Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
On 28 September 2019, a cargo tank containing styrene monomer on board the Cayman Islands registered chemical tanker Stolt Groenland ruptured causing an explosion and fire. The tanker was moored alongside a general cargo berth in Ulsan, Republic of Korea and the Singapore registered chemical tanker Bow Dalian was moored outboard. Ignition of the styrene monomer vapour resulted in a fireball, which reached the road bridge above. Both vessels were damaged, and two crew suffered minor injuries. Fifteen emergency responders were injured during the fire-fighting, which lasted for over six hours.
Rupture of the styrene monomer tank resulted from a runaway polymerisation that was initiated by elevated temperatures caused by heat transfer from other chemical cargoes. Elevated temperatures caused the inhibitor, added to prevent the chemical’s polymerisation during the voyage, to deplete more rapidly than expected. Although the styrene monomer had not been stowed directly adjacent to heated cargo, the potential for heat transfer through intermediate tanks was not fully appreciated or assessed.
Critical temperature limits had been reached before the vessel berthed under the road bridge in Ulsan. The tanker’s crew did not monitor the temperature of the styrene monomer during the voyage, and therefore were not aware of the increasingly dangerous situation. A similar dangerous styrene monomer polymerisation incident had occurred a couple of weeks earlier on board another Stolt Tankers BV ship, Stolt Focus. The heat generated by the polymerisation process was noticed before the critical runaway temperature was reached. The styrene monomer cargoes on board both tankers was loaded at a similar time from the same tank in Houston and were exposed to similar environmental conditions. The incident on board Stolt Focus was not reported to the ship’s Flag State or other masters in the Stolt Tankers BV fleet.
Following the accident, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Republic of Korea, prohibited ship-to-ship transfer operations for dangerous cargo on general cargo berths in Ulsan.
Stolt Tankers BV took immediate action to ensure that the temperatures of all cargoes carried on board its ships were monitored and reported to its shore management. It also took steps to enhance crew awareness on the hazards of inhibited and heat sensitive cargoes. The company is said tom be developing technological and administrative initiatives to assist with the safe stowage and monitoring of heat sensitive cargoes.
A recommendation has been made to Stolt Tankers BV aimed at ensuring the wider marine chemical sector benefits from the lessons learned from the Stolt Focus incident and research initiatives that were carried out as a result of this accident.
Recommendations have also been made to the Cayman Island Shipping Registry, the Chemical Distribution Institute and Plastics Europe (Styrene Producers Association). These are intended to assist in ensuring that the guidance provided in certificates of inhibitor and styrene monomer handling guides is consistent and achievable given the limitations of equipment and testing facilities on board ships.
This investigation was carried out by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the MAIB and the Red Ensign Group Category 1 registries of Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Gibraltar.
MAIB Accident Investigation Report 9/2021 was published on 20 July 2021 and may be found here:
This article is based on material kindly provided by the UK MAIB
MAIB Crown Copyright 2021 ©
September 16, 2021
HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ION Geophysical Corporation’s Edinburgh-based Software group today announced the Companyreceived a grant to advance port decarbonization through its climate-smart platform, MarlinSmartPort™. The grant supports the UK’s Ten Point Plan to address climate change and help achieve the country’s net-zero emissions target by 2050. The Data-Led Emissions Management (D-LEMA) project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the UK Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.
The 6-month pilot study will validate whether vessel fuel usage and carbon dioxide emissions can be reliably estimated in and around ports using the International Maritime Organization (IMO) global standard.
Announced in March 2020, and part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is a £20 million investment from government alongside a further ~£10 million from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. The program is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and from the South West to the North East of England. As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan (2019), Government funding has been used to support early stage research relating to clean maritime. The program will be used to support the research, design and development of zero emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonization in the sector.
“Today approximately 90% of goods are transported by sea and global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of global CO 2 emissions,” said Stuart Darling, Senior Vice President of ION’s Software group. “Our technology is focused on creating high value information that drives smarter, safer management of the 5,000+ ports globally and the 50,000+ cargo vessels that transit between them. This grant enables us to continue advancing our maritime digitalization platform, Marlin SmartPort, which integrates systems and data to provide better real-time visibility and actionable intelligence to operate with just-in-time efficiency, minimizing fuel consumption and emissions. Our goal is to develop and validate fuel monitoring capabilities to start tracking
and, ultimately, to reduce port-related shipping emissions. On behalf of ION, I would like to thank our project partners, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, who will supply the data, and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, who will assist with the analysis.”
The former vice president of Costa Rica is the first woman and Central American to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general.
This was announced from UNCTAD HQ in Geneva on 13 September and we at IHMA send our congratulations.
Costa Rican economist Rebeca Grynspan took up her new role as secretary-general of UNCTAD on 13 September for a four-year term.
Ms Grynspan, the first woman to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general, was nominated for the post by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and approved by the General Assembly in June.
‘I am honoured to begin work at UNCTAD at a critical time for our world,’ Ms Grynspan said, ‘Covid-19 has exposed the widespread inequalities and vulnerabilities of the world and the development model. As we recover from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to rebalance the global economy, boost resilience and ensure shared prosperity.’
‘We must take action today to transform trade and reshape our global economy to overcome barriers to greater prosperity for all and embark on a sustainable development path that will benefit everyone.’