Professional Mariner - May 2014 May 1, 2014 Professional Mariner Staff FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedin NTSB calls for improvements in safety culture on passenger vesselsImproving the safety of passenger vessels is on the National Transportation Safety Board’s top 10 “most wanted” list for 2014. American Cruise Lines to build four new riverboats for inland serviceThe U.S. river cruise industry continues staging its comeback with at least five large vessels slated to enter service through 2017.Coast Guard begins rolling out STCW guidance, medical certificatesThe push is on to get mariners ready for the transition to the latest Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping requirements. IMO developing Polar Code to govern voyages through icy watersMelting sea ice in the Arctic may be bad for polar bears, but it could prove a boon for seafarers. Cutter design contract on hold while shipyard protests are pendingThe biggest acquisition contract in the U.S. Coast Guard’s 224-year history was put on hold in the wake of protests filed by two coastal Mississippi shipyards. TSAC: Good engine room maintenance necessary to prevent boat firesPaying attention to basic maintenance is at the heart of the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) recommendations on preventing fires in tugboats. Helicopter or boat – for bar pilots it’s all about safe transfers“It is a system,” said Capt. Robert Johnson of the Columbia River Bar Pilots, explaining the relation between their helicopter and pilot boat. Software integrates beacons, AIS, satellites to pinpoint location more accurately and speed up response timesDuring a recent incident in New York Harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard sent out a very high-frequency signal relaying a distressed vessel’s mayday message to nearby ships. However, the VHF radio coordinates were off, and the distressed vessel was found only because a nearby ship noticed the inaccuracy and used its own onboard tracking device, locating the mayday at less than one nautical mile away. New Dry Tortugas ferry is fast, green, comfortableOn a winter’s day, the 70-mile crossing from Key West, Fla., to Dry Tortugas National Park — Sunshine State or not — can be a cool and rough one. NTSB: Master’s ‘reckless’ choices led to fatal sinking of tall shipThe sinking of the tall ship HMS Bounty in October 2012 was the result of its captain’s “reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” with an inexperienced and shorthanded crew on a vessel with a rotting hull, the National Transportation Safety Board said.Lawsuit says anchor caused $30M in damage to NY power cableA utility operator has sued a Long Island marine transportation company for more than $30 million, claiming one of the firm’s tugs and oil barges damaged a power cable when they anchored in Long Island Sound.NTSB: Pilot’s errors caused Houston Ship Channel crane casualtyShortly before dawn on a quiet summer morning, as his vessel was moving a few thousand feet to a new berth in the Houston Ship Channel, the chief mate aboard bulk carrier Mary Ann Hudson saw something unusual. Box ship’s power loss may bring new escort rules at Halifax HarbourA propulsion casualty involving a containership has prompted the Port of Halifax to review safety procedures for ship escorts, including the potential need for mandatory stern tether lines. Laker damaged in collision with cutter during ice escortThe National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a collision that punctured the hulls of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and a bulk carrier during an ice escort on Lake Michigan.Faulty repair, crew error blamed for sinking of OSV under tow along coast of LouisianaThe crew of an offshore supply vessel working near the Louisiana coast awoke the off-duty master on a spring night with some urgent news: The boat was taking on water. NTSB: Failed mooring bollards caused Ala. cruise ship breakawayFederal investigators say mooring bollards that failed in rapid succession during strong winds caused a cruise ship to break away from a Mobile, Ala., shipyard and collide with two other vessels. STCW mariners will need to renew some fire training ashoreA blaze is raging inside a tanker’s engine space. Two teams of mariners prepare to enter. A pair of fire hoses are at the ready.Mariners need up-to-date UHF radios and must use them properlyThere are certain radio frequencies designated for maritime UHF (ultra high frequency) use, specified in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.