World’s First Electrical Car Ferry in Operation

By MarEx 2015-05-19 15:35:44

The world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity in a standard Norwegian household.

Built in conjunction with shipbuilder Fjellstrand, Siemens installed the complete electric propulsion system and put up charging stations with lithium-ion batteries which are charged from hydro power. With the change to battery, shipowner Norled is reducing the cost of fuel by up to 60 percent.

The Norled ferry Ampere represents a milestone on the road to operating completely emission-free ferries along Norway’s long coastline, with at least 50 other routes currently able to sustain battery-operated vessels.

Because the power grid in the region is relatively weak, Siemens and Norled decided to install three battery packs: one lithium-ion battery on board the ferry, and one at each pier to serve as a buffer. The 260-kWh-units supply electricity to the ferry while it waits. Afterward, the battery slowly recoups all of this energy from the grid until the ship comes back again to drop off passengers and recharge.

Charging stations are housed in small buildings about the size of newsstands. The ship’s onboard batteries are recharged directly from the grid at night when the ferry is not in use. Each battery pack corresponds to the effect of 1600 standard car batteries.

The Norled ferry will consume around two million kWh per year, whereas a traditional diesel ferry consumes at least one million liters of diesel a year and emits 570 tons of carbon dioxide and 15 metric tons of nitrogen oxides.

“We are proud to operate the world’s first electric ferry”, says Sigvald Breivik, Technical director of Norled. “Siemens has been a great partner in finding innovative and sustainable solutions for our environment.”

On board the ferry, Siemens installed its electric propulsion system BlueDrive PlusC. It includes a battery and steering system, thruster control for the propellers, an energy management system and an integrated alarm system. The integrated automation systems control and monitor the machineries and auxiliaries on the ferry and are connected via Profibus to all other subsystems.

“We are both optimistic and excited about this technology and how it will help shape the future of environmentally friendly maritime technology,” says Mario Azar, CEO of the Siemens Business Unit Oil & Gas and Marine. “We were pleased to apply our expertise in this field including electric propulsion systems to such a worthwhile project.”

Unlike many electric cars, the emission-free ferry was developed from the ground up. The ferry, which is 80 meters long and 20 meters wide, is driven by two electric motors, each with an output of 450 kilowatts. It is made exclusively of light aluminum rather than the steel normally used in shipbuilding. This makes the ferry only half as heavy as a conventional ferry, despite its ten ton batteries and a capacity for 360 passengers and 120 vehicles. An aluminum hull also has double the lifetime as steel hull, which leads to lower maintenance costs.

Ship owner Norled operates on the ferry link across Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway. The fully electric ferry travels six kilometers across the fjord 34 times a day, with each trip taking around 20 minutes.

The unique solution is a result of a competition that Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration launched in 2010. Batteries are expected to become considerably more efficient and less expensive in the next few years, which tip the scales further away from diesel as the most popular fuel source.

The first electric car and passenger ferry in the world, equipped by Siemens in cooperation with shipbuilder Fjellstrand, has been taken into operation. With three battery packs, one on board and one at each pier, it functions completely emission free.

With its 80 meter length and 20 meters width, the ferry transports up to 120 cars and 360 passengers. It is made exclusively of light aluminum rather than the steel normally used in shipbuilding. This makes Ampere only half as heavy as a conventional ferry.

The batteries are charged from hydro power. This battery pack onboard, like the ones on each pier, corresponds to the effect of 1600 standard car batteries. The charging at each peer takes only ten minutes.

The ship’s genset, switchboard, propulsion and thruster control systems are fully integrated to ensure seamless ship operation.

Charging stations are housed in small buildings about the size of newsstands.

The charging system from Siemens includes a battery system, a variable frequency drive, transformers for onshore electricity and high-voltage systems, as well as software and signal system for the charging system. In addition, the compony delivered a radio link system that will steer the flow of signals between the ferry and its charging stations.

The 260-kWh battery units supply electricity to the ferry while it waits. Afterward, the battery slowly recoups all of this energy from the grid until the ship comes back again to drop off passengers and recharge.

Siemens put up charging stations with lithium-ion batteries which are charged from renewable energy, namely hydro power. With the change to battery, ship owner Norled is reducing the cost of fuel by up to 60 percent.


China Looks to Brazil for Increased Investment

By MarEx 2015-05-19 15:07:47

Brazil and China are engaging in talks this week to increase trade cooperation between the two nations and expand Brazil’s infrastructure network.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held a joint press conference in which the countries announced over $53 billion in trade, finance and investment deals with China. The money will largely help Brazil upgrade its dilapidated infrastructure networks to facilitate increased commerce.

Chinese companies are increasingly looking abroad for new opportunities to invest as China’s economy slows. “China wants to get involved in Brazil’s large plans to build freight railroads, electricity and telecommunications networks,” wrote the Chinese premier, who arrived on Monday night before beginning his official round of meetings on Tuesday.

Rousseff, who has been forced to cut spending on public works to put government finances in order, is preparing a package of concessions to attract private investors to build or modernize Brazil’s railways, roads, ports and airports. It will be announced in early June.

The two countries also agreed to start feasibility studies on a railroad that will cross the Andes and link Brazil’s Atlantic coast to Pacific ports in Peru, allowing Brazilian exports to China to avoid the Panama Canal.

The news comes the same day that China Ocean Shipping Companies (COSCO) and Brazilian miner Vale completed a $445 million sale of four VLOCs and announced an agreement to sell an additional four other ore carriers to China Merchant Shipping Co.

The world’s largest mining company has been forced to raise cash in the midst of an iron ore price slump. The 400,000-dwt vessels are some of the largest ships ever built and were designed to help reduce the cost of shipping ore to China from Brazil, helping Vale better compete with Australian rivals who are closer to the largest market for the steelmaking ingredient.

Last year alone Chinese banks lent over $22 billion to Latin America up 71% from 2013. Additionally China’s President Xi Jinping has committed to investing over $250 billion into Latin America over the next decade. China is looking overwhelming to Latin American countries to provide iron ore, soybean and food product imports to the Chinese market.


‘Old Ironsides’ Arrives in Dry Dock

By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-19 12:25:00

The world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat has been moved to dry dock this week to begin a planned three year restoration project.

The USS Constitution was moved into Dry Dock 1 at the historic Charleston Navy Yard after two hours of flooding Sunday. On Monday evening, Navy divers declared the vessel safe to move and by around 11:30pm the ship was safely in dry dock. Water was then pumped out of the dry dock at a rate of about three feet an hour well into Tuesday morning. The movement of ‘Old Ironisides’ marks the beginning of a three year multi-million dollar restoration project that is aimed at preserving this important piece of maritime and U.S. history for future generations.

Commander Sean Kearns commented on the project by saying, “We’re now positioned to carry out the restoration work which will return Constitution to the water, preserving her for the next generation of Americans to enjoy and learn about our nation’s great naval heritage.”

The USS Constitution was first launched in 1797 and is one of the original six ships that George Washington ordered constructed to protect the fledgling country’s maritime interests. Constitution’s crowning achievement came, however, in the war of 1812 when the ship defeated four British frigates earning her the nickname “old ironsides” because cannonballs could not penetrate her thick hull. Since 1907 the ship has been on display for the public.

According to Naval History and Heritage Command Director Sam Cox, the USS Constitution still carries on an important mission by bringing awareness to the importance of maritime and naval history. “Her mission today is to preserve and promote U.S. Navy heritage by sharing the history of ‘Old Ironsides’ and the stories of the men and women who have faithfully served with distinction on the warship’s decks for 217 years. When a visitor sets foot on the deck of USS Constitution, he or she is making contact with the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, a navy that has kept the sea lanes free for more than 200 years. Keeping her ready to do so is incredibly important,” said Cox.

The Constitution was last dry docked in 1992 for a multi-year series of renovations made in preparation for the ship’s bi-centennial. The current renovation will consist of replacing planking in the lower hull, repairing the ship’s rigging and upper masts and replacing the copper sheathing on the vessel’s hull. For this last repair over 3,400 sheets of copper protecting the ship’s hull below the waterline will be replaced in order to keep worms and sea life from attaching to the vessel’s underside.

The work is extremely sensitive and requires extensive knowledge of 18 century shipbuilding techniques as well as specially crafted tools. It is being undertaken by the Naval History and Maintenance Department in Boston. Richard Moore Boston’s detachment director explained that the work onboard the Constitution required specialized talents. “We do work with modern tools but we still use some of the old methods; the hull planks are still pinned through the deck but we use hydraulics and pneumatics to pull them out.”

However, despite the difficult undertaking they have been tasked with Moore notes the enthusiasm and pride his team feels for the job. “They realize the undertaking they’re on. They’re all proud to work on this vessel, they take such great care and their workmanship is great. I’m very proud to work here and so are they.”

Restoration work on ‘Old Ironsides’ was originally slated to begin in late March, but was pushed back to May due to harsh winter weather conditions. The USS Constitution will reopen for tours beginning June 9 and visitors will have the opportunity see the active shipyard site and learn about the repair process from the ship’s crew.


Thailand canal deal with China denied

Thailand has denied reports that a deal has been signed with China to build a canal across the south of the country allowing ships to bypass the Malacca Straits.
“It’s nothing to do with the government,” Chula Sukmanop, Director-General of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning told IHS Maritime on 19 May. “It

People Smugglers Dodge Kidnapping Charges

By Reuters 2015-05-19 10:24:27

Two smugglers arrested over the deaths of hundreds drowned in the Mediterranean’s most deadly shipwreck in decades will not be charged with kidnapping because assertions migrants had been locked below deck had proved wrong, an Italian prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The two face homicide charges over the sinking of the 20-meter fishing boat last month that killed some 800 migrants and raised international alarm about attempts by thousands to flee across the Mediterranean in often ramshackle boats from Libya.

In initial testimony, one survivor had told prosecutors the doors to the lower deck had been blocked; but Italian prosecutor Giovanni Salvi said further testimony and underwater video of the shipwreck showed that was not true.

“Many people were below deck, but they weren’t locked in,” Salvi told reporters at the Catania, Italy, courthouse.

Charges of kidnapping would therefore no longer be pressed against the captain, a Tunisian, and the Syrian crew member.

The Catania court on Monday confirmed the arrest of the two smugglers, who survivors said had been in charge of navigation, on charges of multiple homicide and people smuggling.

Prosecutors accuse the men of mishandling the boat and causing it to collide with a Portuguese merchant ship – the “King Jacob” – which was coming to its assistance.

As the passengers rushed away from the side of the boat that struck the merchant ship, the grossly overloaded vessel capsized and sank within minutes. Salvi said the King Jacob had been “cleared of any responsibility” for the disaster.

Video shot by an Italian navy submersible showed that many bodies remain inside the vessel, sources have told Reuters; but Salvi said on Tuesday he has no reason to request recovery of the vessel, which has been located in 375 meters (1,235 feet) of water some 135 km (85 miles) north of Libya.

Italy recovered the bodies of hundreds of migrants who drowned in October 2013 off the island of Lampedusa, but that was a much simpler operation because the shipwreck was in 30 meters of water and only 2 km from the coast.

Since the court will not order the recovery, it will be up to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to decide whether to undertake what would be an expensive and difficult operation. Earlier this month, Renzi said he would do all he could to recover the bodies.

Of the 24 bodies that have been recovered, only two have been identified, and the court has the probable names of two others. Twenty-eight, including the two alleged smugglers, survived.


Savannah scores record month

Box volumes in April at the Port of Savannah increased by 25.8% year on year to 335,337 teu: a new monthly record for America’s fourth-largest container port.
Savannah’s previous monthly record of 333,058 teu was recorded in March.
Georgia Port Authority (GPA) executive director Curtis Foltz