Seacurus Bulletin 23/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
Nova Tankers, which until recently has operated up to 50 very large crude carriers (VLCC), will close down its business at end of June, the company said in a statement. The vessel sharing pool was originally led by Maersk Tankers, a unit in Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, in partnership with Phoenix Tankers, controlled by Japanese Mitsui OSK Lines, and Singaporean Samco Shipholding and Ocean Tankers. "Following the development of the participating partners’ fleets in the Nova Tankers Pool, the partners have agreed for Nova Tankers to cease to do business as of June 30," the pool operator said on its website.
Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has launched a maritime emergency fund which aims to provide fast and modest cash grants to seafarers in difficulties. The dedicated fund is designed to respond to emergency financial or welfare requests from seafarers or their families in less than 24 hours, stemming the immediate pressure. AoS Great Britain national director Martin Foley said: “Most seafarers and fishermen enjoy good living and working conditions but there can be circumstances when crew are not paid, cannot access communications to speak to family and loved ones and even lack food, water and heating."
Waiting until the horse has bolted seems to be the approach taken by shipping to improvements. Indeed disasters drive Key safety improvements and future safety policies. The history of marine safety is soaked in water and written in blood. “There is no other way around it,” says Robert Frump, author of “until the Sea Shall Set Them Free,” and Pulitzer Prize nominee, “Changes occur only when there is a meaningful disaster.” “I think that most people will tell you that changes in marine safety are almost exclusively disaster-driven,” agrees Dr. Josh Smith, a professor at Kings Point and interim director of the American Merchant Marine Museum.
The shipping industry uses Internet access to navigate the waters of the world, but that’s hardly the only benefit of connectivity. There is a fleet of almost 55,000 ships navigating the world’s oceans to bring 9 billion tons of cargo—from crude oil to coffee—from one place to another, according to the International Maritime Organization. A new study claims there are hundreds of thousands of seafarers, more than half of them age 19 years or younger, keep things moving in an industry estimated to be worth $2 trillion between 2005 and 2009. In sum: A lot of teenagers on a lot of large ships carrying a lot of goods worth a lot of money.
Another senior executive at state-run Vinalines is facing charges of graft. Vu Khac Tu, a deputy director general at the firm, was detained yesterday, charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from a subsdiary. He was accused of being involved in theft which took place at Quang Ninh Port Company between 2011 and 2012 during his tenure as general director. Dinh Ngoc Uyen, a 61-year-old former deputy director of the port company, was arrested on June 6 for directing his subordinates to forge documents to appropriate the money. A cashier and a chief accountant were also arrested.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
Insurance and P&I service provider Skuld has warned of a disagreement between the Nigerian army and the Nigerian marine police over the placing of armed guards on board vessels. The Nigerian army has started to detain/arrest vessels with armed guards on board even if they have been provided by the Nigerian marine police. The Nigerian army considers that it has jurisdiction over the territorial sea and EEZ (exclusive economic zone), Skuld said. It is not allowing armed guards on board vessels, even from the Nigerian marine police, whereas the Nigerian army is only providing patrol boats/escorts.
The United States has issued its new "Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan". The plan affirms the U.S. commitment to repress piracy and related maritime crimes, strengthen regional governance and rule of law for the safety and security of mariners, preserve freedom of the seas, and promote free flow of commerce through lawful economic activity. The Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan focuses on three core areas: prevention of attacks, response to acts of maritime crime, and enhancing maritime security and governance; and provides specific frameworks for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea.
South-east Asia’s pirates are back in the headlines. According to experts, the efforts to contain piracy in the region are hampered by legal impediments. While terror risks have to be taken seriously, equally if not more pertinent are worrying factors on the ground, such as the legal impediments for fully effective Malacca Strait sea and air patrols. The law on the sea, coupled with the reluctance of the littoral states to allow foreign patrols, has made the prevention efforts very difficult. The lack of reliable military equipment, especially in Indonesia, did not help either.
The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has pledged to work hard to ensure that the country does not experience piracy, which is gradually becoming pervasive along the West African coast. Acting General Manager of Business Development at the GPHA, Mrs Alice Torkornoo, gave the assurance that the authority had the capacity to deal with the situation. Among other things, she said the authority had installed an Automatic Identification System (AIS), which could help to monitor the movement of vessels along the coast. Mrs Torkornoo said adequate security had been put in place, while the Ghana Navy was also on regular patrols.
European shipowners are calling for the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers to endorse a joint European Commission/European External Action Service (EC/EEAS) Communication, which outlines global actions to safeguard maritime security. “We commend the European Commission as well as the European External Action Service for taking into account the specificities of the shipping industry in this first-of-its-kind holistic strategy paper on maritime security” said Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary-General. Adding, "In the fight against Somali piracy, the EU has provided invaluable assistance…the situation remains easily reversible."
Nigeria has made a pledge of $150,000 to two different funds created by the global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organization (IMO). A breakdown of the money pledged by Nigeria indicates that $100,000 is meant for the Maritime Security Trust Fund (MSTF), while $50,000 is for the IMO’s Technical Co-operation Fund (TCF). The MSTF was set up by the United Nations (UN) specialized agency to assist countries in the West Africa and Central Africa Sub-regions in the fight against piracy and illicit maritime activities in the oil and gas rich Gulf of Guinea. The fund helps member nations meet technical requirements.
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