Shipping could help Rohingya refugees

Commercial shipping may have a role in helping solve the plight of Rohingya fleeing Myanmar, a leading NGO source has said.
“There’s a conversation that needs to be made,” Humanitarian Policy Group research associate Lilianne Fan told IHS Maritime after the issue was discussed at a meeting in
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WWF Affirms Arctic HFO Stance

By MarEx 2015-06-03 23:37:57

A study commissioned by WWF-Canada on marine fuel alternatives for use in the Canadian Arctic has found that the risks of using heavy fuel oil for shipping operations could be greatly reduced by switching to LNG.

“Of all the marine fuel options, heavy fuel oil is the most polluting and will cause the most damage in the event of a spill,” says David Miller, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. “The Arctic environment is so fragile and unpredictable that we must do better.”

Fuel Alternatives for Arctic Shipping was commissioned by WWF-Canada and conducted by Vard Marine, a ship design and marine engineering company based in Vancouver, BC. The study assessed the environmental impacts of heavy fuel oil (HFO), diesel, and LNG, and also compared ship design, fuel consumption, and the economic aspects of each marine fuel option.

The study found that the use of LNG reduced pollutants by up to 97 per cent. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by up to 25 per cent. There was also a significant reduction in the risk of environmental damage from spills, as LNG dissipates into the atmosphere almost immediately. Moving to diesel fuel was also found to have environmental advantages, but to a lesser extent.

Though the environmental advantages are clear, there are many technical and practical barriers that exist to the immediate adoption of LNG as the sole Arctic fuel. It is cheaper than diesel, but current HFO prices are lower. A conceptual design also revealed that the cost of building LNG-fueled ships would be higher than conventional options, and that no possibility exists to retrofit HFO-fueled ships currently in operation. The study makes clear that LNG is the fuel of the future for new ships to meet regulatory requirements to reduce impacts on the environment.

WWF looks to organizations like the IMO to amend the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) to reflect these realities. The IMO has already banned the use and carriage of HFO in the Antarctic, and similarly, Norway has banned the use in select waters. Transport Canada’s recent Tanker Safety Expert Panel also highlighted the issue and made special mention of the risks of HFO in Arctic waters.

“It’s our hope that the next edition of the Polar Code will include the phasing out and eventual ban of HFO-fueled ships in the Arctic,” says Miller. “For now we will look to both governments and industry to put nature first and make the right choice for the protection of the Arctic environment.”

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High Mobility Coating, Welding Robot Tested

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-03 21:50:53

A new welding robot has been trialed successfully as part of a National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) project in the U.S.

The high mobility manufacturing robot (HMMR) is being developed for use in ship compartments for a wide variety of operations such as surface preparation, coating and welding tasks.

The robotic prototype features a holonomic platform that is capable of moving in any direction, is powered from a single 110V input source and has LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and sonar sensing systems for positioning and obstacle avoidance.

Every year, millions of man hours are spent performing work in enclosed ship compartments. This work is among the most labor intensive, dangerous and least touched by automation (and productivity) as any performed, says project partner Robotic Technologies of Tennessee. The work depends on highly skill laborers to perform much of the manufacturing tasks primarily in a manual fashion.

While this workforce is highly skilled in their craft, many of the productivity enhancements associated with new technologies in robotics, embedded processing and software applications have not been applied. The new system is anticipated to augment their work and significantly improve productivity and safety.

Phase 2 of the project will investigate enhancing the magnetic crawling platform with the ability to traverse stiffeners on a panel line.

The project team includes:

Robotic Technologies of Tennessee

Tennessee Tech

BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards

Ingalls Shipbuilding

NASSCO

VT Halter

The project began in 2014 when the Executive Control Board of NSRP selected four major research and development projects for awards as part of the program’s mission to reduce costs associated with U.S. shipbuilding and repair. The new projects are valued at approximately $6.6 million in both Navy funding and industry cost share.

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