Seacurus Bulletin 25/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
Today sees the fourth ever Day of the Seafarer. The day, now recognised by the United Nations, was created by the International Maritime Organisation to increase awareness among the general public of the indispensable services over a million seafarers bring to the world, and to make the lives of those at sea better, safer and more secure. In recognition Maritime CEO has been in touch with four seafarers working for Univan Ship Management, two of whom hail from the Philippines. The seafarers called for greater internet connectivity onboard all ships, more recreation options such as a gym and welfare assistance and support.
The 16 crew members of Maharishi Devatreya cargo ship will return home soon, an official at Varun Shipping said. Yudhishthir Khatau, Chairman and Managing Director of Varun Shipping Company Limited, claims the "Maharshi Devatreya" is expected to enter the Dubai World Drydocks in mid-July. It had previously been reported that 16 Indian crew members are trapped aboard their empty cargo ship that has been anchored in Rashid Port’s anchorage for almost a year. The captain of the ship, Aninda Sengupta, said that they had been promised that the ship would enter the drydocks in December 2013.
As part of celebrations for the Day of the Seafarer 2014 the Singapore authorities gave a $80,000 grant to seafarer charities to support their welfare activities in one of the world’s busiest ports. Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) assistant chief executive (operations), M Segar, presented a cheque to The Missions to Seafarers, and the grant will be distributed to the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission, the Danish Seamen’s Church, and the International Lutheran Seafarers’ Mission. “The annual grant supports a wide range of welfare services for seafarers” the MPA said.
There are roughly 1.4 million seafarers internationally, the vast majority are men and they’re of all nationalities. Commonly they spend between nine and 12 months on a ship, trading around the world. They’re at work seven days a week and might be working a 10-14 hour day, often in isolation and rough conditions.
It’s an unusual working environment because even when you finish your day’s work, you’re still at work. While the quick turn around at many modern ports means that crews may only have 24 hours on land after weeks at sea.
Innovative rapidly inflating balloon technology could keep damaged ships afloat. But more fine-tuning needs to be done and there are some concerns about reliability. When a ship runs aground, or two vessels crash into each other, the damaged one may lose its stability, or worse, sink. But imagine if after a ship accident, balloons popped up like car airbags to keep the disabled vessel upright and afloat. This would help to avoid pollution of seas and beaches and gain valuable time for evacuation. Now, the EU-funded project SuSy, completed in 2013, have turned such an idea into a proof of concept.
Reducing accidents depends on knowledge, skill and just as importantly, attitude, says the Indian Maritime Administration. And, human error is not always just seafarer error. As the government of India struggles with the reality of an escalating death rate attributed to accidents and suicides among Indian mariners. According to the casualty figures released by the Directorate General of Shipping, government of India (the Indian administration) there were 25 accidental deaths, 2 cases of suicide and 8 sailors reported missing during 2012. Year to date data in 2013 suggests a similar and perhaps even slightly elevated pattern.
It is time to stand up and shout about the enormous benefits that the shipping industry brings to the UK and to international trade, panelists declared in the course of a debate at the WISTA-UK Liverpool Forum, a day-long event during the International Festival for Business on Merseyside. Speakers insisted that executives and supporters of the industry must inject more passion into their arguments for clearer recognition of the benefits of ocean transport, for fairer reporting of casualties and other maritime issues, for improved welfare for seafarers, and for a more intense drive to recruit new talent.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
When the supply boat, the C-Retriever was hijacked off the coast of Nigeria the captain was taken by pirates and held in dreadful conditions. Despite the chaos in the jungle, Captain Thomas said the leaders were organized, using satellite phones to negotiate, first demanding a $2 million ransom. Thomas believes the payoff was eventually whittled down to several hundred thousand dollars. His attorney, Brian Beckcom, represented members of the Maersk Alabama crew believes shipowners owe crew members working in the Gulf of Aden the same level of protection now provided to crews off the Somali coast.
CMA CGM Group recently appointed Rodolphe Saadé as vice-chairman executive officer. Last year, Saadé was in charge of discussions with Maersk and MSC for the establishment of the P3 operational alliance, now obsolete. Having began his career with CMA in New York in 1994, Saadé subsequently became director of numerous lines, including United States/Mediterranean; Far East/North Europe; and Near East/North Europe/United States West Coast. In 2008, Saadé was personally involved in successful negotiations with Somali pirates to help free hostages on the cruise yacht Le Ponant – ultimately liberated by French armed forces.
How should maritime piracy in the Gulf of Aden be dealt with once NATO and the EU end their missions there? According to a recent Security and Defence Agenda debate, policymakers need to apply a comprehensive ‘root causes’ approach to the problem. Military operations are crucial to continue to suppress piracy in the short-term. However, a much more comprehensive approach which addresses the root causes of piracy and involves complex elements such as establishing the rule of law, capacity building, gaining the cooperation of local elites, and development, is vital to ensure security in the long term.
Does piracy off the coast of Bangladesh pose a threat? The answer is yes. Is the threat external or internal? The answer is both. While Bangladesh has long-running conflicts with its neighbors over maritime boundaries which are being solved amicably, the latest threat is now emerging from maritime piracy. How is maritime piracy threatening Bangladesh and to what extent? Recently, several dozen fishermen were abducted from the Sundarbans. A total of 11 piracy events took place off the coast of Bangladesh in 2012. Maritime piracy in Bangladesh is the result of a failure of law-enforcing agencies, a culture of impunity and poverty.
Piracy and maritime crime continues to be a problem for shippers and the maritime industry, especially in Africa, with seafarers remaining in harm’s in way despite the industry spending billions of dollars in insurance and protective measures, according to a June 23 US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
Piracy incidents, ransoms and hostages have been tackled with increased patrols by the US and allied countries in the region, the “Maritime Security: Ongoing U.S. Counterpiracy Efforts Would Benefit From Agency Assessments,” report said, but the poor economic state of African countries allows illegal activity to flourish.
The confusing maritime situation in Nigeria’s waters continues, following last week’s announcement from BIMCO that members operating vessels within the Nigerian EEZ and territorial waters should be aware that they may be at risk of potentially significant liabilities and delays if they employ armed guards on board their vessels who are sourced from the Nigerian Marine Police, the Nigerian Police or the “Joint Task Force”. Nigerian Navy personnel boarded a tanker at Lagos Roads, arresting the ex-pat Maritime Security Liaison Officer and the Nigerian Marine Police who had been contracted to guard the vessel.
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