dft

UK’s Plymouth University to build world’s first fully autonomous unmanned ship

Plymouth University in the UK launched a new project to design and build a full-sized, fully autonomous unmanned ship, transforming the future of world shipping.

Claimed to be the world’s first project of this type, the university is expected to sail the vessel across the Atlantic in 2020 after completing one year of testing.

The voyage will mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower sailings from Plymouth to the North American continent.

Panama Canal Authority plans new $17bn expansion project

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is reportedly planning a new project worth up to $17bn, which will allow the canal to handle the world’s biggest ships.

Reuters reported that the authority is planning the installation of a fourth set of locks which is expected to serve bigger ships that can carry 20,000 containers.

Panama Canal Authority CEO Jorge Quijano was quoted by the news agency as saying: "Looking at our geology and the experience we gained with this current expansion, we estimate it’s a project that could cost between $16bn and $17bn."

Norwegian engineer develops wind and gas powered freighter

Wind powered freighter

Norwegian engineer Terje Lade developed a new wind and gas-powered cargo vessel that integrates software made by Fraunhofer researchers.

Lade, who is also the managing director of the company Lade, has used the proprietary Vindskip technology to design the cargo ship. The software enables optimum use of the accessible wind energy by the ship whenever required.

With the hull serving as a wing sail, the vessel features LNG-powered propulsion machinery that assists with manoeuvring on the open sea and in maintaining a constant speed in low-wind passages.

US lifts ban on ferry service between Florida and Cuba

The US Government approved ferry services between Florida and Cuba, resuming the operations after a hiatus of more than 50 years.

The decision was made in conjunction with US efforts to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba. In 1960, ferry services between the two countries stopped as the US imposed a trade embargo on Cuba.

At least four ferry operators have received approval from the US Treasury and Commerce departments to re-start their services.

Australia approves Abbot Point Port expansion near Great Barrier Reef

reef

The Australian Environment Ministry approved the expansion of the Port of Abbot Point in north Queensland, to facilitate transportation of coal from the Carmichael mine.

The Queensland Government sought the ministry’s approval for the Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project in April.

With the approval, work will be undertaken to dredge 1.1 million cubic metres in situ of seabed, and a pond will be constructed for the T0 terminal.

Russia to pay damages to Netherlands over Greenpeace ship seizure

The Russian Government broke international law by confiscating a Greenpeace ship and detaining its crew after a protest against Arctic oil drilling in 2013, an international tribunal ruled.

The court also ordered Russia to pay damages to the Netherlands over its seizure of the Greenpeace icebreaker, Arctic Sunrise.

Greenpeace International legal counsel Daniel Simons said: "We’re pleased about today’s ruling because it sets an important precedent. Governments exist to uphold the rule of law, not to act as armed security agents for the oil industry."

Norled launches battery-powered passenger ferry

Battery_ferry

Norwegian shipping company Norled commissioned the world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries.

The new vessel is built by Fjellstrand. It will be operated on the ferry link across Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway. It is expected to use 150kWh per route and reduce the cost of fuel by up to 60%.

The 80m-long and 20m-wide vessel features three battery packs, including one lithium-ion battery on board the ferry, and one at each pier to serve as a buffer. The onboard batteries are recharged directly from the grid when the ferry is not in use.

NTSB launches investigation into TOTE’S missing cargo ship El Faro

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation into TOTE Maritime’s missing cargo ship, El Faro.

The 790ft-long vessel, with a maximum speed limit of 22k, was enroute from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The ship departed on 29 September with the vessel’s officers and crew monitoring the tropical storm Joaquin which later turned into a hurricane consequently interrupting communications with El Faro.

Scotland’s Perth Harbour seeks private investment

Scotland’s commercial port Perth Harbour was put on the market by Bidwells on behalf of Perth and Kinross Council in order to raise private-sector investment and position the harbour as a key logistics hub.

The Perth Harbour is located on the River Tay, 30 miles from the North Sea and handles coastal and dry bulk ships up to 90m-long, carrying up to 2,500t of cargo from Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia dock at its four main berths.

Bidwells head of commercial property Graeme Duncan said: "Perth Harbour is unique in the area because of its location.

Los Angeles Auckland and Guangzhou ports form tripartite alliance

Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ports of Auckland and Guangzhou, establishing the tripartite ports alliance to enhance cooperation.

The new alliance will allow the ports to collaborate on trade, innovation and investment opportunities between the public and private sectors of the three regions.

Los Angeles Harbor Commission president ambassador Vilma Martinez said: "We commend Mayor Garcetti’s leadership and foresight in helping to form this alliance during his trade mission to Asia last year."

Dubai to help Yemen rebuild Aden port

Yemen and Dubai have decided to work together for the restoration of operations at the Port of Aden in Yemen.

The collaboration will see executives from Emirati marine terminal operator DP World and Jebel Ali FreeZone visit Yemen next week to explore the areas requiring assistance while also reviewing developments in the country.

A Saudi-led coalition, fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, has warned commercial vessels to stay away from areas hit by fighting, obstructing the supply of food and fuel.

Nautilus criticises South Korean court’s decision to sentence Sewol ferry captain

Nautilus

Maritime union Nautilus International criticised the decision of a South Korean court to sentence the Sewol ferry captain to life in prison.

An appeals court sentenced Lee Joon-seok, who is in his 70s, to 36 years in prison after ruling that he was guilty of homicide.

In November last year, the captain was also found guilty of gross negligence and sentenced to similar years in jail by another South Korean court.