A somewhat opinionated commentary on U.S. and
Canadian maritime matters.
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Delivers First Brazilian PSV
The first of five 284-foot PSVs, the Bravante
V, has been delivered to the Bravante Group by Eastern Shipbuilding.
Read Eastern's announcement
This is another major step forward for Eastern, which has been one of our
busiest shipyards for several years now, with some impressive projects under its
belt. The current order book includes not only the other four Bravantes
but also four PSVs and two big construction boats for Harvey Gulf, nine PSVs for
Hornbeck, five towboats - #s 56-60 in an apparently endless series for Florida Marine
Transporters, two 140-foot schooners and an Alaskan trawler. And on top of all this, they are on the short list for the
Coast Guard's OPC program, in which they are offering a design from OPV experts
STX Canada Marine, who also designed these Brazilian boats.
December 3, 2013,
updated December 4.
Maritime Memos - November 2013
Goes to VT Halter for ConRos
Crowley Marine has ordered two 2400-teu
container-roro ships for the Puerto Rican trade. They will be built by VT
Halter Marine, which is currently building a similar ship for Pasha Hawaii
Transport. Read Crowley's announcement
The price is $350 million for the pair, with deliveries in 2017: they will
replace Crowley's existing fleet of triple-deck barges. Excellent news.
November 25, 2013.
Ups Its Rates by 5.5%
Is it any wonder that all those folks in Hawaii
hate the Jones Act, when Matson does this, year after year after year?
Read their announcement
here. The additional revenue is
described as it is every year as being required partly to cover increased
operating costs and partly to pay for investment in new capital assets, such as
November 25, 2013.
FMC Delivered to Egypt
VT Halter Marine has delivered the first of four
Ambassador Mk. III Fast Missile Craft to the Egyptian Navy. Read the
report in Defense News
ENS S. Ezzat, is a 600-ton, 200-foot boat that does comfortably over 40
knots and carries an awesome range of weaponry, including eight Harpoon
missiles. We could use a few of these in the U.S. Navy, maybe. Would
they not be much more cost-effective in coastal waters than either design of LCS?
And we ought to be selling them worldwide as well. Halter could ramp up
its assembly line to, say, six boats a year, all of standard design for optimum
efficiency, and then the Navy could arrange for any mods required by the end
November 20, 2013.
P.S.: The second ship was apparently delivered
this week too, but with no announcements. November 25, 2013.
The fifth Oscar Dyson-class Fisheries
Survey Vessel, the Reuben Lasker, (R 228), has been delivered to NOAA by
Marinette Marine. Read NOAA's announcement
Sources say that she is both over budget and late. If so, no surprise,
really: that's to be expected when you put people in charge of a shipyard who
don't know anything about shipbuilding.
November 14, 2013.
or Two More for Seacor
After picking up
two of American Petroleum
Transport's four lapsed options two months ago, Seacor has now scooped up one of
the other two and put its name on the last of NASSCO's series of eight ECO-class tankers. Delivery
is scheduled for
4Q16. Read their joint announcement
November 12, 2013.
Dumps $900k into Horizon
Our ineffable Maritime Administration is planning
to contribute $900,000 of the taxpayers' money toward the cost of converting the Horizon Spirit
to LNG-fuelled propulsion. Read the announcement
here. It's not a bad idea in principle, you understand, but why
pick a 33-year-old ship that started life as a LASH barge carrier, and not
a modern ship? And is this ship not
going to be converted in China? We're going to give Horizon $900k to spend
in a shipyard in China? Has nobody at MARAD read the opening clause of the
Merchant Marine Act lately? November
7, 2013, revised November 8.
the Matson Competition
Matson Navigation has signed with Aker
Philadelphia for two 3600-teu containerships. The contract price is $418
million for the pair, with deliveries in, would you believe it, the 3rd and 4th
quarters of 2018. No rush, apparently. Read Matson's announcement
Not much about the design in either release, except for the now standard stuff
about being LNG-ready. I assume that Aker's design is a Korean design
that's been tweaked to meet Matson's requirements. We will learn more
later, no doubt. Good for Aker, anyway. Good for Matson too: at
least they're moving in the right direction, however slowly.
November 7, 2013.
P.S.: When I said "No rush", I was
referring to Matson. I realize that these deliveries are driven by Aker's
backlog of tankers. Matson could have got earlier deliveries from any of
the other bidders. Price, design and other factors were apparently more
important to them than schedule, and one can conclude, therefore, that they are
in no rush. November
Those Google Barges
There are, in fact, four barges - BAL0001,
BAL0010, BAL0011 and BAL0100. Note the binary structure of the four numbers:
how cute! They are owned by a company registered in Wilmington DE, called By
and Large, Inc.: BAL - get it? They are 250-foot heavy-duty deck barges built
in the past two years by C. & C. Marine & Repair, in Belle Chasse LA. They were
originally named CIB 721 thru 724 and owned by CIBCO Barge, a company run by
Tony Cibilich which charters out barges built by C. & C.: they have at least two
more of this size. November 6, 2013.
Is The Jones Act on the Table?
The Jones Act is 93 years old and appears to be
immune to attempts to modify it. But what's the strategic argument for it
today? Could it be improved? What would Adam Smith say? We've
made lots of modifications to the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, some positive
(Nixon, Clinton), some horrendously negative (Reagan). Why not the Jones
Act? November 2, 2013.
Is This the Right Approach?
The more one thinks about this idea of a
conference to develop a National Maritime Strategy, the more discouraged one
gets. It will be a joke and nothing will come of it. There are so
many aspects of the problem, so many vested interests, so many obstinately
entrenched positions, so few people who are genuinely open-minded. Maybe
the conference should focus on defining a series of tasks for a limited number
of small working groups. Or maybe it should just turn the whole challenge
over to the Marine Board and reschedule the conference as a review of what they
come up with. November 1, 2013.
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going back to 2001