Best of our wild blogs: 5 Aug 16

Seagrassy Changi shore after recent coastal works
wild shores of singapore

Blogging again ...
Life's Indulgences

Read more!

Collision of VLCC and Container Ship in the Singapore Strait, off the Sisters Islands Marine Park

MPA Media Statement 4 Aug 16;

Collision of Panama-flagged VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) and Container Ship in the Singapore Strait
No injuries or oil pollution reported

At about 2355 hrs on 3rd Aug 2016, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was notified of a collision involving Dream II VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) and MSC Alexandra (Container Ship) in the Singapore Strait, about 3 km South-East of Sebarok Island. Both are Panama-flagged vessels.

Prior to the incident, MPA's Port Operations Control Centre provided traffic information and alerted the shipmasters of Dream II and MSC Alexandra of the risk of collision.

Dream II sustained damage to her bow whilst MSC Alexandra sustained damages on her port quarter hull. Both vessels are in stable condition and safely anchored in Singapore.

MSC Alexandra reported that 10 empty containers fell overboard during the incident, 4 onto the deck of Dream II and the rest into the water.

Upon notification, MPA immediately issued navigation broadcast to warn vessels of the presence of floating containers in the vicinity of the incident site. MPA has deployed survey and salvage teams to recover the containers.

There were no injuries or oil pollution reported.

Container carrier MSC Alexandra and VLCC Dream collided in Singapore Strait
SVILEN PETROV Maritime Herald 4 Aug 16;

The very large crude carrier Dream collided with container ship MSC Alexandra in Singapore Strait on 2 nautical miles southeast off Sebarok island. The both vessels were proceeding on crossing routes, as the tanker was proceeding through the separation scheme in western direction, while the container ship MSC Alexandra was entering into the scheme from Singapore. The collision happened due to serious violation of the ColReg rules for vessels running on crossing routes. Following the collision, the crude carrier Dream suffered serious damages of the bow, while the container ship MSC Alexandra suffered damages in the port board. Also a dozen of empty containers fell overboard from the deck of MSC Alexandra. Fortunately there is no report about injuries and water pollution.

The local authorities started investigation for the root cause of the accident. According to preliminary information, responsible for the collision was the duty officer of very large crude carrier Dream, who was neglecting the ColReg rules, as container ship MSC Alexandra was proceeding from the right board and have to be released by the tanker to enter in the separation scheme. On other side, the lack of communication and misunderstanding from the both duty officers was in the root cause of the collision.

The both ships were detained at the anchorage off Singapore and will need of repairs and inspection before return in operations. The VLCC and container carrier are in stable condition without danger for their seaworthiness.

MSC AlexandraThe container ship MSC Alexandra (IMO: 9461374) has overall length of 365.80 m, moulded beam of 52.00 m and maximum draft of 12.00 m. The vessel has deadweight of 165,908 DWT, gross tonnage of 153,115 GRT and capacity to carry 14,000 TEU. The container carrier was built in 2010 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea. The owner and operator of the vessel is Mediterranean Shipping Company. During the accident the container ship MSC Alexandra was en route from Singapore to Chiwan, China.

The VLCC Dream (IMO: 9356593) had deadweight of 319,999 DWT and gross tonnage of 164,241 GRT. The ship was en route from Beilun, China to Port of Khark, Iran under ballast. The vessel was built in 2008 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea. The owner and operator of the VLCC Dream is Greek company Arcadia Shipmanagement.

Update on Collision of Panama-flagged vessels VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) and Container Ship in the Singapore Strait
MPA media release 7 Aug 16;

Update on Collision of Panama-flagged vessels VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) and Container Ship in the Singapore Strait
All containers in Singapore waters retrieved; Port operations is unaffected

During the incident involving Dream II VLCC and MSC Alexandra (Container Ship) on 3rd August, 10 empty containers fell overboard. Of these, five fell overboard onto the deck of Dream II VLCC and another five fell into the sea. Four of the containers that sank in Singapore waters have all been recovered at 0930 hours on 6th August. The owner’s local Protection & Indemnity club representative of MSC Alexandra is making the necessary arrangement to retrieve the fifth container which sank in Indonesian waters.

MSC Alexandra is currently berthed at PSAC’s Pasir Panjang Terminal to discharge her remaining containers before proceeding to a shipyard to carry out permanent repairs, whilst Dream II is safely anchored in Singapore and is making preparation for repairs.

There were no injuries or oil pollution reported. There is no disruption to shipping traffic in the Singapore Strait and Port operation is also unaffected. MPA is investigating the incident.

Collision highlights big tanker spill risk
Steve Matthews Tanker Shipping 9 Aug 16;

Last week there was a collision in the Singapore Strait involving the National Iranian Tanker Co’s 320,000 dwt very large crude carrier (VLCC) Dream II and the Mediterranean Shipping Co’s 14,000 teu container ship MSC Alexandra. Both ships were damaged but there were no reported injuries or pollution. Five empty containers from the MSC Alexandra fell on to the deck of the tanker and another five empty containers fell into the sea.

It is 37 years since the worst ever tanker oil spill took place in July 1979. It followed a collision between two VLCCs, Atlantic Empress and Aegean Captain in the Caribbean, resulting in the loss of 27 lives and 287,000 tonnes of crude oil being spilled.

Since that low point, spills from oil tankers have consistently and dramatically reduced, both in terms of serious incidents and the total oil spilled. The average number of serious spills per year has declined sharply during a period when marine transport of oil has risen to more than 10 billion tonne miles a year.

It is 20 years since Sea Empress spilled 72,000 tonnes of oil after running aground off Milford Haven in the UK and 14 years since Prestige spilled 63,000 tonnes of oil in the Atlantic off Spain in 2002.

The last spill of a major size involved Hebei Spirit which spilled 11,000 tonnes in South Korea in 2007.

The last year in which more than 100,000 tonnes in total was spilled from tankers was 1994.

The fall has been particularly dramatic since the mid 1990s. In the 21 years from 1995 to 2015 less oil was spilled from tankers than in the three preceding years from 1992 to 1994, and almost the same as in the single year of 1991 which saw two massive tanker pollution incidents.

In a wider industry context even the biggest ever tanker spill was put into the shade by the Deepwater Horizon oil platform disaster in 2010 which saw more than 400,000 tonnes spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

In the six years from 2010 to 2015 a total of 33,000 tonnes was spilled from oil tankers.

In 2015 there were two significant spills, one in Singapore and one in Turkey, and a total of 7,000 tonnes spilled, which was the highest total since 2010 though still low historically.

The good record has continued so far in 2016 with few, relatively small, spills from tankers, including one in Malaysia and one in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, oil platforms have continued to suffer spills, for example in May the Shell Brutus platform spilled 300 tonnes of crude in the Gulf of Mexico.

The biggest cause of oil tanker spills over the years has been collisions and groundings, accounting for more than half the total. Advances in navigational safety systems, double hull designs and better training and operating procedures plus strict vetting, new legislation and port state control, have all contributed to this massive improvement.

Any oil spill, no matter how small, is harmful and with environmental protection taking an ever higher profile it would only take one major spill to set the whole industry back. Last week’s collision shows that the risk is still there.

It is therefore vital to ensure that the progress in recent years continues and that the big spills that were commonplace in the 20th century are condemned to history in the 21st.

Photos of the damage

Collision track from Vessel Finder

A view of the damaged to the container ship taken by Yujie Zheng on 9 Aug 2016.

Related post
Ship collision near the Sisters Islands Marine Park, 3 Aug 2016 on wild shores of singapore

Read more!

Malaysia: Lack of awareness to blame, too, for water pollution

AHMAD FAIRUZ OTHMAN New Straits Times 4 Aug 16;

The Johor government will continue to pursue legal action against those responsible for the ammonia pollution that led to the temporary closure of three water treatment plants and caused water supply disruption in several areas a week after Hari Raya.

To date, two factories — a palm oil mill and a fertiliser processing factory — have been investigated for their links to the case. Both facilities were issued notices by the Department of Environment (DoE) to temporarily suspend operations and put in mitigation measures.

However, the 60-day suspension notice on the palm oil factory, owned by a government-linked company, was lifted two weeks after the facility complied with the DoE’s orders to take remedial measures to contain the overflow of treated palm oil mill effluents. The suspension notice on the fertiliser factory still stands.

Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said following the investigation papers opened by the DoE against the factories, the companies will have to wait for the legal process to take its due course. Johor cannot afford cases of pollution to affect its precious water catchment areas.

The state is still reeling from the large-scale water supply disruption that occurred in several districts last year due to the low water levels in two dams as a result of the hot and dry weather.

The recent disruption affected 600,000 people in Johor Baru, Iskandar Puteri and parts of Kulai.

Having another water crisis in Johor will not augur well for its residents. The sudden disruption that occurred during the month-long celebrations of Hari Raya was too much for them. Many vented their anger on water utility SAJ Holding’s Facebook page.

The state government is taking note of the unhappiness, and is not letting up on its intention to take legal action against culprit or culprits that caused the pollution.

There is also an urgent need to ensure that all levels of society, be they administrators, business owners and residents, work together to protect water catchment areas.

Ayub put it more bluntly when he spoke to this reporter as he lamented the lack of awareness among the people, including businesses and factory owners about the need to monitor the effluents that are released into rivers.

“There is a lack of awareness and knowledge among the people, including certain manufacturers who have blatant disregard in
managing waste.

“There is no urgency in their attitude. In addition to cases of pollution, certain sections of the community continue to throw rubbish into rivers.

“We cannot solely lay the blame on enforcement authorities. We complain when there is no water supply, but we must understand that it could be our own actions that may have contributed to the pollution that leads to water disruption,” Ayub told the New Straits Times.

The state government must look into the case of ammonia pollution with a fine-tooth comb while also looking into all aspects that may have contributed to it.

Some of the areas that were affected by the recent ammonia pollution have been known to have a moderate level of pollution.

Ayub also said the fact that the area had not seen rain for about a week might have made it worse when there was an overflow of effluents from the factories.

It is time for the state government and the DoE to monitor this issues around the clock or at least during dry weather conditions as the risk of such situations affecting water supply becomes greater.

This will complement the move announced last year by the Johor Water Regulatory Body or Bakaj to fence up the state’s water catchment areas in a bid to control any form of encroachment into these vital areas that contribute to Johor’s water supply.

The enforcement on the part of local authorities will also go a long way in protecting Johor’s water resources
Already, there has been a directive to four local authorities — Kota Tinggi District Council, Kulai Municipal Council, Kluang Municipal Council and Simpang Renggam District Council — to register all factories in the Sungai Johor river basin to help in the enforcement effort.

This was decided at a meeting that involved the representatives from 35 factories along the river in Kota Iskandar recently.

It must be noted that about 65 per cent of the state’s water supply is sourced from Sungai Johor. Seven dams draw raw water from the river and its tributaries.

Hopefully, these efforts will bear fruit and ensure that Johor receives continuous water supply for decades to come.

Ahmad Fairuz Othman is NST Johor bureau chief. When not working, he loves driving along the coastal highway and trunk roads of Johor. A lover of food, music and theatre, he recommends everyone to try Johor’s version of 'ais kacang' which is drenched in chocolate sauce

Read more!

Indonesia: Sumatran Tiger Hides Seized in Raid

Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 3 Aug 16;

Jakarta. Jambi Provincial Police teamed up with the Jambi Province Natural Resources Conservation Agency seized two Sumatran tiger hides and ten other preserved protected animals in Sumatra from a local couple.

State news agency Antara reported the two suspects, identified as 49-year-old Muhammad Nasution and 45-year-old Warsilah, were arrested at their South Jambi sub-district home on Tuesday (02/08).

The couple allegedly run a ring buying protected wildlife and reselling secondary products, such as preserved skins, for hundreds of million of rupiah to upper class consumers.

During the raid, police found preserved animals, including a clouded leopard, a bobcat, a pangolin, the head of a spotted deer, five Sambar deer heads and two Sumatran tiger hides.

The police also found evidence of wildlife being preserved in the backyard of the home.

Sumatran tigers are highly threatened by the illegal wildlife trade, with a significant decrease in their population over the years. Recently, World Wildlife Fund Indonesia revealed there are only 371 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

Read more!

Indonesia: Javan Leopards Reportedly Poisoned in W. Java

Aditya Rohman & Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 4 Aug 16;

Jakarta. After preying on cattle belonging to residents in Cipangparang village in the Sukabumi district, West Java, two Javan leopards have reportedly been killed by poisoning.

Kusmara, head of the Bogor Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said the two leopards roamed the conservation area before making their way into the settlement.

“The death of the two endangered species is still being investigated by the West Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency and we suspect that the leopards have been poisoned by the residents after seeing many of their cattle were being preyed by the wild animals,” Kusmara told state-run news agency Antara on Wednesday (03/08).

The officials are still searching for the remains of the leopards and have coordinated with the community after they were notified of the deaths.

BKSDA has encouraged residents to report the incidents, rather than kill the endangered animals.

“The Javan leopard is one of the protected wildlife species, under the Law of the Conservation of Natural Resources,” Kuswara said.

The Javan leopard is found in a number of conservation areas, including in Mount Gede Pangrango National Park, Mount Halimun Salak National Park and in the Cikepuh Wildlife conservation area in West Java.

Read more!

Indonesia: Sun bears bother villagers in Jambi

Jakarta Post 4 Aug 16;

Residents of Pematang Buluh village, Betara district, West Tanjungjabung regency, Jambi, are being pestered by two male bears that have roamed around their village for the past couple of weeks. The bears prey on livestock and cooking oil belonging to residents.

Pematang Buluh village chief Kamaruddin said residents had caught the two bears eating chicken and cooking oil. They entered homes by prying open the kitchen door. “The bears ventured into human settlements because honey bees have moved to the Srensen area on the Jambi-Riau border. Bears can no longer obtain honey to eat,” Kamaruddin said on Wednesday.

He added that the two bears often appeared from night until the small hours of the next day.

“They are often seen crossing the village road,” said Kamaruddin, adding that the bears were a major nuisance, with 80 chickens disappearing over the last couple of months, and the bears becoming bolder in entering homes.

Local man Aka said he had once heard noise from his kitchen and saw a bear. He found two wooden boards pried off and immediately repaired the kitchen wall.

Read more!

Toxic blue-green algae adapt to rising CO2

University of Amsterdam ScienceDaily 4 Aug 16;

A common type of blue-green algae is finding it easy to adapt to Earth's rising CO2 levels, meaning blue-green algae -- of which there are many toxin-producing varieties -- are even more adept at handling changing climatic conditions than scientists previously supposed. A team of microbiologists at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) are reporting this finding in the journal PNAS this week, and point here at implications for clean drinking water, swimming safety and freshwater ecosystems.

The research team, led by Professor of Aquatic Microbiology Jef Huisman, trained their microscopes on Microcystis, a type of blue-green algae that proliferate in lakes and reservoirs in summer. The team analysed the genetic composition of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae's scientific name), observing Microcystis in both the lab and the Kennemer lake, under CO2-rich and poor conditions. 'Before this, the adaptive potential of these harmful cyanobacteria in response to increasing CO2 concentrations had never been studied systematically, even though this can help us predict how algal blooms will develop in future', explains Xing Ji, a PhD researcher on the team.

In both the lab and the lake, cyanobacteria's genetic makeup changed in response to increasing CO2 concentrations. 'It's a textbook example of natural selection', says lead author Giovanni Sandrini. 'Cyanobacteria absorb CO2 during photosynthesis to produce their biomass, and we observed that the strain best equipped to absorb dissolved CO2 eventually gains the upper hand.'

Some Microcystis strains have a slow but efficient carbon uptake system that enables them to squeeze out the last bit of CO2 from the water even at very low concentrations. Those strains become dominant in low CO2 conditions. By contrast, other strains have a fast uptake system that allows them to take up dissolved CO2 at very high rates when in high concentrations. 'We discovered that these high-speed strains enjoy a major selective advantage in CO2-rich water', Sandrini continues. 'Given the rising atmospheric CO2 values, these strains are poised to thrive.'

Bathing and drinking water

Cyanobacteria's adaptation to rising CO2 is cause for concern. That's because Microcystis can produce microcystin, a toxin that causes liver damage in birds and mammals. In high concentrations, cyanobacteria also disrupt freshwater ecosystems, killing fish and aquatic plants. In the Netherlands, blue-green algal blooms regularly put swimming areas off limits.

Ji personally experienced just how harmful these bacteria have already proved to be in 2007, when he was living in eastern China, where cyanobacteria covered the entire surface of Lake Taihu, a 2000-km2 lake, and led to a drinking water crisis affecting five million people. 'I watched my mother arguing with other supermarket shoppers who all had their sights set on the last bottles of drinking water. It's precisely because I'm aware of how poor water quality can impact society that I am happy to be doing research that can yield relevant insights.'

This study was conducted by the University of Amsterdam and funded with a TOP grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Amsterdam. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

Giovanni Sandrini, Xing Ji, Jolanda M. H. Verspagen, Robert P. Tann, Pieter C. Slot, Veerle M. Luimstra, J. Merijn Schuurmans, Hans C. P. Matthijs, Jef Huisman. Rapid adaptation of harmful cyanobacteria to rising CO2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201602435 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1602435113

Read more!