Deals Struck at Nor-Shipping

By MarEx 2015-06-03 20:52:12

MarEx picked amongst the corporate news to give an update on the key industry deals announced this week at Nor-Shipping.

DNV GL and Jotun

DNV GL and the Norwegian paint manufacturer Jotun signed a cooperation agreement to work on improving hull performance. The project will bring together two performance management services, Jotun’s Hull Performance Solution and DNV GL’s ECO Insight solution, to collect and analyse data on hull degradation. This will enable customers to cut their fuel bills and reduce emissions.

Experts suggest that hull and propeller degradation accounts for up to 17 percent of the world fleet’s fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced hull coatings solutions or more regular hull and propeller cleaning are already widely accepted as effective preventive measures. However, there is no conclusive evidence showing which coating solution is the most effective or when and how often propellers need to be cleaned.

DNV GL will provide Jotun with hull and propeller performance computations based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models that include the complete operational range of the vessel. “This approach generates a much greater amount of baseline data than a conventional model tank test could deliver and provides customers with the information they need to prove that they reduced both fuel consumption and emissions to charterers for example,” explains Dr. Torsten Büssow, DNV GL’s Head of Fleet Performance Management.

ECO Insight computations also show how much resistance is added over time due to hull fouling. The portal further provides customers with the opportunity to benchmark measured hull and propeller degradation with other ships in their fleet as well as relevant peer group averages.

NTNU, Kongsberg Maritime, Maritime Robotics and DNV GL

The Department of Engineering Cybernetics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is leading a new project that will study collision avoidance for advanced ships. The AUTOSEA project is sponsored by the Research Council of Norway with DNV GL, Kongsberg Maritime and Maritime Robotics as industry partners.

The maritime industry has seen an increasing focus on safety and reliability over many decades. Still the accident and casualty rates are high compared to other industries and numerous studies indicate that the majority of these accidents are caused by human errors. Recent advances in self-driving cars and other autonomous systems have shown that it is possible to achieve a high degree of situation awareness and autonomy using advanced sensor technology in combination with cleverly designed algorithms. Using this type of technology on oceangoing vehicles, while keeping the human in the loop, may be a key in reducing these types of accidents.

The AUTOSEA project intends to focus on automated situation awareness using sensor fusion to reduce the risk of collisions between ships and vehicles when an increased level of autonomy is introduced. To improve detection capabilities also on small objects and better cover the close-range sector, the AUTOSEA project will, in addition to conventional maritime radar, include sensor types not normally used for such purposes in the maritime sector, like camera, infrared and LIDAR.

For the technology to be successful, it will be necessary to resolve conflicts between sensors, and to interpret and support decisions in situations of ambiguity. An increased degree of autonomy on oceangoing vehicles also needs to comply with maritime anti-collision regulations (COLREGs).

The project is divided into four areas: sensor fusion, collision avoidance, system architecture and experiments. Sensor fusion involves detection and tracking of moving objects during navigation and manoeuvring using imaging sensors, while collision avoidance will investigate both proactive and reactive methods. System architecture will consider reliability, handling of erroneous data and adaptation of strategies from the automotive and aerospace industries. Experiments will be used to validate and demonstrate COLREGs-compliant navigation and control and assessing detection capabilities using different sensors.

Palfinger Dreggen and Statoil

Palfinger Dreggen has been awarded contract for crane delivery to the Johan Sverdrup field including seven large offshore cranes. The cranes will have a lifting capacity of 60 tons and an outreach of approximately 60 meters and shall be delivered with full-electric drive. The electric drive contributes to both energy efficiency and reduced maintenance. Total lifecycle cost of electric cranes is considered to be lower than conventional electro-hydraulic solutions.

Volva Penta and Callenberg

Volvo Penta has announced an agreement to work on diesel electric projects with Callenberg Technology Group — furthering its commitment to providing sustainable power solutions.

In order to provide fuel-efficient, environmentally conscious products to its customers, Volvo Penta is exploring a host of sustainable power solutions. The agreement provides the framework for how the two companies will run projects and approach the market together.

Volvo Penta and Callenberg, both based in Gothenburg, Sweden, have worked together for many years; as experts in automation and controls, Callenberg has long provided Volvo Penta with electrical components for its marine gensets. But now the two companies will also work together to provide customers with Callenberg’s complete diesel electric solutions — powered by Volvo Penta marine gensets.

Callenberg manages onboard electrical energy for a wide range of maritime customers. Instead of burning diesel to produce electrical energy, customers can opt for a more energy-efficient solution — including diesel-electric systems — from Callenberg.

Ahrenkiel Steamship and Imtech Marine

Ahrenkiel Steamship GmbH & Co. KG and Radio Holland Germany GmbH, part of Imtech Marine, have agreed a long-term maintenance agreement for the entire Ahrenkiel Steamship fleet, which comprises nearly 60 vessels.

Based in Hamburg, Ahrenkiel Steamship Group is a leading, independent shipowner and provider of ship management services, with its roots dating back more than 150 years. In April 2014, the Christian F. Ahrenkiel Group merged with a joint venture established by the MPC Group, thereby pooling the fleet of Ahrenkiel Shipmanagement, MPC Steamship and Thien & Heyengathe fleet consisting of container vessels and bulk carriers.

Elkon and Sedef Shipyard

Elkon (Istanbul), a subsidiary of Imtech Marine, has been awarded a contract from Sedef Shipyard (Tuzla, Istanbul) for the delivery of the electrical equipment, propulsion system and services for two Canadian Seaspan hybrid ferries.

The two, 148.9 m, dual-fuelled (diesel and liquefied natural gas) ferries are propelled by a hybrid-electrical propulsion system and can accommodate up to 59 trailers. These state-of-the-art ferries will replace aging vessels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, while ensuring the highest level of efficiency, performance and reliability.

For these vessels Elkon will contribute substantially to reducing emissions, by being responsible for the design, specification, production and installation of the complete electrical system, including the hybrid electrical propulsion system, battery system and automation system.


Eni Manager Kidnapped in Libya

By MarEx 2015-06-03 20:09:52

A manager for Eni’s Mellitah oil and gas joint venture was kidnapped in Libya on Monday.

It is not yet clear who is responsible for the kidnapping. Libyan Yousef al-Shoumanik was taken from a Mellitah operated complex but few details are available, and no one has claimed responsibility for his disappearance so far.

Staff read out statements denouncing the kidnapping of al-Shoumani, a member of the company’s administrative management team, on Libya’s al-Nabaa television and in a video posted on a Facebook staff website. They demanded better protection for workers in the oil sector.

The Mellitah joint venture is co-owned by Italy’s Eni and Libya’s state owned National Oil Company. The companies operate the Wafa and El Feel oilfields and an oil and gas exporting facility in western Libya.

In February, Eni cut the number of foreign workers it had in the country, as Libya’s internal strife forced the closure of some fields.

Upstream Online reports that the joint venture is believed to have recently awarded OneSubsea a $330 million subsea production systems contract for work at the Bahr Essalam field in Block NC 41 off Libya.

Nation in Crisis

Libya’s public finances, wracked by a dramatic loss in oil revenue that has been exacerbated by a power struggle between rival governments, are foundering.

The crisis has prompted the authorities in Tripoli, who control much of western Libya, to plan cuts to petrol subsidies, to delay public salary payments and to ban imports from cars to steel.

“Libya is on the verge of economic and financial collapse,” U.N. Special Envoy Bernadino Leon, who has been trying to end a power struggle between the two governments, said last week.


Gas Pipeline Ruptures in Arkansas River

By MarEx 2015-06-03 19:43:51

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a ruptured pipeline on the Arkansas River that occurred over the weekend. The rupture is estimated to have released around four million cubic feet of natural gas, enough to fuel about 65 homes for a year.

The Arkansas Times reports that Arkansas consumed about 282.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2013, approximately 774.8 million cubic feet per day.

Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received a report from Jeffery Sand Company on Monday highlighting the incident at mile marker 117.3 of the Arkansas River. The company also reported damage to the port side of the towboat Chris M.

It is not yet known whether the pipeline was struck by the Chris M or if it exploded for a different reason, reports local media.

Sector Lower Mississippi River responded by deploying two pollution investigators. No visible pollution on the water was found at the time of the on scene investigation.

The river is currently closed from mile marker 116 to 118.

The pipeline will be reopened after the operator of the Texas Eastern pipeline, Spectra Energy, repairs the leak. It is anticipated that the gas in the line would bubble to the surface and dissipate into the atmosphere quickly.


Oil Chief Tell OPEC “Thanks”

By Reuters 2015-06-03 19:18:56

Six months after OPEC upended oil markets and sent prices crashing, the head of U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil has an unusual message for the cartel: thanks.

While Exxon and other large oil companies have been forced to slash spending, cut staff and sacrifice tens of billions of dollars in revenue as oil prices halved, they have also watched with quiet satisfaction as upstart rivals from the U.S. shale patch struggle simply to survive through the downturn.

The price collapse has helped shine a sharper light on the highest-cost producers, Rex Tillerson, head of the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, told a rare meeting of oil executives and OPEC ministers.

“We’re trying to discover where the marginal barrels are around the world. It’s important for all of us to know,” he said. “We are constantly chasing the price against the cost of supply.”

“We live with a lot of uncertainty and we’re rewarded for how well we manage it,” said Tillerson, one of the best-paid CEOs in the world. If you can’t live with uncertainty, “be a librarian”, he said.

OPEC decided against cutting its oil production last year to fight for market share with non-OPEC producers, thus aggravating a global oil glut that arose due to a shale boom in the United States. The group is expected to maintain that policy on Friday at its first meeting since the November decision.

Oil prices crashed to as low as $46 per barrel by early 2015 from as much as $115 in mid-2014.

Prices have recovered to around $65 per barrel in recent weeks on fears that oil companies have reduced investments too quickly and too steeply, which might result in project delays and reduced output.

Tillerson has repeatedly said the downturn was a time of opportunities to acquire rivals, although Exxon has yet to emulate a megadeal done by rival Royal Dutch Shell in April to acquire smaller competitor BG for $70 billion.

Tillerson also urged against excessive cuts amid a low oil price environment – be it capital spending or staff: “We are chasing a moving target (oil price). We always overshoot in both directions – on the way up and on the way down”.

OPEC ministers and delegates said they saw prices rising further to $70-80 per barrel, but not all CEOs agree.

The head of oil major BP, Bob Dudley, said he saw softness in prices in the second half of 2015 as global supply outpaces demand.

Weak prices might be what companies such as Exxon and BP need if they want to expand.

“If we stay lower for longer, we might see more activity in M&A (mergers and acquisitions),” Dudley said.

But besides the consolidatory impact, low oil prices could also encourage some substantial changes such as previously unheard-of partnerships between operators.

“We have always shared risk and reward through equity partnerships but we need to be more creative to keep pushing back frontiers in a $60 world,” Dudley said.

The head of French oil company Total, Patrick Pouyanne, said he was confident technology would achieve further breakthroughs to allow the U.S. shale oil industry to increase output even in an environment of low oil prices.

Asked whether he had a target price in mind for U.S. shale or Total’s operations in general, Pouyanne said: “We have a margin – not a target price. I’m not crazy to bet on one target price”.


SAR Services Overwhelmed in Developing Nations

By MarEx 2015-06-03 17:23:01

Search and rescue (SAR) authorities and organizations in developing nations are under resourced and overwhelmed because of the size of the rivers, lakes and coastlines they have to monitor.

This is one of the main conclusions from a report on ferry accidents commissioned by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) – the UK based charity – presented at the World Maritime Rescue Congress (WMRC) in Bremerhaven on Wednesday and coinciding with the ferry disaster on the Yangtze River in China, one of the countries featured in the study.

The report, which examined 160 ferry accidents in 42 countries – from Australia and Bangladesh to Vietnam and Zambia – also found that ferry incidents in the European Union continued to occur at roughly the same rate in the past two decades but fatalities had markedly declined, largely due to better responses.

However, the same trend could not be seen in developing nations, where responses were the same as 15 years ago. At the time of the report being written, Myanmar has recorded their worst recorded ferry disaster in the past 15 years with more than 63 people losing their lives and volunteers leading rescue efforts with no mention of an official, organized SAR response.

The report, entitled ‘Ferry Accidents – The Challenge of Rescue’, has been produced for the IMRF by Kiersten Reid-Sander, an intern from the University of Southern Denmark.

She said “I hope the subsequent discussions of these research results will be of great benefit to all parties involved and will encourage SAR organizations that have not yet been involved with this project to offer their ideas, adding to the body of knowledge around global ferry fatalities.”

Bruce Reid, CEO of the IMRF added: “This is a comprehensive study that draws some disturbing conclusions about the capability of developing nations, in particular, to manage ferry accidents. We hope that by bringing the research to the attention of the appropriate Governments and agencies, action will be taken to reduce unnecessary loss of life.”

Reid-Sander, who produced the study to complement the findings of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) report, ‘Ferry Fatalities: Statistics and Causation of Major Accidents 2000-2014’, which identified 160 ferry accidents, with more than 18,000 fatalities, in that period, and asked a series of questions in relation to these accidents.

These included how SAR services became aware of the incident, how long responses took, how many people were saved, the resources available for the SAR effort, who coordinated it, the kind of challenges they faced and what other assistance was provided by other agencies.

She also checked whether the ferry had an evacuation plan in place and if so, how effectively it was carried out; whether anything positive came out of the rescue in terms of innovation and ideas and whether an official report or timeline of events were available.

It wasn’t possible to answer these questions for all 160 accidents and out of them all only 17 official reports were found of which 10 were in English. The number of passengers on board the ferries involved in accidents covered, ranged from 14 people on the Merinda in Australia in March 2007 to 3586 passengers on board the MV Spice Islander 1 in 2011.

It was apparent from the research that ferry capacity is increasing and when a mass rescue is necessary, resources are not necessarily available, with the number of victims often overwhelming rescuers. Inaccurate records of the number of passengers and crew on board ferries is a common challenge faced by rescuers in developed and developing nations.

Also, a lack of basic lifesaving and safety equipment on board ferries continues to cost lives even though, since 1914, the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) has specified appropriate standards for life saving equipment, ship construction and survivability as well as navigation equipment and practices and communications.

It was very clear that SAR resources are stretched. For 70 of the accidents reported by the WFSA other vessels or fishermen were first on the scene to rescue victims. Official rescuers, who may have had some SAR training, are mentioned for only 40 out of 159 accidents identified by the WFSA – for example, local police, fire service, navy, coast guard and so on. In 23 cases there were no rescuers so those who survived, were the ones who swam ashore.

Lack of communication in many countries means authorities do not become aware of an accident before it is too late. Ferry accidents in developing countries often happen in remote areas where difficult terrain and vast distances can debilitate the rescue response to an emergency.

Beyond constructive critical analysis, the report does cite two examples of initiatives that appear to be making a difference. The first has been introduced in Vietnam in response to the necessity of ferry travel combined with a vast river network and limited official SAR resources.

The “Safety First” ferry stations manned by volunteers with first aid training and river rescue skills have been welcomed by local communities with passengers no longer fearing for their safety when crossing the river on their way home. A similar initiative has reportedly been in place for many years in Nigeria where families are in charge of rivers, leading search and rescue operations.

The second has emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations (UN) unmanned aerial vehicle was able to spot a ferry sinking and then remain at the scene, searching for the survivors and providing situational awareness. This helped the subsequent lifesaving operation that was launched by providing real time imagery to support reaction to incidents.

The principal lessons from the report are that developing nations would do well to improve response to ferry incidents and, as a consequence, all maritime casualties by increasing communications capability in the event of a disaster, by employing, where possible, newer technology; by improving training and exercises by Government agencies and voluntary organizations and collaborating on SAR with neighboring nations as well as the international community.

The full report is available here.


Nor Shipping Looks to Maritime’s Future

By MarEx 2015-06-03 17:16:58

The opening conference for Nor Shipping 2015 addressed many key concerns for the industry that carries over 90% of the world’s trade. Delegates turned up to listen to the hard-hitting discussions that looked to, among other things, innovation, investment and transformative technology. Global geopolitical and economic scenarios were also debated.

New Norwegian maritime strategy

In her opening address, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg referred to her government’s newly announced national maritime strategy, saying that the Norwegian government wanted to establish a forward-looking framework for the industry.

“The industry has to invest in and adopt green technology. Norway will remain competitive by focusing on knowledge-based products. Our future lies in being smarter, not cheaper. That’s why we invest so heavily in innovation, research and development.”

Regarding regulation, Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland said, “The maritime industry is international. We need international rules and this takes time. But we have to be patient.”

Cyber security concerns

Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant US Coast Guard expressed concerns about cyber security, asking “Are we resilient enough?” This was echoed in the keynote address for the “What’s Next” roundtable by Espen Barth Eide, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.

“Everything today is cyber. Any future conflict you will see will be a cyber-conflict. As we become more connected, be aware that cyber space is a domain equally as important as sea, air and land,” he said. “Any strategic competition that happens in a physical sense will also happen in cyberspace. Every conflict you see in the future will be a cyber-conflict.”

He said it was very important to understand that, “We are living in a world where strategic competition is back,” referring to geopolitical conflicts around the world.

The conference also turned its attention to developing international security threats. The situations with China in the South China Sea and the conflict with Russia were both at the forefront of concern for conference participants.

“I see the situation becoming more risky,” Strategy and globalization expert Anil Gupta said regarding the Chinese conflict. “Neither side is backing down and this could easily become a more serious conflict.”

Similarly, Eide said that if the conflict with Russia continues much longer, it will have effects that will outlast Ukraine.

Big Data – Here to Stay

The Transformative Technology roundtable concluded with big data, connectivity and ship intelligence as the way forward.

“Are we ready to understand that we have to have open architecture integration platforms for everything that happens?” said Kongsberg Gruppen CEO Walter Qvam. “Hopefully, the times for the proprietary systems are over for good.”

“It is very important to find those who are willing to try new technologies,” said Krystyna Wojnarowicz, Co-Founder of MARSEC Inc. “ But they shouldn’t be left alone to do that. We need to think big and start small. Here is where we can look for support from local governments.”

Nor Shipping 2015 is taking place this week from June 02-05 in Oslo, Norway. The event is currently celebrating its 50 anniversary and will host visitors from over 80 different countries.