With her sea trials complete, in late October the UK’s new Polar Research ship, RRS Sir David Attenborough, paid a visit to the port of London ahead of her first deployment to the Antarctic this month. She tied up in Greenwich at the home of the Prime Meridian (Zero Longitude) to mark the beginning of the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow. Named after renowned UK broadcaster, naturalist, and environmental campaigner Sir David Attenborough, she is pictured above in the River Thames while on passage to Greenwich.
The world is currently rattled by rising energy prices. There is panic over the rising price of natural gas, in North America, Asia and Europe, but also the fact that crude oil has edged over US$80 per tonne for the first time since 2014. Added to this is the impact on global coal prices as China wrestles with major industrial power outages as a consequence of the country’s ban on Australian coal imports and is forced to comb the world for supply alternatives.
In May this year, Viking Ocean Cruises named the company’s latest new build Viking Venus in a ceremony conducted at sea in the English Channel. British journalist Anne Diamond was invited to be the ship’s ceremonial godmother and in keeping with the company’s custom, a bottle of Norwegian aquavit was duly cracked on the ship’s hull using a historic Viking broad axe to cut the ribbon to a soundtrack of recorded classical concerts.
It never ceases to amaze that given the dependence of the global economy on shipping, very little attention is paid to the industry until an incident freaks out the media or there are impacts to the global supply chain.
BP Shipping’s R Class Aframax sized tankers were introduced to the fleet in the period 2016-17 and represent a significant investment by the company in a total of 9 sister vessels serving this key sector.
The grounding of the Capesize bulk carrier Wakashio on a reef off Mauritius in July 2020 revived the longstanding debate related to criminalization of seafarers. A preliminary investigation indicates that the vessel was off course in an attempt to pick up a wi-fi signal at the time of grounding. The ensuing environmental damage to the coastline was considerable and resulted in a decision to detain the Master and Chief Officer without consideration to bail. Most other crew members are under house arrest in a local hotel pending their appearance as witnesses in an eventual trial.
The Royal New Zealand Navy has recently taken delivery of HMNZS Aotearoa, a fleet support and replenishment tanker. In addition to providing global support to NZ and allied warships, Aotearoa is built to Polar Class 6 and has a fully winterized design to enable operations in the Antarctic in support of New Zealand’s scientific research stations. Her versatile design enables the transfer at sea of ammunition and dry stores in addition to fuel and water. Also carrying a RNZAF NH90 helicopter, she is the largest vessel to have been commissioned into New Zealand’s navy.
Paris-based Nexans S.A. has recently taken delivery of the Nexans Aurora, a DP3 classed cable laying vessel also outfitted for bundle laying, cable jointing, repair, cable system protection and trenching.
The continued unwarranted detention of the Ultra large Container Vessel Ever Given by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has thrown a spotlight on the relationship between the marine industry and the management of critical infrastructure across the globe.