Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tidewater Takes Delivery of Vigor-Built Tug

By Mark Edward Nero

Vancouver, Washington-based Tidewater Transportation & Terminals took delivery of the second of a series of three towboats, the Granite Point, on Dec. 22.

The vessel, built by Vigor Industrial’s Portland, Oregon shipyard, follows towboat Crown Point, which began operations along the Columbia Snake River this past May. Like the Crown Point, the Granite Point is a custom-built vessel specifically designed by Maine-based naval architects and marine engineers CT Marine.

Measuring 102 feet by 38 feet, with a depth at full load of 11 feet, the Granite Point has a hexagonal wheelhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows on all six sides.

“We are proud to have worked with Tidewater on Granite Point,” Vigor Executive VP of Fabrication Corey Yraguen said. “Like its sister ship Crown Point, this vessel sets new standards for future towboat design.”

The Granite Point, named for a granite cliff in Washington about 20 miles southwest of Pullman along the Snake River, was built to the same specifications as the Crown Point and forthcoming sister vessel, the Ryan Point.

The Granite Point is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C EPA Tier 3 certified diesel engines each producing 2,240 BHP at 1,600 RPM. The engines drive two 92-inch” by 100-inch fixed pitch, stainless steel propellers through CT28 Kort Nozzles. The vessel’s capable of a service speed of eight knots.

Electrical power is provided by two C7.1, Tier 3 generators, rated at 480 V, 200 kW at 1,800 RPM. The generators are controlled through an automatic transfer system that ensures the vessel can recover from a generator power loss in less than 30 seconds.

Deck machinery includes seven Patterson WWP 65E-7.5, 65-ton electric deck winches, with pilothouse remote operation and local push button control stations on the main deck. Each winch has Samson 1 3/8” Turbo 75 Synthetic Line.

“The up-front work paid off,” Tidewater CEO Bob Curcio said. “The vessels are fuel-efficient, ecologically-responsible, and are giving our captains and crews exactly what they’d asked for.”

Matson, Maersk Partner on Tsunami Detection

By Mark Edward Nero

Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) are using commercial ships operating in the North Pacific Ocean to construct a network of low-cost tsunami sensors to augment existing detection systems.

The researchers, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said Dec. 16 that they’re partnering with Matson, Maersk Line and the World Ocean Council to equip 10 ships with real-time geodetic GPS systems and satellite communications.

The newly built pilot network of GPS-equipped ships enables each vessel to act as an open-ocean tide gauge. Data from the new tsunami sensors are streamed, via satellite, to a land-based data center where they are processed and analyzed for tsunami signals.

“Our approach offers a new, cost-effective way of acquiring many more observations to augment the current detection networks,” said SOEST assistant specialist and co-investigator Todd Ericksen.

The researchers are working with the NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers to ensure that the network provides the most useful data products to help them with their predictions. They also plan to work with their industry collaborators to develop a new version of the shipboard package that can be deployed on a much greater number of ships.

“Our new ship-based detection network is the first step towards the creation of the dense global observing network needed to support the efforts of tsunami warning centers to provide the best possible predictions of tsunami hazard to coastal communities,” said James Foster, a SOEST associate researcher and the project’s lead investigator.

Test Pile Driving to Begin at Seattle Port

By Mark Edward Nero

Contractors will begin driving test piles at Terminal 5 in Seattle the first week of January, with the installation and resulting noise expected to last through March.

The pile driving and testing is part of the design phase of a terminal improvement program. About 27 piles are expected to be installed at the edge of the Terminal 5 wharf. Installation and testing is planned to take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Test results could help reduce the final number of piles required and refine the depth of installation during berth construction, which the port says could help save money and reduce construction-related noise.

Once installed, the port says some of the piles will be tested using a method known as rapid-load testing that sounds like a half-second cannon shot. The sound can be as loud as 145 decibels at a distance of 50 feet. Nine tests are planned, with no more than one test per day.

Planned dock enhancements are expected make the terminal capable of accommodating heavier cranes and provide deeper drafts to handle the megaships cascading into the trans-Pacific trade.
“These terminal improvements are aimed at helping us compete in a changing marketplace to support the jobs we have and create new ones, while continuing to drive economic benefits for our communities and customers,” the port said in a Dec. 21 news release.

Questions about the pile driving and testing may be directed to (206) 787-6886 or Terminal5_Outreach@portseattle.org.

Rapp Marine to Equip Chinese Ships

By Mark Edward Nero

Crane and deck machinery specialist Rapp Marine said Dec. 22 that it will supply advanced equipment packages for two new oceanographic research vessels being built for Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey and the Polar Research Institute of China.

The research vessel for the Polar Research Institute of China will be a 122.5-meter (402 foot) icebreaker – the first icebreaker built in China. It will operate the vessel in the Southern Ocean, with a view to supplying China’s Antarctic Zhongshan Station.

The Polar Research Institute is a non-profit organization reporting directly to the State Ocean Administration and is also the only organization in China that has specialized in polar expeditions. Today they operate the Xue Long, a vessel that will work together with the new icebreaker to supply and assist researchers at the Antarctic Zhongshan Station.

The oceanographic research vessel for the Marine Geological Survey is expected to engage in surveillance, research and advisory services. Onboard are laboratories and workstations are used to collect the data that is analyzed by researchers and scientific advisors.

“We have worked long and hard to land these contracts, so this is a joyful occasion,” Rapp Marine Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Tove Pettersen said. “Most maritime nations are working on plans to build oceangoing research vessels and we are involved in exciting processes for a number of similar projects, apart from which we also see an increasing demand from the fishery sector.”