Teras and BBC JV established … BBC Houston to fly US flag

first_imgSvend Andersen, president and CEO of BBC Chartering, says that under the US flag, BBC Houston sets a milestone in the company’s history and “we are proud to be able to now offer a US flag vessel to our global customers through our US company.” Joe Sanders, president and CEO of Teras Cargo Transport, said: “This latest edition to our fleet will increase our presence in the USA and worldwide, and it will improve our service on every continent.” BBC Houston, a 7,500 dwt multipurpose heavy lift vessel with combined crane capacity of 500 tonnes and a service speed of 16.5 knots, is operated by the new joint venture company Teras BBC Chartering Houston LLC located in Houston. Teras BBC is jointly owned by the US subsidiaries of BBC Chartering and Teras. This new US flag service reinforces the strong commitment of Teras and BBC to the US market.last_img read more

Finnish transformation for Silvasti

first_imgAs well as the loading of the transformer onto a trailer at Kalajoki and its subsequent 500 km transport by road, Silvasti was also responsible for installing the unit at the new substation.Due to the weight and size of the transformer, Silvasti explained that there were a number of challenges en route, including bridges with weight limits. The haulier was also required to drive against the traffic on the motorway, accompanied by police escorts.In addition to travelling through a number of busy towns, the transport combination also has to pass over a major railway line, which involved temporarily cutting the power and removing railway power cables. This required the transport to be timed particularly well in order to coincide with the national rail schedule, said Silvasti.The Finnish company was also tasked with temporarily removing a number of overhead traffic signs and electricity cables en route.In September last year, Silvasti acquired the specialised transport division of Nurminen Logistics – Nurminen Logistics Heavy.Silvasti is a member of the Cargo Equipment Experts (CEE) network in Finland. www.silvasti.comwww.cargoequipmentexperts.comlast_img read more

Grayling asks for quality standard for PCT firms

first_img Read the full interview with Chris Grayling The justice secretary has asked the Law Society and Bar Council to develop a quality standard for firms bidding for criminal legal aid contracts under controversial plans for price-competitive tendering (PCT). In an exclusive interview with the Gazette, Chris Grayling said: ‘I have invited both the Bar Council and the Law Society to work together to provide a quality assessment for me.’ If they are unable to do that, he said a process of peer review will be used. Solicitors and barristers have united in their opposition to the proposed scheme, which they warn is ‘unworkable’ and ‘potentially unlawful’. In a show of solidarity, the Law Society and Bar Council last week issued a statement on four key aspects of the proposals that they jointly oppose. Quality has been a key concern, as the minimum 17.5% fee cut, combined with other proposals including the removal of client choice, has aroused fears that the standard of representation will fall to an unacceptably low level. The profession is staging a demonstration opposite the Palace of Westminster at 10.30am on Wednesday. Later, more than 1,000 solicitors and barristers will leave courts and police stations with emergency cover only to attend an afternoon meeting dubbed ‘Justice for Sale’. The protest will be fronted by Dave Rowntree, drummer with pop band Blur, who is now a solicitor at Kingsley Napley. It will hear from speakers including Gerry Conlon, wrongly imprisoned for 15 years as one of the ‘Guildford Four’. Despite mounting opposition to the plans, Grayling confirmed to the Gazette that in the absence of a ‘stunning alternative’, PCT will go ahead in some form. He dismissed as ‘scare stories’ concerns that companies with Ministry of Justice contracts, such as Serco and G4S, could become legal aid providers and representatives of the same offenders they hold in custody. Serco, G4S and Capita all told the Gazette that they had not applied for a licence to enter the legal services market by becoming an alternative business structure. None said they plan to bid for a criminal contract. Last week Grayling met 30 criminal lawyers to hear their concerns. He will meet representatives of local law societies tonight. Concern over the plans is extending beyond the legal profession. An early day motion signed by 56 MPs ‘deplores’ the plans which ‘will reduce the quality of representation to the lowest standard possible’. The House of Commons Justice Committee has indicated that it is ‘likely’ to hold an inquiry into the proposals once the government’s consultation closes on 4 June. Meanwhile, the Law Society has extended the deadline for responses to a survey on firms’ current financial health and the impact of the proposed fee cuts. The survey, carried out by Otterburn Consulting, will run until 27 May. Take the survey.last_img read more

Design improvements help to keep diesel locos on the road

first_imgINTRO: Many developing railways face problems of locomotive availability; simple design changes to overcome common faults may have significant returns in reduced failures and quicker maintenanceBYLINE: S Gopalan*Advisor, MechanicalIrcon InternationalBYLINE: * Mr S Gopalan was previously Chief Motive Power Engineer for India’s Southern Railway, and spent four years at Takoradi acting as Senior Diesel Loco Consultant to Ghana Railways Corp under a World Bank aided rehabilitation programmeTHE WAVE of concessioning that swept through Latin America in the early 1990s is now moving on to Africa. Several of the former state-owned railways have recently been handed over to private-sector operators, typically for periods of 20 or 30 years. One of the many problem areas that the new operators must tackle is poor locomotive availability, which in some cases has had a near-catastrophic effect on the railways’ ability to handle the traffic on offer.Over the past two decades, a combination of the need for fuel economy and the availability of tied overseas aid has seen the near-universal replacement of steam traction by imported diesel locomotives. Unfortunately, diesels are generally more complex machines than the steam engines they replaced, and various factors have conspired to prevent the railways from maintaining them correctly.Based on the experiences of a four-year World Bank rehabilitation project for Ghana Railways Corp, this article is intended to draw out some statistics about the kind of problems which affect diesel loco operation on an African railway, which may assist manufacturers to adapt their designs to suit the needs of railways in developing countries.The principal factors influencing the efficient operation and maintenance of diesel locos include the availability of spare parts, and the usual high reliance on imported material. It can be difficult to recruit highly-trained maintenance staff, particularly to deal with electrical and electronic control systems, and the maintenance depot facilities are often poor. Extreme weather conditions simply add to the problem.On the road, inadequate driving skills and poor track conditions lead to loco failures, which can be compounded by poor communications. There is also damage from frequent derailments, collisions and loco fires. In nearly all these areas, the overriding problem is the lack of adequate funding for maintenance – or even for efficient railway operation.Table I gives a breakdown of the various types of failures recorded by Ghana Railways’ 42 main line diesel locos over a one-year period. The vast majority of these were caused by problems with the power and control systems, air brakes, cooling circuit, lubrication or fuel supply.Causes of failureThe biggest single cause relates to failures in the low-voltage electrical control systems. Well-trained and skilled manpower is essential for electrical work, as former steam depot staff are generally unable to deal with sophisticated equipment. Ideally, the railway should be recruiting from technical institutes or engineering colleges, but financial or manpower limitations usually preclude this.Importing spare parts is another minefield. Inadequate foreign exchange, complicated import procedures and long lead times are the main problems, but it is not unknown for the manufacturers to supply the wrong parts. Financing and import problems also affect the availability of suitable equipment for the maintenance depots, but even when new machinery is installed it may not be able to tolerate the climate. Extreme humidity and rain cause exposed components to rust, and electrical equipment to fail, both on the locos and in the workshops.GRC’s fleet comprised six types of diesel-electric loco and two classes of diesel-hydraulic shunter, of differing ages. Certain types seem to have performed better than others, with higher availability and lower maintenance and out-of-course repairs.Catalogue of failuresOn an ideal locomotive, sub-assemblies should be easily replaceable without the need for removal of other components. On one GRC class, attention to the injectors usually required removal of the cylinder head. On another class, no crankcase doors were provided for periodic inspection of the connecting rods and big ends.The most reliable power packs were medium-speed two-stroke engines with air blowers rather than turbochargers. Auxiliaries tend to work better when driven directly by a shaft than when coupled through belts or clutches. One loco class had a long transmission shaft and clutch to drive the compressor/exhauster and radiator fan, and these suffered from frequent shaft breakages. Electrically-driven auxiliaries suffered from motor defects because of the prevailing climate. Another cause of frequent failures on the road was fuel starvation. The locos in question had a very long suction pipe from the tank to the fuel pump, with four intermediate joints. Inadequate clamping led to these joints working loose on rough track, leading to the pump drawing in air. A simple redesign enabled the pipe to be shortened and made as a single piece. High-pressure fuel lines mounted above the engine proved prone to leaking, which diluted the engine oil, whilst motor-driven pumps proved better than belt-driven ones.Pneumatic engine governors frequently malfunction as a result of humidity and condensation in the pneumatic lines, and we preferred to use electro-hydraulic governors. Similarly, sensitive microswitches proved difficult to adjust.Cooling circuit problems are not unique to railways in hot countries, but extreme temperatures can aggravate the position. One particularly poor design had a roof-mounted radiator of inadequate capacity and tended to leak oil from the fan gearbox all over the cooling fins. The mounting prevented adequate cleaning from the fan side, meaning that the radiator had to be removed regularly for cleaning. After the manufacturer refused to modify the design, the railway rebuilt several locos with a pair of accessible side-mounted radiators, increasing the cooling area and reducing the maintenance requirement significantly.Locomotive fires have a variety of causes. One GRC class had a hot exhaust pipe passing close to the traction motor cables below the underframe, where they were regularly soaked with leaking oil running down the exhaust pipe. Sparks from the nearby brake blocks were sufficient to ignite the hot oil. After four locos had self-combusted the railway decided to re-route the exhaust pipe well away from the traction motor cables. Another source of fire was fuel leaks from the top of the engine block; these were solved by shifting the exhaust manifold away from the fuel lines.Similarly, problems arose from a loco design which ran the engine exhaust close to the electrical control cubicle. Overheating of the components resulted in premature insulation failure, burnt out resistances and coils, and even electrical fires. It is preferable for the electrical transmission circuit to be relatively simple and foolproof, avoiding the regular problems of transition defects. Speed sensing through an axle generator may be easier than voltage sensing to trigger the transition.Rubber hoses for water and lubrication oil can often burst or leak, particularly where they are subject to vibration or rubbing in inaccessible locations where they cannot be checked regularly. Hot exhaust pipes can also lead to rapid deterioration of rubber hoses. A related problem is loco failures on the line through shortage of fuel, lubricating oil or cooling water. These are often the result of failures in consumable spares such as gaskets, seals or hoses which have not been replaced in time or are of poor quality. Ideally, suppliers should provide certified quality spares and give the railway detailed specifications to allow for subsequent local manufacture.Finally, the running gear also needs to be as simple as possible. A bogie that rides well, with a straightforward suspension able to cope with indifferently maintained track, will reduce collateral damage from derailments; in many cases a Bo-Bo rides better than a Co-Co. When one class began dropping between the rails on a regular basis, the track and mechanical engineers blamed each other. Widening the wheel treads and fitting high-capacity shock absorbers, together with minor improvements to the track, solved the problem.Feedback to aid designAny new locomotive for developing railways should be designed from the outset for easy maintenance and high reliability in the face of the often difficult operating conditions. Generally, a single-cabbed loco is preferable, as any operating disadvantages are more than overcome by the improved reliability that comes from eliminating the duplicate controls, cabling and related electrical equipment. Manufacturers need to engage in a constant dialogue with operators to address the various problems which often come to light after the end of the warranty period. Rather than insisting on a standard design which works well in European or North American conditions, suppliers would do well to encourage feedback from the operators and design a loco to meet the specific needs of a low-technology railway, at a price which reflects their ability to pay.CAPTION: GRC took delivery of eight Class 2601 main-line diesel locos from GEC Alsthom in early 1993; powered by Caterpillar 3606 engines, they are rated at 1700 kWCAPTION: In 1995 GRC acquired three GM-engined 1120 kW Co-Cos of Class 1661 from ABB Henschel, identical to the 10 units of Class 1651 supplied by Thyssen-Henschel in 1978CAPTION: Mainstay of the GRC main line fleet for many years were the 18 Class 1851 Co-Cos of 1850hp supplied by English Electric in 1969; only two of these Ruston-engined units remain in serviceCAPTION: Brush Traction supplied six Rolls-Royce engined Bo-Bos of Class 701 to GRC in 1982; rated at 675hp, they are used for shunting and short-distance trip freightTABLE: Table I. Analysis of main line diesel loco failures in one yearComponents Occur- % of rences failuresPower control system 71 18·6Compressor/Exhauster and airbrakes 68 17·8Cooling circuit 43 11·3Lubrication 27 7·1Traction motors 23 6·0Fuel system 20 5·2Power pack 18 4·7Bogie assembly 18 4·7Turbocharger 17 4·5Traction generators 5 1·3Miscellaneous 61 16·0Crew mismanagement 10 2·6Total 381 100last_img read more

Ourense high speed infrastructure PPP out to tender

first_imgSPAIN: The Ministry of Development has launched tendering for a €65bn PPP to build 344 km of high speed infrastructure between Olmedo on the Madrid – Valladolid route and Ourense. As well as design and construction, the winner will be responsible for contributing to the funding and maintaining the entire 432 km route between Olmedo and Santiago de Compostela.Meeting the President of the Galicia regional government in December, Development Minister José Blanco undertook to have a high speed line from Madrid in service by the end of 2015. Within the region, the Ourense – Santiago – A Coruña corridor is expected to be completed later this year. ADIF is to electrify the routes from A Coruña to Vigo and Ourense under a €155m short-term funding agreement with the Ministry of Development. The 2007-10 contract programme with the government has been extended until June 30 as negotiations for a new agreement continue.last_img read more

Dumfries & Galloway’s Sexual Health Week

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedIn23rd January – 29th January 2017“Let’s Talk about Sex: The best start in life”There is a clear link between a mother’s health before pregnancy and her baby’s health. We know that healthy women and men are more likely to have healthy babies who grow into healthy children . Therefore, thinking about, and improving, your health before conception increases your chances of a safe pregnancy, a thriving baby and a rewarding parenthood.What is preconception health?Preconception health is about preparing well for pregnancy, whether for your first pregnancy or your next pregnancy. What you do, or neglect to do, before the pregnancy test says ‘yes’ really matters. The choices you make and the actions you take can make a big difference to you and your baby. That is true even if you have not paid much attention to when would be the right time for you to become a mother. However, preconception health is not just for women, it is important for men too. There are steps that future fathers could and should take before creating a baby, for his own health and for the health of his partner and their baby.Why promote preconception health?Many things that are risky for your baby’s health, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs (prescribed or not), being overweight, being very stressed and some medical conditions, can all make an impact before you even know you are pregnancy. That is why planning and preparing for pregnancy are so important.However, not all the negative possibilities of pregnancy are inevitable. Many miscarriages, stillbirths, too early or too small babies, birth defects and other problems can be prevented and the odds of a good outcome can be improved. But good outcomes should not be left to luck alone. Doing what you can, and getting help if required, to become as health and ready as possible is hugely beneficial for yourself, your partner and your baby.And help is available for you in Dumfries and Galloway. Your GP practice, Sexual Health clinic and other health and social care professionals are available to support you to consider your health before pregnancy.Traditionally, health promotion for pregnancy begins in the antenatal period, most often from first contact with Maternity Services at around 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. And unfortunately it is not uncommon for women and men to continue negative health behaviours such as smoking and drinking alcohol through this important stage of early foetal development. Getting ready for pregnancy is as important as getting medical attention once you know you are pregnant.Who promotes preconception health?Improving the general health of the whole population through increasing knowledge and understanding of healthy lifestyles is an underlying philosophy of all health, education and social services . And preconception health messages can easily be included with other general healthy lifestyle messages.That’s why DG Health and Wellbeing, along with partner organisations, have developed a Preconception Health Toolkit to help staff across all agencies to raise preconception health with their service users.The Toolkit will be launched as part of the annual Sexual Health Week activities on Friday 27th January 2017 at the Garroch Training Centre near Dumfries to an audience of partner organisations including NHS, Social Work, Education and third sector. Key note speaker Dr Jonathan Sher, an Independent Consultant and respected author of numerous published reports and blogs on Preconception and Interconception Health, will attend, offer an address and interact with the audience .Laura Gibson, Health and Wellbeing Specialist with DG Health and Wellbeing, says “By raising awareness of preconception health we can help give our children the best start in life. All services that have contact with women and men of reproductive age can make a significant impact on optimising preconception health by promoting health and wellbeing and supporting men and women to make healthy lifestyle choices”.The Preconception Health Toolkit will be available electronically to NHS, local authority, private and third sector partners. Please contact Laura Gibson lauragibson1@nhs.net for further information.last_img read more

Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter pleads guilty

first_imgA 28-year-old former National Guard member and resident of Alaska has agreed to plead guilty to the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting.Esteban Santiago, who is deemed mentally troubled, agreed to plead guilty to a Florida airport shooting rampage that killed five people in exchange for a life prison sentence.He also pled guilty to 11 of the 22 counts against him in the attack that also left six wounded. Prosecutors reached a deal with Santiago’s defense lawyers not to seek the death penalty in exchange for the guilty plea. Instead, Santiago would serve a life prison sentence plus 120 years, according to the documents, and will waive his right to appeal the sentence.last_img read more

Protests erupt in Kinshasa as Kabila’s mandate expires

first_imgDR Congo’s President Kabila’s second term in office  has officially expired.Protests erupted in several neighborhoods in the capital Kinshasa late on Monday. Demonstrators used branded red cards to demand President Joseph Kabila steps down. The same scenes played out among the Congolese community in Belgium. Where demonstrators clashed with police at the DRC embassy in Brussels. Opposition activists say Kabila is trying to cling to power by letting his term run out without an election in place to choose a successor. But the government is adamant that the ballot must be delayed until April 2018 due to logistical and financial problems.Talks between government and the opposition which are mediated by the Catholic church failed to reach a compromise.last_img read more

Major Search Launched After Alleged Body Reported Floating In River Nith

first_imgRiver Nith at Kingholm Quay AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInA large scale search involving several emergency services is currently underway on the River Nith, Dumfries after a report of a body floating downstream was received.A Police spokesperson has stated that “The area around Kingholm Quay is currently very busy with emergency services involved with the search and motorists are asked to avoid this area if possible.”last_img read more

Dominica to host historic CANTA meeting

first_img 36 Views   no discussions EducationLocalNewsSecondary Dominica to host historic CANTA meeting by: – December 10, 2013 Sharing is caring! Tweet Sharecenter_img Share Share The Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA), for the first time since its inception in 2003, will hold its general meeting in Dominica.The meeting, hosted by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development at the Fort Young Hotel on December 12 and 13, 2013, will bring to Dominica some of the Caribbean’s leading minds in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). In attendance will be champions of TVET from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts/Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Examinations Council and representatives of the Canadian funded project, CARICOM – Education for Employment (C-EFE).CANTA is an association of national training agencies and other TVET apex bodies in CARICOM states established in 2003. The founding members are Barbados TVET Council, Jamaica Heart Trust National Training Agency and Trinidad and Tobago National Training Agency. CANTA is endorsed as the implementation arm of the CARICOM Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) for TVET.CANTA’s two major goals are (1) to promote the development of a competitive regional workforce, and (2) to facilitate free movement of certified skilled workers within the CSME. Its leading objectives are to;• Ensure uniform provision of competency based training, assessment and certification• Establish a regional certification scheme – Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ)• Promote career and vocational guidance throughout the CSME 

• Support a regional labour market information system• Promote lifelong learning and the image and status of TVET in the region.The Minister for Education and Human Resource Development is exceptionally elated that this historic meeting is taking place in Dominica at this time. Minister Saint. Jean sees the meeting as timely because of his ministry’s current pursuit to deliver CVQ’s at its secondary schools. Currently, CVQ’s are being piloted in three secondary schools in Dominica – Dominica Grammar School, Goodwill Secondary School and North Eastern Comprehensive School. The Minister will host a special cocktail to officially welcome the CANTA delegates and allow them to sample our cuisine and culture on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at the Fort Young Hotel.Chairman of the Dominica TVET Council, Eddison Henry, sees the meeting as an opportunity to promote and market the value of TVET to the citizens of Dominica as a transformative foundation on which Dominica’s workforce and economy can confidently sustain its competitiveness in this dynamic new global era.last_img read more