There may not be polar bears on your dock but it feels like they would like the weather this year. In the North thawing will soon commence and damage from ice will be noticed and repaired. As you take a walk down that slippery dock this spring ask yourself if you are using the best type of circulation deicing equipment for your situation.
Photo Courtesy of US Navy
Ongoing delays of the third set of locks on the Panama Canal can make you wonder about future capacity of something that was made to pass ships 100 years ago. Is a dedicated large ship canal like the Nicaragua Canal viable when you can transit vessels five times the tonnage as the Panama Canal.
Traffic in the region is estimated to gain 240% in volume by 2030. Are the tradeoffs worth something that will lift one of the poorest Central American countries out of poverty while saving one day and 800km over the Panama route including an astronomical amount of fuel and carbon.
Spring is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and many conversations are taking place in boat sheds about the new season. Applicants for charter jobs are also gathering paperwork and the most common question of spring is; how do I get my six pack license?
The familiar name of McMurdo has relaunched and expanded holdings as the McMurdo Group. The new organization combines several well known brands in the fleet management and search and rescue solutions segments.
Possibly the best part of this news shows a shift in philosophy towards more open data systems. McMurdo now offers a set of API's so developers can integrate McMurdo solutions into their product chain.
An EPIRB is usually treated with plenty of respect. Seeing it in place, ready to send rescue coordinates, helps us remember how far radio distress beacons have developed.
Early COSPAS-SARSAT systems used Doppler Shift Triangulation alone to locate a beacon. Today, a GPS unit sends a string of data which includes identifying information and registered contacts in case of emergency.
Beacons themselves are remarkably different in function but the orbital and orbital support systems are fairly simple. The hardware transponder rides along as a secondary passenger on a variety of satellites. Activated beacon data is decoded by ground stations and relayed to control centers where search and rescue assets are deployed.
Triangulation of the beacon signal by two transponders is still used to validate a distress alert GPS location. Aircraft and personal beacons like SPOT use the same system. Maritime rescues account for half of all SAR activity in the past few years.
US Congressman Duncan Hunter made a visit to AIRSIS offices yesterday as part of campaign to elevate the benefits of new technologies across the merchant marine domain.
AIRSIS is the creator of the Portvision line of data interface products for many segments of the industry. Portvision uses data streams from AIS, satellite, and mobile phone technology to deliver business and regulatory intelligence to any internet device with a web interface.
Congressman Hunter is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and was leading a roundtable policy discussion on "The Maritime Industry - Promoting Innovation in the Blue Economy" in San Diego.
Photo Courtesy of AIRSIS
Exploring Totten is a blog documenting the exploration of the sediment of the Totten Glacier on the eastern fringe of Antarctica. The research team is still on board the RVIB Nathaniel B Palmer a few more weeks and there are some interesting insights into polar seafloor sampling.
Edison Chouest Offshore is operating the vessel for the 46 day science mission and the bloggers/researchers are experiencing standing watch along with the crew. This is interesting reading for aspiring maritime professionals, water based researchers, environmentalists, and anyone thinking about the future of polar exploration or logistical challenges.
Photo Courtesy of NOAA
It's all but official that ten ships will be cut from the Littoral Combat Ship program. Defense secretary Chuck Hagel's plan to cut the number of ships to thirty two units. The reduction will mean the loss of about four years of production at both of the shipyards holding contracts for the LCS.
Each project site employees about 2,000 workers including allied trades and subcontractors. Both Marinette Marine and Austal were chosen as contractors in part because of under utilized ship building facilities and skilled labor forces in each area. The shortened production means extra capacity in these yards with few prospects of non-governmental Jones Acts orders.
Secretary Hagel implied many troubled programs, including the entire LCS group, needed reassessment as the United States reorganizes all branches of the military. The LCS suffers from a multitude of small problems that make some insiders uncertain about its capability and future role.
The cuts must have presidential approval to go forward but all signs indicate the cuts will become official next week.
Photo Courtesy of US Navy
The National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. has released a final report in connection with the sinking of the tall ship Bounty. The replica ship was built in the early 1960's for use in the film "Mutiny on the Bounty". It was a well known representative of the golden age of sailing ships based on the East Coast of the United States.
The Master of the ship chose to evade Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012 despite the large size and power of the storm. One crew member and the Master died in the sinking after the vessel was awash in heavy surf offshore.
The report blames the Master's recklessness in sailing towards a well forecast storm, the limited skills of the crew and poor condition of the vessel, and an overall deficit in safety policy by the managers of the ship for the accident.
The full report (.pdf) has other information about construction and operation of the ship that will interest mariners of all kinds. Are typically accepted procedures on historic replicas endangering everyone aboard? Do we need to take a better look at crew requirements on vessels where amateur sailors are taken on as skilled crew?
Photo Courtesy of USCG
With the very reliable and common Detroit Diesels it's no surprise many people take an interest in these engine designs that owe their reliability to simplicity. Other manufactures of two stroke diesel engines for marine use are Grey Marine and Wartsila.
The largest reciprocating engine in the world is a two stroke multi-fuel burning engine the size of a house that burns around 2,500 gallons of heavy fuel oil per hour and produces 52,000 horsepower at about 50 rpm, and that's half power.
You may need less power for your vessel but you should still understand the operation of two and four stroke marine diesel engines so you can make the best decisions for your business.