Hyundai Heavy Sets ‘Unprecedented’ 2,000 Ship Record

By MarEx 2015-05-26 10:12:52

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has broken a new record this week with the announcement of the delivery of its 2000th ship, the Ocean Blacklion.

The world’s largest shipbuilding company, headquartered in Ulsan South Korea, delivered the Ocean Blacklion drillship to Diamond Offshore at the Ulsan Shipyard on Friday, hitting the 2000th vessel milestone.

Mr. Choi Kil-seon, chairman & CEO of HHI said, “Today, we wrote a new chapter in the global shipbuilding history by delivering the 2,000th ship.” In a statement given to Korean news agencies yesterday Kil-seon called the accomplishment ‘unprecedented’ citing that companies in Europe and Japan with longer-established histories have yet to hit this milestone.

HHI built its first ship, a 266,000-ton VLCC, in the Mipo Bay Shipyard near Seoul in 1974 and completed a second vessel of the same size within a two year period. In 2002 the company was the first in the global shipbuilding industry to hit the 1,000 ship delivery milestone and HHI was also the first to achieve a 100 million gross ton ship production record in 2012.

The gross tonnage of the 2,000 ships HHI built amounts to 126 million, twice the gross tonnage of total ships built last year worldwide. The top four most-delivered ships of HHI are containerships (583), bulk carriers (357), tankers (232) and VLCCs (147). Country-wise, Greek ordered the most ships of 254 followed by Germany with 238, Japan with 120 and Denmark with 101.

Speaking about the company’s continued path in the industry Kil-seon further commented, “as we have been over the past four decades, we will continue to stand firm as the global leader in the shipbuilding industry with tireless innovation and shipbuilding method improvement for the coming decades.”


USCG Assists Freezing Arctic Activist

By MarEx 2015-05-26 09:29:31

Coast Guard personnel assisted in the removal of an activist who secured herself to the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger in Bellingham, Wash., Monday morning.

Chiara D’Angelo requested Coast Guard assistance down from the vessel’s anchor chain at approximately 9:30 a.m. and was transported to Coast Guard Station Bellingham.

Coast Guard personnel transported her in good condition to Station Bellingham where she was met by EMS and the Bellingham Police Department. Fuller was issued a summons and released in good condition.

The Coast Guard did not cite any vessels for violating the safety zone overnight.

“It was cold, rainy and she was starting to display signs of hypothermia,” said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Chavtur, commanding officer of Station Bellingham. “Boatcrew members were able to safely assist her down from the chain and gave her blankets and water. We brought her back to the station where she was evaluated by EMS and released to her family and friends.”

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment Rights of people to safely and lawfully assemble on the water and is committed to enforcing the laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public.

Violation of the safety zone can result in possible civil or criminal penalties. Whether intentional or unintentional, interference with these vessels has the potential to result serious injury, death or pollution in the highly sensitive ecosystem of Puget Sound.


Paris MOU Will Target Enclosed Spaces

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-26 20:39:40

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) held its 48th Committee meeting in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands, last week, confirming the subject of its 2015 Concentrated Inspection Campaign.

High importance was given to the Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CICs) at the meeting, and jointly with the Tokyo MoU a CIC on crew familiarization for enclosed space entry is scheduled from September to November this year.

In January 2015 enclosed space entry drills and training every two months became mandatory under amendments to SOLAS.

Change Needed

More people die or are injured in enclosed spaces than through any other related onboard work activity, said David Patraiko, The Nautical Institute’s Director of Projects at an education session back in 2013. The largest problem is with spaces which are not perceived as dangerous – anchor lockers and deck stores which may suffer from oxygen depletion, for example. The issue persists despite numerous guidelines, safety regimes, operational procedures manuals and assurance surveys. If this is to change, there are four major areas which need to be tackled, states The Nautical Institute:

Culture: Safety culture needs to be implemented at all levels, starting from the top. Adopting a shipboard enclosed space management plan based on onboard audits is a good new initiative. Procedures for Permits to Work need to be addressed.

Design: Shipboard design and operation should minimize the need to go into enclosed spaces in the first place; escape possibilities should be designed in.

Equipment: In many cases, crews are expected to use equipment that is not fit for purpose, or that is complex to use. In particular, firefighting equipment is not suitable for evacuating casualties from enclosed spaces.

Training and Drills: Good, frequent training is needed. This is a human element issue; only by working with the human element can it be solved.

Accidents Continue

Reports of enclosed spaces incidents are freely available in the database of the Institute’s Mariners’ Alerting and Reporting Scheme (MARS). Type enclosed spaces into the keyword box.

In a recent enclosed space accident, four people were found unconscious in the cargo hold of a general cargo ship in Hanstholm, Denmark, in April. One man died, and the others were hospitalized as a result of wood pellet cargo handling operations on the 7,500dwt ship Corina arriving from Poland. The men are believed to have been affected by the low oxygen atmosphere possibly caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide in the enclosed space of the cargo hold.

In a separate accident earlier that month, three men died after entering the cargo hold of a ship in the Port of Antwerp. In this instance the cargo had been coal.

CIC for 2016

The Paris MOU committee also decided that, after the entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC2006) in 2013, a CIC will be carried out in 2016 to verify compliance with the convention. The questionnaire and guidelines for this CIC have been completed and adopted.

Secretary General Richard Schiferli expressed the view of the committee that the decision demonstrates the importance to the Paris MoU of decent working and living conditions on board ships, and its commitment to ensuring that seafarers’ rights are respected.

2014 CIC

The report of the CIC on STCW hours of rest, carried out in September to November of 2014, was presented at the Paris MOU meeting with the committee expressing concern that during the CIC, which was publicized in advance, 912 deficiencies were recorded related specifically to STCW hours of rest and that 16 ships were detained as a result of the CIC.


China Talks of “Open Seas Protection”

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-26 20:06:12

China outlined a defense strategy on Tuesday that aims to boost naval capability farther from its shores, saying it faced a grave and complex array of security threats including in the disputed South China Sea.

In a policy document issued by the State Council, the Communist-ruled country’s cabinet, it vowed to continue growing its “open seas protection” and criticized neighbors who take “provocative actions” on its reefs and islands.

“In line with the strategic requirement of offshore waters defense and open seas protection, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will gradually shift its focus from “offshore waters defense” to the combination of “offshore waters defense” with “open seas protection,” and build a combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure. The PLAN will enhance its capabilities for strategic deterrence and counterattack, maritime maneuvers, joint operations at sea, comprehensive defense and comprehensive support.”

Seas and oceans bear on the enduring peace, lasting stability and sustainable development of China, so the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, says the paper. Great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.

Attack and Counterattack

In upholding the continued strategic concept of active defense, the document states: “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.”

It continues: “A holistic approach will be taken to balance war preparation and war prevention, rights protection and stability maintenance, deterrence and warfighting, and operations in wartime and employment of military forces in peacetime.”

Integrated combat forces will be employed to prevail in system-vs-system operations featuring information dominance, precision strikes and joint operations.

The document says China’s air force would shift its focus from territorial air defense to both offence and defense, and will build airspace defenses with stronger military capabilities.

The People’s Liberation Army’s nuclear force, known as the Second Artillery Corps, will also strengthen its capabilities for deterrence and nuclear counterattack as well as medium- and long-range precision strikes, the paper said.

A Message of Peace

The document also states China’s commitment to peace: “The Chinese people aspire to join hands with the rest of the world to maintain peace, pursue development and share prosperity.

“China’s destiny is vitally interrelated with that of the world as a whole. A prosperous and stable world would provide China with opportunities, while China’s peaceful development also offers an opportunity for the whole world. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, oppose hegemonism and power politics in all forms, and will never seek hegemony or expansion. China’s armed forces will remain a staunch force in maintaining world peace.”

Russia and the U.S.

China’s armed forces will further their exchanges and cooperation with the Russian military within the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia, and foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations in more fields and at more levels.

Additionally, China’s armed forces will continue to foster a new model of military relationship with the U.S. armed forces that conforms to the new model of major-country relations between the two countries. They will strengthen defense dialogues, exchanges and cooperation, and improve confidence-building measures through the notification of major military activities as well as the rules of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters, so as to strengthen mutual trust, prevent risks and manage crises.

A Continued Focus on the South China Sea

The document comes as tensions rise over China’s increasingly assertive posture in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has engaged in land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago.

China, which claims most of the South China Sea, criticized Washington after a U.S. spy plane flew over areas near the reefs last week, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability in the region.

Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said in a briefing on Tuesday China’s reclamation activities in the Spratly archipelago were comparable with construction of homes and roads on its mainland.

“From the perspective of sovereignty, there is absolutely no difference,” he said.

He said some countries with “ulterior motives” had unfairly characterized China’s military presence and sensationalized the issue. Surveillance activities in the region were increasingly common, and China would continue to take “necessary measures” to respond, Yang said.

“Some external countries are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs; a tiny few maintain constant close-in air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China,” the strategy paper said in a thinly veiled reference to the United States.

The paper indicates that the PLAN will continue to organize and perform regular combat readiness patrols and maintain a military presence in relevant sea areas.

The report can be found here.


Politicians Push Importance of Merchant Mariner Bill

By MarEx 2015-05-26 11:14:45

Two U.S. representatives, Janice Hahn (D- Calif.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), emphasized the importance of a House bill to recognize U.S. Merchant Mariners over 70 years after their service in World War II during National Maritime Day Speeches on the East and West Coast.

The Honoring Our WWII Merchant Mariners Act of 2015 was introduced earlier this year by Hahn and Hunter and seeks to award a $25,000 one-time payment to merchant mariners of World War II. Currently, only about five thousand Merchant Mariners who served in the war are still alive.

Duncan Hunter, speaking at a Maritime Day event in Washington DC stated that, “the legislation would provide “well-deserved recognition for these heroic mariners who fought so valiantly for our country.”

Similarly, Hahn speaking to an audience at the San Pedro Merchant Mariners Veterans Memorial said “The first Maritime Day honoring our merchant mariners was held in 1970. Before that, despite their courage and service, and despite suffering higher casualty rates during World War II than other branches of our military, merchant mariners were excluded from celebrations of Veterans Day and Memorial Day.”

During World War II over 200,000 Americans served in the Merchant Marine. The Merchant Marine also had higher casualty rates than any branch of the armed service with the exception of the Marines. However, merchant mariners were denied any veteran benefits or status until 1988 when a federal court mandated recognition for the U.S. seamen.

Hahn has introduced HR 563, “Honoring Our World War II Merchant Mariners Act of 2015,” to provide the payment to surviving World War II merchant mariners. More than 6,000 merchant mariners died in service during World War II and time is running out to commemorate the accomplishments of the remaining Merchant Marine veterans.


225 Years of Service: Ice Operations

By MarEx 2015-05-26 23:07:35

by David Rosen, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Historian

On April 14, 1912, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic, resulting in the loss of 1,517 lives.

In response to the disaster, the first Safety of Life at Sea Convention was held in London the following year. In March 1913, Coast Guard Cutter Seneca was assigned to the first International Ice Patrol, or IIP.

Each year since, a patrol has been maintained. No further vessels have been sunk by icebergs in the area, a tribute to the diligence of the IIP watchstanders.

Captain-Commandant Ellsworth Bertholf was keen to assume this responsibility to forestall a proposed dissolution of the Revenue Service as part of a budget cutback. He re-defined the service by adding the Ice Patrol.

In 1915, Bertholf and Sumner Kimball merged the military Revenue Service with the civilian Lifesaving Service into the modern-day Coast Guard. Bertholf stressed the unique combination of peacetime functions and war preparedness of the Coast Guard, convincing both Congress and the White House of its critical role.

By the early 1920s, it became apparent that Coast Guard officers with professional training were needed to perform ice patrol duties. The Coast Guard therefore established an oceanographic unit at Harvard University to conduct research for the IIP from 1923 to 1931, it was headed by Edward “Iceberg” Smith, who regularized the ice patrol’s tracking of the movements of icebergs. He also initiated a method of iceberg forecasting the number of bergs annually drifting south of Newfoundland.

During the summer of 1928, Smith assumed command of the Coast Guard Cutter Marion, a 125-foot vessel built for offshore-patrol duty. He went to western Greenland to apply his surveying methods to the birthplace of icebergs.

The Marion Expedition was one of the most comprehensive oceanographic studies made by the United States. It departed Boston for Davis Strait and Baffin Bay in July. The 73-day cruise to the Arctic covered 8,100 miles, during which Smith and his team of scientists surveyed an area of nearly half a million square miles between Greenland and Canada. The crew made more than 1,900 recordings of water temperature and salinity at 190 observation stations.

Throughout the 1950’s, IIP gained more confidence in the aerial reconnaissance and the surface patrols became limited to the severe years. While the aircraft began to bear the load of the reconnaissance operations, the ships focused on obtaining ocean and current data.

Today, the IIP monitors the iceberg danger area by physically patrolling the area with Coast Guard aircraft and by receiving reports from commercial aircraft and vessels. All iceberg observations are fed into a computer, which produces a drift and deterioration model using weather and current data. Watchstanders use the model to produce a daily iceberg warning chart which is broadcasted twice daily to the maritime community outlining the iceberg warning area.

Domestic Icebreaking Operations

For the Revenue Cutter Service, ice breaking primarily began as a means to support traditional missions that were impossible in the winter without preparations for ice.

With the advent of steam propulsion in the 1830s and the purchase of Alaska in 1867, ice breaking became a seasonal mission of the Revenue Cutter Service. Early vessels, including Cutters Thetis and Bear, had reinforced hulls which made them ice resistant, but it was not until the early 1900s that cutters were built primarily for ice breaking operations.

By the 1920s, the Coast Guard had become fully committed to ice breaking operations with the original intent of the Revenue Cutter Service – to utilize ice breaking primarily in Alaska and in support of other traditional missions.

On December 21, 1936, domestic ice breaking became a major mission for the service. The Coast Guard was given the first statutory authorization for icebreaking operations – signifying the importance of keeping ports and waterways open for vital economic resources along the Great Lakes and New England coast. Icebreaking operations have evolved from a means to complete primary missions to one of the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions.

From 1936 to 1941, the Coast Guard initiated an intensive, comprehensive study into icebreaker technology. Rear Admiral Edward Thiele spearheaded the research, studying the Swedish icebreaker Ymer – commonly considered one of the best icebreakers of the time.

Over the next few decades, the Coast Guard introduced many more classes of cutters with icebreaking characteristics – the 180-foot Balsam Class buoy tenders followed by the 110-foot Appalache class cutters.

Eventually came the commissioning of 15 65-foot icebreaking harbor tugs in the 1960’s and nine 140-foot Bay Class cutters in the 1980’s, many of which still serve the U.S. nation.

Today, the Coast Guard conducts icebreaking operations during the winter months in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions. Operation Renewable Energy for Northeast Winters, is a region-wide effort to ensure Northeast communities have the security, supplies, energy, and emergency resources (i.e. home heating oil) they need throughout the winter.

The operation utilizes 225-foot Juniper class buoy tenders, 140-foot Bay class icebreakers and 65-foot harbor tugs to ensure the safe navigation of commercial vessels supplying goods to ports throughout the Northeast. During the 2013 to 2014 icebreaking season, U.S. icebreakers facilitated the safe passage of 20 billion barrels of petro chemical, valued at $3.3 billion.

In the Great Lakes, the Coast Guard conducts ice operations jointly with Canada.

Using a system approach, both U.S. and Canadian-flagged icebreakers facilitate commerce through ice impeded waterways to support both inter-lake and intra-lake trade to both U.S. and Canadian ports. Operation’s Taconite and Coal Shovel assist commercial vessel transits in the connecting waterways of the Great Lakes by utilizing one 240-foot Icebreaking buoy tender, six 140-foot Bay class icebreakers and the Canadian Coast Guard ships Samuel Risley and Griffon.

Both the U.S and Canadians work jointly to facilitate nearly 200 commercial vessel transits with an estimated $4.5 billion worth of cargo each winter season.