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Contents P r o f e s s i o n a l M a r i n e r     S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 3

Towing 14 Compactness, power make this the handiest tug in Puerto Rico

by Will Van Dorp

18 Towboat built in 1975 gets new engines, new pilothouse and a new lease on life


4 Industry Signals 4 After blackouts, cruise lines say

14 Trends & Currents 44 Onboard cranes getting bigger, safer, more efficient

they will install more backup power

8 Growth in oil activity stimulates orders for new Jones Act tankers

10 Marine warranty surveyors form association, headed by an American

by Rich Miller

11 Vibration aboard high-speed boats can cause serious health problems

13 McAllister to develop box-carrying ATB for new short-sea venture


8 44

A Mariner’s Notebook 48 Five years later, a smoother trip through the TWIC process

By Capt. Kelly Sweeney


Leading the Way



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This magazine is printed in the U.S. Professional Mariner is published in February, March, April, May, June, August, September, October and December, with an annual special issue of American Tugboat Review in July and an annual special issue of American Ship Review in November for $29.95 per year by Navigator Publishing LLC, 58 Fore St., Portland, ME 04101. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, Maine, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send address changes to Professional Mariner, P.O. Box 461510, Escondido, CA 92046. Copyright © 2013 by Navigator Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without written permission from the publisher. Multiple copying of the contents without permission is illegal. Call 207-822-4350 x219 for permission. Subscription rate is $29.95 for one year (nine issues) in the U.S. and its possessions. Canadian subscription rate is $44.95 U.S. funds. Other foreign service is $49.95 U.S. funds. Overseas airmail is $94.95 U.S. funds. Multi-year discounts are available, call 866-918-6972 for details. Distribution: Newsstand distribution, domestically and internationally: Coast to Coast Newsstand Services LTD., 5230 Finch Ave. East, Suite 1, Toronto, ON M1S 4Z9. Phone (416) 754-3900; fax (416) 754-4900. Contributions: We solicit manuscripts, drawings and photo­graphs. Please address materials to Editor, Professional Mar­iner, P.O. Box 569, Portland, Maine 04112-0569. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the safe handling of all contributed materials.


Professional Mariner September 2013

Contents P r o f e s s i o n a l M a r i n e r     S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 3


20 Maine ‘mail boat’ delivers more than just letters to islanders  BY JOHN GORMLEY 26 Maritime Casualties 26 Italian probe: Captain’s recklessness, crew’s mistakes caused

deadly sinking

34 Captain agrees to plead guilty to seaman’s manslaughter in 2011 parasailing death

35 Tanker gets stuck alongside N.H. bridge after mooring fails 37 NTSB: Ship crashed into Ky. bridge because of pilot’s error, faulty lights 39 Oil spill leads to fire, environmental cleanup aboard ship at Valdez 41 Tanker and bulk carrier collide while passing in the Gulf of Mexico 42 Tanker, barges damaged in Houston collision during poor visibility

Vessels at Work 24 Bisso’s upgraded ASD tugs handle the Mississippi’s strong currents



By Brian gauvin

ON THE COVER Todd Rabalais, engineer aboard Mississippi River tugboat Beverly B, handles a line between a Markey hawser winch and the Hornbeck tank barge Energy 11103. See story, Page 24. Photo by Brian Gauvin



Signals After blackouts, cruise lines say they will install more backup power arnival Corp. and the rest of the cruise industry have promised to install additional emergency backup power aboard each ship, creating complex and expensive technical puzzles for marine engineers. In the wake of the embarrassing Carnival Triumph blackout, Miami-based Carnival in April pledged to spend more than $300 million to upgrade power systems on all 24 of the company’s cruise ships. A month later, Cruise Lines International

Association (CLIA) adopted a “Passenger Bill of Rights” that promises adequate emergency power in the event of a propulsion failure. This year, most of the world’s cruise ships have undergone assessments to identify mainand backup-power-generation vulnerabilities, CLIA said. The technicians developed ship-by-ship solutions to reduce the risk

of a wholesale power loss that would cripple propulsion and passenger-comfort systems. Marine engineers said it’s not just a matter of finding space to install additional generators on board. The trickier — and necessary — corresponding refit requires additional switchboard and wiring capacity. Sometimes

Airwind Creative/Paul Dovie


Associated Press/Gerald Herbert


more fuel piping is necessary. “You can put different generators around the ship in different places ... but you have to duplicate the wiring of the ship,” said Hector Pazos, a Florida-based marine and mechaniLeft, Carnival Triumph is towed into Mobile Bay after its power failure in February. Above, the cruise ship undergoes repairs and power-system upgrades at the BAE Systems yard in Mobile.

Professional Mariner September 2013

cal engineer and maritime casualty analyst. “Technically and physically, it can be done. But it’s a lot of money.” Cruise lines and regulators had presumed that the ships were already protected from total blackouts because the newest vessels have redundant, physically separated engine rooms that resist the ability of a fire to knock out all generators. A spate of total power failures in recent years has revealed that engine fires are penetrating switchboard and wiring systems with systemwide reach. Assessors on each ship are

examining how to add backup generation in the event of major power loss. They are also trying to recognize ways to prevent blackouts in the first place, said Bud Darr, CLIA’s director of technical and regulatory affairs. “The assessments are identifying where vulnerabilities exist on existing ships,” Darr said. “They are evaluating the risk in the reliability and redundancy of the main power and the reliability and redundancy of guest comfort systems.” Standard emergency systems normally are designed to ensure enough power to accomplish

lifesaving activities only, said Andrew Coggins, a former chief engineer who is a cruise industry researcher at Pace University. “The emergency diesel generator is going to lower the lifeboats or supply power to the fire pump or to the pumps to prevent flooding ... and the emergency lighting and the communication system on the ship to send an SOS,” Coggins said. “It’s not going to supply power to the galley, main lighting, air conditioning or ventilation.” Modern-day consumers, however, are less tolerant of inconveniences than they used


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industry signals

to be. “If there is a fire and you lose propulsion, the passengers still expect to have food and still expect the toilets to work,” Coggins said. Carnival Triumph, which

drifted or was under tow for three days after a fire in February, went back into service in June. While undergoing repairs at Mobile, Ala., it was among the first ships to receive

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a power-system upgrade. Carnival Chief Executive Gerry Cahill said the improvements would both help prevent power losses and allow hotel services to operate in the event of a mainpropulsion loss. “Carnival is increasing the load that the diesel generators can carry so they can provide power to lighting and power for ventilation,” Coggins said. “Carnival wants to avoid a repeat of the Triumph (blackout), so you can look at it as an investment in the future. There will be the redundancy on the ships; they would maintain the public’s confidence.” When ships receive additional backup generators, often they are installed up high, away from the main engine compartments. “You put them on the upper decks, and you separate them from the main engines, and if they are on the upper decks they are not subject to flooding as happened with the Costa Concordia,” Coggins said (See story, page 26). In addition to the challenge of finding the space and perhaps sacrificing guest amenities, engineers must consider location of bulkheads and new ducts and pipes that were not figured into the original design of the ship. “In some cases, the emergency generation is on the upper decks of the ship rather than down in the engine room,” Pazos said. “Then, of course, there is the problem with noise and the fuel


Professional Mariner September 2013

and other practical matters of not having the generators close to the tanks that carry the fuel. You will have a lot more wiring and piping for the fuel.” The linchpin ensuring the effectiveness of the additional generation is the wiring and switchboard systems. “Just adding additional capacity is not a lot of use if you haven’t added the electrical infrastructure,” Darr said. “If you lose that wiring, of course you lose propulsion. If you lose the switchboard, you lose propulsion,” Coggins said. “So it’s having alternative switchboards and alternative wiring to carry the power. It’s expensive, but it can be done.” While Carnival has announced a specific program, Pazos doesn’t believe most of the industry will choose to spend the money for significant system upgrades. Blackouts will still occur, he said. “They may make some improvements, but I don’t think they’re going to do something that’s going to make a major difference to avoid these types of mishaps,” he said. Darr said more than 80 percent of the world’s cruise-ship capacity had undergone their propulsion assessments by June. CLIA’s “Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights” also promises that ship crews are properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures. Last year, the association

began requiring training with fully loaded lifeboats, and an International Maritime Organization panel voted to require passenger safety musters upon departure.

“We have to talk to the general public about safety,” Darr said. “We have to make sure the general public understands that this is a priority for us.” Dom Yanchunas


industry signals

Growth in oil activity stimulates orders for new Jones Act tankers

Courtesy American Petroleum Tankers

Tankers (APT), based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., announced the company had ordered four petroleum product tankers that will become part of the Jones Act fleet. The surge in domestic vessel production is an indication of the health of the domestic fleet, according to a statement from the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), a domestic shipping trade group, to Professional Mariner. “American Petroleum Tankers’ order of four new vessels for the domestic trades is proof positive that American companies continue to make the kinds of investments


Construction of the first tanker is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2014, with deliveries through 2016. Nassco previously built five product carriers for APT. “This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to building and operating ships for the U.S. Jones Act trade,” Rob Kurz, chief executive of APT, said in announcing the building program. “We are proud to bring new U.S.-built tonnage into the market at this exciting time, helping our country achieve its longstanding strategic objective of energy independence.” In May, Crowley Maritime took delivery of the tug Liberty and barge 750-3, the 17th articulated tug-barge in the company’s $1 billion, 10-year ATB building program. Crowley has also acquired two 330,000-bbl product tankers for its petroleum business. Overall, the company has about 600 seagoing billets in the 24 vessels in its petroleum fleet, said Rob Grune, senior vice president of

that will ensure the safe and efficient movement of energy cargoes along our coastlines. These vessels will take ‘state-of-the-art’ to a whole new level and keep America at the forefront of maritime innovation,” the AMP statement said. Meanwhile, Crowley Maritime, based in Jacksonville, Fla., finished a 10-year building program for its petroleum product carriers. Citing demand growth, carriers are boosting their U.S.-flag tanker capacity. Left, an architect’s rendering of one of four Jones Act tankers on order from American Petroleum Tankers. Below, the bow of the Crowley Maritime ATB Liberty and 750-3, which was delivered in May.

The U.S.-flag fleet also got a boost when Maersk Line Ltd. purchased eight containerships that it will reflag to qualify for U.S. government and military cargo programs. Overall, there are more than 40,000 vessels in the Jones Act fleet, according to AMP. The APT tankers are on order at the General Dynamics Nassco shipyard in San Diego. An affiliate company of APT has contracted with Nassco for four 50,000-dwt petroleum product carriers with a capacity of 330,000 barrels. The contract includes an option for an additional four carriers.

Courtesy Crowley Maritime


he U.S.-flag fleet is set to grow, fueled in part by the growing domestic petroleum market. U.S. oil production is expected to outstrip oil imports in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s led to construction of vessels that meet Jones Act requirements for domestic shipping. In May, American Petroleum

Professional Mariner September 2013

Courtesy Crowley Maritime

A stern view of Liberty. Crowley is in the midst of a $1 billion, 10-year ATB building program.

Crowley Petroleum Services. The company upgraded its petroleum fleet in response to demand from customers, the six major oil production companies. “Our growth is directly tied to them, we’re not overly speculative in our growth and we don’t build vessels on spec,” Grune said in an interview. “We build to meet our customers’ needs and demand.” During Crowley’s building program, the newbuilds replaced some older vessels, but overall there’s been a net increase in jobs for mariners. “We have been hiring people throughout the whole process over the past 10 years and we continue to hire people,” Grune said. Maersk Line is reflagging eight containerships, replacing eight vessels that will leave the U.S. fleet. The new ships will enter Maersk Line’s Middle East service and join the Maritime Security Program and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement, John Reinhart, Maersk Line’s chief executive, said in a press release. Overall, Maersk Line has 56 U.S. flag vessels and employs about 1,200 American seafarers. Gary Wollenhaupt

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industry signals

Marine warranty surveyors form association, headed by an American


s offshore oil and gas development projects expand worldwide, so does the need for accredited marine warranty surveyors who can provide a consistent and robust level of service. Marine warranty surveyors conduct independent third-party reviews and approvals of high-value and/or high-risk marine construction and transportation projects. Marine warranty surveyors act either on behalf of underwriters and their assureds, or

Courtesy Steven Weiss

Steven Weiss, based in Houston, is the inaugural chairman of the International Association of Marine Warranty Surveyors. The association was created in April.

for self-insured clients. In many marine insurance policies, there are “warranty clauses.” The marine warranty surveyor ensures that the insured fulfills the warranty clause in the policy. This may entail a document review or full on-site attendance. The warranty surveyor reviews trip-in-tow surveys, an inspection of a tug and barge prior to a voyage to confirm that — as best can be ascertained — the vessels are ready. Offshore oil and gas operations normally entail a complete review of the loading, transit, installation and hookup of the platform, semisubmersible, etc. Other examples include the review and possible


attendance for an offshore pipelay, floatover, heavy-lift transit and any operation that is warranted in the insurance policy. To meet this need, the International Association of Marine Warranty Surveyors (IAMWS) was formally launched at Lloyd’s of London in April. The organization’s first chairman is an American. Around 120 representatives from the energy insurance market, together with brokers and oil company representatives, attended a seminar to announce the aims and objectives of the new association. IAMWS will assess and provide accreditation to practicing marine warranty surveyors from across the world to ensure they operate to an acknowledged minimum professional standard and code of ethics. “This new association will give the insurance sector additional confidence that the marine warranty surveyors attending operations are equipped to do the job that is required,” said IAMWS Chairman Steven Weiss. Weiss is vice president of marine engineering at Liberty International Underwriters in Houston. IAMWS offers accreditation to individual practicing marine surveyors, not to companies. Accreditation results in the title “Certified Marine Warranty Surveyor” (CMWS). To qualify, surveyors need to demonstrate that they are capable of performing to a set of minimum standards. They will undergo testing and continuing professional development

and be subject to association rules. The formal accreditation application is reviewed by a screening committee, Weiss said. If accepted, the applicant undergoes online ethics and qualifications testing. Continuing education is a key ingredient to make sure members keep current in their practice and knowledge. Typical marine warranty surveyors include master mariners, marine engineers, naval architects and offshore structural engineers. Work ranges from back-office functions to on-site attendance during operations. There are three accreditation levels — Apprentice, Associate and Certified Marine Warranty Surveyor. It is expected that candidates will have at least five years’ experience before they apply for CMWS certification. The first testing will take place this year. Certification is limited to practicing marine warranty surveyors. However, there are plans to extend this to include rig moves, rig location review and heavy-lift operations. Potentially, an estimated 800 marine warranty surveyors globally could apply for membership. IAMWS will “provide a platform to enhance the dialogue and develop a much closer relationship between surveyors, underwriters and other stakeholders in the offshore energy sector,” Weiss said. IAMWS will present at an International Union of Marine Insurance event and the Houston Marine Insurance Seminar in September. Bill Siuru

Professional Mariner September 2013

Vibration aboard high-speed boats can cause serious health problems people and passengers is to reduce the source of the vibration and shock, through good hull design,� said Alan Cartwright, head of marine engineering at Multimarine Composites Ltd. (MCL), builders of Powercat boats. The company

The Powercat 990 inland harbor patrol vessel and other boats built by Multimarine Composites Ltd. use foam, shocks or special seats to reduce the impact of vibration on operators and passengers.

uses Trelleborg Confor foam that controls vibrations and shocks where suspension seats cannot be used. Though much more expensive, suspended decks or wheelhouses are starting to be considered. Deck matting designed to reduce

Courtesy Multimarine Composites


hole Body Vibration (WBV) is one of the hazards of operating small, high-speed craft (HSC) including passenger, light cargo, search-and-rescue, law-enforcement and rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) in choppy water. WBV is the shaking or jolting of the human body through a supporting surface, usually a seat or floor in a vessel. Occupational health researchers have discovered that the forces can cause long-term health and work-performance problems. Naval architects are developing solutions. “The best way to safeguard your

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Courtesy Tampa Yacht Manufacturing

Aboard Tampa Yacht Manufacturing’s boats, shock-mitigating seats with a special suspension system isolate the passengers from the vibration through the use of mounts attached to the vessel.

vibration exposure is another option. “WBV exposure on planing craft is usually caused by continuous ‘hammering’ from short steep seas or wind-against-tide conditions,” said a marine guidance note from the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency. There is no definitive design to mitigate WBV in small vessels, the agency said. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) notes that WBV can cause fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, headache and “shakiness” shortly after or during exposure. Long-term exposure is more problematic. According to the CCOHS, after daily exposure over years, WBV can affect the entire body and result in health disorders. Many studies have reported decreased performance in workers exposed to WBV. This includes the demanding ability to handle a HSC under


severe sea conditions. Studies of bus and truck drivers found that exposure to WBV — combined with body posture, postural fatigue and dietary habits — could have contributed to circulatory, bowel, respiratory, muscular and back disorders. The operating environment for HSCs results in the most challenging conditions for mitigating WBV. Boat operators who experience shock impacts regularly may not receive a serious acute injury on any single trip. Over time, they may experience cumulative effects. The CCOHS says the time from first exposure to appearance of symptoms can range from a couple of years to up to 16 years. Because physicians usually are not trained to diagnose vibrationrelated disorders, WBV is often not considered as the reason for a problem. There are no objective clinical tests to measure the impairment. This can present a problem in verifying claims for disability and worker’s compensation. Dr. Trevor Dobbins, of Human Sciences & Engineering Ltd. in the U.K., has found that using a properly designed suspension seat versus a fixed one can reduce oxygen uptake by about 35 percent and heart rate by about 13 percent. The British guidance note said the shape and hydrodynamic performance of the hull can reduce the impact of vertical movements. A deep-V hull will cut through the water better than a flatter-bottomed vessel. However, if the vessel heels significantly as it falls off the wave,

the vessel will land on a flat part of the hull, resulting in severe slam. The use of multihulls and hydrofoils may provide a more comfortable ride. In the HSC manufacturing sector, boatbuilders including Tampa Yacht Manufacturing are well aware of the problem. Bob Stevens, Tampa Yacht Manufacturing chief executive, said WBV is considered in the company’s current and future designs. Tampa Yacht has cooperated with Dobbins’ research, he said. “We at Tampa Yacht install shock-mitigating seats and are mindfully aware of MMI (Man Machine Interface) and operational fatigue,” Stevens said. MCL Powercats have hull forms to reduce vibration and impact at the fundamental source — as close to the waves as possible. Both the MCL Powercat 525 and 990 have catamaran hulls to reduce slamming at high speed in choppy waters. Likewise the British-built C-Fury Patrol RIB’s hull was designed with shock and WBV in mind. C-Fury’s hull design has a steep deadrise, small planing faces, eight spray rails, a hydrofoil and two very large tunnels with semicircular tops to permit airflow in all conditions to minimize the potential for hydraulic locking. Because WBV-limiting technologies are just appearing and operators will live with current craft for many more years, awareness and training are key ingredients. FRC International, named by its expertise on Fast Response Craft, offers two FRC WBV awareness courses, occasionally in the U.S. and Canada. Bill Siuru

Professional Mariner September 2013

McAllister to develop box-carrying ATB for new short-sea venture


aine Port Authority has hired McAllister Towing to design a containerized articulated tug-barge (ATB) for a short-sea shipping route proposed between Portland, Maine, and New York City. For now, the $150,000 contract between the two parties only includes the design of the vessel. But it’s likely McAllister will end up as a partner on the service, said John Henshaw, the port authority’s executive director. “The idea is that a public entity like the port authority would own the barge portion and McAllister own tug portion of ATB,” Henshaw said. That partnership likely would reduce up-front capital costs needed to develop the route, which would link the International Marine Terminal in Portland with Red Hook Marine Terminal in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Hopefully those savings will find their way into the rate offered to customers,” he said. Exact details such as cargo capacity and size won’t be known until the

vessel design is released later this year. Although ATBs have been around for decades, and containerships have been “cellularized” for even longer, the possibility of combining the two is somewhat novel, said Charles Cumming of McAllister Towing. “The ‘unique’ part of what we are trying to develop is marrying the two into a functional and economical transportation unit,” he said. “We are also looking into new technologies for propulsion, such as hybrid or diesel electric power.” Henshaw said the authority initially looked at acquiring a U.S.-flag vessel for the route, but found none that met its needs. The agency settled on a containerized ATB after seeing similar Jones Act vessels in use by the oil industry. “It’s been proven as a viable business model,” he said. The port authority received funding for the design contract from the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway Program, which aims to ship more goods over water, reducing highway congestion, carbon

emissions and roadway wear and tear. The design contract was awarded to McAllister after a competitive bidding process. The proposed route would run alongside the busy Interstate 95 corridor. Henshaw expects it will appeal to shippers that need to move heavier loads than can be carried by trucks. Additional freight could come from the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip, which has signed a longterm lease at the Portland port. The facility has undergone tens of millions of dollars in improvements and upgrades in the past five years. Although there are key hurdles that still must be cleared — finding money to build the vessel and securing shipping clients — both parties are optimistic that the proposed vessel and short-sea route will be successful. “We strongly feel that this is an opportunity to develop a new line of business and that there is great potential for the proposed service,” Cumming said. • Casey Conley


ATR Update


Story and photos by Will Van Dorp

Compactness, power make this the handiest tug in Puerto Rico The tugboat Handy-Three, far left, stands ready to assist cargo ship SS El Morro, with a San Juan Bay pilot boat off the ship’s starboard bow. Below, Honcho at the ship’s bow, with Handy-Three astern.


n late April 2012, Capt. Neftali Padilla and a crew arrived at the Great Lakes Shipyard (GLS) in Cleveland, Ohio. It was his second trip to Cleveland, this time to deliver a new tugboat called Handy-Three to Puerto Rico Towing & Barge Co. (PRT) located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His first delivery


from Ohio for PRT had been the 1942 Triton, a 135-foot former Navy oceangoing tug then about to transition from working on the Great Lakes back to salt water. Padilla recalls his first impression of Handy-Three: “She looked kind of small.” She was.

The boat’s overall length is a mere 74 feet, and he had to sail the tug 3,800 miles, more than half of that on

the Atlantic Ocean. Capt. Jose Luis Villafane, mate for the spring 2012 delivery, recalls that he wondered about the Cummins QSK-50 engines, more compact than the EMDs and Caterpillars he was used to. “They looked small. I couldn’t imagine how powerful they could be,” he recalled. But this size and power were exactly what Great Lakes Shipyard Chairman Ron Rasmus imagined

Professional Mariner September 2013

as a niche with promise: fuel-efficient tugboats with sturdy ice-class hulls and adequate power for most jobs. Handy-Three is GLS’s third such vessel. Today, Padilla and Villafane report that between May and June 2012 they became believers in Handy-Three as the vessel performed superbly while carrying them from the cold fresh water of Lake Erie to the tropical homeport in Puerto Rico. “She’s a very stable platform,” said Padilla. In fact, while using words like “awesome” and “amazing,” he took out his smartphone to show a visitor a video he shot from the wheelhouse of HandyThree off Cape Hatteras. “We headed out of Norfolk, where we had weathered the worst of Tropical Storm Alberto. See how smooth she rides in 10- to 13-foot seas.” Villafane, who currently

works in San Juan Harbor on Handy-Three, recalls the delivery voyage as the most memorable so far. “It’s God’s country from the Thousand Islands to Nova Scotia, beautiful,” he said. “We saw snow on mountains north of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. A curious lockmaster at the Eisenhower Locks (in Massena, N.Y.) wanted a ride along on HandyThree,” he remembers. “Capt. Padilla pushed the throttle forward … and we were all surprised by the speed,” said Villafane. It was one of several demonstrations the crew gave for curious parties and potential GLS customers at different waypoints in the trip. Padilla has worked for PRT for 16 years, all of those as a captain. Before that, he worked in his family’s business, South Puerto Rico Towing, starting as a deck hand.

Puerto Rico Towing port engineer Ibrahim Colon in HandyThree’s engine room. The tug is powered by a pair of Cummins QSK50, 1,600-hp engines.

Its excellent performance did exactly what the specs quoted it to do.

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The stern of Handy-Three, including its JonRie Series 500 towing winch, while the tug is at port. The versatile boat can do ocean towing and ship assist.

In fact, because he started as a minor, his father had to accompany him to the U.S. Coast Guard station to swear the required Merchant Mariner’s document oath. Recently, Padilla directed the towing operation off San Juan of the 246-foot oceangoing tugboat Global Destiny, exRotterdam, which had run out of fuel. Villafane is also a second-generation mariner. His father retired from Crowley Maritime, a company that now provides Handy-Three with its biggest jobs. The tug assists with the huge Crowley barges that shuttle between San Juan and U.S. mainland ports of Jacksonville, Fla., and Pennsauken, N.J. Villafane, whose first maritime job was decking on the Miami ferry to Fisher Island, previously worked for Hornbeck Offshore. About Handy-Three, Villafane said, “The name of the tug says it all. She’s handy. You can put her


anywhere. She’s a reliable boat made for tight places, like between the Crowley barges and the dock. And she rides the seas well, second most comfortable PRT vessel outside the harbor after the huge Triton.” Handy-Three is designed for ship assist harbor work, but has sometimes done ocean towing, currently the assignment of HandyOne, now renamed Don Raul, which operates out of St. Croix. For these longer trips outside, Padilla says Handy-Three could be more spacious. “Crew comfort is important to think about,” he said. But his assessment is positive. Padilla praises HandyThree’s maneuverability. “The small hull, powerful engine and props set well apart … she handles amazing.” San Juan is an important container transshipment port in the Caribbean. PRT, an affiliate of the Great Lakes Group, moved into San Juan in 1997

Professional Mariner September 2013

when Crowley discontinued harbor assist work there. “We saw this as an opportunity,” said Joel Koslen, president of PRT. The Puerto Rico Ports Authority reported 3,844 vessel calls in San Juan for 2012. Besides harbor assist work, PRT does towing services in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other locations within the Caribbean, as well as the U.S. mainland. And recently, according to Koslen, PRT has been chosen as the successful bidder by the

Puerto Rico Ports Authority to renovate and operate the dry dock for vessel maintenance and repair, which is located at piers 15 and 16. San Juan is a popular port of call for cruise ships. According to World Port Source, in 2012 a total of 459 trips used San Juan, which can accommodate eight cruise ships at once. Although cruise ships generally dock without the use of a tugboat, “if winds are greater than 30 knots, we do assist them,” said

Padilla. “Otherwise, about 75 percent of our work is assisting cargo vessels.” Right now, HandyThree is the newest of four boats operated by PRT. The other three are Z-One, Honcho, and Triton, whose lengths are 88, 97, and 135 feet, respectively. “She’s the busiest boat

The Puerto Rico Towing team, from left, Capt. Juan Velez Jr., Capt. Neftali Padilla, dispatcher Victor Claudio, deck hands Sixto Franco and Reynaldo Ilarraza, and port engineer Ibrahim Colon.

in the harbor,” Villafane said of Handy-Three, “and good with the Horizon and Sea Star ships. She’s been a blessing.” •

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towing The towboat Capt. R.P. Gettelfinger gets underway near Paducah, Ky., in December 2012 after the vessel was refurbished and repowered at James Marine Inc.

Towboat built in 1975 gets new engines, new pilothouse and a new lease on life

Story and photos by Jeff L. Yates


ut with the old and in with the new” was certainly the theme carried out during a repowering and rehabilitation project completed recently of Capt. R.P. Gettelfinger, a veteran Mississippi River line-haul towboat. American Commercial Lines (ACL), the line-haul towboat operator based in Jeffersonville, Ind., gutted the twin-screw vessel and replaced virtually everything, including engines, generators, crew quarters, interior furnishings, pilothouse console and electronics, galley equipment, plumbing and electrical components and underwater gear, including new propellers and Rice propulsion nozzles. Originally called J. Russell Flowers, the 168-by50-foot boat was built in


1975 on Neville Island in Pennsylvania by the former Dravo Corp. The boat was named in honor of the president of Flowers Transportation Inc., of Greenville, Miss., where it operated until being sold to Valley Transportation Inc. of St. Louis. That company’s assets were absorbed by American Commercial Lines in 1992. With 2,300 barges and more than 100 towboats, ACL is the nation’s second-largest liquid cargo carrier and the third-largest dry cargo barge line. ACL employs approximately 2,200 people throughout its fleets, terminals and vessel service facilities along

virtually the entire inland waterway system. In December 2010, ACL was purchased by Platinum Equity, a Los Angeles-based global acquisitions firm. Under this corporate umbrella, ACL has embarked on an extensive repowering and refurbishing program that includes its smallest to largest vessels. When Capt. R.P. Gettelfinger was christened in December 2012, ACL President and Chief Execu-

tive Officer Mark Knoy said it was the 26th vessel to have been refurbished and/or repowered during the preceding 18 months. Almost a dozen more have either been completed or are nearing completion. “Each completed project has set the bar a little higher as we invest in our teammates and assets,” Knoy said. “We’ve invested about $300 million to date and we plan on continuing to improve our boats and barges that we ask our teammates to work on.” The virtually new towboat still carries the distinction of being the tallest vessel in the ACL fleet, with a vertical clearance

The pilothouse console was reconfigured with a stainless steel dashboard and new cabinetry, file drawers and navigation equipment. Left, the new panel with Rexroth electronic throttle and clutch controls.

Professional Mariner September 2013

of 57 feet. Throughout its career, the high-profile towboat routinely worked along the Lower Mississippi River, handling tows of 30 to 40 barges and will continue in the same service for ACL. However, the workload will be handled now with an increase in power while greatly reducing fuel consumption. The original 3,600-hp, 20-cylinder EMD diesels were replaced with a pair of new 12-cylinder Caterpillar C280 diesels, upping total output to 7,800 hp. Jim Mundth, segment manager-inland waterways for Caterpillar Marine Power Systems, said the C280 engines are built on the same platform as the 3612 engine. They comply with Tier 2 EPA standards and incorporate electronic fuel injectors producing high power output and good fuel efficiency. ACL has operated three of its higher-horsepower towboats with the Caterpillar 3612 engines for the past few years with great success, Mundth said. “We are excited and invigorated to partner with such a premier brand as ACL and be helping to support their mission to deliver premium transportation services with the highest standards of performance in reliabil-

ity and efficiency,” he said during a christening ceremony at Paducah, Ky., in December. “We anticipate the MV Capt. R.P. Gettelfinger will be the envy of the rivers because of the distinguished standards being set.” ACL recently brought other boats in for similar refurbishing projects that have included new C280 Cats, including at least one triple-screw vessel. The projects have taken place at James Marine Inc. in Paducah and at National Maintenance & Repair (McGinnis Inc.) in Paducah and Hartford, Ill. To accommodate the increased power and combat the effects of 37 years of service, James Marine added more than 50 tons of reinforcement steel while replacing hullmounted heat exchangers, underwater shaft bearings and bushings. Electrical power requirements are now accommodated with a pair of new Cummins-powered 150-kW generators. The boat’s overall dimensions and profile remain unchanged, but inside the cabin and throughout the engine room, little remains from the original construction. All interior spaces were gutted and stripped to bare

metal and refurbished with new paneling, ceilings and sound-deadening insulation throughout. All interior furniture was scrapped and custom furniture and bedding were installed in all quarters. They include single staterooms, double staterooms and bunkrooms, all equipped with flat-screen televisions for the crew’s convenience and comfort. The upper deck features an attractive lounge forward with a small dining table, an icemaker and a sink. The galley was refitted with new appliances, including a commercialstyle stainless steel electric cook stove, new cabinets and stainless steel countertops, dishwasher, icemaker and refrigerator/freezer. The pilothouse was also taken down to the bare floor, with only the original steel console remaining. Custom-designed cabinets and countertops were crafted to accommodate all the new communications and navigation electronic displays and controls. Included were three new Standard VHF radios, two Furuno digital depth sounders, Furuno digital radar, CEACT digital

chart display, DeHart rateof-swing indicator, Furuno AIS display and transponder, intercom unit, computer and fax machine. To replace the original Wabco air-controlled clutch and throttle assembly, the boat now possesses a more

Capt. R.P. Gettelfinger’s starboard engine is a Caterpillar C280 with original Falk reduction gears. The vessel’s two new 12-cylinder Cat diesels boosted total output to 7,800 hp.

compact Bosch Rexroth electronic throttle and clutch control unit with built-in engine synchronizer. Exterior improvements included new LED navigation lights and CFL deck lights. The refurbished Gettelfinger was renamed in honor of an ACL captain who began his river career with the company in 1984. He had been the regular captain on ACL’s triple-screw Charles F. Detmar Jr., which returned to service in April after its own refurbishing, renamed David A. Lewis Jr. • 19

Maine ‘mail boat’ delivers more than just letters to islanders Story and photos by John Gormley


Above, Capt. Gene Willard peers from the pilothouse as he docks Maquoit II. An employee of the ferry company since he was 14, he grew up on one of the islands served by Casco Bay Lines. Right, packed with passengers and freight, the ferry backs away from its base in Portland, Maine. The boat can carry 399 people and one vehicle.


aquoit II is no ordinary ferry. Operated by Casco Bay Lines, Maquoit II carries passengers, vehicles and cargo between Portland, Maine, and six Casco Bay islands. During much of the year, it also carries the mail to these island communities, hence the name by which it is commonly known: the mail boat. Part commuter and school bus, it also operates as a tour boat and break-bulk cargo carrier. During the warmer months, it serves the tourists who flock to these islands. But for the year-round residents, it is what makes their island communities possible. Even before it leaves the dock, it is obvious that this ferry is different. The 85-foot ferry has a cargo crane with a 20-foot boom. On a recent warm and sunny June

morning in Portland, Maquoit II’s crew was busily using the crane to load some unusual items onto the stern cargo decks, including several port-ajohns and four golf carts. Nick Mavodones, the ferry line’s general manager, looked on while the crew loaded the cargo and prepared to receive the passengers on board.

Mavodones once served as captain on the route covered by the mail boat. The freight provides some insight into the unusual nature of the islands served by the boat. The port-a-johns reflected the fact that these islands, with their great natural beauty and dramatic water views, are often chosen as wedding Professional Mariner September 2013

venues. And on some of the islands, residents and visitors depend on golf carts rather than cars to get around. “We crammed a lot of freight on back there” on the stern, Mavodones said, recalling his days as captain. “You wouldn’t believe the

number of golf carts.” Maquoit II and the four other ferries in the Casco Bay Lines fleet carry a million passengers, 30,000 vehicles and 5,300 tons of freight a year. A substantial amount of this traffic is generated by summer visitors. But the ferry’s primary mission is to support the year-round communities

on the islands. Island residents who have mainland jobs depend on the ferries. The same is true for middle and high school students who ride the ferries to get to their schools in Portland. As the cargo loading operations drew to a close and the passengers were allowed to come aboard, Maquoit II’s captain, Gene Willard, took his post in the pilothouse. Willard, who grew up on one of the islands served by Casco Bay Lines, has been working for the ferry company since he was 14. After 34 years on the job, he exhibits an extraordinary degree of enthusiasm. That could conceivably be a job requirement, since his duties include entertaining and informing the passengers, as well as getting them safely and comfortably to their destinations. “We’re primarily performing a commuter service to the islands,” he explained. But that’s just the beginning of it. A great many of the passengers are new to the sights and sounds of Casco Bay.

So Willard behaves like an excursion boat guide as well as a ferry captain, providing a narration of the points of interest along the route. As the ferry was leaving Portland, he advised the passengers to look back to the crest of a hill that rises from the waterfront. Silhouetted against a cobalt sky was Portland Observatory, which he described as “the last standing signal tower in the United States.” During the 19th century, lookouts using a telescope on the tower would spot incoming merchant vessels and

Above, deck hand Colin Anderson oversees the unloading of freight at Diamond Cove, a resort on Great Diamond Island. Below, passengers disembark at Little Diamond Island, the ferry’s first stop after Portland. The island is primarily a destination for summer visitors.


Capt. Willard at the starboard control station in the pilothouse. The microphone on the console is one of the other tools of his trade. Willard uses the public address system to provide a running narrative for passengers about points of interest along the route.


then raise signal flags visible on the docks to alert workers there to the identity of the ship and the nature of its cargoes. Today, Willard went on, the tower is open to the public. “On a clear day you can see all 222 islands in Casco Bay,” he informed his passengers. His passengers probably would not be very interested in the views from the observatory, since they were being treated to some first-class views from the decks of Maquoit II. The boat, built in 1994 by Washburn & Doughty in East Boothbay, Maine, is powered by a pair of Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines. It has a carry capacity of 399 passengers and just one vehicle (another indication that this is no ordinary ferry). Willard is acutely sensitive to the dual nature of his passengers. Visitors may be seeing Casco Bay from the water for the first time in their lives, while many

island residents routinely see it twice a day. For the latter group, Willard’s narration is so familiar as to be annoying. Passengers have been known to cut the wires of the publicaddress (PA) system or to stuff life preservers in the speakers. In an effort to strike a happy medium, Willard said he limits his comments to the most common questions he has heard. “I’ve whittled it down to what I’ve been asked,” he said. That is a bit of a shame, since the route the ferry takes is rich in history. A British fleet bombarded and set Portland ablaze during the Revolutionary War. Masonry forts dating to the Civil War protected the entrances to the harbor. And during World War II, Casco Bay served as the base for Navy vessels that escorted convoys of merchant ships carrying military supplies and troops across the Atlantic. Many of the islands were heavily fortified as a result. Willard used to describe World War II sites, but does not do so much anymore. “In the ’80s, if 40 people were on the boat, a quarter of them would be guys from that era.” As that generation has passed on, Willard has focused on other topics. History aside, there is no shortage of local color for him to share. The son of a Peaks Island fisherman, he clearly enjoys telling a good story, including how he came to be a captain with Casco Bay

Lines. His father did not want him to follow in his footsteps as a fisherman. “He did all he could to keep me off the (fishing) boats,” Willard said. When he was 14, he had a job mopping the floors at a waterfront restaurant called the Porthole (it is still there) when he was offered a job working on the ferries. While he was a bit skeptical at first, the money offered sounded good. There was however one impediment. The minimum age for working on the boats was 17. When asked his age, his response was, “How old do you want me to be?” A hawsepiper, he got his master’s license within a few years of going to work for the ferry company. “By the time I was 18, I had enough (sea) time to sit for my license.” He has a 100-ton license and has no desire to move up. “I’m on my seventh issue” of the license, he said, and “never needed anything more.” He sees no need to move up to a bigger boat anyplace else. He likes doing what he does just fine. There is plenty of boat handling to keep him sharp at what he does. “I dock the boat a couple dozen times a day,” he observed. And the boat is well suited to the task. It has three control stations in the pilothouse and one at the stern on the starboard side. “We designed this boat like a tugboat,” he explained. The outboard placement of the port and starboard control stations in the pilothouse gives Professional Mariner September 2013

him optimal visibility when he is docking the ferry. And the variety of cargo is a constant source of surprise. “Each trip is different. That’s because the freight is different,” he said. “Yesterday we had a bunch of baby turkeys in the pilothouse. They came in the mail. We had to keep them in a safe place.” He also likes knowing the people he serves. Many of those who board the boat know him by name. As Maquoit II was about to leave Chebeague, the most northerly of the islands on the route, a 7-yearold boy, Rufus MacVane, approached the stairs leading from the passenger deck to the pilothouse and called out, “Hey, Gene, can I toot the horn?” Asked how he knew Willard, he replied, “My grandmother’s good friends with him.” A few minutes later, he was up in the pilothouse tooting the horn, while his parents and 4-yearold brother looked on. “I want to be a deck hand when I grow up,” he declared. He might end up doing just that. Many of the crewmembers, like Willard, have strong connections to the islands and the ferries that serve them. Colin Anderson works as a deck hand on Maquoit II. Like Willard, he grew up on Peaks Island. His two older brothers and his sister had summer jobs working on the ferries.

In 1981, the predecessor company that operated the ferries went bankrupt. To keep service to the island going, the state legislature created a quasi-municipal nonprofit corporation to take over. Its board of directors includes members elected by residents of the islands. “My dad was on the original board of directors,” Anderson said. He hopes to move up from deck hand to captain. “I took all my tests. I essentially have my (captain’s) license,” he said. He still needs to pass the medical exam, get letters of recommendation and document his sea time. “I have enough hours to get any size license,” he said. While some things, such as strong connections to the community, have not changed over the course of Willard’s career, many things have. One is the level of education attained by crewmembers. “Twenty to 30 years ago, no one had a degree in anything,” Willard said. “Today all the deck hands have a degree in something.” Deck hand Greg Jukins, for example, came to Maine to attend Bates College, a prestigious liberal arts institution from which he received a bachelor’s degree in math. He has been a full-time employee for the last two years. “I guess I kinda wanted to work on the water. I wanted to work as a stern man on a lobster boat,” he explained.

He ended up moving to Portland to look for work and landed a job on the ferries. Being a deck hand seems to suit him. He said he is not interested in getting a captain’s license. In some ways Willard and his crew would seem to occupy a very small world: a small group of sparsely populated islands far from the nearest big city. (Portland is about 100 miles northeast of Boston.) But Willard sees it differently. People come from all over to visit his home islands. And they rely on his boat to get them there. “The world comes to this boat,” he said. All his passengers are important of course. But his strongest connections are to his regular customers, the islanders who depend on him most. “This is a service. We pay attention to who gets on the boat,” he said. “We are here for them.” •

Hauling freight is an important part of the boat’s mission of supporting the island communities of Casco Bay. The boat’s crane has a 20-foot boom with a lifting capacity of 2 tons. In addition to typical cargoes such as building materials and food supplies, the mail boat carries a considerable amount of more unusual items, such as golf carts and port-a-johns.



At Work Bisso’s upgraded ASD tugs handle the Mississippi’s strong currents Story and photos by Brian Gauvin


apt. Christian Hoffman maneuvered the 96-foot azimuthing stern drive tug Beverly B alongside the bow of Energy 11103, a 391-foot Hornbeck tank barge made up to the 126-foot tug Freedom Service, upriver from New Orleans on the Mississippi River. After running with the barge for a ways, Hoffman nosed the tug perpendicular to the barge’s starboard bow and, in his understated words,

“pushed her around then jumped to the other side.” With the barge turned end-to-end and the tug on its port side, Hoffman followed the pilot’s commands and pushed the tug and barge to the Motiva Norco No. 4 dock. It was a single tug assignment and one to which a z-drive tug, working in a strong current, is suited. Beverly B was delivered to E.N. Bisso & Son in 2010, the second in a three-tug Above, the azimuthing stern drive tugboat Beverly B’s bow is equipped with a Markey DEPCF-42 electric single-drum hawser winch, with 500 feet of Samson Saturn-12 line. Left, Capt. Christian Hoffman maneuvers the 4,000-hp tug alongside a tank barge in the Mississippi River.

upgrade that included Josephine Anne and Elizabeth B. The three sisters were designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants, of Seattle, and built at Eastern Shipbuilding. During the previous decade, shipping companies had developed a thirst for muscular and quick ASD tugs on the river. At present, the four New Orleans tug companies boast a combined fleet of 13 z-drives. Quenching that thirst and the attributes of an ASD tug, especially the ability to exert an almost equal omnidirectional bollard pull, turned E.N. Bisso and Son’s attention to upgrading its fleet of conventional single- and twin-screw tugs. The 4,000-hp Beverly B is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C Tier 2 diesels, with Rolls-Royce MK2 azimuthing drives, turning four-blade propellers in 92-inch nozzles. The powertrain produces a Professional Mariner September 2013

Beverly B, a z-drive, demonstrates its omnidirectional maneuverability. Right, deck hand Ronald Murphy, Capt. Christian Hoffman, wheelman Dustin Jensonne, engineer Todd Rabalais and Operations Manager Steve Salles.

bollard pull of 55 tons. “I like the Cats and the generators are very quiet and make it good for living aboard,” said the engineer, Todd Rabalais. “And the engine room is very roomy with easy access to everything.” On the bow, which is the working end of a z-drive tug, is a Markey DEPCF-42 electric singledrum hawser winch, wound with 500 feet of Samson Saturn-12 line. On the aft deck, just ahead of the cooking grill, there is a Markey capstan and H-bitt. “Maneuverability is one of the best characteristics of this boat,“ said Hoffman. “And the handling is much quicker than on a conventional tug. Another great thing about this boat is that everyone on the boat gets along.” The E.N. Bisso fleet of 14 tugs covers 240 miles of the Mississippi River from its mouth to Baton Rouge, with two boats in Gulfport, Miss. Beverly B works a stretch of the river running from Chalmette Slip in St. Bernard Parish, upriver, past the company’s operations office adjacent to Audubon Park in New Orleans, to St. Rose. •

Above left, Beverly B, a Markey DEPCF-42 electric single-drum hawser winch with 500 feet of Samson Saturn-12 line on its bow, prepares to come up alongside a fuel barge. Right, water shoots out from the tug’s FFS fire monitor. Above, Beverly B’s Rolls-Royce MK2 azimuthing z-drive. Right, Rabalais with one of the boat’s Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines. The main engines total 4,000 hp.


Casualties Courtesy Parbuckling Project

Italian probe: Captain’s recklessness, crew’s mistakes caused deadly cruise-ship sinking captain who took an unscheduled side trip using the wrong A scale chart and sailing too fast,

Associated Press/Andrew Medichini

Capt. Francesco Schettino leaves an Italian court hearing in May. The former Costa Concordia captain is charged with manslaughter. Above, salvage equipment surrounds the wreckage this summer along Italy’s Giglio Island.


too close to a poorly lit coastline were among the causes of the Costa Concordia disaster, an Italian investigator report said. The cruise ship struck rocks about a half-mile off Giglio Island and sank, which resulted in 32 deaths. At least 157 people were injured. The failure of the bridge team to speak up to warn the captain of the looming danger to the ship was called “reprehensible,” according to an English translation of the casualty investigation issued in May by the Italian Ministry of Infrastruc-

ture and Transport. The disaster was made much worse by mistakes made after the vessel struck rocks. Capt. Francesco Schettino, bridge officers and Costa Crociere SpA officials did not immediately tell proper authorities about the casualty and they played down its severity. Schettino waited nearly an hour to sound the general alarm, and he and the crew did not follow proper emergency and evacuation procedures, the report said. The casualty is “a unique example for the lessons which may be learnt, despite the human tragedy and the master’s unconventional behavior, which represents the

Professional Mariner September 2013


maritime casualties

main cause of the shipwreck,” the investigators wrote. Schettino’s trial on multiple counts of manslaughter, causing the casualty and abandoning the vessel was scheduled for July. Five

other crew and company officials are facing trial. The report raised concerns about the immediate failure of the emergency generator that led to a shipwide blackout. Another issue

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was the location of essential equipment in Costa Concordia, such as the diesel generators, propulsion motors and bilge pumps in five adjacent watertight compartments, which flooded within minutes of the grounding. This casualty emphasizes the importance of cruise companies investing in safety, said Clark Dodge, a Hawaii-based passenger vessel safety consultant. “All those millions of dollars spent making the cabin and amenities gorgeous — I have no problem with that,” Dodge said. “But make sure the support goes along with it, in terms of safety and equipment.” Costa Concordia, carrying 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew, left the port of Civitavecchia at 1918 on Jan. 13, headed for Savona. The original voyage plan was a standard route between Civitavecchia and Savona. Schettino verbally told the Civitavecchia harbor master that he was changing the ship’s route. Schettino then took the ship close to Giglio Island to perform a “salute.” At 2145 local time, the 952foot cruise ship struck Scole Rocks, about a half-mile off Giglio Island. The impact caused a 174-foot hull breach on the vessel’s port side. Schettino did not tell search and rescue authorities about the incident right away. At 2207 the Italian coast guard unit at Civitavecchia contacted the ship. The captain reported a blackout and stated, “The situation is under control,” according to the report. At 2222 Schettino asked

Professional Mariner September 2013

the Civitavecchia coast guard for the help of two tugs because of a breach in the hull, stating that there were no injuries. But Schettino already knew that the situation was dire, investigators said. Within three minutes, the captain knew about the immediate flooding of watertight compartments (WTC). In 10 minutes, Schettino knew that WTCs 4, 5, 6, and 7 were flooded. Numerous mistakes were made regarding the emergency and evacuation orders. Schettino did not announce a general emergency until 48 minutes after striking the rocks. An abandon-ship order, which was not heard or understood by many passengers, was given an hour and nine minutes after grounding. At 2255 the first lifeboats were lowered. At 2320 Schettino and all other officers, except for the second officer, abandoned the bridge. At this point, there were 300 passengers and crew still on board, and the ship was listing between 25° to 30°. Some passengers ended up jumping into the sea. By 2400 the list reached 40°. Schettino did not activate the muster list, and he abandoned ship while passengers and crew were still on board. “There was chaos and confusion; lack of communication” during the evacuation, the authors of the casualty report wrote. “In other words, complete disorganization.” Some of the errors included: The cruise director sent passengers away from muster stations, asking them to return to the lounges;

most of the deck staff were disoriented and did not follow procedures, and some crew told passengers in the corridors to return to their cabins, saying that the crisis was only a blackout which would

be resolved soon. In addition, there were communication problems among crewmembers and between crewmembers and passengers that hampered emergency and evacuation proce-


maritime casualties

dures. There were 38 nationalities represented by the ship’s crew. Italian was the working language. The first engineer, a Bulgarian, said he did not fully understand orders given in Italian. The helms-


man twice did not understand the captain’s orders given in English just before the grounding. The radio officer said that the boatswain, while lowering a lifeboat, gave orders in Italian and Eng-

lish to crewmembers from South America. Some U.S. passengers said many of the crew at muster stations did not speak English. The report states these errors were because of the different backgrounds and training of the crew. “It appears, therefore, that the recruitment of crewmembers, carried out by external agencies worldwide, plays a fundamental role in the management of emergencies,” the report’s authors wrote. The report states that a more internationally shared language, instead of Italian, would have helped during the emergency phase. Errors were made as Costa Concordia approached Giglio Island. A chart of at least 1/50.000 should have been used; instead a chart of 1/100.000 scale was used. When Costa Concordia left Civitavecchia, officers on the bridge were the first officer, second officer, third officer, apprentice and helmsman, according to the report. The chief purser, hotel director and catering services manager were also on the bridge. Schettino came on the bridge about 10 minutes before the casualty. Three minutes later the captain made a phone call. When Schettino took command, Costa Concordia was at a heading of 290°. He ordered the helmsman to change course to 300°, to increase speed to 16 knots and pull “gently” to 310°. At 2140 Schettino ordered a course, in English, “325.” In confirming, the helmsman answered “315” and the

Professional Mariner September 2013

no power for the emergency bilge pumps. The rudder became completely blocked starboard and no longer handled. The UPS batteries did kick in, powering internal communica-

tions and some emergency lighting. However, several passengers said their cabins were in total darkness and they had to use the light from their cellphones to find their life jackets.

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first officer attempted to correct the helmsman, but stated “335.” The captain restated “325” which the helmsman repeated correctly. Two minutes later, the captain ordered “350” but the helmsman repeated “340.” The order is repeated and confirmed correctly. The radius of the turn took Costa Concordia much closer to Giglio Island than the captain had planned. Schettino then switched to rudder angles for his orders. Mistakes made during this part of the trip were: Windows on the bridge were closed, preventing awareness of the sea crashing against nearby rocks; shifting from a perpendicular to a parallel course extremely close to the coast; the bridge team not paying attention to ship steering, checking the ship’s position and lookout; Schettino’s poor review of a hazardous navigation plan; using the wrong chart and failing to take into account the distance to the coast; and failing to rely on support of the bridge team. The first officer said that Schettino had difficulty reading the radar screen since he had the wrong glasses on. The report criticizes the passive attitude of the bridge before the grounding. “Nobody seemed to have urged the master to accelerate the turn or to give warning on the looming danger,” the authors wrote. The report raises concerns about the loss of emergency power in the vessel. The emergency generator ran for 41 seconds before shutting off. As a consequence, there was

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Professional Mariner September 2013

Dodge said that there should be emergency lighting that runs off individual batteries. “Every space that has the possibility of a passenger in it should have a separate emergency light that is separate from the main bus,” he said. Another concern was the concentration of vital equipment in the five watertight compartments that flooded (4, 5, 6, 7 and 8). WTC 4 contained the main thrust bearings and hydraulic units. WTC 5 contained the propulsion electric motors, fire and bilge pumps, propulsion and engine ventilation transformers and propulsion transformers. WTC 6 contained three main diesel generators, aft. WTC 7 contained three main diesel generators, forward. WTC 8 contained the ballast and bilge pumps. The report recommends, for newbuilds, double-skin protection for WTCs containing vital equipment for propulsion and electricity. The report suggests that two items be discussed: locating essential systems in watertight compartments, not next to each other, and more detailed requirements for the distribution, along the length of the ship, of bilge pumps so that at least one bilge pump can drain huge quantities of water. Dodge was disappointed that there was not more information about the engineering issues with the ship. “It pointed fingers at management and operations,” he said. “I thought to myself, from a chief engineer standpoint, maybe there should be a separate engineering report.” David A. Tyler

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maritime casualties

Captain agrees to plead guilty to seaman’s manslaughter in 2011 parasailing death he captain of a powerboat that was involved in a fatal parasailing T accident in the U.S. Virgin Islands

in 2011 pleaded guilty to seaman’s manslaughter. The company that owned the vessel pleaded no contest. Kyle Coleman, 33, was operating the 31-foot powerboat Turtle during a parasailing expedition near Charlotte Amalie Harbor when the accident occurred Nov. 15, 2011. The pleas, entered in June of this year, acknowledge that criminal negligence caused the accident that killed Bernice G. Kraftcheck, 60, and injured her daughter, Danielle Haese, 34. According to a Coast Guard report, the two women were hoisted into the air for a parasail ride as wind conditions were deteriorating. Strong winds and a weak towline caused the line to break, resulting in the parasail separating from the vessel and causing the two women to fall into the water. The wind then propelled the parasail, with the women still attached, at a very high rate of speed, causing the death of Kraftcheck and serious injuries to Haese. “In this case, both the company and the captain failed to observe wind conditions, safely maintain all equipment and adequately prepare for emergencies,” said Ronald W. Sharpe, U.S. Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands. “We hope that the victim’s families will take some comfort from the fact that both the company and captain will be held responsible for their

criminal negligence.” Coleman will be sentenced under the Seaman’s Manslaughter Statute and will face a maximum penalty of one-year incarceration and a $5,000 fine, plus restitution to the victims. Caribbean Watersports & Tours, the owner of the vessel, faces a maximum penalty of five years of probation and $250,000 restitution to the victims. Sentencing is set for Sept. 12. A spokeswoman for Caribbean Watersports & Tours reported that the company will permanently close, irrespective of the court’s sentencing decision. Coleman could not be reached for comment. In 2009, following a parasailing accident that killed two people, the Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Alert to the industry, reminding operators “to be vigilant in their observations of current and forecasted weather and sea conditions with particular attention paid to wind speed. Approaching weather patterns or squall lines present significant hazards to these operations due to sudden and dramatic shifts in wind direction, gusty winds or even lightning.” The Coast Guard has stated that captains should follow the operating standards published by the Professional Association of Parasail Operators (PAPO). The San Diego-based safety organization could not be reached for comment on the Turtle case. Andrew Hopkins

Professional Mariner September 2013

Tanker gets stuck alongside New Hampshire bridge after mooring fails

burg, Germany. With a crew of 20, the vessel had arrived in Portsmouth on March 31, Barrow said. The next morning it loaded a full cargo of the animal fat tallow, which can be used for biofuels, in cooking or for making soap, and tall oil, a byproduct of pulping wood used in making rubber and

The port side of the tanker Harbour Feature comes to rest against the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in the Piscataqua River. Damage to the bridge and vessel, which had broken loose from the nearby New Hampshire State Pier, totalled $3 million.

slack at 1804. “Upon arriving at the State Pier, it moored starboard-side-to with three bow lines, four spring lines and three stern lines,” Barrow said. “At 1313 one of the able-bodied seamen reported that the forward mooring lines were tight and then slack.”

Courtesy New Hampshire Department of Transportation


473-foot tanker broke loose from a pier and came to rest against a bridge on the river separating New Hampshire and Maine, resulting in $3 million in damage to the ship and bridge. Harbour Feature struck the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge at 1327 on April 1. The highway bridge was closed for six weeks because of damage to its support structure. Crew reported mooring difficulties when the tanker was at the New Hampshire State Pier in Portsmouth, N.H., said Coast Guard Lt. Nick Barrow, supervisor of the operations center at Sector Northern New England. The ship’s bow lines initially gave way. “Witnesses on the vessel and on the pier observed some smoke coming from the forward mooring winches,” Barrow said. “The master ordered the crew to stand by at fore and aft mooring stations and ordered the bow thrusters to go full starboard and then ordered the port anchor let go. Subsequently the vessel broke free from the pierside and the bow proceeded to drift outward from the pier on the flood tide.” The rest of the dock lines snapped and the ship was carried away by the flood tide from the State Pier and pinned against the bridge. The two-year-old Portugueseflagged chemical tank ship is owned by Sechste NordtankHamburg GmbH & Co. of Ham-

ink, at the Sprague Energy facility at the River Road Terminal. At noon, the vessel was moved from that dock. “It then shifted to the New Hampshire State Pier for the purpose of taking on caustic soda, which is a tank cleaning agent, and bunker for the ship’s own fuel before departing New Hampshire for the United Kingdom,” he said. The ship arrived at the State Pier at 1236 with the wind out of 290° at 12 knots with predicted slack water at 1250 and high water

That’s when the smoke was noticed and Harbour Feature began to break loose. The vessel drifted a short distance before coming to rest alongside the bridge. The ship remained against the bridge until that evening when it was pulled free at the next slack tide. The total damage estimate for ship and bridge was about $3 million, Barrow said. There was damage to the hull below and above the waterline. This included a 20-foot dent and scrape along the


maritime casualties

port side aft, a dent and puncture in the aft side corner, a dent and a puncture amidships and a puncture 18 inches long 15 feet below the waterline. That breached the port side water ballast tank so river water entered but was contained within the tank and was pumped out by the ship’s pump system. That breach was patched and pressure-tested prior to departure. There was damage to the superstructure in numerous places and damage to the lifeboat and its cradle, railings and the port side utility crane. After a damage survey, a repair plan was developed and tem-


porary repairs were completed. The captain of the port in South Portland, Maine, authorized the ship to depart. It sailed April 11 to distribute its cargo in the United Kingdom and then proceed to a shipyard for permanent repairs. The 73-year-old bridge carries the Route 1 Bypass between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, across the Piscataqua River. Another of the three bridges in the area was already closed for reconstruction, said Bill Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. “The damage was significant,” Boynton said. A key structural

member at the bottom of the Long Bridge and two diagonal support members were damaged. The bridge was closed to traffic until May 13 while an emergency contract was awarded and the damage repaired. The damage estimate to the bridge was $2.5 million, and the two states that jointly own the span are suing the shipowner to recover the loss. Barrow said no cargo or fuel spilled from Harbour Feature. The Coast Guard is investigating the accident with the help of the National Transportation Safety Board. Bill Bleyer

Professional Mariner September 2013

NTSB: Ship crashed into Ky. bridge because of pilot’s error, faulty lights

2000 in rainy weather. Delta Mariner’s personnel followed a green light that lured them through a span used by recreational vessels. The vertical clearance was 33.4 feet. The ship’s vertical height was 50 feet, eight feet less than the height of the center span that would have provided safe passage. The crew reported that it was misled by the lighting, and the NTSB agreed. “Most of the navigation lights on Eggners Ferry Bridge were extinguished, including the lights marking the main navigation span, which was the intended route of the vessel,” the NTSB said. “The majority of the white lights marking the center of the main navigation span had been extinguished for at least a year prior to the accident and likely for several years.” The NTSB explained the usage of the term “contract pilot” to represent an additional mariner that joined the oceangoing ship’s crew to provide advice on navigating the river system: Foss “regularly hired experienced towing vessel masters to guide and assist the bridge team for the portion of the inland rivers route between Decatur, Ala., and Baton Rouge, La. ... They were not federally or state-licensed pilots but held Coast Guard-issued master Associated Press/Stephen Lance Dennee


cargo ship struck and destroyed a Kentucky bridge span last year because of the operator’s over-reliance on a contract pilot and failure to consult electronic charting and radar, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said. Navigation lighting on Eggners Ferry Bridge was not functioning when Delta Mariner, a 312-foot ship carrying rocket components, transited the wrong span on the night of Jan. 26, 2012. With the vertical clearance too low, the rollon, roll-off vessel slammed into the span, knocking down a 322foot section of the highway bridge. Delta Mariner, operated by Foss Maritime Co., was using the Tennessee River system on a voyage from Decatur, Ala., to Cape Canaveral, Fla. The bridge spans Kentucky Lake near Aurora, Ky. The probable cause of the accident was “the bridge team’s exclusive reliance on the contract pilot’s incorrect navigational direction as the vessel approached the bridge and their failure to use all available navigation tools to verify the safety of the vessel’s course,” the NTSB said. Contributing factors were Foss Maritime’s “failure to exercise effective safety oversight of the Delta Mariner’s operations and the failure of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to effectively maintain bridge navigation lighting,” the report said. The crash occurred at about

The cargo ship Delta Mariner destroyed a 322foot section of Eggners Ferry Bridge when it was piloted through a span that was too low for the transit. A report cited human error.

of towing vessel licenses,” a report footnote stated. During testimony at an investigative hearing, crewmembers stated that there was confusion over the vessel’s proper posture as it approached Eggners Ferry Bridge. Neither the contract pilot nor the officers made full use of electronic charts and radar while aiming toward the span, the report said. “The contract pilot and bridge team focused exclusively on the few lights visible on the bridge while ignoring readily available electronic charting system displays, which could have provided critical information about the vessel’s position in relation to the bridge and the bridge’s correct lighting scheme,” the investigators wrote. “The contract pilot continued to direct the vessel toward a span that was too low for the Delta Mariner. Further, despite the contract pilot’s apparent uncertainty, none of the bridge team challenged his direc-


maritime casualties

tions,” the report said. The investigators said Foss Maritime should have paid more attention to the navigation risks on the inland voyages of Delta Mariner, which was specially made to transport rocket parts for aerospace consortia and regularly sails to inland Alabama. “Due to the vessel’s good safety record and the company’s reliance on proactive safety measures and a crew of well-trained, experienced deep-sea mariners to provide a high level of safety, the company became complacent regarding the safety of the vessel’s operations,” the NTSB said.

The NTSB recommended that Foss develop a more detailed passage plan for the inland waters, with more specifics on risks, and to more clearly define contract pilots’ necessary expertise and duties. Scott Merritt, Foss’s senior vice president of operations, said Foss has followed through on the recommendations. “Foss has implemented these changes to enhance safety and follow a process of continual improvement as we work towards a zero-incident operation,” Merritt said in a statement to Professional Mariner. “Included in these improvements are changes that

directly respond to the NTSB recommendations and have been implemented into our operations.” The contract pilot could not be reached for comment. The NTSB recommends that the Coast Guard identify bridges with chronic navigation lighting deficiencies and to review the way it notifies mariners of the problems. The NTSB recommends that the Federal Highway Administration alert state transportation departments of the circumstances of the Delta Mariner accident and to remind them of their responsibility to maintain bridge lighting. Dom Yanchunas

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Professional Mariner September 2013

Oil spill leads to fire, environmental cleanup aboard ship at Valdez

Aa general cargo ship after

small fire broke out aboard

“The crew noticed that some of the mineral oil was spilling onto the deck, so they put some sawdust down to try to absorb some of the oil,” Eggert said. “There was a welder doing some work there, and a spark from the welding lit up some of the sawdust. (The fire) was quickly put out by the crew of the vessel, and none of the product actually made it into the water.” BBC Arizona, which sails under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda,

mineral oil spilled out of containers, triggering a two-week environmental response at a Valdez, Alaska, dock. The owner of the 456-foot BBC Arizona was cited for allegedly failing to notify the U.S. Coast Guard about a hazardous condition aboard the ship. The proposed fine is $5,000. The Coast Guard was first called to the vessel May 31, when a small fire started that was related to the spilled oil, said Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert, a Coast Guard spokesman in Anchorage.

Photos courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

was in Valdez because part of its load was Alaska-bound bridgeconstruction components. The containers of oil were destined for a later port-of-call in South America, said Petty Officer Greg Livingston, a damage controlman with the Coast Guard’s Pacific Strike Team. In a statement, the Alaska Department of Environmental Left, stevedores at Valdez, Alaska, use a crane to shift cargo aboard BBC Arizona to facilitate the cleanup of an onboard oil spill. Above, Christopher DeHaven of Emerald Alaska Inc. sprays down one of the offloaded containers.

Conservation said the incident occurred “right next to” the Valdez Duck Flats, an ecologically sensitive site. Initially, the spilled cargo was reported to be transformer oil, which is hazardous. Responders later discovered that it was a more benign oil, but the substance still needed to be removed properly. “They determined it was mineral oil, and it was organic,” Livingston said. “They had it contained on the ship, and the ship needed to be cleaned and the containers offloaded.” BBC Arizona is owned by W. Bockstiegel Reederei of Emden, Germany. The company didn’t respond to requests for comment. Its U.S. representative in the incident response was Gallagher Marine Systems of Mount Laurel, N.J. Gallagher’s West Coast response services director, Chris Graff, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. Eggert said investigators hadn’t yet made a specific determination of the cause as of July. He said there was some kind of breakage in multiple containers. “The oil was being transported in huge bladders, like a giant canteen made of synthetic plastic material,” Eggert said. “The most likely scenario is the bladders somehow failed. Maybe they somehow tore.” The environmental cleanup project also involved Emerald Alaska Inc., Alaska Chadux, North Star Terminal & Stevedore Co. 39

maritime casualties

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

and the Port of Valdez. The first week of the response concentrated on environmental mitigation and

An environmental response crew finishes the deployment of a temporary decontamination and containment site on the pier next to BBC Arizona. Each container was placed within the 30-foot-by100-foot containment area for processing and cleansing.

building the decontamination area alongside the dock, Livingston said. A two-person jon boat was

used to tend boom that had been placed around the ship as a precaution. During the second week, the containers were removed, emptied of all cargo and cleaned. “They wrapped each container up in plastic, so when they transferred the containers across the dock, nothing would spill in the water,” Livingston said. “They put the oil in a frac tank and cleaned off all the containers.” The project was finished on June 14, he said, and BBC Arizona was cleared to depart for its scheduled southbound voyage. Dom Yanchunas

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3/27/13 3:50 PM

Tanker and bulk carrier collide while passing in the Gulf of Mexico


wo large ships sailing in opposite directions suffered hull damage after a T-bone-style collision near Galveston, Texas. The incident involving the 900foot oil tanker Profit and the 625-foot bulk carrier Imperial Spirit occurred at about 0550 on May 30 as the ships were engaged in a passing maneuver, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The accident occurred in the Gulf of Mexico nearly 30 miles southwest of Galveston. A cause had not been announced as of July. “It is very strange how it happened,” said Lt. Derricka DeJean, chief of investigations for Marine Safety Unit Texas City. “There were a lot of (ships) in the area, but not enough to influence the collision. It was pretty open water.” The Coast Guard is not formally investigating the accident because it occurred in international waters. The Coast Guard gathered and reviewed evidence on the collision, but has since turned it over to each ship’s respective flag state. Profit is registered in Malta, while Imperial Spirit is Panamanian-flagged.

Profit was inbound toward the The port bow of Imperial Spirit Port of Houston loaded with 19 struck the starboard side near the bow million gallons of crude oil. Imperial of Profit, damaging both vessels at or Spirit was outbound from Houston above the waterline. Neither vessel en route to Nigeria with a load of was in danger of sinking, the Coast grain. There were no injuries, and Guard said. none of the oil escaped the tanker. “The Profit had lightered already A National Oceanic and Atmoand she was riding pretty high. That spheric Administration weather buoy is probably a reason why she didn’t located in the vicinity of the accident take on more water,” DeJean said. recorded winds of about 8 mph with The ship “suffered a good amount gusts up to 10 mph at 0530 on May of damage” including a deep gash to 30. The buoy does not record wave its hull. height, but DeJean indicated weather Both ships sailed under their is likely not a factor. own power into an anchorage near It wasn’t clear if the two vessels Galveston for inspection. Both susmade passing arrangements before tained damage that required repairs, the collision, DeJean said. It’s also not although the Coast Guard did not clear which ship initiated the contact. provide specifics. Navigational aids that help guide the Profit, a Suezmax tanker built in ships traveling in the shipping lanes 2009, is managed by Istanbul-based were working at the time, she said. Geden Lines. The company did not “One tried to get out of the way respond to e-mail requests for comof the other and in that case they ment on the accident. both veered out of the safety fairImperial Spirit, which was built way,” DeJean said. She added that in 2005, is operated by Hong Kongboth boats appeared to be within the smithberger13h 12/3/07 based 3:19Northstar PM PageShip 1 Management. fairway until just before the collision A Northstar manager declined to when “they realized something was answer questions about the accident. about to happen.” Casey Conley

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maritime casualties

Tanker, barges damaged in Houston collision during poor visibility n outbound Aframax oil tanker was damaged in a collision with A multiple barges traveling inbound in

side of channel.” She said it’s possible the Coast Guard will never know what happened, an outcome she described as extremely unusual.

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

chief of investigations for Marine Safety Unit Texas City. “Both of them were on their side, the Houston Ship Channel. but it looks like one drifted too far to The June 2 accident tore a gash one side and they hit each other,” she in the 800-foot Minerva Maya and said, adding that both sides claim the caused all five barges to break away other is at fault. from the tugboat M.L. Crochet. The M.L. Crochet was not traveling in barges floated free in the channel but the barge lane at the time of the acciwere quickly rounded up, according dent, the Coast Guard said. to the U.S. Coast Guard. A review of vessel traffic service Investigators who have reviewed (VTS) data yielded few clues, she available data and vessel communisaid, because it wasn’t zoomed 10/29/08 9:12 AM cations equipment aren’t sure whatburrard17v_updated.qxd in closely enough. “All you see is caused the accident, or which ship those two really close, but you can’t was at fault, said Lt. Derricka DeJean, make out which is on the wrong

Page 1 A collision with a barge in the Houston Ship Channel resulted in this gash in the hull of the tanker Minerva Maya.



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Professional Mariner September 2013

The accident occurred at about 0830 during a period of rain, high winds and thunderstorms in the Houston area. Coast Guard records indicate “visibility was at a minimum,” DeJean said. The Greek-flagged tanker was outbound toward Port Arthur, Texas, after unloading at the Port of Houston. The twin-screw, 1,000-hp M.L. Crochet was pushing barges loaded with lube oil and naphtha toward a fleeting area on the San Jacinto River. The two vessels did not make passing arrangements and were not required to, DeJean said. Investigators don’t believe either vessel was trying to avoid another vessel or obstruction

prior to the accident. “We initially got word that there was another vessel that the Minerva Maya was trying to avoid, but when we looked at the VTS playback, the vessel was nowhere near the Minerva Maya,” DeJean said. The barges scraped across much of Minerva Maya’s hull, opening a gash above the waterline on its port bow. The barges were damaged, although none sank and none of the oil escaped, the Coast Guard said. The barges floated free in the middle of the channel until M.L. Crochet and another tugboat rounded them up. There were no injuries. Two Houston Pilots were aboard

Minerva Maya passing orders to the ship’s crew, the Coast Guard said. It’s not clear what if any impact they had on the accident. Henry de La Garza, a spokesman for the pilots group, declined to comment on the incident “until the investigation is concluded and a report of findings is issued.” Minerva Maya is managed by Athens, Greece-based Minerva Marine. The company did not respond to requests for comment. M.L. Crochet is operated by Louisiana-based M.L. Crochet Towing Co. Contact information for the company could not be found. • Casey Conley

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trends & currents

Courtesy Appleton Marine

Onboard cranes getting bigger, safer, more efficient by Rich Miller


his company is experiencing gains that reflect shifting economic and political realities. “We are seeing increased interest in marine crane sales in the overseas oil and gas market in areas such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the west coast of Africa,” he Above, an Appleton Marine knuckle boom crane rises high above the ocean aboard Petrobras P-57, a floating production, storage and offloading vessel. Right, Allied Systems’ K30-30 knuckle boom crane uses active heave compensation to prevent the vessel’s motion from being transferred to the load.

Courtesy Allied Systems


global rebound in offshore oil and gas exploration is helping to drive demand for shipboard cranes that are larger, more technologically advanced and safer to operate than their predecessors. Crane manufacturers are seeing their equipment deployed on a growing number of vessels that serve the petroleum industry, from workboats and OSVs to floating exploration platforms. As the drilling has increased, so has the workload for cranes handling jobs above and below the surface. Dan Lanxon, marketing manager for the Marine Crane Division at Allied Systems, a Sherwood, Ore.based producer of fixed, knuckle and telescopic boom cranes, said

said. “With sequestration upon us, Allied has moved toward doing more business in (this) sector, as well as the scientific community. We are seeing some activity with research vessels upgrading and new vessel builds throughout the global science community.” Lanxon said technological advances have led to changes in how shipboard cranes are constructed and how they are used. He cited features such as active heave compensation, which uses onboard motion sensors to raise or lower a load to keep it at a fixed position relative to the seabed. “In the past, the majority of our cranes were built to handle loads above sea level, and now we are seeing more RFPs (requests for proposal) and orders for subsea units,” he said. “We are doing more work for companies working in subsea conditions, whether it is handling systems to release ROVs or … maintenance and emergency operations on well equipment at the ocean’s floor.” Reed Okawa, sales manager for Hydra-Pro, said the Seattle-based crane manufacturer has experienced its strongest growth in the Gulf of Mexico. The petroleum industry is behind a lot of that, he said, with

Professional Mariner September 2013

installations on workboats and OSVs leading the way. “We’re doing larger cranes — the average is getting bigger every year,” Okawa said. “In the deepwater sector, we’re doing a lot of ROV and offshore recovery stuff. In the petroleum transport sector, there’s barges, tankers, exploration platforms. As for demand for particular cranes, it’s pretty much across the board.” The largest of Hydra-Pro’s marine cranes can reach up to 100 feet. Weight capacities range from 2 tons for the company’s smallest cranes to 200 tons for its largest. In addition to producing equipment that can reach farther and lift more weight, crane manufacturers are incorporating features to improve performance across all environments and industries. “High-strength steel, boom linkages, more efficient hydraulics, more compact and efficient winches and improved paint systems have made even the most basic marine cranes better,” said Jeff Birchard, technical manager for Atlas Polar, a Toronto-based company whose cranes are deployed on vessels ranging from commercial fishing boats to Arctic icebreakers. “Features and accessories like RCL (rated capacity limiter), anti-two-block systems and radio remote controls are available and becoming more popular with marine cranes.” Birchard said remote control systems have become so popular and reliable on truck cranes that they are almost standard, but that hasn’t translated quite yet to marine applications. “The move to remote control

systems on marine cranes has been slow, but the trend is there, especially with larger cranes,” he said. Shea Nimocks, sales manager for Appleton Marine Inc., a crane manufacturer in Appleton, Wis., said there are more choices for remote control equipment now than there have been in the past as suppliers cater to the evolving market. “The use of radio units in place of tethered units allows the operators more freedom to move around as they operate the cranes,” Nimocks said. “There are also options now for remote operation equipment suitable for use in hazardous locations. This

… where preprogrammed moves eliminate the need for additional personnel supporting the handling (of loads).” Calling the safety of Allied’s customers and employees its paramount concern, Lanxon said the company often complies with new safety regulations before they are announced to the public. Allied is a licensed American Petroleum Institute manufacturer and — depending on the needs of the client — its cranes can be manufactured and certified to the standards of the American Bureau of Shipping and Lloyd’s Register.

The use of advanced marine cranes isn’t limited to the petroleum sector or warm climates. The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy deploys a range of Allied Systems cranes for Arctic duty. Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

is important for applications in the offshore (and) petroleum segments.” The biggest change in remote control cranes in the past few years involves the development of advanced joysticks and controllers that are more adjustable and have a finer range of operation, according to Lanxon of Allied Systems. “This allows the operator to work with (greater) peace of mind knowing that the controls are not as erratic as some older versions,” he said. “Recently we have also seen an increase in automated operations

“It is the crane manufacturer’s responsibility to stay current with all safety guidelines and regulations and to inform customers when their requirements are in conflict,” Lanxon said. “We need to constantly monitor the regulations of several different regulating agencies and stay informed. That’s really the difficult part, keeping informed (about) the changes so the implementation is seamless.” Nimocks, of Appleton Marine, said regulatory changes have resulted in “what are essentially higher safety 45

trends & currents

Courtesy Hydra-Pro

factors” for the design of cranes. Manufacturers are also giving more consideration to designing their equipment for a wider range of conditions, he said. “Many of these cranes are being used to handle personnel as well as cargo, which emphasizes even more the need for safe, reliable operation,” he said. “Some customers have developed their own specifications that serve as an addendum to internationally

A 60-foot Hydra-Pro fixed boom crane is set up with two winches for handling petroleum hoses on a fuel barge.

Moving dredges, oil rigs,and project cargoes for the worldwide industry. Four tugs.

recognized standards. This gives them more input into how the cranes are designed and manufactured for them.” The attention to safety can pay dividends not only in reducing the number of shipboard accidents, but also in boosting the bottom line of manufacturers. Okawa said that was the case at Hydra-Pro. “One of the things we did some years ago is we became an American Petroleum Institute licensed manufacturer,” he said. “We put a quality control system in place as well as minimum engineering guidelines, which gives us more credibility in the marketplace.” •

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Retail Partners continued from page 48

finished, and I was told that I’d be notified when my renewal card was ready for pickup. I was expecting a one- to two-month wait while the background check was being conducted — around the same time it took for my original TWIC card to be issued. Instead, it was a pleasant surprise when just two weeks later, in mid-April, I got a call that it was ready. I once again called 1-866-DHS-TWIC and made an appointment to pick it up. That day Debora again ushered me back to her cubicle, this time for the card activation. There was a keypad on her desk where I had to input the TWIC password I chose, which would be needed if/when any TWIC card reader machines are installed at U.S. cargo terminals and refineries. The password had to be between six and eight characters long and input into the system twice for verification. I was then issued my new TWIC card and was asked for my old card. I hadn’t brought it with me, not realizing that I was supposed to. Luckily, my new TWIC could still be activated, but Debora told me that my old, now-obsolete card should be returned in the mail to the TSA/ TWIC Arlington, Va., address on the back of it.

Compared to my first TWIC card experience, the renewal process was far better. It cost less money, there were no huge lines at the TWIC center and the fingerprinting went much smoother and faster. I figure that after five years Lockheed Martin had finally got many of the “bugs” worked out. That, however, may be a moot point, because it was recently announced that a new TWIC enrollment provider would be taking over Lockheed Martin’s contract in the summer of 2013. It will be interesting to see what the learning curve will be for MorphoTrust. Already I have heard the good news that they plan to use mobile TWIC activation units, which could make it easier for mariners living in one of the 10 states that do not have a TWIC enrollment center. I’ll report to you on any other changes that MorphoTrust may implement the next time I renew my TWIC card — in March 2018. Till next time, I wish you all smooth sailin’. • Kelly Sweeney holds the licenses of master (oceans, any gross tons) and master of towing vessels (oceans), and regularly sails on a wide variety of 6:50 hart_13h 3/20/07 commercial vessels. He lives on an island near Seattle. You can contact him at

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A Mariner’s Notebook

by Capt. Kelly Sweeney

Five years later, a smoother trip through the TWIC process


nyone who holds a U.S. Coast Guardissued Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) must have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card. A little more than five years ago, like thousands of others, I “jumped through the hoops” and was issued my card. By the time the process was complete, I was glad to have that done — at least until the end of March 2013. Knowing that my TWIC was due to expire this spring, in early March I called 1-866-DHS-TWIC to make the appointment for my renewal. I had heard from a chief engineer friend of mine that I only had to go in once to get my renewal, but during the phone call I found out that convenience was only for an Extended Expiration Date (EED) TWIC. An EED TWIC renewal essentially extends the expiration


of the old card by three years, but is limited to U.S. citizens/nationals whose TWIC expires before the end of 2014. For those like me who want the full five-year renewal, or whose existing card has already expired, two trips to the TWIC center are still required. I pre-enrolled and made my appointment for the third week of March. Because it had been five years since I’d gone through the process, the night before I checked the official TWIC website, http://twicprogram.tsa.dhs. gov, to make sure of what to bring with me the next day. One of the first things I saw was the requirement that anyone applying for a TWIC has to bring in three pieces of approved identification, one from “List A” and two from “List B.” There are seven different ID cards that meet the requirements for List A. I chose to use my U.S. passport. There are 15 pieces of ID that make up List B, and two must be chosen — with at least one being a governmentissued card with a picture. I

decided on my Washington driver’s license and my MMC. It also reminded me that I could not pay my TWIC fee with cash or personal check. So the next day, before driving in for my appointment, I stopped by my bank and got a cashier’s check for $129.75. It was one of those rainy/windy/sunny/cloudy Northwest spring days when I made my twoand-a-half-hour trip to the Seattle TWIC center. Five years earlier, when I enrolled for my original TWIC card, the center was located in a vacant Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge in the Georgetown section of south Seattle. It is now located in the back of a brown, glass-fronted building across the street from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office, near the Duwamish waterway. Traffic was better than I had expected and I got there a half-hour early, parked my truck and then headed in. I was met by Debora, one of the agents at the center, and told her of my appointment. After a few minutes I was asked back

to her cubicle to begin the process. Verifying my ID with my documents from “List A” and “List B,” and paying my fee was the first order of business. Debora then put my personal information such as date of birth, address and occupation into the computer, took a digital photograph of me for my card and began the fingerprinting. When I got my original TWIC card I had a very difficult time with the fingerprinting. The agent told me then that around 3 percent of the applicants had worn-down fingerprints like I did, presumably from years of rough work at sea with their hands, and that made it too hard to get a good scan. Supposedly, new software introduced since helped solve that problem. I was still apprehensive as I put my fingers on the screen, however. Luckily, things were better than before, and Debora was able to get all my fingerprints done after only three tries — not the 20 it took the first time. At that point we were continued on page 47

Professional Mariner September 2013


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Professional Mariner #172  

September 2013 Professional Mariner magazine

Professional Mariner #172  

September 2013 Professional Mariner magazine