Kayakers and container liners need a little rescue

I made a blog entry last week about Seaspan and their new ship docking tug the Seaspan Resolution, as that entry was getting bit long, I did not get to express all my observations about the company. So here is a follow up post with a Seaspan theme…

The 1350 hp, 20 meter long, tug, Comox Crown, towing three loaded wood chip barges, rescued a hypothermic kayakers last week, here is the blurb from CKNW.

Tug crew effects tricky rescue
VICTORIA/CKNW(AM980) 8/14/2009

The tug boat Comox Crown came to the rescue Thursday evening and performed a rescue in Georgia Strait, "We had the tug Comox Crown recover a kayaker who was about 5 miles off Popham Island, off Howe Sound in the middle of Georgia Strait."

Mike Stacey, the Maritime Coordinator at the Rescue Centre in Victoria says the tug's crew already had it's hands full, "The tug had 3 chip barges in tow and still managed to successfully recover the kayaker, gave him first aid, then the Coast Guard hovercraft arrived."

The kayaker was hypothermic when pulled from the water. He's recuperating in hospital.

As the economic crisis drags on, shipping is taking a beating, especially box ships, and the massive liner operators are not immune. Hapag Lloyd is undergoing restructuring to prevent going under, from what I understand. Seaspan does not seem too concern with that, even though the have decent chunk of hardware on charter with Hapag Lloyd. You can read the transcript of recent conference call between Seaspan and investment annalist types here held a few weeks ago, in which I interpret that Seaspan does not give out breaks, and expects its clients to “hold up their end of the bargain”. I am by no mean, experienced in financial power broking so it is an interesting document to read and to see the corporate operators in action.

More financial pressure means even less tugboat operations for licensed engineers on the west coast Canada, and of course many other jurisdictions. Opportunities at SMIT in Vancouver for engineers have been scaled back for quite some time, and Seaspan even with a more diversified client base, has also scaled back considerably from what I understand. I’m hearing of a good chunk of people playing musical chairs within the local industry, which is sure to produce some interesting results.

Aside from the hardships of lack of work and changing companies, this mixing of the talent pool can only lead to good things for our profession. Too often we become comfortable in positions and fail to seize new ideas and ways of doing things. I am sure that in a few years there is going to be some changes in ideas from one sector of the industry to another, which I think is good, certainly interesting, and definitely helps in a broader skill set improvement.

Picture of the Comox Crown, above, from Colin Sands' Flicker page (who has many other good pics). Picture of Rio de Janeiro Express, a Seaspan container ship of 4253 TEU, one of nine vessel under charter to Hapag Lloyd from here.

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