Thai Naval Commander Charged over Human Trafficking

By MarEx 2015-09-21 23:44:37

Police in southern Thailand have obtained warrants for the arrest of four Thai military officers on charges related to human trafficking.

Among them, naval commander Kampanart Sangtonggeen has been accused of accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to the smuggling of Rohingya people along Thailand’s western Andaman coast.

Local media reports that the four leaders are said to have deliberately avoided intercepting migrant vessels in return for money given to them by traffickers.

The Thai government cracked down on the smuggling trade in May after finding over 30 corpses in a hidden camp.

Later that month, many trafficking boats were trapped at sea and unable to land, causing a massive humanitarian crisis, that eventually led to Malaysia and Indonesia accepting the Rohingya on board as refugees.

There are now 150 warrants of arrest issued by the courts on people accused of being involved in human trafficking cases in Thailand. So far, around 90 people have been detained or have surrendered to police. Those arrested since the clampdown include police officers and local officials.


Ballast Water Treatment System Museum Pieces

By Wendy Laursen 2015-09-21 20:27:53

The debate about whether UV-based ballast water treatment systems will meet U.S. type approval requirements continues with some in the industry still believing that shipowners should not to install equipment until they are forced to.

UV systems face a potential problem because of the different wording used in the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) type approval regulations.

One of the key problems continuing to plague the industry, as noted in BIMCO’s official position on ballast water management, is that while the numerical values of the discharge standards in the U.S. are identical to those of the IMO convention, the qualitative criteria are different. IMO sets limits for organisms that are viable whereas the U.S. sets limits for organisms that are living.

This inconsistency remains to be addressed by the U.S. authorities, including also the California State Lands Commission which is developing state-based protocols.

It seems the science behind detecting the difference between viable and non-viable living organisms is challenging. When asked about the issue at a recent maritime conference, Allegra Cangelosi, a senior policy analyst for the Great Ships Initiative at the Northeast-Midwest Institute in the U.S., said: “we are not aware of a reliable method to detect viability.”

Mark Kustermans, Market Manager for manufacturer Trojan Marinex, has this to say: “Frankly, we are neither surprised nor concerned about the recent comments regarding the viable versus live discussion. The USCG has repeatedly clarified its stance on the general acceptability of UV technologies, and in a recent response to the IMO G8 Correspondence group, the USCG has reiterated that provisions exists within its type approval regulations for the approval of alternative methods that can show equivalency.

“Our USCG type approval application (submitted in March of this year) and concurrent request for an alternative method is part of this process. Our continued dialogue with the USCG regarding our type approval submission, coupled with the fact that only UV-based ballast water treatment manufacturers, of which there are three including Trojan Marinex, have submitted a USCG type approval application lends support to the USCG’s public statement that USCG type approved systems are expected to be made available to the market by the end of this year.

“Being the first ballast water treatment manufacturer in the world to have submitted for USCG Type Approval, we fully expect to receive USCG type approval in the near future.”

Museum Pieces

The discrepancies between the IMO convention, now under consideration for more than 10 years, and U.S. regulations are causing some vessels, fitted early with treatment systems, to now be carrying around first generation ballast water treatment “museum pieces.” Often these systems, installed by shipowners hoping to be environmental leaders, have been tested once and then never used again, and they are likely to need re-piping work, and possibly a new filter, before they are suitable for operation once the regulations enters into force.

Trojan Marinex, partnered with GEA to bring their system to the market, has issued some words of caution. Global compliance is the obvious goal for shipowners purchasing a treatment system, but with IMO ratification on the horizon and a large group of system manufacturers still seeking USCG type approval, they are in an unenviable position of proceeding with an investment that may not meet their longer-term needs, says the company.

Vessels sailing in U.S. waters will be required to adhere with USCG ballast water discharge standards and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP), in addition to state ballast water regulations. As a temporary measure, the USCG is accepting the use of Alternate Management System (AMS) that are typed approved by other countries on the basis of the existing IMO guidelines (G8).

However, vessel owners understand that AMS is merely an interim solution and their vessels will ultimately have to be equipped with a USCG type approved system if they’re bound for ports in the U.S.

AMS designation does not provide the manufacturer or the vessel owner any guarantee that the system will eventually qualify for USCG type approval. The specific risk to a vessel owner relying merely on an AMS system is that the system could need expensive modification or complete replacement should it not ultimately be type approved by the USCG.

Therefore, GEA and Trojan Marinex recommends that vessel owners should carefully assess a ballast water treatment supplier’s ability to achieve USCG type approval, question any proclaimed guarantees, and take action with shipyards by providing minimum specification requirements to ensure longer-term interests are considered and risks mitigated.

The Type Approval Process

Achieving USCG type approval is not an easy task, and can take two to three years of considerable effort and investment by the supplier, with no guarantee of full certification.

Knowingly subjecting customers to each iteration of product development is not innovation, it is experimentation that wastes vessel owner’s time and money, says GEA and Trojan Marinex.

Trojan Marinex claims it has executed a comprehensive strategy to protect owners from this risk by:

• Testing in accordance with the USEPA Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Ballast Water Protocol. The ETV Ballast Water Protocol is a key testing requirement for systems to obtain USCG Type Approval. Its testing methods are more rigorous, highly prescriptive and consistent, compared to IMO G8 guidelines.

• Tested at USCG-approved facilities. The USCG requires that Type Approval testing be completed with a certified Independent Laboratory. This ensures that testing is completed in an accurate and unbiased manner, to the highest of standards.

• Tested under poor water quality conditions, among the lowest UV transmittances in the industry. Many existing IMO Type Approved systems have been tested in higher clarity water (high UV transmittance). It is expected that these systems will not be able to treat lower clarity waters than to what they have been tested to under USCG regulations. The UV transmission value will be noted on the type approval certificate, significantly limiting the applicability of the system in poorer water qualities.

• Tested under high flow conditions. Many existing IMO type approved systems have only been tested at relatively low flow rates (e.g. less than 250 m3/h), and empirical models and simulations were used in an effort to show performance at higher flow rates. While many systems have been tested at higher flows in shipboard applications, it is critical that land-based testing be conducted on these systems too, says GEA and Trojan Marinex.

• Tested in fresh water, brackish water and marine water. Salinity in ports and harbors around the world vary significantly, therefore it is necessary to test in all salinities, including fresh water. System suppliers that test in only two salinities may obtain USCG type approval, however, similar to issued AMS certificates, these systems will only be permitted to operate in water salinities that were tested and approved. If a system has not been tested in fresh water, it will not be permitted to ballast in fresh water.

The USCG updated its list of manufacturers that have signaled their intent to obtain type approval. There are now 30 on the list (below).

Stricter Regulations on the Way

Many in the industry believe that the conditions for entry into force of the IMO convention will be met this year. The USCG is looking further in the future already and is bound by law to review the practicability of implementing a more stringent ballast water discharge standard and publish the review results no later than January 1, 2016.

Manufacturers that have lodged a type approval letter of intent to the USCG:

Alfa Lava PureBallast


COSCO (Weihai) Shipbuilding Marine Technology

Coldharbour Marine

Cyeco Environmental Technology

Desmi Ocean Guard



Elite Marine Ballast Water Treatment System

ERMA First Esk Engineering Solutions

Evoqua Water Technologies

Hyde Marine

JFE Engineering

KSB Aktiengesellschaft


NK Company

NEI Treatment Systems




Samsung Heavy Industries


Severn Trent DeNora

Sunrui Marine Environmental Engineering

Techcross ECS Hychlor

Techcross Electro-Cleen

Trojan Marinex

Wärtsilä Water Systems

Wuxi Brightsky Electronic


Container Shipping Cuts CO2 Emissions

By MarEx 2015-09-21 19:47:05

2015 annual reporting from BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group indicates that average CO2 emissions per container per kilometer for global ocean transportation routes have declined by 8.4 percent from 2013 to 2014 and by more than 29 percent since 2009.

BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world.

The 2015 annual report provides an update on progress of BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG), now in its 12th year, and the annual disclosure of CO2 emissions factors for ocean container transport collected from 3,000 vessels.

JOC reports that the 2014 global fleet-wide average of grams of CO2 emissions per TEU carried per kilometer traveled was 53.4. “As carriers introduce into their fleets ever larger container ships with capacities that now exceed 20,000 TEUs, the newest, largest greenest ships are entered into the Asia-North Europe trades, where they replace slightly smaller, slightly older ships to other major east-west trade lanes. Therefore, by far the lowest average CO2 emissions were on the Asia-North Europe trade lane, at 37.9 grams.” The highest emissions were recorded in the intra-Europe trades at 84.

Maersk Better than Average

Maersk Line is performing better than CCWG average on almost all trades, and globally Maersk Line has more than a 10 percent advantage over the global CCWG industry average, says the company. In comparison with last year’s numbers, Maersk Line’s CO2 average across all trade lanes has improved 32 percent in the previous three years.

More than 40 global customers and container carriers are part of the CCWG (representing 80 percent of all global container shipments) and are dedicated to accelerating sustainability improvements in the container shipping industry. They do this by developing aligned environmental standards, tools and comparable performance data, enabling customers to benchmark environmental performance and integrate environmental performance indicators into procurement decisions.

A particular strength of the CCWG is to collect and report CO2 emission performance data not only on a global level, but also more granularly for a set of standardized trade lanes, e.g. Asia to the West Coast of North America. Furthermore the submitted data is verified independently to secure high data quality.

Several Maersk Line customers have an ambition to grow their business in a responsible way, and the independent verified data from CCWG allows customers to integrate CO2 data into their supplier selection together with other sustainability parameters without worrying about data quality.

Customers interested in CO2 partnerships include Tetra Pak, DB Schenker and BMW, all of which have signed Carbon Pacts with Maersk Line, show mutual commitments to improve the sustainability performance of their ocean transportation.

Environmental Performance Data

Every year, CCWG carriers report vessel-specific environmental performance data to BSR through a standard template and based on the CCWG CO2 methodology. BSR provides the aggregated data to shipping customers with individualized carrier scorecards.

Environmental performance expectations, from customers, regulators, and consumers, continue to escalate, says the organization. However, standardized data and forums that can help companies remain ahead of trends and regulation are few and far between.

“While changes in carrier representation or global trade conditions likely explain a portion of these results, the continued performance improvement is also attributable to carrier fleet efficiency and data quality, both of which have direct benefits for shipping customers,” said BSR.

In the past two years, CCWG has engaged with priority industry groups, published a report on its methodology, facilitated sharing of best practices among members and moved to an online reporting system.


Arctic Cruise Ship First for France

By MarEx 2015-09-21 18:41:22

France’s Ponant cruise company has completed a first in the history of navigation, as two of its sister ships, Le Boréal and Le Soléal, have just crossed the Northwest Passage from Greenland in the east to Siberia in the west.

The two ships crossed the passage three days apart travelling via the Bellot Strait. The vessels’ captains were Etienne Garcia and Patrick Marchesseau on Le Boréal and Le Soléal respectively.

This latest achievement is the culmination of more than 15 years’ experience sailing in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, says the company. “It is with great pride that we announce this crossing under the French flag, unique in international maritime history,” says Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Chief Executive Officer of Ponant.

In 2013, Le Soléal became the first French commercial shipping vessel to traverse the Northwest Passage. The vessel left Kangerlussuaq in Greenland on August 26 and arrived in Anadyr, in Russia on September 16.

Designed to sail in extreme regions, each vessel has 132 staterooms and suites and have obtained the international “CLEANSHIP” label (Bureau Veritas) for their innovative green equipment.

Along the voyage through the narrow channels and shifting glaciers of this little known region, passengers explored landmarks such as Canada’s Beechey Island of Franklin expedition fame, Gjoa Haven where Amundsen anchored his ship over a century ago and Cape Bathurst.

They also saw hundreds of belugas, around 60 bears and nearly 500 narwhals. Another highlight for passengers was meeting French adventurer Charles Hedrich, the first man to cross the Northwest Passage solo in a rowing boat.


Baltic Windfarm Opens

By MarEx 2015-09-21 16:47:40

The largest offshore windfarm for Germany is now operational and providing power to more than 340,000 households. The 288 megawatt “Baltic 2” windfarm is owned by German utility company EnBW and was constructed in a joint venture with Hochtief Solutions, GeoSea and Nordsee Naßbagge. The Germans invested more than $1 billion into the project.

Construction of the Baltic 2, which was previously named “Kriegers Flak,” began in 2013 and features 80 wind turbines, each rated at 3.6 megawatts and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 900,000 tons.

The Baltic 2 is Germany’s second offshore wind farm and is about six times larger than Baltic 1, which is also located in the Baltic Sea.

GeoSea is a member of the Belgian dredging, marine engineering and environmental group DEME. Hochtief Soulutions is a German construction company and Nordsee Naßbagger is a German civil engineering company. Germany hopes to power 10 million households with clean energy by 2017. Baltic 2 is expected to have a life cycle of about 20 years.