March 2016

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Study: U.S. vulnerable if merchant marine can’t keep pace with growing Chinese fleet

Study: U.S. vulnerable if merchant marine can’t keep pace with growing Chinese fleet

The United States has taken an “abandon ship” approach to its merchant marine, just as China is set to become the dominant force worldwide, according to the authors of a report calling for urgent measures to revive the industry.

Bollinger, DOJ settle false-claims lawsuit over hull strength of cutters

Bollinger, DOJ settle false-claims lawsuit over hull strength of cutters

Late last year, Bollinger Shipyards agreed to pay the federal government $8.5 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging the shipbuilder misrepresented the hull strength of modified patrol boats.

Lawmakers want to ban maritime transport of crude on Great Lakes

Members of Congress are aiming to ban crude oil shipments on the Great Lakes and strengthen spill-response readiness in the region with two recent pieces of legislation.

Oldest laker, the ‘last of its kind,’ ends service, heads to scrap yard

Oldest laker, the ‘last of its kind,’ ends service, heads to scrap yard

The oldest active freighter on the Great Lakes awaits its fate at a Duluth, Minn., scrap yard, despite a years-long effort by a group of maritime preservationists to save the steamship.

It’s crunch time for enrolling in STCW engineers’ gap-closing classes

Engineering personnel who sail internationally have less than a year to complete their gap-closing courses, and enrolling isn’t getting any easier.

Family tugboat business serves growing ‘saltie’ trade at Thunder Bay

Family tugboat business serves growing ‘saltie’ trade at Thunder Bay

Couched in the lee of Lake Superior’s legendary Sleeping Giant, the tugs Glenada and Miseford slipped through the water of Lakehead Harbour, fronting the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, heading for the James Richardson International Terminal and the grain-laden ship BBC Mississippi.

High-tech mariners are urged to ‘look out the window’ too

High-tech mariners are urged to ‘look out the window’ too

A recent tragedy at sea once again serves to refocus the world’s attention on maritime accidents and underscores the subject of Navigation Accidents and Their Causes, recently published by The Nautical Institute.

Savannah pilots, docking masters guide larger ships into port

Savannah pilots, docking masters guide larger ships into port

At 1630 hours, the radio chatter rang out: “Sécurité call, Savannah River, Argos outbound approaching Talmadge Bridge, any concerned traffic, standing by on Channel 13, Argos.” Soon after, the walkie feature on the cellphone of Savannah Pilot 32, Todd Missroon Jr., came to life.

Bouchard aims for fuel efficiency in its new ATBs

Bouchard aims for fuel efficiency in its new ATBs

Capacity is an obvious focal point when designing an articulated tug-barge (ATB).

After pickup incident, Coast Guard calls for safer mooring practices

After pickup incident, Coast Guard calls for safer mooring practices

The U.S. Coast Guard is urging port workers to exercise caution and avoid risks when handling mooring lines after a “near-miss” in Baltimore last year that left a pickup truck dangling from the bow of a ship.

Crew boat captain falls into water, loses lower legs when hit by propeller

The captain of a small crew boat fell overboard while mooring alongside a dredge barge near Port Canaveral, Fla., and was seriously hurt when his legs hit the propeller.

Probe: Insufficient freeboard, hatch cover caused tug to sink in Hawaii

A missing 20-inch hatch cover was one of the main reasons for a tugboat sinking off Honolulu in January 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said.

TSB: Crew mistakes, inaccurate compass led to Ontario grounding

TSB: Crew mistakes, inaccurate compass led to Ontario grounding

A power loss, followed by wayward navigation based upon a misaligned gyrocompass, caused a bulk carrier to run aground in 2014 near Port Colborne, Ontario, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said.

Probe: Manifold crack, foam ignition led to Quebec tour-boat fire

Improper use of polyurethane foam insulation in an engine compartment contributed to a 2014 fire aboard a St. Lawrence River tour boat, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said.

Tugs capsized because they were too weak for the task, TSB says

Tugs capsized because they were too weak for the task, TSB says

Two tugboats were capsized by the current of the St. Lawrence River while attempting to maneuver a barge into position because they were underpowered for the job, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigators said.

Probe: Assist tug struck breakwater after misjudging tide power

Probe: Assist tug struck breakwater after misjudging tide power

A Quebec tugboat was damaged when it became caught between a breakwater and the bulk carrier it was assisting because a strong ebb tide pushed the ship off course and the tug’s tow-abort mechanism failed.

Community colleges expand maritime training as regulations stiffen

Community colleges expand maritime training as regulations stiffen

Community colleges have a well-earned reputation for filling the gaps, providing a path for high school graduates wary of a four-year academic commitment and for adults looking to transition to a new career.

In towboat piloting, embrace science because art isn’t enough

In towboat piloting, embrace science because art isn’t enough

I have heard it said many times over the years that there is an art and science to piloting.

Laid off? Flexibility and license upgrades can brighten your future

For longer than I have been in the business, the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been “boom or bust.”