February 2016

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El Faro loss stokes debate over age of US bluewater fleet

El Faro loss stokes debate over age of US bluewater fleet

Launched in 1975, the U.S.-flagged El Faro was 31 years older than the global average for ships of its size and design use.

When properly used, marine weather routing services help ships avoid dangerous storms

When properly used, marine weather routing services help ships avoid dangerous storms

The sinking of El Faro off the Bahamas in October 2015 has raised uncomfortable questions about the ship’s condition, potential pressures from the home office and the captain’s decision-making at sea.

Technicians: El Faro’s boilers needed servicing

Technicians: El Faro’s boilers needed servicing

The owners of El Faro were told to service both of the ship’s boilers after an onboard inspection in September.

Coast Guard warns vessel operators to use proper navigation lights

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a safety alert warning operators that they should not use unapproved navigation lights.

Citing costs, Shell abandons offshore oil drilling in Alaska Arctic

Citing costs, Shell abandons offshore oil drilling in Alaska Arctic

After overcoming regulatory hurdles and environmental protests to resume offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, Royal Dutch Shell abruptly reversed course in September and suspended its efforts “for the foreseeable future” when an exploratory well produced disappointing results.

Ohio, Kentucky river pilots navigate bends, bridges to deliver the goods

Ohio, Kentucky river pilots navigate bends, bridges to deliver the goods

It’s an autumn morning on the Ohio River, and towboat crews stand ready to drop off empty barges and pick up loaded ones.

A modern-day Conrad recalls life aboard Pacific freighters

A modern-day Conrad recalls life aboard Pacific freighters

In 1915, Joseph Conrad wrote “The Shadow Line.” First published in a New York City magazine, the novella tells the story of a young deck officer who left a prestigious position on a modern British steamship.

Nation’s first LNG-fueled OSV is also pretty comfortable

Nation’s first LNG-fueled OSV is also pretty comfortable

Perhaps lost in the prestige and interest generated by being the first LNG-fueled, Tier 4 offshore supply vessel in the United States with an ABS Enviro+ classification, is that Harvey Energy could easily garner a four- or five-star hotel rating.

Whale tour boat capsizes near Vancouver Island, killing 6 people

Whale tour boat capsizes near Vancouver Island, killing 6 people

Six people died when a 64-foot whale-watching boat with 27 people aboard capsized off the west coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.

Tankerman slips off ladder while descending barge, drowns at NJ pier

The Coast Guard is investigating the death of a tugboat crewman who fell from a barge ladder into the water at a New Jersey oil depot.

NTSB: Human errors on towboat, bridge led to fatal crane accident

NTSB: Human errors on towboat, bridge led to fatal crane accident

A barge-mounted crane struck a New Orleans bridge and fell onto a towing vessel in 2014, killing the captain, after he failed to establish his air draft and ensure that the bridge was raised high enough, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.

Matson to pay millions to settle claims from 2013 molasses spill

Matson Navigation Co. must pay $6.5 million in fines and compensation plus as much as $9.5 million for infrastructure removal after 233,000 gallons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor in September 2013.

NTSB: Towing vessel sank because captain ignored hull breach

A Mississippi River towboat capsized and sank near St. Louis in July 2014 because the captain continued to operate the vessel despite a hull breach, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined.

Probe: Watchkeeping deficiencies caused OSV to strike platform

An offshore supply vessel (OSV) struck a natural gas production platform in the Louisiana Gulf last year because of poor watchkeeping and improper operations by the captain and the mate, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Industry prepares for new global ECDIS standards, training requirement

Industry prepares for new global ECDIS standards, training requirement

The industry is bracing for updated standards for electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) that go into effect in August 2016, as deck officers face a training certification deadline by the end of the year.

Split-hopper dredge keeps ship traffic moving through Quebec

Split-hopper dredge keeps ship traffic moving through Quebec

Mate Robert Martin kept a keen focus on the screens and controls around him, all while scanning for traffic in the dredge’s vicinity on the St. Lawrence River.

US must invest in Arctic maritime facilities, new icebreakers

After getting an urgent phone call for an emergency relief position, I was making an unexpected airplane trip to catch a fish-processing ship working in the Bering Sea near the Arctic Circle.