Seacurus Bulletin 12/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
Terrified crewmen aboard Japanese coal carrier "Sage Sagittarius" allege a spate of fatalities in Australian waters were not tragic accidents, but may have been designed to silence accusations of cruelty. The revelations come as a Coroner considers an inquest. Ship owner Hachiuma Steamship does not believe the deaths are suspicious. Chief cook Cesar Llanto, 42, vanished in a suspected "man overboard" incident off the coast of Cairns. Two weeks later chief engineer Hector Collado, 57, fell to his death. Then safety superintendent Kosaku Monji , 37, was crushed to death by conveyor belt machinery as Sagittarius unloaded at a Japanese port.
The Courts ordered two ships by shipping companies registered in Panama to pay substantial sums to local companies, a bank and seafarers. One ship was ordered to pay €617,279 to a bank and four local oil suppliers, whilst another had to pay €43,152 to 22 seafarers. The first case was brought before the Courts by Dr Ann Fenech, representing Macquire Bank Limited, Salvo Grima & Sons Limited, San Lucian Oil Company Limited, Island Bunker Oils Limited and Cassar Petroleum Services Limited against the Ship “A Ladybug”. The bank asked to be paid €70,362 for unpaid work done by 12 seamen aboard the vessel, which the bank had forked out.
The Day of the Seafarer is celebrated every year on June 25 to honor the 1.5 million seafarers working around the globe. In his 2014 message, IMO Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu, expresses his support and appreciation for their hard work and calls on the international community to show support by completing the sentence “Seafarers brought me…” and sharing it on social media using the hashtag #ThankYouSeafarers. The IMO wants to hear messages of support for seafarers – and of the ways in which they fuel so much of modern life and society.
According to broking reports, during the month of May, most ship owners proved to be rather timid when it comes to moving forward with new deals in either the newbuilding market, or the market for second hand vessels. According to the latest monthly report from shipbroker Intermodal, in total there were 135 deals done in the secondhand market and an additional 120 ships ordered in the newbuilding market. Still, these numbers represent a sharp retreat, in some cases, compared to previous months. According to Intermodal, in the secondhand market, “the softer sentiment continues to hold throughout the secondhand market".
Seafarers Rights International (SRI) has hosted the latest in a series of initiatives to educate maritime law graduates and post graduates, and practising lawyers, on priorities and challenges around promoting and advancing the legal rights of seafarers. The seminar was attended by around 70 graduates and lawyers, and it presented a programme discussing the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), and industry perspectives on the future challenges for seafarers’ rights. SRI’s Deirdre Fitzpatrick said: “Knowledge of the law is crucial if seafarers are to be adequately protected".
Sexy is Back
According to BIMCO, Posidonia 2014 proved beyond doubt that shipping is sexy again. That is to say, that prospects are good, perhaps very good, or soon will be for earnings, risks are retreating and new opportunities blossoming like an Athens Bougainvillea. Which is to say, in fact, that rates are good in some sectors, poor in others and under water in others. Massive oversupply – of tonnage and yard capacity – threatens to tip a fragile recovery back into downturn. Owners continue to exhibit a herd-like ordering mentality and who can blame them with so many money men offering so much cheap finance (spurred on by continued QE). http://goo.gl/5c48GQ
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
While praise has been given to negotiators for freeing the Albedo crew – it was actually a case of making a run for it. Now safe, the sailors have described their dramatic midnight escape after four years held hostage and tortured by a gang of Somali pirates. Barefoot, starving and terrified, the 11 men ran through the darkness for more than 10 kilometres, ducking behind low bushes to avoid recapture before they eventually reached safety. Desperate to avoid more torture, the men broke a window in the cramped room in which they were being held, and fled. It was their last slim shot at freedom, and thankfully it paid off.
Hosted in Bahrain by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), NATO and EUNAVFOR, the SHADE counter piracy conference has met once more. SHADE brings together countries that have a shipping interest in the Gulf of Aden, off the Horn of Africa and in the western Indian Ocean. In all, 140 delegates from 32 nations attended representing law enforcement agencies, the shipping industry, other government departments, the military and the fishing industry. Delegates were given briefings on the shipping industry, piracy trends by CMF and on the fisheries off Somalia. The view was that piracy has been suppressed but not eliminated.
A suspected convergence between terrorism and piracy would threaten ransom payments for seafarers, experts confirm. “For many countries, it is illegal to pay ransoms if they will fund terrorism. For example, in some countries, if there was a definite connection between piracy and terrorism in Somalia, then it would become illegal to pay ransoms to free ships and crews from Somali pirates,” Commander Hallvard Flesland of the NATO Shipping Centre said. So far, a link between maritime crimes/piracy and terrorism is not considered proven fact but a strongly held assumption by experts.
The US Government Accountibility Office (GAO) has issued a report regarding maritime critical infrastructure protection and the need for better port cybersecurity. Actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and two of its component agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as other federal agencies, to address cybersecurity in the maritime port environment have been limited. Under a program to provide security-related grants to ports, FEMA identified enhancing cybersecurity capabilities as a funding priority and has provided guidance for cybersecurity-related proposals. http://goo.gl/wjtpqW
Togo officially produces cash crops and handicrafts for export. But nationals from several foreign countries converge there to buy crude oil in the largest open black market of its kind anywhere. In fact crude stolen from terminals and pipelines in Nigeria finds its way to the Togo. Togo does not produce oil. It has no oil deposit under land or water. Togo, however, has built a man-made oil city, an offshore floating market on the sea called the "Togo Triangle". Rogue ships and rogue international businessmen travel thousands of nautical miles to Togo to buy crude oil stolen from Nigeria in the largest black market for crude oil.
ASEAN on IOR
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has, throughout history, been a theatre of intense endeavour, enterprise, competition and friction. The IOR has long been a pivot in global power equations, whose domination or control has facilitated prosperity, and even mastery, of the greater global commons. With the fast growing economies of India and China vying for their share of this resource rich ocean, their global hunt for energy and the ever growing importance of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) via the volatile Strait of Hormuz and narrow Strait of Malacca have made this ocean the global cockpit of great power rivalries.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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