Monthly Archives: September 2016

World Maritime Day 2016

 

Whether out at sea or in port, the mariner is like a doctor. Always on call.

Whether out at sea or in port, the mariner is like a doctor. Always on call.

World Maritime Day was celebrated this year on September 29. Personally, mariners do so much for the billions of peoples on this planet, I think one day is not enough to thank them for all the sacrifices they make. Even if you’ve never seen an ocean, you owe them a huge debt.

Here are a few facts about mariners and the industry that you may not be aware of. It’s a tough business to be in whether you’re just starting out or the VP of a huge shipping company.

World Maritime Day was first established as an arm of the United Nations in 1978.

There are over a hundred thousand merchant marines in the United States alone. There are over a million worldwide.

The International Maritime Organization is an agency of the United Nations responsible for the safety, security, and pollution of ships globally.

Living and working on a ship is a dangerous job. Every year hundreds of mariners die in mishaps aboard the ship.

Last year this time twenty-eight crew members of the Faro sailed straight into hurricane Joaquin and perished.

Over 75% of casualties at sea are due to human error. Some sources put the figure closer to 95%.

One of the greatest challenges to the shipping industry is a shortage of engineering officers. These are needed to run ships far more sophisticated than they were just a few years ago.

Close to ninety percent of goods used around the world are delivered by ships.

Over 50,000 ships are out there on the high seas right now, or have just arrived in port, or are now getting under way.

The Maritime Labour Convention protects 1.5 million mariners globally by setting the gold standard for regulations for living and working on a ship.

According to Maritime Insight, the busiest ports in the world in descending order are: Singapore; Shanghai; Hong Kong; Busan, South Korea; Ningbo, China; Guangzhou, China; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Qingdao, China; and finally Rotterdam. This is based on total tonnage shipped through their ports.

Based on the most recent statistics of the United States government, the top five busiest ports in the United States are in descending order: Port of South Louisiana; Houston, Texas; NY and New Jersey; Beaumont, Texas; and Long Beach, California.

Nature, the International Weekly Journal of Science revealed that 1.12 billion tons of CO2 comes from ships. That’s four percent of the world’s output, double of what everyone previously thought.

A huge trend toward using LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) is underway in an effort to help clean the oceans.

The average container ship has a crew of around nineteen.

According to the website of Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association, WISTA is an “international organization for women in management positions… in the maritime transportation business.” Unlike the days of pirates, the maritime industry doesn’t exclude women from any facet of its business. If you have something to offer, don’t hesitate to check them out.

At this very moment on thousands of ships out there on the seas and in ports around the world men and women far from their families are making very real sacrifices so the goods you take for granted on the store shelves are delivered safely and timely. Say a little prayer for them tonight. Moreover, if you know a mariner personally, email or text him or her. And when they complete their journey, hold them just a little tighter before they go back out to sea.

                                          Bill Hegerich

                                            The Uncommon Mariner

 

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Tragedy Fells Five Mariners on High Seas

A mariner died recently on a cruise ship when a lifeboat he was testing in a safety drill malfunctioned. According to reports, he was in the boat along with four others lifting it up and down when suddenly the cable broke and the five mariners were thrown. Two others were seriously hurt and taken to the hospital. Two escaped with minor injuries.

Never at any time were passengers onboard at risk of injury or death. The Harmony of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean, was docked in Marseilles, France when the tests were being conducted for the crew. Muster drills for passengers are usually held within an hour or two of sailing and do not involve them entering lifeboats.

All cruise lines that I know of conduct safety drills for the crew when in port while most passengers are off ship enjoying themselves. Conducting these drills are essential for the safety of everyone on board. No one wants a crew that doesn’t know exactly what their function is in an emergency.

After investigating the incident, authorities discovered two disturbing things that helped create the situation. One was a rope wire that was corrosive despite being coated with plenty of grease. While you might think a wire cable lathered in grease would be protected from salt air, it obviously was not the case. In fact, authorities determined that it covered up the problem, preventing anyone from seeing just how corroded the cable really was.

Authorities fixed another cause of the accident on the way the cable was wired. Because it was not mounted properly, repeated friction and tension caused it to prematurely wear. The lifeboat had actually been manipulated up and down several times with the mariners in it to make sure it was properly functioning. It was during this time that the cable malfunctioned. In essence, the workers in the lifeboat risked their lives for passengers who one day might have had to use that very lifeboat in an emergency situation. Continue reading →