The Top Ten Maritime Stories of 2015

DECEMBER 31, 2015—As the world rings in the New Year—whether it is by cramming into Times Square to watch the nearly 6-ton Waterford crystal ball drop or soaking up the spectacular fireworks display in Sydney—it is a time for reflection, renewal, and recommitment. For the maritime industry, it was a year filled with tragedy—the loss of the El Faro—and technological triumphs—the Isla Bella, first LNG-fuelled containership. Here’s a countdown of the Top Ten Maritime Stories of 2015.

10. First post-ban U.S. crude oil export cargo booked

NuStar and ConocoPhillips loaded domestic light crude oil at the Port of Corpus Christi to become the first export cargo of U.S. crude oil since a 40-year ban was lifted.

9. IMO ballast water convention set to enter into force?

Indonesia becomes the 46th state to ratify IMO's Ballast Water Management Convention. Once Indonesia's gross tonnage data are verified, the convention will be set to enter into force worldwide from November 24, 2016.

8. First U.S.-flag wind farm vessel under construction

Blount Boats, Warren, RI, starts construction of what will be the first U.S.-flag vessel built for the U.S. offshore wind farm market.

7. First LNG ferry launched in North America

The first of dual fuel ferry ever built for North America is launched at Chantier Davie Canada Inc. in Levis, Quebec for ferry operator Société des Traversiers du Québec (STQ).

6. Norwegians square up to the offshore challenge

With oil hitting new lows, the offshore industry is hit by a growing number of laid-up OSVs and sweeping job cuts.

5. DOJ reaches settlement in BP Deepwater Horizon case

In what is the largest settlement with a single entity in U.S. history, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announces that the Department of Justice had secured a settlement of more than $20 billion against BP to resolve civil claims resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

4. Deadly explosion at Tianjin port

The deadly series of explosions and huge fire that rocked Tianjin Port in China, killing at least 56 people and injuring another 700, could lead to massive supply chain disruptions, writes attorneys Holman Fenwick Wilan LLP.

3. Statoil, Shell exit Arctic drilling

Statoil and Shell both cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future.

2. World’s first LNG-fueled containership delivered

General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego, CA, delivers the world's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered containership, the Isla Bella, to TOTE Maritime nearly two months ahead of schedule.

1. The sinking of the El Faro

The U.S.-flag cargo ship El Faro sinks with all hands onboard in Hurricane Joaquin. The National Transportation Safety Board says that it has been unable to locate the ship’s “black box.”



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