Seacurus Bulletin 30/06/2014

Seacurus Bulletin 30/06/2014



Crew Acquitted

A judge acquitted and ordered the immediate release of three North Koreans detained in Panama since 2013, when they tried to transit the Panama Canal with undeclared weapons aboard the vessel North Korean-flagged Chong Chon Gang. Judge Carlos Villarreal acquitted the master of the vessels Ri Yong Il and two officers and ordered their immediate release. The court in Colon ruled that the weapons and other equipment should be turned over to Panamanian authorities.  The decision was based on issue being related to international as deciding on violation of a UN arms embargo was not a matter for Panama to decide.




Action Demanded

The Seafarers Confederation of India (SCI) on Friday demanded that the Indian Embassy take necessary steps to rescue the 18 Indian workers, including two Malayalees, who are trapped in LPG  vessel "Maharshi Devatreya". “The workers are trapped in the ship that is anchored at the Dubai Port for the last nine months. They are not even provided with food. Hence, the Indian Embassy and the Shipping Ministry should take the necessary steps to bring them back,” SCI president K K Vijayakumar said. He added that a memorandum would be submitted soon in this regard.



Crew Standoff

There appears to be a standoff between the crew and owner of a cargo vessel stranded off Dubai. Both sides have made counterclaims: The crew demands backdated salaries before docking and the owner promises to pay their dues once they dock. Captain Aninda Sengupta claims the 14-member crew is owed pay since November 2013. However, Yudhishthir Khatau, chairman and managing director of Varun Shipping Company, which owns the vessel, said the payment plan is within an “agreed schedule”. The company faced “financial difficulties”, but is “reviving its entire fleet” of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cargo vessels, he said.



Double Celebration

As DNV GL moved to Hamburg for its double anniversary celebration last week the classification society set out some ambitious targets for safety and sustainability. The twin celebration – of DNV’s 150th anniversary and the merged entity’s first – attended by some 650 guests. Sharing the spotlight at the welcome dinner on Tuesday was the chairman of local shipowner Hapag-Lloyd, whose retirement ceremony took place the following day. Also city mayor Olaf Scholz who confirmed the credentials of the city – headquarters of DNV GL Maritime – as a go-ahead maritime hub by announcing its plans to establish LNG bunkering facilities in the port.



Lost Boxes

The World Shipping Council (WSC) estimates in its report on containers lost at sea that for the combined six year period from 2008 to 2013, there were 546 containers lost on average each year. The earlier WSC survey, released in 2011, covered the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The new survey includes data for years 2011, 2012 and 2013. The report notes that 2011 and 2013 each saw rare catastrophic events that resulted in complete and total vessel losses. In 2013, the international liner shipping industry carried approximately 120 million containers packed with cargo, with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion.




Seafarer Pleas

Nigerian seafarers have called on the relevant government authorities to give them better condition of service. The seafarers urged the Federal Government to give desirable attention to Nigerian’s sea farers so they can compete favourably internationally. The appeal was made during the 2014 Seafarer’s day tagged "Seafarers Brought Me" organized by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Lagos said: "Government and port authorities should treat seafarers as partners in the fight against terrorism and facilitate their access to ports and shore facilities".




Financial Woes

Embattled US bulker owner Eagle Bulk Shipping has secured another stay of execution but it’s unclear whether efforts to overhaul $1.2bn worth of debt are bearing fruit. In a disclosure filed after the close Nasdaq-quoted Eagle said it has been given two more weeks to pursue a restructuring and execute a binding agreement with lenders. Under the terms of the freshly minted extension the waiver, which has shielded the company from loan covenant violations for the past three months, will not expire until 15 July. The owner indicated it has no intention of making an interest payment that is due on 30 June.






Attack Foiled

A group of pirates tried on Saturday to board the Danish vessel Torm Sofia in the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea, but without success. No-one was harmed and nothing happened to the ship, its cargo or the environment during the attempted attack, the shipping company Torm announced in a press release.

Guards fought back. Torm Sofia was on its way from Sikka in India to New York City when pirates in a small boat suddenly approached the Danish ship. Onboard armed security guards used force according to their safety procedures, after which the pirates gave up and fled the scene.




Local Synergy

The Nigerian Navy has hinted that plans are on the way to form a synergy with Cameroon to tackle the activities of sea pirates in Nigerian waterways. The navy also indicated that illegal oil bunkering, particularly in the Niger Delta region, has been drastically reduced in the last five months. According to Vice Admiral Jubrin, there was disaffection from the affected people, which had given rise to sea piracy. While appreciating the efforts of the Navy and other security agencies in the fight against oil theft, he said the Federal Government would appreciate the force more, when its efforts were translated to improved revenue for the government.




Floating Prisons

Stories are emerging of the role of US naval vessels in holding prisoners who have yet to stand trial. Somali pirates are usually let go if no country is willing and able to prosecute them. In these situations, the Navy has no choice but to put them in life jackets and shuttle them close to the coast on small boats, where they are set free and wade to shore. Now they are holding the alleged orchestrator of the Benghazi US Embassy attack, who will soon face trial in a U.S. federal court. Until then, the USS New York steams west from the Mediterranean. Abu Khattala undergoes questioning.




On the Margins

Pirates usually function on the margins of society, trying to get a cut of the good life in situations where there aren’t many options. This is usually in areas where state control is weakest or absent, in failing and "flailed" states. A flailing state is something like Nigeria, Indonesia, or the Philippines, where the government is managing to keep things together but is faced with serious problems with areas that are sometimes out of control. In a failed state like Somalia where there isn’t a government at all, pirates can do whatever they want.   The solution to piracy is essentially on land; go into uncontrolled areas and institute governance.




Medals of Honour

For their contributions to international anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, 193 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel were awarded the Overseas Service Medal (OSM) by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at Changi Naval Base. Dr Ng commended the servicemen for their professionalism and dedication to the mission. He said the Gulf of Aden may be 4,000 nautical miles away, but it is a major waterway that connects Asia and Europe, and accounts for a significant portion of global trade.  The medal recipients responded to 21 calls for assistance and flew 81 helicopter sorties as it warded off suspicious boats in the Gulf Of Aden.




Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


Best regards,

S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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