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The 353-meter Maersk Honam, an ultra-large container ship (ULCS) built in 2017, first reported a serious fire in one of its cargo holds on Tuesday, March 6, while heading west in the Arabian Sea approximately 900 nautical southeast of Salalah, Oman. Of the 27 crew members, 23 were evacuated to nearby containership, the ALS Ceres. Unfortunately there five fatalities resulting from the fire. The Indian Coast Guard was first to commence firefighting on Thursday, March 8. Two additional vessels, the CSC Nelson and Maersk Involver, arrived the following day and initiated firefighting. The Maersk Honam was carrying a total of 7,860 containers and hundreds of containers have been destroyed by what many are speculating a chemical fire.

Another fire was just reported, this time below the deck of the 6,188 TEU Maersk Kensington while en route from Salalah, Oman towards Suez. All 26 crew members are safe and accounted for and the fire is reported to be contained. 

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The mandatory fuel consumption data collection system for international shipping, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in October 2018, has entered into force as of 1 March 2018. It requires ships above 5,000 gross tonnage to start collecting and reporting fuel consumption from the start of 2019.  The data collection methods may be based on using bunker delivery notes (BDNs) combined with tank readings at the beginning and end of the reporting period (calendar year); using data from onboard flow meters; or daily fuel oil tank monitoring on board. It will require records of consumption for each type of fuel used as this in turn determines the ship’s carbon dioxide emissions by applying a Conversion factor. Ships equipped with direct CO2 emissions measurement equipment may use these instead of measuring fuel consumption.  The data collected under the mandatory reporting system will help inform the Marine Environment Protection Committee when it comes to adopting a revised strategy in 2023.

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The concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) on safety of navigation in accordance with SOLAS Chapter V was carried out in the Tokyo MoU region from 1 September to 30 November 2017 on all types of foreign merchant ships. A total of 6,720 vessels were inspected including 2,360 bulk carriers, 1,333 general cargo and 1,186 container ships.  36 ships were detained as a direct result of the campaign. The most notable deficiencies found during the campaign were related to the passage plan for the voyage 338 (21.82%), followed by exhibition of navigation/signal lights 304 (19.63%) and recognition of stages of remote audible alarm of BNWAS 168 (10.85%).

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Adidas Originals and Parley for the Oceans has joined together in a shared mission to learn, evolve, and reconfigure the way we think about pollution in the world’s oceans. Adidas has announced that it has reached its goal to sell one million pairs of the shoes made out of ocean plastics. Each pair is made from 11 reused plastic bottles, with the laces, heel linings and sock liner covers all made from other recycled materials.  

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The Singapore Transport Safety Investigation Bureau has now issued its report on the August 21, 2017 collision between the USS John S McCain and the Liberian flag tanker Alnic MC. The safety investigation determined that the USS John S McCain made a sudden turn to Port (left) into the path of Alnic MC because of a series of missteps that took place after propulsion controls were transferred. The collision happened within three minutes of the USS John S McCain turning to Port, and the actions taken by Alnic MC were insufficient to avoid the collision.

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Led by Denmark, 13 EU Member States have called on the Commission to revise it Reporting Formalities Directive to eliminate the huge administrative burdens created as a result of the failure to harmonize data and transmission requirements among the Member States.  The current directive introduced the concept of National Single Windows as a way to harmonize reporting obligations from ships to a single electronic system.  Not unlike here in Canada, masters and maritime carriers are required to report variations of the same data over and over and in different formats for every EU-port or sometimes even differently in ports in the same country.

Friday, 09 March 2018 12:07

New Super Eco Fuel being developed

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Oshima Shipbuilding is developing a new fuel which aims to meet all air emission regulations while simplifying the fuel system and reducing investment costs. The fuel would be compliant with SOx and NOx regulations without requiring spacious and costly equipment to be installed on board and can be blended to meet the 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap. The new fuel type Super Eco Fuel is produced by mixing lightcycle oil (LCO), a secondary refinery product, with gas-to-liquid (GTL), a liquid fuel made from natural gas, and water.  DNV GL has estimated the costs of the new fuel to be higher than standard HFO but lower than other LFSO options.

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At this week’s TPM conference in Long Beach, World Shipping Council (WSC) vice president Bryan Wood-Thomas noted that the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meets next month to discuss curbs on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping and expects mandatory speed reductions to be in the spotlight.  It has been suggested by some that the impact of a 10 to 30 percent reduction in speed could result in freight rate increases of 25 to 30 percent and bunker adjustment factors rising 50%. The ability to quickly implement a speed reduction in an effort to reach GHG reduction targets appeals to key governments. A recent article in the Lancet Planetary Health journal projected it would cost US$22.1 trillion to US$41.6 trillion between 2020 and 2050 for the world to hold average global warming under two degrees Celsius.

Friday, 02 March 2018 12:42

Taipei to implement sulphur cap early

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Chinese Taipei will be implementing a 0.5% sulphur cap on fuels used by internationally trading ships visiting their ports from 1 January 2019, one year earlier than the entry into force of the international Global Sulphur Cap in 2020.  Foreign vessels and flag ships sailing in international routes shall utilize the low sulphur fuel oil, or equipment or alternative fuels that achieve the equivalent effect of emission reduction when entering into the ports and offshore terminals under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has issued a notice to commence a period of public comments for drafting the adoption based on Article 14.1.3 and 4 of Annex VI "Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships" under "International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)." 

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Indonesia has postponed indefinitely the application of new rules that would limit shipments of coal and palm oil exports to only national shipping companies. The rules that were due to take effect in April were intended to boost the role of Indonesia's shipping industry but had raised concerns among the coal and palm oil industries.  Indonesia is the world's biggest exporter of thermal coal and top producer of palm oil, and it is estimated that 95% of coal exports are transported by foreign-owned vessels. The Indonesian government has reportedly decided to delay the regulation by one year to give the Trade Ministry the necessary time to revisit the regulations.

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On 26 February, Japanese carrier MOL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia's Far East Investment and Export Agency to cooperate in the development of the Northern Sea Route and the Russian Far East.  MOL has been participating in the Yamal LNG Project, world's first large scale energy project that exports cargoes through the Northern Sea Route, and its first ice-breaking LNG carrier for the project is to go into service at the end of March.  In a recent appearance before the Federal Assembly, President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia’s Arctic fleet is and will remain the strongest in the world, as the country has been strengthening the military infrastructure in the region to secure its interests there.  He anticipates traffic through the Northern Sea Route past Russia will increase tenfold.


In three separate decisions, the European Commission has fined four maritime car carriers €395 million, two suppliers of spark plugs €76 million, and two suppliers of braking systems €75 million, for taking part in cartels, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Chilean maritime carrier CSAV, the Japanese carriers "K" Line, MOL and NYK, and the Norwegian/Swedish carrier WWL-EUKOR were implicated but fines were reduced for some for revealing the cartel and cooperating with the Commission's investigation. 

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