May 2020

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Coronavirus takes toll on port cargoes, global supply chains

Coronavirus takes toll on port cargoes, global supply chains

American ports have been severely hit by the reduction in shipping from China due to the coronavirus outbreak, with officials reporting that cargo volumes are likely to drop 20 percent for the first quarter of 2020.

Outbreak has West Coast pilots on edge

West Coast ports are often the first stops for ships sailing from China, Japan and other Asian countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus masks effects of IMO’s low-sulfur fuel mandate

Coronavirus masks effects of IMO’s low-sulfur fuel mandate

As the coronavirus disrupted global trade in the first few months of 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported a “relatively smooth” transition to its 0.5 percent sulfur cap for fuel.

Shipping proposes $5 billion research program to cut CO2 output

Shipping proposes $5 billion research program to cut CO2 output

A global shipping consortium is proposing a levy of $2 per metric ton of bunker fuel for research and development to help eliminate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the industry.

NMC announces testing changes, eliminates walk-in exams

NMC announces testing changes, eliminates walk-in exams

The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) has announced changes for test procedures at its Regional Examination Centers (RECs), the biggest of which will be the elimination of walk-in exams without prior registration.

Coast Guard, ABS approve wireless helm for ATB tugboats

Coast Guard, ABS approve wireless helm for ATB tugboats

A wireless helm developed by Sea Machines has received approval for use on a class of U.S.-flag tugboats that support articulated tug-barge (ATB) sets, a new way of doing business that is bound to generate comment among mariners.

Newly christened Centerline moves forward in post-Harley era

Newly christened Centerline moves forward in post-Harley era

After years of debt-fueled growth and rapid expansion into new markets, followed most recently by a very public breakup with its founder, the company formerly known as Harley Marine Services is getting back to its roots.

After fatal fall, pilots urge new scrutiny of ladder arrangements

After fatal fall, pilots urge new scrutiny of ladder arrangements

A fatal accident in December in New York Harbor underscores the safety risks maritime pilots face when boarding vessels.

High water brings out the beast in Crescent Towing z-drive

High water brings out the beast in Crescent Towing z-drive

On a sun-splashed February morning, the Crescent Towing tugboat Mardi Gras met the 751-foot tanker Flagship Sage south of New Orleans on the Mississippi River.

High water in Vicksburg: Another bridge strike, another breakaway

High water in Vicksburg: Another bridge strike, another breakaway

Pilot error was the primary cause of a bridge strike in Vicksburg, Miss., during high water in February 2019 that caused 30 grain barges to break away, according to federal investigators.

NTSB: Hull leaks reported but ‘not resolved’ before towboat sinking

NTSB: Hull leaks reported but ‘not resolved’ before towboat sinking

Tom Bussler was upbound on the Tennessee River when the captain noticed the bow riding low in the water. He steered toward the riverbank but didn’t get there before the 58-foot towboat sank.

Attempted pass in high water leads to $3.3 million terminal strike

Attempted pass in high water leads to $3.3 million terminal strike

Bettye M. Jenkins was upbound with two barges when its captain turned the tow broadside into the flooded Lower Mississippi River with the intention of crossing to calmer current along the right descending bank.

Clutch failure, poor upkeep cited in New Orleans tow collision

Clutch failure, poor upkeep cited in New Orleans tow collision

Federal investigators said an ineffective maintenance regime that failed to identify wear on an aging towboat’s port-side clutch likely caused a collision in 2019 between two tows on the Lower Mississippi River.

Casualty briefs

Casualty briefs

Wind ships ahead: Technology pulling more power from sails

Wind ships ahead: Technology pulling more power from sails

Wind has never been entirely dead. But now that we have realized the ecological consequences of burning fossil fuels, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has imposed binding global emission restrictions, wind-assisted shipping is attracting attention again.

Latest training melds new technology, proven tactics in fight against fire

Latest training melds new technology, proven tactics in fight against fire

Seemingly out of nowhere, word spread of a fire in the galley and a missing crewmember.

‘Tales from a Tugboat Captain’ rides high on offshore adventure

‘Tales from a Tugboat Captain’ rides high on offshore adventure

My first trip out into the ocean was exciting because it was a new experience.

Sitting down on watch? Tradition aside, it’s the smart option

I remember the day my letter of acceptance to the California Maritime Academy (CMA) arrived at my apartment in Spokane, Wash.