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MOL introduces cutting-edge stowage planning for car carriers
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 03:02

JAPANESE shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has introduced an upgraded stowage planning system for car carriers called "MOL-CAPS", the company announced.

MOL-CAPS generates a voyage-by-voyage stowage plan that determines where to stow specific vehicles by considering different factors, such as the onboard structure, the type of vehicles and ports of call.

The company introduced MOL-CAPS in 1999, and will adopt this version for the next-generation car carriers, the FLEXIE series, which will be delivered starting in March 2018.

The new version allows optimal stowage, with the optimum use of the FLEXIE series, its new deck structure, which offers a greater range of liftable deck heights, providing more flexibility compared to car carriers now in service.

The new version has a high-speed processing planning function based on know-how of car carrier stowage, which MOL has accumulated over 50 years.

Maersk Honam joins a growing list of horrific containership fires
Monday, 19 March 2018 01:41

The huge fire that continues to rage on the ultra-large containership Maersk Honam brings into focus longstanding concerns in the industry over the severity of fires on boxships.

While the cause of the fire onboard the 15,262 teu Maersk Honam remains unknown Maersk Line say it started in the cargo hold, implying as very often the case the fire started somewhere in the vessel’s cargo. Of particular concern will be the fact the Maersk Honam is by no means some an aging vessel that might have antiquated or poorly maintained fire safety systems. It is a nearly new vessel having been delivered just last year yet the fire in hold has led to one confirmed death, four missing, and two seriously injured.

Warnings over the problems of containership fires have come from the International Union of Marine Insurers, Allianz, the Swedish Club and DNV GL, among others in the recent years. With temperatures reaching in excess of 500 degrees centigrade inside boxes on fire extinguish the blaze is both extremely difficult and dangerous, and the fire can easily spread to other containers and the ship as whole.

As with the Maersk Honam the consequences can be tragic – the fire on the MSC Flaminia in the Atlantic in July 2012 claimed the lives of three crew members – two confirmed dead, and one missing. The insurance costs for both the vessel and cargo can be huge and far out of proportion of the number of claims caused by fire. According to the Swedish Club just 0.76% of cargo claims are due to fire, yet in terms of total costs of claims fire relates to some 28%.

Seatrade Maritime News has compiled a list of some of some of the more notable containership fires in recent years to give some sense of scale of the problem.

MSC Daniela – 4 April 2017 – The crew of the 13,800 teu boxship sent a distress call at around 11am on 4 April last year 120 nm off Sri Lanka, the vessel had to reroute to Colombo and the fire took over 12 hours for Sri Lankan and Indian coastguard and Navy vessels to bring under control.

APL Austria - 12 February, 2017 – The vessel carrying hazardous materials caught fire off the coast of South Africaand was forced to enter Port Elizabeth after the crew sent a distress call. The blaze took two days to bring under control.

Hansa Brandenburg – 19 July 2013 – The 1,740 teu containership caught fire while sailing from Singapore to Durban causing major damage to the aft cargo hold and fore superstructure. After the fire was extinguished the vessel was towed to Mauritius.

Eugen Maersk – 13 June 2013 – Fire broke out on the vessel in the Gulf of Aden enroute to Rotterdam. The Eugen Maersk diverted to the Port of Djibouti where the fire was extinguished on 23 June with 16 containers destroyed by the blaze.

MSC Flaminia – 14 July 2012 – The 6,750 teu vessel suffered a fire in cargo hold four which resulted in an explosion and the crew were forced to abandon ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean some 1,000 nm from the nearest land. The fire claimed the lives of three crew members – two confirmed dead, and one missing. The vessel took two years to return to service.

Hyundai Fortune – 21 March 2016 – The crew of the 5,551 teu ship abandoned ship south of the coast of Yemen after an explosion below deck caused a fire that spread through the vessel. The fire burned for several days and one third of the containers onboard were damaged.

APL launches three new Asia to Latin America services
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 01:46

APL has started offering three new Asia-Latin America services that will call at ports in Asia, Mexico, Central America and the west coast of South America.

Together with the Asia Caribbean Express (ACE) service that directly connects Asia to the Caribbean, APL's expanded Asia-Latin America service network promises a more extensive service coverage.

As a new weekly direct service that links China, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Central America and west coast of South America, the CDX service's eastbound route boasts the industry's fastest transit time from Busan to Mexico in 15 days, Shanghai to Mexico in 20 days and central China to San Antonio in 33 days.

Its westbound route also offers competitive transit times that are designed to facilitate shipments of fresh fruit and perishable commodities transported from Mexico and west coast South America to Japan and China. For example, it requires just 15 days for cargoes to transit from Mexico to Yokohama via this service.

The CDX service will commence from Kaohsiung on April 4 on the following port rotation: Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Shenzhen-Shekou, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, Manzanillo, Lazaro Cardenas, Buenaventura, San Antonio, Callao, Lazaro Cardenas, Manzanillo, Yokohama, Busan, Kaohsiung.

The carrier's new weekly Falcon Express (FCX) service that calls at ports in China, Korea, Mexico and west coast South America will offer transit times from Korea and China to Ensenada of 12 and 17 days respectively. Cargoes from north China to Peru and Chile will arrive in just 28 and 33 days respectively.

The FCX service will commence sailing from Xiamen on April 7 on the following port rotation: Xiamen, Shenzhen-Yantian, Shanghai, Qingdao, Busan, Ensenada, Manzanillo, Callao, San Antonio, Lirquen, Manzanillo, Shanghai, Xiamen.

The third new service named Caracara Express (CRX) is another weekly service that calls at ports in China, Mexico and west cast South America. The first sailing will commence from Hong Kong on April 17 with the following port rotation of Hong Kong, Shenzhen-Yantian, Kaohsiung, Ningbo, Shanghai, Manzanillo, Buenaventura, Callao, San Antonio, returning to Hong Kong.

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