17 Feb 2021
'Fireboats are Basically an Insurance Policy'
“Fireboats are basically an insurance policy.” -Meeting minutes, Southeast Texas Waterways Advisory Council (SETWAC).Developments in America’s coastal ports are causing officials to closely review maritime safety operations and equipment. Fireboats draw a lot of attention. The reference here is to big fireboats – 40-50 feet, crewed by specially trained firefighters, outfitted with the equipment required to confront and take on a range of waterway emergencies.
07 Jan 2021
Digital Twins: Rivers, Oceans, Harbors Recreated
In 2001, George Burkley, a maritime educator, wrote a look-ahead article for Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, presenting the benefits and real-world payoffs from using simulators in maritime education. In the late 1990s, new tech and software advances were creating scenario programs that moved a student closer and closer to the realities demanded by, well, reality. “The future is here, and we are ready to simulate it…
24 Dec 2020
Great Lakes Group: Venerable & Versatile
“…We have built our reputation job by job, boat by boat, and tow by tow, and we intend to continue to do so.”The Great Lakes Towing Company (GLT) and the Great Lakes Shipyard are core businesses within The Great Lakes Group of Companies, based in Cleveland, on the Old River, a shipping channel that runs west from where the Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie. Company towing operations extend from Buffalo, N.Y. in the east to Duluth, Minn. in the west.
09 Jun 2020
Freight Planning… What About Offshore Wind…?
At the end of 2019 – December 27, to be exact – the US Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary – filed a request for information regarding the development of a National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP), required by the multi-year federal transportation bill, passed in 2015, called the FAST Act – “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation.”By the close of the public comment period (Feb. 10) DOT had received 82 comments.
21 Apr 2020
Big City Fireboats
On March 3, the Coast Guard published a notice that Martin Midstream Partners (MMP), a petrochemical transport and storage company, was seeking approval to modify terminal operations in Beaumont, Texas, along the Sabine-Neches Waterway. If approved, MMP would expand its liquefied hazardous gas (LHG) operations, both in volume and products. Instead of just handling ammonia the change would allow shipments of butane…
25 Mar 2020
EPA Tier 4: Difficult and Contentious, 12 Years and Counting
When it comes to complying with EPA’s Tier 4 emissions regulations, there’s no shortage of creativity emerging from America’s maritime engineering firms. Companies such as Hug Engineering are offering flexible, customized aftertreatment-based control systems that can assemble almost in modular like fashion. Other companies, such as ABB Group, offer battery-hybrid power sources to complement combustion power and avoid threshold diesel emissions.
12 Mar 2020
NOAA-Viking Public Private Partnership, a Win-win for Research
There was important cruise news in January: Viking – a premier European ocean and river cruise company - will offer two new “destination-focused travel experiences,” starting in 2022. One set of cruises becomes Viking’s first foray in the inland North American market, in this case the Great Lakes. Another set of cruises will head to the Arctic and Antarctica. Viking is building two new vessels: the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris…
03 Mar 2020
Sub M Progress – an Update
Subchapter M, the United States regulatory code dealing with towing vessels and requirements for towing vessel safety, has officially been in place since July 20, 2016, when the U.S. Coast Guard finalized Sub M rulemaking.Since the rules were finalized there have been a couple of important hammer dates. In spring and summer 2018 the first certificates of inspection (COI) were issued. COIs are central within the Sub M program. A vessel needs a COI to legally operate.
11 Feb 2020
Offshore Wind: Half Empty or Half Full?
As a new decade starts, offshore wind development continues to progress. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to write that the development of the development of offshore wind (OFW) continues to, uh, well, develop.Apologies for that mild sarcasm. But even a quick look-back at OFW always raises the same familiar question: is the glass half empty or half full?Consider developments in the east coast…
04 Feb 2020
Vessel Safety: US House Subcommittee Seeks Faster Implementation
In November the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee held a hearing on “Commercial and Passenger Vessel Safety: Challenges and Opportunities.” Testimony covered a range of issues, from recent tragedies such as the Conception dive-boat disaster to antiquated maritime laws.Hearing witness list:Rear Admiral Richard V.
31 Jan 2020
IMO2020: Low Sulfur Fuel Potential Pitfalls
(This is excerpted from Maritime Reporter & Engineering News' January 2020 "The Path to Zero" column.)Are the world’s ships’ engines ready for IMO compliant very low sulfur fuel? That’s a wide open question as ship owners step to the end of the preparatory gang-plank on January 1, 2020 when 0.5% very low sulfur distillate fuels (VLSF) have to replace residual heavy fuel oil (HFO) containing 3.5% sulfur.You…
08 Jan 2020
NOx Control: Should Certain Vessels Get a Break?
When it comes to the EPA’s recent proposed delay to implementation of Tier 4 marine diesel engines ‘in certain high-speed commercial vessels,’ where you stand probably depends on where you sit.On September 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency (EPA) proposed to delay implementation of Tier 4 marine diesel engines “in certain high-speed commercial vessels.” Specifically; EPA mentions three kinds of vessels: lobster boats…
13 Dec 2019
Offshore Wind: Decisions Needed Sooner, not Later
On September 26, the State University of New York Maritime College hosted a conference on the emerging east coast offshore wind industry. “Offshore Wind Power, Planning for America’s Ocean Energy” focused on four fundamental topics:• East Coast Wind Farm Overview – Status of the Industry.• Jobs and Supply Chain Technical Working Group.• Wind Farm Port Development.• Offshore Wind Maritime Operations.In some ways…
31 Oct 2019
Offshore Wind: a Freshening Breeze?
July brought news about offshore wind. There was something for everyone: optimism, disappointment, and construction, too.Finally, starting with Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, a joint venture with Danish wind developer Orsted is underway. True, this is a small project – just two wind turbines to be installed 27 miles east of Virginia Beach. But considering all the preceding hurdles, news about Dominion blew in as proverbial, hopeful fresh air.
08 Oct 2019
Illinois Waterway Closures: Look for the Workaround
A set of complicated lock-and-dam projects on the Illinois Waterway, from Chicago to the Mississippi, has yellow lights flashing throughout the Midwest freight industry. In effect, the entire Waterway will be shut down next summer as the Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island Division, starts some hefty replacement and maintenance projects, from LaGrange to Brandon Road locks and dams.Officials advise maritime…
17 Aug 2019
Offshore Wind: Regulatory “Takes” – Take a Close Look
On April 30 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a notice, requesting public comments, on a proposed “incidental harassment authorization” (IHA). An IHA is a legal and enforceable document presenting the terms and conditions with which a company must adhere in order to protect wildlife. In this case, the draft IHA was for Vineyard Wind, the wind energy company ready to start construction on an 800 MW offshore wind farm in the Atlantic…
28 Jun 2019
Ballast Water Update: Weighing the Advent of VIDA
The hard-fought passage of VIDA promises a simpler, more unified and logical set of environmental standards related to the discharge of myriad vessel streams. Industry wanted it, and now it is here. Will it deliver, and if so, when? That depends on who you talk to.As most commercial maritime operators know, US ballast water regulations made a sharp turn last December. That’s when President Trump signed…
16 Jun 2019
Offshore Wind – A Brief History
Happy 80th birthday Maritime Reporter & Engineering News! Eighty years is a significant publishing and business accomplishment!Birthdays always cause a look back. An 80-year review starts in 1939, the close of one very challenging decade, the start of events still reverberating today. History’s most important history is contained in the last 80 years.Energy dominated every one of those decades. Consider energy use, say, starting after World War II, from 1950 to 1975.
12 May 2019
Offshore Wind: California's New Gold Rush
California Dreamin': In CA, offshore wind has unlimited potentialWhen it comes to States promoting renewable, non-fossil electricity generation, California surely leads the list, from utility-scale regional grids to individual rooftop solar panels.In fact, a December 2018 update from the California Energy Commission (CEC) estimates the state may already have exceeded an initial renewable generation goal of 33% by 2020. CEC estimates that in 2018 that generation number was already 34%.
17 Apr 2019
A New York State of Mind
“A new industry is being established in New York, with the primary stimulus being a state-driven procurement process.”New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), July 12, 2018.To a great extent, this PSC comment provides direct insight into the dynamics behind New York’s pace-setting moves to establish offshore wind. First, this new energy development is deliberate – not left to chance or laissez faire markets.