Wednesday, May 31, 2006

TSB Releases Report of the Grounding of the Great Century

This is an interesting report to anyone familar with navigating in the Gulf of St Lawrence and St Lawrence River during the winter months.
Even for ships designed for icebreaking, the amount of slush makes life interesting in the engineroom at times. For a ship like the Great Century which was not designed for service in ice covered waters and an engineroom staff unfamilar with problems experienced, it must have been a nightmare.
When I worked on the icebreakers, it was not uncommon to see vessels in the Gulf with crew totally unprepared for the weather conditions, or vessels heading into the river with absolutely no ballast and the propeller spinning in the air/ice/water interface as they prepared to go alongside and take on ore at Sept Isle.


On 26 February 2003, the Great Century was proceeding in fair weather down the St. Lawrence River, en route to Sept-Îles, Quebec. The vessel's progress was hindered by heavy ice concentration and, in the vicinity of Champlain, the diesel engine generators overheated. The ship's electrical power supply was affected and, therefore, the main propulsion system could not maintain its output and was eventually shut down. Shortly thereafter, the Great Century experienced a blackout. An officer was dispatched to the forecastle to let go the anchors, but they were frozen in the hawse pipes. The vessel drifted in the ice flow and grounded outside the channel some 2 nautical miles down river off Pointe à la Citrouille. During the up-coming tide, the vessel was refloated with tug assistance. There was no injury or pollution as a result of this occurrence.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pont-Aven hit By Freak Wave

An engineer examines the damage caused to Brittany Ferries flagship Pont-Aven. A freak wave reportedly measuring 12 metres (40 feet) hit a ferry on its way to Spain, injuring five passengers and forcing the ship to shelter in France. From World Photos slideshow

Brittany Ferries has said a number of passengers sustained minor injuries when its flagship, the Pont-Aven, encountered what it says was a freak wave at around 10.30pm last night.

The ferry was on its way from Plymouth to Santander in northern Spain.

The company said five passengers received cuts and bruises when the wave struck, damaging windows and cabins.

The ship was diverted to Roscoff in France. Arrangements were being made to have it transferred onto Brest where the water damage can be assessed.

Brittany Ferries said that alternative arrangements have been put in place for its 1,100 passengers, including several Irish truck drivers and their loads.

It was not yet able to comment on how last night's incident would affect the service from Cork. This will be advised later.

The Pont-Aven runs from Ringaskiddy in Cork to Roscoff and from Plymouth to Santander.

In operation for just two years, she experienced a number of technical problems in her first year of service.

Most serious was the flooding of an auxiliary engine room in August 2004 caused by a faulty sea valve. The incident left the ferry unable to move from the Plymouth terminal for two days. Many services were disrupted at the height of the holiday season.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

CCGS Provo Wallis Goes West

On May 8th, 2006, the CCGS Provo Wallis sailed from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia heading for Pat Bay on Vancouver Island. The picture shows the ship passing through the Gatun Locks, Panama Canal.

The vessel was reactivated from over a 2 year lay-up in December 2005. The main engines and fluid drives had extensive work before the ship was docked at Newdock, St John's Nfld for regulatory survey.

To help in the southern passage, air conditioning units were installed in the accomodations and engine control room. Temperatures in the accomodations still reached 32*C with the air conditioning working full out! A reverse osmosis water making machine was also installed to provide the vessel with potable water.

The vessel is scheduled to relieve the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier from operational duties, allowing the Canadian Coast Guard to perform vessel life extension upgrades over the next year. When the Laurier returns to active duty, the Provo will once again transit the Panama for the East Coast, relieving the next ship due for life extension.

The vessel is expected to arrive at Pat Bay on June 4th.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

BC Ferries Names Future Super C-Class Ships

BC Ferries operates a dense network along the Pacific coast of British Columbia with a fleet of 35 vessels.

As the start of a newbuilding program, the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) will, between December 2007 and June 2008, deliver three "Super C-Class" double-ended ferries that measure 160 x 28.2 with a 5.75 m draft, able to carry 370 automobiles, 1650 passengers and 35 crew.

The vessels are reportly to be powered by four MaK 8M 32 C generator sets which jointly supply the electrical energy for the currently operating unit of the two propulsion motors (each of 11,000 kW), all the auxiliary systems and the comprehensive facilities available on the ships. At an engine speed of 600 rpm, a total of 16,000 kW is available at the main switchboard and, even with only two generator sets active, a cruise speed of 18 knots can still be maintained.

Two Vancouver companies, SmartDesign Group and Lisa Bell & Associates, have been selected by Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft shipyard as the interior design companies for BC Ferries’ three new Super C-class vessels.
SmartDesign Group will develop the interior design standards for the Super C-class passenger accommodation areas.

Lisa Bell & Associates, a Vancouver-based food service facilities consulting firm, has also been contracted by Flensburger to work on the Super C-class vessels. The firm will design the equipment layout for all food service areas.

The detailed interior design phase for the three Super C-class vessels will continue until January 2006. Construction of the vessels will begin in September 2006 with delivery of the first vessel in December 2007, the second in early 2008 and the third in mid-2008.

BC Ferries has chosen the names for the vessels that will begin operating between the mainland and Vancouver Island in early 2008.
An advisory board comprised of local newspaper reporters and BC Ferries’ employees selected the names Coastal Renaissance, Coastal Inspiration and Coastal Celebration after reviewing a total of 7,602 entries submitted in a contest that ran from Oct. 18, 2005 through Jan. 31 of this year.

Over the next 15 years, $2 billion will be required to replace aging ships and upgrade terminals

Friday, May 12, 2006

Steaming Cruise Ship Passengers

Everyone is in a hurry these days. They are still getting where they want to be, only at 3/4 speed!!
As for being a prisoner on a ship, it goes with being at sea.

Raina Delisle
The Province

Friday, May 12, 2006

Patrick Regan is a prisoner at sea, stuck on a luxury cruise "limping to Alaska."

"I'm on a ship that's not operating at 100 per cent and I want some answers," Regan said yesterday.

"A lot of people want off this ship. I'm upset I wasn't given the option to decide whether or not I wanted to continue this journey."

Regan and his wife, Harriette, of North Vancouver, boarded Celebrity Cruises' Summit in Los Angeles on Sunday for a 13-night cruise to Sitka, Alaska, with stops in Seattle yesterday and Victoria today.

Instead, the ship has skipped Seattle and will skip Sitka to save time because a mechanical problem has cut speed by 22 per cent.

At its first stop in San Francisco, the Summit was met by inspectors from Lloyd's Register -- a maritime classification society that ensures ships meet safety standards.

"Routine maintenance detected premature wear in the propulsion system," said Michael Sheehan, a spokesman for Celebrity.

The ship left port without alerting passengers because "expert analysis" was not complete, Sheehan said. The ship is safe, he said, but going slow to prevent more damage.

Regan, an amateur cruise reviewer who has been on six Alaskan cruises in the last year, said passengers are fuming because they were not immediately notified and given the option to disembark.

"They waited until we were out in open sea before they copped to the problem," he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, guests were called to the ship's theatre.

"The captain admitted . . . he knew of the problem before San Francisco and arranged for the Lloyd's guys to check it out," Regan said.

Sheehan said "nobody is held captive," and passengers can get off today in Victoria.

But getting their money back is another story. Celebrity is offering only a $200 US refund per cabin.

The ship will be repaired in Vancouver.

Its next trip is cancelled.

Friday, May 05, 2006

IASST Meeting to be Held at Canadian Coast Guard College

The International Association for Safety and Survival Training (IASST) will be holding its 48th semi-annual, international meeting and safety seminar during the Victoria Day long weekend, from May 19 to 23, 2006, at the Canadian Coast Guard College (CCGC) in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The IASST was founded in 1980 by a group of safety training providers who identified the need to enhance the quality of emergency response training through an interchange of knowledge and experience between training providers, on a global basis. The original objectives of enhancing safety in the maritime environment and of promoting continuous improvement in safety and survival training internationally remain unchanged.

A Marine Safety seminar, on the theme of "Self Rescue", will be held on May 22, in conjunction with the IASST meeting. The seminar will feature expert speakers on a variety of safety issues. Topics of presentations include: cold water exposure, training modules, Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR), computer modeling for SAR planning and fishing industry safety. A lifeboat launch simulator developed by Virtual Marine Technology, St. John’s NF, will be on site for viewing.

Interested members of the general public are welcome to attend the Marine Safety Seminar. Advanced registration is encouraged (by May 15) but registrations will be accepted on May 22 between 8 and 9 a.m. The seminar fee of $100, includes lunch on May 22. Persons wishing to attend the evening tour and dinner event at Fortress Louisbourg on May 22 must register by May 15, by contacting Wayne Ashford at (902) 567-3205. The cost for this event is $50 per person.

Further details about the meeting, the seminar and information regarding registration for these events are available at:

PetroCan Fined 290k

PetroCan fined for oil spill
May 5, 2006. 01:00 AM

ST. JOHN'S—Petro-Canada has been fined a record $290,000 for spilling 1,000 barrels of oil off Newfoundland's east coast almost 18 months ago.

Glum senior company officials stood in provincial court this week as a judge accepted their guilty plea and admission of responsibility for the Nov. 20, 2004, spill at its Terra Nova oil field.

The fine is the highest imposed in any pollution case in Atlantic Canada, Crown prosecutor John Brooks said outside the courtroom.

Petro-Canada was charged in July 2005 under a section of the Atlantic Accord Implementation Act with "causing or permitting a spill on or from any portion of the offshore area."

The incident occurred at the Terra Nova floating production, storage and off-loading vessel about 350 kilometres east of St. John's.

An investigation determined oil was actually spilling into the ocean for almost five hours before an "overpowering stench" alerted workers returning from a dinner break.

After they spotted the oil on the ocean surface, tests and checks narrowed the source of the spill to a test separator, where oil and water are supposed to be divided.Petro-Canada lawyer Cecily Strickland admitted in court concerns with the separator were identified four months earlier.

Canadian Press
5 hours is a long time for no one to notice!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bad weather claims large bulker

From Lloyds List :
Search continues for crew of Alexandros T
By Sandra Speares- Friday May 05 2006

RESCUE teams continued to search yesterday for 26 missing crew members from the capesize Alexandros T which sank off the South African coast on Wednesday evening in heavy seas and 45 knot winds.

The 171,875 dwt vessel, laden with 155,000 tonnes of iron ore, was on a voyage from Ponta da Madeira in Brazil to China when it suffered heavy water ingress and flooding in several cargo holds. The master ordered the crew to abandon ship, after which seven crew members were rescued from a life raft and one from the water by the CSE Fortune Express, which reported the vessel went down at 1752 hrs GMT. A spokesman for Greek managers overseas Marine Enterprises said a further four empty liferafts had been spotted but these were empty.

South African aircraft are continuing to look for survivors.While Craig Lambinon, of the National Sea Rescue Institute in Cape Town said the weather improved yesterday morning the missing crew members "have been in the water a long time". Overseas Marine Enterprises' spokesman reported 20 ft swells and said that a storm is now forecast.

Dutch company Smit signed a Lloyd's Open Form contract for the vessel's salvage and tug Smit Amandla is continuing to proceed towards the site of the casualty to join the rescue efforts, the Overseas Marine Enterprises' spokesman said. He could not confirm ownership of the cargo.

The company is in close contact with or is trying to contact all the families of the crew. The nationalities of the crew are four Greeks, 24 Filipinos, four Romanians and one Ukrainian.
The ship, which was built at Santierul Naval Constanta of Romania in 1989, is flagged in St Vincent & the Grenadines, classed by Lloyd's Register and entered with the London Steamship Owners Mutual Insurance Association.

In a statement, Lloyd's Register said the bulker's last special survey took place in 2004. "There are no outstanding surveys or overdue conditions of class. To the best of our knowledge, the ship was in compliance with the relevant class and statutory requirements. "The ship's last port state control inspection took place in Fremantle in March 2005. There was no detention. "We await further information and will assist any investigation into the incident as required by the owner, the flag state administration or any other authority."

Lloyd's Register confirmed yesterday that the ship's No 1 aft bulkhead and double bottom was strengthened in October 2002 in accordance with 1998 requirements for evaluation and upgrading of the foremost hold structure under conditions of hold flooding for existing single side bulk carriers.

Alexandros T'sowners had been informed of new additional safety measures for bulk carriers under Solas Chapter XII, which are due to come into force on July 1 and which contain restrictions on sailing with any hold empty (or less than 10% full) when carrying heavy cargoes.

The bulker was detained in November 2003 in the US for deficiencies which included numerous fractured brackets in No 3,4,5, 6, 8 and 9 cargo holds and an ISM inspection revealed that the vessel and company had failed to fully implement the requirements of the ISM Code through the Safety Management System.