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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Heads up

There is only so much health and safety nonsense that one sane person can take. Here is the latest.

Repeatedly heading a football can lead to brain damage, according to research led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The study found that repetitive heading may set off a cascade of responses that can lead to degeneration of brain cells. Apparently, people who head a ball 1,000 to 1,500 times per year are most at risk of ‘significant injury’.

The key words here are ‘may’ and ‘can’. Any research which uses such vague terminology is not worthy of being called research. Over the years, countless of millions of people have headed a football – some for a living, some for pleasure. Some people are naturally good in the air. I once played in a team where our centre-half, Manny, was so good that he used to head the ball 1,500 times in a match. He even used to take penalties with his head.

The English professional game has produced a number of great headers of a football. On one occasion, back in the 60s, I overheard some entertaining banter on the terraces at White Hart Lane about the merits of Tony Hateley, who had recently been signed for a large transfer fee by Liverpool. “Oh, he’s really good in the air, though,” said one Scouser, in defence of his new hero, who was being ridiculed by the home fans. “So was Douglas Bader,” came the reply from a Spurs fan, “but they didn’t pay £100,000 for him.”

When I was growing up, we played with a leather football which weighed a ton to start with and got progressively heavier as it picked up moisture during the game. When you headed the thing you were in danger of snapping your neck in half, and would invariably end up with an angry mark on your forehead resulting from contact with the lace which was used to tie the dead weight of pigs’ bladder together. Today’s footballers can’t possibly come to any harm heading the modern ball, which is a balloon by comparison.

This research is American, and should be viewed in light of what the average American academic knows about football. I have known thousands of people who have spent the best part of thirty years heading a football. Not one of them has suffered brain damage as a result. If God had meant us not to head footballs, he would not have given us Alan Gilzean.


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Liberia re-elected to IMO Council

LIBERIA has been re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation for 2012-2013, a distinction it last enjoyed in 1997. Liberia’s Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Binyah Kesselly, says, “It is very gratifying to see Liberia returned to its rightful place at IMO. As a country, and as an integral part of the international shipping industry, Liberia has made enormous strides forward in recent years. It has also been a consistent and committed member of IMO, and a proactive supporter of initiatives to improve safety and seafarers’ welfare. It has earned the right to reclaim its place on the IMO Council.”

The Liberian-flag fleet currently comprises 3,750 ships aggregating more than 124m gross tons, easily making Liberia the second-largest ship registry in the world. It is also the fastest growing fleet, having more than doubled in size in the last ten years as the registry has pursued a policy of planned, controlled expansion involving quality shipowners and quality ships.

Liberia features on the White List of all Port State Control Memorandums of Understanding, worldwide. It is rated as a low-risk flag by the Paris MoU, and is included in the current US Coast Guard Qualship 21 programme.

Over the past six years, following the democratic election of Africa’s first female Head of State, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia has overcome many of the economic and political problems which have blighted its past. Under the Presidency of Madame Johnson Sirleaf, who this year was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, the country has achieved quantum leaps in terms of political stability, economic growth and prosperity. Reforms have been introduced to help reduce corruption, increase transparency, and strengthen the rule of law, thereby making Liberia an attractive option for foreign investment.

Liberia is White-Listed by the OECD following its signature of the requisite number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements, and was recognised by the World Bank as one of the ten most improved business performers in 2010.

The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, with a long-established track record of combining the highest standards for vessels and crews with the highest standards of responsive service to owners. www.liscr.com

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Monday, 28 November 2011

OSD to design low emission tug for Iskes

Offshore Ship Designers has been contracted to develop the design of a low-emission diesel-electric harbour tug for IJmuiden-based Iskes Towage & Salvage.

The 32-metre loa tug will have a bollard pull of 70 tonnes and will be powered by three diesel gensets driving electric motors mounted over azimuthing propellers aft and a Voith in-line thruster forward. The Azistern 3270 tug is a further development of the low-emission Azistern series developed by OSD. It is expected to reduce emissions by 30 per cent compared to conventional, similar-sized harbour tugs now in service.

Michiel Wijsmuller, managing director of OSD, says, “The design and demand for this low-emission tug stems from our successful work developing the zero-emission Green Tug design. Iskes was one of the key partners in that project. We can see the market is not yet ready for fuel cell power for harbor tugs, but we can take from the development work other aspects of the design which minimise emissions. This vessel will have a very refined and efficient hull form and a sophisticated power management system which will ensure that the gensets work always at their best efficiency.”

Key points of the design brief are a relatively large deck crane to enable the tug to do maintenance work for wind farms at sea, electrical winches, low resistance and low-wash hull form and accommodation for seven crew.

Offshore Ship Designers Group (OSD) is a global one-stop resource delivering naval architecture and marine engineering skills to the shipping and offshore energy industries. It draws on an experienced global workforce to provide high quality feasibility studies, conceptual and detailed designs for tugs and offshore support vessels of all types. OSD is based in IJmuiden, The Netherlands, and has offices in Montrose, York, Appledore, Shanghai and Singapore.

For a PDF graphic of the Azistern 3270 concept:

Or click this link to find downloadable photos:


For more information:
Merijn Brusselers
Offshore Ship Designers
+31 (0)255 54 50 70

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Acquisition strongly boosts RINA offshore and port development services

By taking control of the D’Appolonia Group, a global engineering consultancy, international classification society RINA has increased its group turnover by almost 50 per cent and significantly strengthened its expertise and range of services in the offshore and port development fields.

Says Ugo Salerno, CEO, RINA, “By bringing the D’Appolonia Group’s 580 multidisciplinary staff and Euro87m turnover into RINA we have made a quantum jump in size and capability. We bring a lot of new skills and services into RINA, especially in the environmental fields, and we significantly strengthen our teams working on offshore energy and port development projects.”

In the offshore energy field D’Appolonia has key skills in site engineering, geophysical surveys and investigations, seismic hazard evaluation, coastal engineering, environmental impact assessment, HSE, layout and geotechnical engineering, training, commissioning and maintenance engineering. It has played key roles in recent on and offshore LNG projects including the Esso Highlands Papua New Guinea project, the Dunkerque LNG Terminal for Technint and several projects in Italy, Libya and Indonesia.

In the port development field D’Appolonia has developed feasibility studies and designs for the Russian ports of Sochi and Taman, Beira in Mozambique, Ain El Ghazalah in Libya, and in Italy Gaeta, Manfredonia and specific detailed engineering and supervision for ports such as Gioia Tauro and the Genoa Cruise terminal.

Salerno says, “D’Applonia’s expertise in construction, brownfield site recovery and materials handling especially complement our existing marine expertise. Together we can add a strong global dimension to RINA’s services, able to bring together marine and engineering knowledge with respect for the environment and deliver port and offshore projects safely and cleanly.”


RINA is one of the oldest classification societies and certification companies in the world. Established in Genoa in 1861 to serve the marine industry, today it spans the globe as a multinational and multi-faceted company, sharing its knowledge and experience through a wide range of services which help industries and the community to improve their businesses and quality of life. RINA’s services cover the environment, energy, transportation, logistics, safety, quality and social responsibility.


For more information:
Claudia Filippone
Head of Media Relations RINA
+39 010 5385643

Giulia Faravelli
Media Relations
+39 010 5385505

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Thursday, 17 November 2011

London Club says technology can cause costly distractions

THE London P&I Club has warned that improvements in telecommunications technology on board ships can create unwelcome distractions, leading to casualties.

In its StopLoss Bulletin, the club notes that an alleged causative factor in a recent pollution incident involved the duty officer attempting to make a Skype call on his laptop during his watch. A VDR playback revealed that the officer of the watch (OOW) was listening to a news bulletin from his home country which was being streamed through a laptop computer. The officer appears to have missed a radar target and a VHF warning call while listening to the breaking news from home.

The club says, “Onboard communication has improved significantly over the last few years, with technological advances enabling crew to use mobile phones and laptops to stay in contact with family and friends ashore. However, the use of such equipment at inappropriate moments may distract crew from the navigation or operation of the ship.

“Another issue is the risk of being exposed to excessive information and simply being unable to process it all. Bridge equipment is increasingly sophisticated and it can provide the crew with access to extensive information regarding the relative positions of other ships. But, unless it is used in a focused manner, it can confuse, rather than clarify, and ultimately prove counter-productive.”

In another case cited by the club, the OOW decided to use the Automatic Radar Plotting Aid to track 99 different ships whilst transiting a congested anchorage and to overlay the radar image with Automatic Identification System data. With so much information being displayed, he failed to notice that one of the targets had both a minimal closest point of approach (CPA) and time to CPA and, ultimately, there was a collision.

The club says, “It is worth giving careful thought to how such equipment can best be used without risking information overload. An important principle of keeping a safe navigational watch is that the OOW ensures that an efficient look-out is maintained at all times and the Collision Regulations are complied with. It is therefore essential that any distractions from those duties are as far as possible minimised or eliminated.”


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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sliding davits offer Arctic MOB and Fast Rescue Craft boat solutions

Norway-based boat handling system and specialised davit supplier Vestdavit has developed a sliding davit solution which permits easy handling and maintenance of rescue craft in Artic conditions. Vestdavit’s PLR-3600 MOB/FRC davit is DNV and ABS approved for work in -40 degree C and can handle MOB boats and Fast Rescue Craft safely in Arctic conditions.

“As the Arctic opens up to shipping and oil exploration, there is more and more need for the specialised vessels which can operate in those conditions,” says Atle Kalve, development manager, Vestdavit. “We have already designed and supplied Arctic-capable davits for ice breaker operators, and now increasingly for US offshore firms operating in Alaska. But the weather in which vessels operating in the Artic regions want to maintain operations calls for new ways to store, launch and recover boats in extreme conditions of sea state and low temperatures. We are responding to the market needs with the sliding PLR-3600 davit. The alcove protection allows maintenance of the craft and davit protected from the weather and ensures it is ready when needed. The davit system slides aft clear of the alcove then launches the boat using our proven davit systems in an extreme winterised version.”

The PLR-3600 Arctic davit is built from specialised steel and all moving parts have special seals, all tested, approved and certified for operations to 40 degrees C below zero. The Hydraulic Power Unit and hydraulic system is special built for this type of operations, including use of special hydraulic fluid for Arctic operations. The davit has built-in shock absorbing and is wave compensated to allow ease of use in high seas. The whole unit is housed in a protected alcove or enclosed garage. Maintenance intervals are also lengthened to avoid the need for routine work on the davits while in very cold weather.

Vestdavit also designs and supplies Arctic-capable davits able to handle 30 tonne boats and can integrate these with the ship’s garage and stern launch boat handling systems for extreme conditions.

For a graphic of the Vestdavit arctic davits see attachments, go to http://bit.ly/roQ3Hu or e mail john@merlinco.com

Vestdavit designs, supplies and supports tailor-made solutions for launching and recovering boats in difficult conditions at sea. Its range of boat handling systems and davits are the first choice of navies, coastguards, seismic survey operators, pilot authorities and offshore operators who need to be able to operate small boats safely from larger vessels. Since 1975 Bergen-based Vestdavit has supplied over 1,800 davits and side and stern launch systems. They have proven themselves over more than 30 years use in the North Sea and other harsh environments around the world. Self-tensioning and shock absorbing systems ensure crew safety and widen the operational window for the users. Vestdavit’s key focus is on operational effectiveness, safety and the reliability of its equipment. http://www.vestdavit.no/

For more information:
Atle Kalve
+ 47 45 21 97 31

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Schat-Harding develops Secondary Safety Systems for IMO-compliant hooks

Leading lifeboat manufacturer and service provider Schat-Harding has completed all tests required by IMO to ensure that its SeaCure lifeboat release and retrieval systems (the new name for hooks) meet the new IMO guidelines for existing and new lifeboats. And reacting to industry requests Schat-Harding has also developed a Secondary Safety System (SSS) for the SeaCure hook. Although not required by IMO guidelines or SOLAS regulations, the SSS is recommended by many shipping industry groups,

Birger Grathen, CEO, Schat-Harding Service, says, “IMO has issued mandatory guidelines for lifeboat release and retrieval systems under MSC.1/Circ.1392. These are unusual because they are retrospective and require owners to test and in some cases replace existing equipment. Manufacturers have also had to apply rigid new tests to all their equipment. The rules apply to new boats from 1 July 2014, but there are also tests to be applied to existing hooks, and these will have to be upgraded at the first dry-dock after 1 July 2014 if they do not meet the set standards.

“However, IMO’s guidelines do not call for a Secondary Safety System. We are happy to announce that our SeaCure lifeboat release and retrieval systems meet or exceed all the IMO standards, have passed all relevant tests and are now available for shipowners to refit to existing conventional lifeboats. And we have worked with industry groups and our customers to develop a simple but safe optional Secondary Safety System for the SeaCure range. The hook and the SSS meet all industry needs, are approved by flag state and class, are available now, and are backed by our global service network, which is ready to advise owners, assess existing equipment and to fit the new equipment if required.”

All shipowners are obliged to arrange an evaluation of existing on-load hooks on their vessels. Hooks which don’t meet the new standards need to be replaced no later than the next scheduled dry-dock after the 1st July, 2014, and no later than the 1st July, 2019. If found to be compliant then an overhaul examination should be executed no later than the next scheduled dry-dock after the 1st July, 2014. The one-time follow-up overhaul examination by the manufacturer or authorised representative should be in accordance with MSC.1/Circ.1206Rev1.

Says Grathen, “The new IMO requirements are complex, and are unusual in that they are retrospective. But we are convinced they will make lifeboat release and retrieval systems safer to use, and we are committed to helping shipowners to improve safety at sea. We have been doing that since 1928, and we are right at the forefront of safety with this new equipment, but more than that, we are leading with our global network and our willingness to help owners. There are literally hundreds of types of lifeboat on-load hook system in service, there are thousands of lifeboats which need upgrading, and owners need help to understand and implement the rules. I urge them to ask us, we will help, we want to help, we want seafarers to feel confident that their lifeboats are safe.”

Over 100 shipowners have already re-hooked their lifeboats using Schat-Harding service engineers and hooks. Grathen says, “We have the trained and authorised engineers and we have the equipment, but we do urge owners to come forward as soon as possible to evaluate their equipment and needs. Firstly because that way it is safer for their crews, who get the new standards in place quicker, and secondly because they could face business interruption if they leave this until the last minute rush to comply by the due date. These SeaCure hooks can be retrofitted to most types of boat now in service, not just Schat-Harding boats, so we can offer all owners and seafarers the safety of the new IMO-compliant hooks and the security of an engineering team who can assess any hooks now in service and fit the new equipment safely and without service interruption.”

To download hi res photos of Schat-Harding SeaCure hooks and Birger Grathen click on: http://bit.ly/sg23wi
or e mail john@merlinco.com

• Schat-Harding is the world’s leading supplier of lifeboat and evacuation systems for the offshore, cruise and shipping industries. With factories and offices in Norway, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Canada, the Czech Republic, the USA and China, and agents or service partners in thirty other countries, Schat-Harding provides a global service and supply network. Brands now owned by Schat-Harding include Watercraft, Viking Marine, Waterman, Fiskars, Davit-Company, MASECO, Watercraft America, William Mills Marine, Schat, Harding, Mulder & Rijke and the Beiyang Boatbuilding Co. www.schat-harding.com

For more information:

David Torres
VP Sales
USH Service
+47 902 82 987

Jennifer Manning
Marketing Manager
USH Service
+47 45 86 74 47

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

RINA acquires D’Appolonia engineering consultancy

INTERNATIONAL classification society RINA has taken control of the D’Appolonia Group, a global engineering consultancy headquartered in Genoa. The acquisition of an 80 per cent holding in D’Appolonia SPA significantly strengthens RINA’s global engineering consultancy and takes RINA’s projected 2012 turnover to over Euro300m.

The D’Appolonia Group, founded in the USA but headquartered in Genoa since 1981, delivers engineering competencies in the field of strategic consultancy, planning and design in various industrial sectors from a global network of offices. It generated revenue in 2011 of over Euro87m. The group employs over 580 multidisciplinary staff with extensive capabilities in the earth sciences, civil, environmental and structural engineering, risk assessment, health and safety, chemical and process engineering, system and transport engineering, electronics, telecommunications and innovation engineering.

The companies of the Group provide integrated engineering services to the public and private markets in the sectors of environment, energy, infrastructure and transport, electronics and telecommunications, with a successful track record of over 20,000 projects.

Ugo Salerno, CEO of RINA, says “The acquisition of another company founded on excellence like D’Appolonia is a step forward in our development strategy which is based on boosting our competencies, improving synergies and delivering services with a high added value. We can provide a wider range of expert services to more companies and governments world-wide, as D’Appolonia’s expertise and markets strengthen some things we already do and also widen the range of services we can deliver. In this 150th anniversary year we are transforming the RINA Group and positioning it to grow and develop further, consolidating our presence in global markets and widening our range of services by acquiring other excellent companies.”

Giampaolo Vaccaro, President of D’Appolonia says, “With our other stakeholders we spent a long time considering before deciding who to entrust the future of D’Appolonia to, and in the RINA Group we identified the values, the reliability and the strategic vision which we are certain will enable our company to reach new and important objectives.”

D’Appolonia’s main markets are Italy with 48 per cent, Europe with 24.5 per cent and Asia with 22 per cent. The company has its headquarters in Genoa and a network of eight foreign offices and six in Italy. The 20 per cent of the company not acquired by RINA remains with the original private shareholders.


RINA is one of the oldest classification societies and certification companies in the world. Established in Genoa in 1861 to serve the marine industry, today it spans the globe as a multinational and multi-faceted company, sharing its knowledge and experience through a wide range of services which help industries and the community to improve their businesses and quality of life. RINA’s services cover the environment, energy, transportation, logistics, safety, quality and social responsibility. www.rina.org

For more information:
Claudia Filippone
Head of Media Relations
+39 010 5385643

Giulia Faravelli
Media Relations
+39 010 5385505

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Monday, 7 November 2011

Bureau Veritas publishes Ballast Water Management Systems guidance

Leading international classification society Bureau Veritas has published a comprehensive set of guidelines on Ballast Water Management Systems. Guidance Note NI 538 is intended to help shipowners, shipyards and equipment manufacturers facing complex choices when deciding how to implement the IMO International Convention on Ballast Water Management and also local rules on ballast water which apply in some areas of the world.

The guidance note clarifies the requirements of the BWM Convention and shows the alternative systems and processes which can be adopted to meet the requirements. The advantages and disadvantages of different treatment measures are explained.

Jean-Francois Segretain, deputy technical director, Bureau Veritas Marine Division, says, “Ballast Water Management is becoming a major challenge for shipowners. There is some uncertainty over the exact implementation dates of the BWM convention, and there is also a growing patchwork of local regulation, with the possibility of even more stringent rules on ballast in the USA. But one thing is certain, shipowners will very soon have to have in place a means of meeting very strict ballast water conditions. There are a number of ways to meet stringent standards on ballast water, but not all are as yet proven technology. That is why we are publishing these guidelines now, to draw attention to what needs to be done and to provide some clarity on the choices facing owners and operators.”

The Guidance note covers requirements for the ship and for type-testing of treatment systems and also the elements of a Ballast Water Management plan.

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has close to 50,000 employees in 930 offices and 330 laboratories located in 140 countries. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performances by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.

www.bureauveritas.com for corporate information www.veristar.com for marine information

Visit Bureau Veritas at Europort, 8-11 November, Booth No: 7320

Bon-fide press wanting a copy of NI 538 please e mail john@merlinco.com

For more information:
Jean-Francois Segretain
Bureau Veritas
+33 1 55 24 72 00

Philippe Boisson
Bureau Veritas
+33 1 55 24 71 98

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