Defense bill funds maritime objectives, contains new regulations

Defense bill funds maritime objectives, contains new regulations

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has long sought new rules to enhance safety on amphibious “duck tour” boats. The agency got its wish with passage of the year-end defense spending bill.  The $857 billion National Defense Authorization Act requires the Coast Guard to begin rulemaking within six months on a host of new safety measures that arose during investigations…
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Methanol fuel gives operators another option to cut emissions

Methanol fuel gives operators another option to cut emissions

As the shipping industry looks to reduce emissions, methanol is gaining a foothold as an alternative fuel source.  Maersk has ordered 19 container vessels fitted to burn methanol. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which last year surpassed Maersk as the world’s largest shipping company, joined the Methanol Institute, the trade association for the methanol industry, signaling an interest in the fuel…
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Great Lakes pilotage groups defend proposed rate increases

Great Lakes pilotage groups defend proposed rate increases

The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed a 5.78 percent increase for Great Lakes pilotage rates for the 2023 shipping season. The new hourly rate structure would raise shipping costs by about $4.5 million over the 2022 season, or about 14 percent, according to the Coast Guard.  Shipping industry representatives expressed concern over the steady rise in rates over the past…
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Centuries-old maritime nonprofit  is looking for retired mariners to help

Centuries-old maritime nonprofit is looking for retired mariners to help

For 20 years, Roger Flaherty worked in the galley on Great Lakes freighters as a member of the Seafarers International Union. It was a career he enjoyed with a union that treated him fairly.  Now 77, he stopped working about 15 years ago after suffering a stroke and heart attack. It was earlier than he expected, leaving him with a…
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Historic low water in the Mississippi Valley tests river pilots and their patience

Historic low water in the Mississippi Valley tests river pilots and their patience

Lack of rain in the central United States has caused unprecedented low water levels along the Mississippi River throughout the fall, contributing to a rise in groundings and other disruptions on the vital waterway.  The low water levels have frustrated shipping and agriculture industries, which were preparing to ship the country’s seasonal grain harvest.   “For the soybean industry, it’s…
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Captain accused of drugging, assaulting female cadets surrenders credential

Captain accused of drugging, assaulting female cadets surrenders credential

The captain of the oceangoing ship accused of drugging two female cadets in his stateroom and then raping one of them has surrendered his license. John C. Merrone, 50, is accused of drugging the two female U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) cadets several years ago aboard the U.S.-flagged bulker Liberty Glory. Documents released by the U.S. Coast Guard allege Merrone…
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Climate researchers find surprising effects from IMO sulfur cap

Climate researchers find surprising effects from IMO sulfur cap

Climate researchers working for NASA have determined the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 sulfur fuel cap has succeeded in cutting pollution from ocean shipping. But it isn’t all good news.   A team of scientists led by Tianle Yuan determined lower sulfur content in heavy maritime fuels reduced and sometimes eliminated entirely a cloud phenomenon known as ship tracks.  Ship…
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MarAd leader focused on bolstering maritime workforce, promoting equity at sea

MarAd leader focused on bolstering maritime workforce, promoting equity at sea

Smoothing supply chain, building port infrastructure and supporting U.S.-flagged fleet are other top priorities America’s maritime industry must adapt and change to retain its current workforce and attract a new generation of mariners, according to the new leader of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd). Although that responsibility lies with the operators themselves, U.S. Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips believes MarAd can…
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Subchapter M compliance deadline arrives, marking new era for towing industry

Subchapter M compliance deadline arrives, marking new era for towing industry

The deadline for compliance with Subchapter M inspection rules has come and gone, signaling a new era for America’s towing industry.  Operators had until July 19 to obtain a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI) indicating the vessel meets basic safety standards. The COI demonstrates the vessel has undergone a Coast Guard inspection, supplemented for most vessels by an…
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Eastern Shipbuilding protests cutter award to Austal USA

Eastern Shipbuilding protests cutter award to Austal USA

Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) is challenging the U.S. Coast Guard’s contract with Austal USA to build up to 11 offshore patrol cutters (OPCs), alleging performance issues with the Alabama shipyard and irregularities in the bidding process.  Eastern, based in Panama City, Fla., said the Coast Guard leaked its pricing data, putting Eastern at a distinct disadvantage for the Stage 2…
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