29 February 2012

Worker dies at shipbreaking yard in Chittagong:

A young worker was killed at a Sitakunda shipbreaking yard allegedly after falling from a ship while working.

The deceased, identified as Mohammad Forkan, 22, was working as a cutter-helper at S Trading. One Mohammad Shafi owns the yard at Madambibir Hat in the upazila.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Sitakunda Police Station Nur Mohammad said Forkan fell down from a ship while working there in the afternoon and died on the spot.

None noticed the accident at that time. It was revealed when everyone was searching for Forkan while leaving the yard after completing work in the evening, said the OC quoting workers at the yard.

The body was sent to Chittagong Medical College morgue for an autopsy.

Source: The Daily Star. 29 February 2012
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=224379

28 February 2012

Ashland University Sets Environmental Lecture: Invites green ship recycling campaigner

Ashland University’s Environmental Lecture Series will continue its 20th year of the series on March 15 when it plays host to Colby Self, director of the Green Ship Recycling Campaign of the Basel Action Network in Seattle, Wash. 
 
Self will speak on “Away is a Place” at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustee's Room of Myers Convocation Center. The lecture is free and open to the public. The theme of year’s series is “Chemical Pollution in a Global Economy.”
 
Self is an environmental policy analyst and director of the Basel Action Network’s international ship recycling campaign. Working on human rights and environmental protection, he addresses the issue of environmental justice with the aim of developing fair and sustainable solutions to the world’s growing waste crises. 

Source: WMFD. 27 February 2012
http://www.wmfd.com/newsboard/singlesearchsingle.asp?story=49564

24 February 2012

Halting the pink tide:

The Sewri mudflats in Mumbai, home to a rich biodiversity, including flamingoes, is under threat from a development project.


IT is low tide and the mess of humanity is on full display on the mudflats at Sewri in Mumbai. Tin cans, bottles, torn fishing nets, waste oil and, of course, the ubiquitous polythene bags make the landscape an industrial wasteland. In the far distance are signs of heavy industry – chimneys of oil refineries and a power station. The middle ground is an expanse of grey sea bobbing with rafts of rubbish from the urbanised coast. The foreground has mangroves festooned with plastic bags and rags. On the jetty, it is business as usual for the small ship-breaking industry. Metal clangs against metal as hammers rise and fall, and workers shout above the sound of roaring motors and hissing acetylene torches.

A ship slated for demolition frames a flamingo flock on the Sewri mudflats in central Mumbai. The long-legged, pink birds are annual winter migrants to this shallow wetland

Expertly sidestepping the rubbish and seemingly oblivious to the noise are flocks of birds which are feeding busily. Treading lightly on the mudflats, they pick up molluscs, crustaceans, mudskippers, worms, algae, seaweed, and so on. Life, it seems, can survive in this poisoned environment. Apart from the local avian residents such as pond herons, marsh sandpipers, little stints, common gulls and white-breasted kingfishers, there are the winter visitors – black-headed ibis, black-tailed godwits, purple herons, brown-headed gulls, eastern imperial eagle, curlews, whiskered terns and many such.


However, for the eager birdwatchers on the jetty, the star of this early morning show is undoubtedly the flock of tall, long-legged, pink birds about 300 metres away. Systematically working their way through the slush and sewage are the flocks of the greater and lesser flamingoes that the Mumbai coast attracts every year from Kutch or, perhaps, even Africa. A rough estimate by naturalists is that about 15 per cent of the lesser flamingo population in South Asia spends about six months of the year on the Sewri mudflats, a coastal wetland formed when mud is deposited by tides. That totals to about 15,000 birds. Most of these are the lesser flamingoes, or Phoeniconaias minor, a name that aptly translates as crimson water nymph since they are pinker than their cousins, the greater flamingoes, or Phoenicopterus roseus. Moving slowly, the flock feeds on the rich nutrients in this polluted marsh. Flamingoes are filter feeders, which explains why their graceful long necks continuously sway from side to side, their large beaks probing the mud and simultaneously sifting out what is not food.

A WESTERN REEF egret in an abandoned boat.
Despite their cesspool-like nature, the Sewri mudflats continue to sustain an amazing biodiversity. There are more than 150 bird species, including the winter migrants. The annual total wader count (distribution of wading birds) is about 500,000 birds. BirdLife International, a global alliance of conservation organisations working for the world's birds and people, has designated the Sewri mudflats as an Important Bird Area and has also identified it as a potential Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance). The mudflats are also home to 53 species of vascular plants, 10 mangrove species and 13 mangrove-associate species as well as many types of crustaceans, molluscs and algae.


Ideal spot

Sewri, which is on the eastern seaboard of Mumbai, has been relatively untouched by the city's race for development. This is largely because it comes under the security blanket of the Port Trust. This is one reason why the mudflats are preserved to some extent though, undoubtedly, there were more mangroves and biodiversity earlier. Habitat losses have been mitigated because the environment has had some chance to adapt to changes.

An Egret waits for prey.
This slow development is also the reason why this part of central Mumbai continues to be a haven for birds like the flamingoes. It needs to be understood that the flamingoes did not randomly select the spot. The conditions in Sewri are ideal for the birds. The slight indentation in the coastline brings a degree of safety. The shallow mudflats make for easy feeding. Ironic, it may seem, but the human waste and nitrogen-rich organic pollutants from nearby industries promote the healthy growth of algae, which is the primary food of the flamingoes apart from small insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and small fish. This ideal combination is something that has occurred gradually over time and cannot be replicated. Therefore, the birds cannot be expected to resettle themselves a few kilometres north or south of their present location. It would not only be unrealistic but also unjust.

Sadly, however, the mudflats have come under threat from a Rs.8,500-crore mega project called the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a 22-km road-cum-sea bridge that will link Sewri on the Mumbai island to Nhava Sheva on the mainland. The six-lane road, 16.5 km of which will be a sea bridge, will also make provisions for an independent twin-track Metro in its second phase.

An Ibis near the murky waters
The Sewri-Nhava Sheva bridge has been in the pipeline for more than two decades. Now the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has resurrected the project by inviting applications for prequalification for the construction of the bridge. In the process, it has begun the countdown for the destruction of the mudflats and the flamingo haven.

As before, objections and compromise solutions to the project have been raised by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) but the MMRDA shows no signs of accepting them. Dr Asad Rahmani, the Director of the BNHS, said: “We are not against development, but at the same time, we want the environment to be protected. A realignment would save the flamingos and the mudflats, and the goal of development and conservation will be achieved.”


The BNHS had written to the MMRDA's Chief Engineer and suggested realigning the start of the bridge 700 m south of the proposed point. The MMRDA rejected it outright saying that a) there is no land available to realign the bridge, b) that any change will mean applying for fresh clearances and c) that all delays will mean an increase in costs.

But the fact is that land is usually made available when a government agency such as the MMRDA is involved, and fresh clearances should, in any case, be applied for because the project has been on and off for about two decades. The Environment Impact Assessment Report, for instance, is from 1992 and is outdated. Soaring project costs because of failed tendering over the years should not be a burden that the natural habitat has to bear.

Some people say that once the bridge is built the birds will return and the habitat will adapt as it has done before. But it is not just the chaos of the construction activity that will be disruptive. The bridge will alter the habitat drastically and suddenly. The construction will affect the tidal pattern, which in turn will affect the circulation and flow of water, siltation, drainage, configuration of the mudflats and, ultimately, the way life can or cannot be sustained. In its reply to the BNHS, the MMRDA has said that it will ensure that the environment is minimally impacted. But the assurance seems to be little more than paying lip service to the environment.

Source: Frontline. By LYLA BAVADAM
http://www.frontline.in/stories/20120309290406400.htm

23 February 2012

Greenhouse Gases, Oil Pollution and Alien Invasions Subjects for Shipping Environment Meeting


All Forms of Pollution under Discussion at IMO Session Next Week

UK – WORLDWIDE – The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will meet in London for its 63rd session from 27th February to 2nd March 2012 and the discussion will range across the entire spectrum of possible causes of pollution from global shipping. Subjects include market based measures to reduce greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, suitable fuels, waste control, oil pollution and how to prevent the transfer of alien life into vulnerable waters with the use of modern ballast water treatment technology.

Also under review will be the recycling of ships, a hot topic given the plethora of tonnage currently available and the price of scrap metal. An inter sessional correspondence group of the IMO has been refining the requirements of last years Ship Recycling Plan and the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials Guidelines. These are aimed at assisting ship-recycling facilities and shipping companies to commence introducing voluntary improvements to meet the requirements of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009.

The MEPC will also consider, for approval, four manuals aimed at supporting decision-making for tactical response to oil pollution incidents. The manuals have been developed by the OPRC-HNS[1] Technical Group and is intended to deal with a problem which remains a curse of the industry. Consideration will be given to the adoption of the draft 2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V and draft 2012 Guidelines for the Development of Garbage Management Plans intended to assist in the implementation of waste disposal regulations due to come into force next January.

One of the first subjects for discussion will be air pollution and the MEPC will consider three sets of draft guidelines intended to assist in the implementation of the Regulations on Energy Efficiency for Ships in MARPOL Annex VI. The draft guidelines were developed by a meeting of the Working Group on Energy Efficiency Measures for Ships in January. Work on developing Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) frameworks for those ships that are not covered by the current EEDI formula will also be progressed. The status of technological developments to implement stricter Nitrogen Oxide emissions will be reviewed along with matters relating to the availability of fuel oil to meet the requirements set out in MARPOL Annex VI.

The MEPC will continue to consider a number of proposals for market-based measures (MBMs), to assist the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. This follows the adoption, in July 2011, of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, to add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships to make mandatory the (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships and matters discussed at the 27th IMO Assembly last November.

The IMO are keen to ensure market based measures are utilised to reduce green house gas emissions following a report on such measures by an Expert Group, which had carried out a feasibility study and impact assessment of several possible such tactics submitted by Governments and observer organizations. The proposals under review range from a contribution or levy on all CO2 emissions from international shipping or only from those ships not meeting the EEDI requirement, via emission trading systems, to schemes based on a ship’s actual efficiency, both by design (EEDI) and operation.

Items targeted by such MBM’s include certainty in emission reductions or carbon price; revenues for mitigation, adaptation and capacity-building activities in developing countries; incentives for technical and operational improvements in shipping; and offsetting opportunities.

After numerous calamitous incidents involving the introduction of alien organisms detrimental to habitat due to the casual disposal of ballast water MEPC 63 will consider the reports of the recent meetings of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) Ballast Water Working Group, with a view to granting basic approval to four, and final approval to five, ballast water management systems that make use of active substances.

The MEPC is expected to reiterate the need for those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004, to achieve its entry into force at the earliest opportunity. To date, 33 States, with an aggregate merchant shipping tonnage of more than 26% of the world total, have ratified the Convention. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after the date on which not fewer than 30 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 35 percent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, have become Parties to it.

These matters, along with guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials, plus consideration of further development of draft guidelines for survey and for the inspection of ships under the Hong Kong Convention mean there is much to do then, and, although the IMO wheels turn necessarily slowly, due simply to the complexity of the matters in hand and the size of the industry it tries to guide with all the disparate opinions and vested interests it has to negotiate, there is a feeling that all the matters in hand need urgent attention and action to maintain credibility with the world at large and to keep safe lives and the environment as a whole.

Source: Handy Shipping Guide. 23 February 2012
http://www.handyshippingguide.com/shipping-news/greenhouse-gases-oil-pollution-and-alien-invasions-subjects-for-shipping-environment-meeting_3482

Market-based measures for greenhouse gases from ships on agenda as IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meets

Preview: Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 63rd session, 27 February to 2 March 2012
Briefing: 07, February 22, 2012

Market-based measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping will be among the key items on the agenda of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), when it meets for its 63rd session from 27 February to 2 March 2012, at IMO Headquarters in London.
 
The MEPC will also discuss issues relating to the implementation of the ship recycling and ballast water management conventions and consider the adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) relating to reception facilities in Small Island Developing States.
 
Market-based measures to address the reduction of GHGs

The MEPC will continue to consider a number of proposals for market-based measures (MBMs), to assist the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
 
This follows the adoption, in July 2011, of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, to add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships to make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships.
 
The Committee will have, for its consideration, the report of an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships, which met in March 2011 to consider suitable MBMs to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. This follows the submission to the MEPC of a comprehensive report by an Expert Group, which had carried out a feasibility study and impact assessment of several possible MBMs submitted by Governments and observer organizations.
 
The intersessional group held an extensive exchange of views on issues related to, among other things, the desirability of MBMs providing: certainty in emission reductions or carbon price; revenues for mitigation, adaptation and capacity-building activities in developing countries; incentives for technical and operational improvements in shipping; and offsetting opportunities.
 
The MEPC is expected to outline future work by the Organization on this matter, including, as identified by the Working Group, further in-depth examination of the impact of MBMs on world trade and sustainable development and, in particular, the possible impacts on developing countries as well as their consumers and industries.
 
The MBM proposals under review range from a contribution or levy on all CO2 emissions from international shipping or only from those ships not meeting the EEDI requirement, via emission trading systems, to schemes based on a ship’s actual efficiency, both by design (EEDI) and operation (SEEMP).
 
Guidelines for the implementation of the mandatory energy efficiency measures

The MEPC will consider three sets of draft guidelines intended to assist in the implementation of the Regulations on Energy Efficiency for Ships in MARPOL Annex VI. The draft guidelines were developed by the intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Energy Efficiency Measures for Ships, which met in January 2012. Work on developing EEDI frameworks for those ships that are not covered by the current EEDI formula will also be progressed.
 
The MEPC will also consider, with a view to adoption, an MEPC resolution on technology transfer and the development of alternative technologies to enable all Member States to meet the challenge of implementing the new Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI.

Air pollution from ships

The report of the Correspondence Group on the Review of the Status of the Technological Developments to Implement the Tier III NOx Emissions Standard will be brought to the attention of MEPC 63.
 
The MEPC will also continue its consideration of matters relating to the availability of fuel oil to meet the requirements set out in MARPOL Annex VI.
 
NOx technical code amendments

The MEPC will be invited to adopt draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code 2008, relating to certification of marine diesel engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction systems.
 
Amendments to MARPOL relating to regional arrangements for port reception facilities

The MEPC will be invited to adopt draft amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV, V and VI, aimed at enabling Small Island Developing States to comply with requirements for port States to provide reception facilities for ship waste through regional arrangements.  Parties participating in a regional arrangement must develop a Regional Reception Facilities Plan and provide particulars of the identified Regional Ships Waste Reception Centres; and particulars of those ports with only limited facilities.
 
MARPOL Annex V (Garbage) guidelines set for adoption   

The MEPC will consider, with a view to adoption, the draft 2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V and draft 2012 Guidelines for the Development of Garbage Management Plans, developed by an intersessional correspondence group. The guidelines are intended to assist in the implementation of the revised MARPOL Annex V Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, which was adopted at 
MEPC 62 in July 2011 and is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.
 
Ballast water management systems up for approval

The MEPC will consider the reports of the 18th, 19th and 20th meetings of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) Ballast Water Working Group, which met in late 2011, with a view to granting basic approval to four, and final approval to five, ballast water management systems that make use of active substances.
 
The MEPC is expected to reiterate the need for those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004, to achieve its entry into force at the earliest opportunity. To date, 33 States, with an aggregate merchant shipping tonnage of 26.46 per cent of the world total, have ratified the Convention. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after the date on which not fewer than 30 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 35% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, have become Parties to it.
 
Recycling of ships 

The MEPC is expected to consider, for adoption, draft Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, and Guidelines for the authorization of ship-recycling facilities, which have been further developed by the intersessional Correspondence Group on Ship Recycling Guidelines. 
 
These guidelines, along with the 2011 Guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials and the 2011 Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan that were adopted by MEPC 62, are intended to assist ship-recycling facilities and shipping companies to commence introducing voluntary improvements to meet the requirements of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009.
 
The MEPC will also consider the further development of draft guidelines for survey and certification and draft guidelines for the inspection of ships under the Hong Kong Convention.
 
Oil pollution response manuals to be considered for approval

The MEPC will consider, for approval, four manuals aimed at supporting decision-making for tactical response to oil pollution incidents. The manuals have been developed by the OPRC HNS  Technical Group.

Source: IMO
http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/07MEPC63preview.aspx

MEDIA ALERT – GROUNDBREAKING RULING SHOWS WAY FORWARD FOR ASBESTOS VICTIMS

Asbestos still a threat to thousands of workers in the shipbreaking industry

Brussels, 23 February 2012 - On 13 February 2012 in a historical ruling an Italian court sentenced two former top managers of multinational construction company Eternit to a 16-year jail term and fines worth millions of euros (1). Both former managers are accused of having allowed the use of asbestos in the company’s production chain knowing it could potentially poison and even kill thousands of its workers.

The groundbreaking ruling given by the court of Torino found the Swiss businessman Stephan Schmidheiny and the Belgian baron Jean-Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, guilty of environmental crimes against thousands of workers of the Italian-based branch of Eternit. According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of international human rights, labour rights and environmental NGOs, the Eternit court ruling gives hope to asbestos victims in the shipbreaking industry and sends out a clear warning to companies that continue to fail to protect workers against the devastating effects of asbestos.

Present in Torino on February 13, Annie Th├ębaud-Mony, spokesperson for Ban Asbestos-France, a member organisation of the Platform reported: “It was an amazing moment for those who refuse that profit be made at the price of people’s deaths. This sentence gives hope in justice for condemning asbestos usage not only in Europe, but also in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

Today, Europe has put in place regulations to ban the use of asbestos. Thousands of workers and their families are still however being exposed to the threat of asbestos in other parts of the world, especially in the shipbuilding, ship repair and shipbreaking industries. In South Asia, where the vast majority of ships are broken, no measures are taken to protect the workers against being exposed to toxic substances. It is reported that thousands of shipbreaking workers have fallen ill to asbestosis, a type of lung cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers over long periods of time. Asbestos plates originating from ships are further resold on the second hand market, endangering also the health of construction workers.

Most ships currently broken on the beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan were built in the 1970’s and the beginning of the 1980’s and contain large quantities of asbestos in their structure. Many of these ships originate from Europe and are sold by European ship owners (2) seeking to avoid the costs of providing adequate occupational health and safety measures and environmental protection. South Asian shipbreaking yards are well known for their weak enforcement of environmental regulations and lack of workers rights.

“The Eternit ruling warns that a company’s high-ranking decision makers can be held liable for their failure to protect workers against diseases caused by asbestos and other toxic substances, and that this lack of due diligence is to be considered a criminal act, ” said Ingvild Jenssen, Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “European ship owners should think twice before selling their ships to breaking yards known for not protecting their workers against hazardous substances such as asbestos.”

Raffaele Guariniello, the Italian prosecutor who defended the former Eternit employees and Italian municipalities in the lawsuit, will be in Paris on Saturday 25 February 2012 to discuss “the new boundaries of criminal law”.

(1) In the case of the 13 February 2012 ruling, the court of Torino sentenced the two managers to pay a fine of 25 million euros to the municipality of Casale Monferrato, 20 million euros to the region of Piemonte, 15 million euros to Inail, an insurance company for work-related accidents, and 4 million euros to the municipality of Cavagnolo. Eight other organisations and trade unions will receive between 70,000 and 100,000 euros each. The victims and their families will each receive between 30,000 and 35,000 euros.

Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform. 23 February 2012
http://www.shipbreakingplatform.org/media-alert-groundbreaking-ruling-shows-way-forward-for-asbestos-victims/

ExxonMobil sends single-hull tanker for recycling in China:

EXXONMOBIL’s shipping subsidiary SeaRiver Maritime has reportedly sold a 1987-built single-hull tanker to a Chinese shipbreaking site as it slowly gets rid of its non-double hull vessels. The 1987-built, 214,853 dwt S/R Long Beach was reflagged to Tuvalu on January 31, 2012, and............

Source: Lloydlist. 23 February 2012
http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/sector/tankers/article392180.ece

Derelict San Diego ferry boat at Mare Island via Antioch:

Christian Lind holds his daughter, Cassie, in front of the old San Diego Ferry Jericho at Mare Island. The vessel is destined for dismantling in Alameda. (Chris Riley / Times Herald)
A now-derelict ferry boat with a storied past is nearing the end of its journey along the Mare Island waterfront.

A failed Antioch project that drained nearly $3 million from city coffers, the San Diego ferry boat had a long life transporting people and autos in Southern California and Washington.

But the boat's latter half of life was not as fruitful and it came to Vallejo by way of the state's efforts to rid the Delta of junked boats.

Jerico Products vice president of operations Christian Lind said he stepped up when the state asked him to tow the boat.

"We're basically helping out the state," Lind said.

Lind put two of his tug boats into high gear last month, towing the rusted vessel from Horseshoe Bend, a slough near Decker Island a few miles north of Antioch, to Vallejo.

It is a curious sight among the firm's assortment of cranes, barges and other equipment at its berths 16, 17 and 18 on Mare Island.

Unlike the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet ships coming to Mare Island's Allied Defense Recycling (ADR) for dismantling, the San Diego will not be dismantled here.

Instead, it will be towed to the Bay Ship and Yacht Company in Alameda where it will be broken down, with parts sold for scrap, Lind said.

An immediate neighbor of ADR, Jerico Products moves barges and tugboats for a variety of uses, including dredging, and sand and gravel removal and distribution. The firm also accommodates crab fishing boats which unload their pots along the Mare Island waterfront onto refrigerated food trucks, Lind said.
The San Diego has drawn many curious people to Jerico's berths, though they are trespassing if they walk along the firm's waterfront area without permission, Lind said.

For 30 years the boat plied the waters between Coronado and San Diego, but new bridges put the ferry out of work, according to historical accounts. The Olympic Navigation Company in Washington bought the boat, and it ran between Whidbey Island and Port Townsend from 1970 to '74.

Then, the independent ferry company went out of business, and the San Diego was eventually abandoned along the Vancouver waterfront. The ferry nearly made it back into operation after the Hood Canal bridge sank in a storm in 1979 and ferries were desperately needed, but Washington state officials balked at the cost of restoring it.

In 1984, a Coronado entrepreneur bought the ferry with a grand scheme to return it to San Diego and convert it into a floating dinner theater. But politics intervened and the plan went nowhere, according to a Coronado Eagle & Journal newspaper story.

The entrepreneur, instead, moved the boat to Antioch in 1987, and proposed a similar venture. That scheme also failed. A $2 million city-guaranteed loan was defaulted on in 1989, and Antioch's redevelopment agency took on ownership, according to the newspaper story.

Antioch officials tried to lure restaurant and card room operators, but eventually cut its losses, selling the boat to a Sacramento investor for $130,000. The investor and a few others tried business ventures but legal and political hurdles proved too much.

Eventually, the boat was abandoned and slid further into decay. While in the Delta, Lind said homeless people lived on it, and the boat was set on fire, gutted and vandalized.

Almost like a ghost of its former self, the boat could be seen floating around the Delta after breaking loose of its moorings, said one of Lind's employees, Henry DeWitt.

As he watched the lifeless rusted vessel float peacefully in the Mare Island waters, DeWitt said he's heard from people who remember fondly riding on the San Diego long ago.

Soon, memories will be all that remain of the once-prominent ferry boat.

Contra Costa Times staff writer Paul Burgarino contributed to this report. Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at srohrs@timesheraldonline.com or (707) 553-6832.

Source: The Times Herald Online. By Sarah Rohrs. 12 February 2012
http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_19949587

USS Tulare arrives in Texas for scrapping process:

USS Tulare
After more than 3 decades floating at a Northern California shipyard, the USS Tulare took one last voyage down the Pacific Coast, through the Panama and back up north along the Atlantic Ocean.

Thought it once was the largest and fastest attack cargo transport ship in the Navy fleet after its commission in 1956, this ship that once was a workhorse during the Vietnam War was long ago stripped of its major systems.

So the Tulare made its month-long final voyage hooked to a tow boat that pulled it last week into the Brownsville, Texas, shipyard operated by International Shipbreaking Limited, LLC, which had purchased it.

Work already has begun on the six-month process of dismantling the Tulare.

"Ships are one of the most recyclable large items made by man. Over 90 percent of the ship is recycled," said Robert Berry, vice president of International Shipbreaking.

Most of the USS Tulare will end up as scrap steel that will be shipped to steel mills which will melt the pieces into girders and other items.

Although the Tulare is named after Tulare County, it's imminent demise seemed to go largely unnoticed here until county Supervisor Allen Ishida announced Tuesday that he received an email about it the previous week.

"I didn't know we had a ship. It's probably been mothballed forever," he told the crowd attending the Board of Supervisors meeting.

More precisely, after the Tulare was decommissioned in 1980, it was moored in Suisun Bay, northeast of San Francisco. It remained there until December, when it was sent to a San Francisco-area shipyard to prepare for its trip to Brownsville, which began Dec. 30.

In the email, a former Tulare crew member from Illinois suggested the county contact International Shipbreaking to determine if some parts of the Tulare may be saved and shipped here, said Neil Pilegard, the county's Parks and Recreation manager.

News that the Tulare had just arrived in Brownsville surprised Terry Bergfalk of Porterville, who in 1979 spent five days on the ship during the last leg of its last voyage as a regular Navy vessel, transporting Army troops from Alameda to Hawaii.

At the time, she was president of the Tulare County Navy League and a contributing writer to Navy Times and Navy publications. Because the ship was named after Tulare County and she had ties to the Navy, Bergfalk said she was invited to go on the trip.

"I was the only woman on the ship," she said, noting that by that time, the years of wear on the ship were apparent, as was the fact it lacked much of the technology of newer Navy ships being built.

As if to punctuate the Tulare problems, an engine blew on the way to Hawaii, leaving the ship dead in the water for about 10 hours, Bergfalk said.

She attended the ship's decommissioning ceremony the following year and was given the bronze plaque Tulare County presented to the Navy when the ship was commissioned -†along with two flag stanchions from the Tulare that still sit on her fireplace.

Bergfalk later gave the plaque to the county and it is currently on display at the Tulare County Historical Museum at Mooney Grove Park.

The aging ship on its last voyage was a sharp contrast to how it began, the first of a new type of amphibious ship that could transport troops, tanks, trucks and other equipment for beach landings.

"This class of ships, I guess they developed out of World War II and all the amphibious landings that were carried out," said Ed Mersich, 67, of Elizabeth Colo.

He served as an electricians mate third-class on the Tulare from 1965 to 1968 and now runs a website for former Tulare crew members.

Navy historical records show the ship was originally built as a civilian cargo ship in 1953 but was obtained by the Navy and converted it for military use, which included installing 12 three-inch guns.

"Not all amphibious cargo ships were armed, but this one was armed," Mersich said.

Not that the Tulare used the guns much, as it was usually surrounded by ships with more firepower, he said.

The ship carried a compliment of two amphibious landing craft — boats that could be driven onto beaches to let out or receive troops and equipment — each ranging in length from 30 to 56 feet long.

Also known by crew members as the "Big T" and "Tu-Tu," the Tulare operated in the Pacific, transporting troops and equipment, particularly during the Vietnam War.

One thing that made the Tulare unique was that its system for distilling sea water into drinking water was so much better than distillation systems in most Navy ships that water rationing wasn't required.

And sometimes, the Tulare served during the Vietnam War as a sort of "floating hotel" where troops could bathe and do their laundry because it had so much available water, Mersich said.

"It was quite luxurious by naval standards."

It also was the first ship of its kind, which meant that other fast-attack cargo transports were designated "Tulare-class" ships.

As for how the Tulare acquired its name, that's not clear.

Navy historical records confirm the ship was named after Tulare County, and newspaper articles from the 1950s recount how Tulare County officials commissioned a bronze plaque that was installed on the ship.

"And amphibious cargo ships were named after counties -†U.S. counties," said Mersich, adding that he didn't know why Tulare County was picked. "This could have been pulled out of a hat, for all I know."

Local historians contacted said they also didn't know the story behind naming the ship, nor did a January 1956 Times-Delta article about local representatives attending the commissioning ceremony at the Bethlehem Pacific Coast Steel Corp. yard in San Francisco.

"She is the largest, fastest attack cargo ship in the fleet. She has the first helicopter platform ever installed on a cargo ship," the article stated, quoting Rear Adm. John R. Redman, commander of the 12th Naval District.

"To her officers and men, [the]Tulare will always be something very special. Long after they have left her, she will be a part of them," he continued.

Mersich said every former crew member he has spoken to has fond memories of the Tulare.

But as time went on, the Tulare was outmatched by other, newer ships and other ways to do its mission.

A lot more transport was done by large cargo aircraft as well as government-owned transport ships with civilian crews that were increasingly used to transport troops, tanks and supplies, Mersich said.

In July 1975, the Tulare became a training ship for the Naval Reserve Force. It operated out of San Francisco, until it was decommissioned in February 1980.

After that, it was moored in Suisun Bay as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet until it was determined to be obsolete and sold to be scrapped for $1.13 million.

"I feel real sad that it's going to scrap," Bergfalk said.

As for what memorabilia might be salvaged from the Tulare for museums here and other places where they may be displayed, Pilegard said there may not be much available.

"Other museums have picked through it," he said, noting even the ship's bell is long gone.

One of its twin, nine-ton, 50-caliber guns was removed from the ship in 2010 so it could be installed on the USS Hornet — now a floating museum -†in Alameda.

Pilegard said he's been in touch with the company taking the Tulare apart and "They're going to look through and see if anything's left."

Source: Visalia Times Delta. 12 February 2012
http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20120213/NEWS01/202130312

Alang shipbreaking yard set for makeover :

Ahmedabad, Feb 13 (PTI) The Gujarat government plans to transform the Alang shipbreaking yard into an international-level ship recycling yard by making it safer and eco-friendly in collaboration with the Japan government. 

A USD 22.50 million project has been envisaged with funding from the Japan government, to make Alang Shipbreaking yard safer and eco-friendly as per the guidelines of a convention of International Maritime Organization held in Hong Kong, Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) officials said today. 

"The GMB will prepare a detailed project report and will send it to Government of India. 
Further, the report will be sent to Japan with government's recommendations," they said. 

Alang ship recycling yard is Asia's biggest shipyard which sees a recycling of about 400 ships annually. While Japan has a 40 per cent share in the world's shipping industry, it is chiefly dependent on China for recycling of ships. A high-level delegation of Japan's Ship Owners' Association paid a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi today and expressed eagerness to begin the project on Alang ship yard at the earliest.

Source: IBN Live. 13 February 2012
http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/alang-shipbreaking-yard-set-for-makeover/963135.html

Japan plans to convert Alang into world-class yard:

A delegation of Japan’s Ship-owner’s Association met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and held discussions about the Japanese government’s proposed project to convert the Alang-Sosiya Shipbreaking yard into an international-level ship recycling yard.

The delegation comprised officials of leading Japanese shipping companies, including Kawasaki, Mitsui OSK, NYK line, Mitsubishi, Nippon, KG and JX Tanker.

Alang in Bhavnagar is Asia’s largest shipyard which recycles around 400 ships every year. Japan has 40% share of the world’s shipping industry and is mainly dependent on China for recycling of ships.

According to officials, Japan’s ministry of economics, trade and industry, has carried out a study for converting Alang-Sosiya ship-recycling yard into an international-level yard if it is made safer and eco-friendly as per guidelines of International Maritime Organisation convention. The Japanese government will spend $22.50 million (approximately Rs112 crore) for the project.

Officials said that the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) will prepare a detailed project report and send it to the Union government, which would forward it to the Japan government. Talking to the delegation, the CM mentioned the endless possibilities of creating world-class shipping industry along the 1,600-km long coastline of the state.

Source: Daily News and Analysis. 14 February 2012
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_japan-plans-to-convert-alang-into-world-class-yard_1650123

Japanese draw up $22.5m plan for Alang:

GANDHINAGAR: The Japanese have decided to come to Alang, offering to the Gujarat government a major plan to modernize Asia's biggest ship-recycling yard.

A high-level 15-member Japanese delegation, led by Kenji Tomoda, chairman, Ship Recycle sub-committee of the Japanese Ship-owners' Association, met chief minister Narendra Modi and officials of the state ports department on Monday, telling the state government about the need to make Alang's 170 recycling plots, spread over a 10 kilometres stretch, environmentally friendly, such that foreign ships can reach there without any hassle for recycling.

"The cost for modernizing the yard has been estimated at $ 22.5 million. We have asked the Japanese to fund the project. The delegation seemed keen," a senior government official, who was in the meeting with the delegation, told TOI.

Among those who were part of the delegation included top shipping companies like Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Mitsubishi," the official said, adding, "Other representatives included members of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, which provides technical and other forms of aid promoting economic and social development, and Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ( METI)."

During their talks with the CM, the Japanese insisted about the need to ensure that Alang complies with the Hong Kong Protocol for Safe and Environmentally-Friendly Recycling, formulated by the International Maritime Organization in 2009.

"This alone with ensure that Japanese ships, which form 15 per cent of the world's total, reach Alang for recycling and do not go anywhere else," the official quoted the Japanese. The official added, "This was the second Japanese visit to India. Immediately after the first visit, we asked Wapcos, the Government of India consultants, to prepare a complete project report on what all is needed in order to implement the Hong Kong protocol, to which India is a signatory."

On their part, the state government assured the Japanese delegation that it will do everything to enforce the Hong Kong protocol, including constructing a safer hazardous waste disposal site and platforms for cutting ships.

The delegation was also assured that better facilities will be created for safer reception of oil from the tankers that come with the ships.

Source: Times of India.
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-14/ahmedabad/31058198_1_alang-japanese-ships-foreign-ships

GMS weekly report on PAKISTAN shipbreaking industry for WEEK 07 of 2012

A handful of Pakistan buyers were still there to offer on units albeit at prices well below the expectations of both cash buyers, brokers and Sellers.

Indian prices picked up a touch off the back of a settling currency and improving steel plate prices something that dragged Pakistan levels with them.

The available candidates though were either holding out for higher numbers or headed to rival delivery ports with geographic positions of vessels now key with all markets currently close together on price.

Source: Steel Price China. 22 February 2012
http://www.steelprices-china.com/news/index/2012/02/22/MzM1MDI%3D/GMS_weekly_report_on_Pakistan_ship_breaking_industry_for_WEEK_07_2012.html

22 February 2012

Top 10 countries for sending ships for breaking in 2011:

According to data from the NGO the top 10 countries sending ships for demolition in 2011 are:-
  1. Greece (100 ships)
  2. Norway (24 ships)
  3. UK (13 ships)
  4. The Netherlands (12  ships)
  5. Germany (11 ships)
  6. Italy (9 ships)
  7. Cyprus, Switzerland (5 ships each )
  8. Bulgaria, Denmark, Romania (4 ships each)
  9. Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Sweden (3 ships each)
  10. Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Slovenia (1 ship each)
While Panama flagged vessels come top of the list, with Liberia in second and Bahamas and St. Kits and Nevis joint third.

Source: Mersey Shipping. 13 February 2012
http://merseyshipping.blogspot.com/2012/02/top-10-countries-for-sending-ships-for.html

Mission accomplished for HMCS Vancouver:

Demolitions team member Able Seaman Lucien Pelletier keeps track of the fuse burn time while he heads to a safe distance during a a demolition operation in the Mediterranean Sea.
When a lookout onboard HMCS Vancouver spotted a strange object bobbing in the waves of the Mediterranean Sea during the height of the Libyan conflict last fall, little did Petty Officer 2nd Class Duane Gall realize it would put his 22 years on the job to the ultimate test.

The warship was deployed to the region last July to work alongside NATO allies to ensure arms weren’t getting into the war-torn nation.

The vessel will return home to CFB Esquimalt Sunday morning (Feb. 19). Among the dignitaries who will be on board the ship as it sails into Esquimalt harbour will be Gen. Walt Natynczyk, chief of the defence staff, Wai Young, MP for Vancouver South and Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.

Many of the 250 naval and air force personnel watched history in the making as Libyan skies were lit up by tracer ammunition rounds.

The lookout’s alert on Oct. 6 added an element of excitement for Gall, who finally had the chance to put decades of demolitions training to work.

The bosun and his team were ordered to destroy an unidentified steel cylinder found floating. It was one metre in diameter, about nine metres long and its purpose will remain a mystery to the crew.

The object caused a lot of excitement on board “just because we didn’t know what it was,” the Colwood resident and demolitions team section leader said. “Just because of the way it was in the water, it was a hazard to navigation.”

The team waited until 6 a.m. the next morning before constructing their charges from three blocks of C4 plastic explosives.

Two small boats headed away from the ship, one carrying a backup safety team and the other with Gall and two fellow bosuns.

Meanwhile, HMCS Vancouver headed for safety about three kilometres away.

“We had only seen one picture of the object the night before, so (I was) a little excited, a little apprehensive coming up to it, not knowing exactly what I was going to get into,” Gall said.

Members of the warship’s boarding party also faced several unknowns during the deployment.

“When we get off the ship, we’re literally our own support,” said navy Lt. Scott Meagher, the officer in charge of the boarding party. “It’s definitely a higher-risk job. The adrenalin is pretty high when we depart to do boardings.”

Last fall, the 12-member team boarded three vessels to look over crew identification and other paperwork, inspect any cargo and search for weapons.

The team, decked out with ballistic vests, pistols and C8 assault rifles, first boarded a Libyan tug in early September. The three-hour search produced one weapon, kept for self-defence.

Under the arms embargo “we were looking for weapons, military-related items such as clothing, ammunition,” said Meagher, a Langford resident.

The potential to come across improvised explosive devices, as well as the hazards that come with inspecting large vessels, are on every boarding party member’s mind.

“You leave the comfort of the ship and you go to the unknown every time you board, so there’s a lot of risk involved in boarding,” Meagher said, adding that the stakes were higher in a region impacted by civil war.

The team boarded a Singapore gas tanker on Sept. 19, “which literally kind of just showed up out of the blue,” he said. “That one was full of gas that they were actually trying to sell to the Libyans on spec, and the odd thing about that one was nobody in Libya knew they were coming.”

The frigate’s crew needed to figure out where the gas was going, “whether it was going to the pro-Gadhafi forces ... or the anti-Gadhafi forces,” Meagher said.

Like the tug, the tanker was cleared and allowed to continue its trip.

A Turkish merchant ship, which had dropped off wheat in Tripoli, Libya, was searched in October, capping off a successful run of inspections.

Like the boarding party, extensive training proved critical for the demolitions team. The bosuns expertly rigged the bobbing cylinder with explosives, a detonator and a timer fuse.

Once the fuse was ignited, they headed to a safer range and waited for the top to blow off the object, causing it to sink.

“It was hard to stay calm,” Gall said of the memorable experience. “There was a fair bit of adrenalin.”

Gall and Meagher were just a few of many Vancouver personnel who experienced many firsts during the unique mission in a combative environment.

“Now when you look back at it and you look at the accomplishments of the boarding team and the demolitions team, we’re quite proud,” Meagher said.

Source: Victoria News. By Erin McCracken (emccracken@vicnews.com). 17 February 2012
http://www.vicnews.com/news/139405068.html