Author: Alan R. Earls

Tackling the fishing gear problem

Beyond collisions with ships, whales inhabiting the waters of North America are vulnerable to injury or death from another human-related threat: fishing gear entanglement. Research conducted by the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies showed that scars…

New technology aims to help mariners save the whales

While humans once stood in awe of the size and strength of whales, the roles have been nearly reversed since the mid-20th century as increasing ship traffic has added insult to the injury done by the era of whaling. To…

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.

Navy opts for physical throttles on destroyers after fatal collisions

In the wake of high-profile collisions involving U.S. Navy destroyers, including a 2017 incident that killed 10 sailors aboard USS John S. McCain, the service is revising bridge training practices and addressing what it sees as an over-reliance on computer touch screens for ship control.

What went wrong: New Smithsonian series analyzes disasters at sea

For 12 seasons, American viewers have been engrossed by the Smithsonian Channel’s “Air Disasters” series, which combines dramatizations of actual aircraft mishaps with accounts of how investigators ultimately determined what went wrong — and how to prevent similar accidents.

Speed of technological change overtaking scope of STCW

When the chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) made comments in Manila in November proposing a comprehensive revision of the global convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), it probably caught many in the maritime community off guard.