February 2015

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Frequent enclosed-space drills now required aboard SOLAS ships

Frequent enclosed-space drills now required aboard SOLAS ships

A new regulation requires crews aboard ships sailing internationally to participate in onboard training on the dangers of enclosed spaces and how to prevent injuries and deaths.

Female captain wins $3.6M in gender bias case against pilot board

Female captain wins $3.6M in gender bias case against pilot board

A ship captain who sought to become the first female pilot in Puget Sound has been awarded $3.6 million in a discrimination lawsuit filed against the board that denied her a license.

NMC: More mariners fail to disclose their past criminal convictions

There was a significant increase last year in the number of fraudulent applications sent to the National Maritime Center (NMC) for merchant mariner credentials.

Maritime industry wins three-year VGP exemption for small vessels

Congress has granted operators of small commercial vessels a reprieve from new discharge rules that were set go into effect in December, with debate continuing on a measure that would make the exemption permanent.

From the Ohio River ‘hole,’ fleeting company serves regional cargo hub

From the Ohio River ‘hole,’ fleeting company serves regional cargo hub

Under a leaden sky and in a light drizzle, the crew aboard the 50-foot fleet boat Jacob Lane was shifting barges at the MVBS Jeffersonville fleet in Nugent Harbor, a bight with a narrow entrance cut out of the Indiana bank of the Ohio River, across from Louisville, Ky.

Western Alaska villages depend on specially designed ATB

Western Alaska villages depend on specially designed ATB

First mate Robbie Westby was at the controls of the ATB Naniq as it approached two oil tankers lying alongside each other several miles off Nome, Alaska

Draft indicator system now available for view on smart devices

Draft indicator system now available for view on smart devices

Need to know the weight of your ship or how level it’s sitting in the water? Now there is an app for that.

New Chicago cruise boat continues a tradition of luxury river touring

New Chicago cruise boat continues a tradition of luxury river touring

On the Chicago River, a water gauntlet of old low-slung iron bridges cutting through the heart of American architecture, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises is said to set the standard for class among several excursion companies offering architectural cruises.

Pilot’s lack of familiarity led to fatal towboat capsizing, NTSB says

Pilot’s lack of familiarity led to fatal towboat capsizing, NTSB says

A relief pilot’s unfamiliarity with the operation of an electronic engine control throttle led to a fatal capsizing after a towboat hit a Mississippi River dam on July 3, 2013, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

TSB: Error by poorly supervised chief mate led to Quebec grounding

TSB: Error by poorly supervised chief mate led to Quebec grounding

A passenger vessel ran aground in the St. Lawrence River because the chief mate focused on finding a visual reference while failing to utilize bridge navigation equipment, investigators concluded.

British Columbia landing craft flips, killing two; ferry rescues teen

Two men drowned when a 65-foot steel landing craft capsized along the British Columbia coast.

Bulk carrier loses steering, hits two moored vessels in Louisiana

A grain carrier lost power, went off-course and struck a moored tanker and barge at a Louisiana terminal last summer.

Barge crashes into pleasure boat that had overtaken it and stalled

Four people leapt from a disabled pleasure boat moments before it was struck by a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway near Galveston, Texas.

Mass. passenger vessel gets stuck at sea twice in one-month period

Mass. passenger vessel gets stuck at sea twice in one-month period

A high-speed catamaran ferry became stranded twice this summer, with one incident requiring passengers and crew to stay on the vessel overnight.

California ferry strikes piling while backing; 12 sustain minor injuries

A San Francisco ferry being operated by the fleet’s safety officer struck a piling while backing out of Pier 41, injuring 12 passengers.

Box ship loses power in rough seas, drifts near BC coastal islands

A Russian containership lost propulsion in rough conditions and drifted dangerously close to the northern British Columbia shoreline.

Gulf research vessel sank due to poor repair decisions, NTSB says

A day after leaving Tampa, Fla., where the oceanographic research vessel Seaprobe spent almost two weeks undergoing major repairs, the ship was again in trouble.

Four crew rescued after 1,000-hp tugboat sinks during Atlantic storm

A tugboat pulling a 110-foot barge sank off Rhode Island during a fall nor’easter, and a fishing boat operating nearby rescued its four sailors.

Mounts, coatings, blankets, silencers reduce noise and vibration aboard ships

Mounts, coatings, blankets, silencers reduce noise and vibration aboard ships

Noise rules adopted last summer from the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) are spurring shipowners to reduce threats to crewmembers’ hearing, concentration and sleep.

IMPA on Pilotage

IMPA on Pilotage

New technologies should assist seafarers, not eliminate them

Whenever he’s not working, it’s almost a sure bet that our friend Phil will be standing in an open field somewhere guiding his radio-controlled helicopters and planes through the air. A roofer by trade, Phil was having dinner with my wife and I recently and told us he wanted to take his hobby to the next level — operating a personal drone.