Deals Struck at Nor-Shipping

By MarEx 2015-06-03 20:52:12

MarEx picked amongst the corporate news to give an update on the key industry deals announced this week at Nor-Shipping.

DNV GL and Jotun

DNV GL and the Norwegian paint manufacturer Jotun signed a cooperation agreement to work on improving hull performance. The project will bring together two performance management services, Jotun’s Hull Performance Solution and DNV GL’s ECO Insight solution, to collect and analyse data on hull degradation. This will enable customers to cut their fuel bills and reduce emissions.

Experts suggest that hull and propeller degradation accounts for up to 17 percent of the world fleet’s fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced hull coatings solutions or more regular hull and propeller cleaning are already widely accepted as effective preventive measures. However, there is no conclusive evidence showing which coating solution is the most effective or when and how often propellers need to be cleaned.

DNV GL will provide Jotun with hull and propeller performance computations based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models that include the complete operational range of the vessel. “This approach generates a much greater amount of baseline data than a conventional model tank test could deliver and provides customers with the information they need to prove that they reduced both fuel consumption and emissions to charterers for example,” explains Dr. Torsten Büssow, DNV GL’s Head of Fleet Performance Management.

ECO Insight computations also show how much resistance is added over time due to hull fouling. The portal further provides customers with the opportunity to benchmark measured hull and propeller degradation with other ships in their fleet as well as relevant peer group averages.

NTNU, Kongsberg Maritime, Maritime Robotics and DNV GL

The Department of Engineering Cybernetics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is leading a new project that will study collision avoidance for advanced ships. The AUTOSEA project is sponsored by the Research Council of Norway with DNV GL, Kongsberg Maritime and Maritime Robotics as industry partners.

The maritime industry has seen an increasing focus on safety and reliability over many decades. Still the accident and casualty rates are high compared to other industries and numerous studies indicate that the majority of these accidents are caused by human errors. Recent advances in self-driving cars and other autonomous systems have shown that it is possible to achieve a high degree of situation awareness and autonomy using advanced sensor technology in combination with cleverly designed algorithms. Using this type of technology on oceangoing vehicles, while keeping the human in the loop, may be a key in reducing these types of accidents.

The AUTOSEA project intends to focus on automated situation awareness using sensor fusion to reduce the risk of collisions between ships and vehicles when an increased level of autonomy is introduced. To improve detection capabilities also on small objects and better cover the close-range sector, the AUTOSEA project will, in addition to conventional maritime radar, include sensor types not normally used for such purposes in the maritime sector, like camera, infrared and LIDAR.

For the technology to be successful, it will be necessary to resolve conflicts between sensors, and to interpret and support decisions in situations of ambiguity. An increased degree of autonomy on oceangoing vehicles also needs to comply with maritime anti-collision regulations (COLREGs).

The project is divided into four areas: sensor fusion, collision avoidance, system architecture and experiments. Sensor fusion involves detection and tracking of moving objects during navigation and manoeuvring using imaging sensors, while collision avoidance will investigate both proactive and reactive methods. System architecture will consider reliability, handling of erroneous data and adaptation of strategies from the automotive and aerospace industries. Experiments will be used to validate and demonstrate COLREGs-compliant navigation and control and assessing detection capabilities using different sensors.

Palfinger Dreggen and Statoil

Palfinger Dreggen has been awarded contract for crane delivery to the Johan Sverdrup field including seven large offshore cranes. The cranes will have a lifting capacity of 60 tons and an outreach of approximately 60 meters and shall be delivered with full-electric drive. The electric drive contributes to both energy efficiency and reduced maintenance. Total lifecycle cost of electric cranes is considered to be lower than conventional electro-hydraulic solutions.

Volva Penta and Callenberg

Volvo Penta has announced an agreement to work on diesel electric projects with Callenberg Technology Group — furthering its commitment to providing sustainable power solutions.

In order to provide fuel-efficient, environmentally conscious products to its customers, Volvo Penta is exploring a host of sustainable power solutions. The agreement provides the framework for how the two companies will run projects and approach the market together.

Volvo Penta and Callenberg, both based in Gothenburg, Sweden, have worked together for many years; as experts in automation and controls, Callenberg has long provided Volvo Penta with electrical components for its marine gensets. But now the two companies will also work together to provide customers with Callenberg’s complete diesel electric solutions — powered by Volvo Penta marine gensets.

Callenberg manages onboard electrical energy for a wide range of maritime customers. Instead of burning diesel to produce electrical energy, customers can opt for a more energy-efficient solution — including diesel-electric systems — from Callenberg.

Ahrenkiel Steamship and Imtech Marine

Ahrenkiel Steamship GmbH & Co. KG and Radio Holland Germany GmbH, part of Imtech Marine, have agreed a long-term maintenance agreement for the entire Ahrenkiel Steamship fleet, which comprises nearly 60 vessels.

Based in Hamburg, Ahrenkiel Steamship Group is a leading, independent shipowner and provider of ship management services, with its roots dating back more than 150 years. In April 2014, the Christian F. Ahrenkiel Group merged with a joint venture established by the MPC Group, thereby pooling the fleet of Ahrenkiel Shipmanagement, MPC Steamship and Thien & Heyengathe fleet consisting of container vessels and bulk carriers.

Elkon and Sedef Shipyard

Elkon (Istanbul), a subsidiary of Imtech Marine, has been awarded a contract from Sedef Shipyard (Tuzla, Istanbul) for the delivery of the electrical equipment, propulsion system and services for two Canadian Seaspan hybrid ferries.

The two, 148.9 m, dual-fuelled (diesel and liquefied natural gas) ferries are propelled by a hybrid-electrical propulsion system and can accommodate up to 59 trailers. These state-of-the-art ferries will replace aging vessels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, while ensuring the highest level of efficiency, performance and reliability.

For these vessels Elkon will contribute substantially to reducing emissions, by being responsible for the design, specification, production and installation of the complete electrical system, including the hybrid electrical propulsion system, battery system and automation system.


Car Carrier on Fire off UK Coast

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-03 15:08:25

A fire was reported on a US-flagged car carrier Tuesday night about 75 miles north of London.

The 29,213 dwt, Courage, reported the fire to the UK Coastguard at Dover Maritime Rescue Coordination Center shortly before 10:00pm June 2. Crew members used an inbuilt CO2 system to extinguish the blaze on one of the ship’s decks.

A Dover helicopter was put on standby but was not needed. The Coastguard reports that the situation is currently under control, however the area where the CO2 was used is now inaccessible to the carrier’s crew.

Five Hampshire Fire and Rescue maritime response officers are aboard the ship to assess the situation. They will also ensure the carrier is safe to take bring into Southampton.

Counter-pollution staff are monitoring the carrier, but all reports claim the situation is contained.

The owner of the ship, American Roll-On Roll-Off Carriers, told the BBC that the ship was carrying both commercial and U.S. military vehicles and was headed for Southampton. The extent of damage to the ship’s cargo is still unknown.


Nor Shipping Looks to Maritime’s Future

By MarEx 2015-06-03 17:16:58

The opening conference for Nor Shipping 2015 addressed many key concerns for the industry that carries over 90% of the world’s trade. Delegates turned up to listen to the hard-hitting discussions that looked to, among other things, innovation, investment and transformative technology. Global geopolitical and economic scenarios were also debated.

New Norwegian maritime strategy

In her opening address, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg referred to her government’s newly announced national maritime strategy, saying that the Norwegian government wanted to establish a forward-looking framework for the industry.

“The industry has to invest in and adopt green technology. Norway will remain competitive by focusing on knowledge-based products. Our future lies in being smarter, not cheaper. That’s why we invest so heavily in innovation, research and development.”

Regarding regulation, Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland said, “The maritime industry is international. We need international rules and this takes time. But we have to be patient.”

Cyber security concerns

Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant US Coast Guard expressed concerns about cyber security, asking “Are we resilient enough?” This was echoed in the keynote address for the “What’s Next” roundtable by Espen Barth Eide, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.

“Everything today is cyber. Any future conflict you will see will be a cyber-conflict. As we become more connected, be aware that cyber space is a domain equally as important as sea, air and land,” he said. “Any strategic competition that happens in a physical sense will also happen in cyberspace. Every conflict you see in the future will be a cyber-conflict.”

He said it was very important to understand that, “We are living in a world where strategic competition is back,” referring to geopolitical conflicts around the world.

The conference also turned its attention to developing international security threats. The situations with China in the South China Sea and the conflict with Russia were both at the forefront of concern for conference participants.

“I see the situation becoming more risky,” Strategy and globalization expert Anil Gupta said regarding the Chinese conflict. “Neither side is backing down and this could easily become a more serious conflict.”

Similarly, Eide said that if the conflict with Russia continues much longer, it will have effects that will outlast Ukraine.

Big Data – Here to Stay

The Transformative Technology roundtable concluded with big data, connectivity and ship intelligence as the way forward.

“Are we ready to understand that we have to have open architecture integration platforms for everything that happens?” said Kongsberg Gruppen CEO Walter Qvam. “Hopefully, the times for the proprietary systems are over for good.”

“It is very important to find those who are willing to try new technologies,” said Krystyna Wojnarowicz, Co-Founder of MARSEC Inc. “ But they shouldn’t be left alone to do that. We need to think big and start small. Here is where we can look for support from local governments.”

Nor Shipping 2015 is taking place this week from June 02-05 in Oslo, Norway. The event is currently celebrating its 50 anniversary and will host visitors from over 80 different countries.


SAR Services Overwhelmed in Developing Nations

By MarEx 2015-06-03 17:23:01

Search and rescue (SAR) authorities and organizations in developing nations are under resourced and overwhelmed because of the size of the rivers, lakes and coastlines they have to monitor.

This is one of the main conclusions from a report on ferry accidents commissioned by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) – the UK based charity – presented at the World Maritime Rescue Congress (WMRC) in Bremerhaven on Wednesday and coinciding with the ferry disaster on the Yangtze River in China, one of the countries featured in the study.

The report, which examined 160 ferry accidents in 42 countries – from Australia and Bangladesh to Vietnam and Zambia – also found that ferry incidents in the European Union continued to occur at roughly the same rate in the past two decades but fatalities had markedly declined, largely due to better responses.

However, the same trend could not be seen in developing nations, where responses were the same as 15 years ago. At the time of the report being written, Myanmar has recorded their worst recorded ferry disaster in the past 15 years with more than 63 people losing their lives and volunteers leading rescue efforts with no mention of an official, organized SAR response.

The report, entitled ‘Ferry Accidents – The Challenge of Rescue’, has been produced for the IMRF by Kiersten Reid-Sander, an intern from the University of Southern Denmark.

She said “I hope the subsequent discussions of these research results will be of great benefit to all parties involved and will encourage SAR organizations that have not yet been involved with this project to offer their ideas, adding to the body of knowledge around global ferry fatalities.”

Bruce Reid, CEO of the IMRF added: “This is a comprehensive study that draws some disturbing conclusions about the capability of developing nations, in particular, to manage ferry accidents. We hope that by bringing the research to the attention of the appropriate Governments and agencies, action will be taken to reduce unnecessary loss of life.”

Reid-Sander, who produced the study to complement the findings of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) report, ‘Ferry Fatalities: Statistics and Causation of Major Accidents 2000-2014’, which identified 160 ferry accidents, with more than 18,000 fatalities, in that period, and asked a series of questions in relation to these accidents.

These included how SAR services became aware of the incident, how long responses took, how many people were saved, the resources available for the SAR effort, who coordinated it, the kind of challenges they faced and what other assistance was provided by other agencies.

She also checked whether the ferry had an evacuation plan in place and if so, how effectively it was carried out; whether anything positive came out of the rescue in terms of innovation and ideas and whether an official report or timeline of events were available.

It wasn’t possible to answer these questions for all 160 accidents and out of them all only 17 official reports were found of which 10 were in English. The number of passengers on board the ferries involved in accidents covered, ranged from 14 people on the Merinda in Australia in March 2007 to 3586 passengers on board the MV Spice Islander 1 in 2011.

It was apparent from the research that ferry capacity is increasing and when a mass rescue is necessary, resources are not necessarily available, with the number of victims often overwhelming rescuers. Inaccurate records of the number of passengers and crew on board ferries is a common challenge faced by rescuers in developed and developing nations.

Also, a lack of basic lifesaving and safety equipment on board ferries continues to cost lives even though, since 1914, the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) has specified appropriate standards for life saving equipment, ship construction and survivability as well as navigation equipment and practices and communications.

It was very clear that SAR resources are stretched. For 70 of the accidents reported by the WFSA other vessels or fishermen were first on the scene to rescue victims. Official rescuers, who may have had some SAR training, are mentioned for only 40 out of 159 accidents identified by the WFSA – for example, local police, fire service, navy, coast guard and so on. In 23 cases there were no rescuers so those who survived, were the ones who swam ashore.

Lack of communication in many countries means authorities do not become aware of an accident before it is too late. Ferry accidents in developing countries often happen in remote areas where difficult terrain and vast distances can debilitate the rescue response to an emergency.

Beyond constructive critical analysis, the report does cite two examples of initiatives that appear to be making a difference. The first has been introduced in Vietnam in response to the necessity of ferry travel combined with a vast river network and limited official SAR resources.

The “Safety First” ferry stations manned by volunteers with first aid training and river rescue skills have been welcomed by local communities with passengers no longer fearing for their safety when crossing the river on their way home. A similar initiative has reportedly been in place for many years in Nigeria where families are in charge of rivers, leading search and rescue operations.

The second has emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations (UN) unmanned aerial vehicle was able to spot a ferry sinking and then remain at the scene, searching for the survivors and providing situational awareness. This helped the subsequent lifesaving operation that was launched by providing real time imagery to support reaction to incidents.

The principal lessons from the report are that developing nations would do well to improve response to ferry incidents and, as a consequence, all maritime casualties by increasing communications capability in the event of a disaster, by employing, where possible, newer technology; by improving training and exercises by Government agencies and voluntary organizations and collaborating on SAR with neighboring nations as well as the international community.

The full report is available here.


Human Trafficking: The Giant Ocean Case

By MarEx 2015-06-03 17:39:39

USAID’s Counter Trafficking in Persons II (CTIP) Program launched its video “The Giant Ocean Case: Challenges in Securing Justice for Exploited Fishermen.” The 30-minute video exposes the human trafficking ring behind the former recruitment agency, Giant Ocean International Limited, convicted for human trafficking in Cambodia.

It is one of the few cases worldwide where a licensed recruiting agency has been prosecuted under TIP laws. The video illustrates the links among the Cambodian agency, Singapore and Taiwan and the challenges to prosecute all parties involved and to assist the victims, reports Human Rights At Sea.


APMT cites Callao drug trade concerns

The new electronic roster system opposed by dockworkers in Peru’s Port of Callao is being used to combat drug trafficking, according to facility operator APM Terminals (APMT).
APMT recently fired 130 of approximately 600 dockworkers involved in the strike, which began on 13 May at APMT’s general

Cruise Ship Rescue Continues, but Hope Dwindles

By MarEx 2015-06-03 12:56:01

“Life is greater than the heavens, and the burden on your shoulders is massive, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a group of military divers coordinating the Eastern Star cruise ship rescue operations.

Rescuers, including 180 navy divers and 100 rescue boats, scoured the search area through the night Tuesday in hopes of finding more than 400 missing people, mostly thought to be elderly. The rescue efforts have been complicated by heavy rains and fast currents. There is also the fear that rashly cutting holes in the hull could burst air pockets keeping people alive.

“Although there’s lots of work to do, saving people is still being put first,” Transport Ministry spokesman Xu Chengguang told reporters.

Only 14 people, including the ship’s captain, have been found alive since the ship capsized in a freak tornado on Monday night with 456 people on board. Just 29 bodies have been recovered.

The Hubei military region commander said on state broadcaster CCTV that “We will do everything we can to rescue everyone trapped in there, no matter if they’re still alive or not and we will treat them as our own families.”

Local officials in Nanjing have setup a command center in a hotel where victim’s families can await news on their missing family members. But some relatives were already bracing for the worst.

“Yesterday I still had some hope. The boat is big and the water hadn’t gone all the way in. Now, it’s been more than 40 hours. I ask you, what do I have left?” said Wang Feng, a 35-year-old wedding photographer whose father was on the ship.

The ship was on an 11-day voyage upstream from the city of Nanjing, near Shanghai, to Chongqing when it sunk.

While the People’s Daily said the ship passed inspections by authorities in Chongqing last month, in 2013 it was investigated and held by authorities due to defects, according to documents from a local maritime watchdog.

The Nanjing Maritime Safety Administration investigated Eastern Star as part of a safety campaign into passenger ferries and tour boats and held the ship along with five other vessels, according to three documents on the bureau’s website. The documents did not give details on the nature of the defects but said the issues were reported to the Chongqing maritime safety bureau.

The search area has been expanded up to 220 km (135 miles) downstream, state television said, suggesting that bodies could have been swept far away from where the ship foundered.

The death toll in the Eastern Star disaster may surpass the infamous 2014 sinking of the Sewol Ferry, in which over 300 people – mostly children- died.


U.S. Mulls Lifting Oil Export Ban

By Reuters 2015-06-03 09:53:10

The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives’ energy panel said lifting the 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports would benefit consumers and the country’s allies, a move that could boost support for legislation in the chamber.

“Oil exports can be a win for the American people and a win for our allies,” said Representative Fred Upton of Michigan in prepared remarks at a hearing.

Allowing exports should be “on this Committee’s agenda this year,” because of the potential to create jobs by expanding the market for U.S. oil, Upton said.

He did not say whether he would sponsor a bill introduced by fellow Republican Joe Barton on the panel, which currently has 40 co-sponsors in the 435-member House.

Upton’s words could clear the path for more representatives to support the bill to overturn the trade restriction Congress enacted in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo.

Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, introduced a bill to overturn the ban last month. It has 13 co-sponsors, including one Democrat.

Oil producers eager to ship to markets in Asia and Europe say the ban has led to a glut of U.S. sweet crude that could eventually choke the domestic drilling boom, cutting jobs in the sector.

George Baker, head of the Producers for American Crude Oil Exports, said in a statement that lifting the ban would benefit U.S. consumers, workers and the overall economy.

The Obama administration took steps last year to hasten exports of minimally processed light oil called condensate. But it is unlikely to take the major step of fully lifting the ban. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has pointed out several times that the United States still imports millions of barrels of oil per day.

Jay Hauck, the director of the CRUDE coalition, a group of four refiners who oppose lifting the ban, said removing the trade restriction could raise domestic gasoline prices.


IMO Confronts Passenger Safety Failings

By MarEx 2015-06-03 11:22:05

IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu expressed supreme sorrow for the victims and families of the Yangtze River ship disaster in his opening remarks to the Maritime Safety Committee. The sinking of the 456 passenger cruise boat highlights a key element that the committee will address this week: safety on short-sea passenger voyages.

Since the beginning of 2014, more than 20 ships carrying passengers on domestic short-sea voyages have suffered severe accidents, with the loss of nearly 1,000 lives. One of the most notable was the capsizing and sinking of the ro-ro passenger ferry Sewol in April 2014, which resulted in the death of over 300 passengers. The Norman Atlantic another ro-ro ferry is a second recent example. The late 2014 incident claimed nine lives, while the bodies of nineteen other passengers were never recovered.

Sekimizu noted that much progress has been made in ensuring passenger safety aboard large passenger vessels. In particular, the IMO has put provisions in place in light of the increasing size of ships. However, passenger shipping in the domestic sector has not received the same level of attention. “Unfortunately, while the safety standards on passenger ships in international voyages has advanced considerably, the same cannot be said for passenger shipping in the domestic sector,” Sekimizu said.

He further went on to add that the IMO’s top priority should be reducing the number of lives lost at sea by half, with the primary aim of saving the lives of passengers as well as those of seafarers. Achieving that degree of safety on domestic passenger ferries will take a collaboration between the IMO and state governments. In Sekimizu’s proposal SOLAS would cover the safety standards of domestic passenger ships.

“The travelling public has every right to expect that safety standards on domestic passenger ships should not only be the highest practicable but also match these to be expected on passenger ships operating on international voyages,” the Secretary-General said, adding, “I firmly believe that the currently unacceptable level of casualties and incidents involving domestic ferries can be avoided if adequate laws, regulations and rules are developed and effectively implemented and enforced.”

The 95 session of the MSC is meeting June 3-12 in London. It will additionally address adoption of a mandatory safety code for ships using gases or other low-flashpoint fuels, consideration of cyber threats to maritime security and unsafe mixed migration by sea.