Thursday, 28 May 2009

Industry Snapshots

Coming up: anti collision device for whales and manatees: reports that scientists at Florida Atlantic University have mooted the idea of an alarm that could be installed on ships and stop them colliding with sea creatures. “The ‘danger zone’ for a marine mammal is the area of water stretching out from bow of the ship. Here, a phenomenon known as "acoustic shadowing" can reduce the noise coming from the ship's propellers”, scientists say. Basically, the ship's hull block the higher frequency propeller sounds of the propellers, and, since the lower frequency sounds produced by ships disappear close to the surface of the water, an effective silence zone is cast ahead of a moving ship. Whales and manatees seem to try to ‘hide’ in these quieter areas, which are actually the most dangerous as the ship continues to head towards them. A new device should fix this problem: it involves fixing a transmitter on the bow and filling up the silence zone ahead of the ship with a narrow beam of noise that whales and manatees in the path of the ship can hear, and which does not interfere with creatures in surrounding water. It has already been tested on some US navy vessels.

Tanker owners pore over IMO fine print in a possible bid to keep their single hulled tankers in service beyond 2010. The Gibson Tanker Report confirms, meanwhile, that there are some flag States that may allow single hulled tankers to remain in service until 2015. “Provision for these loophole extensions has always existed,” the report says, adding that ‘teenage’ tankers could continue trading “provided they meet strict classification inspection and have a condition assessment certificate.” Gibson says that although single hulled owners are examining options, it does not think many owners will extend the working life of their tankers in the end for two reasons: they will still need ports that accept their single hulled ships, and there is considerable double hulled new tonnage in the pipeline.

West Bengal Government to build new port at Hooghly mouth, reports the Economic Times, as Haldia continues to suffer because of a fall in channel draughts. "The port that we urgently require might not be as big as the deep sea port," state Industry Secretary Sabyasachi Sen told reporters, referring to earlier government plans of building a big seaport in the area. It is believed that the government is in a hurry to provide connectivity to the proposed Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) project that is being built near Haldia. The WB government wants to make the PCPIR project a chemical and petrochemical hub.

Indian Coastal Shipping well poised to take over from road transport on domestic long hauls, reports the Livemint Wall Street Journal. Quoting Saju Chacko of Caravel Logistics, the report points out that the cost of transporting containers from the North to the South can be almost halved by using a rail/sea combination instead of trucks. Indian coastal shipping’s market share in domestic movement is abysmal at present at just seven percent; comparable figures in Europe are around 43%. Besides Caravel, SCI, Shreyas, Seaways and Jindal Waterways are amongst many set to exploit this opportunity, the report says.

Meanwhile, back in the USSR: A retired Soviet naval officer has revealed that some Somali pirates have been trained at USSR naval schools. Rear Admiral Sergey Bliznyuk told a Ukrainian newspaper that he had personally come across some men he now believes are behind many hijackings, Fairplay reports. “There are many former military men among the Somalis who have perfected the tactics of sea combat,” he said. “The majority of these 40 or 50 year olds were trained in the former Soviet Union.” It is believed that the Soviets trained naval personnel in the days of President Siad Barre for a few other countries as well.



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