Sunday, February 18, 2018


18 February 2018: Writing from the Winter headquarters (finally) where it's sunny and 80F with a lovely breeze.... Apologies for mentioning it to those readers putting on snow boots and heavy coats.....

 So today, some interesting news from the British Guardian on a Dutch innovation in cargo transport. 

World's first electric container barges to sail from European ports this summer

The world’s first fully electric, emission-free and potentially crewless container barges are to operate from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam from this summer.
The vessels, designed to fit beneath bridges as they transport their goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, are expected to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powered trucks for moving freight.
Dubbed the “Tesla of the canals”, their electric motors will be driven by 20-foot batteries, charged on shore by the carbon-free energy provider Eneco.

The barges are designed to operate without any crew, although the vessels will be manned in their first period of operation as new infrastructure is erected around some of the busiest inland waterways in Europe.
In August, five barges - 52 metres long and 6.7m wide, and able to carry 24 20ft containers weighing up to 425 tonnes - will be in operation. They will be fitted with a power box giving them 15 hours of power. As there is no need for a traditional engine room, the boats have up to 8% extra space, according to their Dutch manufacturer, Port Liner.
About 23,000 trucks, mainly running on diesel, are expected to be removed from the roads as a result.
At a later date, six larger 110m-long barges, carrying 270 containers, will run on four battery boxes capable of providing 35 hours of autonomous driving. Their use alone could lead to a reduction of about 18,000 tonnes per year of CO2, it is claimed.
According to the latest statistics from Eurostat, 74.9% of freight in the EU is transported by road, compared to 18.4% by rail, and 6.7% along inland waterways, although the use of water routes has been rising.
The barges are being developed in the Netherlands with €7m in subsidies from the EU and additional funds from the ports involved. Port Liner believes it could produce about 500 barges a year to revolutionise the freight industry, although the electric motors and batteries could also be retrofitted into older boats.

The company’s chief executive, Ton van Meegen, told shipping industry trade journal the Loadstar that the barges would be the first in the world to sail on carbon-neutral batteries and that only the low bridges in the low countries prevented them from being loaded with more goods.

How's that for energy saving, pollution cutting, labor saving innovation? 

Until next time,
                                              Fair Winds,
                                                     Old salt

PS - Maritime Maunder has now passed 72,000 readers worldwide! WOW and thank you all!

Monday, February 12, 2018


12 February 2018: I guess people do things like climb mountains, swim across large bodies of shark infested waters, and, yes, row a boat across the Atlantic Ocean because they are unable to resist a challenge that few would accept!
Today's post is one such story: a pair of Scottish brothers who rowed a boat from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean island of Antigua. In 55 days. 

Two Scots brothers have become the fastest pair to row the Atlantic – and did part of the journey naked.
Kris and Blair Elliot completed a gruelling 3000-mile endurance race from the Canary Islands to the West Indies.
They took on the world’s most dangerous ocean in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic
Challenge in December, tackling 40ft waves and all the elements could throw at them.

Kris, 30, and Blair, 28, from Dunblane, revealed they were forced to strip off and complete parts of the journey in their birthday suits – to avoid chafing.
They took 55 days, one hour and 54 minutes to row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands – the second-smallest of the main islands in Spain’s Canaries – to Antigua.
Coping with intense sleep deprivation, seasickness and turbulent weather, the brothers had to dig deep into their energy reserves.
And they were delighted to cross the finish line and narrowly beat the Welsh boat, Team Oarstruck, by 30 minutes.

Skipper Kris said: “It was a real privilege to be able to undertake a challenge like this.
“Being brothers only made the experience even better and we had some incredible days out there. Dolphins came up to the boat and swam around us for ages – it was a moment we’ll never forget.
“We took the challenge step by step and day by day and it’s amazing to have finally arrived in Antigua.”

Speaking to the Daily Record in October, before they began the marathon challenge, firefighter Kris said: “We have to row naked most of the way across the Atlantic because the clothes will rub against our skin and cause all sorts of problems.”
The brothers rowed for Team Noble in memory of former Alloa fire service watch manager John Noble, who died in 2008 when the appliance he was driving crashed into a tree on the A91 between Dollar and Tillicoultry.
They were aiming to raise £100,000 for the Firefighters’ Charity, who aim to enhance the quality of life for serving and retired firefighters, fire personnel and their
Lisa Everingham, Talisker’s global marketing manager, congratulated the pair.
She said: “We are delighted for Team Noble and their epic row across the Atlantic.”

If you are scratching your head and asking yourself "why" you are not alone! But these two were obviously not the only ones to take on this stunning challenge! We have to acknowledge their accomplishment and offer a heartfelt "well done" to the brothers Elliot.

Until next time, 
                                 Fair winds,
                                          Old Salt