April 2015

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Tumbling oil prices cause slowdown in offshore activity in the Gulf

Tumbling oil prices cause slowdown in offshore activity in the Gulf

The crash in global oil prices is putting the squeeze on producers in North America, who have responded by idling rigs and canceling new projects.

Decline in crude oil prices means cheaper diesel for vessel operators, possible demand growth

Decline in crude oil prices means cheaper diesel for vessel operators, possible demand growth

While the slump in oil prices is clouding the future for vessel operators with close ties to domestic energy production, others across the industry are benefiting from the corresponding decline in fuel costs.

Some maritime carriers express warm feelings about U.S.-Cuba thaw

Some maritime carriers express warm feelings about U.S.-Cuba thaw

The Obama administration’s recent easing of certain trade-embargo rules has maritime operators dreaming of potential U.S.-Cuba service, and the regulations point to some possibilities.

With maritime industry’s support, Congress boosts diesel user fee

With maritime industry’s support, Congress boosts diesel user fee

Replacing the antiquated Lower Monongahela River Locks and Dams will likely be one of the waterway projects jumpstarted by a 9-cent increase in the barge diesel user fee.

Federal officials ponder new training ships for state academies

Federal officials ponder new training ships for state academies

A group of 26 members of Congress is seeking money to design and build new training vessels for the six state maritime academies.

Feds renew lawsuit against Bollinger in cutter cracked-hull case

The U.S. Justice Department has rekindled a 2011 lawsuit against Bollinger Shipyards for inadequate hull work on Coast Guard cutters.

Little tugboats handle big variety of jobs at Vancouver Harbour fleet

Little tugboats handle big variety of jobs at Vancouver Harbour fleet

“Here comes a man who can show you how to move a barge,” the dispatcher on the Tymac Launch dock said.

Alaska pilots cope with remote outports, scant charting, williwaws

Alaska pilots cope with remote outports, scant charting, williwaws

The area of responsibility for the Alaska Marine Pilots is huge. Their pilotage area begins in the Gulf of Alaska west of Kodiak Island and includes the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands.

High-tech FSV moves crews in Gulf with speed, comfort

High-tech FSV moves crews in Gulf with speed, comfort

In 2014, three established family-owned crew boat companies formed a joint venture: SeaTran Marine LLC.

NTSB: Fatal blast was result of towboat’s poor voyage planning

NTSB: Fatal blast was result of towboat’s poor voyage planning

A towboat struck an underwater pipeline off Louisiana in 2013 because a relief captain, who died as a result of the explosion, hadn’t been given enough information about navigation hazards in the area, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined.

Engine-room fire aboard Caribbean cruise ship in port kills 3, injures 1

Three workers died in an engine-room fire aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

Crewman lost at sea after falling into Gulf while painting hull without wearing life vest

A crewman painting the side of a bulk carrier was never found after he fell into the Gulf of Mexico without a life jacket.

Crewmembers rescued after tugboat capsizes on Lake Pontchartrain

Crewmembers rescued after tugboat capsizes on Lake Pontchartrain

Two men were safely removed from a capsized 48-foot tugboat in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain.

TSB: Ship struck St. Lawrence lock wall while master and pilot argued

A disagreement between the master and the pilot on how to reduce speed led to a general cargo ship striking a St. Lawrence Seaway lock, investigators said.

Maine pier collapse injures 1, sinks pilot boat, damages others

Maine pier collapse injures 1, sinks pilot boat, damages others

A pilot boat sank and two other vessels were seriously damaged when a pier collapsed in Eastport, Maine.

NTSB: Barge struck Louisiana bridge because of wind, fouled rudder

A tow struck a Louisiana bridge in 2013 probably because of the captain’s decision to transit in high winds, and because submerged debris caused a steering loss, investigators determined.

Trucks tip over when Maine ro-ro ferry lists during rough weather

Trucks tip over when Maine ro-ro ferry lists during rough weather

The ferry Island Transporter had battled through rough seas off the Maine coast for nearly 15 minutes, and a loaded cement truck at its stern was rocking side to side for much of the ride. Finally, it toppled over.

TSB: Contaminated lube oil caused tug’s engine to overheat, seize

A tugboat lost power on British Columbia’s Fraser River last year when the engine seized because the system had never been completely flushed out and cleaned after past major engine failures, investigators found.

B.C. rescue boat crashes into rock jetty during crew’s radar training

A vessel that made 861 rescues over its career was itself evacuated when it struck a rock wall and was holed by a submerged piling in the Fraser River during a training exercise.

Greener lubricants can save operators money on energy, maintenance

Greener lubricants can save operators money on energy, maintenance

Operators required to switch to environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs) are gradually making the change, absorbing higher initial costs for products that meet new federal standards.

Humphree introduces motion monitor system to U.S. market

A Swedish company that makes vessel stabilization systems has developed equipment that monitors a ship’s movements at sea.

Crewmates with bad attitude require thoughtful response

There’s no avoiding it. Living, working and eating meals with the same crewmembers day in and day out for weeks or months at a time is part of life aboard ship.