Seacurus Bulletin 24/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
June 25 marks the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Day of the Seafarer, an annual opportunity for the public to remember that seafarers deliver more than 90% of the goods in the supermarket and say thanks for the safe delivery of the freight which keeps the wheels of society turning by transporting food and all manner of products internationally. Now Nautilus International, the union of maritime professionals, is calling on the industry to back a campaign to create decent working and living conditions for all seafarers on this special day by supporting its ‘Fair Transport Mark’ campaign.
A group of Chinese shipowners which operate container services on Japan routes has jointly sent a letter to Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE) to complain about the C3 alliance. C3 alliance has been established by three state-owned shipping companies Cosco, China Shipping and Sinotrans in May to jointly operate container services on Japan routes. The three companies have each added 1000teu capacity at Shanghai, Qingdao and Dalian. The shipowners said the market imbalance has been worsened since the establishment of the alliance which has occupied 39% , 50%, 47% ,26% market share at Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao and Shanghai.
ITF inspectors and dockers’ and seafarers’ union members have begun an East Asian maritime action week in ports in Japan, Korea, Russia and Taiwan. The event runs from 23 to 27 June. During the event joint inspection teams will check and enforce decent pay and working conditions onboard vessels. In Japan a rally will also be held at the premises of the Kotoku Kaiun company, which refuses to talk with union representatives. ITF is likely to call at Keelung and Kaohsiung when the delegation comes to Taiwan.
Safety experts are stressing the importance of the seemingly mundane, yet vital task of pilot ladder care. Every year pilots are injured and even killed while boarding and disembarking vessels. Such events are not only traumatic, but also come with the consequence of legal liabilities to the vessel. Ensuring that vessels can be accessed safely is a key loss prevention issue. Pilots come aboard ships to ensure the safe arrival and departure of vessels from ports about which they possess particular local knowledge. Pilots usually board and disembark the vessel via a traditional rope ladder due to the lack of other alternatives.
Further to reports last week, the Greek coast guard and police working with the US Drugs Enforcement Agency have discovered around two tonnes of heroin hidden in warehouses and private homes with a street value of over EUR400m ($543m). The drugs were smuggled into Greece from Afghanistan, Iran and by sea, with two of the 22 people arrested by 21 June described as shipowners. A 40-year-old Greek businessman said to be operating gas carriers out of Dubai, his former wife, five Turkish nationals and an Albanian national were remanded in custody in relation to the seizure of the largest find of heroin ever made in Greece.
All of the containers unloaded so far from the "Hanjin Athens" have been checked and pose no environmental or health risks, while clearance is pending for the unloading of those containers classed as potentially dangerous, authorities reported. The Hanjin Athens, a 6,6278 gross tonnage container ship, caught fire while south of the Suez Canal on May 6. The fire was in the second hold and caused substantial damage to the cargo in that hold. The flames were put out on board. The ship, currently anchored outside the port of Limassol since early June, has since been allowed to dock on three occasions, unloading some 1400 containers.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
A barge being towed by the 2004-built tug, Manyplus 12, which went missing on 13 June between Sibu and Port Klang in Malaysia has been found with the 11 crew from the tug. Reports by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) indicate that the vessel was due to arrive at Port Klang on 13 June, but lost contact 61.37 nm west of Tanjung Datu, Borneo, on 9 June. Authorities speculate that this may be a case of a “phantom ship”, a piracy method common Southeast Asia, in which vessels are hijacked, repainted and resold or traded under a different moniker.
Call for Action
The International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots stresses the June 24 Indian Court hearing for 35 detained crew members of the Seamen Guard Ohio protection patrol boat should serve as a call for action by the IMO to set standards for security ships escorting commercial vessels through pirate-infested waters. “Piracy is a continuing threat to world mariners,” stresses Captain James Staples, MM&P’s Senior Advisor. He is amongst the world’s foremost anti-piracy and ship security training experts. “Multi-national naval flotillas cannot protect every vessel sailing the African-Atlantic, Asian-Pacific and Indian Oceans.”
Nowhere has as many pirate attacks as Southeast Asia. The region’s growing global economic clout increases the likelihood that shipping lanes already carrying one-third of the world’s trade will be ever more threatened. Governments have modernised and strengthened defence forces and improved cooperation, but the dozens of attempted and successful boardings of vessels each year underscore the need for even more stringent measures. Capturing and apprehending oceanic outlaws is only part of the solution, though; longer term, poor coastal communities have to be deterred from turning to piracy in the first place.
The Royal Navy’s first ever remotely-piloted air system has taken flight. Just 7 months after the British Ministry of Defense ordered the system from Boeing Defense UK, the ScanEagle has taken flight from HMS Somerset in the Gulf. The system, which can be launched by a pneumatic catapult from Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, is unarmed and uses for real-time intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance only. Commander Mike Smith, commanding officer of HMS Somerset said: “ScanEagle provides us with a game-changing, persistent surveillance and reconnaissance capability, supplementing our Lynx aircraft.
A number of Lords have been criticising the defence cuts which have seemingly left the Royal Navy underfunded and underequipped. In response, a Ministry of Defence spokesman commented: "Tough decisions had to be taken to deal with the budget deficit left in defence but the UK remains the biggest defence economy in Europe and the second largest in Nato that spends above the target of 2% of GDP on defence. "The Royal Navy’s ability to project power and influence around the globe is evident…while taking part in operations in counter-piracy, counter-narcotics and safeguarding chemical weapons being removed form Syria. http://goo.gl/TMgvOK
Since May 5, the six-member crew of a US marine salvage boat has been jailed in Honduras, accused of smuggling arms into that Central American country. They have insisted they had a handful of guns on board only for protection against piracy in international waters. A number of American lawmakers have been working to free the men. It was unclear exactly when the crew would be released, the congressman said, but "all signs are good". Aqua Quest International typically salvages precious cargo from shipwrecks. This time, its job was to recover valuable mahogany logs from a river bed in cooperation with the rural Honduran town of Ahuas.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
Registered in England No. 5201529
Telephone: +44 191 4690859
Facsimile: +44 191 4067577
Registered Office: Suite 3, Level 3,
Baltic Place West, Baltic Place,
South Shore Road,
This message, and any associated files, are intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it was addresses and may contain information that is confidential, subject to copyright or constitutes a trade secret. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any dissemination, copying or distribution of this message, or files associated with this message, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately.