Friday, February 22, 2013

Foss, Crowley Tugs Collide Off Kodiak Island

Foss Maritime tug Corbin Foss and Crowley Maritime tug Ocean Wave recently collided in Kiliuda Bay off the coast of Alaska, according to the US Coast Guard.

According to Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley, the vessels were “maneuvering in close proximity” to one another in Kiliuda Bay off Kodiak Island Feb. 15, when the Corbin Foss accidentally struck the Ocean Wave at about 5:30 pm.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the collision and the Ocean Wave only suffered minor damage, according to the Coast Guard. The vessels subsequently headed to Kodiak for a Coast Guard inspection. Mosley says no Coast Guard assets headed to the scene because the crash was a non-injury collision.

The colliding vessels are two of the three that are expected to tow a damaged Shell drilling rig, Kulluk, to Dutch Harbor. The rig ran aground Dec. 31 near Kodiak Island as it was being towed to Seattle for maintenance and broke free in a storm. It was refloated and taken to a sheltered harbor, where it has been ever since.

The USCG says the Kulluk, which was taken to Kiliuda Bay roughly a week after its grounding off Sitkalidak Island, was not under tow at the time of the collision.

The command overseeing the response to the Kulluk’s grounding had announced in a Feb. 13 statement that the rig would be towed on a 10-day trip to Dutch Harbor, where it would be placed into a special dock and taken on to Asia for repairs.

Poor weather has delayed the Kulluk from being towed to Dutch Harbor, according to Shell.

The Ocean Wave, the Corbin Foss and another Foss vessel, the Lauren Foss, are slated to conduct the Dutch Harbor tow. Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith says the company doesn’t anticipate the recent collision to result in additional delays to plans to move the Kulluk.

New Port of Portland Storage Facility in Planning Stages

A subsidiary of Canadian export company Canpotex is moving forward plans to build a new storage facility at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 5 to house fertilizer component potash.

Canpotex subsidiary Portland Bulk Terminals filed a permit with the city of Portland in January for preliminary work related to the building of a new storage facility on the 100-acre site it leases from the port’s Terminal 5.

Portland Bulk Terminals’ permit application asks that before it proceeds with building a new storage facility, it be allowed to prep the site through the compacting of ground soil with tons of sand and small aggregates.

The application is for the construction of a temporary conveyor system to transport that material 800 feet from a barge in the Willamette River to a stockpile location where it will be moved to a proposed building site.

Portland Bulk currently maintains a 2,000-foot-long storage building at the terminal. The size and cost of the potential new storage facility have yet to be outlined.

The port says it has received no official expansion proposal from Portland Bulk, but the idea of the company growing its operations is not a new one: in 2010, the port released a marine operations plan that suggested that the storage capacity at Portland Bulk Terminals could be doubled at some point.

Port of Oakland Monthly Container Volumes Down Slightly

The Port of Oakland began 2013 with monthly container volumes that were slightly off from the year before. According to recently released data, Oakland terminals moved a grand total of 192,478 TEUs in January, a 1.7 percent decline from the same month in 2012.

The biggest decline in an individual category was full imports. Oakland handled 66,176 TEUs, a drop of 6.4 percent from January 2012. Conversely, the number of full exports actually rose by 2.4 percent, to 83,843 units.

But that gain wasn’t enough to counter the losses in both empty imports and exports.

For the month, Oakland terminals imported 23,065 empty TEUS, a month-over-month drop of 1.4 percent. About 19,400 TEUs were exported, a decline of 1.6 percent.

The flat volumes continued the trend that Oakland experienced throughout 2012. Oakland saw its volumes seesaw throughout the year, with seven out of 12 months experiencing negative growth compared with the same month the year before.

California’s third-busiest port saw a grand total of 2.34 million TEUs during the calendar year, a net increase of just 0.1 percent over 2011’s total volume.

POLB Board Approves ‘Green Wall’ Experiment

The Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission has approved a plan to build a demonstration of a “green wall” – a barrier made up of recycled mulch from the city’s tree trimming operations – along the Terminal Island Freeway.

The “green wall” is expected to help block the sound and visual blight of the freeway at a fraction of the cost of a traditional brick wall. Vining plants and trees will also be planted adjacent to the wall to help trap particulate matter and clean the air.

The wall, along with the trees, is expected to help improve air quality, provide sound mitigation and lessen visual blight.

The project was developed by the City of Long Beach’s Office of Sustainability and will be built along the west end of Hudson Park, feet away from the freeway. The port and City of Long Beach say they will perform a series of tests on the barrier and then consider extending the project to the north and south to provide a barrier next to local schools.

The mile-and-a-half Terminal Island Freeway is mostly used as a service road for the goods movement industry. Drayage trucks typically use it to haul goods to and from the LA-Long Beach port complex.

“There are thousands of diesel truck trips every day on the Terminal Island Freeway with no barrier between it and nearby schools, veteran’s facilities, park space and homes,” Long Beach Councilmember James Johnson, who represents the district that includes the port area, said. ”This is a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to remedy a situation that should have been corrected long ago.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Going to Gas: New Uses for LNG

By Jim Shaw

Federal Way, Washington-based TOTE’s recent announcement that it had contracted two LNG-fueled container ships from San Diego’s NASSCO shipyard is one in a growing number of such orders, although TOTE’s order for two 764-foot by 106-foot vessels represents the largest such LNG-burners ordered to date. In Europe the STX Finland shipyard at Turku floated out the 56,000-gt cruise ferry Viking Grace for Finland’s Viking Line in August, with the LNG-burning vessel to inaugurate service on the run between Turku and Stockholm later this month. The 715-foot by 104-foot ferry makes use of four duel-fuel Wärtsilä 8L50DF main engines driving twin fixed pitch propellers, with LNG to be the dominant fuel. Wärtsilä has also provided its LNGPac system to the Finnish newbuilding, which comprises an onboard LNG bunkering system as well as two storage tanks, both fitted on the aft deck, along with related handling and safety equipment. The 2,800-passenger ferry is expected to use about 20,000 tons of LNG each year which is equivalent to about 60 tons a day.

LNG Bunkering
LNG for Viking Grace will be provided by two Swedish units of Germany’s Linde Group, which have been collaborating on LNG fueling in Stockholm harbor. While Viking Grace was under construction, Linde’s AGA unit had contracted with Linde’s Gas Cryo AB division for a bunkering vessel that could deliver LNG to the new ferry. Norway’s Fiskestrand Verft was contracted to convert a retired car ferry for the purpose through the fitting of horizontal LNG storage tank of 180-cubic-meter capacity, or about 47,000 gallons, and pump-less LNG bunkering equipment supplied by Cryo. This vessel will provide LNG bunkers for Viking Grace at the Stockholm end of its run.

Seeing the potential of LNG as a marine fuel, Linde is building an LNG terminal in Lysekil, Sweden, close to Gothenburg, that will be capable of providing LNG to the transportation sector while a second terminal is being built at Hamburg where the German government has recently decided to exempt LNG from tax if it is used as ship fuel. The latter project is being spearheaded by the newly created joint-venture company Bomin Linde LNG that plans to cover the complete LNG value chain in Europe, from purchasing and transport through storage to distribution and refueling of ships at strategic points.

Gas-Only Ferries
In northern Norway, Barents NaturGass AS is supplying LNG to Torghatten Nord’s growing fleet of LNG ferries and is using LNG-fueled tanker trucks to do the job. Torghatten Nord, which has a ten-year contract to serve the Lofoten archipelago, is having a series of LNG-powered ferries built in Poland, the first two of which have already entered service.

The 96-meter by 17-meter boats are powered by gas-only rather than dual-fuel engines, the first two vessels making use of the new Bergen B35:40V12PG engine to give a maximum speed of 21 knots and a service speed of 19 knots. The second two ferries, to ply shorter routes, have been equipped with the Bergen C26:33L9 engine giving a service speed of 15 knots.

For fuel storage the ferries carry a single 150 cubic meter capacity Hamworthy tank located beneath the lower car deck and positioned just aft of the main engine room. A bunkering station is provided on the port side of the main deck and it takes three truck loads to fill the empty tank. The LNG bunkering procedure has been well tested on the growing number of LNG-powered ferries and offshore vessels now operating along the Norwegian coast.

In addition to its four new ferries, Torghatten Nord is having three older diesel-powered ferries converted to LNG. Barents NaturGass AS, which also supplies LNG to two LNG-burning Norwegian Coast Guard vessels, is establishing LNG distribution facilities at the ports of Bodø, Moskenes and Lødingen and has plans to eventually transport LNG along the coast by ship.