Paul Benecki

Staff Writer

pbenecki@maritime-executive.com

Paul Benecki is a graduate of Cornell University's chemistry program. He worked in industry for several years before shipping out on freighters and tugs on the U.S. West Coast, then with the University of Washington's research vessel, the Thomas G. Thompson. He studied navigation and bridge resource management at the Pacific Maritime Institute, and is currently a staff writer and news editor at The Maritime Executive Magazine.

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IN THE KNOW Podcast 6: USMMA at 75

By Paul Benecki 2018-10-03 21:50:00

In this edition of the Maritime Executive Magazine podcast series, we spoke with Capt. Jim Tobin, the head of the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation, and with Ivy Barton Suter, an alumnus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and an advocate for its flagship "Sea Year" program. The academy's leadership and its student body have implemented many changes in the wake of the 2016 Sea Year standown, and the Alumni Foundation has played a key role in that process -...

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Does Europe Have Enough Shipbreaking Capacity?

By Paul Benecki 2018-09-25 19:47:47

Under the EU Ship Recycling Regulation (SRR), vessels flagged in EU countries will have to be scrapped at EU-approved yards beginning next January. All 20 yards on the current approved list are within the EU, and members of industry have expressed skepticism about whether they have the capacity. In a report released Monday, advocacy coalition NGO Shipbreaking Platform pushed back, asserting that European ship recyclers already have enough room. NGO Shipbreaking Platform calculates the maximum capacity of the current EU-listed yards at 1.15...

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Digital Twins

By Paul Benecki 2018-08-17 15:08:53

Individual shipowners may not always have the resources to invest in their own research and development. With intense competitive pressures, rising bunker prices and new compliance costs, their focus is on the bottom line.  But R&D comes naturally to class societies, which have engineering expertise at the core of their business model and are leading the way in developing new data-driven opportunities for shipping. While the top class societies' much-discussed “digitalization” initiatives may sound futuristic or abstract, they are all...

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Quieting the Waters

By Paul Benecki 2018-06-04 19:18:00

Orcas are charismatic, playful and well-publicized, and they might be British Columbia's best-known animals. One large subgroup is also endangered, and researchers say that ship noise - particularly cavitation - bears a large share of the blame. Southern resident killer whales (SRKWs) are a genetically distinct population of orcas. In the summer, they congregate in the busy waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Haro Strait and the Georgia Strait. Their population was reduced by collection for marine parks in the 1960s, and...

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White House Seeks Input on U.S. Shipping Regulations

By Paul Benecki 2018-05-18 18:04:00

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is soliciting public input on ways to reduce regulatory costs and restrictions on the American maritime industry. In particular, it is asking for recommendations regarding merchant ships and opportunities for "increased regulatory cooperation between the United States and foreign partners, especially Canada and Mexico." Consistent with President Donald Trump's focus on deregulation, OIRA is gathering comments on how "agency requirements affecting the maritime sector can be modified or repealed to increase...

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Compliance Challenges

By Paul Benecki 2018-03-22 22:04:00

Wastewater is ubiquitous on land and sea, and ships create multiple streams of effluent as they voyage from one port to the next. Their ballast systems discharge marine life. Their passengers and crew create sewage, and oil mixes with water in their engine room bilges.  Vessel operators must handle these waste streams carefully to preserve the marine environment, avoid penalties and maintain the bottom line. Discharge regulations and treatment technologies are constantly changing, and shipowners must make smart investments to...

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IN THE KNOW Podcast 3: Transas Wants to Change Navigation

By Paul Benecki 2018-03-18 13:09:00

[Update: On Monday, technology firm Wärtsilä announced that it is purchasing Transas.] Transas CEO Frank Coles is one of the industry's most outspoken provocateurs. He questions the methods of the class societies, the P&I clubs, the satcom providers and the IMO. He describes tech skeptics as "citizens against virtually everything." He dismisses the buzz about autonomous ships and promotes technology as a means of support for mariners instead. Today, he's calling for an overhaul of the industry's entire model for maritime operations, and he...

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PULLING TOGETHER

By Paul Benecki 2018-02-09 22:40:00

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, the Jones Act has become a bone of contention with critics claiming it hinders the Puerto Rican economy and supporters pointing to its importance for American jobs and national security. However, the tugs and barges that move 760 million tons of cargo across the nation each year – the majority of the Jones Act fleet – are often glossed over in this debate. According to the American Waterways Operators, 5,500 tugs and 31,000 barges...

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Digging Deep

By Paul Benecki 2017-12-15 21:34:44

The Panama Canal Expansion is complete. The New Suez Canal has been built. China’s island-building campaign appears to be finished, and Dubai’s land-reclamation market has slowed. The next truly big thing for marine construction may be China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative to build transportation infrastructure abroad: It’s a trillion-dollar gamble, and it’s funding large, complex dredging projects in unexpected places. Meanwhile, ports continue to expand as ships get bigger, and the world’s top dredging contractors are working on major...

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Adm. Buzby: Media Missed the Story on Puerto Rico Sealift

By Paul Benecki 2017-12-04 15:36:31

In a speech at the International Workboat Show last week, Maritime Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby took the mainstream media to task for its coverage of the Jones Act and the American maritime industry's support for Puerto Rico.  "Everyone in this room knows – or should know – how critical the Jones Act is to our economic strength and security. But this is a message with several moving parts that many people just don't get," he said. "The vital [relief] contribution of...

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