Alaska News

07 May 2020

Princess and Other Cruise Lines Extend Service Suspensions

© Studio Porto Sabbia / Adobe Stock

Carnival Corp’s Princess Cruises said on Wednesday its voyages would remain suspended through the end of summer as reduced flights and travel bans around the globe bring the industry to a virtual standstill.Holland America Line, Carnival’s another unit, said it has canceled all cruises for Alaska, Europe and Canada and New England for the year, as well as its Amsterdam vessel that was scheduled to depart in October to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Boston.“As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented and challenging times…

05 May 2020

Crowley Signs Up to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress

Inmarsat said successful trials in Alaskan waters on board the Aframax tanker California contributed to the decision by Crowley Maritime Corp. to install Fleet Xpress across the majority of its fleet. (Photo: Inmarsat)

Crowley Maritime Corp. has agreed a contract to install Fleet Xpress from satellite communications provider Inmarsat on a majority of its vessels.The 128-year old Florida-headquartered business owns, operates and manages a diverse fleet of close to 200 vessels, including conventional and dual fuel (LNG) containerships, tankers and articulated tug-barges, and ship assist and offshore services tugboats, and various other types of barges.The deal was signed following trials in Alaska on Aframax tanker…

01 May 2020

Tanker Crewman Medevaced off Alaska

The crew aboard the Alaskan Navigator prepares a crew member to be medevaced by a Coast Guard helicopter crew 170 miles southwest of Cold Bay, Alaska, April 30, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Air Station Kodiak)

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a man Thursday from a U.S.-flagged oil tanker approximately 170 miles southwest of Cold Bay.A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak hoisted the ailing man at about 8 a.m. and flew him to Cold Bay where he was placed in the care of an awaiting LifeMed aircraft crew.Coast Guard watchstanders in the 17th District command center in Juneau received the request at about 1 p.m. Wednesday to hoist the 61-year-old man experiencing abdominal pain from the 905-foot Alaskan Navigator…

01 May 2020

Rear Adm. Bert Makes History with New USCG Role

Rear Adm. Melissa Bert (Photo: USCG)

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday Rear Adm. Melissa Bert has been invested as judge advocate general and chief counsel of the Coast Guard. Bert is the service’s first woman to hold that office.Bert was most recently the director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the Coast Guard, where she was responsible for external engagement with Congress, the media and other inter-governmental entities.As judge advocate general and chief counsel, Bert will lead a group of legal professionals who are responsible for the delivery of all legal services in support of the Coast Guard's missions…

21 Apr 2020

Bollinger Delivers ATB to Crowley

(Photo: Bollinger)

Crowley Fuels took delivery Tuesday of its new Alaska Class 100,000-barrel, articulated tug-barge (ATB), which will be used to transport petroleum products for the Alaska market, from Bollinger Shipyards.Crowley will operate the 483-foot ATB for Alaska-based Petro Star Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) under a long-term charter. Crowley Shipping’s petroleum services group will operate the ATB on behalf of Crowley Fuels.The ATB is the first in Crowley’s fleet to be dedicated to the Alaska market.

15 Apr 2020

Clean-up Crews Tackle Valdez Marine Terminal Oil Spill

© Tomasz Wozniak / Adobe Stock

Clean-up crews were working to contain an oil spill at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System's (TAPS) Valdez Marine Terminal, officials said on Wednesday, but the volume spilled was not preventing tankers from loading at the site.A sump overflow spilled oil into the water at the terminal on Sunday night. By Wednesday, clean-up crews had recovered 574 barrels (24,108 gallons) of an oil-water mix, authorities said.A team composed of system operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co, the U.S.

13 Apr 2020

US Underestimates Offshore Oil Methane Emissions -Study

© forunner93 / Adobe Stock

Offshore oil and gas drilling operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico emit far more methane than government estimates suggest, according to a study released on Monday by the University of Michigan.Drilling platforms emit about half a teragram (Tg) of the planet-warming gas each year, according to the study, which claims to be the first to use aircraft to take direct samples of emissions during normal operations.By contrast, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agengy's Greenhouse Gas Inventory report last year found Gulf offshore platforms emitted about 0.33 Tg of methane…

13 Apr 2020

By the Numbers: Small Shipyard Grants

© Michal Bednarek / Adobe Stock

Small shipyards in the U.S. are critical to the nation’s maritime operations and economic security. Typically family-owned and employing less than 1,200 workers, America’s small shipyards support more than 400,000 jobs, employ more than 100,000 Americans directly and contribute tens of billions in gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).In an effort to help support these vital assets, MARAD’s Small Shipyard Grant Program provides funds to help drive efficiency…

09 Apr 2020

Adm. James Steele Gracey, 17th USCG Commandant, Passes Away

Admiral James Steele Gracey (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Admiral James Steele Gracey, USCG (retired), 17th Commandant of the Coast Guard, passed away on Sunday, April 5, 2020, in Falls Church, Va., at the age of 92.Born in Newton, Mass. in 1927, Adm. Gracey graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1949. Adm. Gracey was a 1956 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School where he earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration.His career included diverse tours both ashore and afloat, including Commanding Officer, LORAN Station Ocean Cape…

09 Apr 2020

Ingalls Begins Fabrication of New US Navy Destroyer DDG 128

(Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division officially started fabrication of the Arleigh Burke­-class (DDG 51) destroyer Ted Stevens (DDG 128) on Monday. The start of fabrication signifies the first 100 tons of steel have been cut.“As we begin this important milestone in the construction of another great warship, we look forward to continuing production and carrying on the extraordinary legacy of the Navy destroyer fleet,” Ingalls DDG 51 Program Manager George Nungesser said.The ship’s name honors former U.S. Sen.

02 Apr 2020

Workers From a BP Gulf of Mexico Platform Test Positive for COVID-19

File photo. BP did not say which platform the COVID-19 cases were associated with or whether production was impacted. (Photo: BP)

Several workers on a BP Plc oil platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico have tested positive for coronavirus, the company said on Wednesday, a day after a worker at BP's operations in Alaska also tested positive.The cases are the first recorded among oil workers in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and follow a positive test at an Equinor offshore project in the North Sea.A case of the coronavirus was also reported at BP's Whiting, Indiana refinery, according to local media reports.More than 850…

01 Apr 2020

US Shipyards Forge Ahead Through COVID-19

The 56-foot icebreaking tugboat being built by Blount Boats for N.Y. Power Authority (NYPA). (Photo: Blount Boats)

As the novel coronavirus and its impacts continue to spread across America, U.S. shipbuilders, by and large, continue to build. While most yards have been deemed essential to marine transportation and/or national security and have been able to maintain operations, the situation at and around every shipyard is different, and there are several builders across the country that have had to temporarily suspend activity. In either scenario, it’s far from business as usual for America’s…

30 Mar 2020

Coast Guard Corrals Wayward Buoy in Long Island Sound

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oak (WLB-211) sits at anchor. The Newport, Rhode Island-based buoy tender maintains 144 Aids to Navigation (ATON) that guide mariners into some of the oldest and busiest ports in the U.S., including Boston, Massachusetts; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Portland, Maine. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Emily E. Torsney)

Built to guide mariners through safe waters, the Valiant Rock Lighted Whistle Buoy 11 was dangerously adrift in the Long Island Sound.When ferry operators traveling between Orient Point and Fishers Island, New York, first reported the buoy off station on Jan. 17, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oak (WLB-211) was already underway but foul weather kept the cutter from removing it.This was the beginning of a two-week saga that would involve several Coast Guard units. Like the Loch Ness monster of the Long Island Sound, the 35-foot-tall green buoy was occasionally seen but hard to catch.

24 Mar 2020

31 Years Ago Today: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

© MelissaMN/AdobeStock

On March 24. 1989, the single-hull tanker Exxon Valdez was departing the Port of Valdez, Alaska with a full load of North Slope crude oil (approximately 1.26 million barrels) destined for Long Beach when it grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. The resulting oil spill (approximately 258,000 barrels), while not the largest in US history, was clearly the most important. It engendered much litigation. Public concern over the spill led directly to enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90)…

23 Mar 2020

Oil, Fishing, Tourism: Alaska Economy Faces Triple Hit from Coronavirus

© Stephen Finn/AdobeStock

The U.S. state of Alaska is so far distant from the worst medical ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, but its economy is in critical condition. Alaska is especially vulnerable because it depends on oil, tourism and fisheries – basic industries that are reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic – and the state government gets most of its revenue from investment earnings that have now evaporated."Alaska is experiencing a perfect storm, a most terrible trifecta, the hat trick from hell," said state Senator Natasha von Imhof, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, at a hearing Saturday.

19 Mar 2020

SunStone's Ocean Victory Launched

(Photo: Ulstein)

The third ship in SunStone Ships' INFINITY series was launched on Monday at the CMHI Haimen shipyard in China.Ocean Victory, though a sister vessels to the first vessel in the INFINITY series, Greg Mortimer, the latest newbuild differs from in several ways, reflecting the flexibility of the design series, according to Ulstein Design & Solutions, who is providing the design and equipment package to this project. Ocean Victory is the second exploration cruise vessel built at the yard to feature the ULSTEIN X-BOW…

16 Mar 2020

USCG Medevacs Injured Fisherman

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman Saturday from a boat 170 miles southwest of Kodiak Island, Alaska.A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak hoisted the 49-year-old man from the 58-foot fishing vessel Alaskan Dream at approximately 1:15 p.m. He was transported to Air Station Kodiak and placed in the care of awaiting local EMS.Watchstanders in the Coast Guard 17th District command center in Juneau received the initial call from the Alaskan Dream at about 9 a.m.…

13 Mar 2020

OKEANRYBFLOT Orders Another 'Supertrawler'

(Image: Skipsteknisk)

Tersan Shipyard in Turkey has signed a contract to build a new 108-meter freezer stern trawler for one of Russia's leading fishing companies. OKEANRYBFLOT's new trawler is slated for delivery in mid-2022 and will be the sister vessel to newbuild no. 1096 planned to be launched in June this year.The ST-191L design from Skipsteknisk is a 108- by 20-meter factory trawler, with accommodation for up to 150 persons on board. The vessel will be equipped with two main engines, each 4,060 kW, driving one CP propeller.

12 Mar 2020

CITB Adds Shallow-draft Tug in Alaska

(Image: CITB)

Cook Inlet Tug and Barge (CITB) is adding a versatile shallow draft tugboat, the Bristol Wind, to its fleet in mid-April. The uniquely designed tug will join her sister vessel, the Capt. Frank Moody, in support of the construction, and oil and gas industries' remote cargo transportation needs along the Arctic coastline."Drawing just 3.2 feet, the Bristol Wind is uniquely designed to operate efficiently as a coastal tug. She has the unique ability to lighten the draft when water…

23 Feb 2020

Hurtigruten Makes History in Antarctica

MS Roald Amundsen carries passengers to 70 Degrees South in the Antarctic region, the furthest south of any Hurtigruten expedition cruise ship in the company's 127-year history. Image: Hurtigruten

MS Roald Amundsen, a battery-hybrid powered expedition cruise ship operated by Hurtigruten, has been exploring waters further south than any ship operated by the line in its 127-year history.The world's first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship crossed the Antarctic Circle and kept going, reaching the ice edge at 70 degrees south on Wednesday at 4:14 p.m. on February 19th Antarctica time."Our guests are thrilled! This is what Hurtigruten's expedition cruises are all about, pushing new frontiers and creating unique experiences for guests from all over the world.

21 Feb 2020

Harvey Gulf Eyes International Markets

(Photo: Harvey Gulf)

Offshore marine transportation firm Harvey Gulf International Marine says it has been able to achieve success in the turbulent offshore market by constantly reinvented itself to fit the industry demands.Never afraid to shake things up, Harvey Gulf has maintained this mindset throughout its 70-year-history, says CEO Shane Guidry. “From a humble beginning of a three oyster fishing vessels used as supply vessels in 1949 to a larger fleet of offshore vessels that towed barges and drilling rigs to its modern day evolution of a fleet of offshore supply…

20 Feb 2020

NWSA January Container Volumes Drop

Photo: NWSA

The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s total container volume for January 2020 was 263,816 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 19.1% decrease from January 2019.Following an unprecedented international container throughput for the same month last year — tied to shippers moving cargo ahead of tariffs, it created a larger than usual gap in the year-over-year figures for January 2020. Imports fell 21.4%, and exports declined 20.5%.The NWSA also continues to monitor developments of the coronavirus outbreak and expects to see negative impacts to the international trade industry…

14 Feb 2020

Repower of the Tug Gretchen H

(Photo: Mike Fourtner/Cummins)

As sometimes happens with boats in the maritime world, the recent repower of a tug shone a light on a pair of well known independent companies. The tug Gretchen H. (ex Harry Olsen, Polar Breeze) was built by Rodriguez Shipbuilding of Coden Alabama in 1997 and is currently owned, since 2005, by Boyer Towing.The Gretchen H is a good solid boat and her owners decided she was well worth a new set of engines. At 80 by 30 feet she has an eleven foot depth. As with many tugs out of the Rodriguez yard she has triple propellers and triple engines. She had an older set of engines rated at 700 HP each.

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