Seacurus Bulletin 10/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has defended the speed of action at the IMO and voiced its support for the IMO 2014 theme "IMO conventions: Effective Implementation". The association branded allegations that the IMO is too slow as "unfounded and rather unfair" in its annual review. The chamber also looked ahead to a critical date for the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 20 August 2014, at which time full port state control can be applied to ships by nations party to MLC, regardless of where the ship is registered or whether that nation has ratified MLC. ICS called for balance and pragmatism in MLC matters.
Civil Protection Department personnel were called to the Palumbo Shipyards, when the deck of the vessel Cape Tavor – berthed at the Palumbo Shipyards – was said to have caught on fire. The Cape Tavor is a Liberian-registered, bulk carrier tanker. Five fire engines were called in to put out the fire. No injuries were reported. However, sources said a firefighter was slightly injured and was assisted by paramedics on site. The man was later transferred to Mater Dei Hospital suffering from back pain.
NYK achieved an 18.1 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, significantly exceeding the goal established in 2008 in the company’s "New Horizon 2010" medium-term management plan calling for a 10 percent reduction by fiscal 2013 in the CO2 emission rate per unit of transportation from vessels compared with the rate recorded in 2006, the shipping company said in a press release. NYK has worked “to contribute to the global environment and the creation of sustainable societies by managing environmental risks and arriving at an optimal balance between environment and economy,” as indicated in the company’s environmental management vision.
For the second time in less than a month Mamdouh Maritime Legal Solutions (MMLS) arrested the Tugboat "Sea Lady" registered under the Egyptian Flag, owned by Ships & Boats Oil Services. MMLS proceeded to arrest under an Order (Sea Lady 29 for 2014), issued by Red Sea Court High Judge Motaz Al Zohairi. Court Secretary Mr. Hossam Mokhtar accompanied MMLS Executive Director, Said Mamdouh, to process the arrest at the Zeitco Oil Marina in Gabal el Zeit. Legal action was initiated due to what appears to be a developing trend of unpaid maritime debts owed to by Ships & Boats Oil Services, claims now total $646,000 (USD).
China has accused Vietnam of deliberately ramming its ships more than 1,400 times in a disputed area of the South China Sea. The latest tensions began after China set up an oil drilling site in the area. A statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry said that Vietnam had sent dozens of ships into the disputed territory in an illegal operation carried out on Saturday."As of 5 pm on 7 June, there were as many as 63 Vietnamese vessels in the area at the peak, attempting to break through China’s cordon and ramming the Chinese government ships for a total of 1,416 times," the statement said.
A diver was killed near Marina South pier on Wednesday (Jun 4) after the propeller of a container ship turned on and sucked him in. According to the press, it was reported that Mr Kwok Khee Khoon, 37, was cleaning the bottom of the container ship with two colleagues when the accident happened. A report in The Straits Times mentioned that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), when responding to queries yesterday, said Mr Kwok was underwater taking photographs of welding work done on a vessel “when he was sucked into a space in the hull of the vessel”.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
A Liberia-flagged oil tanker remains missing since last Wednesday off the coast of Ghana, after the vessel sent a distress call to say that it was hijacked by pirates, reports said. The 12,800-dwt Fair Artemis, built in 2008, last made contact with its manager Fairdeal Group at 1800 hours GMT on last Wednesday, it was reported.
A Ghanaian military spokesman said that the vessel is no longer in Ghana waters. “It’s gone off and they suspect it’s moving towards Togo,” the spokesman told AFP. “(The navy) is trying to get confirmation from the Togolese if they have identified any vessels in the waters.” There are 24 crew on board and a cargo of fuel oil.
An expert in Maritime Laws and Security says the oil tanker hijack off the coast of Ghana should alert the nation’s maritime authorities to increase security in Ghana’s territorial waters to stop piracy. The incident represents a threat to Ghana’s offshore energy industries and a major indication that the Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming minimal. Dr.Kamal Deen Ali said, “We need to be worried because this represents another major indication that the Maritime security environment in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming minimal and a threat even in regions or coastal areas where originally we have not had many pirating incidents”. http://goo.gl/qJdfuQ
Ghana has been considered a relative calm oasis in a troubled sea of piracy – so the latest hijacking would be particularly notable because the country’s waters have been relatively safe compared with those of its neighbours. The anchorages of Lagos, Nigeria, Cotonou, Benin, Lome, Togo, and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire have all witnessed multiple tanker hijackings since 2010, while Ghana has seen only a handful of minor robberies at sea. Striking off Accra thus conforms to the pattern of the hijack gangs who have sought to shift their attacks to anchorages where they are not expected and where defenses are lowered.
The Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) organisation has joined with others in a momentary celebration of the release of the crew of the Albedo. However, they will not be distracted by this success – and have a ‘Zero, Zero’ goal. The group reported that, “While we are encouraged by their release, we must stay engaged in the work to release the approximately 38 seafarers who are still held in pirate custody”. Adding, “until there are zero hostages and zero ships held by pirates, the human cost is too high.”
As 11 hostages are released by Somali pirates, nearly 40 others are still held captive. A new report shows that many have simply been abandoned by their companies who can’t pay ransom. This means there are seafarers held captive with no real hope or mechanism for release, and for some it is hard to see how they can be successfully freed as the pirates become increasingly belligerent towards these situations. The report highlights the need to somehow break this impasse, to find a mechanism which can see a solution for all – one which frees the captives, but which sees the pirates feel they have gained in the process. A difficult balancing act.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay welcomed the release today of 11 crew members of the ship MV Albedo, held hostage since November 2010, and called for all remaining captives still being held by Somali pirates to be released. “For over three years the crew members and their families have suffered unimaginable distress. The crew underwent the trauma of piracy, their ship sinking and then being held ashore in very difficult conditions. I commend the efforts of UNODC colleagues and the local authorities, who facilitated their safe return today."
Despite the U.S.A pushing India to play the role of a leader in Indian Ocean region, the nation is seemingly reluctant to project its power. The Observer Research Foundation believes that instead of taking the lead, India wants to take all nations along and going together has more gains. The group claims that maritime security was key to ensure smooth trade. However, it was stressed that with pirates becoming tech-savvy, countries faced greater challenges in keeping them at bay. In some Indian Ocean countries, the economic zones are located so far away that it was difficult for administrators to keep a watch – and pirates exploit this scenario.
Chief executives of the three organisations in the Gulf of Guinea have signed an agreement establishing a centre to coordinate their safety and security responses to challenges at sea. The gulf is an area with a 6,000 kilometre long coastline between Angola in the East and Senegal in the West that has recently witnessed an upsurge in piracy and other forms of transnational crime. An Inter-regional Coordination Centre for the Implementation of Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa (ICC) has been developed to deal with the issues of criminality at sea, safety, security, development and governance. http://goo.gl/FXD1VE
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