February 2014

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Critics: U.S. missing the boat in failing to endorse Law of the Sea

Thousands of meters below the ocean’s surface lie nodules and hydrothermal vents — essentially underwater volcanoes — rich in precious metals, such as silver, gold, manganese, copper, cobalt and zinc.

U.S. captain, chief engineer kidnapped from supply vessel off Nigeria

U.S. captain, chief engineer kidnapped from supply vessel off Nigeria

Pirates kidnapped two Americans on a U.S.-flagged platform supply vessel off Nigeria in October 2013, then released them about three weeks later in what experts say was likely a hostage-for-payment deal.

Low-sulfur fuel still pricey, but supply challenges may ease by 2015

When California decided in 2008 to require that all oceangoing vessels operating within 24 nm of the state’s coastline use low-sulfur fuel, the state’s Air Resources Board called it the most “stringent and comprehensive requirement for marine fuel use in the world.”

Chouest building 40 new offshore vessels as Gulf drilling rebounds

Shipyards along the Gulf of Mexico are bustling, led recently by Edison Chouest Offshore, as demand for offshore vessels expands with increasing oil and gas production.

While Congress debates more funding, Olmsted construction presses on

While Congress debates more funding, Olmsted construction presses on

On a pleasant morning in August, Jon Leite, a diver with Global Diving & Salvage, entered the Ohio River between Cairo, Ill., and Paducah, Ky., and disappeared into what is arguably the most scrutinized project on America’s inland river system.

Optical sensor monitors fog for San Francisco Bay mariners

Optical sensor monitors fog for San Francisco Bay mariners

A new fog sensor installed in San Francisco Bay and in other waterways nationwide is the latest tool to provide mariners with real-time information on whether it is safe to leave the dock and transit fog-bound waters.

Smaller stern-drive tug proves it has the power

Smaller stern-drive tug proves it has the power

The beauty of Signet Magic is its power-to-size ratio.

Cruise-ship crewman fatally crushed by hydraulic lift while painting

Cruise-ship crewman fatally crushed by hydraulic lift while painting

A crewmember on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship was crushed to death while working on the exterior of the vessel at its dock in New Orleans, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

Lake Michigan ATB crewman killed while conducting conveyor-belt maintenance

Lake Michigan ATB crewman killed while conducting conveyor-belt maintenance

A crewman aboard an articulated tug-barge hauling ash on Lake Michigan was killed when he became entangled in the barge’s conveyor belt.

Statue of Liberty ferry strikes dock after both engines failed; 9 people reported injured

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating why the engines on a Statue of Liberty ferry shut down, allowing the vessel to crash into a dock.

Operator fined $75K after not reporting box ship’s engine failure

The U.S. Coast Guard has fined Japanese shipping company K-Line $75,000 for neglecting to report the failure of a containership’s main engine for more than 10 hours.

Helmsman’s wrong turn causes Canadian car ferry to run aground

A helmsman’s error caused the grounding of a car ferry upon departure from a Newfoundland terminal, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said.

Probe: Bank suction a factor when coke carrier struck police boat

Probe: Bank suction a factor when coke carrier struck police boat

The shipmaster’s failure to properly account for bank effect likely caused a bulk carrier to strike a moored police boat in Ohio’s Black River, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined.

NTSB: Sparks hit diesel-soaked toolbox, set tugboat on fire

A fire aboard a tugboat undergoing repairs in Baltimore Harbor probably began when sparks from a cutting torch ignited a toolbox, federal investigators said.

Captain charged with unlicensed operation after catamaran sinks

A custom-built catamaran with 30 passengers capsized near downtown Miami, and Florida authorities have charged the captain with operating without a license.

Newest integrated bridge systems offer greater knowledge, customization

Newest integrated bridge systems offer greater knowledge, customization

On a morning voyage out of Bainbridge Island, loaded with Seattle-bound commuters, the Washington State Ferries boat Tacoma inches out of its Eagle Harbor berth.

NOAA soon will stop producing paper charts

The federal government, which has been printing paper nautical charts since the Civil War, is pulling the plug in April.

Last coal-fired ferry has a yesterday, today, tomorrow

Last coal-fired ferry has a yesterday, today, tomorrow

Coal passers have shoveled the black fuel into the stoker. A pair of Skinner Unaflow steam engines are churning at 95 rpm. The captain knows he’ll be pivoting off the anchor when it’s time to dock.

New STCW security endorsements required on U.S. vessels

As I write this there are 64 commercial mariners facing the same hell that Capt. Richard Phillips survived during the Maersk Alabama incident in 2009 — being held hostage by Somali pirates. In the past year there have been nearly 250 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against commercial vessels reported worldwide.