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Hybrid electric vessel Vision of the Fjords wins award

The iconic Vision of the Fjords has picked up an award

The iconic Vision of the Fjords has picked up an award

Hybrid electric vessel Vision of the Fjords has won an award recognising its accessibility and environmental achievements.

The 400-passenger capacity vessel, owned and operated by The Fjords DA, secured the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (DOGA) Universal Design ‘transport’ award for its commitment to optimal passenger accessibility, experience and environmental sustainability.

Rolf Sandvik, CEO of The Fjords, said: “We ensured that the ‘path’ passengers use to ascend the ship, and really immerse themselves in the sensory delights of the nature here, is as accessible to those in wheelchairs, or of limited mobility, as it is to all.

“There’s no stairs, no elevators, no obstructions, just a gently sloping surface leading everyone to unforgettable views.”

Norwegian shipyard Brødrene AA, which designed and built the vessel, organised consultations during the build process to ensure that all passenger groups would be accommodated.

The DOGA jury commented that the design was both “radical and ground-breaking” and addressed passenger mobility with true innovation. It further said that the vessel had the potential to become genuinely “iconic”.

Vision of the Fjords undertakes 700 yearly trips and has low emission operations with silent running electric motors carrying its carbon fibre hull.

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MAIB releases its report into the ground of Muros on Haisborough Sand

At 0248 (UTC+1) on 3 December 2016, the bulk carrier Muros ran aground on Haisborough Sand on the east coast of the United Kingdom. Attempts to manoeuvre clear of the shallows were unsuccessful but the vessel was re-floated 6 days later with tug assistance. There were no injuries and no pollution, but damage to Muros’s rudder necessitated the vessel being towed to Rotterdam, Netherlands, for repair.

The MAIB investigation identified, inter alia:
• The vessel was following a planned track across Haisborough Sand. The passage plan in the ECDIS had been revised by the second officer less than 3 hours before the grounding and it had not been seen or approved by the master.
• A visual check of the track in the ECDIS using a small-scale chart did not identify it to be unsafe, and warnings of the dangers over Haisborough Sand that were automatically generated by the system’s ‘check route’ function were ignored.
• The second officer monitored the vessel’s position using the ECDIS but did not take any action when the vessel crossed the 10m safety contour into shallow water.
• The effectiveness of the second officer’s performance was impacted upon by the time of day and a very low level of arousal and she might have fallen asleep periodically.
• The disablement of the ECDIS alarms removed the system’s barriers that could have alerted the second officer to the danger in time for successful avoiding action to be taken.

The MAIB has recently investigated several grounding incidents in which the way the vessels’ ECDIS was configured and utilised was contributory. There is increasing evidence to suggest that first generation ECDIS systems were designed primarily to comply with the performance standards required by the IMO, as these systems became a mandatory requirement on ships, with insufficient attention being given to the needs of the end user. As a consequence, ECDIS systems are often not intuitive to use and lack the functionality needed to accommodate accurate passage planning in confined waters. This situation has led to seafarers using ECDIS in ways which are at variance with the instructions and guidance provided by the manufacturers and/or expected by regulators.

The MAIB is conducting a safety study, in collaboration with the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board, designed to more fully understand why operators are not using ECDIS as envisaged by regulators and the system manufacturers. The overarching objective is to provide comprehensive data that can be used to improve the functionality of future ECDIS systems by encouraging the greater use of operator experience and human centred design principles.

In view of the actions already taken, no recommendations have been made in this report.

Read the report in full: MAIBInvReport22_2017

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AkzoNobel’s Interline 9001 cargo tank coating wins ICIS Innovation Awards

Interline 9001 cargo tank coating has won two awards for AkzoNobel

Interline 9001 cargo tank coating has won two awards for AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel has scooped two prestigious honours at the recent ICIS Innovation Awards for the Interline 9001 ultra-performance cargo tank coating supplied through its International brand.

As well as being awarded with the overall Innovation Award, Interline 9001 also received the Best Product Innovation Award from ICIS, the trusted information provider for the global chemical and energy industries.

The awards recognize the impact the new coating has had on the chemical tanker industry, specifically how it tackles the issue of absorption from aggressive cargoes, such as methanol, acetone and ethylene glycol. These issues can often result in cargo cycling restrictions, increased risk of subsequent contamination and the need for repeated resource and time-intensive washing procedures.

“We recognize that cargo tanks are the revenue-earning spaces of a vessel,” said Oscar Wezenbeek, Managing Director of Marine and Protective Coatings at AkzoNobel. “Reduced cargo absorption means less sequencing restrictions and less time required for cleaning which ultimately impact the operators’ profitability. This is why we have invested heavily in tackling the issue of cargo absorption.”

He added that Interline 9001 was the result of close engagement with customers and engaging in cutting-edge research at the company’s dedicated tank lining laboratory. “Our detailed knowledge of the most aggressive cargoes, together with our experience in tank coating application, allows us to offer a product that maximizes chemical tanker operational and environmental efficiency.”

Interline 9001, with its patented bimodal polymer technology, was developed to break the mould by solving the root cause of the problem – cargo absorption. Due to its near zero cargo absorption, it has resolved most of the past operational challenges, limitations and concerns. Interline 9001 provides up to 90% reduction in cargo restrictions*, up to 70% reduction in cleaning costs and time, and a minimal risk of contamination.

The awards from ICIS follow on from the presentation of the Winsemius Award for Sustainability and Innovation to Interline 9001 as well as the Technical Innovation Award from Tanker Shipping and Trade Conference in 2016. This recognized that the coating significantly reduces consumption of cleaning materials disposed to sea and reduces solvent emissions and waste, as well as saving on fuel and emissions by reducing the need to clean tanks with hot water, which consumes fuel and water resources.

More than 50 ships have been coated with Interline 9001 over the last three years.

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British yard Green Marine has folded with the loss of 46 jobs

British boatbuilder and carbon fibre specialist Green Marine has ceased trading after going into voluntary liquidation, leading to the loss of 46 jobs.

Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the company explained that Green Marine had been hoping to secure an order to build the hull and superstructure of a superyacht, which did not materialise.

Parent company Vitters, who bought Green Marine in 2010 and moved the yard to a new high-tech facility at Hythe Marina, confirmed the news and promised to complete all uncompleted projects.

In a statement, the Dutch yard added: “The decision had to be taken due to the current uncertainty of future business and the changed business environment. For specialised companies, such as Green Marine, which depend on a low number of high value projects, it is very difficult to keep a constant level of people employed with fixed overheads. At the moment the future possibilities for a new business approach are being investigated.”

Founded in 1982, Green Marine contributed to more than 180 boating projects, including the hulls of Vitters sailing superyachts such Ribelle and Missy, as well as the Wallycento cruiser/racers Open Season and Galateia.

The yard was also highly influential in the racing world, having worked on Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup test boat T2, Alex Thomson’s IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss and Armel le Cleac’h’s Banque Populaire VIII, which won the 2016-17 Vendée Globe.

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Shipping sector not ready for IMO 2020 sulphur limit regulations reveals survey

Some 70% of shipping companies surveyed say they do not believe the industry is ready for IMO’s 2020 deadline, when a global limit of 0.5% sulphur will be imposed on marine fuel for vessels trading internationally. That was the headline finding of a new survey conducted by CE Delft on behalf of Exxonmobil.

The survey suggests that only 500 ships have been equipped with scrubbers. There has been something of a backlash against scrubber technology, most notably from Maersk and Klaveness, who have said they see the technology as being expensive and immature.

Lasse Kristoffersen, CEO at Torvald Klaveness, last year said scrubbers are a costly investment, costing between $2.0 and $4.0m, which can sometimes be greater than the value of the vessel itself.

Other respondents to the ExxonMobil survey said they were concerned that shipping companies would cheat and falsify the sulphur content of their marine fuel. Could this be a tacit admission that port states do not intend to or will not be able to enforce the 0.5% cap in their own waters?

Time is running out to solve these problems. A little over two years remains before the global cap is imposed and shipping companies have few options with which to comply with the new regulation.

Maersk has favoured using alternative fuels to installing scrubbers. It is likely that, rather than investing in abatement technologies, carriers will instead make an en-masse switch to 0.5% gasoil (or 0.5% fuel oil) come 2020. The International Energy Agency in 2015 estimated that around 2.2m bpd in maritime fuel demand would switch overnight to 0.5% gasoil. Separately, the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has estimated the figure at 4.0m bpd.

This poses its own problems: what mix of fuels will be available in 2020 and at what cost for each type? Refiners have not been so forthcoming with information about what new capacity they are adding to deal with the expected rise in demand. If ship operators do switch to gasoil, they will have to compete with truck drivers and SUV owners to buy the fuel, which could drive up prices and possibly lead to shortages in supply.

Meanwhile, there will be a loophole for shipowners in 2020: vessels will be permitted to sail without compliant fuel if none is available, even if they do not have scrubbers installed.

On the other hand, perhaps we’re being too pessimistic. It remains possible that early adopters of scrubbers will have recouped all their outlay by 2020 if the retrofitted vessels have traded extensively in emission control areas before the cap enters into force. And if the price of distillate fuels rises significantly over the next 26 months, there could still be time for early adopters to make their money back.

Any additional costs that are incurred by using ultra-low-sulphur marine fuel (because it certainly won’t be any cheaper than HFO) will need to be shouldered ultimately by the shipper. If significant or volatile price differentials open up between gasoil and crude oil and fuel oil and crude oil, it will be all the more important to use hedging and bunker adjustment factors (BAF) wisely. This will mean that existing freight contracts (like COAs) and new long-term contracts that go beyond 2020 will need to accommodate this.

Although just over two years remain before the sulphur cap deadline, there are no easy answers as to how best to comply but shipping companies should start planning for tomorrow today.

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