Hang on a second while we grab that post for you.
The A.P. Moller - Maersk Group is a worldwide conglomerate. We operate in some 130 countries and have a workforce of some 121,000 employees. In addition to owning one of the world’s largest shipping companies, we’re involved in a wide range of activities in the energy, logistics, retail and manufacturing industries.
And no, I am not leafing through the ship’s DVD library to find some entertainment for this evening.
As Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp portrayed a lovable rogue whose drunken, confused and comical antics did 2 things. It entertained millions as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise developed into a huge success. It also implanted into the minds of the cinemagoers that pirates were comical, slapstick, buffoons who were more likely to fall onto their face through excess rum consumption than do you any harm.
Captain Philips knows very different.
Recently Tom Hanks played the title role in this movie of a very real pirate story. It recalled the 2009 pirate attack on a Maersk Line container vessel and it’s hijacking by 4 Somali pirates. This gripping movie did much to educate the wider world that pirates were very real and very dangerous and a million miles away from Johnny Depp’s alter ego. Since the release of this film it has staggered me that a good number of my friends, even family, have conceded they had no idea piracy was such a problem.
As a seafarer I have been pleased to see how Tom Hanks paid tribute to the crews of merchant vessels that ply these dangerous waters keeping vital trade routes open.
Why should piracy be on my mind? Because Maersk Lota must transit the Gulf of Aden HRA; High Risk Area. On our voyage from the Suez Canal to Malaysia there is no way to avoid it. This huge geographical area has been highlighted as the area in which merchant shipping is most susceptible to attack from pirates. In this diagram you can see the vast area that is afflicted.
What started as a response by Somali fishermen to having their waters invaded and polluted soon escalated into piracy on the high seas. They initially formed armed groups in order to protect their fishing grounds but soon learned that an even more profitable venture was within their grasp. The hijacking of merchant ships and the subsequent ruthless demands for ransom money; in return for the safe release of the vessel and its crew.
Initially the shipping industry was caught cold; which led to many successful attacks. Fuelled by these gains piracy blossomed. At its peak there were thought to be more than 5000 active pirates operating from Somali, a country unable to combat this lawlessness due to its own instability.
The fiercely armed pirates in their fast boats found merchant ships to be an easy target. Predominantly slow moving and manned by civilians; tankers, bulk carriers and container ships all were targeted. And the rewards were hansom. In 2011 pirates earned an astonishing $146m through ransoms, an average of $4.9m per ship captured. The ever-growing piracy threat had an even larger financial impact than the ransoms alone. With companies instructing their ships to avoid the area fewer ships were using the Suez Canal. As a result in 2010 Egypt was thought to have lost out on $642m in lost revenue. And it wasn’t just Egypt - the global economy was paying a heavy tariff. Ramped-up insurance policies, naval support, legal proceedings, re-routing slower ships and the individual steps taken by ship-owners, to counter the threat, was thought to have an annual impact of up to $15 billion.
Something had to be done.
The global community took this issue very seriously. So much so that nations who traditionally were wary of cooperation and in some cases hostile to each other came together to form an alliance.
Currently there are three international naval task forces in the region. However their mission is a daunting one. They are policing an area of ocean that equates to the size of Western Europe or 3.2 million square miles. Despite having modest resources their success has been remarkable. Reports from December 2013 suggested that there had been a 90% reduction in pirate activity form the corresponding period in 2012. A further contributing factor has been the actions and measures taken by ship’s crews that are transiting this area.
Of course we do not carry guns or want to fight the pirates. As with everything in life prevention is better than cure. With this in mind well before entering the High Risk Area the crew have been busy. The ship has been readied by boarding up all the areas closest to the water. High-pressure water hoses have been rigged. All the doors into the ship have extra security measures added. We will have extra lookouts on the bridge keeping a close watch on all boats that get close to us. Furthermore we have conducted extra security training drills to prepare us for worst; that we are boarded by pirates.
All very serious stuff. But these days it is normal for a ship’s crew and it is all done professionally and without hesitation.
When we transit the area with all the precautions in place I can see the atmosphere onboard is excellent. Our indoor basketball tournament is well underway, there seems to be a developing deck dept. versus engine dept. rivalry… and I am busy organizing the flights for several lucky soles that will be going home for some welcome leave on our arrival to Malaysia.
Once we are clear of the HRA we’re planning on taking advantage of the fine weather to have an outdoor party.
The ice in Odessa does seem like a long time ago.
Captain Rory W. Forrest
Mobs of bulldozers, excavators and strategically planted explosives have been blasting away at the Isthmus of Panama since 2007, carving the new Panama Canal between the Atlantic and the Pacific.
By the end of 2015, big “post-Panamax” container ships, carrying almost three times the load of the ships that currently ply the canal, will finally have a clear, all-water shot from Shanghai or other Asian ports across the Pacific, through the isthmus, to the North American East Coast.
The reason for all of this frantic construction is a matter of size. The old locks can fit ships no larger than 965 feet long and 106 feet wide and with a draft no greater than 39 feet. Those dimensions describe the so-called Panamax ships, which in terms of container cargo are limited to a maximum of about 4,800 TEUs.
The post-Panamax ships that will navigate the new channel are about 1,200 feet long, 160 feet wide and with a draft of 50 feet, and they’ll carry as many as 12,500 TEUs.
Article by Edmund Newton
Read the full article here!
The first Maersk vessel to call in China was Sally Maersk, arriving at Shanghai port on March 8, 1924, carrying a full load of 4,800 tonnes of grain from Australia.
Sally Maersk stayed in port for seven days as dock workers emptied the cargo holds of grain and the captain obtained orders for the next voyage and cargo. Then she left for Rangoon, Burma (today’s Yangon, Myanmar) on 15 March 1924.
Ninety years ago, Maersk’s fleet consisted mostly of steamships trading in European waters. The company only had two motor-ships and Sally Maersk was one of them. The entire Maersk fleet was involved in tramp shipping, meaning that they did not have a fixed schedule or regular ports of call.
Maersk Line started operations in 1928, and China was included in the service route from the USA to Asia when Chastine Mærsk called Shanghai on 24 November 1928.
Follow us on China’s Sina Weibo: www.weibo.com/maerskgroup
Our focus on energy efficiency has helped us reduce the costs and environmental footprint of our shipping services. With yet another successful leap in energy efficiency, Maersk Line has taken out 34% of the CO2 it emits when shipping a container from A to B since 2007.
Lowering the footprint of trade
Seaborne transport plays a significant role in ensuring that global trade can take place in a cost- and energy-efficient way. The importance of this role will increase in line with the expansion of the movement of goods to meet the needs of a globalized economy.
In A.P. Moller – Maersk we have come a long way in reducing the CO2 footprint of our global container shipping services. The average CO2 impact of a container travelling by sea on a Maersk Line ship has been cut by more than one third since 2007, and we will be able to reduce this further. Maersk Line is well on its way to achieving its 40% CO2 reduction target by 2020. With the combined efforts of other players in the value chain, the CO2 footprint of containerized trade can be further improved.
Our CO2 performance
The A.P. Moller - Maersk Group has achieved a 17% improvement in CO2 efficiency since 2010, mainly driven by accelerated energy efficiency gains in Maersk Line. As a result, both our relative and absolute CO2 emissions decreased in 2013. Maersk Line CO2 emissions per container dropped by 12% in 2013.
Compared to the 2007 baseline, CO2 emissions per container are down 34%. The CO2 reduction achieved in 2013 is directly related to consistent efforts to reduce fuel costs. Had Maersk Line not achieved this reduction in 2013, their total fuel cost would have been USD 764 million higher.
CO2 results by keeping it simple
In 2013, Maersk Line further improved and simplified their network of shipping services. This meant reducing overlapping service and port coverage by deploying fewer but larger vessels while at the same time sailing these at more fuel-efficient speeds.
Facelift for efficiency
It booms, it bangs, it roars and sparks fly, when hammers, drills, welding machines and stabilising blocks are all put to work as a vessel gets a new bow.
During its stay in the dry docks of Qingdao Shipyard in China, the container vessel lies with its old bow dismantled. A bow that is shaped to allow the vessel to adapt better to current sailing speeds makes a fuel saving of up to 5%. In this way it is a major contributor to energy-efficient sailing. Ten Maersk Line vessels had their bows changed in 2013.
Read more in Maersk’s Sustainability Report 2013 here!
“The Logistics Emergency Teams were very quick to respond and have been a tremendous help for the humanitarian community in the Philippines.”John Myraunet, Logistics Cluster Coordinator, World Food Programme.
The Group has unique capabilities, assets and expertise that can be used to alleviate the chaos resulting from a major natural disaster. As a member of the Logistics Emergency Teams (LET), a disaster relief support network formed under the World Economic Forum, we work with the UN’s World Food Programme to deliver humanitarian aid when a large-scale natural disaster strikes.
An example of this was when typhoon Haiyan hit the Central Philippines in November 2013. For the survivors of this tragedy, many of them homeless and bereaved, there was no food or water, no telecommunications or power, and no discernible roads to get help where help was needed. In other words: a major logistics crisis.
To support their efforts, the UN World Food Programme activated the Logistics Emergency Teams (LET). It is an industry partnership formed by logistics companies Agility, A.P. Moller - Maersk, TNT Express, and UPS, which was initiated by the World Economic Forum. The Group joined LET in 2010.
Also in 2013, the Group sent two employees to participate in a Logistics Capacity Assessment conducted by LET in the Dominican Republic, deemed a high-risk area by the World Food Programme.
The Group will continue to be engaged in such humanitarian efforts.
Read more in Maersk’s Sustainability Report 2013 here!
Photos by: Tan Yi Hui, Communication Associate, Maersk Group, Singapore
Maersk Drilling has taken delivery of its first ultra deepwater drillship, Maersk Viking, from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje-Si, South Korea.
With advanced positioning control system, the ship automatically maintains a fixed position in severe weather conditions with waves of up to 11 metres and wind speeds of up to 26 metres per second.
Maersk Viking has now started its voyage to the US Gulf of Mexico where it will commence a three year contract with ExxonMobil.
Maersk Viking is the first in a series of four ultra deepwater drillships to enter Maersk Drilling’s fleet.
Featuring dual derrick and large subsea work and storage areas, the drillships’ design allows for efficient well construction and field development activities through offline activities.
Special attention has been given to safety on board the drillships. Equipped with Multi Machine Control on the drill floor, the high degree of automation ensures safe operation and consistent performance.
Learn more on Maersk Drilling!
There’s a wonderful moment in the classic Danish movie Martha from the Sixties, where the crew of the totally un-kept ship sits down in the galley to a classic Scandinavian lunch – the captain scans the table crammed with delicacies and then with an anxious questioning voice says, ‘there’s no Brottsjoe herring?’
There are many ships he would have been a lot unhappier on, an immigrant ship to America or Australia, or a slaver from Africa. Here’s what you might expect on four separate voyages.
SLAVE SHIP: ANGOLA TO RIO DE JANEIRO – ABOUT 50 DAYS
The Portuguese were the first to transport slaves from Africa to the Americas on mass in the 17th Century. Conditions improved over the extensive period of this trade due to the slow realisation that the human cargo only had a value if sellable on arrival. The Dutch fed the slaves three times a day, the French dished out an unattractive stew every day and the English introduced the concept of fast food; it was poorly cooked and wrapped in small flat tubes, so no change there then.
There were rules, often ignored by uncaring captains, about the amount of food each slave should have, but by the 18th Century with bigger ships and shorter journey times of about 30 days saw better survival rates. The policy seemed to be making them hungry and weak for the first part of the journey with rations improving before arrival at destination. Slaves were often exercised to tone muscles towards the end of a voyage. Indeed the Danish ship Fredensborg on occasions reported a higher percentage of deaths amongst the crew, due largely to disease.
Due to their cruel cargo the later versions of slave ships looked different to other vessels – they had funnels, not to extract smoke, but to give some minor ventilation below decks.
EMIGRANT VESSEL: OSLO TO NEW YORK - UP TO 70 DAYS
By 1870 things were a little more organised, although the food was still pretty awful. Had the emigrant caught a ship twenty years earlier they would have been expected to do their own cooking with their own food which they stored in personal huge chests. The problem was that with 300 on board and a communal kitchen which measured only four by five metres, you had to fight for a place at the cooker – the cooker being an area of sand on which you made your own fire.
Assuming that no one had stolen your supplies beforehand, you could cook until the smoke from the fires drove you back on deck. Refreshed you often returned to find your fire hijacked and food spilt.
On voyages in the late 19th century the seafarers cooked for those with cabins and only the 3rd class steerage had to fend for themselves. This is the recommend list in the 1870’s for one adult for the recommended ten week voyage period from Oslo to New York.
• 32 kg hard bread (or the equivalent in soft bread or flatbread • 3.5 kg butter • 11 kg beef • 4.5 kg pork • 1 small keg of herring • 1 large keg potatoes• 10 kg rye and barley flour • 1⁄2 bushel dried peas • 1⁄2 bushel pearl barley • 1.4 kg coffee• 1.4 kg sugar • 1 kg syrup • Quantities of salt, pepper, vinegar and onions
There were entrepreneurs even way back then – some fishing vessels held off the Banks of Newfoundland had fresh water and fish to sell at inflated prices to often desperate passengers.
GOVERNMENT ASSISTED EMIGRANTS: BRISTOL TO MELBOURNE – 120 DAYS
The SS Great Britain the first iron passenger ship failed as a luxury transatlantic liner so in 1850 she was converted to transport subsidised emigrants to Australia. Food wasn’t the only contentious issue on board. There were reports of liaisons between the women passengers and sailors, so much so that husbands became violent and the only way the captain could control it was to lock the wives away.
As meat went off easily on these long voyages, large numbers of live animals were carried for food, giving the ship the appearance of Noah’s Ark rather than an emigrant ship. On one voyage in 1859, the ship carried 133 live sheep, 38 pigs, 2 bullocks, 1 cow, 420 fowl, 300 ducks, 400 geese and 30 turkeys. Passenger diaries record the ship as smelling and sounding like a barnyard! Egg stealing was rife.
TRANSATLANTIC LINER: SOUTHAMPTON TO NEW YORK – 6 DAYS
This is the menu a first class passenger would have sat down to on the night of 14th April 1912. A first class ticket for that journey would have cost $2,400 in today’s money, good value considering that a first class flight London-New York will set you back at least $9,000.
The upside of paying $9,000 is that you would be there in a matter of hours, whilst many of those who enjoyed the ‘Punch romaine’ never reached their destination. This was the last meal served on the Titanic.
Source: eSea, Maersk Training’s magazine.
In November last year SVITZER Australasia signed a 20-year marine services contract for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone project in remote North Western Australia.
This happened only two years after winning the competitive tender for the Gorgon project. Along with the Soyo LNG Terminal project in Angola, SVITZER has put the pen to the three largest LNG terminal towage tenders globally in the last 5 years.
“Winning the Wheatstone project is a tremendous achievement of a great global team pulling in the same direction across offices and functions,” says CEO Robert Uggla and adds: “but let us remember that the really hard work starts now.”
According to Global Head of Business Development, Kasper Nilaus, the value of the project is enormous. Wheatstone will be one of Australia’s largest resource projects, representing a revenue many times bigger than SVITZER’s usual contracts. “This win is an extremely important milestone for our business,”
Kasper says. “First of all, it represents a major investment and therefore also a major income stream for the next 20 years. Secondly, it confirms that SVITZER is the preferred provider to the high-end LNG terminal towage market.”
Value creation and strong backup
A pilot boat and four 34 metres long, 80 tonnes bollard-pull tugs – similar to those currently under construction for the Gorgon project – will be delivered to Wheatstone. And the project will provide onshore and offshore jobs for 35 new SVITZER colleagues.
“The Wheatstone win is a testament to the great work which is being carried out in the implementation of the Gorgon LNG project,” says Kasper. Consisting of two LNG trains with a combined capacity of 8.9 million tonnes per year and a domestic gas plant, the Wheatstone project will secure both employment and revenue for Australia for many years to come, reinforcing the country’s position as a leading LNG suppler in the Asia-Pacific region.
Kasper believes that the main reason for Chevron to award SVITZER the contract is the reliability of services we provide: “Our solution is innovative, and we provide great backup capabilities both in terms of crew and vessels and have the size to take on multiple large-scale projects. The fact that the implementation of the Gorgon project is on track provides certainty that the Wheatstone project will start up on time. I also believe that the work that has been carried out in the Angola LNG terminal, where Chevron owns a large share, shows that we are capable of implementing and performing complex marine services,” he concludes.
Mark Malone, Managing Director, SVITZER Australasia adds: “There is an exciting pipeline of opportunities down here on both the harbour towage and LNG fronts, and we are gearing our organisation to win them,” he says.
“With strong backing and a further chance to strengthen our record of reliable service deliveries under Australian conditions, Wheatstone actually boosts our potential for additional projects of a similar scale.”
Learn more on Svitzer here!
Eager young seafarers will have the opportunity to acquire maritime skills and develop their potential through Maersk Supply Service’s seafaring programme for Angolans.
The initiative is not only benefitting Maersk Supply Service, but also helping to build capacity in the Angolan offshore industry.
Angola requires foreign companies operating in the country to employ 70 per cent of their workforce locally over time. But in a country with no seafaring tradition, Maersk Supply Service had a challenge in building up its own pool of certified, competent employees hence the initiative.
The young seafarers will also be a part of the Maersk Supply Service programme aimed at building up a pool of local Maersk seafarers in this oil-rich country and important growth market.
Mads Hoeg, Maersk Supply Service Country Manager in Angola explains: “By bringing up our own people we make sure that our crews receive the best training right from the beginning, not least in terms of safety. In short, that they work the Maersk-way and live our values,” he says.
Maersk Supply Service is part of the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group. The company has a fleet of more than 60 supply vessels, 2000 employees and takes part in oil and offshore operations across the globe.
Maersk Supply Service has previously implemented schemes for hiring locals in other parts of the world, but an overseas training programme of this scale is a first for the company.
A shared win: Beneffiting both Angola and Maersk
The new initiative is not only a prerequisite for doing business in Angola, though. It also comes with a positive side-effect in that it helps to build up capacity of the offshore workforce in this energy-rich West African country.
“Although we are in Angola for business, we firmly believe that it’s important to contribute to the countries in which we work. This programme is just a first step in what we consider to be a long journey towards expanding our pool of professional seafarers in Angola,” Claus Tafteberg Sørensen, Maersk Supply Service Chief Commercial Officer says.
Training Angolans to become skilled seafarers is not a first for Maersk. In 2010, towage company Svitzer, also part of the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group, started an innovative training programme for prospective Angolan seafarers. From a pool of 500 applicants, 80 eager seafarers were selected to spend twelve weeks in training on board the fully-rigged training ship Danmark, cruising in the Atlantic. Prior to the onboard training the cadets underwent six months of on-shore pre-sea training in Angola, combining English language training, safety and security awareness as well as the necessary survival procedure modules for operating tugs. Sixty-seven made it through the difficult training program and many afterwards crewed Maersk Supply Service vessels to gain experience. The men now work on vessels by the Angola LNG gas plant in Soyo, which Svitzer has a 20 year contract with.
Training people to a high standard always brings the risk of competitors looking to snatch the best. But the hope is that by giving the new trainees world-class training, they will feel a part of the family and thus form a strong attachment to Maersk.
Learn more on Maersk Supply Service here!
By Captain Rory Forrest
Surely this is one of the most famous song lyrics ever written, if not the most decipherable. But the Eagles had it wrong. They were singing about Hotel California but I’ve found that in reality that this applies to Berth No.42 in Odessa, Ukraine.
But to ‘check-out’ out first of all you have to ‘check-in’ and that was also far from easy. Two weeks of sub-zero temperatures had meant that a 30cm layer of ice had covered the inner harbour. And while the ship will easily push through this without much fuss, when it comes to a lateral show of strength, the ice wins every time. Having crept carefully into the harbour basin we were a mere 20 meters from the berth when we just stopped. What was stopping us?
Water! Hard water! Or as a scientist might put it: ice.
With nowhere to escape in the enclosed harbour the ice between the hull and the berth proved to be an impenetrable barrier that all the might of the tugs and thruster could not defeat. To overcome this, the 4 tugs that were assisting with the berthing operation switched into ice pushing mode. They circled the ship for three hours until the ice had been mashed, bashed and pushed out of the way.
In this picture you can see the tugs working hard to clear a path for Maersk Lota to berth.
As we secured our ropes I gave a sigh of relief, however what I didn’t know then was that the weather was to strike back. Having waited 4 days at anchor to get in, it proved even more difficult to get out. As the last few containers landed on the deck of Maersk Lota they were accompanied by a blanket of dense fog - and now there would be no intervention - we had to wait. Moored in such a tight basin, having such a narrow exit channel departure could only be completed with good visibility.
So for a whole three days we waited and waited. In this photo you can see just how little we could see.
Then on the 3rd day the fog parted and we were ready to leave. Given the congestion in the port we had to wait some 12 hours for our pilot. But as he boarded I felt the whole ship was happy to be moving. But remember what the eagles said.
"You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave "
Just as we secured the tugs the pilot received a call from port control. The ice in the channel had shifted some of the buoys so that our route was blocked. After a brief analysis we could see that the ship could not safely transit the channel. Again we would have to wait.
Thankfully the Port acted quickly and the buoys were repositioned within four hours. The pilot came back onboard. We secured the tugs, let go the lines and then…
"You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave "
The fog came back. In the space of five minutes we went from having five miles of visibility to 25 meters. We waited 30 minutes to see if the situation would improve, alas it didn’t. So we again secured the vessel alongside and I said goodbye to the pilot.
Another 2 days passed and finally again the fog lifted. This time we were first in the queue. With a slight sense of incredulity Maersk Lota slipped out of Odessa. All in all that port stay had taken 11 days when in fact we were scheduled for 2. As a consequence we are missing our next port to try and make up time. On top of this we are proceeding at best speed towards to Suez canal to make our vital slot which will allow us to arrive in the Far East on time.
Next time I’ll let you know how the race is going.