Canal workers may strike

The Panama Canal expansion project may face a fresh setback if construction workers building the third set of locks opt to go on strike.
IHS Maritime was told that the labour action could begin on 12 August. The dispute is between the construction workers’ union, SUNTRACS, and the consortium

Drought limits canal transits

Draught restrictions in Gatun Lake may impact almost of fifth of the transits through the Panama Canal.
The ‘El Nino’ climate pattern has triggered drought conditions in the canal watershed, “causing the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes to fall substantially below their averages for this

Wärtsilä Appoints New CEO

By MarEx 2015-08-10 18:22:21

Wärtsilä’s Board of Directors has appointed Jaakko Eskola, 57, MSc (Eng.), as the new President and CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation. He will assume the position on November 1, succeeding Björn Rosengren, who will become the CEO of Sandvik, a global engineering group based in Sweden.

Currently Eskola is President of Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, Senior Executive Vice President and Deputy to the CEO. He joined Wärtsilä in 1998 with a background in international project and corporate finance. He has since worked as Managing Director of Wärtsilä Development and Financial Services, Vice President for Sales and Marketing in the Power Plants business and since 2006 as the head of the Marine Solutions business. He is currently based in Shanghai, China.

“I wish to thank Björn Rosengren for steering Wärtsilä towards profitable growth in challenging markets during the past four years. Today the Wärtsilä brand is well positioned and our broad offering gives us competitive edge going forward,” says Mikael Lilius, Chairman of Wärtsilä’s Board of Directors.

“Jaakko Eskola has an outstanding track record from his 17-year long career in Wärtsilä. The Board is confident that his global experience, deep understanding of the market dynamics, open management style and commitment to the Wärtsilä culture will lead us to continued success.”

“With focus on energy efficiency and innovation Wärtsilä is extremely well positioned in its markets,” said Eskola. “I am thrilled and honored to lead the company as it shapes the industry with advanced technology and lifecycle solutions. As a global team we will enhance our customers’ business and benefit the environment.”

Wärtsilä has started a process to appoint a successor for Eskola to head the Marine Solutions business.

Wärtsilä expects its net sales for 2015 to grow by 5-10 percent and its operational profitability (EBIT% before non-recurring items) to be 12.0-12.5 percent.


North Sea Windfarms Scrapped

By MarEx 2015-08-10 15:38:39

Just days after Forewind announced that it had gained planning approval for its Teesside A&B Dogger Bank windfarms, the company said that it is scrapping plans for its C and D extensions. Forewind, which is a consortium of European energy companies, intends to focus on its first four 1.2 gigawatt (GW) energy projects which are: Dogger Bank Creyke Beck A, Dogger Bank Creyke Beck B, Dogger Bank Teesside A and Dogger Bank Teesside B.

The Dogger Bank Creyke and Dogger Bank Teesside A&B projects are the largest-ever offshore energy projects. Dogger Bank Creyke Bank gained approval in February 2015.

The discontinued Dogger Bank Teesside C&D projects would have combined for an installed capacity of 2.4GW. The two projects have been removed from the organization’s portfolio and the rights to develop that area of seabed, along with the remainder of the Dogger Bank Zone, have been returned to The Crown Estate.

The Crown Estate is a semi-independent, incorporated public body with manages an extended property portfolio.


Human Traffickers Charged with Deaths

By MarEx 2015-08-10 15:31:28

Five North African men are facing multiple homicide and human trafficking charges in Italy following the drowning of more than 200 migrants on August 5. Most of those killed were children. Authorities have accused the traffickers of killing migrants with clubs and knives. The victims were found in a capsized off the Libyan coast.

Officials say the fishing boat began taking on water about three hours into its voyage. The traffickers ordered the migrants to bail the water from the vessel, but many of them could not and they were beaten with the clubs, knives and belts. Authorities are not sure of how many of the victims died from the beatings.

According to Italian authorities, the traffickers charged the migrants up to $1,800 to board the vessel, which had about 650 people onboard. Ships in the area including naval and commercial vessels help rescue more than 400 migrants.

The UN refugee agency says more than 90,000 migrants have been sent to Italy in 2015.


A Future for Waterborne Drones?

By MarEx 2015-08-10 12:46:15

Drone ships may be the next generation of shipping. Rolls Royce recently launched a $7.2 million autonomous ship project intended to pave the way for drone vessels. The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative will produce specifications and preliminary designs for next generation ship solutions. The project will run through 2017.

The primary aims of the project is traffic reduction in the European waterways, which will aim at in complying with environmental requirements as well as reducing costs. By eliminating the kitchens, mess decks and living quarters required for mariners, the Rolls Royce unmanned ship could potentially store more cargo and expend less fuel.

The project is funded by Tekes, a Finnish Funding Agency for Technology Innovation, and Rolls Royce. The Initiative is also using the expertise of ship designers, universities, equipment manufacturers and classification societies to explore the economic, social and regulatory viability of drone vessels.

Obvious regulatory issues must be addressed before the drone ships are deployed. International Maritime Organization conventions dictate a minimum crew requirement for various commercial vessels. Currently, unmanned ships are illegal.

Rolls Royce states that unmanned vessels could be safer than human crewed ships citing human error as a leading cause of maritime accidents.