Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Slideshow: Top Stories of 2013

2013 under a magnifying glass
2013 has seen some noteworthy developments, both globally and in North America.
The big kept getting bigger, as the three largest ocean carriers — Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM — announced plans to form a vessel-sharing alliance that would dominate the east-west trades. The announcement came in the context of ever-increasing ship sizes; 2013 witnessed the entry into service of Maersk Line’s first Triple E vessels, with a capacity of 18,270 20-foot-equivalent units, and orders for comparable mega-ships by other lines as well. Big ships need plenty of room, and the Suez Canal this year benefited from carriers’ decision to route some services from Asia to the U.S. East Coast by that waterway.
In North America, shippers and carriers averted a costly strike on the U.S. East Coast, but suffered significant headaches at the coast's largest port, and politics weighed heavily in the transformation of the West Coast's second-largest port. Trucking companies decried the imposition of new hours of service rules, though shippers haven’t felt much impact, and Mexico began to come into its own as a source for rail traffic to the U.S.
As the year draws to a close, European antitrust regulators appear poised to shake up how carriers announce rate changes, and a report from a Japanese committee recalled the dramatic demise of the MOL Comfort.
What follows are our picks for the top 10 stories of 2013. Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 


Accidents with Container Ships - Cargo Ship Accidents

Monday, 30 December 2013

Owner: 1.5 Meter Crack Discovered in Hull of MSC Monterey Containership

msc monterey evacuation
Image: JRCC Halifax
Some new details have emerged today about the condition of the MSC Monterey containership which suffered a crack in its hull while underway in adverse conditions off the coast of Newfoundland, sparking concerns of her sinking.
A statement from the ship’s owner, Germany’s REEDEREI NSB, said that Liberian-flagged vessel was underway Friday from Antwerp to Boston when crews discovered a 1.5 meter crack in the main deck near the superstructure while southeast of Newfoundland. The statement said that the crack later grew by 30 centimeters into the outer hull, prompting crews to coordinate with the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada.
Four people from the United States and Switzerland, who were riding as passengers on the vessel, requested to be evacuated and were safely airlifted from the vessel on Sunday.
The 20 crewmembers, from Europe and Philippines, remained onboard and the vessel was later anchored in the bay of Cape Pine, NL.
REEDEREI NSB says that at this time the vessel does not pose a danger to the environment and the crack has not resulted in an oil spillage or other hazards.
The MSC Monterey is expected to proceed from Cape Pine to St. Mary’s Bay on Monday morning, where a surveyor from class society Germanischer Lloyd, along with a naval architect and insurance representative, will board the vessel for inspection. REEDEREI NSB says the plan is to provide provisional repairs so that the vessel can continue to Boston as planned.
The MSC Monterey was built in 2007 at Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries in Romania and has a TEU capacity of 4,870.
The vessel, which is managed by Mediterranean Shipping Company, is engaged in regular transatlantic liner service between Bremerhaven, Felixstowe, Antwerp and Le Havre and U.S. East Coast ports. MSC Monterey was expected to call at Boston in early January, followed by New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk and Baltimore.
REEDEREI NSB also happened to own the MSC Flaminia, which caught fire in 2012 while underway in the north Atlantic.

Hanjin to Ask Evergreen to Join CKYH Alliance

Hanjin Shipping is planning to invite Evergreen Line to join the CKYH Alliance to improve that network’s competitive posture, South Korean news agency Yonhap reports.
The announcement comes as the South Korean carrier, the eighth largest in the world by fleet size according to Alphaliner, has outlined a plan to shed underperforming assets and non-core businesses to bolster its bottom line.
Earlier this year, Drewry Maritime Research characterized Hanjin, as well as fellow Korean container line Hyundai Merchant Marine, as having “their backs against the wall with mounting debt and piling losses.” The analyst said at that time that it expected Hanjin to continue to post losses because of weak fundamentals and high interest costs.
Indeed, Hanjin’s loss widened in the third quarter of 2013, as the company posted a net loss of 317.6 billion won (about US$299.3 million), compared with a net loss of 47.3 billion won in the same period last year.
The ocean carrier’s president and CEO, YM Kim, resigned in November; saying he was taking responsibility for the company’s continuing losses.
Among the actions Hanjin is planning are disposal of older container ships, cutting or restructuring unprofitable routes and other cost-cutting in its container business. It also intends to cut back on its bulk business or exit the business entirely. Altogether, the company anticipates a positive financial impact of 372.9 billion won through these measures.
The Mega-Ship Arms RaceThe Mega-Ship Arms Race: CKYH, G6 and P3
Moreover, shareholder Korean Air has announced plans to sell off assets worth 3.5 trillion won and other steps not only to improve its own finances, but also to make it possible for it to help the affiliated ocean carrier. The airline has indicated it could lend Hanjin an additional 150 billion won, to supplement the 150 billion won loan it provided earlier this year, if it can secure additional lending from banks. It also wants to take part in Hanjin Shipping’s paid-in capital increase plan, Yonhap reports.
An expansion of the CKYH Alliance — whose members are COSCO, “K” Line, Yang Ming, and Hanjin — to include Evergreen had been suggested as one potential response to the competitive threat posed by the new P3 Network among CMA CGM, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co., and the subsequently announced expansion of the G6 Alliance on the east-west trades.
Adding Evergreen would boost capacity for the CKYH Alliance, which is lagging both the P3 and G6 in the new mega-ship arms race, according to SeaIntel. Evergreen is the fourth-largest container line by fleet size, according to Alphaliner, and it has already taken delivery of the first of 10 13,000-TEU ships. The carrier, which already cooperates closely with the CKYH Alliance but is currently unaffiliated, has not yet commented regarding the invitation.

HanjinShipping, the world’s ninth-largest box carrier, is seeking to restructure its business by shrinking its fleet and may invite Evergreen Line to join the CKYH alliance. 

The proposals are part of the South Korean carrier’s efforts to revive its container shipping division, whose operational loss more than doubled to Won191.8bn ($180.8m) in the first nine months of this year from the year-ago level of Won90.6bn. 

Hanjin confirmed in an emailed statement that it is reducing the size of its boxship fleet — which, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, comprises 111 boxships with total capacity of 582,384 teu — by 20%. 

To do so, Hanjin Shipping will redeliver some vessels chartered in at high rates and wind up unprofitable routes. 

However, the actual reduction might not be as significant as the headline figure suggests. 

When evaluating its target, the carrier has taken into account its 2009 sales of 13 elderly ships of 4,000 teu-5,000 teu each to Korea Asset Management, a government-controlled restructuring specialist. 

The ships were then leased back to Hanjin. 

At the same time, Hanjin is considering whether to invite Evergreen to join the CKYH alliance, consisting of Cosco Container Lines, K Line, Yang Ming Marine Transport and Hanjin, in an attempt to maintain economies of scale. 

The Taiwanese line and CKYH jointly operate eight service strings from Asia to northern Europe and three loops from Asia to Mediterranean via space swaps and vessel-sharing agreements, so in some ways Evergreen seems a natural partner. 

It has also worked with individual members of CKYH in regional, transpacific and transatlantic routes. 

It said in a statement: “Evergreen is always looking at operational ways to enhance service to customers and to improve vessel utilisation. We don’t rule out any options, including joining an alliance or maintaining the status quo.” 

Nevertheless, it is not certain whether joining the alliance would necessarily benefit Evergreen. 

It also has individual agreements with other major carriers including Maersk Lines, CMA CGM and China Shipping Container Lines. 

“I am not sure they want or need to join as a CKYH member,” said Alphaliner executive consultant Tan Hua Joo. “They can still co-operate with CKYH as an independent carrier.” 

If the tie-up does go ahead, the enlargement would be CKYH’s response to the P3 network proposed by the world’s three largest carriers, Maersk, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co, which could come online next year if it receives regulatory approvals. 

The G6 alliance — comprising APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL, NYK Line and OOCL — has unveiled its own plans to expand to the transatlantic and Asia-US west coast trade lanes to improve its competitiveness against other alliances. 

Separately, Hanjin Shipping, which also owns large dry bulk and tanker operations, plans to scale down its oil and chemical-carrying businesses to improve its operating results. 

It is seeking to earn Won300bn from selling parts of its dry bulk operations and stakes in terminals at home and abroad and Won88.7bn from disposing of buildings and stock holdings. 

Altogether, Hanjin Shipping hopes to raise Won2trn from asset sales, loan and equity financing, to repay Won1.2trn in debt due in 2014. 

The carrier, profitable in only three of the 19 quarters since 2009, is saddled with debts and struggling to improve its liquidity. 

As of end-September, its assets-to-equity ratio reached 1,180%. 

Korean Air Lines, part of the Hanjin Transport group, has since October lent Won250bn in two deals to Hanjin Shipping Holdings, which controls the carrier. 

The parent could merge with Hanjin Shipping to smooth the restructuring process as previously reported. 

The airline could provide another Won150bn in loans and inject Won400bn into Hanjin Shipping’s capital-increase plan in the first half of next year. 

The latter would eventually make Korean Air Lines the carrier’s largest shareholder, Yonhap News Agency has reported. 

MSC Monterey Suffers Crack Off Canada – UPDATE

msc monterey
MSC Monterey, image via JTF Atlantic
Update: The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre reports that the MSC Monterey is currently at anchor off Newfoundland and the response has been turned over to Transport Canada.
The 20 crew remain onboard the vessel following the evacuation of 4 passengers earlier Sunday.
Original: Crewmembers from the 902-foot, Liberian-flagged containership MSC Monterey have been evacuated today after the ship developed a crack in its hull.  Major Martel Thompson from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Halifax noted in a phone call that the vessel’s crew issued a distress call at around 11 AM this morning after a crack was discovered and concerns mounted over her structural integrity.
Search and Rescue (SAR) techs from Canada’s 103 Squadron evacuated four non-essential personnel from the MSC Monterey, and 20 personnel remain on board working to save the vessel.
The vessel is currently located 34 nautical miles south of Portugal Cove South, Newfoundland.
msc monterey evacuation canada
Crewmembers from MSC Monterey were evacuated via Cormorant helicopters sortied from Gander. Image: JRCC Halifax
msc monterey evacuation
Image: JRCC Halifax
msc monterey evacuation
Image: JRCC Halifax
At least two helicopters, a hercules aircraft and the CCGS Teleost are responding to the incident.
The MSC Monterey was built in 2007 at Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries in Romania and has a TEU capacity of 4,870.
This news comes about six months after the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ owned containership MOL Comfort broke in half and sank while sailing through the Indian Ocean in rough seas, as well as other high profile incidents involving MSC containerships such as MSC Flaminia.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Ipswich/Felixstowe: New bridge takes shape as Ipswich Chord project nears completion

Another part of the major Ipswich Chord railway project has been completed with a new bridge span being moved into position.
The work is part of the scheme to create a direct link from the Port of Felixstowe to the Midlands and remove the need for freight trains to come into Ipswich first.
It should enable more containers from the port to be moved by rail and therefore taken off the roads.
On Christmas Eve the old bridge was removed, having had its track lifted, and will now be taken away for scrap.
On Christmas Day the new bridge, already in a position near the gap left by the old span, was slid into position and the track relaid.
The bridge, part of the East Suffolk line, should have trains running over it within a week.
The Ipswich Chord project itself is currently on target to be completed by April.

MSC Vandya, inbound and swinging at Felixstowe

On a chilly and breezy Friday morning, MSC Vandya arriving at Felixstowe and swinging to her berth.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

DNV GL: New RSCS Notation for MV Maersk Elba

New RSCS Notation for MV Maersk Elba
The Maersk Elba has become the first of her fleet to implement DNV GL’s Route Specific Container Stowage (RSCS).
Developed in cooperation with Rickmers Group and other industry partners, this newly introduced class notation is the first of its kind. RSCS not only allows operators to load more containers on deck and to accelerate cargo operations in ports by a higher degree of loading flexibility, through increased stack weights in the cargo holds and vertical centre of gravity on deck , while at the same time maintaining required safety levels.
Managed by Rickmers Shipmanagement Singapore, Maersk Elba is the first of a series of eight 13,000TEU containerships which will implement the newly introduced class notation. Supported by DNV GL, Rickmers is also currently preparing to upgrade further vessel types with the RSCS notation.
The new class notation was recently recognised by Containerisation International, taking the award for innovation in recognition of its “practical application, giving ship operators greater flexibility when loading cargo” and “the tangible benefits of being able to adjust stowage patterns according to trade routes”. The new notation is based on long-term statistical data on wave conditions. This allows for container stowage schemes that take into account the variance in sea conditions on particular sea lanes. It is built around the realistic determination of route specific loads on the deck containers and their lashing systems.

A good Ship To Shore Crane driver will understand how to load & discharge a large container ship.
“The RSCS notation is the result of intensive cooperation with our industry partners, Rickmers Group being one of the most notable,” said Dirk Lange, DNV GL“the notation allows operators to adapt their stowage patterns based on verified data to maximise their loading capacity for their individual routes, while at the same time preserving the same levels of safety. As well as resulting in reduced fuel costs per TEU and constituting a competitive edge for carriers operating vessels being assigned with this notation, vessels equipped with the new notation will be more attractive in the market.”
With RSCS, ship operators have greater flexibility in stowing heavier containers in higher positions on deck. This is because the centre of gravity of shielded stacks can be increased by up to 21%. Moreover, a significant increase of in-hold stack weight for 20-foot stowage – up to 25% – can be achieved. In addition to these benefits, nominal capacity can be increased and an additional tier can be added where the line of sight is not affected.
The implementation of RSCS is easy and offers high impact with low implementation effort. Owners and managers merely adopt an addendum to the Container Securing Arrangement plan and install or update a certified lashing computer on board, with integrated software elements from DNV GL. No further retro-fitting measures of equipment are needed. According to Dr.-Ing. Georg Eljardt, head of Rickmers Maritime Technology, the Rickmers Group is proud of being an active contributor during the development of this innovative class notation and in addition being one of the first ship owners worldwide to be able to offer this innovative competitive edge to its customers, enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of its container vessels.
On 12 September 2013, DNV and GL merged to become DNV GL
The new company DNV GL started operating as one company with effect from 12 September 2013. DNV GL is now the world’s largest ship and offshore classification society, a leading technical advisor to the oil & gas industry and a leading expert for the energy value chain including renewables. DNV GL has also become one of the top three certification bodies in the world.

Friday, 27 December 2013

BG Freight starts feeder services at Gateway

The 630TEU Cetus J, operated by BG Freight Line, made a call at London Gateway new port on 27th December, 2013.

Boxing Day: Zim Antwerp inbound at Felixstowe December 26

Inbound at Felixstowe, Boxing Day, 2013 – Zim Antwerp

Interim Report on MOL COMFORT Casualty Released

Following the loss of the container vessel MOL COMFORT on 17 June 2013, ClassNK established a special Casualty Investigation Team in order to investigate and determine the cause of the casualty.
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) further established a Committee on Large Container Ship Safety to develop measures to ensure the safety of large container vessels on 29 August 2013. ClassNK serves as a member of the Committee and the ClassNK Casualty Investigation Team is actively involved in its deliberative and investigative work.
The Committee on Large Container Ship Safety completed its Interim Report on the MOL Comfort casualty during its fourth meeting on 12 December 2013, and released the report to the public on 17 December 2013. English excerpts of the report are available on MLIT’s website.
In line with Interim Report, the ClassNK Casualty Investigation Team will continue to carry out numerical simulations of hull strength and acting loads, as well as conduct full-scale stress measurements of actual ships in order to develop comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of large container vessels, including potential amendments to existing classification rules related to hull structures.
The Casualty Investigation Team will also work closely with the International Association of Classification Societies’ (IACS) newly established large container ship safety project team to ensure that findings from the casualty investigation are reflected in IACS regulatory work.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. today announced its response to the interim report of the Committee on Large Container Ship Safety related to the incident on June 17, 2013, involving the MOL-operated MOL Comfort, which hull broke in half.
The committee was established by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) made up of maritime industry representatives and experts. The report was issued on December 17.
While the cause of the incident remains undetermined, the committee recommended that the following actions be taken as temporary safety measures for existing containerships with loading capacities similar to or greater than 8,000 TEU class:
  • A safety inspection on the bottom shell plates to the extent possible should be conducted in order to verify the presence of buckling deformations. If such deformations are found during this inspection, consult a classification society regarding the proper measures to be taken.
  • In accordance with the deliberations at the IMO related to the enforcement of container weight verification prior to loading, verification of the actual weight of container cargoes provided by the shipper is recommended in order to reduce uncertainty related to the still water bending moments of large containerships.
MOL has done everything possible to ensure safe operation. Since the incident occurred, MOL has taken the following measures, including safety measures, which were recommended in the interim report mentioned above.
  • MOL conducted emergency safety inspections targeting all six of the MOL Comfort’s sister vessels, and then arranged docking for work to reinforce their hull structures as additional safety measures. With this step, the target vessels secured about twice the hull strength of the standard set by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) which conforms to International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) standards.
  • MOL continues to pay special attention to the operation of this type of six sister vessels to reduce the stress on hulls by adjusting ballast water volume.
  • MOL also conducted safety inspections on the outer bottom shell plates of its operated large containerships in addition to the above six vessels, and already confirmed there is no safety problem.
MOL, December 20, 2013

Thursday, 26 December 2013

COSCO Nagoya lost 79 containers in storm, Bay of Biscay

MRCC Etel France received an emergency report from boxship COSCO Nagoya at 2030 LT Dec 23 13. Vessel reported loss of 79 containers in a bad weather some 200 nautical miles off Penmarc, Bay of Biscay. Some fifty containers on board fell or tilted, vessel en route from Rotterdam to New York turned back and proceeded to Le Havre, to secure the containers. As of 0300 UTC Dec 25 vessel escorted by rescue ship Abeille Liberte was approaching Le Havre outer road. 30 containers were spotted drifting in the area vicinity 45 42N 007 38W, 195 nautical miles SSW off Brest.
Container ship COSCO Nagoya, IMO 9380271, dwt 50687, capacity 4506 TEU, built 2008, flag Panama, manager COSCON, China.
CREDITS PHOTOS : Douanes télécharger. Full size photo:

Cosco Nagoya loses 79 boxes overboardSailing from Rotterdam to New York, Cosco Nagoya lost 79 containers overboard on 23rd December, 2013.