Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fire Aboard Ship At New Zealand Port

Emergency services are responding to a ship fire at Port Taranaki. The fire is in a shipment of wheat on the Poavosa Wisdom, which arrived from Victoria today. Smoke can be seen coming from the bow of the ship.

Poavosa Wisdom
A fire engine is parked at the wharf with a ladder extended towards the bow. Five other ships are in port. New Plymouth fire brigades were alerted by port security about 1pm

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Volunteers Help Stranded Crew Of Ship Off UAE Coast

The nine Indians and two Pakistanis on board the Iron Monger 3 have been rationing food, water and fuel brought by volunteers and the Indian Consulate. The tanker was headed for a scrapyard in Asia but ran out of fuel and dropped anchor 10 nautical miles off the coast of Khorfakkan when the ship’s owner went bust. The Taipei Times reported Taiwan Maritime Transportation Co Ltd (TMT) has filed for bankruptcy with a total debt of more than $800 million. The captain of the vessel, Qazi Iqbal Sami, told 7DAYS: “We just want to see some land. The men are very distressed and want to go home.”
Iron Monger 3
However, neither the captain nor the crew can desert the vessel. Sami said: “We can’t leave even if we want to. By regulation, a ship cannot be left unmanned. We don’t have permits to leave unless a relief crew is sent in our place.” The ship is in UAE waters and supplies are being sent to Iron Monger 3 by the Mission to Seafarers in Dubai. The senior chaplain, Dr Paul Burt, said: “The situation needs to be resolved by arresting the vessel as the owners have filed for bankruptcy... but even in a best case scenario we are probably looking at another six months.”

Friday, March 08, 2013

'Every Man For Himself' As Ship Sank

Korean officers have been heavily criticised over the sinking of a fishing boat off the New Zealand coast which saw them leave their crew to fend for themselves. Coroner Richard McElrea reported today on the sinking of the 38-year-old Korean flagged trawler Oyang 70 which sank on August 18, 2010, 740 kilometres east of Otago. Six men were killed, including Korean skipper Hyoniki Shin, 41, who chose to go down with the ship. Three bodies were recovered, and two other crew are believed to have been trapped in the ship when it rolled over. Oyang 70, owned by Sajo Oyang Corporation of Korea was one of a fleet of foreign charter fishing vessels, under charter to Southern Storm Fishing (2007) Ltd of Christchurch. McElrea conducted public hearings in Wellington last April but the final report was delayed after the Korean company objected to its adverse findings. He said of the 51 people on board, the eight Koreans held positions of responsibility while Shin was described by witnesses as "an angry man", "very authoritarian" and "not collegiate". The ship sank due to "mismanagement by its master" who ordered that the crew continue to haul in a very large net of southern blue whiting despite the crew pleading with him to cut it free. "His attempt to haul a 120 tonne bag of fish on the trawl deck of a vessel with marginal stability set in place a catastrophic and sudden chain of events that he and his Korean command personnel were unable to counter," the report said. Shin failed to react in any professional manner. When it became clear the ship was sinking the Koreans did nothing to organise the evacuation of the Indonesian and Filipino crew. The deckhands initially had no life jackets while one witness said the Koreans all wore life jackets. An Indonesian crewman gave evidence that the "Chief Officer (with glasses) and other Koreans could all save themselves on one life raft which comprised of three engine people, factory supervisor, deck hand and one Chinese cook . . . amazed Korean deck boss not on deck or talked to deck staff". There was no evacuation plan in effect: "It was a matter of every man for himself". The order to abandon ship was given in Korean and many crew did not hear the alarms. The crew on the factory floor were "bizarrely left processing fish until they were in water of a metre's depth", the coroner said. Only the Koreans were trained in deploying life rafts but there was no evidence that they did and it was left to the crew "to do their best in the circumstances". Oyang 70 had left Port Chalmers on August 14 with almost empty fish holds with "marginal stability" the report said. Only one fuel tank was full creating a "free surface" effect in the other tanks which meant the ship's centre of gravity kept moving. A "prudent master" would have taken steps to prevent this. "The master, for commercial reasons, may well have chosen to sail with the vessel in a 'tender' state and with marginal stability." Oyang 70's watertight integrity was "fair to average" but it was operated "with routine violation of maritime rules and principles of good seamanship".
Oyang 70
The water-tight door to the engine room was permanently open - resulting in it flooding. "The vessel was not run in an orderly fashion and there was a poor safety culture," the report said. At 2.50am on the day of the sinking the big net came in and when the crew realised its size, the bosun asked the first officer to stop bringing it in. The first officer said the decision had to be made by the captain, and he went to wake him. "The master ordered the net to be hauled," the report said. It could not be fully retrieved because of its size and instead pulled the ship over. The coroner noted evidence from a helmsman that Shin "was more interested in catching fish than boat safety". Dumping fish would have had a "loss of face" and a financial cost, of about $13,000. The ship went into a list and water flooded in through a factory deck offal chutes that had been left open. After Shin failed to right the ship he gave a command in Korean to abandon ship at 4.30am. "The navigator last saw the master in the wheelhouse where he handed the master a life jacket which he refused to accept," the coroner said. "The master was sitting hugging a pole in the wheelhouse and crying after having drunk from a bottle." An Indonesian crewman gave a statement that they during the sinking there was "no alarm, no instructions, shows The coroner said it was admirable that the Indonesian and Filipino crew looked after each other. "There is no evidence of qualified personnel carrying out defined tasks in ensuring the orderly evacuation of crew," he said. The coroner said it was a miracle 45 people survived and hailed the rescue staged by the Nelson based Talley's ship Amaltal Atlantis. "All parties associated with the inquest acknowledged the rescue operation undertaken by the Amaltal Atlantis was of the highest order," he said. McElrea was dismissive of a Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal report into the sinking, saying: "No reliance is placed on this undated and unsigned document procured on plain paper without any official setting." McElrea ruled that the three crew whose bodies were found and were subject of the inquest, Yuniarto Heru, Samsuri and Taefur, had all drowned. In an annex the coroner noted that Southern Storm and Sajo Oyang had objected to the evidence taken from police records of interviews with survivors in Christchurch. "The information gathered from survivors has at times been contradictory and confusing, as indicated in the Findings," he said. "However by careful analysis of this evidence, it has been possible to draw some important conclusions." Footnote: Oyang 70's sinking prompted the University of Auckland Business School and Fairfax Media to investigate extensive abuse of foreign charter fishing boat low wage crews. Parliament is currently considering a bill to require all fishing boats to be New Zealand flagged – and thus fully under New Zealand law.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Russian Ship Capsizes In Sea Of Japan, 20 Crew Members Missing

A Russian fishing vessel has capsized in the Sea of Japan, and emergency officials say 20 Russian and Indonesian crew members are missing. The far eastern branch of Russia's emergency services says 10 crew members were found in a lifeboat and rescued by a passing freighter.
Shans -101 Capsized In The Sea of Japan
The emergency services say the fishing vessel Shans-101 failed to make contact at the scheduled time and the ship owner reported it missing on Sunday afternoon. A search was begun by air and sea, and late Sunday the vessel was found capsized off of Russia's Pacific coast. Shortly afterward, the freighter Anatoly Torchinov reported rescuing six Russian and four Indonesian sailors from the lifeboat. Emergency officials say 13 Russians and seven Indonesians are missing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Israeli Satellites Spot Iranian Ship Being Stockpiled With Weapons For Gaza

Israeli spy satellites have reportedly spotted an Iranian ship being stockpiled with weapons that is suspected to be headed toward the volatile Gaza region. The shipment was prepared last week on the day that Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, according to Haaretz, citing a report from the Sunday Times of London.
“We believe that Iranian warships anchored in Eritrea will accompany the weapons ship as soon as it enters the Red Sea,” an Israeli source told the newspaper. The shipment may have Fajr-5 rockets, the type that Hamas fired at Israel, and other missiles that could be positioned in Sudan. The ship is expected to travel through the Red Sea and alongside Sudan and Egypt, the newspaper said.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Antarctic Ship Free From Ice But Counting Cost

There may be cuts to the Australian Antarctic Division's summer program to make up for the cost of its supply ship being stuck in ice. The Aurora Australis was icebound for about three weeks near Casey Station, but broke free over night. The division's operations manager Robb Clifton says while it is not unusual for the ship to get stuck, it is an expensive event. Mr Clifton says it costs tens of thousands of dollars to run the supply ship every day.
"It certainly has an impact, we're working through that at the moment to see what our various options are for the rest of the season," he said. "There's no doubt it will have some impact so it's a case for us now, in some cases, switching over to plan B and getting on with the season." Mr Clifton says the ship should arrive in Hobart this week. "We're hoping that will be sometime on Friday or Saturday, it depends what the weather's like between where they are and Hobart." "At the moment they're going along really well but we do expect them to hit a bit of rougher weather on the way and that will slow them down a bit."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Cmdr. Fired After Boozy Port Visit

The commander and top officers of a San Diego-based Navy frigate have been relieved of duty after a rowdy, booze-fueled port visit to Vladivostok, Russia. Cmdr. Joseph E. Darlak, skipper of the USS Vandegrift, was removed Friday by Capt. John L. Schultz after an investigation "due to loss of confidence after demonstrating poor leadership and failure to ensure the proper conduct of his wardroom officers" during the three-day September stop, the Navy said in a statement.
Executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Ivan A. Jimenez and the ship's chief engineer and operations officer were also relieved "for personal conduct involving use of alcohol and not adhering to established liberty policies," the statement said. The names of the two lower-ranked officers were not released because their positions are not considered public under Navy policy, and Navy officials did not give specifics on the misbehavior of any of the officers. In a post on the official Facebook page of the Navy's 7th Fleet, the commander celebrated the visit as it began on Sept. 20. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to visit Vladivostok and experience all the city has to offer," Darlak said in the post. "Our sailors are especially looking forward to making new friends."
The officers were relieved during a port visit in Guam, and they'll be temporarily reassigned in San Diego pending more possible administrative actions, the Navy Times reported. Darlak's ouster comes just over three months after he assumed command of the Vandegrift. He previously served as executive officer of the destroyer Stethem. Capt. H. Thomas Workman, a deputy commander from the ship's squadron, has taken over the Vandegrift until it returns to San Diego at the end of its seven-month deployment later this month, the statement said, and the Navy emphasizes that the ship remains fully ready for any mission.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

USNS Choctaw County Ready for Service

The USNS Choctaw County was seen up close Saturday at Austal USA in Mobile. The ship was christened inside the hangar, beneath the vessel. "I wont say this is the milestone I'll say its one of the many milestones that we have achieved and will continue to achieve," says Brian Leathers, Interim President at Austal. It's the second joint high speed vessel to come from Austal's Mobile shipyard. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Maybus, was the keynote speaker.
"It's going to be carrying marines and soldiers vast distances across the pacific, well every ocean that we've got," the Secretary said. The USNS Choctaw County is named after three places; Choctaw County in Oklahoma, Choctaw County in Mississippi and Choctaw County in Alabama. Typically a Navy christening has one sponsor, but this time around there were 29 sponsors who all graduated from Ackerman High School in Choctaw County, Mississippi. It's also the same school Secretary Mabus graduated from.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Navy Ship Aids Panamanian Vessel

A Virginia-based Navy ship came to the aid of a Panamanian-flagged vessel near Yemen after its crew had a cargo-handling accident. The Winston S. Churchill responded to a distress call Monday.
The Navy says one of the Panamanian ship's crew members was killed in the accident and another required advanced medical care.
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81)
The Winston S. Churchill conducted a medical evaluation, transporting the injured crew member by helicopter to a medical facility in Oman for treatment. The Winston S. Churchill is a guided missile destroyer based at Norfolk Naval Station. It is conducting counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in the Middle East.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sailor Dies After Taking Ill On A Cargo Ship

A sailor who took ill on board a cargo ship on the high seas has died after the vessel diverted to Bermuda to get him hospital treatment. The 52-year-old, who has not been identified, was a crewman on board the 21,000 ton Panamanian-registered, Japanese-owned Star Lily, which left Houston, Texas, last week.
The man became ill on board and the ship headed for Bermuda on Friday. But he died shortly afterwards. The ship will continue to Bermuda to allow the remains of their shipmate to be repatriated. It is expected to arrive early tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Clean transatlantic tanker rates hit by ship glut

Transatlantic tanker rates for refined petroleum products on top export routes were mostly steady on Wednesday although a growing glut of vessels kept the transatlantic market under pressure. Rates for medium-range tankers for 37,000 tonne cargoes from Rotterdam to New York route moved to W90.00, or $816 a day when translated into average earnings on Wednesday, from W90.00 or $853 a day on Tuesday and W90.56 or $749 a day last Wednesday. On Monday average earnings hit a record low. "The recent lack of activity in the transatlantic MR market has seen tonnage on the Continent swell, increasing the pressure on rates," broker SSY said. In April last year, rates reached their highest since 2008 on a jump in U.S. gasoline demand, helping reduce the number of tankers available for hire. Since then, average earnings have remained volatile. "Earnings conditions for MRs have deteriorated markedly in the last few months," consultants MSI said.
"Any summer gasoline import spike from the U.S. has yet to materialise with overall U.S. gasoline imports remaining low." Analysts said reduced refinery capacity in the Atlantic Basin could boost long-haul demand for the wider products tanker sector in coming years, helped by the delivery of fewer tankers. Typical Long Range 2 or LR2, 75,000 tonne shipments on the Middle East Gulf to Japan route were steady on at 98.95 in the worldscale measure of freight rates, from W98.27 on Tuesday and W96.85 last Wednesday. Long Range 1 tankers, carrying 55,000 tonne loads from the Middle East Gulf to Japan, were at W120.38 on Wednesday, from W120.58 on Tuesday and W121.91 last Wednesday. "We have an active week behind us, with charterers involved in both LR1 and LR2 segments interested in east and west destinations," broker Fearnleys said on Wednesday. In the Mediterranean, 30,000 tonne shipments ex-Algeria to southern Europe were at W128.78 on Wednesday, versus W128.78 on Tuesday and W131.11 last Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

U.S. Seizes Cargo Ship Suspected Of Carrying Stowaways

U.S. authorities in Newark, New Jersey seized a cargo ship with goods from India and Egypt on Wednesday after hearing what sounded like people stowed away inside a container on the vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The container was buried beneath others and had not been opened hours after the ship was stopped. The vessel, Villa D'Aquarius, was stopped at 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT) at a standard checkpoint for incoming ships, the Ambrose Anchorage below the Verrazano Bridge in New York Harbor, Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said. "The boarding team went aboard for a routine inspection. They heard sounds that were consistent with people being inside a container," Rowe said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, were notified.


Villa D'Aquarius
Federal authorities rushed to receive the ship at the Newark dock, Rowe said. As of about 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), the container remained unopened beneath a stack of others in the hold of the ship about 30 feet down from the deck, he said. "First it will be determined whether it can be opened as is," said Rowe. "If that is not feasible, the containers above it will be shifted, it will be put on the pier and we will find out what is inside." The ship, which was flying a Cyprus flag, made two stops in India, a final stop in Egypt and then headed for Newark, ultimately bound for Norfolk, Virginia. The container in question was supposed to be carrying machine parts and was to be delivered to Norfolk, Rowe said. A gangplank was pulled up to the vessel and crew members were departing the ship as federal authorities took control, Rowe said.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Russian 'Syria Arms' Ship Docks At Novorossiysk

A Russian warship which some media reports claimed was carrying arms destined for Syria has arrived at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk on Friday, a spokesman said. The Nikolai Filchenkov, an amphibious ship, was en route from the Crimean port of Sevastopol, Black Sea Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachev told RIA Novosti. "The military hardware, which the vessel delivered, will undergo planned repairs,"
Nikolai Filchenkov Amphibious Ship
Trukhachev said, adding that the ship will return to Sevastopol after it is unloaded next week. Western media reports last week asserted the Nikolai Filchenkov and another amphibious ship, the Caesar Kunikov, were heading to Syria, where Russia has its only naval base outside the former Soviet Union. The Russian military denied the reports. Pro-democracy protesters in Syria are fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a 15-month-old uprising which the UN says has claimed more than 12,000 lives.

Scores Still Missing After Asylum Ship Sinks Off Christmas Island

Australian authorities say around 90 asylum seekers are still missing in the Indian Ocean after a crowded refugee boat capsized between Indonesia and Australia’s Christmas Island. Around 110 people have been plucked alive from the waters. The vessel went down around 200 kilometres off Christmas Island.
Navy and merchant vessels are involved in the hunt for survivors backed by five aircraft. Refugees seeking asylum in Australia often do deals with smugglers in Indonesia before embarking on the dangerous journey in overcrowded boats. Four such vessels have gone down with fatal consequences since 2010.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crews Assess Damage On Navy Ships That Collided



The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Essex arrived to cheers in San Diego Bay on Thursday, 24 hours after it collided with a refueling tanker in the Pacific when the warship's steering apparently failed. Families of the ship's crew celebrated as the big ship pulled in. Andi Farquhr, wife of a 36-year-old sailor, said her husband called her from the ship and said something bad had happened. She said he told her there was a collision but gave no details. "I'm pretty sure it was scary," Farquhr said. The Wednesday morning accident between the Essex and the oiler USNS Yukon occurred about 120 miles off the coast of Southern California as the Essex was approaching the Yukon to be refueled, said Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a spokesman for the 3rd Fleet. There were no injuries or fuel spills, military officials said. Brown said the steering apparently stopped working on the 844-foot-long Essex, which was carrying 982 crew members on its way to San Diego for scheduled maintenance. It had spent the past 12 years based in Sasebo, Japan, as command ship for the Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group 7. The Essex was traveling with a new crew that came aboard for the trip to California. The ship recently underwent a crew swap with another amphibious assault ship, the Bonhomme Richard, as part of a standard procedure in the Navy to keep its ships operating. The Essex and Yukon were both able to continue toward San Diego despite the damage, which the Navy said did not compromise their fuel tanks or systems. The Yukon arrived at the Navy base in San Diego after 3 p.m. Wednesday with its crew of 82, including 78 civilian mariners and four military crew members. Brown said the damage was being assessed. He said he couldn't say how fast the ships were moving at the time of the crash because the Navy is still investigating the cause.


The accident occurred as the USS Essex was approaching the USNS Yukon to be refueled.
The standard speed for ships lining up to refuel at sea is about 13 knots, or 15 mph, Brown said. No lines or hoses had been connected because the two vessels were just approaching each other. The ships likely just bounced off each other, said maritime safety consultant James W. Allen. Even so, he said, with massive ships, it can be "a pretty hard bump that can bend metal" and cause dents. The Essex, known as the Iron Gator, resembles a small aircraft carrier, while the Yukon is 677 feet long. Navy ships routinely refuel at sea while under way. "They were probably so close there was no time to respond when the steering went out," said Allen, who served 30 years in the Coast Guard. Navy officials said it was the Essex's first collision. The ship, however, has had mechanical problems. The military publication Stars and Stripes reported in February that twice over a seven-month period, missions were scrapped because of mechanical or maintenance issues involving the 21-year-old flagship commissioned in San Diego. Navy spokesman Lt. Richard Drake at the time blamed it on wear and tear. 3rd Fleet officials said they could not comment on that since at the time the Essex was in the 7th Fleet in Japan. 7th Fleet officials could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. The Yukon, which was launched in 1993, has been involved in at least two previous collisions, including on Feb. 27, 2000, when it collided with a 135-foot civilian cargo ship while trying to enter Dubai's Jebel Ali port in the United Arab Emirates. The Yukon sustained minor damage. Less than five months later, it was hit by the USS Denver during refueling off the coast of Hawaii. Both ships sustained heavy damage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Discovered Wreck May Have Been First Ship To Bring Coconuts To Ireland

A merchant ship that sank in the 1600s, and which has been discovered off the West Cork coast, could have brought the first coconuts to Ireland. The Irish Examiner has learnt that marine archaeologists were called to an area near Schull after the remains of the vessel were found in recent days close to shore and embedded in silt in about 30ft of water. It’s understood the wreck was spotted in the seabed by workers who were laying underwater ‘outflow’ pipes for the new multimillion-euro Schull waste water treatment plant. Marine archaeologists were called in and a diving exclusion zone had been put in place to protect it from looters. Work has since been postponed on the underwater pipe-laying to allow archaeologists to fully explore what is described by sources as "a significant find".
It’s believed the merchant ship was returning from the Caribbean, because remains of coconuts have been found in her wreckage. Because coconuts were considered very exotic at the time they would have been a valuable commodity. The vessel may have pulled into Schull to trade and get supplies and may have sank after bad weather forced it onto rocks, which will become clearer when archaeologists complete their work. It is possible the ship sank around the same time as the sack of Baltimore by Algerian pirates and Ottoman Turks. They captured hundreds of locals and took them as slaves. Only two ever returned. Local sources say that some pottery has also been retrieved from the wreck. They also indicate that diving operations are likely to continue in the area for at least a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tug Reaches Ship Adrift Off Barrier Reef

An Australian tug boat yesterday reached a cargo ship which had been drifting off the Great Barrier Reef, as environmentalists warned that greater shipping traffic could harm the world’s biggest coral reef. The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier ID Integrity broke down north of the Queensland city of Cairns on Friday, sparking alarm that the 186m, 45,000 tonne bulk carrier would smash into a reef near the World Heritage-listed site. Simon Meyjes, who heads the century-old marine group Australian Reef Pilots, said it was “sheer luck” that the Integrity had not run aground at the dive site Shark Reef or nearby. He said it appeared an environmental disaster had been averted by the crew dumping some of the Integrity’s sea water ballast so it passed over Shark Reef. “I don’t know what the actual under keel clearance would have been as it went over the reef,” he told AFP. “But certainly it would have been a very, very uncomfortable situation. They were at the mercy of the weather completely. I think that they have been very, very lucky.” Meyjes said had the Townsville-bound Integrity drifted slightly further to the north, it could have hit Osprey Reef, an exposed coral outcrop. “So it’s just sheer luck,” he said. “We’re all breathing a huge sigh of relief I can assure you.” The ship, which suffered an engine breakdown en route from Shanghai, was reached yesterdya by a commercial tug, PT Kotor, as it drifted in open water in the Coral Sea. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the tug had connected a towline to the Integrity and they were travelling slowly away from the Outer Reef and awaiting the arrival of the larger tugs.
The ship’s owner, Hong Kong-based ID Wallem, said its vessel was empty and there had been no pollution spills, adding it would “take measures to avoid any environmental impact in Australian waters”. But the incident has angered conservationists who have long raised fears about the impact on the Great Barrier Reef, particularly from shipping, from Queensland’s coal and gas boom. The Chinese-registered coal carrier Shen Neng 1 foundered in April 2010 leaking tonnes of heavy fuel oil and threatening an ecological disaster. A major catastrophe was ultimately avoided but the huge ship gouged a 3km long scar in the world’s biggest coral reef and was stranded for nine days before salvagers could refloat it. Environmental group WWF Australia said in the latest incident, a major disaster had been averted by only a matter of metres. It said the forecast increase in shipping traffic in the waters off Queensland was “a risky game of Russian roulette that is destined to end in disaster”. The independent activist group GetUp! said the stricken Integrity proved it would be reckless to increase traffic in the region. “The incident should be of concern to all Australians. It’s more likely to occur in the future as we see more and more ships use the Great Barrier Reef to export coal,” national director Simon Sheikh told ABC Radio. But Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the theory that more ships would necessarily result in more accidents near the reef did not stand up. “If that was the case then people would be involved in far more plane crashes today than we saw 20 years ago, and clearly that’s not the case,” he said. Earlier this year representatives from Unesco visited Queensland to inspect the reef to check for any impact from coal and gas projects, which use ports near the Great Barrier Reef to export their products. They have yet to report.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Future Naval Force May Sail With Strength Of Titanium

Steel may have met its match: An Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded project will produce a full-size ship hull section made entirely with marine grade titanium using a welding innovation that could help bring titanium into future Navy ship construction, officials announced April 3. The contractor team building this section recently completed the industry's longest friction-stir titanium alloy welds and aims to complete the ship hull section this summer. Friction-stir welds more than 17 feet long joined the titanium alloy plates for the section's deck. "This fast, effective friction-stir weld technique is now an affordable manufacturing process that takes advantage of titanium's properties," said Kelly Cooper, the program officer managing the project for ONR's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department. Titanium metal and its alloys are desirable materials for ship hulls and other structures because of their high strength, light weight and corrosion-resistance. If constructed in titanium, Navy ships would have lighter weight for the same size-allowing for a bigger payload-and virtually no corrosion. But because titanium costs up to nine times more than steel and is technically difficult and expensive to manufacture into marine vessel hulls, it has been avoided by the shipbuilding industry. But perhaps not for much longer. Researchers at the University of New Orleans School of Naval Architecture and Textron Marine and Land Systems are demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing titanium ship hull structures. Using lower cost marine grades of titanium, they fabricated a 20-foot-long main deck panel-composed of six titanium plates, joined together by friction-stir welding, as part of technology studies for an experimental naval vessel called Transformable Craft, or T-Craft. Since antiquity, blacksmiths have joined iron or steel parts together by heating them in a forge, placing them on an anvil and striking the two pieces repeatedly with a heavy hammer. After several repetitions of heating and striking, the two pieces were "hammer forged" or "forge welded" together.Friction-stir welding joins metals using the heat of friction produced by a spinning pin tool pressed down on both pieces of metal at their common joint. Friction heating produced by the high-speed rotation causes both metal pieces to heat up to a "plastic" condition, but not to melt. As the tool passes down the common joint line, the heated, plasticized metal from both pieces is kneaded together in the rotating tool's wake, forming the weld between them. Friction-stir welding works well for most aluminum alloys. Titanium, however, is difficult to join by the same process because of the high temperatures required, and pin tool materials that erode and react with titanium, weakening the weld. The researchers overcame that problem by using new titanium friction-stir welding methods developed by Florida-based Keystone Synergistic Enterprises Inc., with funding from both ONR and the Air Force. The processes were scaled up and transferred to the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM), which is a partnership between the University of New Orleans, NASA and the state of Louisiana. To fabricate the ship hull structure, more than 70 feet of welded linear joints were made, the longest known welds in titanium made with the friction-stir process. This friction stir welding achievement showed a noticeable improvement from previous similar processes. It was made at a high linear speed, indicating reduced manufacturing time; showed excellent weld penetration, indicating a secure connection; and had no distortion of the titanium adjoining the weld. Experts attribute the success to an effective design of the pin tool, process parameters that emphasized pin tool life and exact duplication of the process steps from facility to facility and machine to machine. ONR funds collaborative projects investigating novel shipbuilding materials and improved processes for titanium friction-stir welding, especially its affordability, as part of the Sea Base Enabler Innovative Naval Prototype program.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Navy Jet Crashes In Virginia

A Navy jet has crashed near a major road in Virginia Beach, an official with the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to Fox News. The pilot is believed to have ejected safely from the jet, the official said. There is no word on injuries. Emergency crews from the military, Virginia State Police and Virginia Beach police are all responding to the scene of the crash. Virginia Department of Transportation traffic cameras showed black smoke rising from the Birdneck Road area of Virginia Beach at 12:30 p.m. local time.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

US To Sink Ghost Ship Dislodged By Japan Tsunami

The lonely voyage of a rusting, unmanned Japanese ship that has floated thousands of miles since it was dislodged by last year's tsunami appeared to be coming to an end in the Gulf of Alaska. The U.S. Coast Guard was gearing up to use cannon fire to sink the shrimping vessel, which was floating 180 miles southwest of the southeast Alaska town of Sitka Thursday morning. "Something like this hasn't been done, based on the tsunami," Coast Guard spokesman Paul Webb said. "It's a new one for all of us." The 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru, which has no lights or communications system, has a tank that could carry more than 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but officials don't know how much, if any, is aboard. Either way, the government says the move is safer environmentally than letting the ship continue to drift. "It's less risky than it would be running into shore or running into (maritime) traffic," Webb said. The vessel had been destined for scrapping when the Japan earthquake struck, so there is no cargo on board, according to Webb. He said it's likely there is little or no fuel on board because the ship has been traveling high in the water, indicating a light ballast. Webb said he doesn't know who owns the Ryou-Un Maru, which has been traveling about 1 mile per hour in the past days.A Coast Guard cutter was at the location of the ghost ship Thursday with plans to fire cannons loaded with high explosive rounds to sink the vessel in calm seas and clear weather. Webb said the cutter would fire the cannons from several hundred feet away. The goal is to punch holes in the Ryou-Un Maru and sink it. A Coast Guard C-130 plane crew will monitor the operation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency studied the problem and decided it is safer to sink the ship and let the fuel evaporate in the open water. The Coast Guard will warn other ships to avoid the area, and will observe from an HC-130 Hercules airplane. The vessel has been adrift from Hokkaido, Japan, since it was launched by the tsunami caused by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck Japan in March 2011. About 5 million tons of debris were swept into the ocean by the tsunami. The Japan earthquake triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl accident in 1986, but Alaska state health and environmental officials have said there's little need to be worried that debris landing on Alaska shores will be contaminated by radiation. They have been working with federal counterparts to gauge the danger of debris including material affected by a damaged nuclear power plant, to see if Alaska residents, seafood or wild game could be affected. In January, a half dozen large buoys suspected to be from Japanese oyster farms appeared at the top of Alaska's panhandle and may be among the first debris from the tsunami.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Aussies Aboard Stricken Cruise Ship

Eighty-nine Australians are aboard a cruise ship that drifted for 24 hours off the Philippines after being disabled by a fire. The Philippine coast guard said the ship, with 1000 people on board, had been repaired and is heading slowly to Malaysia. The Azamara Quest, which had embarked on a 17-day cruise of south-east Asia, was left drifting in southern Philippine waters after a fire broke out on Friday night. The flames engulfed one of the ship's engine rooms but were quickly extinguished, the ship's operator said. Five crew members suffered smoke inhalation, including one who was seriously injured and needed hospital care. The ship informed the coast guard late yesterday Saturday that its power and propulsion had been restored and it was moving slowly toward Sandakan on the east coast of Borneo, its next destination after it left Manila last Thursday. Azamara Club Cruises, the ship's operator, said in a statement that the ship was sailing at a top speed of only six knots (11km/h) and was expected to reach Sandakan "within 24 to 48 hours". It said company president Larry Pimentel would meet personally with the passengers and crew in Sandakan. The company said the rest of the cruise would be cancelled. It said it would fully refund the passengers as a "gesture of goodwill" and provide each guest with a future cruise certificate for the amount paid for the aborted voyage. It was the latest in a series of accidents hitting luxury cruise liners since January, when the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. The Azamara Quest is carrying 590 passengers and 411 crew members. Operator Azamara Club Cruises is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. More than one-third, or 201, of the passengers on board are American, and nearly one-third, or 119, of the crew are Filipinos, according to lists of passenger and crew nationalities provided by the ship captain to the coast guard.
The Azamara Quest
The vessel had left Hong Kong on Monday. The ship made a port call in Manila and left for Sandakan on Thursday. It was scheduled to make several stops in Indonesia before arriving in Singapore on April 12. But instead the stricken ship drifted yesterday in the Sulu Sea, about 130 kilometres south of the Philippines' Tubbataha Reef, Ricafrente said. The area lies between the Philippines and the island of Borneo, which is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia. A woman from Kailua-Kuna, Hawaii, who said she was one of the passengers, posted an entry on Azamara's Facebook page after internet service was restored on the ship, praising the crew's handling of the situation. "No A/C yet but everyone is fine," she said. "Cannot say enough about this Captain and the crew. They have been absolutely wonderful keeping us updated constantly with the good or the bad. ... Sorry that we cannot finish our cruise, but we will back ASAP." She said the crew worked with very little rest "to keep us all in good spirits, well fed and comfortable". There was a jar where passengers could place donations to help the injured crewman who was in serious condition, she said. Ricafrente said that no distress call was received and there would be an investigation. A Philippine coast guard vessel approached the Azamara Quest, but the ship's captain sent an email to the coast guard saying that it needed no assistance and that everything was "under control". Engineers yesterday restored electricity in the ship to re-establish air conditioning, running water, plumbing, refrigeration and food preparation, the company said. The ship's senior physician, Oliver Gilles, said that the crew member who was in serious condition suffered "prolonged heat and smoke exposure". A month after 32 people died when the Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the western coast of Italy, a fire on the Costra Allegra left that ship without power and adrift in waters known to be prowled by pirates in the Indian Ocean for three days. Both Costa ships are part of Costa Crociere, SpA, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise operator.

Ship Seized Over US Legal Action

US marshals briefly seized a cruise ship in coastal Texas under a judge's order in a 10 million dollar (£6.25 million) legal action filed on behalf of a German woman who died in the Costa Concordia disaster. The Carnival Triumph was seized for several hours at its port in Galveston, where it was scheduled to leave with 2,700 passengers. Both sides said they reached a confidential deal that released the ship for its five-day cruise to Mexico. A Texas judge had ordered the seizure to secure the plaintiff's claims against Carnival, the Miami-based parent company of the Italian cruise line whose ship hit a reef and sank off an Italian island in January. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday on behalf of a German woman who died in the Costa Concordia incident, which killed 32 people. Plaintiff lawyer John Eaves Jr said he did not file the lawsuit to inconvenience passengers of the Carnival Triumph, but rather to emphasise to Carnival the need for improved safety. He said terms of the agreement were confidential. Carnival released a statement noting that the lawsuit was related to a European-based sister cruise line. The company said "the matter involving the Carnival Triumph" was resolved and the ship departed early on Saturday evening.Deputy US Marshal Alfredo Perez confirmed that marshals had seized the vessel. Passengers were allowed on and off the ship, which was not allowed to leave its port while the deal was negotiated. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the estate of Siglinde Stumpf, claims that Carnival shared responsibility for Ms Stumpf's death for not preparing and maintaining proper safety programs for all vessels under its control, including the ill-fated Costa Concordia. The Italian captain of the Costa Concordia when it sank, Francesco Schettino, is under investigation for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship during the evacuation. Schettino has denied wrongdoing and claimed that the reef was not marked on charts. Mr Eaves argued that the company's training for captains and crew members is inadequate. He said a major aim of the lawsuit is to persuade Carnival to improve safety standards and to join in a campaign to update maritime law, which he said has some good elements but should be brought "into the modern age".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crew Member Missing After Fire On Stolt Ship

Stolt Tankers, a subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen and owner and operator of MT Stolt Valor, has reported a fire on the ship. The company says that the fire has been contained but that one crew member is still missing. The ship is under tow approximately 45 miles off the coast of Qatar. There has been no spillage of fuel oil from the ship, nor any reported or visible spillage of cargo.Stolt Tankers is working in close co-operation with the authorities, salvage experts and insurers to salvage the ship and its cargoes and to avoid any environmental impact. Full investigations into the cause of the accident are being conducted by the flag state and the company. MT Stolt Valor is a 2004-built chemical tanker of 25,268 dwt. The ship has been declared a constructive total loss for insurance purposes. At 10:43am: (LON:SNI) Sygen International share price was -0.13p at 62.88p

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