The "Daily News" on Maritime Executive's Website
The "Daily News" can be found each day at http://www.maritime-executive.com.
July 14, 2005
Navy's $1.2 Billion "San Antonio" Poorly Constructed
Inspectors say that the Navy's new $1.2 billion helicopter and troop carrier was poorly constructed. The report by the Navy says Northrop Grumman Ship Systems should have found the 15,000 deficiencies before they presented the ship to the Board of Inspection and Survey. The "San Antonio" is the first of 12 new amphibious ships the Navy has ordered.
Inspectors say that it is typical for a new class of ship to have bugs, but the "San Antonio" was constructed with "poor craftsmanship." For instance, welders inadvertently used a set of upside-down blueprints; inspectors found stanchions intended to hold television sets in a lounge area were protruding from the floor rather than hanging from the ceiling.
With less and less warships being built, insiders say that there should have been much more attention paid to the details. With the commissioning of the "San Antonio" set for October 1, 2005, the ship is already two years behind schedule and $400 million over budget.
July 13, 2005
Task Force Say Billions Are Needed to Clean Great Lakes
A task force appointed by President Bush has issued a preliminary blueprint on how to restore the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration's draft proposal calls for $13.7 billion to upgrade sewers and reduce wastewater pollution that closes beaches and disrupts the ecology of the lakes; and $2.25 billion to clean up 31 of the worst toxic sediment sites.
The report also urges Congress to require ocean-going ships to treat ballast water before discharging it into the lakes to combat invasive species. The roughly $20 billion, five-year plan envisions $14 billion coming from the federal government and the rest from Great Lakes states and communities ? all of which are facing budget shortfalls and deficits.
If approved, the plan would be the largest environmental cleanup project in US history.
To read draft report go to http://www.glrc.us
July 12, 2005
USCG Begins to Remove Fuel from Grounded Ship
The Coast Guard has begun removing fuel and oil from a 145-foot ship that ran aground in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a week ago.
The Coast Guard cutter "Walnut" began removing the fuel yesterday morning and by early afternoon had unloaded more than 10 percent of the diesel fuel from the vessel Casitas.
The "M/V American Quest" was to be on scene to assist the crew of the "Walnut" with the fuel unloading. The Coast Guard is removing the fuel to lighten the grounded "Casitas," so it can be removed from the reef. A dive company is currently conducting a hull assessment on the grounded ship.
Coast Guard C-130 aircraft are continuing daily flights to monitor the scene for any new developments, and, thus far, there has been no sheen on the water. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observers aboard the "Walnut" have reported no oiled wildlife within the immediate area.
Furthermore, there were no injuries were reported when the ship, carrying 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 3,000 gallons of gasoline, and 200 gallons of lubricating oil hit the Pearl and Hermes Atoll for unknown reasons on July 2. The atoll is located 86 miles from Midway Island and approximately 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu.
The crew of the "Casitas" was flown to Oahu aboard a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft. Meanwhile, shipboard assessments were initiated by the Coast Guard National Strike Force Team Pacific, a team specializing in marine environmental response.
The ship was picking up fishing nets and other debris in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which extend about 1,200 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands, when it grounded on the atoll.
The archipelago is a national wildlife refuge and a breeding ground for endangered monk seals. A quarter of the species that live at the atoll are found nowhere else on earth.
July 11, 2005
Exxon Mobil Buys Two BP Double-Hull Tankers
Exxon Mobil's shipping division, SeaRiver Maritime, is replacing its Alaskan single-hull oil tankers with double-hulled vessels.
SeaRiver is purchasing two aging BP double-hull tankers, the "Kenai" and the "Tonsina," which will be sent to Singapore for refurbishing. Thereafter, the company intends to transport North Slope crude from Alaska. SeaRiver is currently using single-hull tankers for crude transport between Valdez and West Coast refineries.
SeaRiver, ConocoPhillips, and BP must comply with a federal law requiring double-hull oil tankers be double-hulled by 2015.
Exxon has lagged well behind ConocoPhillips and BP, which together are spending about $2 billion to build double-hulled tankers. Since 2001, ConocoPhillips has put double-hulls into service and BP two. Both companies are in an aggressive building program and expect to put more double-hulls tankers into service.
July 8, 2005
U.S. Coast Guard Responding to Ground NOAA Ship
Crew members from the grounded ship "Casitas" are on their way back to Oahu, Hawaii, as a team of U.S. Coast Guard specialists begins to examine ways to get the ship off the reef at Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
The U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials still weren't giving specifics yesterday about how the 145-foot Casitas became grounded Saturday about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu. There were six ship's crew members and 17 NOAA-affiliated workers aboard.
Three members of the U.S. Coast Guard National Strike Force Team Pacific, which specializes in marine environmental response, will be taken to the "Casitas" by the NOAA ship "Oscar Alton Sette" and will determine how to safety remove fuels off the "Casitas" and refloat it, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson.
The Coast Guard cutter "Walnut," which has oil-spill equipment aboard, is under way and will join the rescue effort Friday, Johnson said.
The "Casitas" is under contract to NOAA to remove marine debris from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which are home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals and threatened green sea turtles. It is owned by Richard and Peter Kelly, Fishing Vessel Northwind Inc.
Three government agencies share responsibility for the care of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands:
* The U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge encompasses all land and waters out to 60 feet deep, which is where the Casitas is stranded.
* The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has responsibility for Kure Island and for waters between the Fish & Wildlife refuge borders and three miles from land.
* The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve begins at three miles from land and extends 50 miles to sea.
The status of NOAA's marine debris cleanup in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is on hold until a damage assessment of the "Casitas" is complete, NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Wende Goo said yesterday. However, the long-term agency commitment to marine debris removal remains, she said.
On Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Dan Inouye that would call for increased efforts to reduce marine debris. The Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act (S. 362), which is co-sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, now moves to the House of Representatives.