Friday, July 1, 2016

Young Brothers Orders 4 New Tugs

By Mark Edward Nero

Hawaii’s largest inter-island cargo service provider, Young Brothers Ltd., has signed a nearly $80 million contract with a Louisiana shipyard for the construction of four new tugs.

The first tug is expected to be delivered by Conrad Shipyard in the first quarter of 2018, and the fourth by the first quarter of 2019.

The 6,000-horsepower, 123-foot by 36.5-foot vessels are designed to match Young Brothers’ current fleet of high capacity barges, which were delivered from 2007 to 2010.

The four new tugs are expected to constitute the core of the company’s towing capacity for their 35-year life expectancy, according to Young Bros, which is a Saltchuk company operated by Foss Maritime.

Young Brothers also says the new tugs are expected to improve the company’s ability to provide regular cargo service to island communities and enhance service through lower maintenance, less down time, better tow speeds, greater operating efficiencies, and lower environmental impacts.

The company provides 12 weekly port calls from Honolulu to the state’s neighbor island ports, including Hilo, Kawaihae, Kahului, Kaumalapau, Kaunakakai and Nāwiliwili.

“Our investment in these new tugs will directly support and further our commitment to frequent, reliable, affordable and universal service for decades into the future,” Young Brothers President Glenn Hong said.

The tugs, which are to be known as the Kāpena Class, or captain class, will be built to Damen Stan 3711 design and powered by General Electric, 8L250MDC, EPA Tier 4 emissions compliant engines using exhaust gas recirculation engines.

The tugs will be homeported on the neighbor island ports, according to Young Brothers.

USCG Intervenes in Dangerous Puget Sound Situations

By Mark Edward Nero

Coast Guard vessel traffic system personnel recently intervened in the transit of three vessels that were on course to run aground in Puget Sound or were at risk of collision.

The members of Coast Guard Vessel Traffic System Puget Sound used unconventional means, the Coast Guard says, to contact two of the vessels after VTS personnel were unable to reach them by mandated communication channels, plus helped troubleshoot a GPS discrepancy with the third vessel.

On June 20, VTS personnel initiated an alert to the crew of the fishing vessel Northwind after all other attempts to contact them via required radio channels failed while the vessel was observed exiting the traffic lane and heading toward Buckeye Shoal.

The second case occurred June 21 when VTS personnel coordinated with the master of fishing vessel Autumn Dawn to troubleshoot a plotter discrepancy that had the vessel outside the traffic lane and on a course close to Peapod Rocks.

Then on June 22, VTS personnel worked with the crew of a nearby tug to make contact with the operator of the fishing vessel Lady Gudny after numerous failed radio attempts were made while the vessel was observed entering the oncoming traffic lane and heading toward Marrowstone Island.

“These incidents highlight the benefits of having an organization that can proactively monitor and when necessary, direct traffic to avoid maritime incidents,” VTS Puget Sound Director Laird Hail said.

VTS members manage around 230,000 vessels, typically 65 feet or greater in length, and intervene an average of 40 potential collisions or groundings each year.

Seaspan Helps Provide Marine Industrial Grant

By Mark Edward Nero

On June 23, Canada-based marine services corporation Seaspan, in conjunction with a US charitable foundation, announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment in the future of British Columbia’s marine industrial sector.

The donation has been given in support of the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy program under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The commitment, totaling $2.9 million, includes a three-year, $900,000 donation by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to three Canadian institutional trades training programs: the British Columbia Institute of Technology to support Aboriginals in trades; Camosun College to support women in trades; and the Canadian Welding Association Foundation for both new welding equipment and teacher professional development.

In addition, the commitment also consists of a $2 million investment by Seaspan to support innovative teaching and research for the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering programs at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Applied Science.

“Seaspan is thrilled to honor four community and industry partners that are helping us develop and grow a shipbuilding and ship repair center of excellence in British Columbia,” CEO Jonathan Whitworth said in a statement. “Today’s announcement demonstrates an unwavering investment in attracting, training and retaining the labor force and expertise we need.”

The Foundation’s three-year commitment will extend through 2018, while UBC will receive Seaspan’s multi-million dollar investment over the next seven years.

“These investments will allow students to gain the skills they need to contribute to Canada’s economy,” Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains said. “They will also ensure that our shipbuilding industry will have the skilled tradespeople it needs to excel and grow.”

Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is a 28-year-old Montana-based charity that has a primary mission of giving people tools to improve their lives. It furnishes grants to nonprofit organizations in the categories of education, health & human services, community service and arts & culture.

“Giving people the tools they need to succeed in life is a primary goal of the Foundation and the partnership with Seaspan to promote access to state-of-the art training in the trades is directly aligned with the mission and goals of the Foundation,” Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Executive Director Mike Halligan said.

Crowley Helps Win Maritime Industry Grant

By Mark Edward Nero

Crowley Maritime Corp. recently assisted the Alaska Vocational Technical Center in winning a three-year grant to help students develop the skills to launch careers in the maritime industry, the company revealed June 29.

Crowley’s marine services group in Valdez, Alaska, serving as lead industry partner, helped the Vocational Technical Center win a Carl Perkins Post-Secondary Grant from the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development’s Career & Technical Education Office.

AVTEC, also known as Alaska’s Institution of Technology, will receive a grant of $250,000 annually, renewable up to three years.

AVTEC plans to use the grant to enhance its AVTEC Secondary Training Academy, helping students earn the credentials necessary for licenses to work on maritime vessels.

Crowley will support AVTEC’s Young Mariner Program, which provides scholarships, work experience and career development information. The company has a history of funding scholarships to Alaskans attending AVTEC maritime training, as well as supported job training and employment of Alaska Natives.

“Crowley is proud to again partner with AVTEC to provide opportunities for Alaskans in maritime careers,” Rod Jones, general manager of Crowley’s marine services group in Valdez, said in a statement. “Our long history in Alaska’s communities makes us uniquely qualified to support the development of job opportunities for students seeking sustainable careers.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Expanded Panama Canal Receives 1st Ship

By Mark Edward Nero

After nine years of construction that was occasionally marred by delays, the expansion of the Panama Canal became official June 26 with an inauguration ceremony.

During the inauguration, container vessel COSCO Shipping Panama transited the Agua Clara Locks on the Canal’s Atlantic side during the early morning, and the Cocoli Locks in the afternoon.

A regular schedule of transits through the expanded canal began the following day, June 27.
The COSCO Shipping Panama set sail from the Greek Port of Piraeus on June 11 and made the inaugural transit of the expanded Panama Canal after a two-week journey. The June 26 ceremonies were witnessed by 17 members of the US Congress, as well as 70 heads of state from around the globe.

The COSCO Shipping Panama is a new containership that was just launched in January. The vessel, which is 984 feet (300 meters) in length and 157 feet (48.25 meters) in beam, has a container carrying capacity of 9,472 TEUs.

It was built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, the same company that constructed the valves that control the flow of water through the Canal’s new locks.

The Panama Canal expansion is the largest construction project undertaken in the waterway since its 1914 opening. Construction to double the canal’s cargo capacity began in 2007.

The $5.25 billion project allows post-Panamax ships to travel through the canal en route to East Coast terminals, thereby bypassing the US West Coast. It was initially scheduled to be complete in 2014 to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the existing canal.

The expansion of the Panama Canal could “reorient the landscape of the logistics industry and alter the decision-making calculus of the shippers that the canal serves,” according to a recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and logistics provider CH Robinson.

West Coast ports currently receive two-thirds of container flows from East Asia, but as much as 10 percent of that traffic could shift to East Coast ports by the year 2020, due in major part to the Panama Canal expansion, according to the study.

Tanker Runs Aground in Alaska

By Mark Edward Nero

The 599-foot Norway flagged chemical tanker Champion Ebony ran aground near Nunivak Island, Alaska on June 24, prompting a response by the US Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report from the National Response Center at 9:24 a.m. that the vessel ran aground carrying about 14.2 million gallons of various fuel products.
However, according to the USCG, the crew of Champion Ebony was able to refloat the vessel and make way under its own power to deeper water at about 9:28 a.m.

An Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules airplane crew conducted an over-flight of the tanker and reported no signs of pollution in the tanker’s vicinity. The weather on scene was reported as calm winds, overcast with three-foot seas.

The tanker is currently anchored to assess for damages.

“Our primary concern is to protect the environment,” said USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class Lindsey Green, a Sector Anchorage watch stander. “We are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.”

The Champion Ebony, built in 2004, is operated by Norway-based Champion Tankers. It is a double-hulled chemical/oil products tanker with 600 feet (183 meters) in overall length, a beam of 105 feet (32 meters) and a gross weight of 27,547 tons.

There were 24 crewmembers aboard at the time of the incident, according to the USCG, but no injuries were reported.

Oakland Port Director Gets New Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland Commission has awarded Executive Director Chris Lytle a new three-year contract, the port announced June 27. Commissioners unanimously approved the new deal at a meeting last week.

The agreement means the longtime industry veteran will remain at the helm in Oakland through at least July 2019.

“Chris Lytle has transformed the Port of Oakland and raised its visibility as a center for trade, transportation and economic vitality,” Board of Port Commissioners President Earl Hamlin said. “We look forward to three more years of progress together.”

Lytle will continue to manage three primary businesses: the seaport, Oakland International Airport and a commercial real estate portfolio. All three have achieved milestones under Lytle in 2016, including an export rebound at the Port of Oakland, along with the first three visits of the 1,300-foot-long, 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the largest cargo ship to ever visit the US.

“It has been gratifying to work with the staff and Board at the Port of Oakland,” Lytle said in a statement. “We’ve achieved a great deal together and it’s my honor to continue working toward our common goals.”

Lytle joined the Port of Oakland in 2013 after serving as executive director at the Port of Long Beach since 2011. He had originally joined Long Beach in 2006 as a managing director.

Prior to that, he worked as a shipping industry executive with CMA CGM, P&O Ports, APM Terminals and Sea-Land Service.

Maersk Board Appoints New CEO

By Mark Edward Nero

On June 23, the Maersk Group Board of Directors appointed Søren Skou as new Chief Executive Officer of A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S, replacing Nils Andersen, who is leaving the Maersk Group. The changes are effective July 1.

Skou has been with A.P. Møller - Mærsk since 1983 and a member of its executive board since 2006. He was appointed CEO of Maersk Line in 2012 and is expected to remain in this position in addition to his position as Maersk Group CEO.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead A.P. Møller – Mærsk into the next phase of our strategic development,” Skou said in a prepared statement. “The fast-paced changes of this world demand that we can adapt quickly, easily and at a minimal cost. Our future set-up must effectively respond to these challenges.”

“Søren has strong business acumen and thorough knowledge of the Group’s various businesses and has successfully restructured the businesses he has led,” Board of Directors Chair Michael Pram Rasmussen said. “The Board of Directors knows Søren as a respected and knowledgeable leader with the ability to adapt quickly to market changes.”

Andersen had been with A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S since 2005, first as member of the Board of Directors, then as Chief Executive Officer beginning in December 2007.

“After eight years as CEO of the Group and 15 years as CEO altogether, I find it is the right time for both me and A.P. Møller - Mærsk to make a change,” he explained. “On a personal level I am at a point in my life where I look forward to having a bit more time with my family after many years of constant work and I look forward to entering a new phase in my life.”