Date: February 21, 2014
This week we look at the increased traffic volumes in the Malacca Straits transit and how ‘smart ships’ offering operating efficiencies could save up to $1m per vessel per year.
Malacca Straits transits hits all time high – The Malacca waterway is a key passage for the Asian and European trade as well as a barometer for the health of world trade. According to Seatrade, last year saw a huge increase in traffic volumes in the Straits, surpassing the 2008 peak. According to data from the Marine Department of Malaysia’s STRAITREP reporting system, there were 77,973 transits of the Malacca Strait last year by vessels of 300 gross tonnes or more, passing the previous high of 76,381 in 2008. Traffic volumes in the Straits grew 22% during the so-called super-cycle that shipping experienced from 2005-2008, with the number of transits rising from 62,621 in 2005 to 76,381 in 2008. However, due to the global financial crisis, the number of transits fell to 71,359 in 2009, a year that also saw a 12% fall in global trade. The increase in traffic in this key waterway is good news in terms of the balance of supply and demand in shipping. However, it also presents challenges when it comes to the safety of navigation, particularly in the large tanker segment, where the deepwater route is little more than 1 km wide at its narrowest point. Despite the financial crisis, VLCC traffic showed a strong 20% growth in the last five years and the number of VLCCs transiting the Malacca Straits hit 4,825 last year, at an average of 13.2 transits a day, with the growth in Chinese crude oil imports from the Middle East seen as a major driver.
Date: February 14, 2014
This week we talk about a Danish shipping firm’s plans for more voyages through the Northwest Passage and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s efforts to protect sensitive shipping waters.
Danish shipping firm plans more Northwest Passage voyages – Nordic Bulk Carriers, the Danish shipping company that made the first commercial transit of the Northwest Passage, plans to increase its shipments through the legendary waterway next year. The firm’s Nordic Orion made history last September when it hauled 15,000 tonnes of coal to Finland from Vancouver through waters that were once impenetrable ice, saving the company around $200,000 according to Sustainable Shipping. Despite these recent developments, it is still argued that the Northwest Passage lacks adequate nautical chart coverage, ports, search and rescue stations and icebreakers. However, Christian Bonfils of Nordic Bulk carriers seems confident that the profit motive will encourage owners to make use of the waterway in order to cut their fuel bill: “Where there’s cargo to make money, ships will go.”
In the news… US plans for safer Arctic shipping, 2013 the year of shipping efficiency, and the ‘A to G’ rating system for greener ships
Date: January 31, 2014
This week we talk about a plan to ease shipping and improve adaptation to climate change in the Arctic region, 2013 as the year when the shipping industry made serious efforts to become a more sustainable sector and two Canadian ports leading the way in encouraging greener vessels.
US plan to make Arctic shipping safer – As the Arctic ice melts away at a rate of knots, good news came from the US this week in the form of a White House announcement outlining a plan to promote safety and security in the region. Building ports, improving forecasts of sea ice and developing shipping rules are some of the measures laid out in the proposal. gCaptain reports that the US Defense Department will lead an interagency effort to better forecast icy conditions by launching a new satellite as well as improving methods to analyse icy conditions, meanwhile the Department of Commerce will lead on coordinating the surveying and charting of US Arctic waters in order to ease shipping congestion and improve adaptation to climate change in coastal communities. “Our highest priority is to protect the American people, our sovereign territory and rights and the natural resources and other interests of the United States,” said the plan, which forms part of President Barack Obama’s National Strategy for the Arctic Region, announced last May. At the same time, the US Navy is nearing completion of a new Arctic “road map” which lays out their approach to future engagement in the region, particularly given increasingly open waterways. The updated document is based on the Navy’s first comprehensive assessment of the near-term, mid-term and long-term availability of sea passages, due to the loss of seasonal ice.
In the news… 100 years of SOLAS, shipping lanes in Canada’s Far North and the world’s largest offshore wind farm
Date: January 24, 2014
This week we take a look at the 100th anniversary of the SOLAS Convention, the Canadian Coast Guard’s plans to identify a number of Arctic sea lanes and an amazing photo of the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
100 Years of SOLAS – One hundred years ago, 13 nations agreed on the terms of the International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea, or ‘SOLAS’ as it is better known. The first version of the treaty, passed in 1914, was a direct consequence of the Titanic disaster. It was a landmark international agreement, establishing international standards on – among other things – watertight and fireproof bulkheads, signaling apparatus (particularly wireless telegraphy), safety of navigation, lifesaving, fire prevention and firefighting equipment. Today 159 countries have signed up to SOLAS, says gCaptain.
In the news… advanced emissions monitoring, ancient Antarctica sub-glacial valley and drop in sea piracy
Date: January 17, 2014
This week we talk about a new study that reveals how ship-owners can save millions by using advanced emissions monitoring of large ships, the discovery of a sub-glacial valley bigger than the Grand Canyon and the global piracy decline caused by the Somali piracy drop.
Ship-owners could save millions with advanced emissions monitoring – According to a new study published by Transport & Environment (T&E), advanced emissions monitoring of large ships calling at EU ports could help save owners and operators up to €9 million each year. The Maritime Executive reports that these savings could be generated by the use of automated systems such as fuel flow meters or continuous emissions monitoring, a process that is already used by many of the world’s largest shipping companies. The report concludes that these modern monitoring systems could help to lower emissions costs by a significantly greater extent than the 2% CO2 cut claimed by the European Commission, which estimates that CO2 emissions from ships sailing in European waters amounted to 180 million tonnes in 2010. The study also suggests that investing in modern measuring technologies could lower the cost of complying with international shipping air pollution standards, such as the 2015 sulfur limits. John Maggs of Seas at Risk said: “As the shipping industry pushes back against new laws to make shipping greener, this study shows that it makes perfect environmental and economic sense to use modern technologies and consolidate reporting requirements into one regulation. We therefore call on the European Parliament to strengthen the proposal to ensure that all harmful pollutants can be more effectively controlled.”
Date: January 10, 2014
This week…why habitability is important for reasons of efficiency and safety other than a fundamental need for seafarers, and popular nautical needs explained by gCaptain.
Decent living for efficient and safe ships – The need for seafarers to have decent living conditions is enshrined in the new Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) but the latest issue of the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin Alert! explains why habitability is important for reasons of efficiency and safety – reports Hellenic Shipping News. The MLC gives port state inspectors power to detain vessels that do not conform to decent habitability standards and provides a strict regulatory framework to ensure that seafarers live in decent conditions, as well as other benefits, including ensuring crews can work more efficiently. Readers are reminded that habitability is an important design criteria in modern ships, with the need to consider such matters as noise, vibration, the indoor climate and lighting in living and working spaces. The considerable scope of the MLC regulations as they apply to accommodation and recreational facilities is usefully summarised, along with plenty of guidance on the detailed regulations themselves. Habitability is about people and place and the need to ensure that working spaces, just as much as the accommodation, are properly designed for real people to work in. Human-centred ship design recognises both human factors and ergonomics with the aim of providing facilities that are comfortable and promote efficiency. Indeed a ship in which habitability has been considered from the start will almost certainly be a more efficient place of work than one where the crew just fit in where they can.
Date: January 3, 2014
Last month we took our popular ECDIS workshop to Marintec China 2013 in Shanghai, which is widely regarded as the premier trade event for the Chinese maritime industry. As well as our own presence, six ADMIRALTY chart agents had their own stands at the show to help promote our navigation solutions to the burgeoning Asian shipping sector.
Date: December 27, 2013
Most of us are with our families during the Christmas period but for many thousands of seafarers, this is not possible. They spend Christmas Day hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, serving on vessels all over the globe in order to provide the rest of us with the products, commodities, services and security that we all rely upon. However, seafaring charities and communities all around the world have been doing their best to provide moral and practical support to those seafarers that have been away from home.
In the news… Lloyd’s List goes all-digital, the Port of New York and Canada’s new Arctic shipping route
Date: December 20, 2013
This week we take a look at the start of a new chapter for Lloyd’s List as it goes all-digital, the Port of New York City as described in a Walt Whitman poem and the discovery of a new shipping passage in Canada’s Arctic.
A New Chapter for Lloyd’s List - After 279 years, the world-famous shipping publication Lloyd’s List today publishes its final ever print edition, before switching to become a wholly digital publication. Whilst this may be the end of an era for this esteemed publication, it is also the start of a new chapter, as Editor Richard Meade explains in this online article (£). He makes the case that whilst the information needs of the shipping industry remain the same, the way that the industry consumes that information and the sheer volume and speed of access has changed dramatically in a very short space of time. Information is power in shipping, argues Richard, and the latest move to become an all-digital publication is one that fits well with the principles of Lloyd’s List’s founder, Edward Lloyd, and his famous coffee shop. A publication that started life as a printed notice pinned to a coffee shop wall in London in the late seventeenth century is now embracing the information revolution that provides instant access to a wealth of data in a moments notice from anywhere in the world. This mirrors the pace of change in the shipping industry itself, which has always evolved to move commodities and products from wherever they are to wherever they are needed, with constant progress towards greater technical and organizational efficiency along the way. There are also strong parallels with the evolution of maritime navigation over the same period, with the emergence of electronic charts and digital navigational tools in the modern era that strive to provide the mariner with the most accurate information available; a theme that we will explore further on this blog.
Date: December 13, 2013
This week we talk about the world’s first multi-sensor Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, 17 oil companies cooperating in surveying the Norwegian Arctic Seabed and the 19th British Shipping Safety Awareness Awards.
SeaExplorer Glider Makes World History - The SeaExplorer glider, developed by French technology company ACSA, has successfully completed a two-month mission in collaboration with the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV) of National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC). According to Hydro International, the SeaExplorer glider is the world’s first multi-sensor Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), with rechargeable Li-lon batteries, to complete such a long mission successfully. Dr. Hervé Claustre, of the CNRS LOV, said that the mission objective was to evaluate the endurance of the glider while performing several round trips between France and Corsica. The SeaExplorer would also gather high-resolution data during the trip. Launched south of Nice, SeaExplorer averaged 0.5 knots and provided over 1,168 profiles of the water column from near surface to 500 metres depth with 100% communications. Supervised by satellite telemetry from onshore office using ACSA’s IRIS software, the performance was manually stopped when internal parameters indicated 18% of its battery energy remaining. This technology may herald a new era for scientists concerned about the environmental effectiveness of their activity, as the SeaExplorer glider only needs replacement batteries every 10 years.