the vessel would cause an environmental disaster in the Red Sea. In addition, sitting near a port contested in the war, there are concerns that it could be shelled or damaged in the conflict.

In May 2020, there were reports of a small internal leak believed to be in the engine room. While repairs were made, the vessel’s owners said they were unable to maintain the tanker. There are also concerns because the vessel’s cargo has not been properly degassed in years raising fears of ignition in a catastrophe.  

The Houthi rebel forces that control the area have not allowed international inspectors to access the Safer, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. They repeated blocked attempts to send inspectors to the vessel and delayed negations for access.  

In his daily briefing on November 24, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said “I can tell you that we have now received an official letter from the de facto Ansar Allah authorities indicating their approval for the UN proposal for the planned expert mission to the tanker.” He said this followed several weeks of constructive technical exchanges on the activities that will be undertaken by the expert team.

The objective of the UN-led expert mission is to assess the vessel and undertake initial light maintenance, as well as to formulate recommendations on what further action is required to neutralize the risk of an oil spill.

The UN team will immediately focus on deployment preparations. This includes the procurement of necessary equipment, entry permits for the staff, agreement of a work-order system onboard, and logistical planning.  The de facto authorities have assured the UN that they will provide all the necessary facilitation to ensure that the expert team can deploy as quickly as possible.

The UN anticipates that its team will begin the work of stabilizing the vessel in January or February 2021.

<![CDATA[Video: USCG Medevacs Fisherman From Longliner in 25-Foot Swells]]> On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a fisherman from a longliner at a position about 70 miles northwest of Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea.

At 1900 hours on Monday, 17th District command center watchstanders received a medevac request from the fishing vessel Frontier Spirit. The crew reported that their chief engineer was experiencing abdominal pain. A Coast Guard duty flight surgeon confirmed that a medevac was recommended, and watchstanders dispatched a Jayhawk aircrew from Cold Bay, where the Coast Guard maintains a seasonal forward operating base.

The helicopter safely hoisted the 43-year-old man at about 1225 hours Tuesday. Winds were at 17 knots and seas were about 25 feet, typical surface conditions for the Bering Sea in winter. The aircrew carried him to emergency medical services personnel on Saint Paul Island, who transferred him for further transport to Anchorage for treatment. 

“Good communication between the Frontier Spirit crew, command center personnel, and the Jayhawk aircrew supported our ability to successfully perform this medevac and get the injured engineer to proper medical care,” said Chief Petty Officer Mistique Anderson, 17th District command duty officer. 

<![CDATA[AIDA Joins Other German Cruise Lines Resuming Sailing]]> AIDA, Carnival Corporation’s brand marketed to German-speaking consumers, announced plans to resume cruise operations in December joining other cruise lines marketed to the German market which are also moving forward with their cruises. The plans are in part based on the German government’s pledge to reduce restrictions in December.

Saying that the infection rates in the Canary Islands have been stable at a very low level for a long time and that the Spanish government has adopted clear regulations for safe travel, AIDA announced that it will resume operations with two ships cruising around the Canary Islands. AIDA had previously attempted to restart operations in the summer with short sea cruises from Germany and did start cruising in the Mediterranean in October with one ship, the AIDAblu. The German government’s renewed travel restrictions however prompted the line to again pause operation for November.

Under the new plan, the AIDAperla will start one-week cruises from Gran Canaria on December 5 followed by the AIDAmar on December 20. Both ships will visit La Palma, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote on the cruises, while plans for a call at Madeira was canceled due to restrictions that require the cruise to remain in the Canary Islands. Also, travel restrictions and a lack of flights caused the cancelation of boarding in Tenerife with all passengers required to travel through Gran Canaria.

While AIDA is confident that they will be able to operate the Canary Island cruises following the prescribed health protocols, the line noted that due to the current infection situation in the United Arab Emirates, France, and Italy, they had delayed other cruises till the end of January 2021.

Two other cruise lines marketed in Germany, TUI’s Mein Schiff and Hapag Lloyd Cruises, are also moving forward with their plans for Canary Island cruises as well as announcing other cruise programs. TUI and Hapag, both of which are part of a joint venture with the Royal Caribbean Group, had previously announced that they had been approved for Canary Island cruises. TUI’s Mein Schiff 2 will begin cruises from Gran Canaria on December 4. Hapag’s Europa 2 will sail from Lanzarote starting on December 23.

Based on the German government’s promise to remove the current restrictions before the Christmas holiday, Hapag also plans to launch Scandinavian and Arctic cruises aboard its exploration cruise ship the Hanseatic Inspiration on December 20. These cruises will sail roundtrip from Hamburg to Norway and Sweden.

TUI Cruises has also announced the schedule for the longest cruise since the resumption of service. The line’s Mein Schiff 1 is scheduled to sail December 10 from Hamburg on a 35-day cruise to the Caribbean. While capacity on the cruise was limited to 60 percent, the line noted that if it did not receive a minimum of 1,000 bookings by late November, this cruise might be withdrawn.

All of this comes as both the U.S. and British governments repeated earlier cautions about cruise travel. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after announcing the steps required to resume cruise operations has now elevated its assessment of the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships to its highest category. Over the weekend, it cautioned potential passengers to avoid cruising. Similarly, while saying it also supported a phased resumption of cruising, the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said with the U.K. still confronting a second wave of the virus, “now is not the right time,” for people to resume cruising.

The cruise industry, however, highlights the success that the majority of the cruise lines that resumed operation have had in managing the virus. Among the cruises that have operated aboard large ships are Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises which both resumed cruises in the Mediterranean. Also, Genting’s Dream Cruises resumed cruises from Taiwan and recently Singapore. Several small ship cruise lines also resumed sailing, but Hurtigruten in Norway, UnCruises in Alaska, and recently Sea Dream Yacht Club in the Caribbean all suspended cruising after COVID-19 incidents.

<![CDATA[Tanker Sustains Damage in Attack at Saudi Marine Terminal]]> The Greek-owned tanker Agrari has been damaged in an apparent attack at the marine terminal for Saudi Arabia's Al Shuqaiq steam power plant, according to multiple sources. 

Ship manager TMS Tankers has confirmed that the vessel was struck about three feet above the waterline and sustained a hull breach. She had finished discharging her cargo at the Al Shuqaiq pier and was preparing to depart when an "unknown source" carried out the attack, the firm said. Security consultancy Ambrey has identified the source of the blast as a mine.

Saudi officials have described the incident as a "thwarted" terrorist attack; as of Wednesday, no entity has claimed responsibility.

Based on satellite imagery provided by PlanetLabs, has identified visual evidence of a spill adjacent to the Agrari on November 23. The vessel's AIS signal ceased on the same day, the consultancy confirmed. 

Earlier this week, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen reported that it had destroyed five Iranian-origin mines deployed by Houthi forces in the Red Sea, near the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb. Sea mines - typically floating improvised explosive devices - have made several appearances in the long-running conflict between Houthi and Saudi-led forces. 

Houthi rebels regularly stage cross-border attacks on Saudi shoreside facilities with missile and rocket strikes, primarily targeting energy infrastructure. Al Shuqaiq's desalination plant - adjacent to the power station - was hit by a Houthi-claimed strike in 2019. 

Houthi attacks on shipping have typically been concentrated on Saudi-flagged tankers and Saudi coalition warships, and these incidents have generally occurred near Houthi-occupied stretches of Yemen's coastline. 

<![CDATA[Qatar Airways Helps Bring Tens of Thousands of Seafarers Home]]> Qatar Airways is playing an important part in the repatriation of seafarers stranded due to the pandemic, working closely with governments and the maritime industry to operate hundreds of chartered and scheduled flights to help bring home over 150,000 workers. Understanding the difficulties and challenges many of these vital workers have faced in returning home or completing crew changes, Qatar Airways has recently established a dedicated Mariner Lounge at Hamad International Airport. Seafarers and offshore worker passengers can relax and enjoy refreshments in the exclusive Mariner Lounge while they wait for their onward flight. In addition to an international selection of food and beverages, facilities include unlimited high-speed wi-fi, shower facilities, a television area, reading materials and a Business Centre.

The combination of an extensive global network with more than 100 destinations, a selection of fuel-efficient aircraft to operate charters and the Best Airport in the Middle East has enabled the airline to quickly and seamlessly support the maritime industry to repatriate their workers and facilitate crew changes. The airline’s commitment to take people home has seen it operate charters for maritime workers to many destinations not previously served by Qatar Airways, including Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Bridgetown, Barbados; Lomé, Togo; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  In addition, Qatar Airways sustained operations throughout the pandemic to many important locations for seafarers, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Oslo, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Singapore.  With the support of the maritime industry, Qatar Airways was also able to establish scheduled services to Cebu and Clark in the Philippines.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways recognises the vital role shipping plays and how seafarers are essential to keeping the global economy open and operating. As a gesture of our thanks and to show our support to the industry, we have established a dedicated Mariner Lounge at Hamad International Airport that is complimentary for all seafarers and offshore workers travelling with Qatar Airways. While waiting for their connecting flight they can relax in comfort and enjoy the wide variety of refreshments on offer.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked closely with governments and the maritime industry to operate as many flights as possible to facilitate crew changes and to reunite seafarers with their families and loved ones. While other airlines stopped flying, Qatar Airways pledges to remain open for business to facilitate essential business travel. With plans to further expand our network to more than 125 destinations, we will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to continue to be the airline of choice to keep seafarers and the global economy moving.”

Qatar Airways’ strategic investment in a variety of fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft, including the largest fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, has enabled it to continue flying throughout this crisis and perfectly positions it to lead the sustainable recovery of international travel. The airline recently took delivery of three new state-of-the-art Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, increasing its total A350 fleet to 52 with an average age of just 2.6 years. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has grounded its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not environmentally justifiable to operate such a large, four-engine aircraft in the current market. Qatar Airways has also recently launched a new programme that enables passengers to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their journey at the point of booking.

Qatar Airways currently operates more than 700 weekly flights to over 100 destinations across the globe. By the end of the IATA Winter Season, Qatar Airways plans to rebuild its network to 126 destinations including 20 in Africa, 11 in the Americas, 42 in Asia-Pacific, 38 in Europe and 15 in the Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. The Qsuite seat layout is a 1-2-1 configuration, providing passengers with the most spacious, fully private, comfortable and socially distanced Business Class product in the sky. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted ‘Skytrax Airline of the Year’ title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times. 

<![CDATA[MOU Signed Between MCA and University of Southampton]]> A partnership joining maritime expertise with top level research programmes will continue to put the UK Flag at the forefront of technology on maritime autonomy and emissions reduction.  

The joint working between the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – including the UK Ship Register’s ongoing drive to support innovation – and the University of Southampton will see maritime expertise and top level research coming together. 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the University of Southampton which will link research projects to top level work with design, manufacturer and operation of autonomous ships and emissions reduction. 

Students from the university will be able to benefit from training, internships and PhD placements at the MCA and staff from the MCA will be guest speakers at the university on courses related to marine design or engineering.  

The Chief Executive of the MCA Brian Johnson and Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton Professor Mark Smith were unable to meet in person to sign the MoU due to current Covid-19 restrictions but have each signed the document separately to formalise the partnership. 

Chief Executive of the MCA Brian Johnson said: “The MCA is delighted to partner even more closely with the University of Southampton through this collaboration. Our unrivalled maritime experience shown internationally through the UK Flag, is reflected through our drive for innovation while remaining committed to safety. This partnership is a natural progression of that.” 

University of Southampton President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E Smith said: “We are delighted to step up the relationship between the University of Southampton and the MCA. Our two organisations are firmly committed to understanding and resolving many global issues related to the safety and environmental impact of global shipping and our continued, combined research efforts will play a major role in supporting the sustainability of that industry which is vital to so many people around the world.” 

Prof Damon Teagle, Director of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), said: “This exciting initiative is a concrete example of the University of Southampton working closely together with our city neighbours, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

“There are major research challenges for the maritime industries for which there presently are no easy answers. There are opportunities for the UK to lead the vanguard of global maritime in tackling major societal issues such as climate change, decarbonisation, maritime pollution of air and waters, and the welfare of seafarers. We need to safely embrace and develop enabling regulations for nascent technologies such as truly zero-Carbon future fuels, and high levels of automation that will improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of the globally roaming ships that carry 90% of world trade. It is important that Government organisations have prompt access to the best research and visions.” 

<![CDATA[Peters & May Appoints Simon Judson as New CEO]]> Global marine transport and logistics provider Peters & May has appointed Simon Judson as its new CEO with immediate effect. A 20-year veteran of the marine industry, Simon previously held the position of Global Operations Director with the company so will bring valuable insight and experience to the role. He joined the company in 2009 when Peters & May purchased Simon’s own marine logistics and yacht transportation company, Complete Freight.

Based in the UK head office, Simon will oversee the company’s wide range of services currently delivered through 10 company offices and a network of global agents. Within the maritime industry, the Peters & May services include boat transportations for the commercial and leisure marine trade, shipping of privately owned boats, yacht racing logistics and freight forwarding.

On his appointment, Simon commented, “2020 has presented unique challenges as the world has adapted to the restrictions and impacts of the current pandemic. As a business, we have held steady and I pay credit to our dedicated team who have stepped up to the new way of working. Throughout the year we have continued regular sailings for the transportation of boats on behalf of manufacturers, private owners and racing teams throughout Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and Transatlantic routes. We have seen a strong increase in demand for routes in and out of Asia and Australia, and our offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, which are supported by a wider local agency network, are well placed to maximise these opportunities.”

He added, “Looking ahead into 2021 I see further opportunities for our freight forwarding division to expand beyond its traditional marine industry base.”

As the business re-shapes in response to industry demands, the Peters & May executive team will be strengthened; an announcement will be made by early December 2020.

<![CDATA[G2 Ocean Among Top Sustainable Companies ]]> G2 Ocean improves six points in EcoVadis’ annual sustainability ranking and is placed among  the top five per cent of companies for its sustainable business practices. 

G2 Ocean has been awarded the Gold medal by EcoVadis for its performance in Corporate  Social Responsibility (CSR), with a score of 71/100.  

With a six-point improvement compared to last year, G2 Ocean confirms its rank in the top  five per cent of companies assessed by EcoVadis in all four categories: Environment, Labor & Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement.  

EcoVadis assess policies, procedures, actions and measuring systems of approximately 65,000 companies in over 200 industry sectors each year. Only two per cent in the transportation industry have achieved a score with a range between 65 – 85. 

‘We are honoured’ 

After being awarded the EcoVadis Bronze and Silver Medal in 2018 and 2019, respectively,  G2 Ocean now receives the Gold Medal for the first time; the second-highest EcoVadis  ranking level. 

"We are honoured to receive the Gold medal from EcoVadis. This is an excellent recognition of  companywide collaboration to create a positive impact across our value chain,” says Director  Legal and Compliance Cecilie Koch Hatlebrekke who heads G2 Ocean’s sustainability ambition. 

Through its long-term strategy, G2 Ocean is determined to be a front runner in bridging the  gap to sustainable shipping. 

“Our EcoVadis score confirms the relevance of our strategy and we will continue to work with  our customers, suppliers and employees to further improve our performance,” she adds. 

Integrated Sustainability 

Sustainability is central to G2 Ocean’s purpose and strategy. Recently, the company launched  its very first sustainability report showing among other results an improvement of three per cent in its greenhouse gas emissions. 

“By embracing sustainability and transparency as an integral part of our business, we firmly  believe that we will create long-term value for our employees, customers, owners, and the  communities we operate in,” Koch Hatlebrekke concludes. 

<![CDATA[Keppel DC REIT Management Pte. Ltd. Appoints New CEO]]> Keppel DC REIT Management Pte. Ltd., as Manager of Keppel DC REIT, is pleased to announce that Ms Anthea Lee, 46, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from 15 February 2021, subject to regulatory approval. She succeeds Mr Chua Hsien Yang, who will be taking up a senior appointment in Keppel Corporation. 

Ms Lee is currently Deputy CEO and Head of Investment at Keppel DC REIT Management, where she oversees investments and asset management. She has more than 20 years of experience in real estate investment, business development, asset management and project management.

Prior to joining Keppel DC REIT Management, she was Vice President, Investment, at Keppel REIT Management Limited, the manager of Keppel REIT, managing regional investments and divestments.

Before joining the Keppel Group in 2006, she was with JTC Corporation and Ascendas Land, where she was responsible for business development, asset management and project management of industrial and business park facilities and development for about 10 years.

Ms Lee holds a Bachelor of Science (Estate Management), Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Science (International Construction Management) from Nanyang Technological University.

Ms Christina Tan, CEO of Keppel Capital and Chairman of Keppel DC REIT Management, said, "Anthea has more than 14 years of experience in REIT management. She has been Deputy CEO of Keppel DC REIT Management since 2018 and has been identified and groomed as part of our succession planning. The Board looks forward to working with Anthea and the management team to continue refining and executing Keppel DC REIT's strategy to create value for all Unitholders.”

"We would also like to thank Hsien Yang for his effective leadership of the Manager over the past six years. Since its listing in 2014, Keppel DC REIT’s portfolio has grown significantly from $1 billion to $2.9 billion as at 30 September 2020, and delivered a total Unitholder return of approximately 323% as at 20 November 2020. We wish Hsien Yang continued success in his new role in Keppel Corporation."

<![CDATA[The Raging Hub War at West African Ports]]> There is an investment overdrive in Africa’s maritime sector as governments pursue ambitious port expansion projects. Currently, the African port sector has attracted $15 billion in private investment, and public funding brings the total to $85 billion. With most of this growth funded by mounting levels of debt, the profitability of these projects remains central to their undertaking.

Economists have expressed concern that the expansion of the African port sector has to align with the fact that at most only four ports will take the designation of continental transshipment hubs. It is already apparent which ports will take first place in most regions: Tanger Med and Port Said in North Africa; Djibouti in East Africa; and Durban in South Africa. The question is how governments will avoid the trap of grandiosity in ports expansion and ensure that the investments are wisely executed.

A new report titled “Africa’s Ports; Fast Tacking Transformation” by the Africa CEO Forum and Okan Consulting incisively focused on the issue of looming white elephant projects in the African port sector as multiple countries race to position themselves as regional hubs. The report warned that countries have to be cautious in their ports development plans and clearly define whether the proposed ports are better suited to serve as regional or national hubs. A conservative, step-by-step investment approach would be recommendable for most countries - especially whose ports will not lay claim to the regional hub title – and a primary focus should be on bottlenecks that hinder their operations.

This is especially visible in West Africa, where half a dozen countries are working to outdo each other in a line-up of ambitious ports development projects. Togo’s $380 million head start investment by Terminal Investment Limited saw the expansion of Lomé’ Container port to handle post-panamax vessels and act as a transshipment hub, and it has attracted competition from the neighboring ports. The expansion put it in a good position to serve the region’s other smaller ports without the capacity to handle large vessels, as demonstrated by MSC’s decision to consolidate all its Asia-West Africa volumes at Lomé’ in 2014.

However, most of the ports that Lomé’ was hoping to serve have also received a significant boost in their maritime capacity. The inking of a joint venture between Bollore’ and APM Terminals in 2015 to secure $1.5 billion funding for Ghana’s Tema Port will see it gain a container capacity comparable to that of England’s Felixstowe port.

In addition, Nigeria has recorded significant progress to shift its container shipping operations from Apapa - where the Port of Lagos complex is located - to the all-new Lekki Deep Sea port. The $1.5 billion Lekki port is expected to open for operations in 2023, and it also aims to be a transshipment hub for West Africa. It is designed to receive vessels with a capacity exceeding 18,000 TEU.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the completion of the $930 million Abidjan port expansion project earlier this year by China Harbor Engineering has improved cargo handling capacity. Complete with three container berths, a ro-ro berth and general cargo berth, it will help Cote d’Ivoire to expand its economy.

The construction of a new port in Senegal by DP World, Port du Futur, will have a capacity of one million TEU. It has taken shape as a deal between the port operator and the Senegalese government, and the agreement – which is still being finalized - includes development of the Dakar Integrated Special Economic Zone (DISEZ).

Although time will tell which of the West African ports will emerge as a regional hub, Togo’s Port of Lomé’ continues to take a lead in this race, thanks in part to MSC’s influence at the port. In just six years, the Togolese port has expanded its cargo throughput from 311,000 TEU in 2013 to 1.5 million in 2019, becoming West Africa’s busiest port. However, due to the likelihood of reduction of trade passing through the port and a smaller hinterland to serve as other neighboring ports become competitive, Port of Lomé’ may not be a strong contender for West Africa’s transshipment hub against ports like Abidjan in Cote d’ivore, Nigeria’s Lekki and Tema in Ghana in the near future.

<![CDATA[Port of San Diego Moves Ahead With Solar Microgrid Project]]> The Port of San Diego's board of directors has given the green light for the installation of a solar-powered microgrid, battery storage system, and electrical infrastructure at the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal (TAMT). The board has approved a planning study for the project and awarded a $2.8 million contract to EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions for the microgrid's construction. 

The microgrid will provide back-up electrical power for the 96-acre multipurpose terminal, including its security infrastructure, lights, offices, and the port's jet fuel storage system. The project supports San Diego's role as one of America's 17 designated strategic commercial ports. The project also supports the redevelopment of the port's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, which was recently completed.   

“This is a groundbreaking milestone for the Port and we are extremely proud to be on the forefront of collecting sustainable power and demonstrating energy resilience,” said Vice Chair Michael Zucchet, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “We will soon be one of a few ports worldwide that will have a microgrid powered by renewable energy at a cargo terminal. We look forward to demonstrating a replicable model that can be used by other ports in California and around the world.”

The port says that the microgrid will increase its use of renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the terminal. The upcoming installation is also one of the environmental mitigation measures required for the Tenth Avenue terminal redevelopment.

The port received five proposals for the microgrid project earlier this year, and it commissioned an independent study to determine the expected energy cost savings. The port's consultants predicted that the project will result in $3.2 million in savings for the port over 20 years.

The total cost of the project is anticipated to be nearly $10 million, half of which is funded by a California Energy Commission Electric Program Investment Change (EPIC) grant. The port is contributing $4.2 million, and the University of California San Diego - a partner with the port on the project - is contributing $200,000.

<![CDATA[Hamburg Forecasts Beginning of Recovery]]> The Port of Hamburg, one of Europe’s busiest ports, reported that its volume declines are slowing versus earlier in the year, but persisted in the third quarter of 2020. While the economic impact of the pandemic has hit the port especially hard and it is has lagged in the rebound other ports have experienced, Hamburg is now reporting that it believes a recovery is now underway.

A range of factors is being cited as contributing to the declines in volumes the port experienced. The negative effects of the pandemic are reported to be still affecting developments in the Port of Hamburg’s cargo throughput. Port officials cited a downsizing in numerous economic sectors and lower demand for consumer goods. A drop in steel production was cited as the reason for lower volumes in ore and coal imports, while the agribulk reported strong growth in the first nine months of 2020. Significantly higher exports of grain and fertilizers were cited as the main contributors to cargo throughput volumes.

The rate of decline was halved during the third quarter with the port reporting an eight percent decline in total throughput and a nearly five percent decline in container volume to 2.3 million TEUs. That compared with a more than 16 percent decline in volume in the second quarter of 2020. 

Their assessment of the current situation is that the improvements experienced during the third quarter are the beginning of a recovery similar to what many other ports have also begun to report. They are forecasting that the double-digit decreases have ended.

“We have seen a stabilization in the development of throughput since July and with it a lower overall decrease in seaborne cargo handling in the Port of Hamburg. The reasons can be found in the lower rate of infections during the summer and the resulting easing of measures to check the pandemic, along with shipping to fill up stockpiles for the Christmas trade,” Axel Mattern, joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing. 

In the first three quarters of the year, 93.2 million metric tons of seaborne cargo were loaded or discharged at the Port of Hamburg’s terminals. That marks a drop of 10.7 percent compared to the previous year. The port experienced nearly equal rates of decline for volumes of bulk cargo and container throughput contributing to a nearly 10 percent decline in general cargo year to date 2020.

The Port of Hamburg is reporting declines with many key training partners. This includes lower volume in container shipping with China as well as lower throughputs for Russia, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, and Poland. The port however experienced strong increases in traffic with the UK in advance of Brexit as well as growth in container traffic with Singapore and Malaysia. Volume with the United States was flat year-over-year.

“Despite the ongoing recovery since mid-year, we will not be able to reach the high level achieved last year,” concluded Ingo Egloff, joint CEO with Alex Mattern. “But developments since July give reason to hope that we will show just single-digit losses at the end of the year.”

<![CDATA[Endesa to Convert Algeciras Coal Terminal into LNG Bunkering Pier]]> Spanish power utility Endesa is planning to convert a terminal at the Port of Algeciras into a bunkering pier for LNG-fueled vessels. 

Endesa plans to spend $18 million through 2022 in order to adapt its terminal in Los Barrios, Algeciras, in order to supply  liquefied natural gas (LNG) to ships. A second phase of investment will create storage for about 4,000 cubic meters of LNG. It will be the largest and most important LNG bunkering terminal in Spain, according to the firm. 

The terminal is the former coal receiving pier for the Los Barrios power station, which was once owned by Endesa and is now closing. Endesa sold the station to Portuguese utility Viesgo, and it retained the pier and an adjacent plot of waterfront land for alternative uses The Algeciras Port Authority recently approved a concession extension for Endesa's pier operation. 

"The strategic location of our terminal offers a possibility of growth and diversification towards new lines of business . . . which fit in and allow us to advance in our decarbonization strategy by investing in activities that lead to a reduction in emissions," said Endesa's general director of energy management, Juan María Moreno.

Each year, about 120,000 ships pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 30,000 of them visit the Bay of Algeciras - including many of the giant boxships deployed on the Asia-Europe route. Algeciras is the busiest port in the Mediterranean by volume and the fourth-busiest in Europe.

This existing traffic puts the Endesa terminal in a strategic location for LNG bunkering services if the fuel takes off among ocean carriers. CMA CGM has invested in a series of nine LNG-fueled Megamax-24s, paving the way; however, market leader Maersk recently indicated that it does not plan on using LNG propulsion, and it plans to wait for a non-fossil-fuel solution instead. Compared with conventional bunker fuel, LNG sharply curtails emissions of local pollutants like SOx, NOx and particulate matter, and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20 percent. 

<![CDATA[British Ports are Scrambling as Brexit Deadline Looms Five Weeks Away]]> With just over five weeks left until the end of the Brexit transition period, fear is continuing to rise that the UK ports, terminals, and the services that support the operations are not ready. Increasingly there are predictions of the consequences ranging from delays and backlogs to disruptions and chaos for the vital flow of goods into and out of the UK, while the government continues to issue assurances.

According to the current timetable, on January 1, 2021, the first of the border controls are due to go into effect between the European Union and the UK. Operators around the UK report that critical tests on the systems required to manage the flow of goods have yet to be done leading to the fears that they will not be ready at the deadline. 

BBC News is reporting that the tests for some of the systems are still two weeks away while they are reporting that the government says it is working closely with all parties to prepare for the end of the transition period. The BBC is quoting a government spokesperson as saying, "The delivery of IT systems necessary for the end of the transition period is on track."

Despite the assurances, many remain unconvinced that the ports and companies operating in the ports are prepared. The BBC reports that the Irish truckers’ association is the latest to predict upwards of six months of disruption based on where preparations stand today. They are citing the Holyhead port in Wales, which is the second busiest ro-ro port behind Dover. Despite assurances by the port’s operators, there are fears that the lack of preparation at Holyhead could disrupt the Irish short-sea trade for upwards of six months.  The Irish Road Haulage Association the BBC and other media outlets report said the first six months of 2021 would be “terrible” due to the lack of preparations with fears of “mayhem.”

Predictions of the potential to interrupt the UK economy and industry are increasing. For example, they cite the automotive industry that functions on just-in-time delivery of parts necessary in production. 

The UK’s busiest ports have already been scrambling to manage a rapid rise in cargo. With businesses seeking to restock and rebound from the earlier impacts of the pandemic, many ports are already experiencing heavy volumes. Adding to the challenges is a rush to get supplies across the borders before the deadline and new lockdowns due to efforts to control the latest wave of the virus.

The Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s biggest and busiest container port, has been especially challenged in recent weeks, leading many to call the situation unacceptable and forecasts that the port could become paralyzed. Compounding the problems are reports that the government stockpiled 11,000 containers of PPE supplies at the port. The port’s operator, Hutchison Ports, reports that it is working with the Government's principal forwarder to remove the PPE containers as quickly as possible. While they say that significant progress has been made in reducing the volumes, they nonetheless report it could be up to four more weeks before this impediment is cleared.

Hutchison also says that it is working with each shipping line to empty storage capacity. They warned that shipping lines that exceeded their empty storage capacity would face suspensions on the receipt of empties until the volume was lowered.

With the port fully operational, Hutchison says that more than 85,000 TEUs had moved through the port in one week. They have recruited more than 100 equipment drivers and opened the terminals on Sundays in an attempt to clear the backlogs. Despite this, some shipping lines report skipping scheduled port calls or adding congestion charges.

“The Port of Felixstowe, like other major container ports worldwide, is still experiencing a spike in container volumes and dealing with the consequences of the ongoing Covid pandemic. In addition, we have had a high number of slow moving containers of PPE occupying storage space,” said Hutchison in a statement posted to customers. “The current high volumes will last at least into December and possibly through into the New Year, but we are working hard to minimize the impact on daily operations and to maintain vital supply chains. 

With the ports already struggling to manage the current volumes, fears are only growing over what might happen in January when the new systems are due to go into effect.

<![CDATA[MOL Tests First Technology to Capture Microplastics in Ballast Water]]> Microplastics, the residue of plastic in the ocean, is one of the challenges which environmentalists are looking to confront. In a first of its kind demonstration project, Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in collaboration with the Miura Company have developed and tested a water filtration device to capture the plastics.

Microplastics, which measure five millimeters or less in size, result from discarded plastic in the ocean that is broken down by ultraviolet rays and wave action. Scientific research has shown that this residue remains suspended in the water for an extended period of time. 

Working together, the Japanese companies jointly developed a microplastics collection device that has been installed on one of MOL’s newly built dry bulk wood chip carried.  The companies carried out the first demonstration test of the device on October 27.

The microplastics collection device is activated during the operation of the ballast water treatment system typically during the cargo handling operations in a port. Using a filter with a backwashing function for the ballast water treatment, the device efficiently collects microplastics trapped in the filter before the treated water is discharged overboard. 


Schematic of the microplastic collection device added to ballast water treatment - courtesy of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines


Based on the results of the first test, the project team is continuing to improve the device. MOL says that they are examining ways to make it easier for crewmembers to use and increase microplastics collection capacity.

In announcing this demonstration, MOL said that its initiative on ocean plastic pollution started with its participation in the "Plastic Smart" forum hosted by Japan's Ministry of the Environment. Since then. MOL has been expanding its activities, including marine plastic pollution-related scientific research with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Miura has been marketing ballast water treatment systems since 2014, along with microplastics collection devices.

Together the two companies believe they have developed an innovative technology through which the shipping industry during its regular operations can contribute to enhancing the environment.

<![CDATA[31 Indicted in Connection With U.S. Coast Guard Exam-Fixing Scheme]]> The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana has indicted 31 individuals in connection with a test score-fixing scheme at a U.S. Coast Guard exam center.

According to prosecutors, a Coast Guard civilian employee named Dorothy Smith was employed at the exam center in Mandeville, Louisiana (REC New Orleans). Her role authorized her to enter test scores for merchant mariners' licensing examinations. Smith allegedly took bribes to "fix" the exam scores, allowing license applicants to bypass testing. More than two dozen applicants allegedly bribed Smith in order to secure licenses for officer-level roles, including master, chief mate, and chief engineer endorsements. 

The indictment suggests that the arrangement was not an occasional matter, and was not always initiated by the payee. Smith allegedly used middlemen to connect her with mariners who were willing to pay for false exam scores. These intermediaries would funnel money and the mariners’ requests to Smith, who would falsely report in a Coast Guard computer system that the mariners had passed the exams, according to the indictment. 

Prosecutors identified two former Coast Guard employees, Eldridge Johnson and Beverly McCrary, as intermediaries for Smith's scheme. Four mariners - identified as Alexis Bell, Micheal (or Michael) Wooten, Sharron Robinson and Alonzo Williams - also alledgely acted as middlemen for Smith, in addition to benefiting from her score-fixing services themselves. 

The indictment also charges another twenty-four current and former merchant mariners with unlawfully receiving officer-level licenses through Smith's intervention - some of them on multiple occasions. If convicted, each defendant faces a sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. 

<![CDATA[PortMiami Sets Cargo Record While Preparing for Return of Cruising]]> Among all the world’s ports, the ports of Florida have felt the economic impact of the pandemic, and especially PortMiami, which has marketed itself as the cruise capital. Eight months into the pause in the cruise industry, PortMiami’s less discussed cargo operation set new records while the port is also taking steps to prepare for the return of cruising.

More than 50 years ago, when the modern port of Miami was launched, the decision was made to focus on passenger operations and clean cargo. While, the port is most identified with cruising, which is the source of the majority of the port’s revenues, Miami also has a cargo operation that has continued at pace through the pandemic.

In October, PortMiami set a new record for its cargo operations. During the month, more than 107,000 TEUs were handled in the port, an increase of 1.5 percent, making it the busiest month in cargo activity in the history of the port. They attribute the strong cargo performance to a solid balance of global trade and more than $1 billion of completed capital infrastructure improvements. The port’s channel was deepened to handle big ships requiring a 39-foot draft or deeper. To date, the port reports that more than 400 post-Panamax vessels have called due to the completion of the dredging project and the acquisition of new super post-Panamax cranes.


PortMiami on Twitter marking the return of the Carnival Horizon


They are also taking steps to prepare for the eventual return of the cruise industry, signified yesterday by the arrival of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon in PortMiami. She is the first of the line’s cruise ships to return to a U.S. port since the summer months. Carnival had quietly repositioned its ships away from the U.S. not participating in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's color-coded program launched during the summer governing crew and ship movements.

“We are thankful and excited to have the Carnival Horizon back at PortMiami,” said Miami-Dade's new Mayor Daniella Levine Cava who recently took office. PortMiami noted that it is working closely with the cruise lines on establishing new healthy measures and protocols to accommodate the eventual safe restart of sailing when approved by the CDC.

During the suspension in cruising, PortMiami waived fees for the cruise lines, making the docks available to support the industry. In addition, work is proceeding on the new cruise terminals, including ones for Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, and MSC Cruises.

Work has now been completed on Terminal B, nicknamed the Pearl of Miami, built at an estimated cost of $260 million for Norwegian Cruise Line. The terminal had originally been scheduled to open in late 2019, but later delayed till mid-2020. Adelte, the manufacturer of the boarding bridges connecting the terminal to the cruise ships released pictures of the successful test of the bridges.

The port is looking forward to and preparing for a return to normal operations in the future.


Norwegian Gem alongside the new terminal - photo courtesy of Adelte

Boarding bridge test - courtesy of Adelte

<![CDATA[1800s-Era Shipwreck Discovered Near Port of St. Augustine]]> When Tropical Storm Eta passed over Florida earlier this month, it helped to uncover the remains of a wooden shipwreck buried under a dune along Crescent Beach near the port of St. Augustine. The wreck is likely the remains of a merchant ship from the 1800s, according to the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP).

A local resident was walking along the beach on Saturday and saw the exposed timbers. Returning on Sunday, he saw more of the timbers uncovered by the waves, and he reached out to LAMP's director, Chuck Meide. The LAMP team began inspecting and documenting the shipwreck on Sunday.

The LAMP team thinks that the ship was likely an American merchant ship carrying basic commodities, like hardware or flour.  Over 70 percent of all known historic shipwrecks lost in Florida are merchant vessels that were engaged in coastal trade, moving goods from one port to another along the Atlantic coast. Dating the ship is difficult, but Meide believes it to date back to the 1800s. “Everything we’ve seen on it so far fits that hypothesis - wooden planking, wood timbers, iron fasteners. They look quite similar to other ships from the 1800s that we have seen.”

According to LAMP and the Fort Matanzas National Monument, the wreck could be the remains of the merchant vessel Caroline Eddy. "In late August 1880 the Caroline Eddy left Fernandina bound for New York with a cargo of lumber. She sailed into a hurricane, was driven south and went ashore near Matanzas. Her crew survived after clinging to the rigging for two days and a night," the national monument's staff said in a social media update. 

As the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, LAMP has helped to identify several shipwrecks over the years. Its team will continue their survey work and take samples of the timbers and iron work from the site. Students from nearby Flagler College will also be working with LAMP to document and record the shipwreck, gaining field experience in archaeology. 

“[St. Augustine's] maritime past is America’s story as the nation’s oldest port, dating back to the first Spanish landing in 1565. The St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program is committed to saving our maritime history and passing these stories on to our future generations,” said Kathy Fleming, the museum's executive director. 

<![CDATA[Investors Support AI Platform to Enhance Terminal Operations]]> Ports have been struggling to manage with the recent influx in volumes often resulting in long waits and delays. Believing the port terminal operators will continue to face these challenges and require new tools to address the operational issues, a group of investors are backing a cloud-based AI-driven optimization engine that the developers say provides the ability to significantly reduce container terminal cost, improve efficiency and bring visibility to yard operations.

The Spanish based eYARD reports that it raised more than $1 million in new seed capital to continue to develop the AI engine to optimize container logistics and expand the company with product development and client integration employees. Believing that the port and shipping industries require more digitalization and intelligent automation, Mundi Ventures, an international venture capital fund, led the financing with participation from Hamburg-based NLA, and two unnamed maritime groups.

“eYARD substantially reduces the time and costs that terminal operators need to dedicate to managing the yard operation,” said Pablo Fernández-Peña Curbera, eYARD ?s CEO and co- founder, in a statement. “With the new funding from Mundi Ventures, eYARD is well-positioned to accomplish its vision for the coming year and deliver the best product to its clients. We will maintain and further strengthen our customer focus enabling smarter world trade.”

The company’s core product increases the efficiency of container terminals with artificial intelligence and data analytics, resulting in more reliable, cost efficient and sustainable operations. The AI-powered platform reduces the unproductive moves of containers in the yard, facilitates the automation of complex processes and provides visibility and insights with smart reporting. 

Pilot projects with the technology at ports in Europe, the company says have produced a 25 percent reduction in costs by reducing unproductive moves and increasing the efficiency of terminal operations.

Increasing ports and terminal operators are looking at the use of new technologies, including the increased use of digitization as a means of improving operations and supporting the future growth of shipping supply chains.

<![CDATA[Port of Providence to Host Three New Onshore Wind Turbines]]> The port of Providence, Rhode Island will soon be getting three wind turbines - one on a spot of leased land within the port's grounds and two more on adjacent property owned by Johnson & Wales University. The 1.5 megawatt turbines are sponsored by the state's largest onshore wind developer, Green Development. 

“The city has been a supportive partner throughout this process, and we certainly appreciate working with Johnson & Wales and ProvPort to develop this important renewable energy project,” said Mark DePasquale, founder of Green Development. "Every time we get a project approved Rhode Island becomes a little less dependent on the fossil fuel industry.”

The project has received all required approvals from Providence's planning and zoning boards, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coastal Resources Management Council. The project will sell power directly to utility National Grid under its Renewable Energy Growth Program. The 325-foot turbines will be a bit shorter than the existing turbines located in the same area at the Narragansett Bay Commission. 

“We are excited to see additional renewable energy projects being developed along our waterfront. Our Port of Providence is well-positioned to support offshore wind development and I can’t think of a better symbol of sustainable investments in our community than projects like these,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

The site preparation and construction of the turbine foundations is expected to begin at the end of this year, and the turbines will be completed and operational by the third quarter of 2021.

“From our perspective, the wind energy sector is emerging and will help propel Rhode Island’s economy in the coming decades. We were the first port in the nation to support the development of the United State’s first offshore wind farm off of Block Island, and ProvPort is well-positioned to support future offshore and onshore wind development. Having a turbine right here at ProvPort was a natural fit for us, and furthers our goals of creating a more sustainable port,” said Chris Waterson, general manager of Waterson Terminal Services.

Like other northeastern states, Rhode Island aims to ramp up the share of renewables (including offshore wind) in its electricity mix. Last year, National Grid signed papers for a long-term power purchase agreement with the proposed 400 megawatt Revolution Wind project off Martha's Vineyard, and the power will serve Rhode Island end users. As of mid-2020, the state has committed to offshore wind capacity totalling 900 megawatts, and Gov. Gina Raimondo recently announced plans for a National Grid-administered RFP for an additional 600 megawatts of power.

Each offshore wind farm installation project requires access to a coastal port with no air draft restrictions, heavily reinforced docks and the skilled labor to assemble (or even manufacture) components. This employment opportunity has set off a competition among northeastern and mid-Atlantic ports to serve the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry. 

<![CDATA[Port of Houston Busiest US Port in Tonnage as Expansion Continues]]> The Port of Houston is now the largest port complex in the US in terms of total tonnage passing through the port. The complex of public and private terminals along the Houston Ship Channel was the busiest U.S. port in 2019 surpassing the Port of South Louisiana, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center.

The Texas port ranked first both in terms of total tonnage as well as ranked first for foreign waterborne tonnage and number of vessel transits, in the government compiled statistics. For 24 years, the Port of Houston has been number one in foreign waterborne tonnage and the Houston Ship Channel is the busiest waterway in the nation, handling on average approximately 50 deep water vessels per day

Nearly 285 million tons of cargo moved through the Port of Houston in 2019. That represented a six percent increase year-over-year and about 47 million tons more than any other U.S. port. 

Houston has continued to see strong growth in its operations reporting its busiest month ever with a 15 percent year-over-year increase in container volume in October 2020. That included an 18 percent increase in loaded containers driven according to the port in large part by the increase in traffic from retailers working to restock before the holiday selling season. Year to date, the port’s volume is down one percent despite the economic impact of the pandemic.

The Port Commission is expecting continued growth with a rebound in traffic in 2021. They recently approved the 2021 Operating and Capital Budget which forecasts a six percent growth in container volumes and a recovery in general cargo volumes. The budget also includes a $239 million capital plan to support new growth opportunities, primarily at the container terminals, with investments in the redevelopment of existing assets as well.

Port Houston currently is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as private industry on a plan to expand the channel with a goal of starting work in 2021. The Houston Ship Channel Expansion – Project 11 will widen the channel by 170 feet along its Galveston Bay reach, from 530 feet to 700 feet. It will also deepen upstream segments to 45 feet, make other safety and efficiency improvements, and craft new environmental features.

The Port of Houston is comprised of eight public terminals and almost 200 private terminals situated along the Houston Ship Channel. 

<![CDATA[Digital Marketing Manager- Intellian Technologies]]> Intellian Technologies

Leading the evolution of satellite communications by delivering innovative technology to our partners and customers across all market sectors. To bring simplicity to satellite communications with products, technologies and services that connect people and the world.

Job Position

Digital Marketing Manager

Prime Purpose

To manage all digital elements of marketing in line with the corporate marketing strategy to support company growth and customer engagement. Combining innovative campaign development and digital skills to enhance company social media and online presence. The role will focus on interacting with target audiences and the development of engaging content, growing brand awareness, promoting products and business initiatives.


  •  Develop a multi-platform social media strategy aimed at growing brand awareness, product demand and customer engagement
  •  Implement a unique platform strategy based on user demographic and target audience
  •  Create campaigns including; scheduling, content planning and creation in line with company requirements and objectives
  •  Sourcing of imagery and graphical requirements both internally and externally through agencies
  •  Increase presence, likes and engagement on existing social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
  •  Ensure brand consistency across all social media messaging and create clear company social media guidelines
  •  Form relationships with key influencers across the social media platforms
  •  Identify and source a multi-platform tool e.g. Social Studio – for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram
  •  Create engaging and compelling content for all social media posts and marketing campaigns at all levels, including; corporate, product and market
  •  Ensure all social channels are up-to-date and designed in line with brand guidelines
  •  Manage and facilitate social media communities by responding to social media posts and developing discussions
  •  Manage the social media image library
  •  Support product launches, press releases and other specific campaigns
  •  Create new content for internal departments as and when required
  •  Monitor and report on performance on social media platforms using tools such as Google Analytics
  •  Collect customer data and analyse interactions and visits, using this information to create comprehensive reports and improve future social media strategies and campaigns
  •  Research and monitor activity of company competitors
  •  Research and monitor activity across the satellite communications industry, repost and share where relevant
  •  Plan website content and updates to keep momentum
  •  Manage and enhance SEO performance
  •  Perform regular website content updates using CMS platform based on company requirements


  •  7+ years experience in Digital Marketing
  •  BA or work equivalent in business, marketing, IT or related
  •  Experience managing multiple social media platforms
  •  Experience managing web content and implementing updates
  •  Working knowledge of social media best practices and principle
  •  Excellent verbal and written communication abilities: must effectively communicate with technical and non-technical teams, executive management, dealers and end-customers
  •  Proactive and driven using initiative
  •  Creative and passionate
  •  Confident working independently and as part of a team

How to Apply

Please send your resume with a cover letter to

Keep up to date with key social media trends and best practice

<![CDATA[Global Marketing Director]]> Intellian Technologies
Leading the evolution of satellite communications by delivering innovative technology to our partners and customers across all market sectors. To bring simplicity to satellite communications with products, technologies and services that connect people and the world.

Job Position
Global Marketing Director

Prime Purpose
Lead the Global Marketing Team, driving the creation and execution of the Corporate Marketing Strategy, supporting the Global Executive Team in achieving company objectives and business plan targets. Focused on delivering campaigns and content that build brand awareness, growing customer and partner engagement. Communications and content will be aligned to the company vision and purpose, with a customer centric outlook. Create a team culture that is collaborative, fun and results orientated. The job offers an opportunity to launch and promote innovative products in a dynamic and growing organisation within the satellite industry.


  •  Lead the Global Marketing Team
  •  Create and execute a marketing strategy for the organisation
  •  Develop a brand strategy and maintain brand integrity through implementation of brand guidelines
  •  Manage the global marketing budget, track spending and create ROI analysis based on KPI’s
  •  Develop marketing campaigns and content to promote new and existing products
  •  Create lead-generation and campaign tracking
  •  Select and manage global agencies to enhance results in a cost effective way
  •  Negotiate marketing agency contracts
  •  Managing the implementation of tactical marketing activities and plan with clear roles and responsibilities across the global marketing team
  •  Engage across divisions to create alignment with all stakeholders
  •  Responsible for internal and external communications and messaging
  •  Implement marketing best practices and remain close to industry changes
  •  Set policy and guidelines for social media
  •  Conduct market research that collects customer and segment knowledge
  •  Develop joint campaigns and initiatives with global partners
  •  Build relationships with partners and customers


  •  3-5+ year experience as a Marketing Director
  •  BA or work equivalent in business, marketing, communications or related
  •  Experience managing a team
  •  Knowledge of satellite communications or similar industry
  •  Excellent copywriting skills
  •  Working knowledge of marketing best practices and principles
  •  Excellent IT skills including Social Media, Website and PowerPoint
  •  Excellent verbal and written communication abilities: must effectively communicate with technical and non-technical teams, executive management, dealers and end customers
  •  Proactive and driven
  •  Strong leadership skills based on a team environment

How to Apply

Please send your resume with a cover letter to

<![CDATA[Lindsay Blee Now Offering VLSFO In Florida Ports]]> Lindsay-Blee will provide VLSFO in all major ports in Florida, adding to its existing VLSFO supply operations in Colombia.  

Lindsay-Blee, a leading independent marine fuel company, along with its JV partner Quest Fuels, announced today that it  will be offering Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO), meeting the IFO RMG 380 ISO:2010 specification with max sulphur <  0.50% to its clients calling Florida ports. The product will be available in Port Canaveral, Port Tampa, JaxPort, Port  Manatee, and all other major ports in Florida, effective immediately.  

This expansion gives the Lindsay-Blee Group’s customers the ability to source VLSFO from Lindsay Blee’s supply  operations in both Florida and Colombia, providing additional options to obtain high-quality products in the Gulf and  Atlantic regions.  

Lindsay Blee is now in its 5th year as a supplier in Florida, having supplied vessels with tens of millions of gallons of high quality, low-sulphur Marine Gas Oil (MGO). Lindsay Blee now brings our depth of experience to the VLSFO market in  Florida.

<![CDATA[Damen Completes Eidsvaag Opal Conversion]]> Damen Shipyards Group has recently completed a conversion project for Norwegian company Eidsvaag. Following a tender procedure, Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSAm) converted a former platform supply vessel (PSV) into a fish feed carrier, named Eidsvaag Opal, in a project involving a series of major works. 

Amongst other things, Damen was required to extend the vessel by 5 metres. This involved the yard cutting the hull in two and inserting in new steel sections. Damen was also required to widen the beam of the vessel – using a series of side boxes – to give additional stability and cargo capacity.

Additionally the yard integrated 35 new silos and a big bag hold, enabling Eidsvaag Opal to transport up to 2,800 tonnes of fish feed. Damen also outfitted the vessel with five new cranes and a discharge system of conveyors, buckets, elevators and a discharge arm. 

The project also required considerable electrical work, carried out by FMJ Marine Automation. The supplier removed some 480 cables – approximately 15 kilometres – from the old cargo systems alone. In total, the company pulled 51 kilometres of cable and connected 1,237 cables on the project. 

DSAm secured the tender to carry out the conversion of Eidsvaag Opal due, amongst other things to its close proximity to Niron Staal – Damen’s specialist steel fabricator. Another factor in the award of tender was Damen’s previous conversion experience for the aquaculture sector and the fact that the company knew the vessel – having built the PSV back in 2013.   

The project required considerable steel work, totalling 875 tonnes. In addition to the steel work required,  the Eidsvaag Opal conversion was given an additional layer of complexity with the arrival of the coronavirus epidemic. This required the yard to  cease work on the project for one week, in order to implement robust safety measure. Thanks to this, the project was able to continue with minimum danger to health. Despite the need to socially distance during work on the project, work continued at a good pace – taking in total 346 days.

In week 43, the Eidsvaag Opal underwent her first loading in order to test the new system. The test involved the vessel carrying 180 tonnes of feed in the silo and 55 tonnes in big bags. Loading went well, requiring only small adjustments to the loading equipment in the big bag room. The feed was unloaded at a fish farm close to Tromsø, at which point the capacity and quality was approved by the product owner. In week 44, a bigger load was transported for the second test – some 700 tonnes. 

DSAm senior project manager Arjan de Vos explains, “Naturally we were very concerned with the well-being of everyone working on the project and had to take the time to implement safety measures. This proved to be very effective and not only were we able to continue the work, but we did it in good time. I’m very pleased with the way that we have risen to the challenge presented by the pandemic as a team and been able to continue to safely serve our clients during this time.”

The vessel will operate in the Fjordfrende collaboration. This collaboration will be operated by Eidsvaag for Skretting and Cargill. Ordinarily, Skretting and Cargill are competitors in the fish feed market, but are collaborating in outbound logistics. The partnership is based on a number of horizontal logistics projects receiving funding from the EU Commission, aiming at increasing sustainability and efficiency in the aquaculture industry. As a result of Fjordfrende, the CO2 emissions of both companies will be reduced by one fifth, some 10-20 million kg CO2 per year.

<![CDATA[AquaChemie Breaks Ground on Petrochemical Terminal at Jebel Ali Port]]> AquaChemie Middle East - a leading chemical sales and services company and part of the UAE-based AquaChemie Group - today broke ground on its strategic, world-class petrochemical terminal in DP World’s flagship, Jebel Ali Port, Dubai. 

The AED150 million ($40 million) project will serve as a vital gateway, facilitating and boosting the growing petrochemical trade between manufacturers and end-users in the Middle East and globally, while also addressing the acute shortage of storage facilities for redistribution and lease for bulk chemicals in Jebel Ali Port.

The state-of-the-art specialized bulk storage terminal will have a total envisaged capacity of around 40,000 CBM (Cubic Meter), out of which 35,000 CBM will be in bulk storage tanks and about 5,000 CBM in ISO tanks and drums. 

Scheduled for construction completion by early Q2 2022, the facility will be a turnkey and fully integrated distribution center capable of handling bulk imports and packed chemicals at high volume. The terminal is designed to store flammable chemicals, up to NFPA Class 1B. Over 100 chemicals of UN Class3 hazardous classification or non-hazardous chemicals can be stored in the facility's nitrogen blanketed tanks.

AquaChemie Middle East targets revenue of around $400 million from the petrochemical terminal business in the next 7 years. This would form a substantial portion of the AquaChemie Group business.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new chemical terminal was held on November 23, 2020, at Jebel Ali and was attended by Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO of Jafza; Abdulla Bin Damithan, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World, UAE Region and Ahmad Al Haddad, Chief Operating Officer, Parks and Zones, DP World, UAE Region. In addition, directors and key members of AquaChemie Middle East and other industry associates and well-wishers were present.

Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO & Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO of Jafza said, “The petrochemical sector forms an integral part of DP World, UAE Region’s key industry clusters. Jebel Ali Port and Jafza’s combined capabilities as an integrated hub that offers multimodal connectivity, caters to the extensive demand of the industry at the local and international level. Over the years, we have been providing a wide range of solutions to the region’s chemicals’ trade and logistics sector. We take pride in the fact that we can enable a regional distributor like AquaChemie. We are confident that this project will transform the business landscape of the petrochemicals segment that is underpinned by rapidly changing regulations, technology disruptions and evolving customer demands.”

AquaChemie Middle East has engaged Mott MacDonald, the renowned global engineering, management, and development consultancy - to undertake the project's concept design, basic engineering, detailed engineering and PMC (Project Management Contract).

The key advantage of the 20,000sqm project is its strategic location - connected by four jetty pipelines - located only 500 meters from Jebel Ali Port Chemical Berth #4. The deep-water port is the flagship facility of DP World that has a portfolio of over 80 marine and inland terminals across six continents.

Cherian George, AquaChemie, Project Manager for this prestigious project commented, “Am looking forward to the commissioning of this state-of-the-art facility, with utmost importance to safety and quality, within the strict budget and time schedule. Moreover, we are fortunate to receive from DP World, UAE Region a very strategic location for our new project”

Speaking on the occasion, Subrato Saha, Co-Founder and Director of AquaChemie Middle East, said: "Being associated with the petrochemicals industry for over three decades, I am excited to soon play a direct role in the distribution of additional 100-150 KTA (Kilo tonnes per annum) of over 50 petrochemicals globally. This new petrochemical facility will make us a sizeable industry player, responsibly focused on Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE)".

V. Anandkumar, Partner and Director at AquaChemie Middle East said: "The entire AquaChemie team and I are eagerly waiting for this project to come into reality in the next 16-18 months' time. This terminal project is a huge step for AquaChemie; to become one of the prominent players in the petrochemical business in the region. Being a customer-centric company, at present, we serve 300-plus customers in the GCC region. This project will add tremendous value to our Middle East customers, once we can create the much-needed marketing and distribution hub for global manufacturers."

Sunil Puthuran, Director of Mott MacDonald, stated: "We are extremely proud to be associated with this upcoming world-class chemical storage terminal, complying with international codes and standards and with the highest QHSE requirements embedded in the design."

According to Saha, the new chemical terminal will serve as a one-stop solution for sourcing raw materials and process chemicals for several industries and is poised to service customers, including oil and gas downstream, fine chemicals, fertilizer plants, paints and coatings, pharma, agrochemicals, textiles, and other industrial and consumer products. Local and regional availability of chemicals will foster all the chemical-based associated industries in the region, he added.

During the projected 16-18 months' construction duration, the project is expected to engage a workforce of over 250 through various contractors. Once commissioned, AquaChemie will scale up the personnel operation with an initial headcount of about 60 employees, which will swell with facility utilization, stabilizing at around 100 blue and white-collar employees. Sales and marketing staff with AquaChemie and its global distributors will be additional.

As per Grand View Research, the global petrochemicals market size is around $480 billion, with an anticipated CAGR of approximately 5%. Although the Middle East and Africa (MEA) consumption is only about 15%, it takes the lion's share in manufacturing and exports, especially from the GCC region, due to the availability of low-cost feedstock and cheap energy sources for production. Total global petrochemicals production is around 2,200 million tons per annum.

<![CDATA[Havyard Establishes Company for Hydrogen Power for Ships]]> Havyard’s complete hydrogen system for ships will be completed in 2021, and the group is now establishing a separate company to meet market demand for the solution, which will make it possible also for large ships to sail longer distances with zero emissions.  

For several years now, the Havyard Group has carried out research and development work on hydrogen propulsion for large vessels, for example through a Pilot E project, in order to develop a large-scale maritime hydrogen project. 

Havyard will have the first system ready for approval in principle next year, and its know-how and expertise will now be brought together in the newly formed company Havyard Hydrogen AS.

Offering a complete solution for hydrogen-powered ships

Both the Norwegian authorities and IMO have made it a goal to reduce emissions from shipping by at least 50 per cent. Gunnar Larsen, CEO of the Havyard Group, says that, if we are to achieve this goal, many ships will have to sail zero emissions.

'We are seeing increasing interest in the market for hydrogen. This form of energy produces zero emissions at the same time as it is the most technologically mature for large vessels sailing over relatively long distances. With our know-how and expertise in hydrogen, we are in an excellent position to be among the leading players in the development and delivery of hydrogen systems. We are therefore establishing Havyard Hydrogen AS to offer customers a complete solution for hydrogen-powered ships.'

Havyard Hydrogen will be the system integrator and will deliver complete hydrogen energy systems for ships in cooperation with partners and subcontractors.  
'In cooperation with other companies in the Group, we can also deliver ship designs and complete control and energy systems, from bridge to propeller.'

Pioneering work

Kristian Osnes from Havyard’s R&D department will be Executive Vice President of Havyard Hydrogen AS.
He says that Havyard has accumulated a lot of know-how about hydrogen as a result of recent years’ development work, adding that the Group’s research work has focused on large-scale systems, unlike previous maritime hydrogen projects, which have concentrated on lower output and smaller vessels. 

'We can now offer a system with 3.2 MW fuel cells. This will make it possible for large vessels to sail with zero emissions over longer distances. At the same time, the system is scalable and can be used by both large and small vessels.'

Such large-scale hydrogen systems make completely different demands as regards hydrogen handling, for example how important it is that the system also works as intended when a ship is out in the open sea and experiencing sea movement.

'This is one of the areas in which we've done a lot of pioneering work, the results of which will be drawn on in further work on complete hydrogen systems.' 
In addition to being scalable, the system also includes flexible placement of the hydrogen tank, so that it will be easy to place in both newbuilds and modifications. 

The green shift

Osnes says that, by establishing this new company, Havyard is getting ready to commercialise the hydrogen solutions developed through the FreeCo2ast project.

'If Norway and the rest of the world are to achieve the emission reduction goals, we need solutions that can reduce emissions towards zero. We believe that the timing is right, given that both the market and the regulatory requirements create demand for concrete solutions that can result in substantial reductions in emissions from shipping. It will be very interesting for Havyard to be part of taking these solutions a step further, and thereby contribute to the ongoing green shift.'

<![CDATA[Nor-Shipping 2021 Calls for Next Generation Ship Award Entries ]]> Nor-Shipping 2021, Your Arena for Ocean Solutions, has announced the launch of the final accolade in its unique industry awards programme. The Next Generation Ship Award highlights innovations in the spectrum of newbuilds, retrofits and vessel conversions, with an expert jury, presided over by Award President Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO, DNV GL, casting their eyes over standout projects from around the world. The winner will be announced at the Nor-Shipping Opening Ceremony in Oslo City Hall on 31 May 2021.

The Next Generation Ship Award has been an industry favourite since its launch in 2013. Each outing sees cutting edge vessels assessed according to stringent criteria encompassing energy efficiency, innovation, suitability and flexibility, technology utilisation, safety and security, and environmental sustainability. 2019’s winner was Sovcomflot’s Gagarin Prospect, the world’s first Aframax tanker designed to run on LNG.

Capturing attention

“This is a hugely exciting award,” comments Per Martin Tanggaard, Nor-Shipping Director External Relations. “It’s special because anyone from the maritime industry can nominate projects, creating a broad playing field of exceptional vessels that, for one reason or another, have really captured the attention of observers and decision makers. There’s no agendas, or politics, just a collection of ships that demonstrate the very best ambition, inspiration and innovation on show in the world right now.

“Together with our other two accolades – the Young Entrepreneur Award and the newly launched Ocean Solutions Award – we believe our programme now covers the people, technology and concepts that are set to define the future of maritime. Anyone wishing to showcase unique ability and innovation should consider entering, with nomination forms now available at the Nor-Shipping website. The industry always watches these awards, and the profile boost a win can give your business can not be overstated.

“Best of luck to everybody!”

Redefining progress

To qualify for the Next Generation Ship Award newbuilds should be scheduled for delivery within three years of Nor-Shipping 2021, while retrofits and conversions must be undertaken since the last biennial event in 2019. Collaborations between companies are welcomed, while all ship types are given equal consideration, regardless of size or segment.

“Ambition, innovation and dedication are essential ingredients when it comes enabling a successful, sustainable maritime future,” notes Awards President Remi Eriksen, “and those elements are never in short supply in this prestigious award. The competing projects encapsulate how bold solutions – often combining existing and breakthrough technologies – can redefine efficiency, performance and business results within niche segments.

“It’s always fascinating to see which vessels will be nominated and who, in the eyes of the expert jury, is most deserving of this special prize. I’m delighted to play a part in that process.”

Sovcomflot, 2019's winner, also expressed delight with a process that saw its 'green funnel' LNG initiative gain international acclaim. Igor Tonkovidov, President & CEO, Sovcomflot comments: "The Next Generation Ship Award is an important prize for all forward-thinking shipowners who, like us, want to find solutions to enable a more efficient and sustainable maritime future. Winning the title in 2019 delivered a clear message to the industry and society as a whole, recognising our achievements and communicating our ambitions in driving shipping emissions down through innovative solutions. For shipowners who want to position themselves as next generation shipping leaders, this award offers a good opportunity to do so.”

Ready for #ACTION

Nor-Shipping 2021 takes place from 1-4 June at Norges Varemesse’s spacious exhibition halls in Lillestrøm and at a range of venues across nearby Oslo. A broad range of knowledge sharing, networking and business boosting activities await for exhibitors, participants and stakeholders from around the world.

Each of the three Nor-Shipping 2021 awards initiatives complements the event’s overall theme of showcasing those taking positive #ACTION within the ocean space. All the winners will be announced on 31 May. To access a nomination form for any of the initiatives please click here

<![CDATA[Samsung Heavy Industries Wins its Largest Order Ever]]> Samsung Heavy Industries has secured its largest order ever, and it's something of a mystery. 

The firm announced Monday that it has booked a $2.5 billion order for "blocks and equipment" for an unnamed European buyer. It is the biggest single contract it has signed since its founding in the 1970s, and it amounts to nearly 40 percent of last year's total annual sales. 

The nature of the product was not disclosed, but most observers believe that it is associated with a Russian government-backed order for 15 icebreaking LNG carriers at the newly-rebuilt Zvezda Shipyard outside Vladivostok. The vessels will be privately owned, but the Kremlin has incentivized the project's shipowning and chartering partners to order from a Russian shipyard.

As Zvezda has not built an LNG carrier before, it has contracted with Samsung for the design and for technical assistance for the first five ships in the series. The first steel was cut at the Zvezda yard last Friday, and delivery is scheduled for 2023-2026.

The charterer, Russian LNG producer Novatek, has also asked for permission from the Kremlin to order ten more hulls in the series from a non-Russian shipbuilder. If approved, that order is expected to be worth about $3 billion, and it would likely accrue to Samsung. 

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) won the contract to build the first 15-vessel series in Novatek's icebreaking LNG fleet in 2014. The new round of Zvezda/Samsung ships will provide additional capacity to serve Novatek's Arctic LNG 2 project, an expansion of its operations on the Gulf of Ob in the Russian Arctic. 

Samsung has previously built icebreaking cargo vessels for Russian buyers - notably a series of three double-acting icebreaking oil tankers for Sovcomflot delivered in 2005. The Samsung icebreaking LNG carrier design is new, and it is intended to improve performance in ice over the previous generation. 

“These vessels will significantly contribute to the development of cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route, which is strategically important for Russia," said Russian deputy prime minister Yury Borisov in a statement. 

<![CDATA[Davie Shipbuilding Delivers Second Converted Icebreaker for CCG]]> The Canadian Coast Guard saves lives at sea, protects the marine environment, supports Canadian sovereignty and security, and maintains shipping routes to keep our economy moving. Ensuring the Coast Guard has reliable, and modern equipment is essential to keeping our waterways safe and open for business. Through its icebreaking program, the Canadian Coast Guard supports safe marine traffic in or around ice-covered waters, ensuring goods and services are delivered to all Canadians.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, and Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard marked the delivery of the CCGS Jean Goodwill, the second of three medium interim icebreakers to join the fleet after completing refit and conversion work at Davie Shipbuilding in Lévis, Quebec. The work was completed under the National Shipbuilding Strategy’s third pillar for vessel repair, refit, and maintenance. The work on the three medium interim icebreakers helped directly create and maintain upwards of 450 good-paying middle class jobs.

The CCGS Jean Goodwill is named in honour of the late Jean Goodwill, an Officer of the Order of Canada. Goodwill was a Cree nurse from the community of Little Pine Nation in Saskatchewan who in 1954, became Saskatchewan’s first Indigenous woman to finish a nursing program. Goodwill is also a founding member of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada and a contemporary pioneer of public health services for Indigenous peoples.

The conversion work and refit completed on the CCGS Jean Goodwill included enhancing icebreaking capabilities and endurance, upgrading the propulsion control system, navigation and communication electronics, improvements to the galley and increased crew accommodation capacity.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy is providing the Canadian Coast Guard with the ships it needs to make sure our waters are safer, cleaner and healthier for all Canadians. The CCGS Jean Goodwill, along with its sister ships, CCGS Captain Molly Kool and the future CCGS Vincent Massey will support icebreaking operations while new ships are being built and the existing fleet undergoes repairs and planned maintenance periods. The CCGS Jean Goodwill will be based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and is expected to start assisting icebreaking operations in early 2021. 

<![CDATA[IMO to Consider Industry Call for $5B R&D Decarbonization Program]]> Among the decisions at last week’s International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75) was an agreement to give further consideration to the proposal of the major shipping organizations to launch a research and development initiative funded by the industry and administered by the IMO. The members reviewed the proposal and “agreed to give it further consideration.”

Coordinated to the launch of the MPC 75 sessions discussing the efforts to lower carbon emissions, eight of the leading shipping organizations called on the IMO to back a proposed $5 billion R&D program to accelerate the decarbonization of the maritime industry. The proposal builds on the previous $2 per tonne charge on bunker fuel sales that the International Chamber of Shipping and others have been advocating for as a means to focus the industry’s efforts.

The organizations, which collectively represent all sectors of shipping from cargo to passengers and over 90 percent of the world’s merchant fleet, said their effort was focused on R&D, but critics said the efforts did not go far enough and accused the organizations of trying to dominate the discussion which could have adverse consequences on their cost of operations. 

The organizations proposed the formation of a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), to accelerate the introduction of zero-emission technologies for maritime transport to be funded by a mandatory R&D contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel consumed. Say that the IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to build a zero-carbon shipping industry and that the necessary funding can only be provided within the global regulatory framework of IMO, the organization said it was the best opportunity to coordinate and accelerate the R&D needed to meet the IMO’s 2050 emissions targets.

Responding to the action of MPC 75, the organizations followed up with a new statement saying that they, “recognizes the unprecedented nature of its proposal and the associated complexities, and will work to address this so that governments can take forward its offer.”

Governments participating in the meetings contributed constructive input on the proposal the organizations said in a joint statement. “This included important questions about governance and IMO oversight, the need to take account of the economic impact on states of the proposed mandatory R&D contribution, and the need to address the interests of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).”

The organizations reiterated their eagerness to work with governments to ensure the initiative is implemented saying they wanted the IMRB to be operational by 2023. 

The program was presented by: BIMCO; Cruise Lines International Association; INTERCARGO; Interferry; International Chamber of Shipping; INTERTANKO; International Parcel Tankers Association; and the World Shipping Council.

<![CDATA[Video: 18 Rescued After Brazilian Survey Vessel Sinks in Campos Basin]]> On Friday, an offshore vessel on contract to Petrobras went down near the Albacora oil field in Brazil's Campos Basin region. 

The 140-foot offshore survey vessel Carmen took on a list at about 0430 hours, and the master ordered the crew to abandon ship. She went down at about 0500 hours Friday morning.

All 18 of her crewmembers were rescued from the vessel's life rafts, according to the Brazilian Navy. No injuries were reported and all crewmembers are well. 

The Carmen was performing bathymetric survey work at the time of the casualty, according to operator OceanPact Geosciences. Video from the scene of the casualty shows rough surface conditions, with swells large enough to periodically obscure the Carmen's lifeboats from view. 

The Brazilian Navy has ordered OceanPact to maintain an oil pollution response presence at the scene in case fuel or debris from the vessel comes up to the surface. An inquiry into the circumstances of the sinking is under way. 

"We are providing all necessary support to the crew and their families and are available for any clarifications that may be necessary for the authorities," said Maurício Latado, OceanPact's director General. 

Brazilian petroleum union Sindicato dos Petroleiros do Norte Fluminense (Sindipetro NF) called for strengthening the inspection system for offshore vessels serving in the sector. 

“The lack of inspection on some vessels hired by Petrobrás as well as the precariousness of the inspection teams on board sets off an alert," said the union's director of health and safety, Alexandre Vieira. "We thank each tanker and oil company that worked to rescue workers, demonstrating the importance of the union of the oil sector and the high preparation that each of us has to act in adverse situations."

<![CDATA[USCG Searches for Mariner Who Fell Between Tug and Dredger]]> The Coast Guard is searching for a man who went missing after falling overboard near Blount Island, Florida on Sunday.

Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville received a request for emergency assistance at about 0300 hours Sunday from the tugboat Pops. The caller reported that a 42-year-old man fell into the water while moving from the vessel to a barge. The victim was not wearing a lifejacket, and he did not resurface.

The Coast Guard dispatched an MH-65 helicopter aircrew from Air Station Savannah and a small boat crew from Station Mayport to begin a search. They were joined by crews from Florida Fish and Wildlife, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and several dive units.

The effort was paused overnight and restarted Monday; the search has covered the full extent of the St. Johns River between Blount Island and the sea, but no sign of the missing mariner has yet been found.

The family of the victim has identified him as Oziel Martinez, a 20-year veteran of the maritime industry. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 25 said that he was transferring from the tug to the clamshell dredging barge New York at the time of the accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are currently with Brother Ozzy’s family, including his son and fellow Local 25 Brother Ozzie Jr. We are hoping that our brother will be found safe," the union said in a statement. 

Brother Ozzy Martinez is currently missing. From what we know so far, Brother Ozzy is assumed to have gone overboard...

Posted by IUOE LOCAL 25 on Sunday, November 22, 2020
<![CDATA[Video: Container Ship Strikes Grounded Vessel off Indonesia]]> The Cypriot-flagged containership Tina 1 went aground in the Singapore Strait overnight after striking an Iranian containership that has been aground in the area for the past six months near Batam. 

The 67,270 dwt containership was reported to be sailing from Singapore to Jakarta loaded with 4,096 TEUs. The nature of the incident and what lead up to the allision and grounding are unknown, and an investigation by the Indonesian authorities is under way.

The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation reported that the incident occurred just before midnight. Two patrol boats were dispatched to “carry out surveillance and security to the scene.” 

Images and locally shot videos posted on social media showed that the Tina 1 apparently hit the stern of the Shahraz, (86,018 dwt) an Iranian containership that was involved in an accident in the same area in May 2020. At the time, the Shahraz was believed to have collided with an Indonesian bulker before grounding.

The Shahraz remains aground having suffered significant damage. Local reports are that the Iranian shipping company awarded a salvage contract and the vessel had been offloaded in preparation for it to be removed from the reef.

"Based on the results of direct monitoring and supervision at the scene of the incident, the condition of the MV Tina 1, which ran aground, has not experienced any leaks and oil spills around the ship," said Capt. Handry Sulfian of the local Indonesia authorities. He reported that they had teams at the location of the accident managing the situation and ensuring that marine traffic was proceeding through the area.

The 915-foot-long containership remains aground in the busy shipping lane. The Indonesian authorities reported that they would be evacuating the crew for safety.

Indonesian Coast Guard continues to monitor the scene - photo courtesy Ministry of Transportation Republic of Indonesia

<![CDATA[U.S. DOT, MARAD Convene Panel on GPS Jamming and Spoofing]]> “How to Steal a Ship” will be one of the presentations at a U.S. Department of Transportation workshop on the 3rd of December. The event will feature speakers from Maersk, the U.S. Coast Guard, MARAD, and the department’s Research and Technology arm, among others.

Jamming, blocking signals, and spoofing - sending false signals to make a receiver report it is in a false location - have been increasing concerns for maritime operators over the last five years. A study by the German research institute DLR found interference on GPS frequencies during every phase of a year-long voyage between Europe, the Far East and back. In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard brought interference with GPS signals as an “urgent issue” to the International Maritime Organization.

While certainly a concern for ship operators, interference with GPS has also become a problem for every part of the maritime supply chain including rail, trucking, and port cargo handling. Criminals regularly use GPS jamming to disable tracking devices when hijacking trucks, stealing cargo, and shipping stolen vehicles in containers. Port operations around the nation are periodically interrupted when truckers, wanting to defeat fleet tracking systems, bring GPS jammers into a port area. Unfortunately, a lack of monitoring systems and commercial concerns mean that reports of these kinds of incidents are difficult to detect and usually not publicly available.

Much more obvious is interference with shipboard receivers. Shipboard Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) broadcast GPS-based location information nearly continuously. AIS signals are picked up by coastal and satellite-based sensors, and much of this information is publicly available or can be easily accessed.

In 2017, The Maritime Executive reported on the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation’s discovery of a pattern of GPS spoofing in the Black Sea. Hundreds of ships were reporting their locations as the middle of Russian airports. A subsequent study by the non-profit C4ADS found almost 3,000 ships impacted over a two-year period.

Ships at Chinese ports often find their GPS receivers showing locations hundreds of meters ashore and circling government buildings. This spoofing technique seems to have become available on the dark market and has been seen elsewhere. The non-profit Skytruth has documented ships in widely dispersed parts of the globe reporting they are off of northern California and sailing in circles.

So, is it really possible to steal a ship by jamming or spoofing GPS signals?  Register here for the workshop and attend on December 3 to find out.

Dana A. Goward is the President of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, a 501(c)3 scientific and educational charity supporting policies and systems to protect GPS/GNSS users.

<![CDATA[US Coast Guard Searching for Four Crew from Sunken Fishing Vessel]]> The U.S. Coast Guard has launched an extensive search and rescue operation for a missing fishing boat believed to have sunk this morning in the waters northeast of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Four fisherman are reported missing from the commercial vessel.

The Coast Guard in Boston reports that it received a notification around 1 a.m. this morning from the 82-foot fishing vessel named Emmy Rose. They received a signal from the vessel’s radio beacon with an emergency position for the vessel that had been due into Gloucester, Massachusetts today. The vessel’s homeport is Portland, Maine.

The Coast Guard immediately launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from the Coast Guard Air Station on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The copter was reported on scene within the hour and discovered debris and an empty life raft. 

The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous was also dispatched to the last known location of the fishing vessel. The Vigorous is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter, homeported in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo, a 110-foot Patrol Boat, homeported in Gloucester, Massachusetts along with a 47-foot Coast Guard motor life boat from Provincetown have also joined the search.


Cutter Vigorous seen returning to base in 2016 - USCG photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake


In the air, the Coast Guard is using a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from the air station on Cape Cod along with a HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft.

Weather in the area has been impacting the search with a strong storm front moving through today. The Coast Guard reports the weather on scene is 30-knot winds with 6-to-8-foot seas currently.

The owner of the vessel said that they had been unable to reach the ship via its radio telephone since last night. Family members and friends are anxiously awaiting further word from the Coast Guard.

Portland, Marine’s Press Herald newspaper reports that the vessel had departed on Thursday, November 19 and that other fishing vessels in the area had seen the Emmy Rose yesterday and everything seemed to be normal. The vessel was believed to be heading to Gloucester to offload its catch. They reported that the crew of four are all experienced sailors.

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association told the newspaper it had been a difficult year for the local fishing community. The Press Herald reports that another fishing vessel sank in January south of Portland killing its captain and one crew member.

<![CDATA[Video: Car Ferry Sunk as Artificial Reef off Brazil]]> After a COVID-related delay, a ropax ferry and an offshore tug have been sunk as part of an artificial reef in Bahia, Brazil. 

Over the weekend, local dive tour operators and contractors sent down the tug Vega and the 300-passenger car ferry Agenor Gordilho in 100 feet of water off Salvador, Brazil. The operation followed a long series of preparatory steps, including the removal of all pollutants. The sinking took about an hour and thirty minutes. 

The site is less than a mile from shore - unusually close in for an artificial reef. It was purposefully chosen to allow easy access for dive tourism, and the first tours could begin as early as next week. Given the bay's thriving marine environment, the organizers of the operation expect that the vessel will be encrusted in marine life within a year's time. 

“We are doing today the first sinking of a ferry in Brazil for tourism purposes and, with that, to encourage this activity more than ever because it attracts a high-standard audience. We have all the potential here to do that," said Bahia's state secretary of tourism, Fausto Franco. 

The sinking will also save the state nearly $2,000 per month in docking and maintenance fees for the decommissioned ferry. Additional underused car ferries will follow soon, he said.

"The assisted sinking of the ferry boat Agenor Gordilho and the tugboat Vega is a milestone for our nautical tourism. Baía de Todos-os-Santos today saw a historic event that, certainly, will generate development, jobs and income," said Bahia's governor, Rui Costa. 

<![CDATA[Indian Coast Guard Tows Drifting Crude Oil Tanker to Safety]]> After days of monitoring the situation, the Indian Coast Guard intervened on Sunday, November 22, to reposition a disabled crude oil tanker that was drifting in an environmentally sensitive zone.

The Coast Guard reported that its vessel the Vishwast towed the Panama flagged tanker Anastasia I, which was drifting dangerously towards Kachall Island, part of the Nicobar Islands, at the southern end of the Bay of Bengal and located near the Malacca Strait. 

The Anastasia I had unloaded her crude shipment in China and departed on October 24 making a stop at Singapore. The tanker is riding empty carrying approximately 910 tons of bunker fuel. The 103,000 dwt vessel, which measures 800 feet in length, departed Singapore on November 4 bound for Dubai, where she was expected to arrive on November 30. 

Sailing with a crew of 24, the tanker blacked out on Thursday, November 19, and had been drifting since then. The Indian Coast Guard had been standing by with the cutter Vishwast and surveillance flights on one of its airplanes. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Blair, issued a navigational warning and international safety alert for vessels in the area.

According to Coast Guard, the vessel’s operator, based in India, had not responded to inquiries and had not provided a tug for assistance. When it was determined that the tanker was increasingly in danger of grounding, a Coast Guard team boarded Anastasia I making repairs, attaching a tow line, and preparing the anchor to be manually lowered. The Vishwast towed the tanker to a safer location.

<![CDATA[Order for Largest Marine Robotic Vessels with Green Fuel Capabilities]]> As part of the industry’s move to the next generation of autonomously operated vessels, the ocean research and survey company Ocean Infinity announced the order for a new generation of larger vessels able to operate remotely controlled or crewed and prepared for future green fuels. To be built at VARD’s shipyard in Vietnam, the eight vessels, which hare believed to be the largest of their kind, are scheduled for deliveries between mid-2022 to end-2023.

Measuring approximately 256 feet in length, the eight Marine Robotic Vessels are designed as a multi-purpose platform that can provide for the safe launch and recovery of remotely operated surface vessels (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles, and other robotic systems. They will be equipped with the technology to permit them to operate remotely controlled from onshore, lightly crew or uncrewed. Initially, it is anticipated that they will operate with a skeleton crew on board. The design is also prepared for the introduction of alternative fuels such as green ammonia with fuel cell and battery technology.

“With a high focus in the design process of making the vessels energy efficient, the vessels are equipped with highly optimized hull forms, propellers, and engine arrangements,” said Ove Bjørneset, VP Research and Innovation in VARD. “The vessels are inherently developed for safe and secure prolonged missions with a redundant mindset like split engine and propulsion rooms, redundant cooling systems, sensor systems, automation and power management systems, navigation and communication systems.”

The series of eight vessels will expand Ocean Infinity’s newly launched Armada fleet, which will include nine 21-meter and 36-meter vessels. The smaller vessels are already in production and expected to operational by early 2021. 

“The impact and the scale of this robotic fleet will spark the biggest transformation the maritime industry has seen since sail gave way to steam,” said Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity. “With our new fleet, we will be able to provide sustainable services to all corners of the industry from offshore energy, to logistics and transport.”
Vard Electro, which has developed the SeaQ Integrated Automation System and SeaQ Power Management System together with the class society to allow for safe remote operations and cyber-secure communication, will deliver a complete electrical systems package from engineering through installation, integration, and commissioning. Also, a range of suppliers and contractors in the Norwegian Maritime Cluster is involved in the project.

<![CDATA[Three Crewmembers Abducted From Tanker off Lagos]]> Three crewmembers have been abducted from a small tanker off the coast of Nigeria, the latest incident in an exceptionally busy year for piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. 

In the early hours of November 16, the Togo-flagged bunkering tanker Stelios K was under way for Lagos on a voyage from Athens. At a position about 40 nautical miles to the south of Lagos, she went dark and ceased reporting AIS, according to security consultancy Praesidium International. Later reports indicated that she had been boarded and taken over, and she was still in the custody of the attackers up until at least November 19, Dryad Global reported.

The Stelios K has since been located, but the suspected pirates left the vessel and were not apprehended. Three crewmembers have been confirmed missing. The local authorities were notified, and a Nigerian Navy vessel is searching for the kidnappers, according to Praesidium. 

Other security consultancies have told maritime media that the Stelios K's apparent hijacking may have resulted from a business dispute rather than a typical Nigerian kidnap-for-ransom scheme. The ship's UAE-based owner has not commented on the circumstances of the case. 

The attack represents the 23rd kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea so far this year, and it brings the total number of abductees to 118, according to a tally maintained by Dryad Global. The total includes two kidnappings within the span of just three days last week - the attack on the Stelios K and the abduction of 14 crewmembers from the heavy lift ship Zhen Hua 7 on November 13.

"The Gulf of Guinea [High Risk Area] was raised to a critical risk rating following a sharp increase in incidents in the past week," cautioned Dryad. "Vessels are advised to exercise heightened caution in this region."

<![CDATA[Driving the Blue Economy With Marine Geospatial Data]]> For centuries, the oceans have been the mainstay of the world economy. From the earliest sailors and traders to the megaships and offshore activity of today, global prosperity and how we manage marine resources have always been inextricably linked. Now understood as a variety of sectors and industries that constitute the ‘Blue Economy’; including development, technology and sustainability, which we estimate to be worth £3.2 trillion by 2030.

At the same time, our oceans are under more pressure than ever before. Climate change threatens our ocean ecosystems and the way of life for millions around the globe. And with the world engaging in a drive for balancing economic growth with sustainability, it is vital that we find ways to use our ocean responsibly. 

The United Nations has placed the world’s oceans at the heart of its Sustainable Development Goals. Meanwhile, the 2020s have also been marked as the ‘Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’ – a reflection of the growing importance of ocean scientific disciplines including hydrography. Marine geospatial data is now emerging, with growing international recognition, as one of the core pillars that will support decision-making and policymaking when it comes to the ocean environment.

Oceans under threat

Today, more than three billion people depend on the marine economy for their food and livelihoods. Meanwhile, our oceans are under increasing pressure with advances in technology, busier seas and pressing environmental challenges. 

When it comes to ocean resources, rarely have we been able to balance growth with sustainability. As much as 40% of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, acidification and depleted fisheries and coastal habitats. Meanwhile, sea level rises triggered by climate change are placing our coastal regions at an increased risk of flooding and coastal erosion – both of which significantly impact coastal economic development. 

Most worryingly, the truth is that the most acute effects and burdens of these significant sustainability challenges will not be experienced equally by us all but will instead be felt most harshly by vulnerable coastal communities in developing countries.

A change in stance that maximises the sustainable use of our ocean resources is therefore a necessity. The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) believes that marine geospatial data – from seabed to surface – holds one of the key pieces in the puzzle that will help us meet the challenges facing the marine environment. 



Marine geospatial data at the heart of the Blue Economic revolution 

Marine geospatial data is a wide term that spans a huge resource of information at our fingertips. From the bathymetric and seabed data depicted in the navigational charts that underpin maritime trade and safety of life at sea, to the tidal and marine habitat information needed for sustainable fisheries and renewable energy, the potential applications of this resource are varied and exciting. 

Technological developments seen over the past few decades have seen the breadth of marine geospatial data boom, revealing new insights about our coasts and oceans. By increasing our knowledge of the coastline, we can predict areas at risk of flooding, identify the regions impacted by rising sea levels, and pinpoint the areas most vulnerable to extreme weather. This information in turn can guide public and private sector investment in coastal defences, inform resilience measures and in turn provide for greater confidence in economic investment. 

Meanwhile, for developing nations, marine geospatial information can liberalise economies and open new avenues of investment, including in port infrastructure that can act as an economic lifeline and link to global trade. 

Around the world, we see examples of this kind of collaboration in action. For example, through the Commonwealth Marine Economies programme, the UKHO works with partners, such as the National Oceanographic Centre, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, and commercial survey contractors, to support the Blue Economic development of 17 nations. 

Meanwhile, through the Overseas Territories Seabed Mapping Programme, we are working with 14 UK Overseas Territories to update navigational charts and products through a focussed survey programme, while also ensuring they meet international obligations, improve compliance, and sustainably develop their ocean economies. 

An example of where geospatial data can provide real change is in Kiribati, a small archipelagic nation with around 115,000 citizens. It is listed by the UN as an island that is at risk of sea inundation due to sea-level rise. Marine geospatial data, collected in close collaboration with our surveying partners, can help to inform coastal defence planning to mitigate against the effects of climate change. 

In Guyana, we have captured new geospatial data for the approaches to Guyana’s main port, Georgetown, which will make port calls much safer and more efficient, while reducing risk to key marine environments.

Meanwhile, in Anguilla, we have worked extensively to develop the foundation of a Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) to empower the local government with marine geospatial data, making it more widely discoverable, accessible and usable via an online Data Management Solution.

These are just some of the ways that marine geospatial data is being used to underpin the Blue Economy, but the potential applications are almost boundless. 

The knowledge to drive change

It’s encouraging to see that geospatial data and the collaboration driven by its sourcing, management and sharing is helping to spark change. But despite this, there is still a way to go with many coastal states subject to immense challenge: narrow resource bases depriving them of the benefits of economies of scale; high costs for energy, infrastructure, transportation, communication and servicing; long distances from export markets and import resources; low and irregular international traffic volumes; little resilience to natural disasters; growing populations; high volatility of economic growth; limited opportunities for the private sector and a proportionately large reliance of their economies on their public sector; and fragile natural environments. The list goes on…

Our role is to continue to gather, manage and share marine geospatial data, to give decision makers the vital information they need to develop safe, secure and thriving oceans. 

To learn more about  the capabilities of marine geospatial data for the Blue Economy, the UKHO is hosting the ADMIRALTY Blue Data Conference in January 2021, which brings together leading experts in ocean science, marine data, and the Blue Economy to explore the transformative power of blue data and address some of the defining questions for our ocean industries and for the marine environment. Find out more about the event by visiting 

This article is sponsored by the UK Hydrographic Office

<![CDATA[U.S. Coast Guard Medevacs Man-Overboard Survivor]]> On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a fisherman who had fallen over the side at a position about 160 miles east of Boston.

At about 0330 hours, Coast Guard District One received a request for assistance from the crew of the commercial fishing vessel Jennifer Anne. The crew reported that a 35-year-old crewmember had fallen overboard and had been brought back aboard by his crewmates. The fisherman was experiencing hypothermia-like conditions and had minor lacerations.

A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew were dispatched to the scene. Weather was favorable, with 15 knot winds and seas of about three to five feet. The helicopter crew safely hoisted the fisherman off the vessel at about 0650 hours and transported him to Massachusetts General Hospital for medical attention. 

Jennifer Anne is a 1986-built lobster boat based out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

<![CDATA[Taiwan's Fishing Industry Faces New Pressure to Address Forced Labor]]> Greenpeace and 33 other NGOs and trade unions have joined together to call for Taiwan to take action on the use of forced labor in its distant-water fishing fleet. This year is the first that Taiwanese seafood products have been placed on the U.S. Department of Labor’s formal list of goods produced with forced labor, a designation that has put new pressure on the nation's billion-dollar fishing industry. 

“Similar to crews on Chinese-flagged vessels, crews on Taiwan-flagged vessels face confiscation of documents, long days with little rest, physical and verbal abuse, and lack of payment," the U.S. Department of Labor concluded in its report.

Greenpeace's statement calls for Taiwan's government and its distant-water fishing industry to take action ensure Taiwan’s removal from the list. 

“Greenpeace and other environmental and human rights NGOs’ investigations found that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is closely linked to forced labor at sea,” said Pearl Chen, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia’s Taipei office. “Forced labor and IUU have formed a vicious cycle because they are both driven by the desire to maximize profits. The government must pay attention to the rights of migrant fishers if we are to ever stop IUU fishing.” 

The joint statement raised four main issues that the Taiwanese government should prioritize to end the mistreatment of migrant fishers aboard Taiwanese vessels:

  • Taiwan's overseas employment scheme for migrant fishermen must be abolished, and the nation's Labor Standards Act must be applied equally to all.
  • Wages must be paid in full, and there must be no illegal deductions. '
  • Insurance compensation must be paid fully and swiftly to family members of crewmembers who die at sea. 
  • Establish a clear timeline for the implementation of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention.
  • Increase the frequency and reliability of port inspections (both fishery and labor) for all vessels.
  • Increase transparency in the fishery sector by requiring disclosure of vessel position (VMS or AIS) and punishing vessels for "going dark."
  • Implement 100 percent observer coverage, either in-person or remote camera/sensor.
  • Ensure the safety of all observers on all fishing vessels. 

Greenpeace said that the U.S. Department of Labor welcomed the recommendations and said it would inform their work with Taiwan's government going forwards.

In a response, the head of Taiwan's Department of Labor Standards told Taipei Times that "the management of migrant fishers was the responsibility of the Fisheries Agency." The Fisheries Agency said that it is in discussions with industry and plans to increase inspections. 

<![CDATA[FMC Investigates Carriers' Strong-Arm Tactics on Container Fees]]> Amidst a surge of import volume and unprecedented congestion at the nation's biggest container seaports, the Federal Maritime Commission is expanding its fact-finding investigation into logistical challenges and pursuing reports of potential noncompliance. 

The inquiry is an extension of the FMC's Fact Finding 29 investigation, which was intended to identify collaborative operational solutions to the challenges affecting America's seaports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was oriented towards finding practical commerical measures that could make port logistics run more smoothly. In the course of that investigation, FMC received reports of potential non-compliance with regard to policies on the handling of empty containers. The statute in question requires NVOCCs, terminal operators and ocean carriers to maintain "just and reasonable" rules for handling boxes - including demurrage and detention charges. 

"Stakeholder discussions revealed several problem areas in and around major ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey," said FMC Chairman Michael A. Khouri. "The problems identified include return of empty containers, availability of empty containers for U.S. export cargos, and demurrage and detention charges in and around the marine terminals. I believe all Commissioners have heard from constituents concerning these problem issues as well as related subjects."

After these stakeholder complaints, the Commission says that it now has a responsibility to investigate. It suggested that the potentially noncompliant practices are having "an unprecedented negative impact on congestion and amplifying bottlenecks" at the Port of New York and New Jersey and the Long Beach / LA port complex. 

The stakeholder complaints include allegations that vessel operators are making dray truck companies pay detention fees in situations in which it may not be permissible - including commercial situations in which the trucking company is not responsible for payment. "Further, there have been allegations that the [ocean carrier] has told the dray truck operator or the [NVOCC] that if they do not pay, they will be put on a 'blacklist' and not receive any further business," said Khouri. 

<![CDATA[One Rescued, Two Missing After Fishing Vessel Sinks Off Sussex]]> On Saturday, a scallop fishing vessel went down off the coast of Sussex, England, leaving two fishermen missing. One man survived the ordeal and was brought safely to shore. 

HM Coastguard received a distress signal from the EPIRB belonging to the commercial fishing boat Joanna C at about 0600 hours Saturday morning. The agency dispatched a helicopter and the Newhaven and Eastbourne RNLI lifeboats to an area just three nautical miles off Seaford, near Newhaven. Multiple good samaritan vessels joined in the effort, and a coast guard team took up a patrol on the shoreline. 

The Newhaven RNLI lifeboat found one survivor clinging to a lifebuoy, and the crew transferred him safely to shore for treatment at a hospital. 

"Thankfully one of the three people on board at the time of sinking has been pulled out of the water and brought to shore by the Newhaven RNLI lifeboat but the intensive air and sea search for the two missing crew continues," said Piers Stanbury, the controller for HM Coastguard. "Debris has been located close to location of the EPIRB alert location but no life raft has been found as yet."

The search for the remaining two crewmembers was suspended overnight, but the Newhaven and Eastbourne RNLI lifeboats resumed the operation at 0730 hours on Sunday morning, with help from local fishing vessels. In an update Sunday, HM Coastguard said that nothing further had been found, and it called off the search at 1430 hours Sunday afternoon. 

"It is testament to the local maritime community that HM Coastguard were so admirably supported . . . by nearby vessels and the local fishing communities who joined us in force and made strenuous efforts to locate their colleagues during the search. At one point, Coastguard coordinators described tracking 14 vessels covering the search plan area including the two RNLI all weather lifeboats at sea," said Chris Thomas, the deputy director of HM Coastguard.

The 1980-built Joanna C had just completed a full refit in 2019, including a new main engine, extensive structural steel renewal, new hull plating and new crew amenities. 

<![CDATA[Can Technology Weaken Seafarers’ Professional Judgment?]]> [By Guro Kulset Merakerås]

A good sailor has traditionally been a person who makes decisions that ensure that their ship, cargo and crew are safe. Good seamanship has not been synonymous with following procedures and doing everything by the book. Maybe just the opposite.

Opposing a set of rules that are perceived as irrelevant or written on land can almost be seen as part of the identity and professional pride of seafarers.

Today, the profession is undergoing radical change, and so is the seafarers’ own understanding of their role. New seamen and seawomen are trained to follow procedures, reducing the opportunities for them to exercise their discretion.

Seafarers perceive this development as a threat to safety.

Technology and procedures take over

“A lot of the practical work on board ship is embodied knowledge that needs to be learned through working with experienced seafarers. The formalized procedures seem to value this knowledge transfer less,” says Torgeir Kolstø Haavik from NTNU Social Research.

He and a research team at NTNU and Safetec, a provider of risk management services, have interviewed fourteen seafarers aged 22 to 62, and have documented their understanding of how the profession has changed.

The work was carried out as part of the “Professional competence, standardization and safety in aviation and the maritime industry” project.

“Technological and administrative changes in the work environment affect how we understand good seamanship and maritime safety. The bridge has seen a lot of new technology, including navigation and positioning,” says Haavik.

New technology has changed the work tasks in the engine room as well, with increased automation and data collection for use in on-land analyses. Most situations have technological solutions, such as keeping the boat in a stable position during loading and unloading at offshore installations.

All these innovations alter the professional competence related to safety. When navigators monitor the automatic systems instead of doing the navigating themselves, the classic nautical skills aren’t all needed or sufficient to do the job.

Out of practice using professional judgment

“The job and the tasks are changing. That’s a fact,” says Haavik. “And being able to follow procedures and monitor the technology is usually good enough.” But, he points out, operations at sea can involve other vessels, technical problems and demanding weather conditions that cause unforeseen situations that there aren’t any procedures for.

One of the sailors interviewed by the researchers puts it this way: “It’s almost like you’re not allowed to think for yourself anymore, because procedures take care of everything.” What the informant describes is a work situation that provides few opportunities for him to use the professional judgment he has acquired through experience. That judgment comes from training, and so sailors are not necessarily prepared if something arises that isn’t covered by the procedures.

The study findings indicate that the scope of administrative paperwork can be at the expense of critical safety tasks. And this phenomenon doesn’t only exist at sea.

“The room to maneuver, where you can exercise your professional judgment, is shrinking in a lot of professions,” says Haavik.

Concepts without content

The Norwegian Maritime Code states that “The master shall ensure that the navigation and management of the ship accords with good seamanship.” But what exactly is “good seamanship”? New and experienced sailors have different views on this.

“It isn’t necessarily problematic in and of itself that a concept loses its content. But as long as both international and national regulations require “good seamanship,” and the Accident Investigation Board can conclude that “poor seamanship” has been exhibited, it would be interesting to know what the term means to the professionals. If the content is changing, it’s important for this to be captured and discussed,” Haavik says.

This article appears courtesy Gemini Research News, and it may be found in its original form here

<![CDATA[Photos: French Navy Frigate Seizes 450 Kilos of Methamphetamine]]> The crew of a French frigate with Combined Maritime Force (CMF) 150 recently seized about 456 kilos of methamphetamine and 364 kilos of heroin, marking the third CMF drug seizure in the last two months.

On November 18, the French frigate Floréal captured the drugs from a suspicious vessel during a counter-narcotics boarding in the Northern Indian Ocean. The drugs were seized on a route known for smuggling, and the narcotics were openly visible, according to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). 

Image courtesy CTF 150

“In less than two months, CTF 150 has successfully intercepted over two tons of methamphetamine and hashish, and over 300kg of heroin,” said the task force’s Commander, Rear Admiral Sulieman Alfakeeh of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. “I would like to thank all of the sailors from our partner navies, as well as my staff at CTF 150 for making these operations a success, and stopping these drugs from contributing to the funding of criminal activity and terrorism.”   

The operation was Floréal's second drug bust this month. She seized more than $8 million worth of hashish from a suspicious vessel on the Arabian Sea’s "Hash Highway" on November 8. The 1.5-tonne haul of hashish was well-hidden on board the vessel, and it took an extensive search to find it.

Images courtesy CTF 150

CTF 150's other assets have also experienced considerable success. The Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose seized 458 kilos of meth in a bust in mid-October, setting a new record for the task force. Montrose's boarding team conducted the interdiction in rough conditions, and after an extensive search they discovered the drugs hidden in the boat’s cargo. The haul had an estimated wholesale value of $24 million.

Image courtesy Royal Navy

In addition to maritime security operations, Combined Maritime Task Force vessels have been busy providing aid to mariners. In October, the USS Winston S. Churchill helped an Iranian-flagged motor vessel in distress. The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer Ariake, operating under a CTF 151 tasking, recently worked with the French Navy frigate Jean Bart medevac an injured seafarer.

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational partnership that works to counter illicit activity on the high seas in the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. CTF 150 is currently led by the Royal Saudi Naval Force.

<![CDATA[Video: Australian Research Vessel Captures Footage of Giant Meteor]]> Last week, the Australian government research vessel RV Investigator was in just the right place at just the right time to capture video footage of a giant meteor breaking up over the Tasman Sea. 

The footage, which was captured by the ship's livestream camera, shows an exceptionally bright meteor crossing the sky in front of the ship and then breaking up over the ocean.

Though recorded in black and white, the meteor was actually bright green. It was spotted by the bridge crew and reported to the science staff on board. They were amazed to find that the meteor had been captured perfectly by the ship's livestream camera, which beams live footage from the ship 24/7.

The voyage leader on board RV Investigator, John Hooper, said it was a stroke of luck to capture this footage. "What we saw on reviewing the livestream footage astounded us, the size and brightness of the meteor was incredible," Mr Hooper said. "The meteor crosses the sky directly in front of the ship and then breaks up – it was amazing to watch the footage and we were very fortunate that we captured it."

Glen Nagle of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)'s Astronomy and Space Science said that it is a good reminder that space is far from empty. "Over 100 tonnes of natural space debris enters Earth's atmosphere every day," Mr Nagle said. "Most of it goes unseen as it occurs over an unpopulated area like the southern ocean. When a meteor enters the Earth’s atmosphere at high-speed, it is the friction of rock with the atmosphere that makes them burn, as their kinetic energy is converted to other forms like heat, light and sound."

At the time the footage was captured - 1021 hours UTC on November 18 - RV Investigator was in the Tasman Sea about 50 nm to the south of the Tasmanian coast. The ship is in the area to undertake seafloor mapping of the Huon Marine Park for Parks Australia, conduct oceanographic studies and run sea trials for a variety of marine equipment.

Residents in Hobart, Tasmania noticed and reported the event, but the vessel's footage is believed to be the only visual record. 

"Cameras are everywhere, in our pockets and around our cities, but they have to be pointed in the right place at the right time – RV Investigator was in that place and time," Nagle said.

<![CDATA[400 Stranded Aboard After Ferry Runs Aground in Aland Islands]]> More than 400 passengers and crew were stranded aboard the ferry Viking Grace when she ran aground in Finland's Aland Islands on Saturday.

Viking Grace was under way between Stockholm and Turku on Saturday afternoon. She ran aground at about 1549 hours just outside of the harbor at Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland archipelago. Conditions were poor at the time of the grounding, with high winds and rough seas. 

According to the Finnish Coast Guard, a dive inspection showed that the vessel was not leaking fuel or taking on water. No injuries were reported, and the agency made the decision to leave the 331 passengers and 98 crew on board overnight. 

Overnight Saturday, the vessel was successfully towed off the shore and brought into the harbor at Mariehamn. On Sunday morning, after an inspection, Finnish maritime authorities and the vessel's class society determined that the ferry could carry her passengers onward under her own power without risk. Passengers bound for Aland disembarked in Mariehamn, and those bound for Turku - where Viking Grace will enter shipyard for an inspection and repairs - could stay on board. 

Viking Grace arrived in Turku later Sunday. Two of her future sailings have been canceled, and she will be temporarily replaced in service by the Gabriella beginning monday. 

<![CDATA[Photos: The USCG in the Persian Gulf War and the Origins of the PSU]]> [By Capt. John R. Olson, United States Coast Guard Reserve (retired)]

Beginning in 1982, the United States Coast Guard assigned responsibility to the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, Ohio, to train reservists for military mobilization. The intended mission of these “notional,” or prototype units, was to perform harbor defense for offload ports supporting that support combat operations.

Before the early 1980s, the Coast Guard had provided supervisory fuel transfer teams and explosive loading teams during military exercises. In 1983, during Operation “Lifeline,” it became clear that other military services could provide their own fuel transfer and explosive loading supervision. However, it also became clear that port security teams supported by the Coast Guard could provide afloat and ashore security that other services could not.

Under the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, joint military port security and harbor defense training exercises had been assigned to specific Coast Guard Reserve units. The Ninth District assigned units at Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Cleveland, to initiate military port security training in addition to training in marine safety and search and rescue. Beginning in 1984, this specific port security training was added for individual reservists, small groups and reserve units.

Following the Operation Lifeline exercises, Reserve officer Lt. Daniel Zedan submitted an after-action report to the commandant of the Coast Guard via the Ninth Coast Guard District commander. The mobilization recommendations and Department of Defense port security requirements identified in his report moved the service’s flag-level decision makers to transfer port security training from Chicago to Cleveland. Leadership made this move to avoid placing excessive demands on Western Great Lakes units.

Meanwhile, Ninth District Coast Guard Reserve senior officers and decision makers urged creation of stand-alone port security units, with defined personnel complements, supply inventories and patrol craft. To facilitate this transition, the Coast Guard and other active-duty military forces provided added port security training. In 1986, the first official Port Security Unit (PSU) training with automatic weapons began with a Combat Skills Course at the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.

As of 1988, notional port security teams were listed in seven contingency plans encompassing three combatant commands. In theory, high-speed Coast Guard patrol boats would maintain security zones at anchorages, in the seaway, and alongside ships offloading military cargoes. Landside patrols and security guards would control access to the ports and the piers. The role and training for port security forces had emerged as a priority for the Coast Guard and the Reserves!

Photo of the compound built by PSU 301 of Buffalo, New York, at the port of Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia. (Courtesy of Capt. John Olson, ret.)

Between 1988 and 1989, the Ohio National Guard provided additional combat training at Camp Perry, Ohio, with its “Flame River” exercises. This was the first time that PSU boat crews had fired .50 caliber and 7.62mm M60 automatic weapons while underway. This was also the first time Coast Guard women trained on, and later, operated weapons in combat roles. The new Reserve PSU teams also trained in shore-side security tactics. At the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff finally recognized the Coast Guard’s suitability for port security duties, so the Department of Defense funded PSU uniforms and equipment.

After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Coast Guard Headquarters placed three PSUs on alert. Within six weeks, two units would deploy to Persian Gulf ports to support Operation Desert Shield combat efforts in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. On September 18, 1990, PSU 303 from Milwaukee was deployed to King Abdul Aziz Port in Ad Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and commenced operations. On September 21st, PSU 301 from Buffalo was deployed to Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia. On Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd, PSU 302 from Cleveland arrived in Manama, Bahrain. This proved the first mobilization of the Coast Guard Reserve since World War II. It was also the first use of reservists in the Middle East and first deployment of the Coast Guard’s new PSUs.

During this initial mobilization, port pier and entry-gate patrols were staffed by Coast Guard PSU personnel. PSU harbor and anchorage patrols were conducted in 22-foot Transportable Port Security Boats, or “Raider boats,” armed with .50 caliber and M60 automatic weapons. Meanwhile, command and control was still implemented through a cumbersome joint military organizational structure. In addition, Middle East weather conditions were challenging, logistical support minimal, operational planning uncoordinated, and supplies meager. As a result of these problems, morale among PSU members initially declined.

PSU 301’s Raider Boat patrolling the Port of Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, with Saudi interpreter on board. (Courtesy of Capt. John Olson, ret.)

Through sheer force of will, ingenuity, and inter-service negotiations, the men and women of the three Coast Guard PSUs pulled things together. For example, PSU 301 acquired portable showers from the Army and bartered with other U.S. military units for protective material for pier-side tents. To protect against Iraqi SCUD missiles, PSU 302 members filled countless sand bags for their berthing spaces and the operations center at Manama.

By January 1991, PSU operations in the three ports had become more efficient and their operational changes recorded for training future PSUs. Despite equipment shortfalls and tight budgets, the men and women deployed to operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm had gained important skills, knowledge and confidence in the PSU mission. Many important lessons were drawn from practices innovated for Desert Shield and Desert Storm by reservists deploying to the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard committed to training second-wave Port Security Units at the Army National Guard’s training facility at Camp Blanding, Florida. Composed of nearly 60 personnel, a Coast Guard-sourced training detachment conducted this comprehensive instruction. Two of the three units trained at Camp Blanding deployed to the Middle East as the first wave of PSU personnel returned home. 

Lt. Steven Day (later Rear Admiral), PSU 302 Operations Officer, on board a Saudi patrol vessel with Saudi Frontier Force personnel. (Courtesy of Capt. John Olson, ret.)

After all PSU personnel had redeployed from Desert Storm, Port Security Units 301, 302, and 303 returned to a “notional” status. The Coast Guard documented lessons learned from Desert Shield and Desert Storm and embarked on a three-year deliberation regarding the future of the Port Security Unit program. During this period, notional units 301, 302, and elements of 303 participated in field exercises such as Flame River and Forward Sentinel. 

PSU 302’s protective dockside bunker at the Port of Manama, Bahrain. (Courtesy of Capt. John Olson, ret.)

As the development of Port Security Unit training expanded, the Coast Guard’s commitment to the program remained uncertain. However, 1994’s Operation Uphold Democracy in the Republic of Haiti added urgency to that commitment. It also provided an ideal opportunity to implement PSU lessons learned from Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

As a result of experimentation during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the role of PSUs was affirmed with their commissioning as official Coast Guard Reserve commands. Because PSUs were considered rapid deployable units, it became necessary to develop a defined course of study and qualification system to ensure readiness. Today, that training is recognized as an official qualification system for the Coast Guard’s port security and harbor defense missions.

This article appears courtesy of Coast Guard Compass and may be found in its original form here.

<![CDATA[CDC Advises Public to Avoid Cruise Ships due to "Very High" COVID Risk]]> The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has elevated its assessment of the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships to its highest category, and it is cautioning potential passengers to avoid cruising. 

"CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high. It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises," the agency warned in an updated advisory on Saturday. "Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships."

CDC has appended a Level 4 ("very high level of COVID-19") warning to the advisory. 

CDC remains concerned about onboard outbreaks of a disease that infected passengers then carry home to their families and communities after the voyage has ended. Passengers who do decided to go on a cruise should get tested about 3-5 days after their return and remain quarantined for at least seven days, no matter the result; those who do not get tested should quarantine for 14 days. 

The notice appeared two weeks after the COVID outbreak aboard the small cruise ship SeaDream I in the Caribbean. Four days into her first post-pandemic cruise, a passenger aboard SeaDream I reported feeling unwell, and the individual tested positive. Passengers and non-essential crew were asked to quarantine in their cabins, and the vessel suspended her itinerary and returned to her home port in Barbados. Local public health authorities conducted another round of results, turning up a total of seven positive cases out of the 119 people on board. 

SeaDream required multiple negative PCR tests before the guests boarded, but the firm said it was not enough to prevent the introduction of COVID-19. The cruise ship's passengers had been required to have a negative test before leaving home to fly to Barbados and a second negative test administered by the cruise line on the pier before boarding. Once aboard, passengers said, they were not initially required to wear masks. 

The outbreak prompted two members of Congress to call on CDC to reinstate its no-sail order for cruise ships. “In light of these disturbing reports, we feel strongly that you should reverse course on the recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take a phased approach to restarting cruise line operations in the United States,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. “Unfortunately, this troubling development is not surprising and reaffirms the need to exercise extreme caution before sending passengers and crew back out to sea on cruises.”

<![CDATA[Royal Navy Boosts Hurricane Relief Efforts in Honduras]]> Royal Navy helicopters have flown vital reconnaissance missions over devastated Honduras as relief operations continue in the wake of Hurricane Eta and Iota.

Severe flooding and landslides following the two catastrophic storms have left millions of Hondurans displaced and isolated without food and clean water.

The Royal Navy recently deployed RFA Argus to the northeast coast of the Central American nation to support the United States military in the ongoing disaster relief efforts.The support ship is being used as a ‘lily pad’ by US Army Chinooks to drop aid supplies ashore, while the embarked air group of three Merlin helicopters and a Wildcat have been flying crucial information-gathering sorties over ravaged areas.

Pilots and aircrew from 845 and 815 Naval Air Squadrons are conducting reconnaissance flights, using their helicopters’ sensors and specialist equipment to collect information.

All images courtesy Royal Navy

Information collected is proving essential in building a clearer picture on the ground and helping decisions made by US Southern Command and Joint Task Force Bravo – who are coordinating operations – on where best to drop essential aid.

Commander Kate Muir, in command of the UK Task Group in the Caribbean, said: “RFA Argus and embarked Royal Navy personnel are supporting US helicopters and conducting aerial surveys of hurricane damage. This allows prioritization of emergency relief stores to the areas that need it most, usually remote areas that have been cut off by flooding and landslides. The information we are providing is proving essential to relief operations, and they are critical to responding quickly to help the people of Honduras.”

Commanding Officer of RFA Argus, Captain Kevin Rimell, added: “We’ve been asked to provide a refueling facility for the US heavy-lift helicopters. The CH47 Chinooks have a huge lift capacity and a long endurance, but they need lots of fuel from us which lets them move around the region and move the much-needed supplies to those areas that are in desperate need. We are able to provide them this support as they don’t have those facilities in the region themselves.”

Along with the array of reconnaissance kit aboard the Merlins and Wildcat, Crisis Response Troop from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines have been using a tool called a Disaster Relief Operation Position Logger, or ‘DROP Logger’, to aid ongoing efforts.

Using a tablet loaded with this software, the personnel from 24 Commando Royal Engineers can quickly map the ground below from an aircraft, identifying areas that are most in need and sharing it seamlessly with those coordinating relief efforts.

Alongside military assistance, the UK is providing vital disaster recovery supplies – including shelter, cooking and sanitation kits – and $1.3 million to the Red Cross emergency appeal.

Argus has been deployed to the Caribbean since April along with HMS Medway to provide support to British Overseas Territories during hurricane season and carry out counter-narcotics operations.

This article appears courtesy of Royal Navy News and may be found in its original form here.

<![CDATA[Conrad Shipyard Delivers Two Inland Asphalt Barges To Parker Towing]]> Conrad Shipyard (OTC Pink: CNRD) today announced that it has delivered two 30,000  BBL Asphalt Barges to Parker Towing of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

“We are pleased to announce the delivery of the tank barges PTC 2001 and PTC 2002 to Parker Towing," said Conrad CEO  Johnny Conrad. Our two companies have a rich and storied history of providing outstanding services to our customers  and it was a pleasure to work closely with their management team to deliver these vessels.” 

The PTC 2001 and PTC 2002 are each double skin 30,000 BBL capacity Asphalt Barges, measuring 297’-6” x 54’ x 12’. Each  barge is outfitted with one (1) Volcanic thermal fluid heater unit rated for 8 million BTU; one (1) 99kw John Deer generator;  three (3) Nabrico deck cranes; four (4) Patterson 40-ton winches and a Bergan alarm system. The barges are designed to  meet the requirements of a Type ll and lll hull design, and authorized for the carriage of Grade A and lower products,  Subchapter D and limited Subchapter O products on rivers, lakes, bays and sounds.  

Terah Huckabee, Sr. Vice President Corporate Development of Parker Towing said, “Conrad has been on our short list for  several projects in the past several years. So, when we got together on this project, we were excited to have the  opportunity to work with them. Their project management, construction processes and quality all lived up to their  reputation and we are proud to add these barges to our expanding liquid fleet.”  

The PTC 2001 was built at Conrad’s Deepwater South facility in Amelia, Louisiana, and the PTC 2002 was constructed at  Conrad’s Front Street facility in Morgan City, Louisiana. 

<![CDATA[Remote Repair Helmet Overcomes Pandemic Restrictions]]> Dominating 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has required businesses to find new solutions to continue their services. When Survival Systems International, Inc. (SSI) experts needed to attend site, this was not possible because of the travel restrictions. RINA provided a solution by supplying SSI with a Kiber helmet, a fully integrated, wearable hardware and software solution for remote assistance.

SSI is an innovative lifeboat manufacturing company providing offshore operators with equipment, instruction, experience, and knowledge to achieve a safe evacuation when an emergency occurs on an offshore installation. The challenge they faced was how to get their experts from SSI in Singapore and America to China to carry out hook repairs on one of its vessels. With travel restrictions in place, the Kiber helmet supplied by RINA was used to enable a local field technician to carry out repairs under close professional supervision by experts in the USA and Singapore. Local support was given in China by a RINA surveyor to help with ensuring the helmet was used correctly and efficiently. RINA further supported SSI with the creation of workflows for this remote repair capability.

The Kiber helmet comprises a headset equipped with a video camera, viewer, headphones, and microphone. The operator can receive realtime advice and instructions from one or more remote experts as well as having documents and text displayed directly on the viewer. RINA promote this technology as a way of not only addressing current challenges with travel, but also to increase the speed at which services can be provided.

Mario Moretti, Asia Marine Senior Director at RINA, said: “We have placed a lot of focus on digitalization and being able to offer remote surveys. The helmet means there is no compromise on the quality or expertise available, just without the need to travel or even, in some cases, for vessels to return to port.”

Mark Beatty, President of SSI, said: “These are challenging times, and this was the first time SSI had worked with the remote survey helmet supplied by RINA. It enabled us to easily communi