After 28-Year Wait, Corpus Christi May Fund its Own Dredging

The VLCC Anne enters the Corpus Christi ship channel, 2017 (image courtesy Port of Corpus Christi) By MarEx 2018-03-28 21:17:00 The Port of Corpus Christi's board has voted to issue up to $400 million in debt if it finds that it needs to self-finance the dredging of its ship channel to 54 feet deep. In […]

Freighter and Boxship Collide Off Denmark

All images courtesy Danish Defense (Forsvaret)



2018-03-28 14:02:00

On Tuesday, the 25,000 dwt container ship Delphis Gdansk and the 37,000 dwt freighter BBC Neptune collided in the Great Belt near Kalundborg, Denmark. Government response vessels and aircraft are on scene, according to Danish Defense (Forsvaret), and no injuries or pollution were reported.

As of Wednesday, the two ships were out of the main shipping lane and the situation was under control. Salvors are working to recover lost containers from the water to ensure safety of navigation.

AIS data published by VesselFinder appear to show that the Gdansk and Neptune were on reciprocal courses in the minutes leading up to the collision. In a complex interaction between three vessels, the Gdansk appears to have turned to pass ahead of another ship, the bulker Western Boheme, then altered course and turned to pass down the Boheme's port side instead. The BBC Neptune was close behind the Boheme's starboard quarter, and she appears to have altered course to port as the Gdansk turned to pass the Boheme.

Photos from the scene appear to show an anchor chain embedded in the Gdansk's port side amidships and the Neptune's starboard side anchor missing. Crumpled containers rest on the Neptune's starboard side towards the bow. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Marine Pilot, Captain Handed Suspended Sentences Over ‘City of Rotterdam’ Collision on River Humber

city of rotterdam ship collision
Damage to the City of Rotterdam after colliding with the Danish-flagged Primula Seaways on the River Humber on December, 3, 2015. Photo: MAIB

A former ship captain and a marine pilot have each been handed four-month suspended sentences in connection with the collision between the vehicle carrier City of Rotterdam and a DFDS roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry on the River Humber in December 2015.

Gehan Sirimanne, a marine pilot who is now retired, and Ruslan Uromov, a former captain, were sentenced at Hull Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to charges of causing a collision, the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency reported.

Ruslan Uromov was charged with conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals, in violation of section 58(2) and (5) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. Gehan Sirimanne was charged with misconduct by pilot endangering ship, contrary to section 21 of the Pilotage Act 1987.

Both men pleaded guilty to the offenses and were sentenced to four months, suspended for 18 months. The pilot, Sirimanne, was also ordered to pay £45,000 in fines while Uromov was ordered to pay £750.

The incident occurred at 7 p.m. local time on December 3, 2015, after Sirimanne, who was then working as a marine pilot for Associated British Ports, boarded the car carrier City of Rotterdam at Immingham Dock. Sirimanne was due to navigate the Panama-registered car carrier along the River Humber to the mouth of the river, where full control was then to be handed over to Captain Urumov, who would take the vessel to sea.

Humber Vessel Tracking Service (VTS) monitored the City of Rotterdam track which showed that she was straying into the north side of the shipping channel and into the Hawke Anchorage.

Her passage also brought her into the track of vessels traveling west along the River Humber, including the DFDS car and passenger Primula Seaways which was traveling inbound along the channel. Despite alerts from VTS and the captain of the Primula Seaways, the City of Rotterdam continued its passage along the wrong side of the shipping lane, eventually colliding head-on with the ferry.

No injuries were reported, but both vessels sustained major damage.

“In passing sentence, Judge HHJ Richardson said this represented the destruction of their professional reputation as professional mariners which had been eradicated by this criminal act,” the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a press release.

Michael Groark, a surveyor in charge for the Maritime & Coastguard’s Hull office commented, “This shows that the rules are there for a reason. It was a serious collision which could have resulted in serious injury. Both of these men ignored several alerts warning them they were on the wrong track and put not only themselves but others using the channel correctly, at risk.”

During its investigation of the incident, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch determined that pilot error resulting from “relative motion illusion” was the likely cause of the collision.

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Growing Energy Needs Met by Renewables and Gas

By MarEx 2017-11-13 19:36:11

Over the next 25 years, the world's growing energy needs will be met firstly by renewables and natural gas, as fast-declining costs turn solar power into the cheapest source of new electricity generation, according to the World Energy Outlook 2017.

The Outlook, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) flagship publication, finds that over the next two decades the global energy system will be reshaped by four major forces: the U.S. is set to become the undisputed global oil and gas leader; renewables are being deployed rapidly thanks to falling costs; the share of electricity in the energy mix is growing; and China's new economic strategy takes it on a cleaner growth mode.

Global energy demand is expected to be 30 percent higher by 2040 - but still half as much as it would have been without efficiency improvements.

The boom years for coal are over - in the absence of large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage - and rising oil demand will slow down but will not be reversed before 2040, even as electric-car sales rise steeply.

Solar PV is set to lead capacity additions, pushed by deployment in China and India, meanwhile in the European Union, wind is expected to become the leading source of electricity soon after 2030.

A strong emphasis on cleaner energy technologies, in large part to address poor air quality, is catapulting China to world leader in wind, solar, nuclear and electric vehicles and the source of more than a quarter of projected growth in natural gas consumption. As demand growth in China slows, other countries continue to push overall global demand higher - with India expected to account for almost one-third of global growth to 2040.

"Solar is forging ahead in global power markets as it becomes the cheapest source of electricity generation in many places, including China and India," said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director. "Electric vehicles (EVs) are in the fast lane as a result of government support and declining battery costs, but it is far too early to write the obituary of oil, as growth for trucks, aviation, petrochemicals, shipping and aviation keep pushing demand higher. The U.S. becomes the undisputed leader for oil and gas production for decades, which represents a major upheaval for international market dynamics."

The shale oil and gas revolution in the U.S. continues thanks to the remarkable ability of producers to unlock new resources in a cost-effective way. By the mid-2020s, the U.S. is projected to become the world's largest LNG exporter and a net oil exporter by the end of that decade.

This is having a major impact on oil and gas markets, challenging incumbent suppliers and provoking a major reorientation of global trade flows, with consumers in Asia expected to account for more than 70 percent of global oil and gas imports by 2040. LNG from the U.S. is also accelerating a major structural shift towards a more flexible and globalized gas market.

While carbon emissions have flattened in recent years, the report finds that global energy-related CO2 emissions will increase slightly by 2040, but at a slower pace than in last year's projections. Still, this is far from enough to avoid severe impacts of climate change.

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Pacific Drilling Files for Bankruptcy

By MarEx 2017-11-13 20:10:31

Pacific Drilling has become the latest offshore industry firm to reorganize its finances through a bankruptcy proceeding: Its Chapter 11 filing follows the likes of drillers Paragon Offshore, Vantage Drilling, Hercules and Seadrill, in addition to OSV operators like Tidewater and Gulfmark. 

Pacific intends to use the U.S. bankruptcy process to restructure some $3 billion in outstanding debt. The firm says that the legal proceedings will not affect its ongoing operations, nor the flow of payments to employees and suppliers. "Throughout the Chapter 11 process, we anticipate using our strong cash position to meet all ongoing obligations to our employees, customers [and] vendors," Pacific CEO Paul Reese said in a statement.

The company has about $350 million in liquid assets on hand to make good on these obligations. However, its third-quarter results show that it lost about $400 million over the first nine months of 2017. 

Among other issues to be decided during the restructuring, Pacific has a long-running dispute with Samsung Heavy Industries over the cancellation of the drillship Pacific Zonda. Pacific asserts that Samsung failed to deliver the rig as required by contract and is seeking to recover $181 million in payments, plus interest. Samsung counters that Pacific improperly rejected the delivery and is seeking the remaining $350 million final payment. The dispute potentially makes Samsung the largest of Pacific's unsecured creditors.

Pacific has a small and relatively young fleet of drillships, all built between 2010 and 2014, and it may be better positioned than some rivals to emerge from bankruptcy as a strong, competitive firm. This could make it an ideal target for acquisition, but in the past, Pacific has indicated that it has no desire to be purchased by a larger drilling contractor. 

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Photos: Giant ‘Blue Whale II’ Drilling Rig Nearing Completion in China

CIMC Raffles started the final series of sea trials for the ultra-deepwater drilling rig Blue Whale II in preparation for its delivery later this year.

Together with its award-winning sister rig Blue Whale I, which was completed in February, the two rigs are among the most advanced offshore drilling rigs in the world – designed to operate in 12,000 feet of water and drill to a depth of 50,000 feet.

The rigs were constructed based on the Frigstad D90 design and are equipped with a dynamic positioning 3 system.

They were originally ordered by Frigstad Offshore, but in 2016 the company decided to sell the newbuilds to a subsidiary of CIMC amid the prolonged downturn in the offshore oil and gas industry. 

Blue Whale I recently finished drilling its first successful deep-water well for methane hydrate in the South China Sea on behalf of China National Petroleum Corporation.

Blue Whale II rig
Photo: CIMC
blue whale II drilling rig
Photo: CIMC
Blue Whale 1 drilling rig
Blue Whale I. Photo: CIMC

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Port State Control Regimes Consider Doing Away with Famous ‘White, Grey and Black Lists’

general cargo ship
Photo: by jdross75 / Shutterstock

The world’s Port State Control regimes are considering doing away with the famous white, grey and black lists for ranking flag states’ performance records from best to worst. 

The proposed change is among a handful of recommendations made as a result of a recent Port State Control workshop at IMO headquarters last month that aimed to strengthen collaboration among the various regimes and the IMO.

Port State Control regimes carry out inspections on ships to monitor and enforce compliance with international regulations. Since the first regional PSC agreement was signed in 1982 (the Paris MoU), the IMO has since supported the establishment of a global network of eight additional regional PSC regimes.

The nine regimes now cover Europe and the North Atlantic (Paris MoU); Asia and the Pacific (Tokyo MoU); Latin America (Acuerdo de Viña del Mar); Caribbean (Caribbean MoU); West and Central Africa (Abuja MoU); Black Sea (Black Sea MoU); Mediterranean Sea (Mediterranean MoU); Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MoU); and Persian Gulf (Riyadh MoU). The United States Coast Guard maintains the tenth PSC regime.

During last month’s workshop, participants shared experiences, highlighted new projects and approved a wide range of recommendations aimed at further collaboration, harmonization and information sharing among the various regimes.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes coming from the workshop was an agreement to consider moving away from “black/grey/white lists”, and towards expanding an individual ship risk profile approach.

In particular, the workshop noted the growing number of PSC regimes implementing targeted inspections mechanisms, as well as incentive schemes, so that ships found in compliance with international standards are subject to fewer inspections, while substandard ships are targeted more.

Other recommendations included that PSC regimes consider developing and maintaining a coordinated list of under-performing ships and a common platform to better allow the exchange of information among PSC regimes.

You can find more about the outcome of the workshop on the IMO website

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Innovation Will Deliver 25 Percent Fuel Savings

By MarEx 2017-11-07 19:11:57

Inventor Chris Kinman has designed and patented three bubble systems that work in different ways to dramatically reduce the density of water lying directly ahead of a ship. He claims they can reduce fuel consumption on large cargo ships by 25 to 35 percent, at the same time boosting speed by 20 to 30 percent.  

The systems are unlike existing bubble lubrication systems, because Kinman's system focuses on the bow of the ship, from keel to load line, to reduce the mass of water that must be accelerated and pushed to the sides as the ship sails.

“A ship spends a lot of energy making a heavy bow wave and then trying to climb it,” says Kinman. “And then spends even more energy pushing its own weight of seawater aside every minute of a voyage to make way for the hull.”

On a very large, fully loaded ship traveling at 16 knots, the mass of water pushed aside every 60 seconds is something in the order of 200,000 tons, he says, calculated as “displacement loaded” multiplied by the “number of hull lengths” traversed in 60 seconds. 

“It is not difficult to see that a lot of power produced by the propulsion engines is used to push great masses of seawater aside to make way for the ship. This happens over and over, every 60 seconds for the entire duration of a ships voyage. A lot of fuel is wasted pushing some eight billion tons of seawater aside during a 31 day voyage,” says Kinman.

While a bulbous bow neutralizes the “hill climb” effect, the ship must still push huge masses of seawater to each side.

In one of Kinman's system, the device is a semi-guided bubble system comprised of a stack of horizontal plates deployed on the bow, like a deck of playing cards, arranged with spaces between them. These spaces form a stack of open front ducts which guide compressed air bubbles horizontally and push water along in the same direction. The forward movement of the ship puts pressure on the bubble front, confining it within the ducts. The bubbles in the ducts push seawater around the bow to the sides, instead of the ship doing it. 

The air is blasted along the ducts towards the stern where it accelerates the flow of seawater in a laminar flow which is exhausted at the trailing end. Like a jet engine, this underwater exhaust contributes to propulsion effort, and the energy spent in compressing the air is recovered. The spent bubbles cloak as much as 60 percent of the side of the hull and provide collateral bubble lubrication, which is a secondary benefit.

“This is not about bubble lubrication,” says Kinman. “The primary objective is to reduce the density of seawater that lies ahead of the ship by foaming the sea with an dense field of bubbles. This rapidly creates a low density hole ahead of the ship which it glides into with reduced propulsion effort.

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Maersk Line Stays in Profit Despite Cyber Attack

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ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – JUNE 12, 2017: The ultra large container ship Madrid Maersk arrives at the Maasvlakte, Port of Rotterdam for its maiden call on June 12, 2017.

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By Corine van Kapel / Shutterstock

Three U.S. Aircraft Carriers to Stage Drill as Trump Visits Asia

uss nimitz in singapore strait
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits the Singapore Strait, November 2017. U.S. Navy Photo 

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By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups will exercise together in the Western Pacific in the coming days in a rare show of force as President Donald Trump visits Asia with warnings about the nuclear threat from North Korea, U.S. officials say.

U.S. officials have previously said the drill was under consideration and that planning was underway. The decision to soon go forward with the exercise in the Western Pacific has not been previously published.

The drill will include the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, the Ronald Reagan, the Theodore Roosevelt and their accompanying warships. Three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups have not exercised together in the region since 2007.

The four officials who discussed the drill with Reuters spoke on condition of anonymity, and did not disclose the precise date or location of the exercise. The Pentagon and the Navy’s Pacific Fleet declined comment on future operations.

Reuters was not aware of any plans for Trump to visit the carriers.

Trump has ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs since starting a 12-day trip to Asia on Sunday. Speaking in Tokyo on Monday, Trump renewed his warning that the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over.

The U.S. leader, who will visit South Korea on Tuesday, has rattled some allies with his vow to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to defend the United States or its allies, and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission. Kim has called Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

The last time that three U.S. carrier strike groups exercised together was in 2007 during exercise Valiant Shield, when the Nimitz, along with the John C. Stennis and Kitty Hawk carrier strike groups participated in drills near Guam.

The drills included a “joint photo exercise” that showed 15 ships and 17 aircraft from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, including a B-52 bomber, according to the Navy’s website.

Such large-scale drills serve as a potent reminder of the U.S. ability to rapidly mobilize military force, a capability that the Trump administration has been keen to emphasize as Pyongyang races ahead with tests to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.

Carriers frequently transit in and out of the Pacific and events where two of them are together are more common. U.S. defense officials noted recently that the presence of the three U.S. carriers in the region was reassuring allies, even though it was long scheduled.

“It does demonstrate a capability that no other nation in the world can do,” Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr said on Oct. 26.

The CIA has said North Korea could be only months away from developing the ability to hit the United States with nuclear weapons, a scenario Trump has vowed to prevent.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on a trip late last month to South Korea, was at pains to stress that diplomacy was America’s preferred course to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Still, he warned Pyongyang that its military was no match for the U.S.-South Korean alliance, and that diplomacy was most effective “when backed by credible military force.” (Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Catherine Evans and James Dalgleish)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.

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