August 2020

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Civilian mariners barred from leaving MSC ships during pandemic

Civilian mariners barred from leaving MSC ships during pandemic

While the world embraced social distancing and self-isolating amid the spread of the coronavirus, the Military Sealift Command (MSC) required thousands of civilian mariners, or “civmars,” to stay on U.S. Navy ships, sharing tight quarters and cramped workspaces.

With ridership down 90 percent, US ferries endure pandemic pause

With ridership down 90 percent, US ferries endure pandemic pause

Most U.S. ferry operators saw ridership declines of more than 90 percent during certain weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Passenger Vessel Association.

Philly Shipyard wins MarAd contract for academy training ships

Philly Shipyard wins MarAd contract for academy training ships

Philly Shipyard will build the first national security multi-mission vessels (NSMVs) to serve America’s state maritime academies and provide disaster and humanitarian response.

High court’s safe-berth ruling favors shipowner over charterer

High court’s safe-berth ruling favors shipowner over charterer

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that charterer Citgo is liable, not the shipowner, for the cost of cleaning up the 15-year-old Athos I oil spill in the Delaware River, deciding that the safe-berth clause in the charter contract should be interpreted as a safety warranty.

Seaway’s delayed opening renews push for high-water solutions

Seaway’s delayed opening renews push for high-water solutions

After a nearly two-week delay, water levels normalized enough this spring along the Montreal to Lake Ontario (MLO) section of the St. Lawrence Seaway to allow the navigation season to open.

Pandemic leads to remote inspections, extensions for Subchapter M

Pandemic leads to remote inspections, extensions for Subchapter M

There were numerous obstacles during the decade-long period in which Subchapter M, the new regulatory framework for the towing industry, was created.

Vinik answers call, clears hurdles with seasoned offshore fleet

Vinik answers call, clears hurdles with seasoned offshore fleet

Daunting is a good word to describe the process of getting some older tugboats into compliance with Subchapter M, said Capt. Mike Vinik, a 2003 SUNY Maritime graduate and owner of Vinik Marine, a New Jersey-based towing company founded in 2005.

Pandemic delivers economic blow

Few maritime companies have been spared from the effects of COVID-19, and Vinik Marine is no exception.

US maritime sanctions advisory: Navigating choppy waters

US maritime sanctions advisory: Navigating choppy waters

In May, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and U.S. Coast Guard issued a joint sanctions advisory for the maritime industry.

Beyond COVID: Port NOLA tugs, crews roll on

Beyond COVID: Port NOLA tugs, crews roll on

As the maritime industry swings into the fifth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of New Orleans and the three pilot associations guiding ships on the Mississippi River between Southwest Pass and Baton Rouge continue to operate as normal — but with strict CDC, Coast Guard and in-house protocols regarding hygiene and crew oversight to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.

NTSB: Failure to heed storm warning doomed Stretch Duck 7

NTSB: Failure to heed storm warning doomed Stretch Duck 7

Stretch Duck 7 entered Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., on a warm summer evening with 31 people on board.

Stretch Duck 7: Key NTSB findings

Stretch Duck 7: Chronology of sinking

Vehicle carrier catches fire, burns for over a week in Jacksonville

Vehicle carrier catches fire, burns for over a week in Jacksonville

A vehicle carrier caught fire while moored at the Port of Jacksonville (Fla.) and continued to burn for more than a week, generating extreme heat and explosions that injured local firefighters.

Explosion injures crewman, leaves boxship adrift in North Atlantic

Explosion injures crewman, leaves boxship adrift in North Atlantic

One crewman was injured during a “severe” engine failure aboard a Danish containership that left the vessel adrift in the North Atlantic.

Strong outdraft ‘overwhelmed’ pilot before tow hit dam, NTSB says

Strong outdraft ‘overwhelmed’ pilot before tow hit dam, NTSB says

Mary Lucy Lane looked out of shape as its 12-barge tow neared Markland Locks and Dam on the Ohio River in Warsaw, Ky.

Inquiry finds captain’s inexperience in fleeting areas led to sinking

Inquiry finds captain’s inexperience in fleeting areas led to sinking

St. Rita had embarked on a short transit at a Lower Mississippi River fleeting area, one barge on its hip, when the vessels became caught in the fast-moving current and were pinned broadside against the fleet. 

Marine radio tech gets friendlier, more capable in cellular age

Marine radio tech gets friendlier, more capable in cellular age

For more than a century, marine radio has been a boon to all who work on the water, providing first for improved safety and, over time, becoming an indispensable operational tool.

Pandemic shuffles deck, but marine exchange keeps San Pedro safe

Pandemic shuffles deck, but marine exchange keeps San Pedro safe

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, all of the terminals in San Pedro, Calif., remain open, but ship traffic has decreased and the amount of cargo transiting both ports — Los Angeles and Long Beach — declined significantly through the first four months of the year.

Mariners, Coast Guard adapting to coronavirus risks and realities

On my birthday in early February, my wife and I celebrated the day with a fish-and-chips lunch at a favorite local restaurant, followed by a pleasant hike along a waterfront preserve on the south end of the island we live on.