Seacurus Bulletin 02/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
Posidonia 2014 is set to be officially be opened by Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras 2 June at the Athens Metropolitan Expo, but by then the Posidonia event will already have been in full swing for at least a week as thousands of shipping people have descended on Athens for days and many will stay on after the exhibition closes 6 June. “We are happy to announce that this year’s Posidonia will be the greatest ever and we will try our best to optimise the experience for our exhibitors and visitors and make it as rewarding and as pleasant as possible,” said Theodore Vokos, executive director, Posidonia Exhibitions.
Fitter and Healthier
The UK P&I Club’s Pre-Employment Medical Examination Programme, a leading scheme for assessing the fitness of prospective seafarers, has just completed its 300,000th examination. For the past 18 years, the PEME Programme has provided crewmembers with a first rate health check before going to sea while protecting ship owners from claims arising from medical conditions existing prior to employment. Sophia Grant, head of the PEME programme for the UK Club, explained: “Ensuring that crews are fit and healthy is important to all owners and managers". The checks reduce the risk of crews becoming ill while serving onboard.
BV on MLC
Philippe Donche-Gay, Executive Vice President and Head of the Marine & Offshore Division of Bureau Veritas, recently discussed some of the fundamental challenges classification societies face in this second decade of the 21st century. The implementation of MLC was a big job. Bureau Veritas trained and deployed 264 MLC inspectors globally. In the end, over 6,000 MLC certifications were issued, peaking at 1,600 during the month of August when implementation was due. No ship was delayed, and cooperation with flag states was excellent. "We think it is working better than we expected", he said.
Prosecutors investigating a list of 2,602 Greeks with 1.5 billion euros ($1.95 billion) in secret Swiss bank accounts have reportedly found that 90 percent of them are tax cheats. The ongoing probe by financial prosecutors, Panagiotis Athanasiou and Galinos Mpris in cooperation with the Deputy Prosecutor Giannis Dragatsis, has uncovered another 80 cases of alleged cheats who owe 39.892 million euros. They are on the so-called Lagarde List, the investigation is proceeding investigating the bank accounts of major businessmen, publishers, ship-owners and industrialists along with their relatives.
The Republic of Panama’s proposal to implement four Traffic Separation Schemes for commercial vessels entering and exiting the Panama Canal and ports was approved unanimously by the International Maritime Organization in London. The new shipping lanes are positioned to minimize overlap between shipping routes and humpback whale migration routes and reduce vessel speed four months a year at the peak of the whale overwintering season. The Panama Maritime Authority took the lead based on scientific results and the impact on conservation, and the effects should be positive for all parties.
Divers are searching for the captain of an oil tanker that exploded and sank off the Japanese coast. The coastguard has deployed six patrol ships, as well as several planes, to the area where the nearly 1,000-tonne tanker, Shoko-maru, went down around 10 hours after it erupted in a fireball on Thursday. Seven of the eight Japanese crew were rescued, including one who remained unconscious with severe burns covering his entire body, but the vessel’s 64-year-old captain is still missing. The fire was likely sparked as a crew member used a grinder to remove rust on the ship, Transport Minister Akihiro Ota told a press conference on Friday.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
A Thai tanker that went missing after leaving Singapore last week has been released by pirates who stole its oil cargo, a maritime watchdog said Monday. The IMB said it has been informed by the ship’s owner that "Mt Orapin 4" has been released and safely arrived at Sri Racha Port in Thailand on Sunday. The ship’s owner lost contact with the vessel and its 14 crew members after it left Singapore. The ship was due at the Indonesian port of Pontianak two days later but failed to arrive. "Pirates hijacked and stole the tanker’s oil cargo onboard and destroyed the communication equipment. The crew and vessel are safe," said the IMB.
The Nautilus Institue for Security and Sustainability, has stated five key factors are shaping piracy in south-east Asia: "over-fishing, lax maritime regulations, the existence of organised crime syndicates, the presence of radical politically motivated groups in the region, and widespread poverty." The Nautilus report also identified the high number of recent attacks in the busy Strait of Malacca, and, to a lesser extent, the Singapore Strait, as a matter of concern. In 2013, pirates hijacked two tankers and took 27 crew hostage before stealing property and cargo, according to the PRC.
All too often pirates are able to attack vessels without being seen, but a new kind of intelligent radar might put an end to that. The system, called WatchStander, uses radar mounted on either side of a ship to scan the surrounding water for small objects that look like they are moving to intercept. It can automatically sound an alarm and dispense countermeasures to deter the approaching vessels. The system is meant to tackle one of the biggest issues with preventing piracy at sea: spotting them coming. Large ships’ radar systems are designed to pick up large objects that are collision risks and to filter out waves. This means they often miss skiffs.
More than 150 representatives of law enforcement, justice, the financial intelligence sector and the private sector from 20 piracy affected countries have met to jointly express continued support for suppressing all forms of maritime crime. The high level gathering was hosted by the EU, under the auspices of its Critical Maritime Routes Programme in Brussels. The meeting identified priorities for the EU and international bodies to better promote maritime governance and security and enforce links between law enforcement and financial intelligence services. Piracy remains a key global challenge, with the EU at the forefront of efforts to combat it.
More than 20 Indian fishermen have asked to go home after a dhow captain was shot dead by pirates off the coast of Bahrain. The Indian Embassy yesterday met 38 sailors, 23 of whom are seeking to leave the country following the murder of Thomas Glattus Soosai last month. Among them are five fishermen who were on board the Bahraini dhow Mesouth when Mr Soosai was killed by masked men on May 22, while a sixth crew member has already accompanied Mr Soosai’s body back to India. The fishermen met with Indian Ambassador Dr Mohan Kumar in his office to highlight their plight.
Daily news feed provide by Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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