News Digest 04-Sep-2021

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Following Stories in this News Digest for the week from 30 Aug 2021 to 04 Sep 2021 in descending order:

  • Electric boats making waves without the noise
  • Ida Leaves Toxic Chemicals, Oil Spills, And Sewage Swirling In Her Wake
  • Crewless Cargo Ships Are A Thing Now
  • Crew Change Crisis Stabilizes as Vaccination Rates Rise
  • How Nigeria’ll become maritime hub for AfCFTA, Shippers’ council
  • ’Navigation’ may have originated in India 6,000 years ago – Here’s why
  • SOL-X introduces SmartWatch for seafarers
  • HRAS Urges IMO to Increase Transparency in Reporting of Seafarer Abuse
  • World’s Largest Containership Transits Suez Canal -Photos
  • Great Survival Stories: 25 Days Adrift in an Icebox
  • China issues new maritime rules to regulate foreign ships in its waters


    04 Sep : Electric boats making waves without the noise

    The auto industry has raced ahead on an electric wave with more manufacturers joining the race seemingly every day.

    The boating industry has sputtered far behind, bogged down by low-horsepower engines and batteries that take up nearly half the boat.

    That’s in the process of changing.

    This photo provided by Jeff Helmkamp/LakeExpo shows Vision Marine Technologies’ Vision Marine Bruce 22 boat with one of their E-Motion motors. The electric boat is capable of reaching speeds of 49 mph. (Jeff Helmkamp/LakeExpo via AP)

    Bolstered by new technology, the electric boats are now faster, have smaller batteries with longer ranges and are still zero emission.

    The electric outboard boasts 180 horsepower and can reach speeds of 60 mph, a first in electric boating. The E-motion 180, which costs about $5,000 more than a standard internal combustion engine, can be used with any boats that use a 180 HP outboard gas engine, typically between 18 to 26 feet.

    The engines can fully charge overnight and all that’s needed is a 220-volt outlet — a boating version of plug and play. Maintenance is far less than ICE engines because there are fewer moving parts.

    The electric engines are noiseless, odorless and smokeless, so there’s no more yelling at each other while onboard or leaving a layer of smoke in your wake.

    Many tour operators have turned to electric boats, and so have cities for rental and water taxis. Reference



    04 Sep. : Ida Leaves Toxic Chemicals, Oil Spills, And Sewage Swirling In Her Wake

    Exxon Mobil released sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide at its Baton Rouge refinery as Hurricane Ida churned ashore. A broken pipeline poured crude oil near a bayou that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. And a miles-long black slick has appeared near an offshore rig off the state’s coast, stirring fears of a spill.

    Fuel leaks from a capsized boat along Bayou Lafourche in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Galliano, Louisiana, U.S., August 31, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

    Days after the storm swept through the region, the environmental aftermath is emerging in a petrochemical corridor packed with hazardous-chemical plants and refineries. 

    In some areas, the chemicals are mixing with raw sewage released from treatment plants that lost power.

    “We are totally not prepared for these types of events,” said Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network in Baton Rouge. “We should be, however, we are not.”

    Nearly 100 spills and other episodes have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality as of Thursday afternoon, raising concerns among environmentalists and public health officials about toxic discharges.

    Among the chemicals released was anhydrous ammonia from two storage tanks at a CF Industries fertilizer facility near the Mississippi River in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, according to the state agency. A CF Industries spokesman said the issue was resolved and that there had been no off-site impacts.

    Raw sewage has also been released. A “complete power failure caused 95% of lift stations to fail” in New Orleans’ Jefferson Parish sewer system, resulting in a release of hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater, according to the Louisiana DEQ.

    “Everyone is strained to their breaking point right now,” said Patrick Courreges, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Reference



    03 Sep: Crewless Cargo Ships Are A Thing Now

    The Yara Birkeland isn’t your average cargo ship.
    For one thing, it’s a zero-emission ship, specifically designed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, such as greenhouse gases, and carbon dioxide.
    What really sets it apart from the rest is that it also has the capacity to be fully autonomous, with its movements powered entirely by three onshore data control centres.

    [imagesource: Yara International]

    Charging of the powerful battery will take place prior to setting sail, and the ship will then stop in at various harbours along the way.

    In total, the single journey could replace around 40 000 truck journeys.

    It’s good for the environment, and will also drastically reduce the costs associated with cargo ship transportation.

    Initially, loading and unloading the ship will require humans, but according to Sletten, all loading, discharging, and mooring operations, including berthing and unberthing the vessel, will also eventually operate using autonomous technology. That will involve developing autonomous cranes and straddle carriers — vehicles that place containers onto ships.
    Crewless cargo ships will still require human assistance for maintenance checks, diagnosing and repair. Also they will require remote monitoring and controlling of operations. So they’re nowhere near totally transforming the industry as we know it. Reference



    03 Sep. : Crew Change Crisis Stabilizes as Vaccination Rates Rise 

    There are possibly some signs of improvement in the challenges seafarers have encountered due to the pandemic. Unions, shipping lines, and major shipping organizations have complained for more than a year of a crew crisis as seafarers were unable to travel to and from their ships finding themselves unable to go home or reach their ships to relieve crews that had been at sea beyond their contracts.

    Crew vaccination levels reach 22 percent (SIU file photo)

    The latest monthly update of the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator, which is assembled from data supplied by the major ship managers, shows the first month of stabilization. Launched in May, the indicator tracks both crew nearing the end of their contracts as well as crew overdue for leave. In August, both numbers stabilized and show slight declines after monthly increases since the indicator was launched. “The September Indicator confirms the tendency from August that the situation may be stabilizing,” reported the Global Maritime Forum, an international not-for-profit organization that oversees the reporting.

    Ship managers report for the first time that they are facing a shortage of seafarers and cite travel restrictions for Indian seafarers and the European summer holiday period as causes. Indicator also reports a strong increase in the number of seafarers receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

    While many countries have yet to recognize seafarers as key workers, the organizers of the report are optimistic that progress might be happening to protect the welfare and rights of seafarers. Reference



    03 Sep. : How Nigeria’ll become maritime hub for AfCFTA, Shippers’ council

    The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, on Thursday listed key issues to be addressed to make Nigeria a maritime hub for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

    Jime made the recommendations at a sensitisation seminar with the theme, ‘African Continental Free Trade Area: Implementation Strategy for the Maritime Sector,’ organised by the council.

    Jime, represented by Mr Cajethan Agu, Director Consumer Affair of the council, noted that there was need to look at some indicators critically so that Nigeria could benefit adequately from AfCFTA.
    Jime elaborated on number of indicators like Logistics Performance Index, dwell time of cargo at ports and connectivity rating.
    He said for Nigeria to benefit fully from AfCFTA, and assume the position of maritime hub, there should be conscientious efforts by government and the private sector to carry out some quick intervention measures. Reference

    02 Sep. : ‘Navigation’ may have originated in India 6,000 years ago – Here’s why

    India’s civilisation is one of the oldest in human history and has made major contributions to global advancement and progress.

    Navigation is a field of study that has been monumental in globalising the world, enabling people, societies and cultures to mix, and trade and economics to thrive.

    History has seen great adventurers who navigated the high seas to reach lands unknown and far away. Explorers like Vasco Da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus, Zheng He and Jacques Cartier charted territories unknown to Europe in the pre-modern history.

    Stock Image/ Astrolabe

    However, the science of navigation took thousands of years to perfect and reach a point where large ships with giant sails and hundreds of men can chart their course aided by celestial maps and knowledge of climate, tides and currents.

    Indian maritime history is as old as 3,000 BC: It begins with the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation who traded with the Mesopotamian Civilisation. The Vedic records suggest that Indian merchants had trade contacts in the far east and Arabia. There is certain evidence of a ‘Naval Department’ existing during the Mauryan period.
    The world’s oldest dock: The world’s first dock was discovered to have been built by the Harappans at Lothal in around 2,400 BC
    The Astrolabe: A wonderous specimen of Indian ingenuity is said to be the 14th Century Astrolabe called the ‘Yantraraja’ or ‘King of Instruments’ which is housed in the Geneva Museum of Science. This instrument was used to navigate the high-seas and is of Indo-Moroccan origin with Sanskrit inscriptions.
    The word Navigation may have originated from Sanskrit: The word ‘navigation’ is said to have originated from the Sanskrit language, and arises from the Sanskrit word ‘navgatih’. The word ‘navy’ comes from the word ‘nov’. Reference


    01 Sep. : SOL-X introduces SmartWatch for Seafarers

    Seafarers face multiple risks to their health and wellbeing, which can affect safety, performance, and livelihoods. According to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) 2019 annual overview of maritime casualties and incidents study, 66 per cent of incidents are caused by “human factors”, with crew fatigue and lack of situational awareness being major contributing causes.

    SOL-X’s new tool provides connected wellbeing programs, real time visibility to front line crew operations, and enhances crew situational awareness vessel wide. The SOL-X SmartWatch is ATEX Zone 1 Certified for use in hazardous environments.

    Key features of SmartWatch include: Pro-active workload management, Heat stress management, Heart rate and fitness monitoring, Geofence high hazard zones‍, Crew assist and location tracking (in lone work situations)‍  Reference



    01 Sep. : HRAS Urges IMO to Increase Transparency in Reporting of Seafarer Abuse

    The UK-based charity Human Rights at Sea is calling on the International Maritime Organization to increase its level of transparency in reporting cases reflecting human and labor rights abuse of seafarers. The call is part of the maritime industry’s continued efforts to highlight the challenges facing seafarers ranging from difficult and unreasonable working conditions to the persisting challenges brought on by the pandemic.

    IMO headquarters (file photo)

    DNV Maritime’s Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen used his remarks in an update to the media to point out that the crew change crisis “rumbles on” more than 16 months after the industry sought to call attention to the impact on COVID-19 related travel restrictions on seafarers. Highlighting that DNV believes there are at least 90,000 seafarers still unable to come ashore.

    “Seventy percent of member states have still not signed up to the IMO’s circular designating seafarers as key workers,” said Ørbeck-Nilssen. He went on to highlight the slower than average pace at getting vaccinations for seafarers in the global drive against COVID-19. “Only 15 percent of the world’s seafarers have been fully vaccinated compared to approximately 25 percent of the global population.”

    The charity contends that the IMO does not appear to help itself by the vagueness in its current reporting style. HRAS questions why the IMO takes the approach it does to reporting calling on the organization to “identify entities by name who are factually known to be involved in cases of proven abuse be they human or labor rights’ failures ashore or at sea.

    IMO representative, Natasha Brown, responded to HRAS saying “We have decided not to engage in ‘name and shame,’ and instead, we have found that the more successful approach is to engage with the countries at the diplomatic level, forge solutions and then report these as examples for others to follow.” Reference



    31 Aug. : World’s Largest Containership Transits Suez Canal

    The world’s largest container ship based on capacity completed its first transit on the Suez Canal on August 28. Because of her large size and because it is the maiden voyage of the vessel, it garnered extra attention and special handling from the Suez Canal Authority.

    Ever Ace during her first Suez Canal transit (SCA)

    Evergreen Line’s Ever Ace made the northbound transit on Saturday. With a rated capacity of 23,992 TEU, she has the largest carrying capacity of any containership, approximately 30 more TEU than the HMM Algeciras and her sister ships which have been transiting the canal since 2020.

    According to the Suez Canal Authority, following its protocols for large ships and especially on their maiden voyage chief guides were sent to welcome the vessel. In addition, a group of senior authority guides and a tugboat were assigned to provide additional navigation support while the main traffic office and guide stations monitored the progress of the Ever Ace during the transit. Reference



    30 Aug. : Great Survival Stories: 25 Days Adrift in an Icebox

    In 2009, two men drifted helplessly inside an icebox for 25 days. Miraculously, they survived a disaster that killed their 18 crewmates.

    The two Burmese men had been working on a commercial fishing boat. The day had started innocuously enough but turned into a nightmare when the weather changed. Rough seas splintered their 9m wooden vessel. The boat sank, and the crew was forced into the ocean.

    The two men in their twenties were lucky to survive. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

    The two survivors wave their shirts at the rescue helicopter.

    The two men found a 1.5m square icebox that usually stored fish. Seeking refuge, they clambered inside. The rest of the crew (mostly Thai nationals) had no flotation devices.

    There had been no emergency beacons or life rafts on the fishing boat. The men were now at the mercy of the ocean, praying for rescue.

    “We drifted for hundreds of miles, and although we think some ships saw us, they didn’t come to help,” said one of the survivors. For 25 days, they survived on rainwater that pooled at the bottom of their icebox and ate chunks of fish that had been left inside.  Reference


    30 Aug. : China issues new maritime rules to regulate foreign ships in its waters

    In a bid to regulate foreign ships, China on Sunday (August 29) notified new maritime rules warranting vessels carrying radioactive materials, bulk oil, chemicals, and a host of other supplies to report the details of the cargo upon their entry into Chinese waters.

    The new rules are expected to increase tensions if China strictly enforces them in the disputed South China Sea and the Taiwan straits where the US and its allies have been conducting naval expeditions, challenging Beijing’s claims to assert the freedom of navigation.

    Representational Image

    According to a notice from China’s maritime safety authorities issued over the weekend, operators of submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances are required to report their detailed information upon their visits to Chinese territorial waters.

    In addition to these types of vessels, vessels that may endanger the maritime traffic safety of China prescribed by laws should also follow the new regulation which will take effect from September 1, the state-run Global Times quoted the notice from Maritime Safety Administration.

    Those vessels should report the name, call sign, current position and next port of call, and estimated time of arrival. The name of shipborne dangerous goods and cargo deadweight are also required in the report, the report said. Reference

    Note: The above news should be considered as a brief news. For detailed news, one should refer to reference link, mentioned with each item.

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