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March 16, 2001

More power from Sulzer RTA96C
Wärtsilä Corporation has increased the power outputs available from Sulzer RTA96C low-speed marine diesel engines by some four percent. It also added a 14-cylinder model to bring the maximum output available up to 80,080 kW (108,920 bhp). The higher powers and the 14-cylinder engine are intended to meet the requirements of shipowners and shipbuilders for both today's large, fast post-Panamax container ships and the next generation of larger ships of up to 10,000 TEU.

The RTA96C now gives 5,720 kW (7,780 bhp) per cylinder maximum continuous output at 102 rev/min.

The power output of the 12-cylinder RTA96C is increased from 65,880 kW (89,640 bhp) maximum continuous output to 68,640 kW (93,360 bhp).

The RTA96C is the most powerful in the Sulzer RTA series of low-speed marine diesel engines. To date, a total of 84 RTA96C engines with eight, nine, ten, 11 and 12 cylinders in-line are in service or on order, having an aggregate output of 4754 MW (6.47 million bhp).

The increased outputs of the RTA96C engines are made possible, says Wärtsilä, by satisfactory service experience with the large number of RTA96C engines currently in service since the first began operation more than three years ago in October 1997. For example, engines in service are achieving diametral cylinder liner wear in the order of only 0.03 mm/1,000 hours. The new RTA96C engines have the same dimensions and masses as the existing RTA96C engines built to the latest design standard. They also have exactly the same brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) and cylinder lubricating oil feed rate. Their times between overhauls are expected to be three years for major components. The NOx emissions of the RTA96C are within the limits set by the IMO regulation in Annex VI of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention.

Anti-piracy initiative
A team of senior IMO officials is undertaking a high-level mission to southeast Asia this week to initiate the second phase of the organization's latest anti-piracy project.

In the first phase, regional seminars and workshops held in Singapore and Mumbai during 1999/2000 identified measures that could be undertaken to alleviate the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Main aim of the second phaseis to evaluate and assess the steps taken by Governments in the region as a result.

Among the key elements identified in the 1999/2000 meetings was the importance of regional co-operation and co-ordination in the fight against piracy and armed robbery. It was suggested at the 1999 Singapore meeting that authorizing local commanders to respond in concert with other agencies and regional security forces without the need to gain prior approval, together with regular joint patrols and surveillance activities, could help prevent attacks. Co-ordination could be achieved through such practical measures as the exchange of officers, the sharing of common radio frequencies, and agreeing in advance to follow common practices and pre-arranged operational procedures.

The March 2000 meeting in Mumbai, recommended improving the exchange of information within the region and recognized that issues of bureaucracy needed to be addressed.

Two conferences held in Tokyo at the initiative of the Japanese Government adopted a model action plan covering a range of anti-piracy measures, including self-protection measures that can be taken aboard ships, reporting to authorities, cooperation among different authorities within the same country, the establishment of a national network for the exchange of information and the subsequent analysis of information.

IMO will now evaluate the actions taken by Governments to implement the various measures recommended by IMO within their own jurisdictions. IMO aimns to identify where these measures have not been successful. It will look at what has impeded their implementation, examining the reasons behind any total or partial inability to implement the measures and finding ways in which IMO could help overcome any difficulties the participating countries have encountered.

IMO will also be looking for information on any ideas or proposals the participating Governments may themselves have with respect to regional cooperation for combating piracy and armed robbery, such as joint exercises, patrolling of particularly vulnerable sea areas, and exchanging intelligence on the movements of suspects. The sensitive issue of the deployment of law-enforcement resources in international or foreign national waters may also be addressed.

The current mission to southeast Asia will be followed later this year by similar exercises in the Latin America/Caribbean and West African regions, which have also been identified as piracy hot-spots. The Governments of Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) have supported the initiative with funding and the IMO has encouraged other potential donors to do the same.

IMO to adoptonvention on pollution from ships' bunkersrs
A conference to adopt a new convention on liability and compensation for pollution from ships' bunkers will be held March 19-23 at IMO headquarters in London.

The aim of the proposed convention is to establish a liability and compensation regime for spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships' bunkers, as current regimes covering oil spills do not include bunker oil spills from vessels other than tankers.

Work on the draft bunkers convention began in 1995 following a submission by several delegations to IMO's Legal Committee which proposed the adoption of an international regime for liability and compensation for damage in the event of damage caused by oil from ships' bunkers.

The draft bunkers convention provides a free-standing instrument covering pollution damage only.

The draft convention prepared for adoption is modeled on the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969. As with that convention, a key requirement in the draft bunkers convention is the need for the registered owner of a vessel to maintain compulsory insurance cover.

Another key provision is the requirement for direct action - this would allow a claim for compensation for pollution damage to be brought directly against an insurer.

The draft bunkers convention also includes articles on:

* the scope of application - the convention is intended to cover only pollution damage in the territory, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone of a State Party.  Preventive measures are also covered;

* liability - establishes a small group of persons as the shipowner, who will be responsible for pollution damage caused by any bunker oil on board or originating from a ship;

* limitation of liability - addresses the right of the shipowner to limit the liability under national or international regimes;


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Liberia launches online vessel inspection application
The Liberian Registry has launched an Internet-based vessel inspection application based on technology developed by the Wallem Group. It will allow inspectors to compile inspection reports during annual safety inspections and will create a historical database of the vessel’s condition. This secure database will be confidential to the registry and the relevant shipowner. Owners will be offered the option of providing the vessel’s condition history to Port State Control authorities, underwriters, charterers, and other interested parties.

Yoram Cohen, chief executive of LISCR, which manages the Liberian Registry, says, “Working with Wallem-developed technology, we have been able to take another vital step in raising flag state standards, while offering our owners another value-added service. Our force of over 200 inspectors around the world will be able to work more effectively, and we will provide and maintain sophisticated electronic records of the ships which fly our flag. Our owners will have a valuable independent source of information regarding their ships to draw upon.”

The Liberian Registry will begin limited use of the application from April 15. Full-scale roll out of the system will be completed within a matter of months.
The application enables any digital media (i.e. photographs, videos and thickness measurements) to be overlaid on the vessel plans with their location identified by “hot spots”.

Prior to performing a flag state inspection, the Liberian inspector will be able to download inspection records and digitized drawings of the vessel. The downloaded information will also include guidance on hot spots and areas of particular interest as specified by LISCR’s professional staff.

During and following the survey the inspector is able to enter data directly into the application, including photographs, and can upload the entire survey record direct to a central repository. After completion, LISCR’s staff will review the electronic survey report and check it for further action. This report will then form part of the registry’s database for that ship. .

Cohen says the register "will be actively talking with port state control authorities about how this could form the basis of a pre-clearance system for Liberian-registered ships."

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