October/November 2018

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American shipbuilders brace for impact of tariffs on steel, aluminum

American shipbuilders brace for impact of tariffs on steel, aluminum

Shipbuilders in the United States are still assessing the impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but many yards are preparing to absorb higher costs as the levies take effect.

Trump signs bill delaying TWIC reader installation requirement

Trump signs bill delaying TWIC reader installation requirement

A bill signed into law on Aug. 2 by President Trump prohibited the U.S. Coast Guard from implementing an Aug. 23 deadline requiring the installation of Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) readers for high-risk facilities and vessels.

Court weighs in on TWIC readers, issues stay

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a court order on July 24 delaying the implementation of the TWIC reader rule “until further order of the court.”

TWIC cards get security facelift

TWIC cards get security facelift

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has updated the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), incorporating additional security features in a new design.

Advocates hope Soo repair funds open door to new Poe-sized lock

Advocates hope Soo repair funds open door to new Poe-sized lock

With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers poised to make nearly $74 million in repairs to the aging Soo Locks, advocates hope the funding is the next step toward construction of a new lock at the site.

Coast Guard: Half of towing vessels transmitting incorrect AIS data

Coast Guard: Half of towing vessels transmitting incorrect AIS data

A recent U.S. Coast Guard blog post paints a sobering picture of faulty data transmissions from automatic identification systems (AIS) on the nation’s towing vessels.

Volvo Ocean Race data reveals ‘pervasive’ plastic pollution at sea

Volvo Ocean Race data reveals ‘pervasive’ plastic pollution at sea

Team Turn the Tide on Plastic finished last in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, but its crew collected key scientific data during the grueling event that provides an alarming look at the scope of plastic pollution at sea.

Thirty years and $3 billion later, Olmsted ready to lock and roll

Thirty years and $3 billion later, Olmsted ready to lock and roll

The rotted wood and rust-eaten remains of two dam wickets, lying on display on the bank of the Ohio River near Olmsted, Ill., tell the story of compromised infrastructure eating at the core of the nation’s inland river system and its economy.

Olmsted at a glance

The Locks and Dam 52 and 53 Replacement Project (Olmsted Locks and Dam) is located 17 miles upstream from the Mississippi River near the town of Olmsted, Ill., at Ohio River mile marker 964.4.

Classification societies weigh costs, safety of aluminum power cables

Classification societies weigh costs, safety of aluminum power cables

Historically, classification societies have only approved aluminum power cables for limited use on vessels.

Compact Bisso z-drive boasts Canadian lines, Mississippi bones

Compact Bisso z-drive boasts Canadian lines, Mississippi bones

It was only a matter of time before a Robert Allan Ltd.-designed azimuthing stern drive tug joined 17 other z-drives, spread among four companies, working the Mississippi River from its mouth to Baton Rouge, La.

Duck boats face new scrutiny after 17 die in Missouri sinking

Duck boats face new scrutiny after 17 die in Missouri sinking

Seventeen people died when a duck boat capsized and sank in Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., during an intense July storm, raising new questions about the safety of the amphibious excursion vessels.

Bouchard’s safety culture criticized at hearing on fatal barge blast

Bouchard’s safety culture criticized at hearing on fatal barge blast

Lonnie Roberts watched from the wheelhouse of the tugboat Buster Bouchard as blue flames surrounded two workers on the deck of barge B. No. 255. Moments later, the barge’s bow exploded.

Pilot’s failure to identify charted hazard cited in towboat sinking

Pilot’s failure to identify charted hazard cited in towboat sinking

Eric Haney was upbound on the Mississippi River with 15 empty barges when it slammed into an erosion-control dike near Cairo, Ill., went adrift in the current and partially sank several miles downriver.

Fraser River dredger loses propulsion after blackout, hits barge

Fraser River dredger loses propulsion after blackout, hits barge

A dredger operating on British Columbia’s Fraser River collided with a loaded barge after the dredger lost propulsion due to a power blackout that caused the air-powered engine clutches to disengage, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has determined.

NTSB cites use of single barge couplings in high water for breakaway

NTSB cites use of single barge couplings in high water for breakaway

Two barges carrying sand and gravel struck a fireboat and bridge pier in downtown Nashville, Tenn., after coming loose from their tow on the Cumberland River.

Casualty briefs

Casualty briefs

by Casey Conley

The future of marine power? New California project pushes fuel cells forward

The future of marine power? New California project pushes fuel cells forward

The recent news out of the Golden State was surely eye-catching: a glimpse of a trim, twin-hull ferry called Water-Go-Round from Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, being built with a cool $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Water-Go-Round at a glance

The 70-foot aluminum catamaran will have two 300-kW electric motors coupled with independent electric powertrains from BAE Systems.

Hydrogen cost and availability

Hydrogen is already commercially viable in some industrial sectors, such as oil refining and fertilizer production, where the U.S. uses over 10 million metric tons per year, according to Dr. Sunita Satyapal, director of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Maritime law could provide recovery for shipboard harassment

Maritime law could provide recovery for shipboard harassment

Working at sea is dangerous. It is an environment where serious and often life-threatening injuries can occur in seconds.

Missouri disaster should be end of the line for duck boats

After having spent most of my seagoing career working in the oil industry and on tugs, I took a job working as a mate on board high-speed passenger vessels one summer.