Currents……..

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28 January 2020

Currents……..

RFA charitable giving

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Benevolent Fund has approved a £500 grant for the Nautilus Welfare Fund charity for retired seafarers and their dependants. The one-off grant, approved by RFA Commodore Duncan Lamb, will be used to support a range of care work for retired mariners and veterans in hospital and independent housing at the Union’s charity at the Mariners’ Park estate in NW England.

Felixstowe Brexit plans

The Port of Felixstowe has started work to upgrade its ro-ro facilities in anticipation of greater traffic after Britain leaves the European Union. It is lengthening the No.3 ro-ro berth and replacing the current hydraulic ramp at No.4 ro-ro berth with a larger floating linkspan, for larger ro-ro vessels and greater traffic flow. Work will be completed ‘before the end of the Brexit transition period’, the port said in a statement.

Scots windfarm boost

The Scottish government has announced steps to boost the number of offshore wind contracts staying in Scotland, according to the BBC. A deal between ministers and Crown Estate Scotland means developers will have details when Scots firms will be used as part of the leasing process. The trade union GMB Scotland claimed contracts ‘worth billions’ had been lost to overseas firms last year, ‘costing tens of thousands of Scottish jobs’.

Autonomous ship guidance

Japanese classification society ClassNK has launched new guidelines for the automated/autonomous operation of ships. According to ClassNK, the guidelines seek to ‘improve onboard safety by preventing human error and improving working conditions by reducing the work load on crew members’.

£6bn offshore deal

North Sea services provider Petrofac will design and build Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm, the £6bn Seagreen project off Angus. The engineering firm has begun work to design, supply and install the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) onshore and offshore substations for the project 17 miles off the coast of Angus. It will provide engineering, procurement, fabrication, transportation, offshore installation and commissioning of the offshore substation platform, including the topside, jacket and piles.

Polish offshore wind

The Polish government has pledged to boost the country’s offshore wind sector in draft legislation published last month. Up to 4.6GW from pre- developed wind projects could be granted support by Polish energy regulator ERO by the end of 2022.

Support will be granted for 25 years, and some 34,000 jobs could be created during the investment stage.

Scrapyard compliance

PHP Ship Breaking and Recycling Industries Limited is the first Bangladesh scrapyard to receive a statement of compliance with the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships from Japan- based ClassNK. On issuing the notation, ClassNK general manager of innovation and sustainability Junichi Hirata said: ‘I hope this step further will encourage safer and greener ship recycling practices following the HKC standard.’

Pilot dies after fall

Captain Dennis Sherwood, a member of the Sandy Hook Pilots Association, died on December 30 after he fell from an accommodation ladder while boarding the Maersk Kensington. He was 64 and had been piloting vessels at the Port of New York and New Jersey for more than 35 years.

One dead after collision

Odfjell chemical tanker Bow Fortune collided with a fishing vessel in Galveston, Texas, leaving one dead and two missing. The US Coast Guard was searching for two fishermen from Pappy Pride on 14 January after it capsized near Galveston jetties. Two other fishermen were saved and pulled from the water.

Bogus box weight

The loss of containers from UK-flagged CMA CGM George Washington in heavy seas in the North Pacific while en route from China to the US was due to wrong container weight declarations, according to a Maritime Accident Investigation Bureau (MAIB) report. The use of non- standard 53ft boxes, mis-stowed containers and loose lashings also contributed to 137 boxes overboard.

Global sea rescue review

Mandatory global search and rescue systems at sea may enter into force by 2024. Such rescues depend on satellite and terrestrial radiocommunications, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, mandatory under the International convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

Master fined in Australia

A master has been fined A$3,000 for delaying his report of a main engine breakdown off Queensland, Australia. The tanker Asphalt Spirit was en route from Korea to Australia carrying 14,000 tonnes of asphalt. The six-hour reporting delay could have led to an environmental disaster, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Ferries blockaded

French maritime unions have blockaded ferries owned by Marseille-based operator La Méridionale and rival Corsica-based firm Corsica Linea. Unions want the companies to end their dispute over a future lifeline operating partnership between the French mainland and Corsica. Vessels remain idle off Marseilles and crossings to Tunisia have been disrupted.

US ferries grant

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has awarded Washington State Ferries a $1.5m grant to help reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint, according to MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. The grant is part of a total $7.5m in awards to marine highway projects in nine different states. It will support the conversion of one of the ferries on the Seattle-Bainbridge run from diesel fuel to hybrid-electric propulsion.

Pensions standoff

Seven French ports are facing ongoing disruption after dockers voted to intensify protests over the government’s pensions reform plan. Services have been disrupted at Calais, Dunkirk, Le Havre, Rouen, Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, La Rochelle and Marseilles. The FNPD CGT ports and dockworkers’ union said that it cannot accept the government’s plan, which will mean working longer with reduced pensions arrangements.

US green tech

The US House of Representatives has been assessing proposals for ‘zero- emission’ vessel operations. A committee hearing last month included a submission by ABB Marine & Ports, which is behind the first all- electric vessels ever built in the US. The new zero-emission Maid of the Mist tour boats at Niagara Falls will start operation this year.

Iran threat cancelled

US authorities have cancelled a security alert to shipping over possible retaliatory strikes by Iran in the Middle East but warned commercial vessels in the region to remain vigilant. US vessels are advised to ‘exercise caution and coordinate vessel voyage planning’ with the US Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS), which has the latest information on dynamic maritime security threats and operational environment in the Middle East region.

IMO gender equality

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly has adopted a resolution urging further action in coming years to advance gender equality throughout the maritime sector and reach a ‘barrier-free’ environment. ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’ was selected as the World Maritime Day theme for 2019. It raised awareness of the importance of gender equality and highlighted the contribution of women all over the world to the maritime sector.

Kidnapped crew free

Nineteen Indian tanker crew members kidnapped in December 2019 off West Africa have now been released, but a 20th has died, according to UK-based shipowner Union Maritime. The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker MT Duke was attacked on 15 December en route from Luanda, Angola, to Lomé, Togo. Six pirates boarded the vessel about 115 nm south-east of Lomé and kidnapped 20 Indian seafarers, leaving just one of their colleagues onboard – thought to be a Nigerian national.

UK ‘netzero’ to boost offshore wind sector

The UK offshore wind sector could soon see unprecedented investment in order to meet the country’s legally-binding ‘net-zero’ emissions commitment by 2050.

In its new report ‘Engineering Net Zero’, consultancy Atkins Global says the UK government needs to increase its low-carbon generation four-fold, including an additional 75GW in offshore wind capacity.

The report warns of a severe capacity gap in carbon capture and storage, nuclear, wind and hydrogen energy generation – technologies deemed essential by the

Committee on Climate Change in reaching the net-zero target that it recommended to the UK government last year.

Chris Ball, managing director for nuclear and power at Atkins, said: ‘The green future we aspire to is possible. However, it requires a sea change in how we approach our energy system and the scale of investment required.’

The UK government must move beyond the years of short-term political ambitions that ‘have blocked some urgent investments and actions needed to drive forward net zero solutions,’ he stressed.

UK detains foreign ships

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained three foreign-flagged ships in December after failing port state control inspections.

All three vessels were on the Paris MoU white list.

Eletson’s Greece-flagged Keros was detained at the port of Immingham for a defective emergency generator.

Mediterranean Bulk Holding’s Italy- flagged MBC Daisy was detained at Birkenhead for 12 deficiencies including failing to meet the ISM Code, inoperative survival craft, unpaid wages and invalid seafarers’ employment agreements.

Fujian Ocean Ship Management’s Panama-flagged Zheng Zhi was detained at Immingham for a defective emergency generator.

 (With thanks to the Nautilus Telegraph)

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