February 2020

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Conception fire spurs nationwide Coast Guard inspection effort

Conception fire spurs nationwide Coast Guard inspection effort

Following the fatal fire on the dive boat Conception, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a nationwide inspection campaign last fall focused on safety and regulatory compliance aboard overnight passenger vessels.

Hurricane’s impact on Eastern puts OPC contract back in play

Hurricane’s impact on Eastern puts OPC contract back in play

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) limited extraordinary relief due to Hurricane Michael, reducing the company’s construction contract for Coast Guard offshore patrol cutters (OPCs) to four vessels maximum.

NOAA plans to ‘sunset’ traditional paper charts by 2025

NOAA plans to ‘sunset’ traditional paper charts by 2025

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will cease production of traditional paper nautical charts within five years, a move that reflects falling demand from commercial and recreational mariners.

Seafarers fearful of bearing brunt of sulfur cap enforcement

Seafarers fearful of bearing brunt of sulfur cap enforcement

A global survey showing that seafarers are generally more content with their work now than in the recent past is tempered by a new concern: fears that mariners may be on the hook for noncompliance as vessel operators adapt to the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur cap on fuel.

New SOLAS amendments take effect to improve lifeboat safety

New SOLAS amendments take effect to improve lifeboat safety

For 10 years leading up to 2017, 60 seafarer fatalities and 145 serious injuries occurred globally during lifeboat testing, according to a study by the ship management firm InterManager. 

Coast Guard proposes first decrease in Lakes pilot rates in six years

The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed a rate decrease of about 1 percent for the three Great Lakes pilots’ associations for 2020, the first reduction after a five-year stretch of double-digit increases.

Ice-fighting crew on Great Lakes ATB keeps cargo flowing

Ice-fighting crew on Great Lakes ATB keeps cargo flowing

At 2030, the articulated tug-barge Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader entered the cold, dark St. Clair River, about six hours north of the ATB’s destination: a steel plant in Detroit, Mich.

Doing quiet time: Hybrids keep tourists flowing to ‘The Rock’

Doing quiet time: Hybrids keep tourists flowing to ‘The Rock’

Alcatraz Flyer was about to get underway from San Francisco’s Pier 33 when a passenger approached the wheelhouse. The young man, speaking with an Eastern European accent, wondered if anyone could swim from Alcatraz to shore.

Alabama River ferry reborn with electric propulsion

Alabama River ferry reborn with electric propulsion

Capt. Ray Parker signaled to the deck hand to lift the vehicle ramp. With that, and a toot on the horn, the nation’s first all-electric passenger/vehicle ferry slipped its mooring in Camden, Ala., and entered the Alabama River.

American captain, crew honored for valor in Sincerity Ace rescue

American captain, crew honored for valor in Sincerity Ace rescue

Battling 30-knot winds, 25-foot swells and complete darkness, Green Lake maneuvered alongside an overboard mariner from the burning vehicle carrier Sincerity Ace.

Captain’s praise for the Green Lake crew

The U.S.-flagged vehicle carrier Green Lake saved seven people from the Panama-flagged Sincerity Ace after it caught fire in the North Pacific late on Dec. 30, 2018.

Bulker deck hand dies after fall from Indiana steel mill dock

A deck hand preparing to return home for the holidays died after falling into Lake Michigan while her ship was docked at a northwest Indiana steel mill.

Towboat fire leads to barge breakaway, captain’s dismissal

Towboat fire leads to barge breakaway, captain’s dismissal

Federal investigators attributed a fire that left a towboat and nine barges adrift in the Mississippi River — and indirectly spurred the captain’s dismissal — to spraying lube oil that ignited on a hot engine surface.

NTSB: Master impaired when cruise ship hit mooring dolphins

NTSB: Master impaired when cruise ship hit mooring dolphins

Investigators say the master of a Japanese cruise ship was impaired by alcohol when the vessel struck mooring dolphins at a U.S. Navy fueling dock in Guam, causing nearly $1 million in damage.

ATB hits OSV that had turned broadside in Port Arthur channel

ATB hits OSV that had turned broadside in Port Arthur channel

Roughly 3,000 gallons of marine diesel spilled from an offshore supply vessel following a collision with an articulated tug-barge near Sabine Pass, Texas.

Casualty briefs

Casualty briefs

Emergency management: Have you planned for your next crisis?

Emergency management: Have you planned for your next crisis?

In September, a fire on the dive boat Conception killed 34 people; a preliminary federal investigation found that the entire crew was asleep when the fire began.

Rise of BNWAS adds to concerns over alarm fatigue

Rise of BNWAS adds to concerns over alarm fatigue

Beeps, buzzes and flashing lights are an increasingly common soundtrack for life on the bridge of any modern vessel.

To save the Jones Act, know your enemies — and fight back

Just before graduation from California Maritime Academy, I had the chance to be in the audience for a debate on the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (Jones Act) held during an industry symposium at the school.