Industry News




K LINE and Technos Mihara to launch ship hull inspection project

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K LINE) and Japanese firm Technos Mihara are set to launch a ship hull inspection and maintenance development project.

The project will adopt a new hull inspection and maintenance method using a drone and image analysis system.

K LINE noted that the company found an improvement in ship hull inspection accuracy after carrying out multiple on-site trials with aerial and underwater drones.

Technos Mihara provides technology for drone operation and image analysation.

K LINE said in a statement: “K LINE has been maintaining the finest quality of our fleet under a unique ship management policy named KL-QUALITY, designed as a high-level and systematic ship inspection programme by a dedicated team consisting of professional superintendents.

“However, we have continued having difficulty for a long time in the inspection of ship parts that are hard to access such as the top side of cargo hold, ship hull under water, etc.”

The companies have now reached a mutual agreement for the development of a new system for ship hull inspection and maintenance.

As part of the agreement, Technos Mihara’s drone and digital image analysis technology will be integrated with the accumulated expertise and know-how of K LINE’s ship management.

K Line’s fleet includes dry cargo ships, container vessels, liquefied natural gas carriers, Ro-Ro ships, tankers, and container terminals.

Last month, the company established its new department known as ‘AI/Digitalization Promotion Division’ to introduce new technology and improve its transportation services.




DP World to acquire P&O Ferries for $421m

DP World has announced the acquisition of the holding company of P&O Ferries and P&O Ferrymasters (P&O Ferries) in a deal valued at £322m ($421m).

In 2006, DP World acquired P&O Ferries but sold off some assets to Dubai World, its major shareholder.

At that time, DP World won a three-month battle to assume control of P&O Ferries, after the withdrawal of PSA in Singapore.

DP World’s latest acquisition is part of its efforts to expand beyond its core ports business, Reuters reported.

With the acquisition, the company is expected to meet its return targets. The P&O Ferries deal is set to be earnings accretive from the first full year of consolidation.

DP World Group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “We are pleased to announce the return of P&O Ferries back into the DP World family.

“Importantly, P&O Ferries provides efficient European freight connectivity building on last year’s acquisition of Unifeeder.

“This transaction is in line with our strategy to grow in complementary sectors, strengthen our product offering and play a wider role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler.”

Subject to customary completion conditions, the deal is expected to close in the first half of this year.

P&O Ferries comprises roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferries operation, while European transportation and logistics solutions provider P&O Ferrymasters offers supply chain solutions in 19 European locations.

The company operates a fleet of 21 vessels in the short sea, North Sea and the Irish Sea sectors across 11 ports. It handles more than 2.5 million freight units per year.

For the 2017 fiscal year, P&O Ferries reported a £1.1bn ($1.4bn) return, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to £100m ($131m).

Bilge technology. Image courtesy of PRNewsfoto / Nautic Alert




UN officials say Ireland’s AWS breaches rights of migrant workers

Four United Nations (UN) experts said that Ireland’s Atypical Work Scheme (AWS) introduced for non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals in the fishing industry breaches the human rights of migrant workers.

Special rapporteurs mentioned in a letter to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan that the 2016 scheme may be failing to avoid modern slavery.

They criticised the scheme governing protection and labour rights for migrant fishermen.

AWS, which has been designed for the non-EEA crew, allows migrant fishermen to be granted permission to live in the country and work on certain types of vessels.

In order to obtain a work permit through the AWS, workers are required to fill in an application that comprises a series of steps, including the certification of an employment contract by a solicitor and the registration of the contract with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) Central Depository for Sea-Fishing Boats.

Upon securing approval, workers should submit a separate application to the Department of Justice for immigration permission.

Officials wrote in their letter that migrants who could not convince their employers to apply for the AWS were left with no choice but to remain undocumented.

They said: “We wish to express our concern that the AWS, as currently framed, does not provide for effectively preventing and combating trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced labour and labour exploitation in the fishing industry, nor does it provide for adequate protection of the rights of migrant fishermen.”

Responding to the letter, the Department of Justice and Equality said it would have a serious look into the concerns raised in the letter.

Migrant workers get a legal route to work on Irish fishing vessels through the AWS.

According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the scheme would only exacerbate the problem of systemic exploitation of foreign workers in the country’s fishing industry.

ITF UK and Ireland co-ordinator Ken Fleming said: “The UN joins the US State Department and the Council of Europe in this deafening chorus of criticism of the AWS.”

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Oceanco launches new 90m superyacht DreAMBoat

Netherlands-based Oceanco has announced the launch of its new 90m superyacht Y716 DreAMBoat in Alblasserdam.

The new DreAMBoat has been designed by Espen Øino International in collaboration with Terence Disdale. With a total gross tonnage of 2,950, the yacht can accommodate up to 23 guests and a maximum of 33 crew members.

Øino said in a statement: “The overall effect is a yacht with clean uncluttered lines and a coherent design.”

For the DreAMBoat, Espen Øino and Terence Disdale designed large windows that flood the interior with daylight and offer good views from the inside out.

DreAMBoat also features a swimming pool on the main aft deck, a partially enclosed sundeck with Jacuzzi and copious options for seating / entertaining.

It has a private Jacuzzi on the owner’s deck and the interior design is serene as Terence Disdale’s paid attention to every detail of the design.

The interior created by Terence Disdale incorporates bespoke surfaces, natural wood, limestone floors, semi-precious stone vanities, parchment and leather.

The yacht also features a complex IP ship’s computer operating system and full carbon canopy mast house.

Oceanco project director Roderick Gort said:  “Launching DreAMBoat is an important milestone in the construction process of delivering ‘the Owners Perfect Yacht’. We are looking forward to delivering DreAMBoat after her sea trials this spring and welcoming her to the Oceanco family.”

At present, DreAMBoat is being commissioned for sea trials and is scheduled for delivery this year. It is the company’s 33rd yacht.




ABB to supply integrated power to Icelandic’s electric ferry

ABB is set to supply integrated power to a 70m-long hybrid-electric ferry, which is under construction for the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration at Crist shipyard in Poland.

The new ferry has a 550-passenger and 75-car capacity. It is expected to take 3,600 13km trips a year between Landeyjahöfn on the mainland and the Westman Island.

Designed by StoGda Ship Design & Engineering from Gdańsk, Poland to operate in electric mode most of the time, the vessel is scheduled to be delivered this year.

The electric ferry will feature a large battery pack of 3,000kWh and will use its diesel-electric generator set during challenging weather conditions or when the consumption of battery power may exceed the available energy.

ABB Marine and Ports managing director Juha Koskela said: “Selection of ABB’s technologies for a vessel operating on such a tough route, where the water depth is sometimes limited to 4.5m but wave heights can reach 3.5m, sets a new benchmark for battery power on-board a ship.

“In line with our vision for electric, digital and connected shipping, this project demonstrates how system integration, whether on-board the ship or between the ship’s crew and shoreside expertise, is a key success factor for vessel management.”

The vessel replaces the 1992 MF Herjólfur and is well-positioned to support Iceland’s sustainability goals.

ABB’s Onboard DC Grid power distribution system will allow the batteries to connect directly to the DC link. This helps to avoid loss of power during charging and discharging.

The system will also be capable of allowing variable speed operation of the diesel engines, resulting in reduced fuel consumption.

ABB will supply generators, transformers, switchboards, as well as a power management unit and energy storage control system.

The electric ferry will be connected to ABB Ability Collaborative Centers Infrastructure network that enables remote technical support and predictive maintenance. The network also features planned interventions using remote equipment monitoring and data analytics.

ABB will deliver a 2,500kW shore power connection to recharge the battery while the ferry is in the dock.




PAME unveils Arctic shipping activity database

The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), the Arctic Council’s working group, has unveiled a new shipping activity database.

The launch of the shipping database will improve historical ship traffic activity knowledge in the Arctic.

PAME’s database comprises sea ice extent, meteorological and oceanographic conditions, and international regulations information that affects ship traffic activity.

PAME developed the Arctic Ship Traffic Data (ASTD) project in response to a growing need to gather and distribute up-to-date information on shipping activities in the Arctic.

Authorised users can use the database for evaluating vessel traffic patterns, fuel use and air emissions, among other economic and environmental conditions.

PAME chair Renée Sauvé said: “When PAME released the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report in 2009, it contained data on Arctic shipping activities that had been collected by asking Arctic nations to fill in an Excel spreadsheet.

“Now, we are able to use satellites to gather information on shipping traffic in the Arctic. I am confident that the ASTD database will benefit PAME, the Arctic Council, and others by providing an invaluable tool to support a wide range of reports and analyses.”

The ASTD database contains archived information from 2005 to 2018 and will be updated by PAME on a regular basis.

It includes information related to the number of ships in the Arctic, distances sailed and hours operated. It also covers the location of ships, ship routes, and ship speed.

Data regarding types of ship, including size and flag, pollution measurements from ships, including CO2 emissions and other environmental information is also available in the database.

Set to be used only for non-commercial purposes, the database is accessible to all Arctic Council members, accredited academic institutions, and other recognised research entities.

Sauvé further added: “The ASTD will increasingly be pivotal as we seek to better understand the growth of Arctic ship traffic in the years to come."




Swedish ferry operator Stena Line to launch chatbot Stina

Swedish ferry operator Stena Line is set to launch the smartest chatbot Stina into the market to offer better customer assistance.

The new chatbot is capable of updating Stena Line’s customers regarding information on departure times and prices, as well as answer frequently asked questions anytime.

With the help of Stina, customers will be able to book a trip and keep track of any potential delays.

Stena Line Customer Acquisition and Conversion head Anders Hellberg said: “When chatting with Stina, she will help you find where and when you would like to travel, and then she funnels you into our web-based booking system to finalise the booking.

“This is a unique service in the ferry market and just one key feature that makes Stina smarter than others, along with her ability to keep track of delays in real time.”

Stena Line has initially launched English-speaking Stina into the UK market and plans to introduce to other markets in different languages.

Stina currently greets all customers visiting the ‘Need help’ section of or those who use the Stena Line TravelMate app.

Hellberg further added: “We are also looking at voice command to see if it would be possible for our customers to speak to Stina as you would talk to Siri or Google.

“Last but not least, we are working hard to have Stina support our customers through the whole booking process, from start to payment.”

Based on the customer feedback for its answer given, the chatbot trains itself without human involvement.

Stena Line has 38 vessels and operates routes between Ireland and Britain with an extensive network, including Belfast to Cairnryan, Belfast to Liverpool, Belfast to Heysham, Dublin Port to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard.

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Port of Savannah to handle six 14,000 TEU vessels by 2024

Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) in the US has unveiled a programme for the Port of Savannah to accommodate six 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels by 2024.

As part of the new Big Berth / Big Ship programme, Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal is expected to receive 21 new Neo-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.

Cranes will replace the terminal’s 14 ageing cranes and will bring the total fleet to 37.

GPA is currently upgrading the dock at the terminal to install the new, larger cranes.

Garden City Terminal is capable of handling two 14,000 TEU vessels at a time and by April that number is expected to increase to three.

GPA Board chairman Jimmy Allgood said: “A strong global economy coupled with a growing awareness of Savannah’s logistical advantages are driving sustained growth at our deepwater container terminal.

“GPA’s Big Berth / Big Ship programme will ensure Georgia stays ahead of demand and ahead of the competition.”

The project will see the installation of 12 new rubber-tired gantry cranes at Garden City Terminal. Installation is set to bring the terminal’s total number of container handling cranes to 158.

Ten of the new RTGs are scheduled to be commissioned in July, followed by two other in September.

Among other upgrades, phase one of the Mason Mega Rail project at the Port of Savannah is scheduled to be complete in October.

Expected to be fully completed by next year, the project is anticipated to double the port’s rail lift capacity to one million containers per year.

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