03 Mar 2020
The Maritime Industry and COVID-19
The COVID-19 epidemic, which was first called the novel Coronavirus and then the 2019-nCoV, is spreading fast around the world. It is more contagious than the 2002 SARS outbreak, its cousin, but not as lethal. Unfortunately, its impact on the maritime community seems to already be greater than that of SARS.Ships are being required to submit Maritime Declarations of Health prior to arrival. Ships that…
23 Jan 2020
Want to Cut Emissions? SLOW DOWN
Merchant ships traditionally operate in the open sea at or near full speed. This is hard on the engine, hard on the ship and hard on the crew. Slowing down reduces wear on the engine, improves fuel efficiency, reduces harmful air emissions and improves safety by providing the bridge personnel additional time to evaluate developing situations. Some marine engines, though, are designed to operate at near full load.
18 Dec 2019
Risk & Reward of The Internet of (Maritime) Things
The Internet of Maritime Things (IoMT) is coming! Start planning now.The Internet of Things (IoT) is already with us. You can get a doorbell camera that allows you to see on your smartphone who is at or approaching your front door. You can also get a refrigerator that keeps track of items inside and will advise you when you are running low (maybe on beer). It can also automatically place orders with your local grocery store for replenishment.
15 Oct 2019
USCG VIDA policy proposal
On 31 July, the US Coast Guard published a notice in the Federal Register stating that it is seeking comments on a draft policy letter that, if adopted, would establish the Coast Guard’s policy for acceptance of type-approval testing protocols for ballast water management systems (BWMSs) that render nonviable organisms in ballast water and may be used in addition to the methods under existing regulations.
07 Aug 2019
Maritime Recordkeeping is Serious Business
In addition to fuel, modern ships also run on paper or their electronic equivalent. Vessels are required to keep written or electronic records of many things – and the list is growing.There is the traditional Ship’s Log, which records the vessel’s position, course, speed, weather, and unusual events to name a few. The Oil Record Book (ORB) has been around for a long time and tracks all movement of oil throughout the vessel…
14 Jul 2019
Maritime Cyber Alert
For some years now, the maritime sector has experienced breaches of various computer and information technology (IT) systems. Primarily, these breaches have been collateral damage. The maritime sector has almost never been the intended target. That does not mean that the damage has been minor. In June 2017, A.P. Moller-Maersk suffered a major cyber-attack. The malware had been designed by Russian hackers to disrupt the Ukrainian power sector.
14 Jun 2019
Maritime, Measles & Quarantine
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease. It is so contagious that 90% of non-immune persons will become infected if an infected person is in the immediate vacinity. It is an airborne disease spread through coughs, sneezes, and contact with saliva or nasal secretions. The virus can live for up to two hours in infected airspace or on infected surfaces. Individuals are infectious from four days before symptoms appear until four days after the patient is symptom-free.
10 May 2019
AIS Data: History & Future
The Automatic Identification System (AIS) was developed with the sole goal of improving maritime safety by allowing ships in proximity to one another to automatically exchange information regarding their name, course, speed, type, cargo, etc. The exchange of this information would allow conning officers on each ship to make better decisions regarding the possibility of close encounters and the need to change course and/or speed.
16 Apr 2019
Maritime Fatigue: Just another band aid?
On 24 January, the IMO issued updated guidelines on fatigue. This is just another in a long series of band aids that attempt to cover over the problem without providing a solution. Fatigue is a long-standing weakness in the maritime industry. It is recognized as a major or contributing causal factor in the majority of maritime casualties. As is well-known, fatigue is caused by a lack of sleep and relaxation. These, in turn, are the result of too few people being tasked with too much work.
14 Mar 2019
On this Date 1757: ADM John Byng Executed
On 14 March 1757, Admiral John Byng, Royal Navy, was executed by firing squad while he was kneeling on the forecastle of HMS Monarch in the Solent. Admiral Byng…
12 Mar 2019
HazSub Spill Response Plans
On August 18, 1990, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) was enacted into law. Section 4202 of that Act amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA or Clean Water Act) to require tank vessels and marine transportation-related facilities to prepare and submit to the US Coast Guard plans for responding, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worse case discharge, and to a substantial threat of such a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance carried in bulk as cargo.
12 Mar 2019
USCG – BWMS compliance date extensions
The US Coast Guard issued a bulletin stating that it has reconsidered its previous interpretation of ‘next scheduled drydocking’ with respect to ballast water management…
07 Mar 2019
Proposed Deepwater Port in Gulf of Mexico
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that a public scoping meeting will be held on 20 March in Lake Jackson, Texas to receive comments on…
25 Jan 2019
VIDA & BWMS Reform
On December 4, President Trump signed into law the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (S. 140). Title IX of the legislation is the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act of 2018 (VIDA). VIDA will largely cut through a morass of conflicting and confusing requirements that have developed over a number of years relating to discharges into US waters. This purpose of this new legislation is to…
18 Dec 2018
French Frigate Shoals: A Canary in the Coal Mine
French Frigate Shoals are located in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, between Kauai and Midway. The atoll consists of a twenty-mile long crescent-shaped reef, with 13 coral and sand islands and the 120-foot high volcanic rock Perouse Pinnacle, named for French explorer Jean-Francois de la Perouse, who charted the atoll in 1786 and nearly grounded his two frigates. Tern Island is the largest, covering 105,276 square meters or 26 acres.
04 Nov 2018
The Forward-Facing Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard has published its Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook. This forward-facing document should be read by everyone in the Coast Guard and by those associated with the US maritime sector. It is intended to guide the Service’s efforts in securing the strategically critical maritime transportation system (MTS) and the marine environment. To accomplish this, the Coast Guard must be Semper Paratus – Always Ready, as it has been for most of its 228 years.
10 Oct 2018
Liquefaction and Lost Bulk Carriers: Is a Design Change Warranted?
A shocking number of bulk carriers (as well as a few OBOs – ore/bulk/oil carriers) have been suddenly and catastrophically lost at sea in the last 30 years. Following are the names of some of those vessels, in alphabetical order:- Asian Forest (2009); - Black Rose(2009); - Bulk Jupiter (2015); - Derbyshire (1980); - Emerald Star (2017); - Harita Bauxite (2013); - Hong Wei (2010); - Hui Long (2005)…
13 Sep 2018
Maritime Accidents & Confidential near-miss Reporting
As in most if not all industries, the maritime sector experiences many more near-misses than actual casualties. And yet, information regarding near-misses is seldom shared outside the particular company or vessel/facility involved. This is a needless waste of valuable learning opportunities.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established the first formal confidential near-miss reporting system in the federal government in 1975.
02 Aug 2018
Analysis: Government Proposal 'Ill-informed' on Maritime Matters
On June 22, 2018, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a federal government reorganization proposal entitled “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century”. The 132-page document is subtitled ‘Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations’. I have not read the entire report, but I have examined those portions that relate to maritime issues. I find those portions to be uniformly ill-advised.Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
10 Jul 2018
The EPA's Clean Water Act and Understanding VGP
The Vessel General Permit (VGP) falls under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), better known as the Clean Water Act.