Reset Error Caused Accidental Lifeboat Release

By MarEx 2015-05-19 23:12:14

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its report into the accidental lifeboat release that occurred on the Maltese-registered bulk Carrier Aquarosa last year.

On March 1, 2014, Aquarosa was transiting the Indian Ocean en route to Fremantle, Western Australia, when its freefall lifeboat was inadvertently released during a routine inspection. A ship’s engineer, the only person in the lifeboat at the time, was seriously injured in the accident.

About five hours after its release, the ship’s crew recovered the lifeboat and resumed the voyage. On 8 March, the ship berthed in Kwinana, near Fremantle, and the injured engineer was transferred to hospital.

The Bureau found that when the lifeboat on-load release was last operated before the accident, it was not correctly reset. Consequently, when the engineer operated the manual release pump to inspect the equipment, the incorrectly-reset release tripped unexpectedly. The simulation wires, designed to hold the lifeboat during a simulated release, failed and the lifeboat launched.

The investigation found that although there was an indicator to show that the hook was in the correct position, there was nothing to indicate that the tripping mechanism was correctly reset. It was also found that the design and approval process for the lifeboat’s simulated release system had not taken into account effects of shock loading on the simulation wires.

Ship Manager Takes Action

Aquarosa’s shipboard procedures were revised shortly after the accident. Changes included the introduction of a requirement to notify the officer of the watch before entering the lifeboat. Notices were posted at the on-load release hydraulic pump positions, stating that the pumps must not be operated without the master’s permission.

Via a circular, Aquarosa’s managers, V.Ships, notified all ships in its fleet of the accident and its internal investigation findings. The circular also required the masters of all ships fitted with the same type of on-load release, to similarly revise the instructions for its operation and resetting. In addition, masters were required to review the simulation wire maintenance and inspection regime.

Manufacturer Makes Modification

Aquarosa was fitted with a Jiangsu Jiaoyan Marine Equipment Company (JJMEC), model JY-FN-5.80, twenty-seven person fiber-reinforced plastic freefall lifeboat that was manufactured in November 2009. The lifeboat was 5.80 m long, had a beam of 2.55 m and weighed 5,460 kg5 with a full passenger and stores load.

Safety action by the manufacturer included placing alignment marks on the release segment of new on-load releases mechanisms, to indicate when they are correctly reset. A lock-out ‘maintenance pin’ is also being provided for all new on-load releases to ensure the release cannot trip while maintenance is being performed.

Targeted Safety Checks

On March 17, 2014, the Bureau contacted V.Ships, the ship’s flag State Malta, Bureau Veritas, the lifeboat manufacturer, the International Association of Classification Societies and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and advised them of the ATSB’s preliminary findings. The parties were asked to identify ships equipped with similar freefall lifeboat arrangements and to advise operators of those ships to take safety action to prevent a similar accident.

In response, AMSA informed its surveyors of the accident and the ATSB’s preliminary findings, and asked them to pay particular attention to these issues during flag and port state inspections.

The full report is available here.


Thailand: No Kra Canal deal

A Thai government official has denied that the country has signed any pact with China to build a canal across southern Thailand.
“It’s nothing to do with the government,” Chula Sukmanop, Director-General of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning told IHS Maritime on 19 May.

China Exempts New Energy Ships from Tax

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-19 20:48:14

China has announced that “new energy” cars and ships will be exempted from vehicle and vessel tax, reports China Daily.

Cars exemptions include pure electric commercial cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel-cell commercial cars. Vehicle and vessel tax will also be halved for users of energy-saving cars and ships, said a government Department of Finance statement. Specific details for shipping have not yet been made clear.

China became the largest global energy consumer in 2011, and the move is a bid to reduce energy consumption and air pollution.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, studies conducted in Hong Kong and Shenzhen demonstrate that shipping is a significant source of air pollution and health problems, particularly in port cities. In 2010, China saw an estimated 1.2 million premature deaths caused by ambient air pollution. One container ship cruising along the coast of China emits as much diesel pollution as 500,000 new Chinese trucks in a single day, says the council.

However, the energy sector is a major contributor to air pollution in China. As a result of high coal consumption, China is the world’s leading energy-related CO2 emitter, releasing 8,106 million metric tons of CO2 in 2012. China’s government plans to reduce carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit of GDP) by 17 percent between 2010 and 2015 and energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP) by 16 percent during the same period, according to the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).

Coal supplied the majority (nearly 66 percent) of China’s total energy consumption in 2012. The second-largest source was petroleum and other liquids, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. Although China has made an effort to diversify its energy supplies, hydroelectric sources (8 percent), natural gas (5 percent), nuclear power (nearly 1 percent) and other renewables (more than 1 percent) account for relatively small shares of China’s energy consumption.

The Chinese government plans to cap coal use to 62 percent of total primary energy consumption by 2020 in an effort to reduce heavy air pollution that has afflicted certain areas of the country in recent years. In the energy sector, the government is moving toward more market-based pricing schemes, energy efficiency and pollution-controlling measures.


Norwegian Dawn Runs Aground in Bermuda

By MarEx 2015-05-19 19:46:51

The Norwegian Cruise Line ship Norwegian Dawn ran aground on a reef on Tuesday after leaving Bermuda but there were no reports of any injuries, U.S. media reports said.

The Norwegian Dawn was returning to Boston with 2,675 passengers and 1,062 crew, the reports said. In a statement cited by media, Norwegian Cruise Line said all guests and crew were safe.

The company said the ship had been leaving King’s Wharf, Bermuda, at about 5:00 p.m. when it temporarily lost power.

“The ship’s propulsion was affected and, at which time, the vessel made contact with the channel bed,” the statement said.

“The ship has full power and onboard services continue as scheduled. The ship’s team is currently assessing the situation and we will provide more information as it becomes available.”

Photos posted on Twitter by people onboard showed passengers peering over the rail at what looks like coral below in the bright blue sea, as well as a small boat apparently launched to check for damage and a tug boat approaching.

“Ship shuddered, then stopped really fast,” wrote one Twitter user, Rachel Hansen. “The captain said we won’t be moving for a while.”

Earlier this month, Norwegian Dawn returned to Bermuda prematurely after a passenger took ill and the captain decided to divert the ship.

Picture Credit: Port Bemuda Webcam on Facebook


India and Korea Boost Shipbuilding Ties

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-19 19:08:13

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) during his visit to South Korea this week. Modi is looking to boost ties between Indian shipyards and HHI to develop India’s shipbuilding industry.

HHI is reported to be the only Korean shipbuilding company the Prime Minister visited during his two-day stay. During the meeting held at the HHI headquarters in Ulsan, Modi and the HHI management discussed various ways to expand cooperation on naval defense, LNG carrier construction and shipbuilding technology.

Modi has shown particular interest in HHI’s technological prowess in building a wide range of naval vessels as well as high value-added vessels such as LNG carriers, said HHI in a statement.

In the foreseeable future, India’s state-run gas company GAIL is likely to place an order of maximum 11 LNG carriers to haul LNG from the U.S. to India for 20 years starting in 2017. Additionally, HHI recently signed an MOU with India-based engineering major Larson & Toubro on technological support for construction of LNG carriers.

HHI has undertaken a total of 30 offshore projects for India, beginning with the Mumbai offshore oil platform project in 1982. Also, the company has operated construction equipment production lines in Pune since 2008.

Prior to his visit to HHI, Modi spoke with South Korean President Park Geun-hye about his desire for Korean companies to participate in his “Make it India” campaign, citing defense and shipbuilding as key areas. “Our decision to establish a joint working group on shipbuilding reflects our seriousness to cooperate in this area,” said Modi.

While in South Korea, Modi also announced the establishment of a channel Korea Plus to facilitate Korean companies’ investment and operations in India.


U.S. LNG Exports Slated for Chinese Market

By Reuters 2015-05-19 17:06:22

Chinese buyers are eyeing long-term supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. company Cheniere Energy, an official from the firm said on Tuesday, in what would be the first LNG deal between the world’s two biggest energy users.

Cheniere Energy is set to become the first U.S. LNG exporter, with shipments to start by the end of this year. However, no Chinese companies have signed up for any U.S. LNG cargoes so far.

That could change soon: “There’s a lot of interest from Chinese buyers for long-term LNG volume, especially for 2020 onwards,” said Nicolas Zanen, Vice President for Asia at Cheniere Marketing Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere Energy Inc.

Zanen said that some Chinese buyers had already begun moving to secure supplies, although without providing any details.

“The Chinese market is a very interesting market for us. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future we are delivering LNG to China. And not necessarily small buyers, big buyers as well,” said Zanen on the sidelines of the Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, declining to give more information.

Zanen made the comments following recent controversy in the United States about American companies contracting to ship LNG supplies to China.

The United States, which is seeing demand for new exports despite an emerging glut, is set to become the world’s third biggest exporter of LNG by 2020, behind Qatar and Australia.

Australia’s LNG export capacity is set to more than triple to 86 million tonnes a year before 2020, compared to Qatar’s annual 77 million tonnes and U.S. expectations of selling 61.5 million tonnes per year by 2020.

Due to soaring output and cheaper oil, Asia’s spot LNG prices LNG-AS have fallen by almost two-thirds since February of last year.


Galley Worker Found Dead by Kitchen Knives

By MarEx 2015-05-19 15:48:37

A Filipino sailor was found dead Sunday evening on the containership MV Emvella when it reached dock at Malta Freeport.

According to local news reports, the man was found in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds on his body. Two kitchen knives were found next to the man’s corpse. The man was a Philippines citizen and worked in the ship’s galley.

The MV Emvella is registered in Malta and had departed from Turkey before the incident took place. Police are currently investigating the crime and coroners are conducting an autopsy this week to further determine the circumstances of the man’s death.


World’s First Electrical Car Ferry in Operation

By MarEx 2015-05-19 15:35:44

The world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity in a standard Norwegian household.

Built in conjunction with shipbuilder Fjellstrand, Siemens installed the complete electric propulsion system and put up charging stations with lithium-ion batteries which are charged from hydro power. With the change to battery, shipowner Norled is reducing the cost of fuel by up to 60 percent.

The Norled ferry Ampere represents a milestone on the road to operating completely emission-free ferries along Norway’s long coastline, with at least 50 other routes currently able to sustain battery-operated vessels.

Because the power grid in the region is relatively weak, Siemens and Norled decided to install three battery packs: one lithium-ion battery on board the ferry, and one at each pier to serve as a buffer. The 260-kWh-units supply electricity to the ferry while it waits. Afterward, the battery slowly recoups all of this energy from the grid until the ship comes back again to drop off passengers and recharge.

Charging stations are housed in small buildings about the size of newsstands. The ship’s onboard batteries are recharged directly from the grid at night when the ferry is not in use. Each battery pack corresponds to the effect of 1600 standard car batteries.

The Norled ferry will consume around two million kWh per year, whereas a traditional diesel ferry consumes at least one million liters of diesel a year and emits 570 tons of carbon dioxide and 15 metric tons of nitrogen oxides.

“We are proud to operate the world’s first electric ferry”, says Sigvald Breivik, Technical director of Norled. “Siemens has been a great partner in finding innovative and sustainable solutions for our environment.”

On board the ferry, Siemens installed its electric propulsion system BlueDrive PlusC. It includes a battery and steering system, thruster control for the propellers, an energy management system and an integrated alarm system. The integrated automation systems control and monitor the machineries and auxiliaries on the ferry and are connected via Profibus to all other subsystems.

“We are both optimistic and excited about this technology and how it will help shape the future of environmentally friendly maritime technology,” says Mario Azar, CEO of the Siemens Business Unit Oil & Gas and Marine. “We were pleased to apply our expertise in this field including electric propulsion systems to such a worthwhile project.”

Unlike many electric cars, the emission-free ferry was developed from the ground up. The ferry, which is 80 meters long and 20 meters wide, is driven by two electric motors, each with an output of 450 kilowatts. It is made exclusively of light aluminum rather than the steel normally used in shipbuilding. This makes the ferry only half as heavy as a conventional ferry, despite its ten ton batteries and a capacity for 360 passengers and 120 vehicles. An aluminum hull also has double the lifetime as steel hull, which leads to lower maintenance costs.

Ship owner Norled operates on the ferry link across Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway. The fully electric ferry travels six kilometers across the fjord 34 times a day, with each trip taking around 20 minutes.

The unique solution is a result of a competition that Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration launched in 2010. Batteries are expected to become considerably more efficient and less expensive in the next few years, which tip the scales further away from diesel as the most popular fuel source.

The first electric car and passenger ferry in the world, equipped by Siemens in cooperation with shipbuilder Fjellstrand, has been taken into operation. With three battery packs, one on board and one at each pier, it functions completely emission free.

With its 80 meter length and 20 meters width, the ferry transports up to 120 cars and 360 passengers. It is made exclusively of light aluminum rather than the steel normally used in shipbuilding. This makes Ampere only half as heavy as a conventional ferry.

The batteries are charged from hydro power. This battery pack onboard, like the ones on each pier, corresponds to the effect of 1600 standard car batteries. The charging at each peer takes only ten minutes.

The ship’s genset, switchboard, propulsion and thruster control systems are fully integrated to ensure seamless ship operation.

Charging stations are housed in small buildings about the size of newsstands.

The charging system from Siemens includes a battery system, a variable frequency drive, transformers for onshore electricity and high-voltage systems, as well as software and signal system for the charging system. In addition, the compony delivered a radio link system that will steer the flow of signals between the ferry and its charging stations.

The 260-kWh battery units supply electricity to the ferry while it waits. Afterward, the battery slowly recoups all of this energy from the grid until the ship comes back again to drop off passengers and recharge.

Siemens put up charging stations with lithium-ion batteries which are charged from renewable energy, namely hydro power. With the change to battery, ship owner Norled is reducing the cost of fuel by up to 60 percent.