Coast Guard to Fine Seattle Protestors

By MarEx 2015-06-04 18:54:28

The U.S. Coast Guard has initiated civil penalties against four individuals who entered an established safety-zone around a Shell-contracted vessel in Bellingham Bay near Seattle during Memorial Day weekend.

Cody Erdman, Chiara D’Angelo, Paul Adler and Matthew Fuller were cited in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations for entry into or staying in a federally-regulated safety zone between May 22 and 24.

Coast Guard officials can seek a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone. The final penalty will be determined by the Coast Guard Hearing Office in Arlington. Hearing officers will be assigned and provide the individuals an opportunity to refute the charges or provide evidence on their behalf.

On April 28, the Coast Guard established 100-yard safety zones around Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while transiting to allow maximum use of the waterway by all users consistent with safe navigation.

“The Coast Guard supports and defends the rights of the public to assemble peacefully and protest. However, prolonged violations of the safety zones tax Coast Guard resources and crews hindering the service’s ability to quickly respond to mariners in distress or other life-threatening emergencies,” said Captain Joe Raymond, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and captain of the port.

“Most importantly, prolonged safety violations unnecessarily put protesters and law enforcement personnel at risk due to rapidly changing environmental conditions, fatigue and marine traffic.”

The Coast Guard assisted Fuller on May 24 and D’Angelo on May 25 from the Arctic Challenger and both were transported to Station Bellingham where they were met by police. D’Angelo was issued a summons by the local police department.


Carnival Launches New Brand, New Concept

By MarEx 2015-06-04 19:28:02

Carnival Corporation has launched a new brand called fathom, defining a new travel category it is calling “social impact travel.” Fathom will offer consumers authentic, meaningful impact travel experiences to work alongside locals as they tackle community needs. What sets fathom apart is the long-term, systematic partnership approach with its partner countries paired with the unique business model that allows for sustained impact and lasting development.

Fathom’s scale and global vision reach beyond what the world has ever seen, said Carnival in a statement. For example, travelers will work with locals sculpting clay to build water filters — providing clean drinking water in a country where more than two million people do not have piped water.

The company’s first destination will be the Dominican Republic, a country known for its spectacular beauty but also a country where the average household income is approximately $6,000 a year and more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water.

Fathom will operate as a standalone brand, the 10th global brand in the Carnival Corporation family.

Beginning in April 2016, fathom will embark on seven-day voyages from PortMiami on board the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel redeployed from Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises (UK) for the start-up of the new operation. Depending on their passions, interests and skills, travelers will have the opportunity to choose from a range of social impact activities and experiences both on board and onshore.

Travel That Creates Enduring, Transformative Social Impact

“Fathom will cater to a growing market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives and aren’t always sure where to begin,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world. We are so pleased that fathom will give travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local people as part of a larger scale effort that will demonstrably improve lives. Both our travelers and the local citizens will learn and benefit from the opportunity to serve together.”

Donald brought in a non-traditional, social entrepreneur, Tara Russell, Founder and Chairman of Create Common Good (, a food production social enterprise, to lead this effort. Russell will serve as President of fathom and as Global Impact Lead for Carnival Corporation. Russell established and led the team that has been working on the design and business model for fathom since late 2013.

“We created fathom to meet the real hunger in the world for purpose, while at the same time tackling profound social issues through a sustainable business model,” said Russell. “We harness the assets and resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company and combine them with the talents and hearts of those working in social enterprises around the world.

“Travelers will work in partnership with proven, trusted local organizations on the ground to amplify their missions for far greater, sustained impact,” Russell said. “Because fathom will bring hundreds of travelers to a destination on a regular basis, fathom can achieve focused and holistic, collaborative contributions in a broad region of the country – allowing fathom travelers to make a collective, transformative impact that they know will extend far beyond their involvement. They also will know they played an important role in ensuring the region flourishes.

“We are excited about making the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic our first partner destination, and we are optimistic about taking all that is being built in and through fathom to other global destinations and to the broader Carnival corporate family.”

According to Russell, the fathom team took an innovative design-thinking approach to deeply understanding both its travelers, as well as the needs identified by stakeholders across all parts of society in the Dominican Republic, and will continue to leverage the unique approach.

“Fathom will mobilize, educate and equip up to 700 travelers on every trip allowing for thousands of impact activity days per week – and tens of thousands of travelers a year to communities of promise, providing unprecedented scale for impact,” said Russell. “Fathom has been built differently, having worked carefully to ensure any and all efforts fathom travelers engage with are authentically impactful, scalable and sustainable. Fathom’s scale allows the opportunity to continuously innovate in the social impact space, while achieving holistic, transformational societal contributions that will help a broad region flourish.”

Based on extensive market research, fathom has identified a sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers – approximately one million North Americans who are strongly predisposed, in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide – who will be interested in this type of travel offering.

In addition, the company believes fathom will attract a significant number of travelers who have never before cruised. According to research, nearly 40 percent of the individuals who will book a social impact trip on Fathom might otherwise never have chosen to cruise.

According to Russell, fathom will attract people of all ages and from all walks of life, but especially North American, U.K. and Australian citizens ages 20 to 60 years old who are eager to discover their individual gifts and unleash their personal passions and talents to improve the world. The company expects to be particularly popular among:

Millennials – people in their 20s and 30s looking to make a difference in the world;

Parents seeking a way to open their children’s eyes to other parts of the world in a meaningful way (approximately half of travelers are expected to be families); and

Adults 50+ years of age eager to find rewarding ways to help other people apart from writing a check.

“During the past 10 years, in countless conversations I have had with people eager to serve others and make meaningful societal contributions, there has been a common theme – people struggle to know where they fit in and often people have challenges finding trusted, easy ways to make a difference,” said Russell. “Fathom exists to address this desire and to create enduring, life-changing impact, both in the communities where fathom operates, and in the lives of the travelers who embark on one of our journeys, allowing for unique impact experiences before, during and after the trip.”

Dominican Republic identified as Fathom’s first social impact partner destination

The new brand selected the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic as its first impact destination based on a number of factors: genuine needs, infrastructure to support social initiatives, enthusiasm for the fathom concept by locals at all layers of society including country officials, its location (proximity to Miami and Amber Cove, the new Dominican destination being launched by Carnival Corporation in October 2015) and its innate beauty. The fathom team worked closely with local Dominicans, resident Dominican business and educational leaders, Dominican government officials and leading non-governmental organizations in the country to fully understand the societal needs and determine the best way for Fathom to participate in addressing those needs.

Fathom has initially identified two lead impact partners in the Dominican Republic – Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI). Both organizations have deep roots in the country, including long-established programs and strong social connections in the northern Dominican region. Fathom travelers will work alongside these organizations across the northern region to help Entrena and IDDI programs achieve much greater impact. Because Fathom will regularly transport hundreds of travelers to the country, the support will be significant and sustainable – Fathom travelers will make long-lasting contributions to the community.

A portion of every ticket purchase price will go directly to Fathom partner organizations to cover on-the-ground activities in the Dominican Republic, including supplies, travel, personnel to assist with the activities and funding to support the partner organizations’ overall missions. This sustained partnership between Fathom and its impact partners allows these organizations to have predictable revenue streams to even further amplify their missions.

“Having led the Dominican based non-profit IDDI, for more than 31 years, I have worked with a very large number of corporations ranging from energy, sugar, chocolate and cigar producers, as well as tourism and free-trade zone companies,” said David Luther, founder and executive director of IDDI, a non-profit organization with the mission to help alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas of the Dominican Republic. “I have always insisted on a horizontal relationship based on a win-win partnership, but on many occasions it has taken a great deal of convincing on our part for these to understand the benefits to the private sector of improving the overall well-being of Dominican society.

“Fathom and Carnival Corporation are without a doubt the exception. They are making a strategic bet on contributing to the development of the Dominican Republic incorporating this initiative into their business plan, which is to me a remarkable step for a corporation of their size. This is not just Corporate Social Responsibility, but a vision of bringing people together as a catalyst for change, be they passengers on a ship or members of low-income communities – very, very innovative. In this, Fathom and Carnival Corporation are demonstrating they are willing and capable of creating experiences that transform lives.”

“Entrena is excited about and committed to the fathom concept of impact travel for the north coast of the Dominican Republic,” said John Seibel, founder and president, Entrena, an organization specializing in training, education and social enterprise. “We believe this concept will enhance sustainable development efforts to foster widespread prosperity among these Dominican communities by improving lives, creating hope for the future, and providing profound and meaningful experiences for fathom and for all Carnival Corporation passengers.”

Fathom experience focuses on education, environment and economic development

The fathom journey is a carefully designed, holistic impact journey and will begin with one to two days at sea preparing hearts and minds for the on-the-ground experience, including a wide variety of fun and engaging impact-readiness experiences, ranging from an orientation to the Dominican Republic, conversational Spanish lessons, impact activity training, creative workshops, personal enrichment and much more.

Fathom travelers may build their own schedules and will have the flexibility each day to choose from a variety of social impact and recreational activities. At launch, the company will offer a selection of fun, immersive and meaningful activities focused on education, the environment and economic development along with all the incredible experiences the Puerto Plata region innately has to offer.

Impact activities will vary in length from a few hours to multiple days. Depending on their passions and skills, travelers may spend up to three days on causes they care about, working alongside locals and Fathom partner organizations on one or more projects suitable for a wide range of ages, levels of skill and amounts of physical activity. Sample activities may include:

Economic Development: Help cultivate cacao plants and organic fertilizer at a nursery and assist a local women’s cooperative in producing artisan chocolates. This activity is designed to produce high-quality plants to increase farmers’ yields through sustainable practices and – importantly – create income opportunities for rural women. Over time, this activity will allow the cooperative to increase their workforce so the cooperative can achieve economic independence.

Educational: Work side by side with Dominican school teachers in classrooms to teach English skills and help boost students’ academic performance; and participate in adult-learning programs to teach small groups of local community members conversational English to help improve their ability to qualify for jobs that provide a higher level of income.

Environmental: Provide hands-on support to craft and build water filters – using clay, a natural resource found locally – and deliver those filters to families throughout the community to provide healthy drinking water. With limited piped water supply, this will make a meaningful difference in the quality of people’s lives throughout the region.

“Together we aim to help communities and travelers flourish by providing immersive, life-changing experiences for travelers and allowing our partner communities to prosper,” said Russell.

When not participating in social impact activities, travelers will enjoy exploring the beauty of the region, experiencing the many Dominican beaches and sites of interest, or participating in any one of an array of different recreational activities available to the entire family of Carnival Corporation brands visiting Amber Cove and the Puerto Plata region.

The onboard experience will be customized to this unique travel market, including specialized, purposeful retail options and amenities, as well as geographically inspired menus, music, and additional onboard cultural immersion. While docked in the Dominican Republic, the Fathom ship will serve as a comfortable, convenient home-base for travelers.


Engines, Fuels and Efficiency at Nor-Shipping

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-04 20:02:10

Nor-Shipping has seen a strong focus on technical developments to support improved energy efficiency and emissions reductions. MarEx highlights some of the latest developments unveiled at the event:

New Permanent Magnet Azimuth Thruster

Rolls-Royce has unveiled the latest addition to its range of marine thrusters, with the launch of a new azimuth thruster powered by permanent magnet (PM) technology. The new thruster is the group’s latest development of PM technology, which already includes tunnel thrusters and a newly developed winch.

The launch follows a programme of sea trials in which a pair of thrusters demonstrated efficiency savings of 7-13 percent depending on ship speed, and in comparison to azimuth thrusters powered by a conventional diesel-electric system. The trials took place on board the RV Gunnerus, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) research ship, based in Trondheim.

Besides improved fuel economy, other benefits include more power through a propeller of the same diameter, reduced noise and vibration, and scope to remove and maintain PM thrusters without the need for a dry-docking.

Each PM azimuth thruster comprises three main assemblies – the PM motor/propeller/nozzle underwater unit, the hull mounting system which includes the azimuth bearing and duplicate frequency controlled electric steering gear and the inboard power unit which feeds electric power to the thruster.

The permanent magnet motor consists of two main parts – a stator that carries a number of electrical coil windings, and a rotor fitted with a number of very strong permanent magnets. A rotating magnetic field is created by the stator which interacts with the fields of the permanent magnets on the rotor, which generates force to drag the rotor around, providing the mechanical power.

Rolls-Royce Pure Gas Engines

Rolls-Royce engines powered solely by LNG have completed 25 million hours of operation on land and at sea, since their introduction in 1991.

More than 650 Bergen lean burn gas engines are in service today, with a power output up to 9,600kW. The engines are used for a variety of applications ranging from powering ferries, cargo ships and tugs to a wide range of land-based power generation throughout the world.

The gas fuelled engines reduce NOx emissions by about 90 percent while SOx and particulates emissions are negligible. Emissions from Rolls-Royce gas engines are already within the limits of IMO Tier III environmental legislation, due to come into force in 2016.

ABB Turbocharging Power2 800-M solution

ABB has announced the first application on a marine engine of its Power2 800-M second generation two-stage turbocharging solution. The ground-breaking Wärtsilä 31 marine engine, announced by Wärtsilä this week, is equipped with this most advanced two-stage turbocharging solution from ABB Turbocharging, launching Power2 800-M firmly into the marine market.

Refinements to Power2 800-M have been among the most significant outcomes of the development and equipment testing processes surrounding advances in engine performance. The innovative two-stage ABB Turbocharging technology has increased pressure ratio capabilities up to 12, from 8 in the first generation, and turbocharger efficiency beyond 75 percent, compared to a single-stage turbocharger which is typically around 65-70 percent. This combination of higher efficiency and higher pressure ratio contributes to increased engine power density, and also translates into significant potential for saving on fuel consumption costs and up to 60 percent lower NOx emissions.

DNV GL Looks at alternative fuels

Trends in pricing are an obvious factor to consider when examining the feasibility of new fuels, but sustainability and safety also have an impact on the ultimate affordability of change. DNV GL has released a position paper that presents a methodology for evaluating alternative fuels, adding sustainability and safety considerations in the discussion.

“The Fuel Trilemma: Next Generation of Marine Fuels” looks at the rapidly diversifying fuel market from the perspective of affordability, sustainability and safety. These three factors will govern the importance of any energy source chosen to meet regulatory requirements for CO2, SOx and NOx – requirements that are already pushing the limits of what can be achieved with conventional fuels and exhaust gas cleaning technology.

A growing diversity of fuel options has seen LNG becoming well established and opened some potential for biofuels to gradually replace fossil fuels. Electricity from the grid, methanol and hydrogen have their place for certain geographic areas and ship types, too.

The position paper analyses affordability, sustainability, safety and reliability and includes case studies involving LNG, shore-based electricity, biofuels (including pyrolysis oil and biomethanol) and hydrogen. It presents the benefits and challenges for each option.

Oshima’s new LNG-fuelled bulk carrier design

DNV GL has presented Oshima Shipbuilding Company with an Approval in Principle (AiP) certificate for a LNG-fuelled Kamsarmax bulk carrier. The new, innovative design has been found to comply with DNV GL class rules and all current and upcoming regulations, including the new emission control regulations and the draft IGF Code for fuel with a low flashpoint.

“LNG is emerging in a number of ship sectors and has great potential. We were very pleased to work on this innovative design with Oshima. It offers customers a flexible, safe, future-proof solution and the opportunity to almost eliminate SOx emissions and particulate matter, cut NOx by 80 percent with EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculating) and reduce CO2,” says Morten Løvstad, DNV GL Bulk Carrier Business Director.

As space on deck is limited on a bulk carrier, the design features an innovative solution – changing the ship’s superstructure to a U-shape that can accommodate the LNG tank in its centre. This approach allows the accommodation deck house to be completely separated from the LNG storage tank and scalability in terms of the amount of LNG storage on board. Meanwhile, a tank cover adds an additional safety barrier and ensures compliance with the draft IGF Code. The bunkering stations for LNG, heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine diesel oil are located at the side of the accommodation deck house.


Fire Investigation Highlights Disaster Potential

By MarEx 2015-06-04 20:59:44

The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board has released its findings on the engine room fire on ro-ro Parida, demonstrating how a rather small and well-handled fire can result in the potential for a larger disaster. A minor malfunction in a pressure gauge caused a fire that triggered a loss of propulsion. The onboard conditions interacted with the environmental conditions and created a risk of allision with an offshore platform.

On October 7, 2014, fire broke out on the Danish-flagged Parida while it was underway from Scrabster, United Kingdom, to Antwerp, Belgium. The events can be viewed as three stages: The fire, the engine immobilization and the uncontrolled drift towards the Beatrice Alpha platform. The first stage involved the actual fire in the funnel casing triggered by an unscrewed pressure gauge in the thermal heat-oil system. This allowed oil to enter the area and ignite upon contact with the source of ignition, which was likely the hot surface of the exhaust gas boiler inlet pipe.

The second stage was a consequence of the first; the thermal heat-oil system was substantially damaged by the fire, which caused the activation of main engine slowdown function. Restarting the engine was delayed because of the engine crew’s concerns about re-igniting the fire and uncertainty about the general condition of the engine room systems.

In the third stage, Parida was adrift in the direction of the nearby oil production platform Beatrice Alpha, which was eventually shut down and evacuated. The situation was stabilized as Parida’s drift was halted, and it was taken under tow to the nearby port in Cromarty Firth.

The crew were able to quickly extinguish the fire due to its early discovery and their quick response. The fire was discovered visually before any alarms were received. The funnel casing was fitted with one automatic smoke detector, but this was located in the hydraulic room below the level where the fire developed most intensely. Therefore, the purpose of giving an early warning about a fire in this area was not fulfilled. The smoke would need to develop substantially to fill the space below before activation of the smoke/heat detectors.

The fire alarm system was not fitted with a log and, therefore, it is uncertain if a fire alarm was activated on the fire control panel on the bridge or whether only a fault message was indicated due to damage to the wiring to the smoke detector caused by the fire. During a larger fire scenario, the absence of a fire detector log is disadvantageous and offers little support in the efforts to keep track of the development and spreading of the fire.

After the discovery of the fire at approximately 1800, the crew initiated firefighting at 1815, and the fire was extinguished at 1835. Under the given circumstances with adverse weather conditions and the distance between the accommodation and the funnel casing, the relatively short response time of 15 minutes was essential for extinguishing the fire. The prompt closing of the ventilation and main engine that would draw air into the engine room was also instrumental in the containment of the fire.

The main fuel to the fire, the thermal heat-oil, was cut off by the thermal heat-oil system because the sensors and their wiring were damaged by the fire causing the circulation pumps to stop. The emergency quick release valves that were designed to enable the oil to be dumped to the drain tank during an emergency malfunctioned as a result of the fire.

The emergency situation that the quick release valves were designed to mitigate thus rendered the valves inoperable. This illustrates well how it can be difficult to design safety features for situations where complexity increases by unexpected interconnections between the accidental events and safety system components, states the report.

The damage and subsequent shutdown of the thermal heat-oil system immobilized the main engine which resulted in the ship drifting uncontrollably. The thermal heat-oil plant and the main engine systems were interconnected in such a way that the continuous operation of the main engine was not possible.

The anchors were deployed and eventually slowed down the drift of Parida and, to some extent, stabilized the situation by removing the immediate threat of allision and provided time for Parida to be assisted by Pacific Champion.

The report is available here.


Salvage Underway for Sunken Cruise Ship

By MarEx 2015-06-04 16:50:04

Rescue efforts for the sunken Eastern Star cruise ship turned into a salvage operation Thursday night as authorities began taking steps to right the sunken vessel.

State television confirmed that preparations for righting the ship began around 8:00 pm when two 500 ton salvage ships moved into place on either side of the Yangtze River. Divers then attached steel cables to the ship’s hull in eight places.

Rescue workers had “groped under the water” and cut into the hull into the evening, news agency Xinhua said, and more than 200 divers searched all the cabins of the ship but did not find any survivors.

Workers cut into three regions in the hull that were “important escape channels” and found “no signs of life”, Xinhua said. “In a situation in which the overall judgment is that there is no chance of people being alive, we could start the work of righting the boat,” transport ministry spokesman Xu Chengguang told a news conference.

The actual righting will take around five hours, barring any complications, and is not expected to happen until 1:00 am Friday morning.

Recovery operations will happen in two stages. First, cranes attached to the salvage ships will lift the Eastern Star high enough to clear the river’s bottom. The cranes will be under considerable strain until the water can be drained out. The second stage will then consist of flipping the vessel and draining it of the water.

After the ship is righted, authorities will conduct a full search of all cabins. That will allow rescuers to “search for the missing persons in the shortest possible time,” state news agency Xinhua said, citing the transport ministry.

Hu Kaihong, a government spokesman, said at a news briefing that there were now more than 1,200 family members in Jianli city, near the salvage site. Relatives have asked the government to release the names of survivors and the 77 people confirmed to have died so far. They also questioned why most of those rescued were crew members.

Tents have been set up along the banks of the Yangtze River to process any bodies recovered from the wreckage. Local funeral establishment are also reported to be preparing for the influx of bodies following the salvage.

The transportation ministry has stated that the salvage will be carried out to preserve the dignity of the dead.

As of Thursday afternoon 360 people are still missing. Only 14 survivors have been found, including the captain and chief engineer.


Guidance on Deprivation of Liberty Released

By MarEx 2015-06-04 17:59:54

Human Rights at Sea has published a new international and independent guidance for shipowners, crew and private maritime security guards titled: “Deprivation of Liberty at Sea.”

The guidance, published jointly by Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) and the Network of Experts on the Legal Aspects of Maritime Safety and Security (MARSAFENET) and financed through the European Union COST Action IS1105, is the first independently drafted international document covering deprivation of liberty (DoL) by ship masters, crew and private maritime security personnel. It is the result of in-depth research into the domestic and international legal frameworks governing deprivation of liberty on board private vessels.

The guidance, which complements existing guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident as adopted by the IMO, aims to become a leading soft law instrument voluntarily applied by relevant actors in the shipping, fishing and security industries.

The guidance outlines a succinct set of principles and detailed guidance for safeguarding a criminal suspect’s human rights at sea. It additionally contains checklists for shipowners, masters, crew and private maritime security companies in relation to the lawful deprivation of liberty of suspected criminals at sea covering both the pre-transit planning and in-transit actions.

There is a growing likelihood that masters will have to deal with criminal offences committed at sea, with increasingly smaller crews and against a background of potential legal actions conducted against seafarers for unlawful deprivation of liberty, says David Hammond Founder of HRAS. It is highly relevant in piracy prone areas and areas with large migrant movements, like the Mediterranean and the Andaman Sea, where masters are likely to be confronted with suspected human traffickers.

The guidance is a reference for all interested parties in support of decisive and lawful decision-making, says Hammond. “This first edition of the Deprivation of Liberty at Sea Guidance has been the result of six months’ work involving significant research and stakeholder input. Working alongside European colleagues, Human Rights at Sea is proud to be able to deliver a new and relevant maritime human rights reference document in partnership with EU MARSAFENET.”

HRAS and MARSAFENET have determined that the voluntary guidance should be made freely available for the international public benefit in line with the charitable focus of HRAS and the open access policy pursued by MARSAFENET. Any entity using the document in whole, in part or in concept must fully attribute its use to HRAS and MARSAFENET. HRAS retains full IP and copyright over the work and the associated HRAS Deprivation of Liberty at Sea concept.

The authors of the Guidance are:

David Hammond, GDL

CEO & Founder of HRAS, Barrister & Member of MARSAFENET

Dr. Anna Petrig, LL.M.

Attorney-at-Law & Management Committee Member of MARSAFENET

Legal Research: Elizabeth Mavropoulou, LL.M. Attorney-at-Law & HRAS Intern

The guidance is part of the HRAS “Unlocking the issue” campaign to raise global awareness of maritime human rights and constitutes a milestone in MARSAFENET’s quest to transfer scientific findings into concrete normative and policy solutions.

The Deprivation of Liberty report is available to download from the Human Rights at Sea website under Publications here.


Singapore Named Most Important Maritime Capital

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-04 13:26:05

Singapore tops the list as the most important maritime capitals for 2015, according to a new report released by Menon Business Economics today.

The Asian capital was listed as number one based on a combination of objective indicators derived from public data sources as well as a survey of 200 industry experts from over 33 countries.

The report analyses 15 leading maritime cities based on shipping, finance and law, technology, and ports and logistics. It also takes into account competitiveness and attractiveness to maritime companies. The complete top five maritime capitals listing is shown below with important area highlights.


Singapore was cited as the number one most important maritime capital. It is located in a pivotal geographic location near important markets. It was ranked first for ports and logistics and second for finance/law and shipping. Singapore is home to the fourth largest fleet and is an important center for commercial management. The city has also been successful at attracting a wide variety of global companies.


Hamburg earned its place near the top of the list by being very strong in the area of maritime technology. It scored very high expert marks in the areas of R&D/ Education, Maritime Equipment, IT services. Additionally, Germany is home to companies such as Caterpillar Marine Power Systems and Man, making the country a highly important maritime equipment center.


Oslo landed the third most important spot largely because of its significance in the field of maritime technology. The city was ranked number one in this area largely because the overall importance of Norway as a maritime technology center. DNV GL one of the world leaders in the field, is headquartered out of Oslo. The city also gets high marks in the area of maritime finance.

Hong Kong and Shanghai

Hong Kong and Shanghai took the fourth and fifth positions respectively. China has the world’s second largest economy and has been showed growing influence in world market. The country has one of the world’s largest shipbuilding industries and is home to six of the world’s ten largest ports. The experts surveyed anticipate Shanghai becoming the second most important maritime city by 2020.

Other Notable Findings

Asia as a whole is gaining increasing control of the maritime market. The Philippines recently overtook European nations as the fourth largest shipbuilder and Manila and Jakarta continue to grow in importance for the maritime segment in the region.

In the Middle East Dubai is predicted to become a maritime leader.

Also, Brazil is investing heavily in new ship orders particularly in the offshore segment. The country currently accounts for only 1% of the world fleet, but it holds 7% of the world’s orderbook.

The complete report can be accessed here


Sea Storage Plays Feeds Bloated Oil Market

By Reuters 2015-06-04 13:54:09

Physical oil is coming under pressure as trade houses unwind a profitable storage play after several months that saw them holding millions of barrels on tankers at sea.

A drop in the volume of crude stored for speculative profit is putting more supply into an already saturated market, elbowing out new loadings leading to a build-up of unsold West African, North Sea and Mediterranean oil.

“When the contango started, it created a demand,” said Tamas Varga of PVM oil brokerage. Now “they are creating additional supply”.

“The structure of the market should weaken significantly,” Varga added. “There is just lots of oil around in the U.S. and globally.”

Oil prices collapsed by 60 percent between June last year and January 2015, pushing the cost of oil for immediate delivery to a big discount below future prices and making it profitable to buy oil and store it for sale later.

At its peak earlier this year as much as 50 million barrels of oil was estimated to have been earmarked for storage on tankers. The oil market has since rallied – flattening that discount, also known as a contango, leading trade houses to cash in on profits.

Shipping sources and shipping data estimated that volumes earmarked for contango-led floating storage had dropped to as few as 10 tankers, known as very large crude carriers, each capable of carrying a maximum of 2 million barrels, meaning at most 20 million barrels.

“We’re getting to the point where it makes sense to sell,” Richard Mallinson, analyst with Energy Aspects.

“Effectively, we’re reaching the end of that storage.”

In the past week alone as much as 5 million barrels of floating storage has been sold, shipping data showed.

In an earlier sale last month, Chinese trader Unipec sold 2 million barrels of Nigerian crude that was stored on one of the world’s largest tankers, capable of holding 3 million barrels, to an Indian refiner.

Trade sources said trading firms such as Trafigura and Vitol as well as Shell had all sold cargoes held in floating storage.

The companies declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“If you want to recreate the contango trade, you need a steep drop … in the oil price to make it viable given where tanker rates are today,” said Arctic Securities analyst Erik Nikolai Stavseth.

Mallinson contends that the long-term effect may be a drop in the market surplus of crude oil, but in the near-term, it adds to the oversupply:

“It makes the pain worse in the short term,” he said.

Nevertheless, for holders of millions of barrels of West African crude and also North Sea oil in the Atlantic, the sell-off in floating storage could mean a longer wait to offload cargoes as they compete. “Everyone is trying to sell,” one oil trader said.


Storming the Hill for Recognition for USMM of WWII

By Tony Munoz 2015-06-04 14:33:23

In January, Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA-44) introduced H.R. 563–Honoring Our WWII Merchant Marine Act of 2015, which would compensate qualified mariners with a one-time payment of $25,000.

Morris Harvey, president of the American Merchant Marine Veterans, said the House of Representatives passed HR 563, but Harry Reid, (D-NV) has failed to introduce the bill to the senate. Harvey and six other WWII mariner vets will be “storming the Hill” next week. Good luck!

Forgotten Valor – Damn the Torpedoes: Full Speed Ahead!

World War II ended 70 years ago and today its veterans are in their late eighties and nineties. The veterans of WWII were honored for their contributions to liberate Europe and Asia Pacific from the tyranny of the Axis with GI benefits for education, home loans and medical. And they went on the build the greatest generation and most influential middle class in history.

Those Americans that served in the U.S. Merchant Marine of WWII were also thrust into war and forced to fight with other free peoples for the right to live among their neighbors in freedom, in common decency, and without fear of assault.

Every single man, woman and child would become partners in the greatest undertaking in American history. They accepted the bad news, the good news, the defeats, the victories, and the changing fortunes of war. Every citizen in every walk of life shared this responsibility. And, each and every one of them understood the obligation and was determined to prevail.

Long before the United States entered the war, the U.S. Merchant Marine sailed the Atlantic Ocean bringing supplies to our besieged Allies on the European Continent and England. From 1939 to December 7, 1941, the U.S. Merchant Marine lost 146 ships and 169 merchant seamen were killed.

When the U.S. entered the war on December 7, 1941, five U-boats were deployed to U.S. waters in an operation code-named “Drum Roll.” Unfortunately, the United States had not enforced the blackout of its coastal cities at night. The U-boats lay on the bottom of the ocean during daylight hours, and then surfaced at night to sink the merchant ships that were silhouetted against the glow of the city lights.

It is estimated that 400 Allied ships were destroyed in the first six months ending in July, 1942 in the western-Atlantic, and only one U-boat was destroyed. About 5,000 American, British, Norwegian and other seamen were killed in the operation dubbed by the U-boat captains as the “American turkey shoot.”

The battle of the Atlantic for control over the shipping lanes lased from September 1939 to May 1945. The U-boats sank merchant ships faster than the Allies could build them. In the winter of 1943, conditions in the North Atlantic were some of the worst on record, and the endless lines of merchant ships were attacked with a vengeance by the U-boats.

Early in 1943, the U-boats sophisticated coding device known as the “Enigma” had been deciphered, and almost immediately the tide of the war quickly turned. From May 1943 until the end of the war the Allies sunk over 500 U-boats. By the end of 1943, the convoys of supply ships operated in relatively safe conditions until the end of the war.

The U.S. Merchant Marine played a significant role in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Approximately, 2700 merchant ships were involved in the first wave of the invasion on D-Day, landing troop and munitions under heavy fire.

During the next year, at great risk, about 150 merchant marine ships shuttled 2.5 million troops, 17 million tons of munitions and supplies, and half-a-million trucks and tanks from England to France.

U.S. Merchant Maine in the Pacific

On December 7, 1941, the cargo ship SS Cynthia Olson was the first U.S. flag ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Pacific. The ship and all were lost about 1,200 miles off the Pacific Coast. The tanker SS Emidio was also sunk by a Japanese sub just 18 miles off Crescent City, California on December 20, 1941.

In October 1944, the merchant marine delivered 30,000 troops and 500,000 tons of supplies to Leyte during the invasion of the Philippines. They shot down 107 Japanese planes during the almost continuous air attack. In the Mindoro invasion of the Philippines, more U.S. Merchant Marine lost their lives than did members of all of the other armed services combined.

During the invasion of Okinawa, merchant ships came under fire by 2,000 kamikazes and conventional aircraft. At the same time, they delivered many of the 180,000 troops and over 1 million tons of supplies necessary for the invasion. Forty-four merchant ships were sunk, while the U.S. Merchant Marine took part in every invasion from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima.

The United States Armed Forces suffered 300,000 battle casualties in the Pacific up to July 1, 1945. Following the end of hostilities, the Merchant Marine was given the job of transporting the surrendered troops back to Japan, returning U.S. troops back home, and bringing in replacement troops and supplies for the occupation. Arms and munitions were also returned to the U.S.

In December 1945, the U.S. War Shipping Administration listed 1,200 sailings, 400 more than the busiest month of the previous four years. Tragically, twenty-five more U.S. merchant ships were sunk after V-J Day.

A Hero’s Welcome

On the morning of June 6, 1994, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a conspicuous remnant of the once great fleet of over 6,000 ships that made up the 1944 D-Day invasion armada, sat anchored off Point de Hoc. This icon of American heritage; this symbol of an era when a nation was baptized in the blood of its sons and daughters in the greatest global conflict for freedom, was the only 1944 Normandy ship to return for the 50th Commemorative Ceremonies.

Note: In 1988, the U.S. Merchant Marine of WWII finally received U.S. Veterans status.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.


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