From shifting shipping lanes to managing IT on a cruise ship, we’ve been keeping track of the news that reflect the important and interesting issues affecting the maritime industry. Here are a few recent stories.

Shifting shipping lanes could help protect endangered whales – Shipping lanes along the California coast — the oceanic superhighways for Asian goods coming to America — are poised to be rerouted to protect endangered whales from collisions, reported The Los Angeles Times. The International Maritime Organization, which governs global shipping, has approved three proposals that would shift one lane through the Santa Barbara Channel and the approaches to the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex and ports in San Francisco Bay. The route adjustments were recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after four blue whales were thought to have been killed by ship strikes in the Santa Barbara Channel in 2007 and an additional five whales were suspected ship-strike victims off the Central and Northern California coast in 2010.

Picture by LA Angie Pearce ©Crown Copyright 2013

How Royal Caribbean Cruises manages IT on a floating cityCIO recently published an interesting insight into cruise ship IT management. Journalist Matthew Heusser got the chance to visit the staff at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., both at the IT office and aboard its largest ship, to see how it addresses logistics with software. His journey took him through the several different IT aspects of a cruise including everything from the ship’s navigation system, online bookings and even the technology available on-board for passengers.

The shipping noiseHonolulu Weekly stated that the Navy’s use of sonar in Hawaiian waters is under scrutiny as a federal agency documents and maps human-caused noise pollution in the oceans in an attempt to help marine mammals. Cetaceans such as dolphins, whales and porpoises are very sensitive to underwater noise and rely on sound signals to communicate and find food. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determines where noise from ship traffic, military sonar and offshore oil drilling is most heavily concentrated, it is also mapping areas important to cetaceans for feeding, breeding and migrating. This will reveal whether noise is intruding into their habitat. The project is focusing initially on commercial ship traffic, but will also look at the Navy’s use of sonar, says Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s marine mammal project. “When the Obama Administration took office, NOAA did some soul-searching and concluded in a memo to the White House that the mitigation it had approved for the Navy’s sonar was inadequate,” Jasny explains. The revised mitigation measures likely won’t surface until early 2014, when the National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to issue five-year rules for offshore sonar and explosive ordinance training. In addition, the project will “light a fire under the International Maritime Organization” to develop guidelines for reducing noise from ships, Jasny says.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!

  • Share this article: