CMA CGM Retrofitting Bulbous Bows to 10 Ships , by marex


The CMA CGM Group has announced that 10 of its vessels’ bulbous bows are to be retrofitted in order to continue improving its fleet’s energy efficiency and reducing its environmental footprint.

The bulbous bow exchanges that are performed within a week in repair yards’ drydocks significantly reduce the ship’s fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions.

Bulbous bows are the underwater part of the bow. Because of their influence on the vessel’s wave resistance, their design has a major impact on the vessel hydrodynamic efficiency. They were initially designed for 24 knots sailing speed. Following the implementation of the slow steaming, the group’s vessels now sail at speeds between 16 to 18 knots. Bulbous bows have therefore been redesigned.

The new designs were shaped in cooperation with Hydrocéan, a French engineering company specialized in hydrodynamics and which performed the hydrodynamic calculations.

Those 10 vessels will be added to the list of 15 vessels, whose bulbous bows have been modified in 2013 and 2014. All vessels that have entered the CMA CGM fleet in 2014 are sailing with optimized bulbous bows.

With this optimization, the CMA CGM Group reinforces its environmental commitment. Its objective of 50 percent CO2/TEU-km reduction between 2005 and 2015 is on good tracks to be reached.

ICS Reaffirms Migrant Rescue Obligation, by marex


The rescue of all persons in distress at sea – including illegal migrants – is an obligation under international maritime law, as well as being a long established humanitarian duty, says the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).  ICS is the global trade association for commercial ship operators, whose ships are currently involved on a daily basis in the rescue of refugees at sea in the Mediterranean.

Whatever may be decided by policy makers in EU Member States, the legal and humanitarian obligation of merchant ships to provide assistance to anyone in distress at sea will remain unchanged, says ICS. 

Commenting on new reports that some European Union Ministers have expressed concerns that search and rescue operations have acted as a ‘pull factor’ for illegal migration, encouraging people to make dangerous crossings in the expectation of rescue, ICS notes that merchant ships are legally required to rescue persons in distress at sea by the UN International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), to which virtually every maritime nation is a Party.

Under SOLAS, and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, the obligation of the ship Master to render assistance is complemented by a corresponding obligation of IMO Member States to co-operate in rescue situations, thereby relieving the Master of the responsibility to care for survivors, and allowing individuals who are rescued at sea in such circumstances to be delivered promptly to a place of safety.

The shipping industry is therefore very concerned by reports that the new EU Frontex operation ‘Triton’ will have a third of the budget of the current Italian ‘Mare Nostrum’ operation which it replaces, that its primary focus will be border control, and that search and rescue operations may be reduced in international waters.  

It will clearly be much more difficult for merchant ships to save lives at sea without the adequate provision of search and rescue services by EU Member States.  Moreover, whenever a ship performs its legal and humanitarian obligations, it will continue to be incumbent on EU Member States to ensure that those who are rescued can be readily disembarked at the next port of call, even when they may lack documentation.      

Additional information at rescue at sea, produced jointly by IMO, UNHCR and ICS, can be found here.

Milestone for Fukushima Offshore Floating Wind Farm , by marex


Preparatory works for the installation of the 7MW oil pressure drive-type wind turbine on the three-column semi-sub floater at Onahama port, Fukushima, are almost completed, and delivery of the floater from Nagasaki to Onahama started on Thursday as part of the second term of the project.

A consortium comprised of Marubeni (project integrator), the University of Tokyo (technical advisor), Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Marine United, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Hitachi, Furukawa Electric, Shimizu and Mizuho Information & Research has been participating in the project to develop the experimental offshore floating wind farm since March 2012. The project is sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. 

The project was conceived in August 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, and has three big themes: “By a team comprising only Japanese members,” “to pioneer Japan’s new international business,” and “to contribute to the recovery of Fukushima.” 

In Japan, there are more suitable sites on the ocean than on land for wind power generation plant. In less-populated areas, where construction cost is relatively cheap, the demand for power is small. In urban areas, where the demand is large, the construction cost is high. This relationship between cost and demand, together with environmental problems, such as noise and appearance, lead Marubeni to the conclusion that offshore wind power generation is important, especially since Japan is sixth in the world in its sea surface area when the exclusive economic zone is included.

 Marubeni is one of the first companies in Japan to focus on offshore wind power generation. In 2011, Marubeni invested and participated in the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind power project. It then acquired Seajacks International, which is a U.K. service contractor of offshore bottom-fixed wind power generating plants, jointly with Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. Further, it made investment in Mainstream Renewable Power, Ireland’s developer of renewable energy and is now the second largest shareholder.

Work progress on the Fukushima project to date: •    Delivery of the three-column semi-sub floater from Nagasaki to Onahama port is in progress. •    Construction of the nacelle for the 7MW oil pressure drive-type wind turbine is in progress at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Yokohama Dockyard & Machinery Works. •    Construction of the tower for 7MW oil pressure drive-type floating wind turbine is in progress at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Kobe Dockyard & Machinery Works. •    Mooring System & Undersea cables: Preceding works i.e. installation of chains, anchors and undersea cables at the testing area has been successfully completed. •    Port improvement for 7MW turbine installation: Ground improvement and installation of the undersea mound at Onahama port for mounting the wind turbine on the three-column semi-sub has been successfully completed.

The following activities need to be completed to start operation of the power facilities: Late November – Late January: Assembly of a large-scale crane at Onahama port for the purpose of the installation work Early February: Installation of the 7MW oil pressure drive-type wind turbine on the three-column semi-sub floater, delivery of the facility and its mooring operation in the testing area.

Somali Pirates Free 7 Hostages , marex


Chirag Bahri, MPHRP Regional Director for South Asia, L, with the 7 released seafarers.

 The Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) has confirmed the news that seven Indian seafarers who have been held hostage since their ship, the MV Asphalt Venture, was hijacked in the Somali Basin on 28 September 2010 have been released and are safe in Kenya.

The 1991-built, Panamanian flagged, 3884 dwt., general cargo ship “MV Asphalt Venture”, with a crew of 15 was hijacked by Somali pirates on 28 September 2010. In April 2011 the vessel with 8 of her crew was released while the remaining 7 Indian seafarers were detained ashore. Following lengthy negotiations, the release of these men was arranged after a modest payment was made to cover the logistical and transport costs of the group holding the men.

Preparations are now being made for their return to India in the next few days. Their families have been informed.

Chairman of the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP), Peter Swift, commented as follows: “After more than 4 years in captivity we are delighted for them and their families after the terrible ordeal and hardship that they have suffered. The tremendous efforts and generous support of all those who helped to secure their release and safe return are greatly appreciated, including the team at Holman Fenwick Willan who stepped in on a pro bono basis to help make this happen.”

30 seafarers and fishers are still held hostage by Somali pirates, some for more than four and a half years and the others for more than two and half years. It is thought that the pirates hold these men in the mistaken belief that substantial money can be raised to pay a ransom, whereas, in fact, working to free these people are charitable organisations with very limited resources. The United Nations and the international maritime community have called for their prompt release and for support and assistance to be given to them and their families.

U.S. LNG Bunker Fuel Just Got Easier , by marex

LNG Bunkers

The growing readiness for U.S. shipping companies to opt for LNG as bunker fuel has not escaped the attention of entrepreneurs.

VT Halter Marine made the news last week with the commencement of construction on the first of two LNG-powered, combination container RoRo (ConRo) vessels for Crowley. The vessels, designed by Wärtsilä Ship Design and Jensen Maritime, are due for delivery in 2017. 

Jensen is also currently designing LNG bunker barges for LNG America.   Last year, Harvey Gulf International Marine claimed to be the first U.S. vessel operator to contract for construction of vessels capable of operating exclusively on natural gas. The company is currently building the first LNG marine fueling facility in the U.S. located in Louisiana to serve the region’s offshore support vessel fleet.

Other movers on LNG include Matsen and Totem Ocean Trailer Express, both with dual-fuel container ships under construction, and Horizon Lines, retrofitting six container ships with LNG engines. 

LNG is an attractive fuel choice for many vessels because it exceeds the air quality standards set by the North American ECA, and the price of LNG is significantly lower than other ECA-compliant fuel. The problem for shipowners is that there is currently a lack of national infrastructure for LNG bunkering.

Enter Clean Marine Energy (CME), a global facilitator of finance mechanisms for LNG conversion and ECA compliance. The company has partnered with WesPac Midstream and is offering an Emissions Compliance Service Agreement (ECSA) that provides both the funding required for LNG conversion of ships and the construction of the infrastructure for LNG supply and delivery to the ships. The funds are managed by Oaktree Capital Management, a leading global investment manager.

Pace Ralli, CEO and co-founder of CME, explains: “The first question every shipowner asks is ‘Where will I get the LNG?’ because if they cannot ensure the future delivery of LNG then they will not see the investment payback. CME’s partnership with WesPac provides the answer to this question and greatly simplifies the decision to convert to clean, lower-cost LNG fuel.”

Ralli says that converting a ship to LNG can cost anywhere from $5m to $25m. ECSA is a capital efficiency solution that leverages third party capital to fund capex investments without adding to the shipowner’s cost basis by transitioning capex to opex. The shipowner pays no upfront capital for ECA compliance, and the company that pays for the ship’s fuel continues to pay what they would have paid anyway, with some immediate shared savings during the ECSA, says Ralli. The fuel purchasing arrangement is put in place for an agreed number of years.

“We’re dealing with all types of vessels: tankers, dry bulk carriers, car carriers, ferries and tugs,” says Ralli. “The best fit is typically vessels that have a higher fuel consumption. That creates higher savings which can be used to pay for the upfront capital.” The agreement is also ideal for liner services or vessels with fixed routes, so that the LNG infrastructure can be matched to the appropriate ports. “We will help convert your ship to run on LNG. We will also build the liquefaction plant to create the LNG out of the pipeline, and we will build the barge that moves the LNG from the plant to the ship. No one else is offering all three legs.”

CME already has a project underway: a Great Lakes 40,000dwt dry bulk carrier owned by VanEnkevort Tug & Barge that has a CAT 3612 engine being converted to dual-fuel.

Ralli sees North America taking a leading role in the adoption of LNG due to its abundance of clean, cheap natural gas. Additionally, the longer lifetime of Jones Act vessels, as a result of their increased value, means that LNG bunkering can make more sense than installing a scrubber in many vessels.   CME is not alone in moving on infrastructure development. LNG America has announced an agreement with Buffalo Marine to cooperate on the design of an LNG bunker fuel network for the U.S. Gulf Coast region. LNG America is developing a hub-and-spoke delivery system for LNG as fuel for the marine market and other high horsepower applications. Buffalo Marine is one of the premiere bunkering companies in the Gulf of Mexico with over 50 vessels dedicated to bunkering in the region. 

“Through LNG America’s LNG bunkering initiative, we plan to serve and facilitate the growing marine demand for LNG,” said Keith Meyer, CEO of LNG America. “LNG America sees the demand for marine LNG to be robust as long as LNG can be made available to the maritime industry on a reliable, dependable and cost-competitive basis. Our mission is to deliver competitively priced LNG as fuel where needed, when needed and in the quantity needed.”

LNG America was formed last July to develop LNG distribution infrastructure that serves not only the marine market but the burgeoning use of LNG in the oil and gas, rail, mining and heavy-duty trucking markets. 

Despite the financial boost offered companies such as by CME and LNG America, a report prepared by DNV GL for the U.S. Maritime Administration points to a number of issues that need to be resolved at a strategic level in the U.S. for LNG bunkering to move ahead. It is recommended that an analysis of vessel types that use U.S. ports is undertaken to determine what bunkering methods will be necessary. This would include assessing which ports would be best suited to LNG bunkering based on practical and security reasons and a comparative risk assessment looking at large-scale truck transport to port locations, large-scale rail transport to port locations and natural gas pipeline and local liquefaction. 

The report also states that proper training for crew and operators involved with LNG bunkering operations is critical to the establishment and maintenance of safe practices.

Although much of the LNG bunkering experience to date has been gained in Scandinavia, Ralli is optimistic that expertise in the U.S. will grow with the infrastructure, and he believes the next five years will see a lot of development in the Industry.

“We want to create bunkering solutions that are as close to business as usual as possible. The easiest way to change an industry is to make it feel like it’s not changing at all, and that’s CME’s vision,” he says.

Six Missing After Ship Collides with Tugboat , by marex


Six tugboat crewmembers are missing after their vessel was hit by a passing freighter, roughly 9.1 nautical miles from Tanjung Gelang, Malaysia at about 5 a.m. (locally) on Thursday. Another report states that a tanker struck the tug in the waters off the Kuantan Port, about 6 nautical miles from Tanjung Gelang.

Maritime officials said that the tug was carrying five Indonesians and a local when it was hit by the ship. Another Indonesian on board, who spotted the vessel approaching quickly, jumped into the sea to save himself and was rescued by passing fishermen.

A search and rescue operation was immediately launched, but the six victims have yet to be located. The area’s marine police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the state fire and rescue department are all involved.