October’s top stories: Suez Canal expansion, app for Chinese fishermen
Boskalis consortium wins a contract for the Suez Canal expansion, MCN Beijing launches a chat app for Chinese fishermen and MAST warns the shipping industry to boost security levels to counter the threat of terrorism attacks. Ship-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from October 2014.
Suez Canal Authorities awarded a contract to a consortium named Challenge Coalition for the expansion of the canal in Egypt.
The consortium consists of Netherlands-based Royal Boskalis Westminster, Van Oord, National Marine Dredging Company of UAE and Belgium-based Jan de Nul Group.
The contract is worth $1.5bn and each company in the consortium is entitled to an equal share of the amount.
The Vietnam-flagged oil tanker that went missing for a week was found with about a third of its cargo siphoned off by pirates.
On 2 October, the Sunrise-689 tanker was carrying more than 5,200t of oil and 18 crew members when it went missing en route from Singapore to the Vietnamese port of Quang Tri.
According to the crew, a dozen men armed with guns and knives attacked and seized the ship, BBC reported.
A fleet of seven marine robots were deployed into the ocean off south-west England as part of a project to collect scientific data about ocean processes and marine life.
Led by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the project involves scientists and engineers from research institutes and universities, commercial companies and government agencies, as well as the UK Met Office and Royal Navy.
These battery-powered submarine gliders and new surface vehicles will travel up to 300 miles over the next 20 days, crossing a series of physical boundaries in the ocean, called fronts, which separate water masses of different properties.
Maritime security firm MAST warned the shipping industry to enhance security levels in order to counter the threat of an increasingly likely terrorist attack.
The warning was particularly aimed at oil tankers, as terrorist group Al-Qaeda had hinted at plans to execute strategic attacks on choke points of oil shipments.
MAST COO Gerry Northwood OBE said: "They have potential to do real harm to maritime activity in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and particularly in the key strategic choke points, namely the Straits of Gibraltar, the Straits of Hormuz, the Suez Canal or the Bab El Mendeb Strait."
Luxury yacht and fibreglass boat manufacturer Gulf Craft signed an agreement with Dubai Maritime City (DMC) to invest $100m in a new shipyard in a bid to develop a global manufacturing facility.
Gulf Craft will build the 900,000ft² service station over the next five years and it will sit in the marine district of DMC.
The facility will have a shipyard to manufacture high-end luxury yachts and a service centre incorporating advanced technology.
Beijing Marine Communication and Navigation (MCN Beijing) launched the smartphone chat application Fish Chat to connect fishermen onboard Chinese coastal fishing vessels.
MCN Beijing developed this new application for Inmarsat Maritime's fleet one, a service tailored to deliver dependable voice and broadband data to smaller vessels.
Fish Chat is available for both Android and iOS devices and will help onboard crews communicate with people on land through texting, picture exchange and a push-to-talk voice service.
Sembcorp Marine's subsidiary Jurong Shipyard in Singapore won a $696m contract from Oogtk Libra to convert the Navion Norvegia shuttle tanker into a floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.
Jurong Shipyard offshore division general manager William Gu said: "The conversion work will be done at our Sembmarine Integrated Yard at Tuas, which will soon commence work on its first FPSO conversion project."
The FPSO will be capable of producing 50,000 barrels of oil and four million m³ of natural gas a day.
South Korean prosecutors demanded the death sentence for the captain of the Sewol ferry that sank in April leaving more than 304 people dead.
Sixy-eight year old Lee Joon-seok was charged with homicide for failing to carry out his duty effectively.
The lead prosecutor in the case, Park Jae-eok, was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Lee supplied the cause of the sinking of the Sewol...he has the heaviest responsibility for the accident."
Wärtsilä signed a joint development agreement with two Indonesian companies, PT Pertamina (Persero) and PT Godang Tua Jaya (GTJ), to build the first bio-LNG plant in Indonesia.
For this project, Wärtsilä Oil & Gas Systems will carry out a feasibility study to set up a mini bio-LNG plant with a capacity of 0.75t an hour capable of producing 4MW an hour.
The plant will be able to convert municipal solid waste into eco-friendly biogas that can be used as renewable energy source for typical vehicle fuel.
Maritime and engineering consultancy BMT Group's subsidiaries BMT ARGOSS and BMT Surveys introduced a new real and fast-time simulation tool, Rembrandt, for ship collision reconstruction.
The ship-handling and manoeuvring simulator was developed by BMT ARGOSS for use by pilots, ship operators, naval architects and port authorities.
Using this tool, the collision reconstruction and simulation team of BMT will be able to recreate incidents that involve collisions to identify the cause.