August's top stories: Cosco ship sails to Europe through shorter Arctic route
China's Cosco Group sails to Europe through the shorter Arctic route, the Northeast Passage, which it says will reduce journey times compared to the traditional route via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea. Ship-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from August 2013.
A 19,000t cargo vessel operated by China's Cosco Group has started its journey to Europe via the Arctic Northeast Passage, a shortened route that could reduce the shipping time between Asia and Europe.
The cargo ship, called Yong Sheng, sailed from Dalian in China for Rotterdam in the Netherlands, marking China's first commercial transit through the 2,936 nautical mile Northeast Passage off Russia's northern coast.
According to reports, the route through the Bering Strait is expected to cut the journey time by about 12 to 15 days, compared to the traditional route via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.
A passenger ferry named MV Thomas Aquinas has sunk after colliding with the cargo ship MV Sulpicio Express 7 on the evening of Friday 16 August, near the central port of Cebu, killing at least 52 people, with about 68 still missing.
The 138m-long Thomas Aquinas, operated by Chinese firm 2Go Group, was carrying 723 passengers and 118 crew members, out of whom more than 750 have reportedly been rescued.
According to reports, the 11,000t Thomas Aquinas was entering the pier when the cargo vessel on its way out suddenly collided with the ferry.
The Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) is testing a new monitoring system for Arctic maritime traffic on its icebreaker 'Oden'.
The project, called MONALISA Ice (MICE), aims to improve safety as maritime traffic in the Arctic region continues to increase, with the new system expected to improve the potential for sea rescues, icebreaker assistance and environmental protection.
SMA's project manager for MICE Per Setterberg said the agency's experience in winter navigation in the northern areas of the Baltic and Gulf of Bothnia will help enhance safety and environmental protection as new traffic patterns emerge in the Arctic.
Poly Shield Technologies has started a feasibility study for the possible use of its DSOX-15 Fuel Purification System as an option to supply low-sulphur marine fuel from a land-based facility.
Poly Shield has collaborated with LMS Shipmanagement, a subsidiary of International Shipholdings, to trial the system on two vessels.
Poly Shield Technologies CEO Rasmus Norling said the company has received several inquiries regarding the possible application of its DSOX-15 Fuel Purification Technology as a shore-side low-sulphur fuel distribution system.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called for a comprehensive regional approach to deal with piracy and armed robbery along the Gulf of Guinea off Africa's west coast.
The council also asked member countries to prosecute perpetrators in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as international human rights law.
The council has also expressed concern at the threat pirates pose to international navigation in the Gulf of Guinea, the security and economic development of regional states as well as the safety of seafarers.
Netherlands-based IHC Merwede has signed agreements worth €1bn for the design, engineering and construction of six pipelaying vessels.
The company signed deals to deliver three vessels to Subsea 7 and three to Seabras Sapura, a partnership between SapuraKencana and Seadrill.
The vessels supplied to Seabras Sapura are complete pipelaying spreads comprising twin-tensioner tilting lay towers, two below-deck baskets and support equipment for the loading, spooling and routing of products.
A Greek court has convicted nine officers and shipping company officials for their negligence in the sinking of the Sea Diamond cruise ship off Santorini in 2007.
Louis Hellenic Cruises's Sea Diamond ship is reported to have been carrying around 1,600 people when the accident took place in April 2007.
The ship hit rocks off Santorini's cliffs and sank two hours later with most of its fuel still on board.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin in the US have released details of a project that saw them take control of an $80m, 213ft yacht on the Mediterranean Sea using a custom-made GPS spoofing device.
Spoofing is a technique that creates fake civil GPS signals to gain control of a vessel's GPS receivers.
The project, led by assistant professor Todd Humphreys of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the Cockrell School of Engineering, was aimed at measuring the difficulty of carrying out a spoofing attack at sea and to determine how easily sensors in the ship's command room could identify the threat.
US-based engineering, construction and project management firm Bechtel has unveiled a new port design concept called 'Multi-User Offshore Hub' to meet shipping challenges in Africa.
Designed for two or more users, the new concept includes an offshore, smart terminal arrangement and docking system that can house ocean-going vessels and barges.
Bechtel said it expects the design concept to open new market opportunities for African ports by increasing capacity, as well as reducing construction and operation costs.