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Gard recommends anti-piracy measures when bunkering at Callao Anchorage

Gard suggests equipment such as fenders, anchor chains, and hawse pipes should be physically blocked during STS/bunkering operations as they can provide a point of access for perpetrators.

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Maritime protection and indemnity (P&I) club Gard on Tuesday (4 July) published an alert on piracy and armed robbery reports received from Peru’s Callao Anchorage and recommends anti-piracy measures while in the port: 

On 29 September 2023, a vessel was boarded by thieves whilst at anchor in Callao, Peru. The perpetrators tied up the duty crew and shore watchmen on routine rounds and held them at knifepoint, before escaping with the ship’s stores, reports the IMB PRC.  

According to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center (IMB PRC), this incident is the thirteenth piracy and armed robbery report received from the Callao Anchorage so far in 2023, and the third in September alone. In comparison, 12 incidents were reported from Callao during the whole of 2022. The recent reports from this port also indicate that crew are frequently taken hostage, assaulted and threatened, making this location quite a high risk for crew.

Even if the IMB PRC incident records for Peru's Callao Anchorage showed a welcome decline in 2022, this year’s worrying trend serves as a reminder to ship’s crew to keep a careful watch and anti-piracy measures in place while in this port.

Preventive measures

When alongside at port or anchorage, or during STS/bunkering operations, equipment such as fenders, anchor chains, and hawse pipes should be physically blocked as they can provide a point of access for perpetrators. Regular security rounds should be conducted, and particular attention paid to suspicious small boats passing close to the ship or loitering in the vicinity. Since the perpetrators often board ships during the hours of darkness, it may be useful to increase the deck watch at night and leave lights on. A well-lit ship is less vulnerable to attacks.

Remember that the Maritime Global Security website at http://www.maritimeglobalsecurity.com offers industry-issued best practices and guidance to mariners by geographic region. Additional advice is also available from Gard’s website “Piracy and armed robbery at sea”.

Photo credit: MarineTraffic / Tony Hogwood
Published: 9 October, 2023

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Bunker Fuel

NTSB report dismisses bunker fuel as cause of Singapore-registered “Dali” crashing into Baltimore bridge

After numerous fuel testing on the LSMGO bunker fuel “Dali” was using, NTSB preliminary report highlighted that ‘the test results did not identify any concerns related to the quality of the fuel’.

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Singapore-registered “Dali” crashing into Baltimore bridge

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday (14 May) has dismissed contaminated bunker fuel as a cause behind Singapore-registered Dali crashing into Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in its latest report. 

This was the latest finding of NTSB in its preliminary report, titled Contact of Containership Dali with the Francis Scott Key Bridge and Subsequent Bridge Collapse, investigating the fatal incident.

The vessel struck the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, on 26 March at about 1.30pm (Singapore Time), causing the bridge to collapse. 

Following the collision which killed six people, speculation was rife whether contaminated bunker fuel played a role in the containership losing power and crashing into the bridge. 

NTSB found that the ship used three main grades of bunker fuel for the main engine and electrical generators: low-sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO), low-sulphur heavy fuel oil, and heavy fuel oil. 

Dali carried an estimated 1.8 million gallons of fuel in dedicated vessel fuel tanks. None of the vessel’s dedicated fuel tanks were damaged. 

The last time Dali crew switched fuel was on the evening of 21 March, five days before the accident, when they switched to burning LSMGO in all engines upon entering US territorial waters (12 miles off the Atlantic coast), as required by emission regulatory requirements.

The containership took on various amounts of all three types of fuel in Newark, New Jersey, on 19 March after the month-long trip from Sri Lanka. Fuel-sample analysis results indicated that the LSMGO fuel bunkered in Newark, which was the same type of fuel in use during the accident events, complied with international standards and regulations. 

According to the report, NTSB said: “The test results did not identify any concerns related to the quality of the fuel.”

On 28 March, the owner of the ship took samples of the LSMGO that was being burned at the time of the accident. At NTSB direction, the owner transferred the samples to an independent laboratory. 

“The test results did not identify any concerns related to the quality of the fuel,” it said.

On 11 April, additional fuel samples were taken from all fuel tanks and various fuel supply manifolds on board the vessel; samples were tested by an independent lab. 

“Fuel-sample analysis results indicated that the LSMGO fuel being burned at the time of the accident complied with international standards and regulations. The test results did not identify any concerns related to the quality of the fuel,” NTSB added. 

First series of blackouts when in port

Instead, NTSB found Dali experienced two electrical blackouts 10 hours before leaving Baltimore on 25 March during in-port maintenance. The first in-port blackout was caused by the mechanical blocking of the online generator’s exhaust gas stack. The second blackout in port was related to insufficient fuel pressure for the online generator. 

Second series of blackouts when leaving port

Screenshot 2024 05 15 at 11.50.41 AM

NTSB also found Dali experienced two electrical blackouts when it was leaving Port of Baltimore when electrical breakers that fed most of the vessel’s equipment and lighting unexpectedly tripped.

The NTSB is still investigating the electrical configuration following the first in-port blackout and potential impacts on the events during the accident voyage.

It also said it will continue evaluating the design and operation of Dali’s power distribution system including its breakers.

“NTSB is working with parties to immediately assess their bridges and determine whether pier protection needs to be improved,” it added.

Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Limited, the vessel’s owner, owns 55 ships—a mix of containerships including Dali, bulk carriers, and tankers. 

As of 26 March, Singapore-based Synergy Marine Group, the vessel manager who provided the crew and operated the vessel for the owner, managed 55 ships under Panama, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, Liberia, and Singapore flags, including Dali.

Note: The full marine investigation preliminary report by NTSB titled ‘Contact of Containership Dali with the Francis Scott Key Bridge and Subsequent Bridge Collapse’ can be found here

Related: Baltimore bridge crash: Safety investigation to include contaminated bunker fuel as possible cause
Related: Baltimore bridge collapse: FuelTrust highlights bunkering activities of Singapore-registered “Dali”
Related: MPA: Singapore-registered ship in Baltimore bridge crash passed previous foreign port state inspections

 

Photo credit: National Transportation Safety Board
Published: 15 May 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Vopak and Singapore Polytechnic team up in safety training on low carbon bunker fuels

Partnership taps into Vopak’s existing expertise in the safe handling of new marine fuels to design a curriculum tailored to equip maritime professionals with necessary skills.

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Vopak and Singapore Polytechnic team up in safety training on low carbon bunker fuels

Liquid and gas storage and infrastructure solutions provider Vopak on Wednesday (8 May) announced its collaboration with Polytechnic to enhance maritime safety through training on low carbon bunker fuels.

Both signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on equipping the faculty members of the Singapore Maritime Academy with the knowledge and skills in the safe handling of alternative bunker fuels. 

“This partnership taps into Vopak’s existing expertise in the safe handling of these new marine fuels, including ammonia, biofuels, and methanol, to design a curriculum tailored to equip maritime professionals with the necessary skills for a more sustainable future,” Vopak said in a social media post. 

“This collaboration not only reinforces our commitment to maritime safety, but also drives Singapore’s journey towards becoming a leading sustainable multi-fuels hub. Together, Singapore Polytechnic and Vopak are committed to nurturing the next generation of maritime professionals,” said Rob Boudestijn, President of Vopak Terminals Singapore.

 

Photo credit: Vopak
Published: 10 May 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: MTF seminar addresses safety aspect of green shipping corridors and green bunker fuels

Seminar addressed recent MTF reports on safety considerations for establishing green shipping corridors and a new industry guideline to develop and implement a SMS for alternative fuels on board ships.

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SMW 2024: MTF seminar addresses safety aspect of green shipping corridors and green bunker fuels

The Maritime Technologies Forum (MTF), whose members include ABS, DNV, Lloyd’s Register, ClassNK, Japan’s Maritime Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Norwegian Maritime Authority, the U.K.’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore, recently held a half-day seminar during the Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024. 

The seminar, moderated by Dr Pierre Sames, DNV Strategic Development Director, addressed the topics of two recent MTF reports on safety considerations for establishing green shipping corridors and a new industry guideline to develop and implement a Safety Management System (SMS) for alternative fuels on board ships. 

It is the aim of MTF to bridge the gap between technological progress and regulatory process. With this, MTF encourages early testing of new technologies which in turn helps shape future requirements and regulations. 

Kicking off the session, Simen Diserud Mildal of the Norwegian Maritime Authority, who was the lead author of MTF’s green shipping corridors safety study, explained that the newly proposed safety checklist serves as a tool for stakeholders as they address safety aspects at the outset of establishing a green shipping corridor.

During the panel discussion, Mr. Prashanth Athipar, BHP’s Maritime Technical and Safety Principal, told the audience that the industry cannot take safety lightly when planning green corridors. He noted that the adoption of alternative fuels was a necessity. He stressed the importance of preparing all stakeholders – including seafarers and those handling fuels in ports – through comprehensive training programmes. 

MTF2

From the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Mr New Wei Siang, Director (Decarbonisation and Net Zero pathways), said in reference to green corridors and alternative fuels that while there are many unknowns, the industry needs to be nimble and flexible in dealing with the use and storage of fuels such as ammonia, which has been successfully trialled in Singapore, while continuing to prioritise safety.

It was also pointed out by Capt. Kamal Hossain, Hong Lam Marine, that the complexity in the implementation of alternative fuels should not be underestimated; and that sharing experiences from pilot projects and crew readiness will be key for accelerating. Early preparation and a safety checklist will greatly help moving forward and will surely accelerate the process, but we need to do it step by step. 

Other key takeaways from the panel debate included Lloyd’s Register’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Andrew Sillitoe, suggesting that it is vital to consider safety at an early stage to avoid a possible incident and associated backlash against that choice of alternative fuel. Helping early adopters and fast followers to manage the risks in a well-planned green corridor allows demonstration of safe use from which wider applications can grow.

MTF3

The next session began with Yildiz Williams, Lead Marine Consultant, Lloyd's Register, and MTF project manager for the new industry guidelines on developing and implementing a safety management system (SMS) for alternative fuels on board ships, who presented the recommendations of the new guidelines. Following her presentation, assembled panellists underlined that the proposed guidelines are seen as very relevant for the industry. 

Panellist Captain Himanshu Chopra, Managing Director of Anglo-Eastern Maritime Services, stressed the importance of sharing knowledge – as outlined in MTF’s new guidelines – across the industry. "We need to work more closely together. Collaboration is absolutely essential. The industry certainly needs to be working together if the knowledge transfer is to take place from an engine manufacturer working in Norway or Denmark to a seafarer in the Philippines or India. Seafarers are the solution and not the problem for decarbonisation," he said.

BIMCO's Ashok Srinivasan mentioned during the seminar that shipping companies approach decarbonisation differently based on their financial ability, fleet focus, risk appetite, and technological experience. No two companies are the same for various reasons, and therefore, it is only fair that they take differing approaches.

MCA’s Asst. Director for Technical Services, Prasad Panicker, said, “It needs to be remembered that the shipping industry is adept at adapting to changes. Prior examples are the response to introduction of things like AIS, ECDIS, ISPS, MLC, etc. The ISM Code is deliberately generic in nature which allows companies to tailor their safety management systems to comply with new requirements. The Code already contains a requirement for carrying out risk assessments and the introduction of new fuels would require assessment of additional risks introduced by the same and initiate mitigative measures.”

Georgios Kasimatis, DNV's Director of Regulatory Affairs, stated that the safety management guidelines developed must be applied from the outset. "We all need to be fast learners. It is crucial to build on learnings from the introduction of LNG in the past and from near misses and incidents that may happen. In a future with multiple fuels, we need continuous awareness of all possible risks and excellence in safety culture.”

 

Photo credit: Maritime Technologies Forum
Published: 30 April 2024

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