Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CHIKYU: Pardon me

Joides Resolution was an impressive ship to see in Victoria Harbour, a casual visitor to the city over tha last few years. In the context of the politically charge debate of offshore oil drilling in BC, it was often a sight that made people nervous, but certainly interested all that saw the ship. An impresive, specialized piece of equipment.

I read in the paper about the completion of the $540 millions USD CHIKYU; a new drillship, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and ready to set to break records in research drilling of the ocean floor. It is destined to replace the Joides Resolution and purpose built for science work.

A press release from the Japanese below, gives some background, and you can visit the Center for Deep Earth eXploration (CDEX) for further pictures and program introduction.

"CHIKYU (“Earth” in Japanese) is a cutting-edge scientific research vessel that is capable of drilling to 7,000m below the seabed at 2,500m water depth. It measures 210m in overall length, 38m in breadth, and weights 57,087 tons, the world’s largest in size. The drilling derrick installed on the vessel towers 130m from the bottom of the vessel, as high as a 32-story building.
As a deep-drilling research vessel, CHIKYU is the first to introduce the riser drilling method that has been developed and recently employed in offshore oil and gas fields. Connecting the drilling vessel to the blowout preventer at the sea floor, a riser pipe acts as a pathway for the mud circulation which allows them to drill much deeper under stable conditions. The research area of the CHIKYU is composed of four decks and its total floor space is 2,300 square meters. It includes such facilities as Core Cutting Place, X-Ray CT Scanner Lab, QA/QC Sampling Room.
The CHIKYU drilling platform will be carried out in the framework of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), in which 15 countries as Japan, US, EU are taking part. Japan is expected to take the lead in the program, making full use of its technological strength.
In the past 4.6 billion-year history of the Earth, successive events of meteorite strikes, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions have repeatedly affected people’s life environment and activities. These days, extreme weather presumably caused by the El Nino phenomenon has caused extensive damage globally. In order to account for natural phenomena, CHIKYU will attempt to get to the unexplored area level below the sea bottom.
CHIKYU was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and delivered to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in July 2005. At present, it is in training and testing operations in Japanese waters and is scheduled to come back to the MHI Yokohama Dockyard in mid December for maintenance of its hull and equipment. "

Also check out the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Immigrants to Canada cry foul

I came across an interesting article in the Georgia Straight, a weekly newspaper in Vancouver, about the plight of educated and skilled immigrants to Canada. A topic which probably strikes a cord with many immigrants of seafaring backgrounds. Of whom, many have settled in Vancouver, and which, I understand, have some misgivings about their current situations versus what they were experiencing before coming to Canada.

Canada seems to be suffering what many other countries in Europe are facing; a huge influx of immigrants into their fold, and not neccessarily the poorest or uneducated ones either. On one hand immigrations has to be encouraged to ensure the future of the country because of the low birth rates among "natives", and on the other hand, there is allot of practical and psychological barriers to overcome in welcoming new faces. Not to mention that yes, higher salaries exist in Canada, but so does the cost of living and taxes - sometimes overlooked by the positive and rosy "the grass is greener over there" attitude.

Personally, I think that people need to be challenged, and should aspire to explore their environment. Positive and generally optimistic people are usually the ones taking the risks, but they should be realistic about expectations. I think it is a timely article, which highlights the need to be aware of our own goals as individual and compare them to what is achievable, not just what is imagined or marketed.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Philipino scholar"ships"

Norwegian shipowners offering 150 scholarships
Emily Jade B. Valero, Sun Star Publishing, Inc.
Monday, January 16, 2006

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) is offering 150 scholarship slots for incoming first year Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering students at the University of Cebu (UC).

As a NSA scholar, one can enjoy two years of full scholarship with free board and lodging, book and clothing allowance. On their third year, they will get a chance to have their apprenticeship on board a Norwegian vessel with a $500-$550 allowance per month. After graduation they are also assured of employment on board Norwegian shipping vessels.

NSA has been providing scholarship grants for more than 10 years and has produced thousands of graduates already. For the second time, UC was awarded as the Most Outstanding NSA School of the Year. According to UC President Augusto W. Go, Filipinos are natural seafarers and this is one of the good jobs available because in 10 years one could become a captain of a ship. This is also an opportunity to see the world for free and get paid for it.

Interested applicants must submit the following requirements for the scholarship: Original and photocopy of high school card with at least 85% general average and with no grade below 80% in all subjects, original copy and photocopy of birth certificate. One 2x2 color picture should be attached to the application form. Applicants must not be more than 20 years old as of June 2006, height must be at least 5’4” for male and 5’3” for female.

Pre-screening will start on February 7, and goes on until May 15. For inquiries, one may call UC-Mambaling NSA Office Alumnos on 262-0557, 262-7614, 262-8888 local 151 and look for Malou Gonzales, NSA Project coordinator. (Emily Jade B. Valero)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

MV APL Panama Still Aground

Antigua & Barbuda flag, 40,306gt. M/V APL Panama grounded on sand Dec 25 while inbound to the Port of Ensenada in clear conditions. Reports are that the Master did not wait for a Pilot before continuing. My guess is his next job will be the Unemployment line.

As of today, the ship is still hard aground and attempts have failed to tow her off. Work continues to offload the ship to lighten her and a mini-city has sprung up on the beach.

Photos and further info can be viewed at the site below-scroll about halfway down to see them. They are really amazing!


Edited on Jan 23 to add this little tidbit from the page:

"Jan. 20 -- Work Continues
It is learned that draft is 12mt. where red & black paint meet. at 2mt. to water - with 1.5mt. of water at the vessel & 8.5mt. of ship in sand. Geeez! Perhaps M/V APL Panama is better m
ade a permanent resort. "

Bolding is mine.

8.5 meters buried-holy crap! This could be the newest resort in the area.

Keep checking back to the original website for updates.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Alert! Issue 10 Available Online

Why regulation needs to be realistic

Regulation is important, while compliance with it is essential for safe ship operation. Violations of the rules and regulations account for many accidents. The latest issue of Alert!, the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin focuses upon regulation, and concludes that while absolutely necessary, they need to be both realistic and practical.
There was a famous photograph taken a few years ago after a tanker master became frustrated by his job turning, apparently, into that of an upmarket clerk. To illustrate the realities of his bureaucratic burden, he made a pile on the deck of all the manuals, paperwork, regulations and directions that he was expected both to know and comply with, and had himself pictured alongside this awesome column. He was no midget, and the pile of paperwork towered above him.
Regulations are there for our guidance, but if there are too many of them to be realistically taken aboard by busy people running ships, questions must be asked, both about the appropriateness of the regulations and the provision of the available manpower to ensure compliance.
Alert! notes that human nature is such that we all break the rules - through slips, lapses or mistakes , through ignorance or misapprehension. But we may be virtually forced to break the rules, to take risks because of commercial or operational pressures, and this is where questions need to be asked. Are the rules sufficiently explicit? Is the manpower available so that the rules may be properly complied with? Is it an issue of inadequate training, the emergence of bad habits, complacency, or the improper interpretation of the regulations put in place for our guidance and the safe operation of ships?
In this “no holds barred” issue of Alert!, a shipowners’ representative suggests that manning regulations have become disconnected to the realities of the regulatory burdens upon seafarers. A senior shipmaster points out that he is seriously pressed to do his proper job as a ship’s Captain, such is the mass of bureaucracy upon which regulation now insists.
Regulations save lives but it is the human face of regulation, and the way that they are implemented at the “coal face” which makes the difference. These should be more, it is suggested, than “a remorseless and never ending escalation in time and paperwork”.
All this and more in Alert! No 10, available now.
We seek to represent the views of all sectors of the maritime industry - contributions for the Bulletin, letters to the editor and articles and papers for the website database are always welcome.

David Squire, CBE,
FNIEditor Alert!
The Nautical InstituteLambeth RoadLondon, SE1 7LQ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7928 1351Fax: +44 (0) 20 7401 2817

Jail time for NY ferry accident

NY ferry pilot, official jailed for 2003 crash
2006-01-10 08:06:06

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The pilot at the helm of the New York Staten Island Ferry when it crashed in 2003, killing 11 people, and the city's former ferry director, were given jail terms here Monday.

Assistant Captain Richard Smith, who passed out in the pilot's house of the Andrew J. Barberi after taking medication with drowsy side effects, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The former ferry director, Patrick Ryan, was also sentenced to one year and one day in jail on related charges of negligence. A probation official had recommended that the pilot, Richard Smith, get three months in prison and Ryan get six months.

Last month, a federal investigator recommended that Smith and Ryan receive sentences of less than one year - far below sentencing guidelines. Victims and relatives of those who died got a chance to speak this afternoon before the sentences were announced. During the court hearing, Smith offered an impassioned apology in a statement to the court. Ryan also apologized to the families before he was given the jail terms.

Eleven people died, and more than 70 were injured when the Barberi ran into a concrete maintenance pier at full speed at the St. George Terminal in Staten Island in October of 2003. It was the worst accident in the Manhattan-Staten Island ferry service's 100-year history. Since the crash, more than 200 people have sued the city which,without a cap, could face up to billions of dollars in damages.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Big boys making big toys

In a press release issued yesterday, Aker Yards and Alstom Marine announce their intention to join operations and create a new company, under the Aker banner, to take over operation of the St Nazaire and Lorient ship yards in France. Aker would own the lions share of the new company at 75% and Alstom the remaining 25%, until 2010, when Aker may offer a complete buyout.

Alstom operates Europe's biggest shipyard, Chantier de l'Atlantique at Ste Nazaire, on France's west coast, birthplace of some of the world's most famous cruise liners. Names like Ile de France, Normandie, France and most recently, and the current holder of the World's Biggest passenger ship, the Princess Mary 2, along with 107 other passenger ships. Four more cruise vessels are on order at this massive shipyard, in operation since the 1860's.

Aker Group is one of the world's fifth largest shipbuilder, and operates 13 yards in Norway, Finland, Germany, Romania and Brazil. They are most notably known for highly specialized vessels such as cruise ships. They are currently building two Freedom Class vessels for Royal Carribean, and a third is on order. The Freedom class' Freedom of the Seas, at ~160,000 tons, will take the Biggest Passenger ship afloat title from QM2 in April 2006. Aker Finnyard (pka Kvaerner Masa Yard) also built the five Voyager class ships for RCCL, which held the BPS title for a quite a few years previous to QM2.

The deal is subject to approval requirements, but is expected to close March 2006. Alstom Marine's 3000 employees will merge with Aker's 13000 to form a powerhouse in the cruise and specialty shipbuilding world, no layoff are expected.

Martin Leduc - www.dieselduck.net