The Calcasieu Ship Channel runs 34 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District. The port is the 11th largest seaport in the US and an important economic power in southwestern Louisiana. Lake Charles boasts a thriving refinery industry which relies on keeping the channel clear for ever-larger deepdraft vessels. Annually, 1,000 ships traverse the channel carrying approximately 56.5 million tons of cargo. The Port expects that number to more than double by 2023. That increase will depend upon the channel's continuing viability for large vessel navigation.
The February 18, 2016 issue of Nature featured an article on the human and environmental costs of shipping. A litany of facts about the pollution inherent in global shipping is included: low-grade marine fuel has 3,500 times more sulfur than road diesel, one-third of the airborne pollutants in Hong Kong are derived from large ships when in port, and scrapping obsolete ships pollutes both the sea and the soil.
Jason Tieman, Maritime director of PortVision, looks at some of the latest developments in vessel tracking technology and their implications for improved safety at sea.
A change made in the weight and design of the US Navy's new high-speed transport vessels has required millions of dollars in repairs. The weak bows of the Expeditionary Fast Transports (formerly called Joint High Speed Vessels) occurred as a result of a decision by the Navy to save weight when the vessels were under construction. As reported in January by Bloomberg, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain expressed concern since multiple vessels of the class have had damage to their bows.
*This article first appeared in the May 2015 edition of World Port Development
BIMCO, the world's largest international shipping association representing almost 60% of the world's commercial vessels, in conjunction with CLIA, ICS, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO*, have announced security guidelines for vessels involved in global shipping.