April 2018

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Tug captains: New Panama Canal study comes up short on safety

Tug captains: New Panama Canal study comes up short on safety

The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has accepted a study of tugboat operations at the new set of neo-Panamax locks, but a captains’ union concerned about safety at the expanded waterway says the review does not go far enough.

Davie delivers support ship to Canada, is denied in bid for another

Davie delivers support ship to Canada, is denied in bid for another

Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding completed the construction, commissioning and sea trials of the first Resolve-class naval support ship for the Royal Canadian Navy in December, but declared in public that it was not given the opportunity to provide a second vessel.

Independent lab suspends BWMS testing over quality concerns

Independent lab suspends BWMS testing over quality concerns

One of the five U.S.-based independent labs testing ballast water management systems (BWMS) is suspending its evaluations, citing regulatory flaws that have resulted in “significant uncertainties” about the quality of the results.

Analysts say hackers could manipulate data to sink a bulk carrier

Analysts say hackers could manipulate data to sink a bulk carrier

It’s well known that computer hackers can breach ship navigation and operating systems with devastating results, but one security testing firm is noting another avenue of attack with potential for catastrophic harm: manipulating a vessel’s loading data.

ICS official: Most shipping will move beyond fossil fuels by 2050

ICS official: Most shipping will move beyond fossil fuels by 2050

As vessel operators prepare for a new low-sulfur fuel mandate in 2020, an International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) official has predicted that global shipping should be largely free of fossil fuels around 2050.

Foam injection aids difficult salvage near busy Hawaiian beach

Foam injection aids difficult salvage near busy Hawaiian beach

After a two-month salvage that cost more than $1 million, crews overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard removed a longline fishing vessel from a coral reef about 500 yards off Oahu’s busy Kaimana Beach.

Fourth time is the charm in AMVER rescue of reluctant sailor

In an apparent first for the 60-year-old U.S. Coast Guard system that directs commercial ships to vessels in distress, the service diverted three ships to aid a yachtsman off the coast of Mexico four times before he finally abandoned his boat.

Dutch tugboat operator testing drones for safer ship escorts

Dutch tugboat operator testing drones for safer ship escorts

A Netherlands-based towing company is developing an aerial drone that can deliver a messenger line from a tugboat to the ship being escorted, allowing the tug and its crew to stay out of the danger zone around the hull.

Extreme cold snap impacts shipping from Seaway to Ohio Valley

Extreme cold snap impacts shipping from Seaway to Ohio Valley

Shortly before noon on a bitterly cold New Year’s Day, the bulk carrier Federal Biscay came to a halt halfway inside Snell Lock in the icy St. Lawrence Seaway.

Bisso keeps ASD line moving with another powerful newbuild

Bisso keeps ASD line moving with another powerful newbuild

In November, the bulk carrier Super Luna, laden with grain at the Zen-Noh grain terminal upriver from New Orleans, was triple-teamed by Bisso Towboat azimuthing stern drive tugs.

Three killed in explosion on Kentucky towboat as it undergoes repairs

Three killed in explosion on Kentucky towboat as it undergoes repairs

Three people died and four others were seriously injured in an explosion and fire aboard a moored towboat at a repair yard in Calvert City, Ky.

Passenger dies after fire engulfs casino shuttle on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Passenger dies after fire engulfs casino shuttle on Florida’s Gulf Coast

One person died and 14 people were injured after a casino transport shuttle caught fire near Port Richey, Fla., and burned to the waterline.

Bulker’s cracked cooling jacket leads to Columbia River grounding

Bulker’s cracked cooling jacket leads to Columbia River grounding

The Columbia River Pilot felt an unusual vibration about three hours after the bulk carrier Nenita got underway.

Lack of lookout, poor voyage planning cited in BC tour boat grounding

Lack of lookout, poor voyage planning cited in BC tour boat grounding

Peering through binoculars, the captain of the 40-foot excursion boat Stellar Sea spotted a bear along the shore a mile away.

Coast Guard cites unsafe speed, hydrodynamics in NH grounding

Coast Guard cites unsafe speed, hydrodynamics in NH grounding

A tanker that grounded in the Piscataqua River near Portsmouth, N.H., was traveling too fast while executing a turn in the narrow waterway, the U.S. Coast Guard determined.

NTSB cites hull fracture, extra fuel in sinking of Florida tugboat

NTSB cites hull fracture, extra fuel in sinking of Florida tugboat

Atlantic Raider was assisting with a dredging project near Jacksonville, Fla., when the tugboat abruptly listed to port.

Casualty briefs

Casualty briefs

Nine crewmembers escaped from the towboat George King after it caught fire in the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss., and burned for several hours.

Lubricant-infused coating puts the slip on biofouling

Lubricant-infused coating puts the slip on biofouling

A slippery coating that mimics the pitcher plant could help solve marine biofouling, a major economic and environmental problem impacting vessels of all sizes worldwide.

Keeping up with the culprits

Keeping up with the culprits

With environmental and regulatory pressure to find non-toxic alternatives to biocide-laden antifouling coatings, a variety of innovative technologies are emerging.

Looming sulfur cap a mix of issues that need to be dealt with now

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) global 0.5 percent sulfur cap is less than two years away from making the issues of fuels, compatibility and treatments something even the most obstinate observer will have to address.

Asbestos time bomb ticking for maritime operators

Asbestos time bomb ticking for maritime operators

Regulations under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) state that if asbestos is found on board a ship built after July 2002, then the vessel’s flag registry, in conjunction with its classification society, issues a non-extendable exemption certificate, providing the owner with a three-year window in which to remove the asbestos.

Pass it on: Gifts of knowledge and kindness foster success at sea

Drummer Ringo Starr of the Beatles famously sang how he got by with a little help from his friends.