October/November 2014

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U.S. salvage crew jailed in Honduras for carrying guns

U.S. salvage crew jailed in Honduras for carrying guns

“Everything seemed normal.” That’s what Capt. Robert Mayne thought as he retired to his bunk on the night of May 5, awaiting a visit the next morning from the port captain of Puerto Lempira, Honduras. Then a navy launch pulled alongside Mayne’s salvage boat, the 65-foot Aqua Quest, leading to a raid and what he called “cold-blooded” extortion on gun-smuggling charges.

New SOLAS rules set maximum noise limits for machinery on ships

Fleet owners and shipbuilders are reviewing noise regulations adopted this summer under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to gauge the impact on their operations.

US backs private guards, discourages ransoms in Africa pirate fight

US backs private guards, discourages ransoms in Africa pirate fight

Renewing the U.S. effort to wipe out piracy in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea, the White House has drawn up a new mix of carrot-and-stick diplomatic, economic and military measures.

GPS system allows mariners to track construction barges at NY bridge

GPS system allows mariners to track construction barges at NY bridge

In the wake of a fatal collision, New York state has established a global positioning satellite system to track construction vessels near the new span that will replace the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River.

La. lawmakers take action on pipeline hazards in navigable waters

Legislation passed by Louisiana’s House and Senate in May urges the state’s commissioner of conservation and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to study hazards posed by oil and gas pipelines, including those in navigable waterways.

Cal Maritime simulators train tugboat captains alongside harbor pilots

Cal Maritime simulators train tugboat captains alongside harbor pilots

A classic scene from a World War II movie about a naval battle in the South Pacific or North Atlantic will show admirals and others shifting around models of their fleet and the enemy’s fleet on a scaled-down simulation of the area involved. Longtime Long Beach/Los Angeles Jacobsen pilot Capt. Vic Schisler uses similar wooden models on a vertical white board to illustrate piloting and ship handling with tugs.

Coast Guard brings U.S. inland rules into line with ColRegs

On July 2, the Coast Guard promulgated a final rule amending the U.S. Inland Navigation Rules, commonly known as the Inland Rules of the Road, and the related annexes. The amendments, which were first announced in a 2012 proposed rule, went into effect Aug. 1.

Classic schooner equipped with modern propulsion redundancy

Classic schooner equipped with modern propulsion redundancy

The word “unique” gets thrown around with abandon in this age of hyper promotion, but it seems the most apt word to describe the 85-foot schooner America 2.0, a modern high-tech version of the famous 19th-century racing schooner and winner of the first America’s Cup.

NTSB says misunderstandings led to loose barges damaging dam

NTSB says misunderstandings led to loose barges damaging dam

A towboat lost control of its barges, which crashed into an Illinois River dam last year, because of miscommunication and poor decisions during record high water, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.

Crewman falls to his death in bulk carrier’s cargo hold at St. Lawrence River anchorage

A crewmember on a bulk carrier was killed when he fell into an open empty hold while the ship was anchored in the St. Lawrence River.

After NY crash, NTSB warns ferries to keep passengers off stairs

After NY crash, NTSB warns ferries to keep passengers off stairs

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants U.S. ferry operators to do more to keep passengers from stairwells during docking, undocking and other potentially dangerous maneuvers.

Four injured when wave sweeps Sandy Hook pilot boat into cargo ship

The U.S. Coast Guard has determined that rough seas caused a New York Harbor pilot boat to smash into the side of a ship as a pilot was preparing to board it, slightly injuring four on the smaller vessel.

Fatigue, poor passage plan cited in Quebec bulk carrier grounding

A bulk carrier ran aground in the St. Lawrence River in 2012 because the fatigued pilot did not realize a navigation buoy had been removed for the winter and he missed a course change, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said.

Titan, Italian salvors complete $2 billion Costa Concordia job

Titan, Italian salvors complete $2 billion Costa Concordia job

The largest salvage operation, by weight, in maritime history was completed on July 27 with the towing of Costa Concordia to Genoa, Italy, and the transfer of ownership of the vessel to the company that will break it apart for scrap.

Boutique cordage maker combines best of new materials, old methods

Boutique cordage maker combines best of new materials, old methods

An oil company thought it was ready to install a structure on the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico. A problem arises due to hydrographic conditions and the great depth. Stronger permanent platform mooring lines or lifting and lowering lines are required.

Alaska fast ferry navigates complex series of waterways

Alaska fast ferry navigates complex series of waterways

Capt. Michael Schlechter stood at the port bridge wing control station of the fast ferry Fairweather as the 19,320-hp catamaran prepared to leave the dock just north of Juneau, Alaska, for a four-and-a-half-hour, 132-nm voyage to Sitka.

US must provide funds for Arctic nautical charts, icebreaking

Twenty-nine years ago, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies at Banff and Jasper national parks. On a sunny July day, we took a tour of the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield, going on the glacier in a special “ice bus.”