Charles starts his ‘eco-friendly’ Caribbean tour

March 5, 2008

Sometimes the fight against global warming can be downright pleasant.

Britain‘s Prince Charles, eschewing pollution-spewing jets, is touring the Caribbean on a 75-meter megayacht, with hot tub, gym and 24-member crew, as part of his battle to save the environment. Charles and wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived on Tuesday on the first leg of a five-island Caribbean tour that the prince’s office swears will be friendly to the budget and the environment. According to Clarence House, the couple’s plans to sail rather than fly between islands will reduce the trip’s carbon footprint. It will also be cheaper, though the prince’s office declined to give a price tag for the royal jaunt to Trinidad, Tobago, St Lucia, Jamaica and the volcanic island of Montserrat.

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Did pirates target ship with Indian crew?

March 5, 2008

India did not rule out the possibility of the missing ship with 25 Indian crew on board being targeted by sea pirates.

The Directorate General of Shipping has sought the help of Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Board (IMB) in this connection after it decided to despatch an Indian officer to join international investigations. The M V Rezzak went missing in the Black Sea on February 18. The IMB Kuala Lumpur is a nodal agency that monitors crime taking place in the international sea. It gets information about incidents of sea piracy around the world. The vessel left Russia for Turkey on February 17 carrying steel billets. The voyage time is about 24 hours. Mumbai-based Pelican Marine recruited the crew for the ship. However, its director Santhosh Biswas ruled out the possibility of pirates targeting the ship. “I don’t think it is hijacked. There is no sea piracy in European waters,” he claimed. The ship is owned by a Turkish national and registered in Panama. Panamanian authorities are holding an investigation into the missing ship.

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Spotlight is put on safety at sea

March 5, 2008

Irish sea shipping lanes are amongst the busiest in Europe and have been used to pilot a new navigation system which aims to reduce the risk of collision.

The project relies on satellite and radio wave technology and has been co-coordinated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights. For hundreds of years seafarers have relied on lighthouses to help steer them clear of danger. But these days it’s not just rocks and reefs which are a hazard. In the busy shipping lanes of the Irish sea, there is also a very real risk of collisions. Radar screens can certainly help. But now technology has taken another step forward – with a transmitter system onboard which tells other ships of its size, speed, and direction. Its called the automatic identification system and its main purpose is to reduce the risk of ships colliding. The key is the precise timing provided by GPS satellites stationed high above the earth, the same ones which run the sat navs in our cars. Onboard also is a transmitter, which sends out a steady stream of short messages to buoys, shore stations and other boats. The technique is known as SOTDMA (Self Organising Time Division Multiple Access) which supports the high volume of short messages. By talking to each other in this way, ships know if another boat is nearby, and crucially, if it is on a collision course. All the ferries and larger ships on the Irish Sea are now using this technology.

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Kerala submits proposal for shipyard at Poovar

March 5, 2008

The Kerala Government has submitted a proposal before the Union Shipping Ministry to set up a world class shipyard at Poovar in Thiruvananthapuram district on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

The proposal was submitted based on the directive from the Ministry to submit a viable location for a shipyard on the West Coast, Mr M. Vijayakumar, State Minister for Ports, said. He said that the Ministry had asked the State to identify a suitable area that would provide a waterfront of 2.5 km in length and with a depth of at least 12 metres. According to the Minister, it was only in the Vizhinjam-Poovar area could the prescribed depth be found. He said that the depth of the waters along this stretch varied from 12 metres to 22 metres in some places. The Union Government had also informed that about 1,000 acres of suitable land should be identified for building the shipyard, he said, adding that a preliminary examination had shown that the land would be available in the area. The area is easily accessible by rail, as the Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram broad gauge railway line is passing less than 10 km away. Moreover, the upcoming port at Vizhinjam, which is about 10 km from the proposed site, can be used for the shipment of all the material required for the development and functioning of the shipyard.

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Work commences on Royal Navy’s new powerful warship defense

March 5, 2008

Minister Baroness Taylor has visited the BAE Systems shipyards in Glasgow, UK, to mark the cutting of steel for the Royal Navy’s sixth Type 45 Destroyer, ‘Duncan’.

Larger and more powerful than the Type 42 Destroyers they replace, the Type 45s are a flexible, versatile vessel capable of undertaking a range of military tasks and assisting in peace-support type operations. They will be able to carry up to 235 crew, including 60 Royal Marine commandos and their equipment. There is also significant scope within the design of the ship to accommodate new equipment through its life. On her first visit to the Clyde shipyards, Minister for Defense Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor, said: “Once ‘Duncan’ is built, she will be one of the most modern and powerful air defense destroyers in the world. I am delighted to initiate the first cutting of steel for ‘Duncan’ and look forward to following the progress of her construction. This is an exciting time for the Royal Navy with £14bn being spent over the next ten to fifteen years.” ‘Duncan’ is the sixth of the ‘D’ Class of Type 45 Destroyers. The others are ‘Daring’, ‘Dauntless’, ‘Diamond’, ‘Dragon’ and ‘Defender’. The Type 45s are the largest and most powerful destroyers ever ordered for the Royal Navy with a range of around 7,000 nautical miles.

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Maersk Line established new Vessel Sharing Agreement

March 5, 2008

Maersk Line has established a new Vessel Sharing Agreement with Swiss carrier Mediterranean Shipping Company and French-based CMA-CGM in the trans-Pacific trade that will commence in April 2008.

This cooperation will consist of three strings of five vessels each between Asia and North America. They will replace Maersk Line’s TP5 and TP8, MSC’s New Orient Express and CMA-CGM’s Yang Tse Service. “Rates have not supported our cost to serve on different products in the Pacific. We felt that a partnership of this sort would not only enable us to address our cost structure, but also to provide a dynamic enhanced product for our customers, without adding any capacity on the market,” commented Vincent Clerc, Vice President of Pacific Route Management for Maersk Line. The first string of this VSA will serve a port call rotation of Yantian, Kaohsiung, Shanghai, Qingdao, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with five 8,000TEU vessels. Maersk Line and the remaining vessel by CMA-CGM will operate four of these vessels. The first string of the VSA, as the southern loop, is scheduled for its initial eastbound call at Shanghai on April 14, 2008. The second string of this VSA will also consist of five 8,00TEU vessels, four of which will be operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company and one by CMA-CGMApril 7, 2008.

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