February 2017

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Coast Guard issues first type approval for ballast water system

Coast Guard issues first type approval for ballast water system

After a years-long process watched closely in the maritime industry, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued the first type approval for a ballast water management system (BWMS) to Norwegian manufacturer Optimarin.

Agencies, alumni seek ‘root causes,’ solutions for USMMA harassment

A sexual harassment task force appointed by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s alumni association following suspension of the school’s Sea Year program determined that midshipmen are not worried about their personal safety while serving on commercial vessels as part of the training, and are confident in shippers’ commitment to addressing incidents of abuse and harassment.

Canada’s plan to protect oceans fails to quell tanker criticism in BC

Canada’s plan to protect oceans fails to quell tanker criticism in BC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an oceans protection plan in November amid the outcry over a fuel spill off British Columbia, uncertainty about a proposed tanker ban in the region, and a highly contested pipeline expansion that will increase the flow of oil there.

IMO sulfur fuel mandate raises questions of supply, enforcement

IMO sulfur fuel mandate raises questions of supply, enforcement

While much of the maritime industry is relieved to have an effective date for the 0.5 percent sulfur cap on fuel, the mechanisms for enforcement and ensuring an adequate supply remain to be seen.

Symposium examines challenges, opportunities in a changing Arctic

Symposium examines challenges, opportunities in a changing Arctic

The arrival of cruise ships in the Arctic is perhaps the most obvious sign that things are changing in the ocean that circles the North Pole.

Coast Guard proposes another increase in Great Lakes pilotage fees

As a coalition of Great Lakes shipping companies, port operators and maritime trade groups awaits the outcome of a lawsuit arguing that a pilotage fee increase in 2016 was excessive, the U.S. Coast Guard has proposed another increase for 2017.

Katrina spawns new facility, new era of training at Delgado

Katrina spawns new facility, new era of training at Delgado

Hurricane Katrina, the banshee that visited floodwaters upon the Gulf Coast in 2005, created an endless list of rebuilding and recovery projects.

Master Boat building pair of rotor tugs, first in US, for Seabulk

Master Boat building pair of rotor tugs, first in US, for Seabulk

A pair of rotor tugs for Seabulk Towing, Trident and Triton, are being constructed at Master Boat Builders in Bayou La Batre, Ala.

For river pilots, tri-sectoring most effective way to determine collision risk

For river pilots, tri-sectoring most effective way to determine collision risk

Since its introduction, radar has been an essential tool for maintaining a proper lookout for virtually all professional mariners.

Z-drive tug boosts Petchem’s pull in Port Canaveral

Z-drive tug boosts Petchem’s pull in Port Canaveral

The Grecian blue superstructure of Christine S., Petchem Inc.’s new azimuthing stern drive tug, lends an Aegean tone to the seaside palette of Port Canaveral, Fla.

NTSB: ‘Downstreaming’ in swift current led to fatal capsizing

NTSB: ‘Downstreaming’ in swift current led to fatal capsizing

Federal investigators cited a fleet boat captain’s decision to “downstream” toward an approaching line-haul tow in swift water as a leading factor in a fatal Mississippi River capsizing.

Grounded tug declines tow, then breaches, spills fuel along BC coast

Grounded tug declines tow, then breaches, spills fuel along BC coast

After running aground at night near Bella Bella, British Columbia, the captain of an articulated tug-barge told the Canadian Coast Guard that the ATB was not in danger of sinking.

TSB: Crew’s response not coordinated in passenger overboard incident

TSB: Crew’s response not coordinated in passenger overboard incident

When a passenger fell off an excursion ship in Humber Bay near Toronto, Ontario, and drowned on June 13, 2015, the crew’s emergency response was not coordinated, according to Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

NTSB: Mate disregarded commands before barge strike, breakaway

Shortly after midnight on Jan. 15, 2016, the tug Lucia and loaded fuel barge Caribbean were attempting a 180-degree turn in the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

Lack of communication, translation lapse cited in US-flag collision

The U.S.-flagged containership St. Louis Express was outbound from Antwerp, Belgium on the Scheldt River when it collided with Hammersmith Bridge, a much larger cargo ship sailing inbound.

Casualty briefs

Virtual beacons: Unseen sentinels protect mariners, underwater assets

Virtual beacons: Unseen sentinels protect mariners, underwater assets

Mariners have long relied on the automatic identification system, or AIS, to track nearby vessels and spot potential hazards.

Converted Alaska crabber pursues sharks for science

Converted Alaska crabber pursues sharks for science

A ship anchored five miles southwest of Montauk Point Light on Long Island for several weeks last August had an unusual profile — a large boxy deckhouse far aft and high bow with significant open deck space in between.

‘Tugboats Illustrated’ offers definitive look at workhorses of the water

‘Tugboats Illustrated’ offers definitive look at workhorses of the water

A lifetime love of tugs, their design, their work and, yes, their beauty, shows through on every page of Paul Farrell’s recently published book, Tugboats Illustrated — History, Technology, Seamanship. It is all of that and more.

Merchant Marine flag raises recognition of vital work in peace and war

Merchant Marine flag raises recognition of vital work in peace and war

One night last fall my wife and I were attending a local Audubon Society meeting with a group of friends, looking forward to a talk by an expert on pileated woodpeckers.