Seacurus Bulletin 02/07/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
New requirements under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to require all ships to have plans and procedures to recover persons from the water are among a set of SOLAS amendments entering into force on 1 July 2014. This new requirement is intended to enhance safety at sea and also to provide support to search and rescue coordinators in all types of rescue operations and, particularly, in those situations where there is insufficient dedicated search and rescue capacity or access to helicopters and specialized rescue craft is limited. The ship’s plans and procedures should take into account related Guidelines.
European shipowners and port authorities urgently call for the clarification of the rules pertaining to the use of scrubbers. The EU Sulphur Directive is set to come into force in only a few months, on January 1, 2015. The new sulphur requirements impose that ships sailing in the SECAs (Sulphur Emission Control Areas-the Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea) use bunker fuels with a sulphur content of maximum 0.1 percent or that the same level of emissions is reached by the use of alternative fuels or compliant abatement technologies.
Greece’s Marine Managers has pleaded guilty to pollution related charges in New Orleans. The Piraeus-based ship manager entered guilty pleas on two counts of knowingly failing to maintain an oil record book on the 75,600-dwt Trident Navigator (built 2000), US Attorney Kenneth Polite announced. Matthaios Fafalios, the chief engineer on the panamax bulk carrier, has also been indicted in the case. In addition to an alleged oil record book violation, he is facing charges of obstruction of justice and witness tampering, according to the online docket of the US District Court in New Orleans.
Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has ordered the world’s first LNG bunker tanker at Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) for a planned LNG bunkering business in North Europe with GDF SUEZ and Mitsubishi Corporation. The 6,000 gt vessel to be delivered in 2016 will be based in the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium to deliver LNG to gas-powered operating the North and Baltic Seas. “With increased emission regulations, demand for LNG as a fuel is growing in the seas around Europe,” NYK said. The tanker will be the core infrastructure of a new joint venture between NYK, GDF SUEZ and Mitsubishi.
Slavery at Sea
UK Barrister-at-Law David Hammond is fighting to combat human rights violations at sea. “There are ongoing refugee violations in the Mediterranean by Spanish forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the sea at refugees trying to enter the Cueta enclave. “We are also developing the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (the "Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework", otherwise known as the "Ruggie Principles") in the maritime environment, which has never been done before. This goes to best practice, raising standards and accountability for human rights violations in the maritime industry.”
Learning at Sea
The eLearning revolution has already happened, despite apparent resistance from many of the flag states administering the shipping industry. The training approach acknowledged as effective by the US Department of Education* and accepted by fighter pilots is still considered by some in shipping as deficient for mariners.
Last year, Seagull began exploring whether lessons learned in other markets with longer exposure to eLearning than maritime could enhance its sector-specific knowledge. Seagull’s investigations quickly brought British Columbia-based Marine Learning Systems, and its product, MarineLMS to its attention.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
The growth in use of the ISO/PAS 28007 standard is a sign of maturity for the maritime security sector providing a benchmark against which individual private maritime security companies (PMSCs) can be judged. However, as the cowboys are relegated to history and the industry settles down, the realities of established commercial activity have also arrived. Commercial pressures on the shipping industry have also started putting the squeeze on PMSCs. In the current climate of low rates and high volatility, cost efficiency is the shipping industry’s mantra and security spending is under close scrutiny.
Over six months since the Japanese government issued a landmark national law permitting privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) aboard Japanese flagged vessels, there remains confusion and uncertainty as to its scope and practical application. The legislation is entitled the “Special Measures Act for Security of Japanese Vessels in Pirate Infested Waters” of 20th November 2013, Law No.75 (Japanese Ship Guarding Act.) This Act, along with its supporting Orders and Ordinances, sets the policies, procedures, and applications for the employment of armed guards aboard Japanese flagged oil tankers.
With the shipping industry wrestling with a range of maritime security issues, from piracy to stowaways, terrorists to smugglers, the last thing owners may wish to hear is about a new and growing threat. Unfortunately, there can be no hiding from the reality of cyber security and the risks being faced onboard ships and within ports. The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) is encouraging the industry to tackle the problems head on. It was recently widely reported that research into key navigation systems, such as GPS, AIS and Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), had revealed worrying weaknesses.
The US Navy has its first female four-star admiral. She is Michelle Janine Howard, promoted on Tuesday to the service’s highest rank. The ceremony was held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the Arlington National Cemetery, near the Pentagon. Howard is best known for leading Task Force 151, which saved merchant marine Captain Richard Phillips when he was captured by Somali pirates in April 2009. She is being heralded as the new face of a navy which is changing the way in which it operates and is perceived both at home and abroad.
Blue on Blue
One night in October 2013, a group of embarked Nigerian policemen on board the tanker "Histria Coral" opened fire on a small boat that was approaching a tanker close by on Lagos roads, believing the vessel was under attack by robbers. The small boat, it turned out, was a launch filled with Nigerian Navy personnel, who were about to inspect the vessel. The episode ended with a stand-off between the Nigerian Navy and the policemen, who eventually locked themselves into the Histria Coral’s citadel for several days before they were arrested along with the agent who brokered their services. Such violence has prompted new security concerns.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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