Maritime News and Comment
ABLE UK RENEGOTIATES ITS MARAD CONTRACT. The British ship demolition company, Able UK, has announced that its contract with MARAD has been renegotiated. Read the announcement here. (Not too surprisingly, there has been no parallel announcement from our useless Maritime Administration.) The net result of the renegotiation is that Able UK will complete work on the ships that they already have in the yard but will not get any more. The four ships to be scrapped are "Caloosahatchee" (AO 98), "Canisteo" (AO 99), "Canopus" (AD 33) and "Compass Island" (AG 153). In addition, Able UK will acquire the two incomplete "Kaiser"-class oilers, (T-AO 191 and T-AO 192), and are free to do with them pretty well whatever they want - complete them, convert them or scrap them. So that's the end of that unsavory episode, except that it will be interesting to see what eventually happens to the two T-AOs. May 31, 2007.
SIXTH T-AKE TO BE NAMED FOR AMELIA EARHART. The Navy has announced that the sixth combat logistics ship of the "Lewis and Clark" class will be named "Amelia Earhart". Read the announcement here. May 30, 2007.
60 MINUTES TAKES ON DEEPWATER. The venerable CBS news program, "60 Minutes", took on the Coast Guard's Deepwater program yesterday, without the cooperation of the Coast Guard itself. I think it was a mistake on the part of the Coast Guard not to cooperate: it just makes them look even more culpable than they already are. You can watch the whole thing on the CBS web site, here. The coverage was, in fact, straightforward and unbiased, turning up nothing that we don't already know. U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings came across positively, while U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor looked like a jerk again, complete with his idiotic story of redesigning his own boat on the back of a napkin. (The last time it was the back of an envelope: what will it be next time?) Would that Rep. Taylor were as concerned about the billions that are being spent on Deepwater's NSC and FRC programs as he is about the $100 million that was spent on the stretched WPBs. May 21, 2007.
DELAWARE RIVER CHANNEL TO BE DEEPENED. The State of New Jersey has stepped back and Pennsylvania will move ahead with dredging the Delaware River channel, to bring it to 45 feet all the way to Philadelphia. At the taxpayers' expense, of course. Confused politicians seem to think that this will return the Port of Philadelphia to its former glory. No mention of what they plan to do about the port's abysmally awful labor productivity. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer's report here. May 18, 2007.
COAST GUARD WANTS REFUND FROM ICGS. The Coast Guard, bending to congressional pressure and conveniently overlooking its own culpability, has decided to seek a refund from Integrated Coast Guard Systems for the screw-up on the 123-foot WPBs. Read the Washington Post's report here. If they can get a refund on this project, maybe they should get one on the NSCs as well. And then maybe the Navy could get a few billion back from NGSS for the LPD 17s. May 18, 2007.
USCG SINKS CANADIAN DESTROYER. The Canadians had better move sharpish to get those new corvettes into service. The U.S. Coast Guard took out the destroyer HMCS Huron, (DDH 281), on Monday. (Huron was built by Marine Industries in Sorel, Quebec, in 1972.) Read the Coast Guard's announcement and view the video here. May 17, 2007.
BUSH ENDORSES LAW OF THE SEA. The White House has called for the Congress to approve accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Read the statement here. Better late - 24 years late, in fact - than never. May 16, 2007.
CANADA TO PROTECT ARCTIC ACCESS. The Canadian government has authorized the construction of six icebreaking corvettes for the Royal Canadian Navy. Read the story here. Their mission: control access to Canadian arctic waters. Against a threat from whom? Paranoia in Ottawa. Goodness knows they need to do something about their fast-fading navy, not to mention their almost defunct shipbuilding industry, but icebreaking corvettes? (Note to NGSS: this is NOT a business opportunity for you.) May 16, 2007.
T-AKE 4 CHRISTENED. NASSCO has christened the USNS Richard E. Byrd, (T-AKE 4). Read the announcement here: no photographs, oddly. May 16, 2007.
C. & D. CANAL CLOSED. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal has been closed, as a result of a sailboat colliding with a tug and sinking. Read the Coast Guard's announcement here. May 15, 2007.
CRUISE SHIP AGROUND IN ALASKA. The US-flag cruise ship "Empress of the North" - owned by Majestic America Line and built by Nichols Bros. in 2003 - is aground near Hanus Reef, about 50 miles west of Juneau AK. See the Coast Guard's pictures here. I guess that the first question is, had the owners fixed all the problems resulting from this ship's last grounding, in the Columbia River in March? May 14, 2007.
MORE ON THE CALA PROJECT. It seems that Mr. Cala, of Cala Corporation - read our earlier report here - is a tad deficient in business skills. He has royally teed off Malta Shipyards, who are considering suing him. Read yesterday's press release from Malta Shipyards here. It's hard to imagine that Northrop Grumman would consider doing business with him. May 9, 2007.
MARINE HOSE VENDORS ARRESTED AT OTC. The Justice Department swooped on the Offshore Technology Conference, ("OTC"), in Houston this week and arrested seven corporate executives from the marine hose industry. Read the Houston Chronicle's report here. Read the DoJ announcement here. OTC, by the way, had another record year, with over 65,000 people attending. May 5, 2007.
ANYONE GOT A HOME FOR AN OLD TUGBOAT? The owners of the Tuff-E-Nuff are looking to put her out to pasture. Well, fair enough, after all, she's been going for 112 years. Built by Neafie & Levy, in Philadelphia, in 1895, she's currently in Port Canaveral and still operating. Anyone have any suggestions? A second life with the Coast Guard, maybe? May 4, 2007.
MORE WORK FOR CONRAD. Conrad Industries has announced orders for two more large escort tugs, to be built by Orange Shipbuilding, and five more barges, to be built in Morgan City. Read the announcement here. May 4, 2007.
WHO NEEDS STEWART WADE? A question for ABS. Why do you need a VP of Corporate Communications if all he does is tell the press to get lost? It's amazing to think that he used to be the U.S. Editor of Fairplay, a journal that has never been shy about asking questions. There are more serious questions about ABS' performance hanging out there than I can count but the society's public stance is that of a secret society or a masonic lodge. All those industry leaders who were at last week's meetings and who didn't ask any questions should be ashamed of themselves. May 4, 2007.
JONES ACT ALIVE AND WELL. Jonathan Whitworth, the Head of OSG Americas, gave a presentation on the "State of the Jones Act" to the Propeller Club in Washington DC yesterday. Read it here. Great stuff! At least someone in our industry has it right. Would that MARAD and the Coast Guard and anyone who's putting Jones Act work in Chinese shipyards could sign on. Yes, the Jones Act is a three-legged stool. That was a good analogy when it was first coined and it still is. May 1, 2007.
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