Underwater Drone To Help Divers in Distress

By MarEx 2015-07-27 20:51:56

CADDY is an underwater drone and floating satellite designed to understand the body language of a scuba divers in distress.

The Cognitive Autonomous Diving Buddy, from where the acronym originates, is an EU-funded project currently being tested to ensure it is smart enough to be used by divers who scan the seabed alone.

“When you consider that half of diving accidents involve unaccompanied scuba-divers, CADDY will surely revolutionize the underwater experience,” said Professor Salih Murat Egi, coordinator of the project for DAN Europe, an international non-profit medical and research organization dedicated to the health and safety of divers.

As part of the project, DAN is currently involved in the vehicle testing and regulating the maneuvering capabilities of the devices to ensure all equipment used is safe.

“Diver safety is an essential component of the CADDY project and whenever diver safety is involved, DAN steps in. We’re here to represent the diving community and assist to build future technologies that will take diving to the next level,” he added.

CADDY is essentially composed of two robots operating autonomously — one from the surface and another one from the vicinity of the diver. The latter will interpret a scuba-diver’s behavior and is intelligent enough to detect anomalies. Meanwhile, the surface robot navigates the underwater drone and can communicate with the command center in case of emergency.

CADDY has three main functions to ensure a safe and carefree diving experience: guide the diver, continuously monitor his body language and assist his work through automated camera and torch light.

“DAN’s team of experienced researchers is also reviewing a system that generates an automatic diver status report generation system and testing the use of sophisticated acoustical communication technologies that relays the diver cognitive status to the command center” said Egi.

The diving buddy will also be trained to guide a diver from one spot to another on a predefined path so in case of emergency, the diver will be steered to a safe route to the surface or vessel.

CADDY is a collaborative project funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7 (Cognitive Systems & Robotics) and is being implemented over three years with the expertise of Universities and research institutes in Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Austria, UK and Malta. It will be completed by December 2016.


IMO Signs Low Carbon Project Deal

By MarEx 2015-07-27 18:50:10

IMO, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed an agreement to allocate $2 million to a two-year global maritime energy efficiency partnership project which aims to support increased uptake and implementation of energy-efficiency measures for shipping.

The so-called GloMEEP project, formally designated “Transforming the Global Maritime Transport Industry towards a Low Carbon Future through Improved Energy Efficiency,” will focus in particular on building capacity to implement technical and operational measures in developing countries where shipping is increasingly concentrated. The aim is to promote a low-carbon maritime sector, in order to minimize the adverse impacts of shipping emissions on climate change, ocean acidification and local air quality.

A particularly interesting aspect of the project is its expected role in catalyzing an innovative public-private sector partnership within the project framework, through a new Global Industry Alliance (GIA) for maritime energy efficiency. Participation is anticipated from leading private sector companies, including classification societies, shipyards, shipowners, ship operators, marine equipment suppliers, port operators and marine consultancy and management system providers.

IMO will execute this GEF-funded GloMEEP project in partnership with UNDP. Ten IMO Member States have signed up to the GloMEEP project as lead pilot countries: Argentina, China, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Morocco, Panama, Philippines and South Africa. The lead pilot countries will be supported in taking a fast-track approach to pursuing relevant legal, policy and institutional reforms, driving national and regional government action and industry innovation to support the effective implementation of IMO’s energy efficiency requirements.

Besides the GEF financing for GloMEEP, other funds will be mobilized in the form of in-kind and financial donations, to a projected total of some $13.8 million.

A number of events related to the implementation of the GloMEEP project are expected to be held alongside the two-day inaugural Future-Ready Shipping 2015 Conference, the joint IMO-Singapore International Conference on Maritime Technology Transfer and Capacity Building, to be held in Singapore on September 28-29, 2015. The conference will gather maritime leaders to discuss ways forward in encouraging the uptake of energy-efficient ship technologies. It is envisaged that the official launch and commissioning of the GloMEEP project and associated global project task force and inception meetings will be held during and after the conference.

Mandatory technical and operational energy-efficiency measures were adopted by parties to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in July 2011 and they entered into force on January 1, 2013. These regulations make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for certain types of new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships. Since the entry into force of the regulations on energy efficiency for ships in 2013, further work has been undertaken to extend the scope of application of the EEDI to include several additional ship types, to further develop guidelines to support uniform implementation, and to promote technology transfer.

IMO’s third study on greenhouse gas emissions from ships (2014) estimates that international shipping emitted 796 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2012, down from 885 million tonnes in 2007. This represented 2.2 percent of the global emissions of CO2 in 2012, down from 2.8 percent in 2007. However, the study’s “business as usual” scenarios forecast a growth in CO2 emissions for international maritime transport of between 50 percent to 250 percent in the period to 2050, depending on future economic and energy developments.


Busan Port Revamps Trans-Shipment Capacity

By MarEx 2015-07-27 18:34:16

South Korea’s Busan Port aims to handle 13 million TEU of trans-shipment cargo by 2020 ranking it number two in the world.

The Korean Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries together with the Busan Port Authority announces a long-term vision and strategy to develop Busan Port into a global trans-shipment hub port.

In recent years trans-shipment cargo at Busan has grown by 10 percent (average) year-on-year while local cargo has increased by 4.2 percent. In 2014, trans-shipment activities overtook local cargo operations for the first time in the port’s history with trans-shipment accounting for 50.5 percent (9.43 million TEU) up from 31.7 percent in 2000.

Taking a lead from this success, the Korean government and Busan Port Authority (BPA) are implementing concrete plans to consolidate and strengthen Busan’s position as a global trans-shipment hub.

The first step is to integrate container handling activities currently undertaken at North Port and New Port into a single New Port location. This will also include the creation of eight new berths at New Port by 2020 – these will add a further 6.21 million TEU capacity. Added to this, a feasibility study will investigate further expansion to the western container terminal at New Port.

In addition, a feeder terminal for intra-Asian carriers will be created to serve the feeder network within the port.

Meeting the demands for ever-growing container ships, the current program of dredging to a depth of 17m will be completed ahead of schedule in March 2017. Todo Island, currently situated in the port entrance, will be removed by 2019 and the entrance itself will be expanded by the end of 2018.

State-of-the-art, power-efficient container cranes and transfer cranes will be installed in the new facilities and the existing yard tractors will switch from oil power to electricity. This is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 42 percent.

For the efficient transfer of trans-shipment containers, the current multi-purpose terminal sited between the north and south container terminals will be replaced by a yard tractor shuttle road and storage area. The multi-purpose terminal will be relocated elsewhere. A new port-wide ITT platform will control all container movements.

To generate economies of scale and to facilitate these new arrangements, the four existing terminal operators at North Terminal will form a new unified joint venture company with BPA taking a shareholding.

By integrating all container handling at New Port, it gives North Port the opportunity to develop into a new maritime cluster accommodating maritime manufacturing, marinas, cruise terminals and other facilities – this is being progressed.


Installation Work Starts on First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm

By MarEx 2015-07-27 18:23:43

Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind began installing the foundations for North America’s first offshore wind farm on Monday, a milestone the company says could pave the way for an industry long established in Europe but still struggling with opposition in the United States.

The 30-megawatt wind farm, which will include five turbines located three miles (4.8 km) off the coast of the bucolic summer tourist destination of Block Island, will take more than a year to build and is scheduled to produce electricity for the tiny island community and the mainland by the end of next year.

“Our belief is once Block Island is up and running, it will bring offshore wind from theory to reality in the United States and open up opportunities to build larger projects,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind’s CEO.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and environmental organizations toured the offshore construction site in overcast conditions on Monday morning, as vessels hauled the giant steel foundations into place.

Offshore wind projects have been delivering power in Europe since the 1990s, with nearly 2,500 turbines connected to the grid, but they have struggled to gain a foothold in the United States due to worries about cost, the aesthetics of towering wind turbines within view of the coasts and the impact on birds and whales.

A rival project, Cape Wind’s proposed 130-turbine wind farm off Nantucket Sound, for example, was for years expected to be America’s first such project but stalled in part due to a lack of local support. Other offshore wind projects are in limbo off Delaware, New Jersey and New York.

Deepwater’s project fits a different mold, according to Grybowski and the project’s backers, French bank Societe Generale and Ohio-based Key Bank: It was relatively small and therefore easier to finance and is set in a location that has substantial built-in government and local support.

“Rhode Island was very forward-thinking and had designated a specific development area,” said Alexander Krolick, Societe Generale’s energy project finance director for the Americas. SocGen and Key Bank have provided about $300 million for the project, according to Deepwater, which is based in Providence.

Block Island was chosen as a wind power site by the state in 2007 in part as a solution to the island’s own energy woes: Its 1,000 residents have for years relied on costly diesel-fired generators for electricity. Once the wind farm starts up, prices will drop 40 percent, according to a study by the Block Island Utility Task Group.

“We have some of the country’s highest electricity prices,” said David Kane, who retired to the island a few years ago. “This is going to help us a lot.”

Britta Schulte, a German tourist who was visiting Block Island’s Southeast Light House on a bluff overlooking the work site on Monday, said she did not expect the wind turbines to create an eyesore for vacationers.

“It will look fine. It will still be beautiful,” she said. “Besides, I think it is about time America starts catching up with Europe on wind anyway.”


About 90 percent of the wind farm’s power will be shipped to Rhode Island’s mainland via an undersea cable where utility National Grid will buy it for 26 cents/kwh and mix it into the rest of the state’s supply, which generally ranges between 6 and 10 cents/kwh. Although it will account for only one percent of the state’s power supply, the higher cost represents the industry’s biggest challenge.

“Everybody shares the view that we need to make progress to decrease the cost,” said Jerome Deflesselles, Societe Generale’s head of renewable origination for Europe. He said more efficient turbines and cheaper construction methods could help offshore wind compete with traditional power within about five years.

The foundations for Deepwater’s wind turbines were produced in Louisiana and will be fixed with pilings penetrating more than 150 feet (46 m) into the sea floor over the next few months. Deepwater said it had agreed to do the pile driving only when migrating whales are not in the area.

The towers and five Haliade 150 6 MW turbines, produced by Alstom in France, will be installed next summer and fall. Gulf Island Fabrication built the wind farm’s five steel jacket foundations.

Deepwater said if the project is successful, it could pave the way for expansion. It holds a 30-year lease on a parcel in federal waters about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Martha’s Vineyard with room for as many as 250 turbines.

“We are on the cusp of bringing offshore wind from theory to reality in the U.S. We’re incredibly proud of our position at the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” Grybowski said. “We’ve brought together some of the best American and European expertise to build an outstanding project and finance team. We’re poised to launch a new American clean-tech industry, and it all starts here with our work on the Block Island Wind Farm.”


U.S. offshore industry body, NOIA, issued a congratulatory statement by President Randall Luthi:

“NOIA congratulates Deepwater Wind as on-site construction begins on its Block Island Wind Farm offshore Rhode Island. It is gratifying that Deepwater Wind chose NOIA member company Gulf Island Fabrication for the off-site construction of the foundations for this project, which is on course to be America’s first offshore wind farm. It is also fitting that a company best known for fabricating offshore oil and gas structures played a role in constructing this historic project.

“NOIA has long supported an all-of-the-above offshore energy strategy, and we look forward to seeing more partnerships between offshore renewable companies and offshore oil and gas companies made possible by the success of the Department of the Interior’s offshore wind leasing program.

“The U.S. derives about 17 percent of its domestic oil production, and about five percent of its domestic natural gas production from offshore areas, even though current federal policies prohibit oil and gas development off the Atlantic Coast. Offshore wind combined with offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic and additional areas of the outer continental shelf will strengthen our nation’s energy security, produce thousands of new jobs and benefit American consumers.”


NOL Not For Sale

By MarEx 2015-07-27 17:44:19

According to Drewry Company UK, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is not for sale. Its majority stockholder Temasek Holdings claims it is not selling the global box line.

NOL is owned by the Singaporean government, but it has it has been losing money and is heavily in debt. NOL has a modern fleet but their construction came at high costs. Its 14,000 TEU vessels each cost about $130 million to build.

Temasek is the Singapore government’s investment company with a portfolio valued at $194 billion as of March 31. Last year the company generated $17.5 billion. Meanwhile, NOL has been posting losses a few years and it is not an attractive prospect for sale as the industry has been on hard times. NOL posted a loss of $143 million on revenue of $7 billion.

Temasek sold APL Logistics in February to Japanese shipping firm Kintetsu World Express for $1.2 billion. APL operates in more than 110 countries and ranks No. 14 on Transport Topics’ list of the Top 50 Logistics Companies in North America. Its U.S. operations is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. APL provides air and ocean freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution, customs brokerage, dedicated contract carriage and supply chain consulting services. APL Logistics generated earnings before interest and taxes of $67 million on revenue of $1.7 billion in 2014. About two-thirds of APL’s revenue comes from the United States, with 27 percent coming from Asia and the Middle East and 11% from Europe.

In terms of market capitalization, NOL ranks just 38th out of Temasek’s 45 major investments. As owner of the PSA International, Temasek is invested in Singapore’s new 65 million TEU mega port, which is scheduled to be ready in 2021.


Ghana Takes Lead in New Piracy Initiative

By Wendy Laursen 2015-07-27 16:18:35

To understand the maritime security issues afflicting Ghana, it is instructive to first look at Nigeria. Nigeria is the powerhouse of the region and a major trade corridor for neighboring, land-locked nations such as Niger and Chad.

A lot of the wealth generated within Nigeria spreads across to its neighbors, and with a newly elected government, it is likely to see a boost in economic development.

That means more ships, travelling to and from Nigeria, will pass through the waters of Ghana; more ships that are potential targets in a region where many incidents go unreported, says Jonathan Stamper, Director of security specialist Watchwood Resources Limited.

“Nigeria has changed recently. Most people in the region that have a touch on what is going on there are expecting there to be a new wave of crime, not necessarily just piracy on the high seas, but all sorts of crime that Nigeria is going to have to deal with in its immediate future,” he says. That wave of crime is expected to reach Ghana.

Watchwood has been active in the security of the region, on land and at sea, and Stamper says that Ghana is one of the more politically stable countries there. People are keen to invest in the country, and Ghana itself is undergoing a lot of development, including in the oil and gas industry.

Up until now, Ghana has not allowed foreign private maritime security companies to provide personnel on ships in its waters. With an eye on developments in the region, though, the government has realized that it has something to gain from adopting European standards of maritime security.

“We saw a way to bring value to Ghana by working to set up an anti-piracy solution from a commercial perspective,” says Stamper.

Watchwood is compliant with ISO9000 and international anti-bribery and corruption laws. That was of critical importance to the company’s deal with Ghana authorities.

“One of the key provisos for any government in that part of the world is audit, control, safety and security for all of their territory and state boundaries,” says Stamper. Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, was appointed the chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2014, and he has been pivotal in the development of a maritime security framework for the region.

What Stamper is initiating in Ghana under Mahama’s government is unique in ECOWAS. Stamper is bringing qualified U.K operatives to work with and train Ghana police officers. That way, as well as providing security services, the company is also building future capacity within Ghana.

“We are increasing the police’s mandate to deal with many issues in their waters including piracy, drugs running, human trafficking and illegal fishing. There’s always been issues with foreign nationals bearing arms in anybody’s territorial waters, and that’s the crux of why Watchwood has been given the authority to go ahead with this project,” says Stamper.

“We’ve found a way to provide the audit and control processes that the security apparatus of Ghana is happy with. They are always going to be in control at every stage.”

All the training modules developed by Watchwood meet the standards that would be required in the U.K., including training in the International 100 Series Rules as model rules for the use of force.

The project has been established in the port city of Tema, and the first round of training is expected to be completed soon. Watchwood security operatives will then be taking to the waters of Ghana, assisting the local police make the country’s waters safer.

“The strategic part of the project is to show that it is viable for commercial entities to work in the region,” says Stamper. “For Ghana itself, it is a demonstration that they can be dynamic first movers in regional projects. Ghana has a good reputation across the region, and there are a lot of other countries in the region finding themselves dealing with the prospects of offshore oil and gas and other development.”

Like Ghana, Stamper hopes that other countries in the region will take notice. “The key thing for us as a commercial company is to try and get some sort of resolution in the region for the mariners and how they view having to work in the region.”


Chinese Deliver Largest Box Ship

By MarEx 2015-07-27 12:46:53

Chinese State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has delivered its largest built container ship to CMA CGM, the French shipping group bases out of Marseille. The CMA CGM Vasco De Gama is an 18,000 TEU box ship at 399 meters long (1,309 feet) and 54 meters (177 feet) wide and it’s the largest ship in CMA CGM’s fleet.

The vessel will be flagged in the UK. The M/V Vasco De Gama is environmentally friendly, including next generation engines and optimized hull design. It has reduced emissions by another 10 percent.

CMA CGM announced today that it will begin service to Iran on August 6th. Two sister ships will be delivered in September and November. CMA CGM is the third-largest container company in the world in terms of vessel capacity.


Malacca Converting Ports Into Specialized Hubs

By MarEx 2015-07-27 11:59:10

Plans are underway to convert seven Malaccan ports into specialized hubs. The Malacca Port Development Masterplan is expected to increase investments and economic activity by creating jobs in the manufacturing, tourism and industrial sectors. The plan will upgrade the six existing Malaccan ports and begin construction on the Malacca Gateway Port, which will specialize in tourism.

The six existing ports will cater to various industries. The Linggi Port will serve the industrial sector, Tangga Batu will serve the oil and gas industry, Tanjung Bruas will serve cargo and containerships, Undang will serve the military, Umbai will serve the fishing industry and Sungai Rambai will serve the mining and mineral sectors.

“We have studied the advantages of specializing each port according to the sectors chosen under the masterplan in line with our goals to spur the state’s economy,” said Datuk Lim Ban, the Malacca Transport and Project Rehabilitation Committee chairman.

Malacca is the third-smallest Malaysian state after Perlis and Penang and is located on the southern region of the Malay Peninsula next to the Straits of Malacca and the royal city of Muar. Malaysia had a GDP of $336.9 billion in 2014, 83% of which came from exports.