NOVEMBER 4, 2012—Even as New York City struggles to get to its feet following the devastating blow from Hurricane Sandy, critical subway, rail, bus and ferry transportation links are slowly returning thanks to major and often unheralded, behind-the-scene efforts.
One of those is the iconic Staten Island Ferry, which is a proud symbol and vital commuter link for many Staten Islanders. The bright “safety orange” fleet of ferries carries almost 22 million commuters and tourists annually between the St. George Terminal on the north shore of Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal at The Battery in lower Manhattan.
The ferry resumed service on Nov. 2, following what NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan called “around-the-clock” efforts to repair the damage.
“The Staten Island Ferry, where I road out storm, was hit pretty hard,” James DeSimone, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Ferry Division, NYCDOT, told Marine Log. “The good news is that no one was injured and the ferries survived unscathed due to the expertise of our captains and crews, who manned the vessels throughout the night, tending the moorings and working the engines alongside the Ferry Maintenance Facility piers and our shore staff who supported them. As the storm approached, we clocked frequent gusts over 75 knots before our weather station failed,” says DeSimone.
The ferries were on heavy weather moorings, but one mishap did occur when two moorings on the unmanned, laid up 1,200-passenger ferry Alice Austen let go. DeSimone, however, says ferry crews quickly responded to the problem and secured the vessel.
Above, passengers board the John A. Noble, a sister vessel to the Alice Austen. At right, the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan
The ferry terminals did not fare as well, says DeSimone. “Our facilities in both Staten Island and Manhattan were inundated with saltwater.” He says about four to five feet of saltwater flooded lower level offices, shops and store rooms in both the terminals and the maintenance facility. He also points out there was a tremendous amount of damage in both terminals to electrical and mechanical systems and to a number of piers and slips.
“Thankfully, we had no injuries or damage to the vessels, but did suffer significant electrical and mechanical damage to both terminals which prevented us from resuming service immediately. All of the electrical relays and controllers in the slips were inundated with salt water. So, it took a major effort to get two slips operational in each terminal, let alone clearing debris.”
But thanks to the efforts of our employees the ferry was able to resume regular half hour service on Nov. 3. “I cannot say enough about how our captains, crews and shore staff conducted themselves,” says DeSimone.
FEBRUARY 4, 2013 — New York City headquartered McAllister Towing reports that Buckley McAllister has been promoted to the position of President. His father, Captain Brian A. McAllister, President of the company since 1984, will remain as Chairman.
Buckley McAllister joined McAllister Towing in 1998 and has served as the company's Vice President and General Counsel since that time. Prior to joining McAllister Towing, Buckley was an Associate at Hill, Betts and Nash LLP. He is a member of the bar in New York, California and a number of federal jurisdictions. In addition, Mr. McAllister is also a Director of Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association Trustees (Bermuda) Limited, Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation and Vice Chairman for the American Waterways Operators.
He is a member of the fifth generation of the McAllister family that has owned and operated McAllister Towing since 1864.
Captain Brian A. McAllister has been working at McAllister Towing since 1959. Along with other members of the fourth generation of the family, Brian purchased McAllister Towing from the third generation in 1974. He became President in 1984 and became sole owner in 1998.
"After the company's nearly 150 years in the industry it is with extreme gratification that I announce the successful passing of the Presidency to my son Buckley McAllister," said Captain McAllister. "Working side by side with him since 1998, I am confident that Buckley and my other son Eric, the company's Chief Financial Officer, will continue to provide our traditional brand of unsurpassed service to the maritime industry."
As well as Buckley and Eric McAllister, other fifth generation family members serve in key executive positions. Captain A.J. McAllister III is Senior Vice President of Sales, Andrew McAllister is Vice President of Information Technology and Captain Jeffrey McAllister is Senior Docking Pilot in New York.
McAllister Towing is one of the oldest towing and transportation companies in the United States and has been providing its service to customers since Captain James McAllister founded the company in 1864. The company operates a modern fleet of more than 75 tugs in a dozen ports covering the U.S. East Coast from Portland, Maine to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In each port, McAllister Towing is engaged in ship docking, general harbor towing, coastal towing and bulk transportation.
FEBRUARY 7, 2013—In a Safety Alert on January 29, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) directed the suspension of operations of offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that use GE-manufactured bolts on the Lower Marine Riser Package to connect the Blowout Preventer (BOP). Before returning the rigs to service, the bolts would have be certified by an independent third-party to be in compliance with recommended heat-treatment practices or the existing bolts would have to be examined and certified by an independent third-party that they are fit for purpose.
The faulty bolts came to light during a BSEE meeting with industry on January 24 which reviewed a pollution incident involving the discharge of synthetic base mud (SBM) into the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) due to a loss of integrity of a LMRP H-4 connector. During the meeting, a qualified third-party presented preliminary evidence that the stress corrosion cracking caused by hydrogen embrittlement was a contributor to the incident. Zinc electroplating without proper baking, as per ASTM B633, was cited as a possible cause of the hydrogen embrittlement. During the meeting, BSEE was informed of two other rigs as having H-4 connector bolt failures.
BSEE recommended that operators should make an inventory of their contracted rigs [currently involved in well operations in the GOM Outer Continental Shelf or planned to conduct well operations in the GOM] and investigate the bolts of the LMRP and Wellhead connectors.
For detailed instructions on identifying affected bolts please refer to the Safety Notice issued by GE Oil and Gas on January 25, 2013, titled, “H4 Connector Bolt Inspection Required(P/N H10004-2)” at the following: http://www.ge-energy.com/connector-update.jsp
Operators with H-4 connectors, as identified in GE’s safety notice, and that have been verified through documentation that the connector contains any affected bolts, should immediately notify BSEE. You should also consult with your contractors and subcontractors to determine the appropriate inspection, disposition and corrective actions. BSEE will require an independent third-party certification that confirms proper inspection and refurbishment processes were completed prior to reinstallation of any affected bolts.
Operators should review the QA/QC programs for all equipment vendors (contracted and subcontracted) to ensure that all equipment is being manufactured to the required specifications.
Special attention should be given to ensure proper heat treating has taken place in accordance with the specifications.
As a result of the news, Investment banker Dahlman Rose says share prices of the offshore drilling group were coming under pressure and could be negatively affected for the first quarter by this work stoppage depending on the length of the downtime associated with the maintenance.
Dahlman Rose says Diamond Offshore has already stated that it will replace the bolts on 30 BOPs, representing two-thirds of its fleet. Each repair is expected to take one day per BOP and be completed within six weeks. This would include rigs that are not located in the GOM.
Other operators are determining which LMRP connectors are using the faulty GE bolts and, therefore, need to be replaced.
MARCH 14, 2013 — ABB has led a $12 million investment in Scotrenewables Tidal Power, a provider of tidal turbine systems, to support the roll out of a new hydrokinetic device and to expand ABB's renewable energy assets.
60 MW multi-turbine tidal energy farm
ABB's participation was made through its venture capital unit, ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), which invests in early and growth stage companies with technologies of strategic importance to the industries it serves. The investment round included participation from existing strategic investors Total New Energies, a unit of oil major Total, and Fred. Olsen, the Norwegian maritime conglomerate, through its associated Bonheur and Ganger Rolf holding companies.
The funding is being used specifically to roll out a larger and more advanced tidal energy conversion system known as the SR2000. The floating 2 MW turbine includes a number of innovations to deliver simplicity, low mass, rapid connection/disconnection and heightened survivability. Scheduled for completion next year, it will be the first of a number of commercial units installed in the Lashy Sound tidal demonstrator project in Orkney, where Scotrenewables is based.
"ABB led a comprehensive review of tidal stream technology and concluded that Scotrenewables was well below its peers in capital outlay per megawatt and overall power delivery cost," said Grant Allen, senior VP of ATV. "Scotrenewables has designed a remarkably robust hydrokinetic unit which, by nature of its easily accessible floating design bypasses many of the maintenance issues that confront other marine startups."
ABB says that aligning with Scotrenewables is a natural, strategic fit for ABB given the switchgear, transformers, cabling and other electrical gear being used in the containerized design. Through its U.K. operations, ABB engineers have already been working closely with the company on packaging and integration. The ATV investment complements current competencies in marine energy harvesting through ABB's prior early-stage investment in Aquamarine, a specialist in near-shore wave power development.
Barry Johnson, CEO of Scotrenewables, remarked, "We are delighted to have concluded this major investment deal and to have secured funding for the next vital stage in the development of our innovative floating tidal technology. ABB's involvement allows us to tackle complex cabling and grid connection challenges, thereby speeding the technology development process."
MAY 2, 2013 — Mexico's national oil company, Pemex, yesterday signed a letter of intent with Spanish shipbuilder Hijos de J. Barreras (Astilleros Barreras) and its three shareholders agreeing terms for it to take a 51 percent share in the company.
Astilleros Barreras, whose shipyard is located in Vigo, northwest Spain, is in the process of coming out of bankruptcy. Under the arrangements signed yesterday, Pemex and the Barreras shareholders would put an initial Euros 10 million into the company, which is seen as providing it with sufficient working capital. Pemex said yesterday that the yard is expected to resume operations "within weeks."
Pemex said that its fleet is in need of renewal and that the medium term objective of the investment was to acquire knowhow that would enable it to create the capacity to build specialized ships in Mexico. It did not say what its short term objective was, but it would seem logical that this would include placing some initial newbuilding orders at Barreras.
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