Thursday, 31 May 2012

Where's the Monaro?

AM was pessimistic about whether Troy's Monaro would be salvaged - the exchange below has been quietly continuing in the 'Comments' section of the 'Astrolabe Reef Towies' post.

Holden Monaro HQ - an Aussie classic
Thanks for the update AM. Theres still a slim chance for the old monaro yet. Would you be able to find out any info on its fate, the loading position is Bay 9 Slot 03 Tier 04. thanks Troy Levien on Astrolabe Reef Towies

Not great news I'm afraid, Troy.I had a look at some of the close-up photos and Bay 9 is aft of the hull break. She folded at Bay 6, so Bay 9 is about 20 metres underwater with the after end. AM on Astrolabe Reef Towies

Oh that doesn't sound good, I am not in the shipping business but is a "hold" different from a "bay"? I looked at a container loading diagram and the numbering sequence for 20 ft containers is bay 1,3,5,7,9 etc. and 40 ft containers is bays 2,4,6,8 etc . Which are in turn divided into the holds of the ship. So my theory was that my container is in hold number 3 under the row in which that Mercedes came from..... on Astrolabe Reef Towies

Here's the shot of the airborne Merc with Rena in the background. Troy, you are spot on with the 20 foot cell numbering convention. Your Monaro should be in Bay 9 at the aft end of Hatch 3, Slot 03 is two slots to starboard (even Port, odd Starboard) of the centreline and Tier 04 is second height (tier 02, hold bottom, tier 04 second height). Assuming 2 metres of mangled double bottom structure and 2.5 metres for the 1st tier container, your Monaro should be about 4.5 metres above Astrolabe Reef.

Keep us posted...


Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Andoas (ex-Lorenza, ex-Toanui, ex-Australian Spirit). IMO 8509442. Tanker. Length 182 m, 9,210 t. Peruvian flag. Classification society Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. Double sided ship built in 1987 in Nagasaki (Japan) by Mitsubishi. Owned by Naviera Transoceanica SA (Peru). Sold as is in Peru for demolition in Bangladesh. US $ 327 per ton.

Toanui departing Dunedin, NZ (Photo: www.
Robin de Bois' May summary of ships sold for demolition in 2012 contains a short, but significant precis to the Antipodean Mariner. Toanui was the first ship the AM bought.

She was built in MHI Nagasaki by BP for the Australian coastal trade and was a bespoke design. Fitted with a bow thruster and huge accommodation block, she spent her first years trading from BP's Kwinana Refinery across the Australian Bight to Esperance, Adelaide and Melbourne. As demand grew she became too small and was replaced by the ex-'Oluf Maersk', renamed 'Australian Pride'.

As a purpose built coastal tanker, she was perfect for the New Zealand coastal trade. Nice features were a mix of large and small cargo tanks for multiple products, electrically-driven deep-well cargo pumps and pretty much 'two of everything' mechanical and electrical.

The purchase was completed under a structured finance arrangement whereby Citibank bought, and then bare-boat chartered, Toanui to the coastal shipping consortium. AM still has the small model and tombstone marking the deal.

Toanui's Citibank model and deal tombstone
Toanui had a relatively short life (four years) under the New Zealand flag and was replaced by 'Kakariki' in 1999. For more on the NZ coastal tanker fleet, Captain M.H.Pryce's article is linked here.

The Antipodean Mariner

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Right Bike

The Antipodean Mariner is pleased to unveil The Right Bike - a Triumph Tiger 1050 SE.

Showroom new and ready to ride out...

A little short of two years since buying the Street Triple, the AM was faced with something of a perfect storm. Unexpected 'money from America' provided the means and circumstance provided the opportunity to showroom cruise, test ride and finally haggle a deal which put a new bike in the stable. Even at 51, the rush of riding away on a new bike with zero kilometres can't be beaten.

Headwaters of Lake Eildon, Victoria

Financially, trading the Street Triple probably realised the worst of depreciation but with youngest starting High School next year any more new bikes may a decade away.

The 'Tiger runs the same 1050 cc triple cylinder engine/transmission as the Sprint and, in the SE package, comes with ABS brakes, panniers, gel seat, centre stand and hand guards. Power delivery is sublime, riding position upright and appetite for tarmac huge. With 17 inch wheels it is no dirt bike - this niche is being filled by the Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 released this year. It even commutes well!

Stripped bare
Five weeks in and 3,000 km on the clock, can't wipe the grin off my face yet.


Monday, 28 May 2012

Ore Fabrica's baby conveyors?

Help is requested from the Blog's readership about a barge that's anchored in Subic Bay.

Vale's conveyor barge
This photo was snapped out of the car window - a conveyor barges (or barges?) anchored at the head of Subic Bay. The Agent reported that the barge is owned by Vale and is 'inserted' between Ore Fabrica and the off-take vessel during transfer operations. Looking at the outreach of the Ore Fabrica's cranes it is conceivable that they could be plumbed over the centre of 'Fabrica's ore holds and used (with the long-travelling ship loader) to grab cargo into the barge's hoppers and then up to the waiting Cape. The AM thinks he saw this barge in Subic Port in February, before Ore Fabrica started operations.

Can anyone fill in the gaps?


Sunday, 27 May 2012

Doosan MAN B&W 6S70ME-C

The main engine selected and installed to PN65 and her sisters is a MAN B&W 6S70ME-C8 Tier II slow-speed diesel.

MAN B&W 6S70ME-C on the test bed
To explain the acronyms;

MAN B&W: The merged entity of MAN (Germany) and Burmeister and Wain (Denmark) are one of the leading makers of slow and medium diesel engine for power generation and ship's propulsion. MAN B&W are primarily engine designers and license their engine designs to individual engine manufacturers, in this case Doosan of Korea. MAN B&W maintain a global parts and service network for after-sales support of their engines, and will be the primary contact point for the ship's technical managers in service.

6S70: The main engine has 6 cylinders (6), Super Long Stroke bore/stroke ratio (S) with a 70cm bore size (70). The piston's engine's stroke is 2.8 metres.

ME-C: The 'E' in the nomenclature indicates that the engine's exhaust valves and fuel injection is electronically controlled using a high pressure, engine-driven hydraulic system and actuators. The electronic control system provides variable control of the engines parameters compared with camshaft driven exhaust and injection (MC-C engines) and allow the engine to be tuned for lower emissions and better fuel economy. The '8' show the engine is the Mark 8 model of the series. Tier II shows that the engine meets the IMO Tier 2 emissions standard for Nitrous (NOx) and Sulphur (SOx) oxides. Ironically, in meeting Tier II NOx/SOx, the engines emit more greenhouse gasses (CO2) than Tier I engines, as some of the exhaust is re-burned back through the engine. Thank California's smog regulations for this little anomaly...

In service and with real-world residual bunker fuel oil, these engines will consume about 65 tonnes a day at 14.5 knots plus another 2.5 tonnes for auxiliaries and generators. Maximum rated at 19,620 Kw output at 91 rpm, the engine is optimised to deliver 15,750 Kw in service for a service speed of about 14.2 knots. Sea trials scheduled for mid-June will prove the vessel's contractually guaranteed speed with the calculated speed/power curve and allow the AM's company to benchmark the unmodified propeller with two sister hulls with Mewis Duct and Prop Boss Cap Fin energy-saving devices.

Antipodean Mariner

Saturday, 26 May 2012

O TAIC, where art thou?

As Captain Balomaga and Second Officer Relon begin their final incarceration the Antipodean Mariner asks why can't the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) produce an investigation report eight months after the grounding?

This is not rocket science. No-one died, the ship's charts and records were recovered intact and the Crown Prosector has brought the case to a concluding trial and sentencing in this period. The Root Cause Analysis fundamentals of determining unsafe actions and unsafe conditions are pretty straight forward for a skilled investigative team.

The reason for the AM's "pissed off" attitude is that with the close of the criminal case against the Captain and Second Officer, the other players in this tragedy can slink off behind their respective corporate anonymity with some confidence that their roles will not garner too many headlines when the findings are issued.

The AM cannot dispute the facts of the grounding or condone the individual actions of the two mariners. However, mariners don't deliberately set out to have a grounding, spend months under detention separated from family and and then jailed. Mariners for the most part are the 'pointy end' of casualties and criminalisation because commercial imperatives make unsafe acts a viable solution.

While the TAIC report remains 'work in progress', the individual and collective contributions to the grounding the Rena will fade from the public's memory and Captain Balomaga and 2/O Relon will be immortalised as the only villains to be publicly punished for their actions on the morning of October 5th 2011.

The Antipodean Mariner

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Zone of Confidence

Zones of Confidence is an infrequently applied, but important correction to charts when used for port approach. 

Zone of Confidence Table

When a Hydrographer issues a chart, a table showing the Zone of Confidence, or margin of error expected, is placed in the explanatory notes alongside a plan showing the zone boundaries. The most accurate depths will be within the maintained depth channels bounded by buoys or beacons and which are required for deep draft vessels. The higher accuracy permits Masters to use Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC) to maximise loading based on computer-predicted tide heights. Less navigated areas are sounded with wider spacing and a greater margin of error.

In a recent grounding incident, the vessel was navigated outside the channel to improve the angle of berth approach. Despite being a well trafficked area of the port, the ZoC was B with a depth accuracy of 1.0 metre plus 2% of the depth with hazards not expected but may exist.

The Pilot had calculated an Under Keel Clearance between the vessel's draft, and allowing for squat, the tide height and the charted depths. Had the ZoC been applied, it is arguable that the Master and Pilot would not have considered departing from the channel into the Zone B area.

The Antipodean Mariner is careful to qualify that the ZoC contributed to, but was not the primary factor in the grounding. Pilotage practices have been changed though when berth approach requires the vessel to leave the swept channels and a sounding program is being undertaken to ensure no more surprises are found near the busy terminals.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Sea Trials Diary - Monday 21st May

AM is back in Manila for a day before heading back home. Key components of the Main Engine have been opened up for inspection and corrosion, as a consequence of the water contamination, has been found on bearing surfaces and in the oil channels.
Corrosion on the inside of the lube oil pipes
The inside of the pipes are not coated on the basis that they will be immersed in lubricating oil for their working life.

Bearing pin with corrosion on the load-bearing surface
The Main Engine manufacturers are mobilising a team to polish the bearing surface 'in situ', which will take another week alongside. In the meantime, work is continuing on finishing work and painting before the naming ceremony at the end of this month.

It now seems unlikely that the AM will see PN65 undergo her sea trials, but another seven to go...

AM, in Manila

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sea Trials Diary - Tuesday 15th May

Out of date sequence with the Wednesday to Saturday Postings:-

With only one day to go before putting to sea, the level of activity has increased to fever pitch with bedding and provisions being loaded for the 160 Yard, Class and Owners people who will be joining tomorrow.

RTM Cook, looking back at RTM Cartier
The navigation system has been run up this afternoon to make sure that we will have functioning equipment before leaving the dock. Unfortunately the ECDIS software has not arrived and we will be on paper charts. All of the housekeeping items, such as galley equipment, provisions, bedding has been loaded and extra liferafts.

A final pre-meeting will be held with the Builders in the morning to verify work to be completed tonight, then into the harbour for ballasting to out trials condition. We will be benchmarking this unmodified vessel to two sisters with Mewis Duct and Prop Boss Cap Fin.


Sea Trials Diary - Wed 16th to Sat 19th May

16th May
The ship was ready and we left the fitting out dock at 0930 for anchorage off Subic Bay. The first job has been to test the Ballast Water Treatment System in live condition. The system is designed to kill waterborne greebies and the test required the filling of the Forepeak tank and No.6 Cargo Hold. Water samples from the sea were taken (with live organisms) and compared under a microsope with the lifeless water samples from the tanks - a Pass!

Ballast Water Treatment control screen
After checking the vessel's displacement and draft, we have put to sea to run the main engine progressively up to full revolutions. The magnetic compass will be swung and adjusted tonight before stopping for engine checks in the small hours. AM has been on the bridge with the Master and Chief Officer playing with the port radar (still no electronic charts) while the Korean Dockmaster navigates the ship from the starboard conning console.

Tomorrow morning will be the speed trial and navigation equipment tests. Fortunate to have been allocated a cabin with only one other, maximum sleeping arrangement is 20 in the small gymnasium.

Owners Team dockside
Testing for hydrogen while ballasting No.6 Hold

At anchor taking on ballast
Night bridge

Emergency muster for all hands before sailing out

Thursday 17th May
We spent the night at anchor following an unwelcome development. A visual inspection of the Main engine after 3 hours of slow running found water and emulsified lube oil in the crankcase. The Main engine has a charge of 44,000 litres of lube oil and water has entered the system from somewhere. The Yard's engineers are checking the lube oil system for the source of the water. Lube oil is being run through the purifiers to remove the emulsified water. Many unhappy Koreans.

While we wait, the stagger test - where alternate tanks are ballasted to check bulkhead welds and hull strength - is being done. This was scheduled for the end of trials and we were to leave the ship to fly home. Nothing for the AM to look forward to except mealtimes for the next 24 hours. Oil samples have been taken off by tug for analysis and measurement of the water percentage.

Friday 18th May
Completed the bulkhead inspections and adjusting ballast for the final checks of the cargo holds. The Pilot will board in the morning and we will slowly steam back to the Yard. Work will start on cleaning out the Main Engine lube oil system for another sea trial later this week and to try to determine the source of the water. The small number of 'rats and mice' jobs have been signed off but little else to show for the last three days.

Saturday 19th May
After consulting the Main engine makers, it has been allowed to run the engine at 'Dead Slow' (35 rpm) back to the Yard. The anchor was raised at 0700, 0830 the Rescue Boat was deployed (a trials test) and we were back alongside at 10:00. The Builders will flush new oil through the Main engine and try to find the source of the water. Tomorrow, there will be a joint inspection of the new engine for any damage and second sea trials are scheduled for Wednesday 23rd May.

Launching the Rescue Boat

Coming back alongside astern of PN66/Cartier

Easing alongside
The Antipodean Mariner

Monday, 14 May 2012

Sea Trials Diary - Monday 14th May

After a very fast trip up to Subic Bay by by car this morning, the sea trials team arrived at the Yard at 10:30 and had a chance to see the 'babies' lined up on the quay.
RTM Cartier (left) and RTM Cook (right) on the Fitting Out Quay

'RTM Cook' underwent her Inclining Experiment today and was off limits to all but the Senior Officers and one Supervisor for the day. We were left to our own devices to explore the vessel under construction in Dock 6 - PN68/RTM Zheng He and PN67/RTM Dampier. We were lucky to witness the engine for RTM Zheng He being installed though missed the moment of lowering into place using the 600T gantry crane.

Yard workers unshackle the lifting rig from the Main Engine
One of the hanging conrods awaiting connection to the crankshaft
PN66/RTM Cartier is at about the same state of fit-out of as RTM Cook was at the last blog posting.

A mystery ship here is 'Ocean Corona', a 180,000 DWT Capesize lying at anchor with a very visible tide mark on her hull. She arrived in Subic fully laden on 14th April after loading Saldanha Bay, South Africa. It looks like she has flooded one of the forward ballast tanks - grounding or hull failure? She is back at near even keel but her hull betrays that she has been 'down by the head' for some time.

Ocean Corona at anchor

Well down by the head?
'Ore Fabrica' lies at anchor as well, riding high in the water. No ValeMax on the horizon or due in Subic Bay according to Lloyds Maritime Intelligence.

Ore Fabrica seen from RTM Cartier
The Antipodean Mariner

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sea Trials Diary - Sunday 13th May

The Antipodean Mariner is in Manila en route to Subic Bay for sea trials of PN65, to be named 'RTM Cook'. As this is going to a week-long comissioning trial and there are going to be LOTS of photos, I'll try to post daily subject to internet access. To set the scene, Owners Representatives are flying in from Australia and Glasgow for the trials, which will take place in the waters to the west of Subic Bay. About 150 Yard, Class, Manufacterers Technicians and Owners Reps will be aboard, necessitating 4 to a cabin (or more). The goods news as Owners Reps, we get the best (Senior Officer) cabins up on D Deck under the bridge.
On arrival last night, the Yard issued a new delivery date and advising that insetad of 31st May the vessel will be handed over on 8th June. Some reshuffling of the vessel's first cargo is required now as we'll be about 8 days late on the current laycan.
The Inclining Experiment (to ascertain the vessel's centre of gravity) will take place on Monday, for which all the scaffolding and Builder's equipment has to be removed. On Tuesday, the vessel will be prepared to put to sea on Wednesday for three days of testing underway before returning to Subic on Saturday for two days of tests at anchor.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Shinto Safety Prayer Ceremony for S.364

One of the fine traditions at the Shipyard where Ship 364 is being built is the Shinto blessing of the first hull blocks for a safe construction. The blessing is performed by a local Priest and attended by the Site Supervisors, Class Surveyor and Yard Personnel.

Another ceremony, involving a barrel of sake - origins unknown - is performed at delivery.


Blessing of the hull block

Prayers are offered

To a safe build and successful keel laying

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Safety at Sea: Water Ingress Alarms

An interesting article from 'Safety at Sea' on water ingress alarms and their importance for bulk carriers. Derbyshire was a UK-flagged Capesize which sank with all hands (42 crew and 2 wives) on laden passage due to the progressive flooding of forepeak and foc's'le in a typhoon.

M/v Derbyshire
The successful search for the wreck of the Derbyshire and subsequent marine inquiry lead to a raft of safety measure being applied to bulk carriers, including raised forecastles, strengthened forward hatches, remotely activated pumping systems and water ingress alarms to alert the crew if water is where it shouldn't be.

The Antipodean Mariner

Bulker safety: Sink or WIM
Water ingress has been a problem for bulk carriers for several decades but, Dennis Barber argues, attempts to guard against the problem have not been watertight
Though liquefaction is a current focus of attention, it is not the only liquid problem facing bulkers. Stress on a vessel’s hull can lead to water ingress and even sinking. The problem was not fully recognised by the regulatory authorities until the early 1980s, and the mandatory warning systems are not as effective as they should be.
Early speculation about the disappearance of Derbyshire blamed liquefaction, although the cause of the bulker’s demise in September 1980 was later found to be loss of hull integrity and the flooding that resulted. At the time of the bulker’s sinking, Capesize vessels were sailing at the extremes of their shear force allowances with dry cargoes of iron ore. This fact should have led to an obvious deduction: that water entering the huge volume of space around the tiny heap of iron ore in the bottom of the hold would not only lead to a loss of buoyancy but also compromise the longitudinal strength of the hull.
The weight of water flooding into a hold, added to that of the borderline cargo weight, would lead to stress limits being exceeded rapidly. Also, the integrity of the ship’s sides and bulkheads (which are built to a static measure of strength related to pressure of still water) would then come under threat.
The significance of water ingress was highlighted at the International Collaborative Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) of Bulk Carriers when it reported to IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee during the period 2000–2004. The FSA found that the main reason for losses of bulk carriers, particularly large ones, was loss of hull integrity (LOHI). Put simply, if a hull fills with water, it will sink.
The fitting of water ingress monitors (WIMs) was one of the recommendations of the Reopened Formal Investigation (RFI) into the loss of Derbyshire. This finding was accepted and found its way into SOLAS, with WIMs becoming mandatory on all new and existing bulk carriers on 1 July 2004.
Initially, many manufacturers’ systems required penetration of the bulkhead of each hold and the installation of sensors at the critical heights required by the regulation. The idea was flawed from conception: it exposed the WIM to the cargo, which, by its dusty nature, was bound to block any orifice.
The IMO performance standard was focused on measurements being taken at the centreline to compensate for heel and trim. This is a minuscule and indistinct measurement in terms of the overall potential of a flooding scenario. It cannot be detected accurately in a rapidly rolling bulk carrier with the very ‘stiff’ stability to be expected when enormous weights are in the bottom of the ship, but it directed designers’ attention on to the centreline and resulted in bulkhead penetrations that became blocked with cargo.
A further mistake was the use of moisture, rather than pressure or float, sensors to detect the water. The hold in which the sensor was positioned would, once the hatch was closed, be subject to its own microclimate. Levels of humidity would often increase, particularly if the cargo was loaded wet. The instrument tended to mistake rising humidity for a flood in the cargo space.
Yet bulk carriers already possessed an efficient method of measuring water ingress that eliminated the blockage problem. By fitting bilge wells, usually in the corners of holds, solids could drop into the bottom of the filtered well. Any water remained there and could be measured from the sounding pipe entering the well space from above. On a well-run vessel, the well would be cleaned of solid residues before a cargo was loaded and soundings would be monitored daily.
Here the real problem was that the measurements were not continuous. To operate the routine in rough weather would risk the lives of the crew members charged with sounding the space from the open decks. The best WIM designs have merely tapped into the bilge well sounding system, placing sensors in recesses linked to the sounding pipes, not the bulkheads. This provides for continuous monitoring of an existing proven system. The sensor connections still allow free access by manual sounding methods.
When a WIM panel constantly sounds spurious alarms it is often switched off. This can lead to a port state control (PSC) deficiency or detention – assuming that the PSC officers are themselves sufficiently aware of the purpose of the instrument.
Three decades after Derbyshire’s sinking, some vessels still face the threat of water ingress occurring without warning. The response should surely be to provide the master with equipment fit for purpose, not to punish him for his inability to rectify defective design.
·  Captain Dennis Barber, consulting partner in Marico Marine, was the contracted specialist project manager at the UK MCA for the recommendations of the RFI into the loss of Derbyshire, serving as part of the project management team of the International Collaborative FSA for Bulk Carriers reporting to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, 2001–2004

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lloyds List: Security Team fingered

Lloyd List has today 'fingered' the mystery security team making light work of Somalia's finest (Blog 24th April). While refusing to divulge details of the security action, Trident's president justified decisive action in light of attacks on shipping in the area over the previous 72 hours.

To those anguishing at the thought of dead Somali pirates, try defending your home and family against armed robbers with your garden hose...

From the Antipodean Mariner, job well done.

Warning shots...

Eagle Bulk and Trident identified in shooting video
Footage raises questions over the need for an investigation
Liz McMahon, Lloyds List Tuesday 8 May 2012
EAGLE Bulk Shipping and Trident Group have been identified in a video of armed guards shooting at a pirate skiff that has raised a heated debate on rules for the use of force and calls for further investigation.
The video shows a private maritime security company’s operatives firing what they call warning shots, but there appears to be no gradual or layered approach to protecting the ship, as advocated in the International Maritime Organization’s Best Management Practices. The guards continue to fire for some minutes as the vessel moved away from the pirates and the threat to the vessel became less urgent.
Eagle Bulk declined to confirm that the vessel in the video was under its control. However, in a statement issued to Lloyd’s List it said: “Piracy is a scourge which threatens the life and safety of seafarers. Out of respect for the safety of our crews, we do not discuss any aspect of our operations, safety or security procedures.”
Lloyd’s List has been told by several sources that the vessel in the video is owned by Eagle Bulk and shortly before the end of the clip the Eagle Bulk livery is clearly visible on the side of the vessel. Eagle Bulk uses Trident as a security provider.
In an emailed statement to Lloyd’s List, Trident president Tom Rothrauff said: “This action came 72 hours following another attack by this exact same pirate action group against this very same vessel. Further, the same PAG had attacked a tanker in the week prior, so this was a killer PAG. Our team acted with poise, and used every rule for the use of force as prescribed by the US Coast Guard in PSA 3-09.
“The skiff was identified as carrying RPG’s and AK 47’s. The team was compelled to wait before they initiated warning shots until the master gave permission to the team to release repelling force. When the warning shots were fired, it just so happened that the skiff opened up on our team at the exact same time.”
The International Association of Maritime Security Professionals issued a statement on its website stating that the PMSC in the video had employed a questionable use of force.
After receiving expressions of concern regarding the video’s content, the IAMSP felt it had sufficient information to warrant attention and launched an investigation. IAMSP said that after gathering information it had concluded that the nature of the events in the video warranted the attention of the appropriate flag state and not an administrative investigation.
Trident is based in Virginia in the US while Eagle Bulk’s flag state is the Marshall Islands. However, Marshall Islands chief operating officer John Ramage said the investigation bureau had no intention of investigating the incident further.
“Nobody on board the ship was injured and we have no plans to investigate further. However, we do reserve the right to look into the matter at a further date if we deem it necessary,” Mr Ramage said.
He added that it was important to remember that pirates were “doing an illegal act and too many people have been killed and injured by pirates”.
“That has to be at the forefront of our minds. Obviously, it is regrettable that anyone is injured, pirates included and it is a concern from a flag state’s point of view,” he said.
Mr Ramage said he was not sure if the incident in the video had been reported or not, but said that it was common practice to report all approaches from pirate vessels.
Meanwhile, there have been calls from the maritime security industry for the Security Association for the Maritime Industry to investigate the incident.
SAMI told Lloyd’s List it has no further information on the video clip but the debate generated “clearly demonstrates that clarification on the rules for the use of force is needed”.
“Indeed, SAMI cannot envisage any incident when exceeding the use of minimum force during the act of deterring a pirate attack or protecting of merchant vessels and crews is justified or indeed legal,” SAMI said.
“There is no place in the maritime domain for an excessive response, so PMSCs should provide a detailed graduated response plan to a pirate attack as part of its team’s operational procedures.”
The industry is awaiting an international set of standards and there have been urgent calls for clarification and strict flag state governing rules for the use of force.
In the interim period, shipping trade body BIMCO has published a standard contract, Guardcon, which sets out guidelines for a graduated response to any actual, perceived or threatened act of piracy.
The guidance explicitly states the deployment of armed guards is not an alternative to the implementation of the current BMP. BIMCO and SAMI both advocate that any force used should be “proportionate and appropriate” to the situation and consistent with applicable law.
In its guidance to members SAMI said: “It is important that the RUF should provide a graduated and proportional use of force, and that it respects human dignity and the human rights of all. Key to this graduated response is the measures which should be implemented before the use of weapons. BIMCO states that non-violent means of repelling pirates should be applied first.
“These measures would involve a visible presence, visual means such as lasers or flares and sounds. They also encourage the use of hoses, the use of nets and logs to hamper skiffs and weapons being shown.”The industry body said any deliberate, direct fire should only be used against the attackers when all other methods have failed.
SAMI also raised concern that there is a danger that unless unequivocal guidance is produced, then pirates may seize the upper hand.
“When pirates approach vessels on which armed guards are unsure whether they can fire, then without clear and decisive guidance, there is a danger we may emasculate the very front-line solution which is currently keeping piracy at bay.”
Ince partner Stephen Askins said RUF needed to be sensible and graduated because the law demands that lethal force should be exceptional and used as a last resort. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012


Rena continues to give up little treasures - this week it was aluminium ingots. New Zealand Aluminium Smelters at Tiwai Pt, Bluff imports alumina and exports ingots and bar. Some the highest purity NZAS aluminium is used in the wing structure of the Airbus 380. This cargo was loaded in Bluff at the start of Rena's northbound voyage on September.

Packs of aluminium ingots were flown off the Rena, apparently 'none the worse for wear', over the past few day and will join the valuable salved property in the bonded Yard in Tauranga. The current price of aluminium is about US$1,900 per tonne so there will be some positive financial contribution.

The Antipodean Mariner

Aluminium ingot pack on its way

And stowed ready for off-loading

Thursday, 3 May 2012

River Embley marks the end of an era

The withdrawal from service of River Embley this week marks the closing of a unique chapter in bulk shipping.

River Embley, and her sister ship River Boyne, are the only commercially-trading coal-fired bulk carriers in the world and have spent their 30-odd years as floating bauxite conveyors between Weipa and Gladstone, Queensland.
River Boyne inbound at Weipa
The pair was half of an innovative quartet of built for the Australian coastal bauxite trade in the early 1980’s. The other two vessels, Endeavour River and Fitzroy River (ex TNT Carpentaria and TNT Capricornia) were built in Italy for TNT Bulkships while River Embley and River Boyne were built at Mitsubishi’s Nagasaki shipyard for ANL.

At the time of their design, fuel oil bunkers were at historicaly high levels and Queensland had plentiful, cheap steaming coal. Though built at different Yards and to different designs, the principles are the same. Coal is loaded into gravity-fed hoppers adjacent to the accommodation. Automatic coal handling systems deliver the coal on to moving conveyor grates running through the boilers driving steam turbines and a single propeller.

River Boyne alongside at Weipa

Despite running on a solid fuel, the vessels were classed UMS (Unmanned Machinery Space) meaning they would run automated with day-working Engineers. At normal sea speed, the ships consumed between 180 and 240 tonnes of coal a day. Increasing maintenance costs, and their replacement by more standard Post-Panamax bulk carriers, means their time has come and River Embley will sail from Gladstone next week to Singapore and new Owners.

The Antipodean Mariner

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cutting steel

From tiny acorns, mighty oak trees grow - 14th Century English proverb

An auspicious day in April with steel cutting of the next series of vessels, two 88,000 DWT bulk carriers. The vessels are Post-Panamax (38 metre beam) shallow draft for bauxite and coal. The first hull S364 will be delivered in December this year and her sister ship S365about three months later in 2013.

The first keel block will be laid in the Dock in August, the hull floated out with accommodation and main engine fitted in October, sea trials in December. This series are fully double-hulled, for ease of cleaning between cargoes, and carry their full ballast capacity in the double hull. No ballast hold!

The Antipodean Mariner

General Arrangement of the 88,000 DWT Post-Panamax Bulk Carrier
First plate on the plasma cutter

First steel plates cut for the Post-Panamax on the shop floor
The Engine Room double bottom block, which will fulfill
the Keel Laying in August

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Astrolabe Reef Towies

Activity at Astrolabe Reef has, in the words of one contributor, become Groundhog Day. The salvage has moved to a daily routine of debris removal as the Salvors ponder what to do with the sunken after section of Rena.

Every person at Astrolabe Reef has been reminded again of the blanket non-disclosure of text, commentary, opinion, photos or video footage of the salvage operation. Funny to think that this is New Zealand and not Stalinist Russia.

The world's most expensive two truck
Someone got lucky yesterday when a Mercedes Benz E200 was recovered (un-immersed) from the forward holds and flown off by the McDermott helicopter. It may have already been paid out as a total loss but appears to have a few boxes of personal possessions in the back seat. No sign of any Monaros at this point, Troy.

Merc slung under the McDermott chopper for the short ride home
The Antipodean Mariner