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January 6, 2015updated 10 Mar 2022 2:03pm

2014: The year’s biggest Ship Technology stories

One of Canada’s Franklin expedition ships was found, a ferry from Italy to Greece caught fire in December, and Rolls Royce planned to develop drone cargo ships. Ship-technology wraps up the key headlines from 2014.

By Prasanth Katam


One of Canada’s Franklin expedition ships found

Canada’s Victoria Strait expedition crew found one of the two explorer ships that were lost in 1846 during an expedition to find the Northwest Passage.

According to the Canadian Government, one of the explorer ships HMS Erebus or HMS Terror, which were part of the expedition led by Sir John Franklin, was found located on the sea floor in northern Canada.

Officials released an image showing a largely intact wooden ship resting upright on the sea bed only 11m (36ft) below the surface, reported Reuters.

Rescue operation for Italian ferry on fire off Greece coast


Around 330 passengers were rescued from the Italian ferry that caught fire off the west coast of Greece, in the Adriatic Sea.

More than 100 people were stranded onboard the ferry as the rescue teams were working to airlift passengers.

According to media reports, one person died while trying to escape from the vessel and four were injured in the Sunday incident.

The fire broke out in the parking area of the vessel, which was carrying more than 200 cars, and passengers were asleep in their cabins.

South Korean ferry capsizes leaving hundreds dead or missing

A South Korean passenger ferry capsized off the south-west coast, leaving two people dead and more than 300 missing.

According to the South Korea coastguard officials, Sewol, the 146m-long ferry, was carrying 477 people at the time of the incident but only 164 were confirmed as rescued.

Among the passengers onboard were 338 students and teachers from the Danwon high school in Ansan, Seoul, who were on a field trip to Jeju Island.

Rolls Royce develop drone cargo ships

Blue Ocean development team of Rolls Royce Marine Power Operations started designing unmanned cargo ships to deliver safe, affordable and lower-pollution vessels to the shipping industry.

Rolls Royce displayed a virtual reality prototype equipped with a camera in place of a bridge, which is capable of simulating 360° views from a vessel’s bridge, reported Bloomberg.

According to Rolls Royce, control centres can be developed that will allow captains or a team of operators to command and operate unmanned ships from dry land.

Virgin Group establishes cruise ship business


British multinational company Virgin Group announced it will form a cruise liner business Virgin Cruises.

With the support of private equity firm, Bain Capital, Virgin Cruises will design and construct two new cruise ships as part of the venture.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said: “We plan to shake-up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love.”

The New York Times reported that the Miami-based Virgin Cruises is expected to invest $1bn in the vessels.

The launch date of the new ships was not disclosed and the company said it is ‘strictly under wraps for the moment’.

Fincantieri builds €2.1bn ships for MSC Cruises


Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri was awarded a €2.1bn contract to build two cruise ships for MSC Cruises, an Italian-Swiss cruise line.

Dubbed Seaside, the new prototype vessels were claimed to be the largest cruise ships ever built by Fincantieri.

Each ship would cost €700m and the amount would be funded with support from insurance and financial company SACE.

Boskalis consortium wins contract for Suez Canal expansion


The 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 Challenge Coalition project will see a new canal constructed parallel to the current waterway, as well as the expansion of existing parts.

Vietnamese boat capsizes after collision with Chinese vessel

A Vietnamese boat capsized in the disputed waters of South China Sea after colliding with a Chinese vessel amid ongoing maritime territorial disputes between the two countries.

The incident ocurred 17nm from a $1bn Chinese oil rig off the Paracel islands.

Vietnam coastguard commander Nguyen Quang Dam was quoted by Reuters as saying that the Chinese boat rammed and sank the Vietnamese fishing vessel; however, nearby Vietnamese ships rescued the ten fishermen onboard.

Costa Concordia reaches Genoa for scrapping


Wrecked Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia successfully completed its four-day, 280km final voyage to the port of Genoa for scrapping.

The vessel was refloated nearly two-and-a-half years after it capsized on the Tuscan island of Giglio. Its removal is said to be the biggest maritime salvage attempt to date.

Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was quoted by the BBC as saying: “This is not a runway show.

“It’s the end of a story in which many people died, which none of us will ever forget.”

UNHCR records 348,000 sea crossing attempts since January


At least 348,000 people attempted irregular sea crossing worldwide since January, mostly migrants and asylum seekers, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) revealed.

The UNHCR said that the sea crossings make it difficult to draw reliable comparisons with previous years’ figures, and urged that the international community has lost its focus on saving lives.

According to UNHCR, more than 4,272 deaths at sea were reported, with 3,419 occurring in the Mediterranean region alone.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said: “This is a mistake and precisely the wrong reaction for an era in which record numbers of people are fleeing wars.”

EU unveils new legislation to improve maritime activities


The European Union’s general affairs council launched new legislation to allow shipping industries to coordinate and improve their maritime activities.

The new legislation, maritime spatial planning (MSP), was designed to improve environmental standards in Europe and create a safe link between coastal and maritime activities.

Welcoming the development, European Commission maritime affairs and fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki said: “We want to make the growth of maritime sectors both smart and sustainable.”

As the first step in the EU’s blue growth strategy, the new directive is expected to allow efficient implementation of EU legislation for both economic and environmental growth.

Saab acquires Swedish shipyard ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems


Defence major Saab completed the acquisition of the Swedish shipyard ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

Formerly known as Kockums, the shipyard was a part of the industrial solutions business of ThyssenKrupp. It provided systems for non-nuclear submarines and high-end naval vessels.

The unit operates facilities at Malmö, Karlskrona and Muskö in Sweden, and has naval shipbuilding activities in Kiel, Hamburg and Emden.

The deal, which is valued at SEK340m, was aimed at strengthening Saab’s position in the naval segment.

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