Sunday, September 30, 2007

Queen of the North is about to make the news again

This article in the Globe and Mail caught my eye. Ms Hunter gives us some insight and pokes at the parties who I believe should feel uncomfortable, when the TSB report on the Queen of the North ferry sinking last year. The article gives us some pretty good overview of ferry operators in the region as well.

I am familiar with Bob Beadell, an avid sports enthusiast and all around decent guy, and I can certainly understand his frustration, in particular at the time that report came out. Europe was stunned by some major ferry casualties with plenty of victims. So sadly, he ends up to be proven right.

I like this David Hahn character, he reminds me of that Iraq Minister of Information (or whatever) before Jr. had it in for them, "every thing is fine, bla bla bla" - and ranting and raving about the facade that was Saddam's regime.

Unfortunately the proof is in the pudding as they say.... and when "B.C. Ferries maintains that its ships are safe and its safety record is excellent."; I would feel awkward to say that with a straight face.


Design of two ferries under scrutiny
Ships have same structure that prompted warnings about Queen of the North years before it sank

By JUSTINE HUNTER, September 29, 2007, The Globe and Mail

VICTORIA -- The striking image shows the passenger ferry Queen of the North capsized, a chilling warning of the potential for a huge loss of life.

But it's not 2006; it's 1998. The "what-if" scenario was produced by marine engineering consultants who studied the stability of the ship in case of an accident. The analysis, obtained by The Globe and Mail, was delivered to the vessel's owner, B.C. Ferries, to prompt safety upgrades.

"I feel very strongly that we should not be sailing this vessel in her present state," the marine engineer who commissioned the report warned his bosses at B.C. Ferries at the time.

But the company did not follow the key recommendation and the 1998 report languished.
And Transport Canada continues to certify the ships while it drafts new regulations to improve their safety.

Now, with a final report on the Queen of the North's fatal 2006 sinking expected as early as next week, the safety of two other B.C. Ferries ships - the Queen of Prince Rupert and the Queen of Chilliwack - which also have a single-compartment hull construction, is being called into question.

The Transportation Safety Board is set to deliver its findings on the Queen of the North next month, in a report that will shed light not only on the 2006 accident, but on how the ferry service that moves 22 million people every year manages risk.

The Queen of the North was vulnerable to disaster because it had an outdated hull design, according to the 1998 risk analysis by S.H.M. Marine International, a Victoria marine engineering firm.

The analysis concluded that with a brisk wind, the Queen of the North could easily capsize in an accident with a significant hull breach and just minutes or seconds would be available for emergency response.

"The existing ship, when launching lifeboats and life rafts in a 22-knot wind, possesses no or dangerously inadequate stability," the report said.

The report called for the addition of external buoyancy devices called sponsons, but they were never added.

The April, 1998, safety report, with its graphics showing disaster scenarios in vivid red, was left to collect dust in B.C. Ferries' archives. The company says it did make other structural upgrades to the ship in response to the report, but over all it maintains that its ships are safe because they meet the regulatory requirements of Transport Canada.

But regulations, modern navigational equipment and safety management failed to prevent the unthinkable in the early hours of March 22, 2006, when the Queen of the North rammed into an island and sank to the ocean floor.

While the ship did not capsize, it sank too quickly to save everyone on board. Two people are missing and presumed drowned. And the accident could have been far, far worse.

The collision occurred in calm seas, and only 101 people were on board - far from the ship's capacity of 650 - putting less strain on rescue resources.

"They were lucky," said Robert Beadell, a marine engineer who spent six years at B.C. Ferries as a safety expert. He commissioned the S.H.M. Marine report and later quit in frustration over B.C. Ferries' approach to risk management.

Mr. Beadell argues that the sinking highlights a crucial flaw in B.C. Ferries' safety regime. By relying on regulatory compliance and not exceeding federal standards, the company is taking unnecessary risks, he said, citing its decision to continue using the two vessels with single-compartment hulls despite concerns.

"The Queen of the North was vulnerable and they knew that. The Queen of Prince Rupert and the Queen of Chilliwack are also single-compartment vessels and it's strange to me the other shoe hasn't dropped yet," Mr. Beadell said in an interview.

The single-compartment hull refers to a safety standard that if one watertight compartment is flooded, a vessel should remain afloat and stable long enough to evacuate.

Ferry disasters in Europe, such as the one in which the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized near Belgium in 1987, killing 193 passengers and crew, led to new regulations restricting such vessels in European waters.

But Transport Canada, which has spent more than a decade drafting new regulations to improve the safety of one-compartment passenger ferries, continues to certify the ships in domestic waters.

"We at Transport Canada are late at putting this standard into place because of the further consultation with smaller passenger vessel operators," said Victor Santos-Pedro, director of design equipment and boating safety in the Marine Safety Directorate of Transport Canada. "We wanted to put it in place earlier."

That consultation is finished, for now, and new regulations will take effect on Oct. 1. Still, Canadian ferry operators will have up to five years to bring existing vessels up to standard.

For B.C. Ferries, it will mean the end of the line for the two remaining single-compartment vessels. Instead of installing sponsons to improve stability, B.C. Ferries will retire the Queen of Prince Rupert in 2009 and the Queen of Chilliwack in 2012.

Mike Corrigan, B.C. Ferries chief operating officer, said the sponsons haven't been added because the regulations do not yet require them.

So why are the two ships, which run on some of B.C. Ferries' most challenging routes, considered safe now but will not be good enough in 2012?

"We're replacing the systems as quickly as we possibly can; we've identified the need to replace the vessels," Mr. Corrigan said, adding: "They always were and still are in full compliance with Transport Canada safety regulations."

The Queen of the North was certified by Transport Canada but that didn't comfort Mr. Beadell, the former head of B.C. Ferries' international safety management program.

"We have spent the last three years telling the fleet that safety is our No. 1 priority, but apparently this is not always true," Mr. Beadell said in a 1998 letter to B.C. Ferries' head of corporate safety after the risk analysis was delivered. Mr. Beadell said he quit because the corporation dismissed the report's conclusions, reasoning that a collision was unlikely. He is now a marine safety consultant with Invicta Marine in Victoria.

However, the warnings about the Queen of the North did lead to some design changes on the vessel in 1999 - additional watertight doors on the vehicle deck - which likely bought enough time to get 99 of the 101 passengers and crew off the ship when it went down seven years later.

After the impact at Gil Island, the Queen of the North took 78 minutes to slip below the water in a calm sea due to "rapid progressive flooding along the entire length of the hull," according to an internal inquiry by B.C. Ferries. Subdivision doors on the main car deck - the ones that were added after Mr. Beadell's report - were closed, helping to slow the flooding and keep the ship on an even keel for most of the evacuation.

Jackie Miller, president of the Ferry and Marine Workers' Union, says her members still worry about the safety of the remaining two ferries with single-compartment hulls.

"We don't believe they should be sailing with a single-compartment hull, [but] Transport Canada has given B.C. Ferries a dispensation to continue sailing the ships," she said.

However she bristled when asked whether her members feel safe sailing on the Queen of Prince Rupert and the Queen of Chilliwack today.

"That's a really obnoxious phraseology," she responded. "Do they feel there are safety issues, are they raising safety concerns? The answer is yes. Do they feel safe? Probably. Otherwise they wouldn't be sailing."

But she said things may change. The Transportation Safety Board review on the sinking may not deal with hull design, but a joint union-company safety management review is taking a broader look.

As part of that internal review, safety management consultants from Europe toured the northern routes earlier this month to look at the union's concerns, she said.

"We have some concerns and some of these things are being addressed and some issues are still outstanding, some are design flaws, some are fundamental flaws in the ongoing delivery of safety management," Ms. Miller said.

Notwithstanding the overhaul of the safety management program, B.C. Ferries maintains that its ships are safe and its safety record is excellent.

But confirming the details isn't easy. Since the former Crown corporation became a quasi-private enterprise in 2003, the company will not release its regular safety audits. And while it does publicly report on major accidents, there is no public access to details of the hundreds of minor incidents that occur each year.

The service is one of the biggest passenger ferry operators in the world, and has about 250 safety incidents a year, from collisions to cut fingers.

David Hahn, president of B.C. Ferries, noted that his company releases the results of "divisional inquiries," which are internal investigations into major accidents. There are, on average, two each year.

"It's probably the opposite of what most other organizations do; they give you the little stuff and hide the big ones," he said.

Mr. Hahn said he doesn't track how his company compares with other ferry operators on safety, but pointed to a recent safety audit by former B.C. auditor-general George Morfitt as proof that the company is doing a good job and passengers should feel safe.

B.C. Ferries commissioned Mr. Morfitt to look into safety after the Queen of the North sinking. His report last January concluded that, over all, the company is offering a safe service despite a dysfunctional relationship between the company and its workers.

Mr. Beadell said both sides will have to work together to change the currentapproach to risk management.

"If you sit back and rely on compliance as your main safety principle, you are going to have problems. It's like looking in the rear-view mirror and saying, 'I haven't hit anything,' instead of looking through the front windshield. If you do that, you are a fool."

Safety questioned

The safety of two other ferries that have a similar, single-compartment hull construction as the Queen of the North is being called into question.

The Queen of Chilliwack

Built in Norway in 1978, it has a capacity for 700 passengers and crew, although B.C. Ferries now lists its capacity as 400 people. It operates between Port Hardy and the Bella Bella area in the summer, and the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale run in the winter.

The Queen of Prince Rupert

Built in Victoria in 1966, it has a capacity for 544 passengers and crew. It services the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert route.


Pages of 1998 report come to light

In April, 1998, S.H.M. Marine International Inc., an independent naval-architecture firm based in Victoria, produced a 34-page report for B.C. Ferries assessing the stability of the Queen of the North in the event the hull was damaged. The report looked at various scenarios, depending on where the hull might be damaged and how many interior compartments might be flooded, but none of the scenarios matched the extent of the damage the ship suffered when it ran into Gil Island in March, 2006.


In one scenario, with a single compartment flooding after damage to the forward portion of the ship, the Queen of the North was considered only "marginally deficient" in its range of stability. If two compartments flooded, however, it was considered "severely deficient." When the ship sank eight years later, witnesses reported flooding in at least three compartments.


The 1998 safety report recommended the addition of exterior buoyancy devices called sponsons. Instead, B.C. Ferries installed subdivision doors on the main car deck, which helped slow the flooding once the water reached the car deck, giving crew more time to evacuate the ship.

B.C. Ferries

System description:

One of the largest ferry operators in the world, carrying almost 22 million passengers a year and 8.5 million vehicles. Its 36 vessels range in size from the Mill Bay, which can carry up to 16 vehicles, to the Spirit of British Columbia, with a 470-car capacity.


The company was a provincial Crown corporation until 2003, when it became a quasi-private company - an independent commercial organization with some public funding.

Sea conditions:

The sea conditions of its 25 routes vary, with the majority running in the busy but protected waters between the mainland and Vancouver Island. The northern routes also offer challenges with some narrow passages and extreme weather conditions from the Queen Charlotte Islands to the mainland at Prince Rupert.

Safety philosophy:

The company is in the midst of an overhaul of its safety management system after the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North. The company's most recent annual report states: "At BC Ferries, we put the safety of our customers and crew first. This past year was no exception. With more than 9,700 days of safety training last year, our employees are there to prevent emergency situations before they happen and ready to respond quickly and efficiently if their skills are required."

Accident record:

Seven accident-related fatalities in the past 15 years:

In 2006, the Queen of the North slammed into Gil Island at full speed and sank. Ninety-nine passengers and crew were rescued but two people are missing and presumed drowned. An internal inquiry blamed human error; a separate investigation by the Transportation Safety Board is expected in October.

In 2000, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and a small pleasure craft, the Star Ruby, collided, killing the elderly U.S. couple on board the power boat. The ferry's bridge crew spotted the fibreglass-hulled boat in a narrow channel but elected to try to overtake it.

In 1992, the Queen of New Westminster pulled away from the dock in Nanaimo while a van was still on the ramp. Three people died. An inquiry found that the ferry left prematurely from the berth because crew members were preoccupied with maintaining the schedule, and because the portable radios used by staff at the terminal had glitches.

Washington State Ferries

System Description: It runs about 500 daily sailings with 20 ports of call, and moves about 26 million passengers and 11 million vehicles a year. Its 28 vessels range from the Jumbo Mark II class that can carry 2,500 passengers and 202 vehicles, down to the Kalama, a high-speed passenger vessel that carries 250 passengers.

Governance: Washington State Ferries is part of the state's Department of Transportation, designated with the same status as an interstate highway. It is the largest ferry fleet in the United States.

Sea conditions: Its service concentrates mainly on short commuter runs in the protected waters of Puget Sound and its inland waterways, where busy marine traffic often poses the most challenging hazards.

Safety Philosophy: The ferry operator calls passenger safety its No. 1 priority, and is completing a five-year review with the U.S. Coast Guard on lifesaving practices. The ferry operator was forced to make dramatic changes after a 1998 exposé in the Seattle Times highlighted the shortage of rescue boats on the ships. Safety also means a focus on potential terrorist attacks, resulting the presence at ferry terminals of Washington State Patrol troopers and explosive-detection dogs.

Accident record: There have been no fatal accidents in recent history but the system has had some costly "hard landings," the term ferry operators use when a ferry hits a dock hard enough to do damage.

In 1999 the ferry Elwha hit the Orcas Island dock and caused $3.6-million in damage. A malfunction in its propulsion system was blamed.

In a similar incident in 1998, the propulsion controls failed on the Sealth, causing that vessel to ram into Seattle's Colman Dock, slightly injuring seven passengers and causing $2.9-million in damage.

Marine Atlantic

System description:

The system offers two routes, one is a year-round service between Port aux Basques, Nfld., and North Sydney, N.S. The other is a summer service between Argentia, Nfld., and North Sydney. The fleet includes four ice-class vessels, including the Leif Ericson, the Caribou and the Joseph and Clara Smallwood. The Atlantic Freighter is a dedicated commercial freighter.


A federal Crown corporation providing a passenger and commercial marine-transportation system between the Island of Newfoundland and the province of Nova Scotia.

Sea conditions:

High winds, pack ice and extreme storm surges are features in the Cabot Strait that can interrupt service.

Safety philosophy:

"Safety is Marine Atlantic's number one priority," the company literature says. In 1996, Marine Atlantic announced it was the first ferry operator in North America to gain International Safety Management Code certification. It also adopted a Marine Evacuation System program after a fire aboard the Joseph and Clara Smallwood in 2003.

Accident record:

No fatalities but in 2003, a fire started near a tractor-trailer truck on the lower level of the ferry Joseph and Clara Smallwood. The vessel was about eight nautical miles (15 kilometres) from its destination, Port aux Basques, when the fire broke out at about 11 p.m. The vessel was evacuated when it arrived in Port aux Basques shortly after midnight. The Transportation Safety Board found several deficiencies in Marine Altantic's response to the fire. The fire alarm was not sounded in the passenger areas, passengers were unaccounted for and they were unnecessarily "exposed to a potentially unsafe environment" when they were directed to retrieve their vehicles when the ship docked.

Alaska State Marine Highway

System description:

Its fleet of 11 ships range from the 55-metre-long Lituya, with capacity for 149 passengers, to the 124-metre-long Matanuska, with room for 499 passengers. The routes range from the Inside Passage out to the Aleutian Islands and as far south as Washington state. It transports an average 300,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles a year.


An extension of the Alaska Department of Transportation, the ferry operator is considered part of the U.S. national highway system.

Sea conditions:

The service covers a vast area of the Pacific coast but harsh weather conditions shut down some routes in winter. In all it serves 32 communities in Alaska, plus Bellingham, Wash., and Prince Rupert.

Safety Philosophy:

The department's safety protocols rely on the inspection and certification provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. As well, ships sailing to Prince Rupert comply with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

Accident record:

No fatalities but in 2004 the fleet's ship LeConte caused $6-million in damages when it ran aground on Cozian Reef in Peril Strait, about 48 kilometres north of Sitka. While the damage was significant - with flooding in five sections of the vessel - 86 passengers and crew were evacuated with only two minor injuries. The accident was blamed on operator error.

SOURCES: B.C. Ferries; Washington State Ferries; Marine Atlantic and Alaska State Marine Highway

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finally some time in port !

This monster will take forever to load and unload ! There might actually be time to get ashore. Who knows.



CVRD plans biggest ever ore carrier
By James Brewer, 14 June 2007 Lloyds List

COMPANHIA Vale do Rio Doce, the world's largest iron ore producer, has plans on the drawing board for a 0.5m tonne ore carrier.

The Brazilian-based miner is waiting to see how its current giant ship projects go before moving to a firm order, but it is adamant about wanting greater control over seaborne trade.

José Carlos Martins, executive director for ferrous minerals at CVRD, revealed his company's ambitions for the biggest ship yet to transport ore when he addressed the first London meeting of the prestigious Melbourne Mining Club, a key forum for executive discussion in the sector.

His US listed group has only just signed a contract with shipping group BW for construction/charter of four ‘China-max’ 388,000 dwt carriers, which would be the biggest of their type, and with NYK for a 300,000 tonner to enter operation in 2011, while a 270,000 dwt very large crude carrier is to be converted for ore.

Mr Martins said after addressing the London audience of 320 industry experts that CVRD would first evaluate results from the large ships already ordered.

“Our target is to reach 500,000 tonnes, but we are doing it step by step,” he said.

The tonnage is designed to help out on the booming export trades to Chin a — and amazingly is seen as profitable even returning home empty. Freight rates on the route have been above $50 per tonne, and a 400,000 tonner could produce operations at a rate of $12, said Mr Martins.

Planning for a zero cargo backhaul recalls the days when 500,000 dwt crude oil tankers were seen as producing terrific economies of scale. The difference is that those ships were built just before freight rates slid towards historic depths.

“We think we need to build bigger ships to reduce costs, because ships go full and come back empty,” said Mr Martins. CVRD is believed to have a 33% share of world seaborne trade in iron ore and pellets, and with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Zinc the three control more than 70%. It expects to produce 300m tonnes of ore in 2007, compared with 264m tonnes the previous year.

China was expected to import 380m tonnes of iron ore in 2007, but Mr Martins and his colleagues now say the figure will reach 400m tonnes. Total ore production is 780m tonnes and Mr Martins said the market could support 800m tonnes.

“But,” he added, “I wonder if there will be enough iron ore for that.”

Here is another press release from this company.

NYK agrees to an over 20 year, long-term contract with CVRD

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK; Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Koji Miyahara) has agreed to an over 20 year, long-term contract with Companhia Vale do Rio Doce* (CVRD; Head Office: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; President and CEO: Roger Agnelli) to transport Brazilian iron ore.

The contract to transport approximately 1.3 million tons of iron ore from Brazil to China, starting in 2011, will use a new 300 thousands ton iron ore carrier shuttle to be built at Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (NACKS).

This is the first long-term contract between NYK and CVRD and the first transportation contract using a new generation ship of 300 thousands ton, very large ore carrier (VLOC) that NYK has signed with a non Japanese or Chinese customer. NYK is honored to provide the large scale modern ore carrier to CVRD.

In order to respond strong demands of iron ore from China, CVRD set a target to secure the efficient means of transportation, and NYK 300 thousands tons VLOC meets their target. This is the first contract for CVRD to secure this new class of 300 thousands VLOC.

Outline of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD)
Established in 1942 and privatized in 1997, CVRD is the world's largest iron ore supplier. The company also produces and sells manganese, copper, aluminum, etc. The Head Office is located in Rio de Janeiro and the company is listed in the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange (BOVESPA) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Annually, CVRD produces approximately 260 million tons of iron ore and exports approximately 200 million tons. Total sales in 2006 amounted to 45,292 million reais( about 2,700 billion yen).

Norwegian Dawn gets dry after soaking

NCL passengers blew holiday storm out of proportion
By Sandra Speares, 11 June 2007 Lloyds List

A FLORIDA jury has found in favour of Norwegian Cruise Line in legal action brought by passengers on a voyage during which Norwegian Dawn was hit by a freak wave, writes Sandra Speares.

“We are pleased with the jury’s thoughtful and reasoned decision,” NCL chief executive Colin Veitch said following the verdict.

“We have always maintained that this lawsuit existed only in the minds of the plaintiffs’ lawyers and this verdict confirms our belief.”

The case dates back to April 2005, when the ship was travelling north from Miami on the last leg of a one-week cruise off the US Atlantic coast.

Running into bad weather, the Norwegian Dawn was hit by a 70ft wave, which broke windows and flooded cabins.

More than 400 passengers filed a class action alleging negligence, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the defendants for disregarding their safety and well-being by deliberately and recklessly sailing the ship into a severe and dangerous storm,‛ according to court documents.

In a highly colourful filing, plaintiffs reported that they had witnessed “elevators strewn with blood from injured passengers, passengers fleeing from flooded cabins and vomiting from terror, with families huddled together with water rising precipitously around them with no end in sight”.

The plaintiffs also alleged that the piano player on the ship had played the theme tune from the film Titanic — until dis­traught passengers screamed for the music to stop. According to the National Transportation Safety Board report on the incident, four passenger received cuts and bruises and the crew “responded to the passenger injuries in a timely and appropriate manner”.

The report stated that “to see water flowing on the upper decks naturally caused concern among the passengers, but at no time did the damage pose a serious safety hazard to the ship”.

When the ship encountered heavier than expected weather the ship’s officers maintained its heading into the wind to minimise rolling and reduced speed, the report said.

“Rather than attempting to maintain the scheduled arrival time in New York, the master decided to lower the ship’s speed and change its heading for the passengers’ comfort.”

Property damage was estimated at $750,000 as a result of what the NTSB described as an “unavoidable encounter with severe weather and heavy seas”.

Read also this article about the incident and the official NTSB report is here.

World's largest shipyard in the works

Daehan plotting world’s biggest yard Mega-yard under construction would leapfrog three Korean rivals in global size rankings, writes Mike Grinter 12 February 2007 Lloyds List

SOUTH Korean yard Daehan Shipbuilding is making its claim to greatness with the news that it is building a mega-shipyard.

It has recently emerged that Daehan Shipyard has been in the process of constructing what might become the world’s largest shipyard in Haenam, South Jeolla province, which lies on the southern tip of South Korea. Daehan Shipyard, established in 2004 when mid-size yard Sinyeong Shipbuilding Yard was bought by Daehan parent Daeju Group, said last week that it is constructing a shipbuilding complex on 4,628 acres in Haenam.

With completion slated for 2012, Daehan claims the complex would have South Korea’s largest shipbuilding capacity.

Construction of the first dock in the 735 acre shipyard has already begun and when completed will measure 310 m long and 72 m wide, which the company claims will be larger than that at Hyundai Heavy industries, currently the largest shipbuilding facility in South Korea.

Work on the second and third docks will start late next year.

The complex will also include a parts factory as well as marine plant production facilities, according to the company.

Daehan Shipbuilding claims that the new yard, when completed, will have a capacity of 4.2m cgt and will thus will be bigger than Hyundai Heavy, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the three largest yards in the world, which produce 2.7m, 2.25m and 1.7m cgt respectively.

Park Jae-young, vice chairman of the shipbuilding business division of Daeju Group, said: “At the initial stage of operation, we will focus on obtaining orders for bulk carriers and small and medium-sized container vessels to distinguish ourselves from rivals.”

He added: “'We will gradually turn to high value-added ships, such as bigger container ships and liquefied natural gas carriers.”

Daehan Shipbuilding is targeting Won4.3trn ($4.6bn) in annual sales in 2012, according to Mr Park.

The company also says it will create 60,000 new jobs in the region.

Check out the yards website, kinda cool tour available.

More About SAR Exercise

‘It’s very perplexing’
Ferry captain had no sign fumes were making people sick
NORTH SYDNEY— The captain of the Marine Atlantic ferry involved in a dramatic search and rescue drill that went awry this week said Friday his crew had no indication there was a problem with fumes that sent dozens of people to hospital.
Master Keith Hopkins said he only learned of Thursday’s incident after someone informed him that 21 people from a lifeboat from the ferry MV Leif Ericson had been taken to hospital in Corner Brook, N.L., complaining of smoke inhalation.
"I had no inkling that something was happening," Hopkins said from the Ericson as it was docked in North Sydney.
"My crew members weren’t sick, and they were in the boat for almost two hours. It’s very perplexing."
Hopkins said two of his crew were on board the lifeboat with 25 people participating in the mock search and rescue exercise off western Newfoundland.
Shortly after midday, several people were rushed to hospital for treatment and were later released. Two with more serious injuries were flown by helicopter to hospital and then airlifted to St. John’s for treatment.
By late Friday, all but one had been released. An official with the Eastern Health District said the remaining patient was in the intensive-care unit, but wouldn’t confirm what the patients were being treated for.
A doctor said Thursday there were concerns about smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hopkins said the exercise was proceeding perfectly as hundreds of people simulated a rescue from the Ericson and were transferred to coast guard vessels standing by.
His crew delivered the participants, then remained on the lifeboat for hours, Hopkins said, suffering no effects from fumes. They all had lunch and thought the matter was wrapped up, until Hopkins received a call informing him of the problem.
Roger Flood, president of Marine Atlantic, said Thursday he suspected fumes from the lifeboat’s exhaust may have caused the passengers to become ill.
Hopkins said there are always fumes from the boat’s engine that aren’t noxious or dangerous to people. He added that hatches were open to vent any fumes, but said he wasn’t dismissing claims that people were sick.
"I’m still trying to put it all together because I can’t believe this has happened," he said. "It’s really unfortunate."
Transport Canada sent investigators to North Sydney on Friday to inspect the ferry and lifeboats.
Maurice Landry, a spokesman with the federal agency, said officials will look at everything from logbooks to the actual exhaust system and interview the crew.
"What we’re trying to do is have a good understanding of the circumstances," he said. "That involves talking to crew members, looking at equipment, looking at data. But it’s still early in our investigation."
Transport Canada officials are investigating whether the ferry violated either the Canada Shipping Act or marine occupational health and safety codes.
With Laura Fraser, Cape Breton Bureau

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Exercise gets a touch of realism

Newfoundland ferry disaster drill turns into real thing
Ken Meaney, CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2007

A mock ferry disaster off Newfoundland's west coast got a little too real Thursday when 21 people onboard a lifeboat were overcome by smoke.

In total, 14 people were hospitalized for smoke inhalation from fumes given off by fibreglass that became overheated when it got too close to the exhaust system onboard the lifeboat.

Two of those in more serious condition were airlifted to hospital in Corner Brook about 50 kilometres away. The others were brought to shore in coast guard vessels and sent by ambulance to hospital. All but three of the people sent to hospital were treated and released by late Thursday, said Brian Stone, superintendent of Maritime Search and Rescue.

The condition of the three, remaining in hospital, was not known.

The accident happened around noon on the last day of a two-day exercise as crews rehearsed an evacuation drill from a ferry in Newfoundland's Bay of Islands. Stone said the exercise, a year in the planning, involved numerous authorities ranging from the coast guard to the Department of National Defence, RCMP, hospitals and ground search and rescue.

The exercise involved the Marine Atlantic ferry Leif Ericson, HMCS Moncton, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfred Grenfell, other coast guard ships and DND and coast guard helicopters.

About 600 personnel were involved.

"The exercise involved a mechanical problem on a ferry, a subsequent explosion and abandonment into lifeboats, and then a search and rescue, bringing survivors to triage and then on to hospital," Stone said.

Participants were attempting to improve co-ordination and communications between the various agencies involved and were testing a new radio system.

The exercise was immediately cancelled when the incident occurred, but Stone said three-quarters of its goal was achieved.

He said the real rescue operation went smoothly, and would likely be part of the debrief and analysis of the exercise.

An investigation into the incident is underway.


MV Leif Erickson is operated by Marine Atlantic, a Canadian federal government company. The 1991 Swedish built ship was built as the Stena Challenger - in memory of the NASA space shuttle disaster - then sold to Marine Atlantic in 2001 and renamed to Leif Erickson in honor of the explorer. More information can be found here.

On the picture to the right, you can see the enclosed lifeboat , on the passenger deck, looks like on the starboard quarter, inline with the funnel. The picture above is the ship hard aground in Calais France, in late summer of 1995.

GRT - 18,523 tons
Displacement - 5,556 tons
Dead Weight - 4,513 tons
Length overall 157.28 m
Beam 24.3 m
Draught 5.515 m
Passengers - 500
Automobiles - 250 or
Tractor trailers - 72
Main engines 2 X Sulzer 8 ZAL40S - 10,555 kW or 14,400 hp
Speed 18 knots
Propellers: 2 Ulstein Liaaen Controlable Pitch

Truer Words Never Said!!

This popped up on my emails today:

We must restore respect for our crews

From Captain C R Kelso

SIR, it comes as little surprise to read (LSM, September 2007) that "insurers believe crew shortages are already contributing to the rising severity of casualties and cost of claims" and that the current shortage, estimated to be as high as 10,000, is forecast to double over the next seven to 10 years.

With the massive building programme and the reluctance to scrap older tonnage, it is difficult to come up with a panacea but, before one starts looking for one, it is important to recognise how the industry got itself into such a pickle.

The reckless and overriding quest to reduce operating costs by discontinuing direct employment and employing crewing agencies, contributed to the initial feeling of disenfranchisement among seafarers.

In more recent times the situation has been exacerbated by prolonged periods of service; under-manning leading to excessive hours of work; fatigue and the destruction of shipboard social life; the irrational application of the ISPS Code; incessant commercial pressure (particularly on Senior Officers) and increased 'operational control' from without the ship; the construction of ships with accommodation more suitable for the inmates of Wormwood Scrubs than the young men and women for whom it is intended; and, until recently, absolutely no assurance about a career in the industry.

Today's young seafarers will not tolerate being incarcerated in a steel box hurtling from port to port without some opportunity for meaningful shore leave.

They wonder why they must serve with a crew of 14 comprising six different and diverse nationalities, why they are denied the right to enjoy a beer when off duty.

Making two trainees per ship mandatory may, in the short-term, result in a modest amelioration of the situation, but it will do little to solve the real problem - the inability to retain junior and intermediate rank officers.

When 80% of container vessels fail to maintain their schedule, it should be obvious to even the most ambitious operator that the schedule is unrealistic.

When seafarers are willing to be poached in return for ever-increasing salaries, it should be equally obvious that they will move on as soon as a better offer is forthcoming, and leave the industry when their finances permit.

No doubt with the understanding of numerous compliant Registers desirous of maintaining their fleet levels, the ease of obtaining Certificates of Equivalent Competency, the ability of the crewing agencies to look under every stone (including the flat ones), the outpourings of the diverse nautical training establishments globally, and the payment of ever-increasing premiums, many ships will continue to trade.

But if they are to be competently staffed and operate safely and efficiently, then the underlying causes of the current crisis must be addressed.

Captain C R Kelso 5 Bursledon Heights
Bursledon Southampton SO31 8DB

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Australian Navy Recruiting in a "BIG" Way

Who could resist blogging this??
One way to drive up your sagging recruitment numbers:

THE Royal Australian Navy is paying for women sailors to have breast enlargements for purely cosmetic reasons, at a cost to taxpayers of $10,000 an operation.
Defence officials claim the surgery is justified because some servicewomen need bigger breasts to address "psychological issues".
Darling Point plastic surgeon Kourosh Tavakoli told The Sunday Telegraph the navy had paid for two officers, aged 25 and 32, to have breast-augmentation surgery at his private clinic.
Dr Tavakoli said the women had not been injured but claimed to suffer "psychological" problems.
"I've had two female officers who have got the navy to pay for breast augmentation for psychological reasons," he said.
"I know for a fact two patients claimed it back on the navy. They (the navy) knew it was breast augmentation and paid for it.
"I don't know why they pay for it. There's no breast augmentation, that I know of, for medical purposes. You've got to be fair to yourself."
A Defence spokesman admitted cosmetic surgery occurred at "public expense" when there were "compelling psychological/psychiatric reasons", but refused to say how many such cases were taxpayer-funded.
Cosmetic surgery was also provided for servicemen or women who were disfigured by work-related injuries, he said.
"Cosmetic procedures undertaken solely for the purpose of preserving or improving a person's subjective appearance will be considered only if the underlying (psychological) problem is causing difficulties that adversely impact on the member's ability to do their job.
"Operations purely for cosmetic reasons are not allowed."
The Sunday Telegraph asked Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, formerly a GP, how many members of the armed forces had received taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery.
A spokesman said figures would not be available until next week.
Australian Defence Association spokesman Neil James defended the practice of taxpayers funding medical procedures such as breast enhancement surgery for psychological reasons.
He said young men and women were attracted to defence careers because they offered free medical care. This, in turn, improved the efficiency of the force.
"Just as there are in civilian life, there are some females who feel their breasts are too small and if their breasts were bigger, they might be more of a 'normal' woman," Mr James said.
"If they were lacking in self-confidence, this might provide the measure of self-confidence that would help them tackle their wider job.
"There are privacy issues here for people. It's not as if they keep a record of who has had a nose job in the Defence Force over the past 100 years."
Dr Tavakoli, a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, said the navy officers had visited him in 2005 and 2006.
Each had had $10,000 worth of surgery, which required a recovery period of at least two weeks.
Boosting self-esteem was the biggest motivation for cosmetic surgery, Dr Tavakoli said.
The Sunday Telegraph understands Dr Tavakoli is not the usual surgeon used by the navy for reconstructive/cosmetic surgery.
"I don't see a lot of them (naval officers) because they have their own plastic surgeon," he said.
"I know for a fact they have their own surgeon."
Last year, a Brisbane surgeon revealed that an army cook had had a taxpayer-funded nose job.

Navy's Garbage in the Arctic

Just when you think nothing will surprise you, along comes this little gem regarding the Navy and their garbage in the Arctic.
17 years ago the American CG icebreaker Polar Star went through the NW Passage generating a storm of protest over the fact they had no sewage treatment plant.

If the Navy is so worried about garbage - fit incinerators , don't treat the waters like a city dump!! What exactly is a moderate amount anyway? 1 tonne? 2 tonnes, 10 tonnes?

I particularly like this comment "Previously, the navy banned the disposal of raw sewage in Arctic waters but the new orders will reflect the more relaxed provisions of the Arctic Water Pollution Prevention Act. " The Navy carefully neglects to mention that other then the capacity to make their own water, they don't meet much of the Act.

We are not at war, it is not a police action, these ships in no way, shape or form should be allowed to dump waste in the North!!
There is absolutely no operational reason other then the fact that they are neither prepared nor equipped for Arctic operations.


Navy environmental rules relaxed for Arctic operations because of global warming
The Canadian navy is relaxing some pollution rules for warships plying Arctic waters after skippers warned their ships were at risk of becoming smelly garbage scows.
Instead of having to carry all waste food on deck for eventual disposal at port, the ships will be allowed to dump it at sea.
The changes "help alleviate our COs (commanding officers') concerns (with regard to) accumulated food remnants stored in garbage bags on decks during ever-increasing global warming summers,'' says an internal memo, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
"These food remnants may decay or putrefy and generate an occupational health and safety issue on board ships (that) our COs can ill afford while striving to enforce Canadian sovereignty in our internal Arctic waters.''
The revamped orders, expected this fall, would also allow Canadian ships to dump raw sewage offshore in the Arctic and even to toss garbage bags overboard if there are "operational'' reasons for doing so.
"If the above instructions and limits cannot be met for operational or safety reasons when at sea and the ship's holding capacity is about to be exceeded, then garbage shall be made negatively buoyant prior to discharge and released at the farthest practical point from land,'' says a proposed revision.
Military-source pollution in the sensitive Arctic environment is becoming a navy headache as the federal government sends more warships north on sovereignty patrols in a region already under assault from global warming.
"Any new flora, fauna or pollution in our Arctic internal waters carries a risk to adversely impact its embattled ecosystem, as the intensity of past climate limitations gradually decline due to escalating global warming,'' says a draft version of the new orders. Reliably cold temperatures once helped naval commanders deal with the garbage problem through freezing, but warmer weather is changing protocols.
Now, the new orders will allow "moderate amounts'' of pulped-food waste - once banned from disposal in the Arctic - to be dumped if a ship is at least 12 nautical miles or about 22 kilometres from shore.
The orders will also allow raw, untreated sewage to be flushed into the sea at the same minimum distance and, to help dispersal, only while the ship is moving at a moderate clip.
Previously, the navy banned the disposal of raw sewage in Arctic waters but the new orders will reflect the more relaxed provisions of the Arctic Water Pollution Prevention Act.
Submarines, which have highly limited storage capacity for waste, are being given even more leeway, including a provision allowing oily bilge water to be flushed directly into the ocean.
However, all of Canada's four new Victoria-class subs are being equipped with technology that will remove oil from bilge water, making the problem moot.
All Canada's warships are technically exempt from the Canada Shipping Act as well as from other laws with environmental restrictions, although navy ships are legally bound to comply with ecosystem protections under the Fisheries Act.
However, senior brass have ordered that the fleet will nevertheless act as though all federal environmental legislation applied to navy operations, with exceptions for emergencies and operational restrictions.
The problem in the Arctic is that the only major port facility for offloading garbage and sewage is Iqaluit, and waste matter can overwhelm the storage capacity of ships during extended missions.
At the same time, Ottawa is ordering more ships north to bolster Canada's Arctic sovereignty claims.
In August, for example, the 10-day Operation Nanook involved three navy vessels - including a submarine, HMCS Corner Brook, the first time a Canadian sub has participated in such an operation.
Navy spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Agnew said the recent revisions to pollution-prevention orders simply reflect changes in civilian law, and allow ships' commanders more flexibility.
"Notwithstanding that we're less restrictive than we used to be, we are far more restrictive than the law requires us to be,'' he said in an interview. "It's good stewardship.''
Another spokesman noted the navy is in the Arctic partly to be able to react quickly to environmental disasters.
"One of the components of Operation Nanook was responding to an environmental crisis, and it's only by being up there that we're going to be able to respond to environmental crises caused by increased traffic in the region,'' said Lt. Jordan Holder.
A spokesman for the Sierra Club of Canada said the melting Arctic - already under pressure - can ill afford any more pollution.
"Having to take waste to a port to be properly disposed of is worth the inconvenience . . . rather than dumping it into our newly exposed ocean,'' said Jamie Kirkpatrick from Toronto.
"We're no longer in an era where you can say the solution to pollution is dilution.''

Friday, September 14, 2007

MV Kometik 2006 Fire Investigation Goes to Trial

The Telegram, St John's Newfoundland

Not guilty plea angers fire victims
Company faces charges for shipboard accident

The Telegram

Colleen Dalton walked out of court room No. 4 in provincial court Thursday morning both disheartened and angry.

CanShip Ugland Ltd. — and a man employed by the company — had just pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen charges, each against them in connection with the death of her husband, Wayne Dalton.

“I was disappointed, but I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t expect them to own up to anything,” she said.

“It would make you mad to hear the company thinks they’re not responsible. Then who is? It certainly wasn’t Wayne.”

Wayne Dalton, 38, was killed April 8, 2006, when a flash fire broke out in the cargo area of the oil tanker MV Kometik while it was docked in Conception Bay undergoing routine maintenance work.

The Cape Broyle native died of smoke inhalation.

Following an investigation, the Transportation Safety Board laid a number of Canada Labour Code charges, including 17 against CanShip Ugland Ltd. and 18 charges each against Supt. Chesley Lloyd Button, Capt. Gough Everett Wellon and Chief Officer Raymond Keith Riggs

On Thursday, Crown prosecutors Mike Madden and Brenda Boyd agreed to drop three charges each against CanShip and Button, both represented by Cecily Strickland.

A pre-trial conference was set for Nov. 1, when a trial date is expected to be scheduled.

Colleen Dalton has sat through most of the case’s proceedings over the last year, as has Pat Stamp, an employee of East Coast Marine, who was seriously burned in the incident.

Lives devastated by accident

“Pat’s life will never be the same. He’ll never work again and that’s hard on him. Our lives were ruined forever,” Dalton said.

“So, here we are sitting through this (case) and these people say they’re not guilty? Well, we’re the ones paying the price.

“These companies should be worried more about their employees, not just the almighty dollar.”

Wayne Dalton was a deckhand aboard the Kometik when the incident occurred.

He was working in the area of the cargo hold at the time of his death, while Stamp was doing welding work on a steel bracket.

Among the charges against the company and Button are:

- failure to appoint a marine chemist or other qualified person to verify by test that employees entering the cargo oil tank would not be exposed to airborne hazardous substances,

- failure to ensure each employee was made aware of every known or foreseeable health and safety hazard in the area,

- failure to ensure employees have been adequately trained in health and safety,

- failure to ensure that the entry of crude oil or other hazardous substances in the cargo oil tank had been prevented by a secure means of disconnection,

-failure to ensure all electrical equipment that presented a hazard to entry into the cargo oil tank had been disconnected from its power source and locked out,

- failure to prevent hot work from being performed in a cargo oil tank where an explosive or flammable substance was present.

Each of the charges can carry fines ranging from $100,000 to $1 million.

Colleen Dalton plans to return for November’s pre-trial conference.

“I’m going to see this through to the very end,” Dalton said, “for Wayne.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

J Ray to finalizes Secunda acquisition

As most of you may know, Secunda as a company has been feeling a bit restless lately. I had originally heard they were intending to take the company public, to fund a badly needed fleet revitalization. The days dragged on and a years passed since then, all of a sudden J Ray McDermott, oil industry heavy weight, swoops in and gobbles up Secunda. Good for the crews at Secunda, hopefully it will provide some capital to the organization and further Canadian reach into the offshore market, which is great for all of us.

Below is the press release from J Ray McDermott.

Company Expands Worldwide Offshore Oil & Gas Construction Capabilities and Capacity

J. Ray McDermott, S.A. (J. Ray), a subsidiary of McDermott International, Inc. (NYSE: MDR) has signed a definitive agreement to purchase substantially all of the assets of Secunda International Limited (“Secunda”), including 14 harsh-weather, multi-functional vessels, with capabilities which include subsea construction, pipelay, cable lay and dive support, as well as its shore base operations. Of the 14 vessels to be acquired, eight are equipped with dynamic positioning capabilities. The purchase price is approximately $260 million.

In serving the worldwide oil and gas industry, Secunda has owned and operated construction, installation and support vessels for 24 years. Currently, Secunda’s vessels are operating in the U.S. and Mexican Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and offshore Canadian markets. As the purchased vessels conclude their existing charter contracts, J. Ray intends to integrate certain of these assets in its current and potential markets to expand overall project capabilities, improve resource flexibility and provide additional services for customers. Earlier this month, J. Ray chartered one of the purchased vessels to deploy to its currently active Asia Pacific market.

“Secunda’s assets, and more importantly its people, will be a complementary and strategic addition to J. Ray’s offshore capabilities,” said Bob Deason, President and Chief Operating Officer of J. Ray. “With Secunda, J. Ray strengthens its traditional offshore construction business, increases the number of activities which can be self-performed, enhances our ability to utilize existing marine assets for higher value activities and additionally, supports its growing subsea development activities.”

J. Ray’s acquisition is contingent upon obtaining regulatory approval in Canada and the United States, and final due diligence. The transaction is expected to close early in the 2007 third quarter.

“We welcome Secunda’s employees to the J. Ray family,” continued Deason. “Working together and successfully integrating these businesses will result in a broader and stronger offshore construction portfolio and will permit better application of resources to fulfill our customers’ requirements.”

Secunda International Limited:

J. Ray McDermott, S.A., a subsidiary of McDermott International, Inc. (NYSE:MDR), J. Ray McDermott, S.A. and its subsidiaries provide engineering, construction, procurement, installation and project management services to offshore oil and gas developments worldwide.

McDermott is an engineering and construction company, with specialty manufacturing and service capabilities, focused on energy infrastructure. McDermott’s customers are predominantly utilities and other power generators, major and national oil companies, and the United States Government. With its global operations, McDermott operates in over 20 countries with more than 20,000 employees, and can be found on the internet at

In accordance with the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, McDermott cautions that statements in this presentation that are forward-looking and provide other than historical information involve risks and uncertainties that may impact McDermott's actual results realized from the proposed acquisition. The forward-looking statements in this presentation include statements regarding the timing for closing the transaction, purchase price and expected benefits of this acquisition. Those statements are made based on various underlying assumptions and are subject to numerous uncertainties and risks, including, without limitation, difficulties in integrating Secunda assets and employees with J. Ray’s operations and delays or other difficulties in satisfying closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approval and the results of final due diligence.

Pictured right. The Emerald Sea, ex Maersk Defender (previous life as cable ship for Alcatel - see Neptune doesn't like Canadians post on this blog) prior to receiving her new Secunda (aka - J Ray McDermott Canada) livery .

Seaspan gears up for Roberts' Bank

Seaspan International order 6,500 bhp tug

As part of its fleet revitalization program, Seaspan International Ltd., North Vancouver, B.C., has just placed an order for what it calls a "Titan of a tug."

The new Robert Allan Z-Tech 7500 series design will generate more than 75 tonnes of direct bollard pull. Speeds will exceed 12.5 knots ahead and 12.2 knots running stern first.

"This tug will be capable of generating in excess of 120 tonnes of line pull in the indirect mode, which is significant for effective escorting maneuvers," says Doug Towill, Seaspan's VP, Marine Services. "We will service both our Vancouver Harbour and Roberts Bank shipdocking customers with this new ZÐTech tractor tug, as well as any other escort opportunities in our local waters."

Seaspan says the 6,500 bhp tug will be outfitted with "the most environmentally efficient engines available, which exceed all standards."

Vancouver Shipyards, in North Vancouver, will commence construction on this exciting new venture in October 2007 with completion scheduled for September 2008. Seaspan and Vancouver Shipyards are both members of the Washington Marine Group.

The newbuild will be the largest, most powerful tractor tug to service the B.C. coast and will be the new flagship of Seaspan's shipdocking fleet, which currently incorporates seven tractor tugs and seven conventional shipdocking tugs dedicated to its local customer base.

Canadian Shipbuilding and its government promises...

Here are a couple of articles regarding the Canadian Government and shipbuilding found recently in my Canadian Sailings edition. Kinda like a look back at the misteps of the past, mmmm, are they doing it again?


Plans for Coast Guard patrol boats thrown off schedule
By Alex Binkley, Aug 6, 2007

Plans to build 10 new patrol boats for the Canadian Coast Guard have been thrown off schedule by the Public Works Department over concerns about the fairness of the bidding process.

The Coast Guard will operate the boats for both marine security and fisheries inspections. When they are in security mode, such as on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, they will carry armed Mounties.

Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate said the goal was to have the boats ready for 2009. The Public Works move will likely amount to a nine-month delay, which means the boats won't start appearing until 2010 if all goes well.

What Public Works did in July was cancel a request for proposals process started on behalf of the Coast Guard last year. Four potential builders had expressed interest in the contract.

"Once evaluation of the four proposals that were received was underway, it became clear that the mandatory requirements needed to be more clearly defined in order to ensure fairness to all bidders," said Public Works spokesperson Lucie Brosseau.

A meeting with the builders is scheduled this month.

Mr. Bate said that when Public Works started to look at proposals from the builders, it became concerned that they were responding to some of the criteria. Basically, the Coast Guard called for boats built to a proven design. "Each component of the bid such as speed of the vessel and different capabilities had to be evaluated:' Mr. Bate said. "But it was unclear for some of them."

He added that the Coast Guard is confident that a viable solution to the bidding process will be found during the August meeting and that the bidding process can be restarted.

There have been off-the-record complaints from the industry that the Coast Guard was trying to stuff too many features into the vessels, with the risk that they would either be too slow or have poor seaworthiness.

"There was a common problem with bidders demonstrating compliance with the government's mandatory requirements," Ms. Brosseau said. "This in turn would have resulted in all of the bids being declared non compliant. In other words, we had not clearly articulated our mandatory requirements in our RFP.

"These are specialized vessels with unique requirements and they are not simple off-the-shelf purchases, both in terms of technical specifications and in terms of value of the purchase.'


Icebreakers interest Washington


West Coast-based Washington Marine Group, with shipyards in North Vancouver and Victoria, is interested in bidding on a new class of light icebreakers announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"We are certainly going to look at this," Roland Webb, the group's president of shipyards, told Canadian Sailings. WMG was to attend an industry briefing in Ottawa on Aug. 2.

The prime minister has said up to eight Class 5 Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels may be built, along with the construction of a support base. in Nunavut. Vessel cost is put at $3.1 billion, with a further $4.5 billion being spent on operations and maintenance over the 25year life of the ships.

Mr. Webb said the designation Class 5 has caused some confusion. "Under the old system, a Class 5 icebreaker would be capable of continuous progress in ice five feet thick:' he said. "The classification system has been turned upside down and nowadays a Class 1 would be an icebreaker capable of breaking any ice while a Class 5 can tackle only first-year ice (ice hardens as it ages and salt leaches out).'

Mr. Webb said 100-metre Class 5 ships of the type proposed could be built at either of the group's North Vancouver or Victoria yards.

"They want the first ship in 2013, but a lot of stuff has to happen to make sure this is a viable project:' he said.

Mr. Harper's promised Arctic fleet is a far cry from the Polar 8 icebreaker promised the West Coast shipbuilding industry in the 1980s. That vessel, had it been built, would have been a diesel electric rival to the nuclear-powered icebreakers of what was then the Soviet Union.

Announced by prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1985, the Polar 8 could have operated in the Arctic year round, breaking multi-year ice up to eight feet thick (hence the name).

The project was canceled in 1989 after the West Coast shipbuilding industry had been told that it couldn't expect a share of costly naval modernization and new construction programs because it was going to get the plum of building Canada's most powerful icebreaker.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Queen of Oak Bay TSB Report Released

The TSB has finally released their report into the grounding of the Queen of Oak Bay.
The ship lost propulsion on June 30, 2005, while approaching her berth at Horseshoe Bay. The vessel struck 28 pleasure craft berthed in the adjacent marina before running aground.

It is the classic example of a loose nut leading to a damaged ship.

I was questioned about this as a very young engineer on my first ship by the Second, "What is the most important Nut on the ship?". After several guesses on my part, he answered,"the loose one, of course" (Thank You, Karl, I never forgot).

In this case it was on the governor main engine governor linkage.

Find the report here,

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mariners need new wheels, ahhh ben oui!

In my recent issue of Canadian Sailings I found this appeal below which you be may interested to help in. Get your organization to give a $1000, and the organization could have its logo on one of the vehicles. Keewl !

MARINERS' HOUSE of Montreal and its predecessors have been assisting seafarers calling at the Port of Montreal since 1862. Last year, we were able to give friendly, practical support to 12,000 seafarers visiting our centre while transporting 14,000 to and from their ships. We offer many services at the centre including placing phone calls, sending money transfers, Internet and recreational facilities.

Our two vehicles, a nine-passenger GM Astro van and a fifteen-passenger Dodge Ram, are used everyday to visit ships docked along the Montreal waterfront and again each evening when we pick up the seafarers and bring them to the centre.

After seven years of use, traveling over many miles of port road every day of the week, both vehicles are suffering from mechanical wear and tear and becoming more than a little treacherous to drive. Not only are repairs becoming more expensive than we can afford, the safety of - the seafarers we are transporting must be considered.

In the past, the International Transport Workers' Federation generously sponsored the purchase of new vehicles every four years but now this organization has decided to only financially assist centres located in third world countries.

Therefore, the directors' of Mariners' House have decided to launch this appeal to Montreal's shipping community to combine our efforts and collect the funds required to obtain two replacement vehicles.

Every donation is eligible for a charitable tax receipt. Moreover, the names of benefactors will be placed on a 'Donor Honour Roll', to be updated and published weekly in Canadian Sailings, and will remain on the roll throughout the campaign with all the positive publicity that their generosity is certain to attract.

We are very grateful to Canadian Sailings for participating in this enterprise and helping us to achieve our goal.

This is a wonderful opportunity to not only assist our local seafarers' centre, thereby contributing to the welfare of those on whom we all rely, but also to obtain publicity in the best publication to serve the transportation industry. We hope you will take advantage of this offer and took forward to keeping you updated on the progress of this appeal.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Prince Rupert gets new tug

Smit is sending some European flair to Prince Rupert, by way of a newer tug. The Smit Clyde has been transferred to Smit Canada from the Smit world home base in Rotterdam. The tug will make her maiden appearance sometime around Sept 12 th in Vancouver, where she will spend some time acclimatising to Canadian regulations before heading north. Once in Prince Rupert, she will undoubtedly be very valuable in shipdocking duties, when the new container port opens up.

The Smit Clyde was build by Dutch yard Damen in 2000. Two 6L26 Wartsila engines drive two azimuthing drives to give it 65 tons of bollard pull from its 4900 hp.