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Chief Engineer of towing vessel admits negligently discharging oil into Kill Van Kull

Michael Brown discharged marine diesel fuel oil while bunkering his towing vessel at International Matex Tank Terminal’s Mobil Pier in Bayonne, New Jersey.

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The Chief Engineer of a towing vessel on Wednesday (5 October) admitted his role in negligently discharging marine diesel fuel oil into the Kill Van Kull, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Michael Brown, 67, of Kingston, Tennessee, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda D. Wettre to an information charging him with violating the Clean Water Act by negligently discharging marine diesel fuel oil while bunkering his towing vessel at the International Matex Tank Terminal’s Mobil Pier in Bayonne, New Jersey.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Sept. 12, 2016, Brown failed to exercise due care in conducting the transfer of fuel oil to the towing vessel, resulting in the discharge of hundreds of gallons of fuel oil into the Kill Van Kull. Brown also admitted that, in response to questions by the U.S. Coast Guard, he failed to disclose that the origin of the spill was the towing vessel.

The Clean Water Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, makes it a crime for a person to negligently discharge oil into or upon the navigable waters of the United States in such quantities as may be harmful. The Kill Van Kull, a tidal straight that connects Newark Bay with Upper New York Bay, is a navigable water of the United States.

Brown has agreed, as part of his plea agreement, to pay a fine of USD 4,000 to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

The charge to which Brown pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine equal to the greatest of USD 100,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2023.

 

Photo credit: John Rourke on Unsplash
Published: 7 October, 2022

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Environment

Singapore oil spill: Clean-up enters next phase of cleaning rock bunds

Singapore authorities said removal of bulk oil from sea and beaches is nearly completed and will move on to the next stage of clean-up response, which is focused on the more difficult clean-up of oil remnants in areas such as rock bunds.

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Singapore oil spill: Clean-up enters next phase of cleaning rock bunds

Singapore authorities on Monday (24 June) said the removal of bulk oil from the sea and beaches is nearly completed and will move on to the next stage of the clean-up response. 

An oil spill occurred on 14 June after Netherlands-registered dredger Vox Maxima hit stationary bunker vessel Marine Honour causing fuel from the bunker vessel’s cargo tank to spill into Singapore waters. 

In a joint statement by authorities including Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), they said there has been no observed oil slick along the East Coast and Changi since 18 June based on both satellite and drone images. 

The bulk of oil-soaked sand has been removed from most of the affected public beaches, with the exception of Tanjong and Palawan beach at Sentosa. To date, about 550 tonnes of oil-soaked sand and debris have been collected from all affected beaches.

“We are moving to the next phase of the clean-up response, which is focused on the more difficult clean-up of oil remnants trapped in areas such as coastal features, waterside infrastructures and rock bunds. These areas are not as easily accessible, and oil could be trapped in crevices and below beach surfaces that require significant effort to clean,” they said. 

“This new phase will involve specialised resources and equipment. This cleaning will be done carefully, considering the conditions at each site, such as wind, tide and currents, to minimise the oil on the rock bunds from re-polluting the coastline, beaches, and biodiversity-sensitive areas.”

“We are working with the oil spill consultants to deploy the most effective methods for cleaning while minimising cleaning contamination to surrounding areas.”

For the more heavily impacted areas, including Sentosa’s Tanjong and Palawan beaches, the specialised clean-up operations are expected to take around three months, based on our preliminary estimates.

For the more lightly impacted areas at Sentosa Siloso beach and certain stretches of East Coast Park, this clean-up is expected to be completed earlier. The rock bund cleaning at Siloso beach has commenced since 21 June and the Singapore Civil Defence Force has deployed a Rapid Response Fire Vessel at the affected area to support the cleaning operation. The rock bund cleaning at selected rock bunds at East Coast Park beaches will commence this week and we are working towards the progressive reopening of certain stretches earlier as well. All the beaches on Sentosa remain open.

For biodiversity-sensitive sites, ongoing efforts are underway to monitor longer term impacts to biodiversity.

Even after a beach has been cleaned and re-opened, swimming and water activities can resume only after water quality has gone back to normal and is stable. 

The Government is also closely monitoring the impact of the oil spill on related businesses and affected residents as the situation continues to evolve.

Sentosa Cove is less severely affected, as lockgates were closed promptly, supplemented by absorbent booms since 15 June 2024. Currently, vessel movements within Sentosa Cove have been halted and these efforts have been made to minimise the impact on Cove waterways and canals within residential areas, while awaiting oil deposits on seaward rock bunds to be cleaned. Vessel movements would be allowed to resume when lockgates are safe to open.

MPA will also start to transfer remaining oil left on board bunker vessel Marine Honour, which was hit and damaged during the 14 June incident. 

The damaged Marine Honour which spilled the oil on 14 June is currently anchored off the western petroleum anchorage. 

“The remaining fuel oil onboard from the ruptured cargo tank and its full contents onboard the vessel must be emptied before it can be towed into the shipyard for its repair,” the authorities said.

“Aside from the containment booms laid around the vessel, a 35-tonnes oil load Current Buster system is on station to respond to any potential leaks in the lightering process to transfer the MARINE HONOUR oil to another vessel.”

Note: The full statement by Singapore authorities can be found here

Related: Malaysia to look into demands of Johor fisherman affected by oil spill from Singapore
Related: MPA: Owner of bunker tanker involved in Singapore oil spill is liable for pollution damage
Related: Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister
Related: Singapore: Oil spill cleanup after allision between dredger “Vox Maxima” and bunker tanker “Marine Honour”

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 25 June, 2024

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Ammonia

HD KSOE receives Lloyd’s Register AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet, says LR.

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HD KSOE receives LR AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) to HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE) for their ammonia fuel supply system, which will be used on ammonia new constructions.

The newly developed ammonia fuel supply system shows complete compatibility with high-efficiency cargo handling systems and ammonia engines.

The approval certifies the fuel supply system against LR’s rigorous risk-based certification (RBC-1) process and marks the successful conclusion of a Joint Development Project (JDP) between LR and HD KSOE, which began in April 2024.

The primary objective of the JDP was to develop and refine the design concept of an ammonia fuel supply system for ammonia-fuelled vessels.

LR said the AiP represents the substantial step that LR and HD KSOE have taken towards pioneering innovative solutions for emission reduction in the maritime industry.

“Ammonia, with its capacity to meet the rising demand for emission reduction solutions, represents a promising alternative fuel for the maritime industry,” it said.

“This fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet.”  

Young-Doo Kim, Global Technical Support Office Representative for Korea, Lloyd’s Register, said: “This approval in principle represents another significant step for developing the technology required for shipowners and operators' adoption of ammonia, one of the primary candidate fuels for the maritime energy transition.”

“We are pleased to continue our strong working relationship with HD KSOE through this joint project that will provide a valuable solution for ammonia propelled ships.”

Young-jun Nam, Vice Present & COO of HD KSOE, said: “Ammonia is a zero-carbon fuel that is attracting great attention in terms of economics and supply stability. HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering will lead the field of eco-friendly equipment and materials to take the lead in commercialising ammonia in 2025.”

 

Photo credit: Lloyd’s Register
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Vessel, which is the latest contribution to the Vinga-series, has dual-fuel capability, runs on LNG/LBG or gasoil and is fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.

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Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Shipping firm Erik Thun on Monday (24 June) said it has taken delivery of Thun Vettern, a 17,999-dwt vessel, which was built by China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Yangzhou.

The vessel is an upgraded version of the sister Thun Venern. Thun Vettern is the latest contribution to the “Vinga-series”, all trading within the Gothia Tanker Alliance. The Thun Vettern is the newest and latest edition to the Vinga-series and she has ice class 1A. 

The vessels in the Vinga-series all have dual-fuel capability, run on LNG/LBG or gasoil and are fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.

They are designed with a battery hybrid solution and several innovative features that reduce fuel and energy consumption, resulting in extensively lowered emissions of CO2, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and hazardous particles. 

The firm said the ships have scored the best Energy Efficiency Design Index or EEDI value in their segment globally, meaning that they are the most energy efficient vessels according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

The Vinga-series is designed for the intense and demanding trade in the North Sea and Scandinavia, well suited to meet the growing European demand for biofuels and renewable feedstocks.

Erik Thun´s close partner Furetank will technically and commercially manage the new vessel which upon delivery will enter into the Gothia Tanker Alliance network.

“Sustainability work has always been and will be a focus ahead for Erik Thun. To take delivery of a resource efficient, top performing product tanker like Thun Vettern, and further deepen our good and long-term co-operation with Furetank is a great example of our vision to be a sustainable Swedish partner over generations,” said Johan Källsson, Managing Director at Erik Thun AB.

 

Photo credit: Erik Thun
Published: 25 June, 2024

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