Taiwan cuts offshore wind tariffs

Taiwan has reduced its feed-in tariff (FiT) for offshore wind projects signing 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2021 by 8.5%, compared with 2020 rates.

The FiT cuts, confirmed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs today, are in line with those proposed by the ministry in December.

The main rate for projects signing 20-year PPAs from 1 January in 2021 is NT$4656.8 (€135.6) per megawatt-hour (MWh), down from NT$5094.6/MWh in 2020.

Projects also have a “ladder” option of NT$5306.4/MWh for the first 10 years and NT$3520.6/MWh for the second 10 years, down from NT$5801.5/MWh and NT$3822.7/MWh in 2020.

The government lowered 2020 rates by around 8% compared with 2019.

Source: renews.biz, 2021/1/7


The US National Transportation Safety Board has called for major safety improvements to small passenger vessels after the investigation of a 2019 California dive boat fire that killed 34.

The 75-foot recreational diving vessel, Conception, with 33 passengers and six crew aboard, was anchored in Platts Harbor, off Santa Cruz Island, when it caught fire in the early morning of Sept. 2, 2019. All 33 passengers and one crewmember died of smoke inhalation after they were trapped in the berthing area while a fire raged on the deck above. Both exits from the berthing area led to the fire- and smoke-filled enclosed area above.

The NTSB called for all vessels similar to the Conception with overnight accommodations to be required to have interconnected smoke detectors in all passenger areas. It also recommended that a secondary means of escape lead into a different space than the primary exit, in case a single fire blocks both escape paths. The NTSB also called on the U.S. Coast Guard to develop and implement an inspection program to verify that roving patrols are conducted – as required – for the safety of sleeping passengers and crew. NTSB investigators found the absence of a required roving patrol on the Conception likely delayed the initial detection of the fire, allowed for its growth, precluded firefighting and evacuation efforts and directly led to the high number of fatalities in the accident.

“The Conception may have passed all Coast Guard inspections, but that did not make it safe,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “Our new recommendations will make these vessels safer, but there is no rule change that can replace human vigilance.”

The recommendations to the Coast Guard would apply to vessels, like the Conception, that are under 100 gross tons and have overnight accommodations for 49 or fewer passengers that fall under Subchapter T of federal marine regulations. The NTSB’s recommendation on interconnected smoke detectors, meaning when one smoke detector alarms the remaining detectors also alarm, also would apply to larger Subchapter K vessels.

The NTSB also reiterated its call for small passenger vessels to be required to implement a safety management system to improve the safety culture of vessel owners and operators.

While the Conception had smoke detectors in the below-deck berthing area, they were not connected to each other or the wheelhouse, and there were no smoke detectors in the salon, the common area above the sleeping quarters where investigators believe the fire started. Because of the fire damage to Conception, which burned to the water line and then sank, there was little physical evidence for investigators to establish exactly how, when and where the fire started.

During  a virtual board meeting, the NTSB determined the probable cause of the fire and subsequent sinking was the failure of Truth Aquatics, Inc., the owner and operator of Conception, to provide effective oversight of its vessel and crewmember operations, including requirements to ensure that a roving patrol was maintained, which allowed a fire of unknown cause to grow, undetected, in the vicinity of the aft salon on the main deck.

Contributing to the undetected growth of the fire was the lack of a Coast Guard regulatory requirement for smoke detection in all accommodation spaces. Contributing to the high loss of life were the inadequate emergency escape arrangements from the vessel’s bunkroom, as both exited into a compartment that was engulfed in fire, thereby preventing escape.

A synopsis of the investigation’s findings and recommendations is available online at https://go.usa.gov/x7a7G

The full, revised investigative report will be issued in the next few weeks on ntsb.gov and on Twitter @NTSB_newsroom

By Jake Frith

Source:Maritime Journal, Oct 21, 2020

US Customs issues cable-lay guidance for offshore wind

EU Leader Calls For Accelerating Emissions Reductions

Goal calls for cutting greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030 instead of current target of 40%

In her first State of the Union address to the European Parliament, EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyen called for accelerating the union’s target for emissions reductions.

The European Union’s top official proposed a more ambitious target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, setting a reduction goal of at least 55% by 2030 compared to the current target of 40%. Members of the European Parliament, which represent 27 member countries, would have to adopt the proposal.

“There is no more urgent need for acceleration than when it comes to the future of our fragile planet,” von der Leyen said in her address. While much of the world’s activity froze during lockdowns and shutdowns, the planet continued to get dangerously hotter.

We see it all around us: from homes evacuated due to glacier collapse on the Mont Blanc, to fires burning through Oregon, to crops destroyed in Romania by the most severe drought in decades.”

von der Leyen said she wants 37% of the €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund approved by EU countries to be spent on environmental objectives, adding that 30% of the fund should be raised through “green” bonds whose proceeds are meant to have a positive impact on the environment.

The EU also plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change and to work to shift €1 trillion euros in investment toward making the EU’s economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.

The European Green Deal is the blueprint to make that transformation, she said

“At the heart of it is our mission to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050,” she said. “But we will not get there with the status quo – we need to go faster and do things better. We looked in-depth at every sector to see how fast we could go and how to do it in a responsible, evidence-based way.

“We held a wide public consultation and conducted an extensive impact assessment.

On this basis, the European Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emission reduction to at least 55%. I recognize that this increase from 40 to 55 is too much for some, and not enough for others. But our impact assessment clearly shows that our economy and industry can manage this And they want it too.”

She said that she had received a letter from 170 business leaders and investors calling on Europe to set a target of at least 55%.

To help meet the goal, the EU should invest in lighthouse European projects with the biggest impact: hydrogen, renovation and 1 million electric charging points, von der Leyen said. She wants the EU to create new European Hydrogen Valleys to modernize industries, power vehicles and bring new life to rural areas.

Source:Diesel and Gas Turbine Worldwide , Sep 16 2020

8 ways to rebuild a stronger ocean economy after COVID-19

  • COVID-19’s impact is being felt at sea as well as on land.
  • The pandemic offers an opportunity to start building a sustainable ocean economy fit for the future.
  • Here are 8 areas for policy-makers to consider.

Almost no facet of our global economy has been immune to the COVID-19 crisis.

Much has been said about the disruption in more familiar sectors such as airlines, restaurants, and sports – but the long arm of COVID-19 has also reached out to sea, and is affecting our “blue economy”. This collection of formal and informal marine jobs, products, and services has been valued at $2.5 trillion a year. If the ocean were a nation, it would rank as the 7th largest economy in the world.

Maritime shipping has seen COVID-19-associated drops in activity of up to 30% in some regions. Lockdowns and reduced demand for seafood have seen fishing activity fall by as much as 80% in China and West Africa. Entire nations dependent on ocean and beach associated tourism have shut their borders. Globally, COVID-19’s impact on tourism may amount to a $7.4 billion loss and could put 75 million jobs at risk.

Some of the COVID-19 stimulus packages that are being designed to recover land-based industries and communities are also exploring ways to leapfrog forwards into greener modes of operation. However, little is being considered for bluer modes of operations. Similar opportunities, however, await us in our ocean and on our coasts.

Here are eight pathways for rebuilding an ocean economy that is both stronger and more sustainable after COVID-19.

1. Bluer blue tourism

Ocean tourism, before COVID-19, was directly valued at $390 billion globally and comprises a significant portion of the GDP of many nations. The millions of people that depend on ocean tourism, and consequently have a stake in ocean health, cannot be abandoned during the pandemic. Recovery funds could prevent furloughs by hiring people to restore coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangroves, given the massive return on investment that such ecosystems deliver to blue tourism. Similar nature-based job creation programmes were developed during the Great Depression, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps in the US. Stimulus funds could also keep workforces active installing sustainability upgrades in now empty hotels – drinking water stations to reduce plastic pollution and water treatment systems, for example – and training staff to diversify their sustainability skillset.

Millions depend on ocean tourism worldwide
Millions depend on ocean tourism worldwide
Image: Isha@Seefromthesky on Unsplash

2. Reducing shipping emissions

Maritime shipping carries an estimated 90% of the planet’s cargo. This ocean traffic contributes significantly to global emissions of carbon and other air pollutants. The International Maritime Organization has mandated that shipping emissions be reduced by 50% by 2050. A reduction in shipping activity during COVID-19 provides a valuable opportunity to move towards this goal. Quiescent vessels can be fitted with upgrades to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Quieter shipyards can retool and secure political support to prepare for future demand to be met with zero-emission vessels. Such opportunities are greatest in Asia, where China, together with South Korea and Japan, represent more than 95% of the world’s shipbuilding by tonnage. Any aid directed to accelerate progress towards decarbonizing shipping should also include opportunities to electrify ports and prepare them to provide zero-emissions fuels.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted maritime shipping
COVID-19 has significantly impacted maritime shipping
Image: UNCTAD/ClipperData

3. Avoid squandering a post-COVID-19 fish bounty

Unlike other investments, living ocean resources literally grow during downturns. During World War II, many fishing vessels were forced to stop fishing. This reprieve allowed fish populations, such as cod, to increase. Should any such gains be accruing during COVID-19, we must resist the urge to immediately over-harvest them. Instead, we should use fisheries science to design intelligent harvest-yield protocols that maximize the long-term benefit of any possible COVID-19 gains.

Some fish stocks are likely benefiting from the global lockdown
Some fish stocks are likely benefiting from the global lockdown
Image: Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

4. Supporting our mariners – delivery truck drivers of the sea

Ships are arguably the world’s most challenging work environment in which to confront a pandemic. Vulnerable mariners, such as those in the shipping and fishing industry, are vital to the functioning of society. They are the grocery clerks and delivery drivers of the blue economy. Ramping back up these sectors will require that crews be provided with viral and antibody testing and that they be extended dignified, safe transit home after being at sea for one month or more. Crews should also be given access to secure communication channels linking them to home. In the fishing industry, enhanced communications would confer the added benefit of combating slavery at sea.

It's time to recognise the contribution of mariners to the functioning of our society
It’s time to recognise the contribution of mariners to the functioning of our society
Image: Andy Li on Unsplash

5. Stay the course on ocean parks

Only 7.4% of our ocean is currently protected. These ocean parks benefit marine biodiversity and help boost breeding fish populations that spillover to enhance regional fisheries, create jobs in tourism, and potentially sequester more carbon. Some have suggested, however, that because of COVID-19 we must open up these ocean parks to industrial fishing. This would be folly. These parks are long-term ocean investments that take decades to mature, but only days to erase. In addition to short-changing future fishers, dissolving ocean parks would be a blow to sustainable blue tourism. Such actions would be akin to dismantling and selling off all the rides in Disneyland during COVID-19 – a short-sighted disservice to local jobs and economies.

The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle, Hawaii
The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle, Hawaii
Image: Don McLeish on Flickr

6. Farming the sea to feed billions

Scientists estimate that around 845 million people worldwide are nutritionally vulnerable to any decline in seafood. COVID-19 could exacerbate these challenges via disruptions to blue food trade and labour networks. We can avoid some of this trauma to food security systems by using stimulus funds to bolster smart aquaculture, or ocean farming which can provide nutritional support to vulnerable local populations, while minimizing environmental impact. Such investments could be patterned after environmentally and nutritionally aware investments in agriculture.

Done right, aquaculture can provide nutritional security to hundreds of millions
Done right, aquaculture can provide nutritional security to hundreds of millions
Image: Alex Antoniadis on Unsplash

7. Digitizing our ocean

Another way to fast-track the reopening of our blue economy is to direct stimulus investing towards marine technologies that can help us more efficiently and effectively observe and understand our ocean. For example, fisheries observer programmes that help the industry collect vital data to enhance catch, enforce laws and protect endangered species have been suspended because of COVID-19. New AI-powered electronic monitoring systems can play a role in maintaining these data pipelines. Myriad other opportunities exist – from expanding machine learning-powered interpretation of satellite data and enhanced drones that can curtail illegal fishing in regions where COVID-19 has reduced conventional marine patrols to connecting sustainable fishers to local consumers via apps when restaurants and markets are closed.

Advanced ocean technologies provide myriad benefits, including improved ocean surveillance
Advanced ocean technologies provide myriad benefits, including improved ocean surveillance
Image: NOAA

8. Don’t prey on the moment

We must be intolerant of efforts to misuse COVID-19 to advance agendas of self-interest. For example, much positive progress has been made transitioning us away from single-use plastics, a major source of ocean pollution. Since COVID-19, however, interest groups have successfully reversed or suspended these regulations for products like plastic bags. There are many things that we must do together to slow the spread of COVID-19 – but using single use plastic bags, instead of paper or reusable bags, is not one of them. Similarly, while external investment in hard-hit nations, like ocean-dependent small island states, can be positive, we must not allow the attachment of predatory terms that take advantage of these nations’ financial vulnerability.

Plastic pollution near Puglia, Italy
Plastic pollution near Puglia, Italy
Image: Paolo Margari on Flickr

COVID-19 has exposed just how profoundly linked our economies and wellbeing are to the ocean. These actions illustrate the need to inject more blue into COVID-19 discussions of ‘green recovery’. We cannot miss a chance in the times ahead to benefit both people and our ocean as we bring our sustainable blue economy back online.

Source: World Economic Forum 

Do not outsource the energy transition, German companies plead

Opening Ceremony of Mediterranean and Asia Marine Alliance

Ocean is the asset of all human kinds in the world. Ocean resources bring enormous functions and benefits to human beings, and are the important assets for the living and development of generations of Taiwanese people.

Taiwan is surrounded by ocean. Being an Ocean Nation, ocean affairs has significant strategic implications. The recent confrontation of USA and China with intensive military exercises in the South China Sea has accelerated geopolitical wrestling to an unprecedented level, which further demonstrates the importance of ocean governance and national maritime rights. In April 2018, Taiwan government established“Ocean Affairs Council”, a ministry level agency; in November 2019, the “Ocean Basic Act” is passed and promulgated; and in June of this year (2020), the new edition of “National Ocean Policy White Paper” is issued and released. These consecutive actions strongly demonstrate the government’s emphasis on ocean policy and affairs, its proactive measures to encourage national people to focus on ocean related issues, and its determination to achieve the sustainable development of ocean.

Mediterranean is also an important geopolitical center in the world, and Israel is an important country in the Mediterranean area. Due to the complementary development of technology and economy, there are increasing interactions among Taiwan, Israel and Mediterranean area in recent years. Now it is the best time to connect resources across the regions through the dialogue of ocean.

Mediterranean and Asia Marine Alliance (abbreviated MAMA) is jointly established by Lian Tat Company (LTC) and Tunghai Industry Smart-Transformation Center (TISC), with deep cooperation from Israel strategic partners. This is the first platform initiated and established by private enterprise and organization in Taiwan to facilitate the cooperation and interaction of industry, government, and academic sectors in Taiwan and abroad. The Alliance is founded responding to government’s call and expectation for private sector to assist in promotion of marine related research and affairs, and to align with global ocean trends.

MAMA is composed of six areas of Ocean Policy, Smart Ocean, Ocean Biology, Ocean Resources, Ocean Industry and Ocean Culture. By chaining resources of each area, the Alliance is aimed to promoting ocean related research, providing policy advice, creating cooperation of industry and academia, fostering international exchange and cooperation, and upgrading Taiwan’s world visibility in participation of ocean affairs.

Time: September 23, 2020 (Wed) 2:00 pm
Place: B1 East Gate, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel
Address: 201 Tun Hwa S. Road, Sec. 2, Taipei

NOAA Fisheries Announces Marine Aquaculture Opportunity Areas

Recently the NOAA Fisheries announced the selection of federal waters off southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico as the areas of focused evaluation for the first two of ten Aquaculture Opportunity Areas in the United States. Establishing these Aquaculture Opportunity Areas are part of NOAA’s responsibility under the May 2020 Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth.

Information source: National Aquaculture Association/media release

These two regions were selected based on the already available spatial analysis data and current industry interest in developing sustainable aquaculture operations in the region. NOAA envisions each AOA as a small defined geographic area that has been evaluated to determine its potential suitability for commercial aquaculture. While the regions for the first two AOAs have been selected, the exact locations and configuration will be shaped by a combination of spatial analysis and public input.

These AOAs are expected to support three to five aquaculture farm sites of varying types including finfish, shellfish, macroalgae, or some combination of these. To identify each AOA, NOAA will use a combination of powerful data-driven siting analysis using hundreds of types of data on ocean uses and public input. The synthesis of these two essential elements will highlight space that is environmentally, socially, and economically appropriate for commercial aquaculture.

Learn more about the AOA announcement and view additional material on the NOAA Fisheries website.


Government designates 14 safe areas for angling

By Shelley Shan

The government has designated 14 angling areas in commercial seaports across the nation and ensured their safety in compliance with the Executive Yuan’s “salute to the seas” policy, the Port and Maritime Bureau said yesterday.

Eighteen fishing accidents happened in commercial seaports in the past five years, bureau data showed.

Eight people were killed, eight were injured and two were reported missing in those accidents, the data showed.

The Port of Taichung had the highest number of fishing accidents, in which two people were killed and seven were injured, they showed.

The Port of Taichung’s north breakwater area — a habitat for a wide variety of fish — has drawn more than 58,000 fishing enthusiasts since its opening in October last year as the nation’s demonstration area for recreational fishing, Bureau Deputy Director-General Chen Pin-chuan (陳賓權) said.

It is crucial that the bureau keeps such locations safe for all angling enthusiasts, he said.

Chen said the bureau has inspected 14 designated fishing areas in all commercial seaports and implemented safety measures, including setting up warning signs and making sure that lifebuoys and ropes are available.

To manage the Port of Taichung’s north breakwater area more effectively, the bureau has entrusted the Taiwan Fishermens’ Association with the task of maintaining the safety there, Chen said.

The association has also launched an awareness campaign on the importance of conserving oceanic resources by issuing an eco-friendly fishing ID card and a manual on sustainable fishing at the Port of Taichung, he said.

For their own safety, fishers are advised to wear life jackets and other protective gear, and monitor the waves and sea weather reports, the bureau said.


MOI drafts stricter punishments for illegal sand mining

ECOLOGICAL DAMAGE: The proposed changes follow complaints that Chinese vessels have been illegally extracting sand near the Formosa Banks

By Huang Hsin-po and Jake Chung

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has proposed amendments to the Act on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of the Republic of China (中華民國專屬經濟海域及大陸礁層法) that would impose heavier fines and prison terms for illegal sand mining in Taiwan’s coastal waters.

The act stipulates a maximum fine of NT$50 million (US$1.69 million) and up to five years in prison for “whoever willfully damages or harms the natural resources or ecology” of Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

Furthermore, “whoever undertakes construction, use, modification, or the dismantling of artificial islands, installations or structures” in Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone or its continental shelf without permission from the government shall be fined between NT$10 million and NT$50 million, the act says.

The proposed amendments would impose a prison term of between one and seven years, along with a maximum fine of NT$80 million, the ministry said on Tuesday.

The proposal was made in response to complaints that Chinese vessels have been illegally extracting sand in the vicinity of the Formosa Banks, Department of Land Administration Deputy Director Wang Cheng-chi (王成機) said.

Calling for government action to protect Taiwan’s maritime resources, the Society for Wildlife and Nature in May said that Chinese ships have dredged more than 100,000 tonnes of sand daily from the shoal over the past few years, which has altered the sand and sediment and poses a catastrophe for local marine ecology.

Should there be no changes, the proposal would be forwarded to the Executive Yuan for further deliberation, Wang said.

Two separate amendments, sponsored by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) and Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), are being reviewed by the legislature’s finance, foreign affairs and national defense, and internal administration committees.

Lai’s version proposes a fine of between NT$5 million and NT$50 million, while Kuan’s version sets the maximum fine at NT$100 million.

The shoal, which is near the median line of the Taiwan Strait, is a traditional fishing area for Penghu County fishers and a preferred area for marine animal spawning, due to the rich nutrients brought to the area via upwelling.

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said that from January to May, it had chased away about 1,200 Chinese sand dredgers.

The CGA early last month detained a Chinese ship — the Hai Hang No. 5679, after finding more than 500 tonnes of sand aboard during an inspection.

The captain, surnamed Xiao (肖), and nine crew members, were indicted by Kaohsiung’s Ciaotou District (橋頭) Prosecutors’ Office for breaching Article 18 of the act.

Additional reporting by CNA