June/July 2020

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Industry faces hurdles on crew changes, essential staff in pandemic

Industry faces hurdles on crew changes, essential staff in pandemic

With much of the United States shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mariners and port employees keep working, but in a radically different environment.

“We cannot have a virus running through these boats”

“We cannot have a virus running through these boats”

In good times and bad, the maritime industry helps keep the U.S. economy moving.

Stakeholders step up best practices for virus

As part of a critical industry, maritime companies continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Coast Guard have issued preventive and procedural guidelines, many maritime stakeholders are supplementing that with their own recommendations.

Panama Canal imposes freshwater levy as lake levels drop

Panama Canal imposes freshwater levy as lake levels drop

Efforts to conserve fresh water at the Panama Canal could cost the global shipping industry up to $370 million per year and will likely cause year-over-year freight rates on Gulf of Mexico routes to rise markedly. 

Report finds shift to LNG could worsen shipping’s climate impact

Report finds shift to LNG could worsen shipping’s climate impact

Switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG) is being widely touted as a responsible way for ships to reduce their climate impact, but it’s actually making greenhouse gas emissions far worse, according to an international environmental advocacy group.

Study sounds alarm on black carbon in VLSFO emissions

As the International Maritime Organization (IMO) grapples with controlling the shipping industry’s use of heavy fuels, substituting very-low-sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) may do more harm than good — at least in the Arctic.

Washington state following Norway’s lead to decarbonize shipping

Washington state following Norway’s lead to decarbonize shipping

Achieving the International Maritime Organization (IMO) goal of reducing carbon emissions in maritime shipping by at least half by 2050 will require a fundamental shift toward zero-carbon energy sources such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), electric power and ammonia.

Bouchard restoring pay, making repairs after Coast Guard orders

Bouchard restoring pay, making repairs after Coast Guard orders

After obtaining additional financing, Bouchard Transportation has begun to address deferred maintenance and crew payment problems that led to Coast Guard captain of the port orders against the towing company in four harbors.

Expecting the unexpected simply routine for WSF ferry crews

Expecting the unexpected simply routine for WSF ferry crews

Washington State Ferries (WSF) Capt. Joel Michelson barely finished explaining how every Elliott Bay passage is a little different when he got a message proving his point.

New Lake Charles launch keeps pace with LNG boom

New Lake Charles launch keeps pace with LNG boom

In front of the Lake Charles pilot station in Cameron, La., the 70-foot Cameron Pilot II went from zero to 28 knots in a matter of seconds, and did it as smoothly as the hand of Capt. Mark Foster advancing the throttles.

Poor coordination between master, pilot cited in San Juan pier strike

Poor coordination between master, pilot cited in San Juan pier strike

Norwegian Epic sailed into San Juan, Puerto Rico, for repairs to its port-side propeller motor.

NTSB: Pilot dozed before hitting moored towboat, barge near Houston

NTSB: Pilot dozed before hitting moored towboat, barge near Houston

At about 0400 on March 15, 2019, the towboat Dixie Vandal made an abrupt turn to port in the Houston Ship Channel near Pasadena, Texas.

High-water barge strike knocks Tombigbee bridge out of alignment

High-water barge strike knocks Tombigbee bridge out of alignment

Rivers Wilson was pushing six barges up the rushing Tombigbee River when its port-side aft barge hit the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge near Jackson, Ala.

Procedural breakdown leads to rupture aboard tanker in Texas

Procedural breakdown leads to rupture aboard tanker in Texas

The 479-foot Fairchem Filly berthed at the Vopak Terminal on the Houston Ship Channel to offload hexene, a process that required pumping nitrogen into the vessel’s cargo tanks to maintain the chemical’s purity. 

Bulker loses engine power, grounds for week outside Green Bay 

Bulker loses engine power, grounds for week outside Green Bay 

A bulk carrier inbound on Lake Michigan for Green Bay, Wis., grounded within sight of the city’s downtown and remained stuck for more than a week.

Need for tighter port security driving new demand for patrol boats

Need for tighter port security driving new demand for patrol boats

Security vessels for civilian operators have been getting a lot more attention in recent years, and that has been driving a wave of purchases.

Pandemic stalls IMO talks on regulating autonomous ships

Pandemic stalls IMO talks on regulating autonomous ships

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has suspended its Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meetings until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Real estate firm advances plan to restore SS United States

Real estate firm advances plan to restore SS United States

In a significant step toward preserving “America’s flagship,” a prominent New York development company has agreed to proceed with renovating the mothballed ocean liner SS United States, converting it into a hotel, museum, and entertainment and cultural center — if a city agrees to provide a permanent berth.

Sure as the tide, retirement is coming — don’t be caught short

The phone rang and when I picked it up, I was surprised that an old shipmate I had not spoken with in many years was on the other end.