VTT to Explore Use of Bio- and Waste-Based Oils for Ships, Power Plants

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In a three-year Business Finland BioFlex project, Finnish research services provider VTT and partners will assess how suitable fuel oils made from biomass and waste plastics are for ship diesel engines and power plants. 

As explained, the aim is to determine “the most ecologically and economically sustainable way to replace fossil fuels”.

The increase in wind and solar power requires load-following capacity to flexibly compensate for gaps in electricity production on windless and cloudy days, according to VTT.

Power plants that use fuels will continue to be part of energy systems, but there are differences in their flexibility. Conventional coal- or biomass-fired steam boilers are not capable of load changes that are as fast as those of natural gas-fired gas turbine power plants or the most flexible power plants of them all — internal-combustion engine power plants, VTT sa…

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March Imports at US Container Ports Hit Five-Year Low

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Imports at major U.S. retail container ports dropped to their lowest level in five years in March, data from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates shows.

The report indicates that imports are projected to remain significantly below normal levels through early summer as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Even as factories in China have begun to get back to work, we are seeing far fewer imports coming into the United States than previously expected,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said.

“Many stores are closed, and consumer demand has been impacted with millions of Americans out of work. However, there are still many essential items that are badly needed and because of store closures cargo may sit longer than usual and cause other supply chain impacts.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unraveling the economy nationally and g…

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German Gas Carrier Grounded due to Underdeveloped ECDIS

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A Germany-flagged liquefied gas carrier grounded off Indonesia in 2018 due to the not fully developed electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), a report by Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation (BSU) shows.

On July 9, 2018, the 60,000 cbm Pazifik grounded on a shallow between the islands of Komodo and Banda.

At the time of the incident, the ship was carrying a cargo of 18,000 tons of ammonia. However, no cargo escaped since only the forepeak and ballast water tanks were damaged.

Two days later, the 2005-built Pazifik could be refloated by exchanging cargo and ballast water. The vessel headed to a shipyard in Singapore under its own power and accompanied by a tug.

During the repair, about 50 meters of the double bottom was renewed and the rudder was repaired. The latter was damaged when the ship refloated from the rocks during a m…

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USCG Medevacs Crewman from Yang Ming Boxship

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An injured crew member of a Taiwan-flagged containership has been evacuated some six miles from the San Francisco Bay, the US Coast Guard (USCG) said.

As informed, the 32-year-old Taiwanese seafarer suffered a head injury caused by an accident on board the 8,626 TEU YM Unanimity in the evening hours of April 3.

The unfortunate man had fallen and struck his head on the ship’s radar mast creating a laceration on his forehead as the Post-Panamax boxship was making its way toward its next port call in Japan.

After receiving a report on the accident, USCG Sector San Francisco watchstanders launched a helicopter crew to medevac the crewmember.

Once on scene, the helicopter crew lowered the rescue swimmer to the containership to assess the man. The helicopter crew then lowered a rescue basket to hoist the crewmember into the helicopter and transported him to Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto.

The man was re…

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UAE to Ease Restrictions on Crew Changes

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to gradually lift the restrictions on crew changes enabling seafarers stuck in UAE to return to their homes.

The move is being announced in the wake of growing concerns for seafarers and their mental health as their transfer has been banned as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

Industry bodies including the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have joined calls to port authorities and governments to give seafarers the status of key personnel and allow them to move freely.

The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) said that priorities will be given to seafarers with resident visas who are stuck onboard their ships, crews of passenger ships currently laid up in UAE, crew members who are no longer medically fit to work onboard the ship and seafarers with urgent medical or humanitarian cases.

In order for the crew changes to be carried out, …

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ECSA: Maritime-Specific Rescue and Recovery Plan Is Urgently Needed

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The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) has welcomed the work done by the EU so far to support the shipping industry in dealing with COVID-19 but stressed that more sector-specific actions are needed to save the industry.

For Europe to ensure the survival of its strategically important maritime industry, more concerted and targeted actions will be required, according to ECSA.

The trade association, therefore, called on all the European institutions to swiftly adopt a targeted rescue and recovery plan for the maritime sector.

Currently, the European shipping industry is working hard to ensure goods, supplies and medical equipment continue to come into Europe and flow out of Europe. Yet shipping companies are facing increasing obstacles staying afloat, due to liquidity issues, decreasing sources of financing, amongst others. With the largest part of the industry being small …

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Shin Kurushima Dockyard Gets ClassNK AiP for LNG-Fueled Chemical Tanker Design

Classification Society ClassNK has granted approval in principle (AiP) to Japanese Shin Kurushima Dockyard (SKDY) for a concept design of 49,000 dwt LNG-fueled chemical tanker.

According to ClassNK, the AiP was granted to the concept design based on its regulation for ships using low-flashpoint fuels incorporating the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels.

With a gross tonnage of about 33,100 tons, the tanker has a length of 179.4 meters, a width of 32.26 meters and a speed of 14 knots.

The ship has two independent Type C LNG fuel tanks installed on its deck that do not require a secondary barrier and that minimize the impact of LNG fuel on cargo tank volume.

As explained, the vessel design enables the ship to run for approximately 40 days with the use of LNG fuel, thereby realizing a longer navigational cruising range.

The LNG fuel tank and gas piping from the gas bunker station to the engine ro…

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HRAS: Bulker Crew Threatened for Voicing COVID-19 Exposure Fears

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The crew members of a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier have raised safety concerns related to the continued offloading operations at Chittagong, Bangladesh.

According to a formal letter, addressed to Tomini Transports LLC and Western Bulk Carriers, the crew of MV Tomini Destiny asked to be provided with adequate protective gear and for the ability of external persons to come on board the ship during discharging operations to be limited.

The letter was also sent to a UK-based charity Human Rights at Sea (HRAS).

The seafarers believe there is an overall lack of coronavirus screening of stevedores which could lead to potential transmission of the coronavirus to the crew and across the supply chain.

However, it appears that their fears failed to secure support from the management. Namely, the crew claims to have received threats from the owner of the ship that their em…

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DSME Wins VLCC Order from Pan Ocean

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South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has secured an order for a very large crude oil carrier from compatriot shipping company Pan Ocean.

The order comes at a very challenging time for shipbuilding business and represents the fist oil tanker construction contract secured by DSME this year.

The 300,000 TDW VLCC will span 335 meters in length and it will be 60 meters wide. The shipbuilder said the newbuilding would be fitted with a scrubber as a means of complying with the IMO 2020 sulphur cap.

The ship is scheduled for delivery by the third quarter of 2021.

Commenting on the order, DSME said that due to the low oil prices, tanker orders are expected to pick up, adding that it is ready to take advantage of such a trend.

So far this year, DSME has won USD 400 million worth of orders covering three ships, two shuttle tankers and one VLCC.

To remind, back in February DSME pen…

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Emergency USD 1.23 Mln Fund to Support Seafarers Impacted by Covid-19

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A UK-based charity the ITF Seafarers’ Trust (ITFST) is launching a USD 1.23 million (GBP 1 million) emergency fund to address the impact of the global pandemic on seafarers and their families.

Seafarers are being retained on vessels after sign-off, left ashore in foreign countries unable to return to their families, and deprived of information as port authorities ban crew change-overs and limit the movement of foreign nationals to curb the pandemic from spreading further, according to NGOs.

The crewing crisis has seen conditions onboard vessels deteriorate and is impacting seafarers’ state of mind.

The seafarers are reporting an increasing trend of non-payment of wages, contract extensions without informed consent, crews being left in foreign states to pay hotel bills and to seek flights home using their own funds.

Putting seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing …

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