May’s top stories: Battery-run ferry, Libya attacks Turkish vessel
The US lifted the ban on ferry services between Florida and Cuba, Greece starts sale of majority stakes in Piraeus port, and Iranian authorities released US-flagged Maersk Tigris container ship. Ship-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May 2015.
Norwegian shipping company Norled commissioned the world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries.
The new vessel was built by Fjellstrand, and will be operated on the ferry link across Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway. It is expected to use 150kWh per route and reduce fuel costs by up to 60%.
The 80m-long and 20m-wide vessel has three battery packs, including one of lithium-ion onboard 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.
The US Government approved for ferry services between Florida and Cuba to resume 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 transport between the countries stopped when 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.
Greece confirmed plans to sell majority stakes in its largest seaport, Piraeus.
As part of the country's plan to privatise its port, three firms were invited to submit binding bids by September, in order to acquire a 51% ownership of Piraeus.
A senior privatisation official was quoted as saying: "It will be for 51% with an option to reach 67% in five years if they invest €300m."
Rolls Royce was preparing to end 600 jobs in its marine business by the end of the year, as part of its plans to introduce cost reduction programmes and seek further efficiencies in the sector.
Currently, the marine business employs 6,000 people in 34 countries and, although the reduction will be global, the company will reduce the number by half in Norway.
Rolls Royce said this decision follows its recent interim management statement, which confirmed that there is a drive for further efficiencies this year.
Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) issued a request for proposals (RfP) for the rehabilitation, improvement and operation of the Isla Grande Dry Dock in the City of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The proposal also covers the leasing, design, construction, financing and development of a superyacht marina complex.
PRPA executive director Ingrid C Colberg-Rodríguez said: "Puerto Rico is going to be the premier destination in the Caribbean for maintenance, repair and overhaul services of luxury vessels, while further fostering the growth of the service and tourism industries on the island."
A person died during an attack on a Turkish Cook Islands-flagged dry cargo ship by Libya's military.
The Turkish-owned vessel named Tuna-1 was sailing in international waters 13 miles off the coast of Tobruk, heading toward a Libyan port, when the incident ocurred.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry said the vessel, which was carrying gypsum from Spain to Libya, was subjected to artillery fire and two airstrikes.
Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) released the seized Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel Maersk Tigris.
The release came after necessary judicial permission was received, with the cooperation of other enforcement and operational bodies.
A statement published on the organisation's website said: "The PMO conferred with the Maersk Shipping Line and ensured the provision of a letter of guarantee for the enforcement of the judicial decision in this respect in the framework of mutual cooperation between the two countries, and the confidence to the good will of transport entities in fulfilling their obligations towards their clients."
MyFerryLink received a favourable verdict from the UK's Court of Appeal (CAT), which strengthened its battle against the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) decision to block its operation between Dover and Calais.
The CMA prohibited MyFerryLink's parent firm, Groupe Eurotunnel, from entering the Dover-Calais ferry market, saying that its acquisition of SeaFrance in 2012 would afford the company a dominant share of the cross-channel market.
MyFerryLink CEO Raphael Doutrebente and COO Jean-Michel Giguet said: "The decision of the Court of Appeal is very comprehensive, exposing fatal flaws in the CMA's analysis."
The European Union has approved a Danish-led maritime innovation project aimed to improve safety of navigation and increase efficiency at sea.
With a budget of kr85m ($12.70m), the triennial maritime project will focus on innovation and further development of services.
Declaration of support from the EU read as: "There's no doubt that this project is ground-breaking and holds a high potential for innovation."
German shipbuilder Meyer Werft received a contract from cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises to build a fourth Quantum-class cruise ship.
Delivery of the new vessel is scheduled for 2019.
Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley said: "The fourth Quantum-class vessel will be a trailblazer in smart-ship design and vacation innovation."
In September 2014, Meyer Werft shipyard started the construction of third Quantum-class cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, at its facility in Papenburg, Germany.