Seacurus Top Ten Daily News Stories 04/08/2014
1. Vessel Freed From Hijack
A hijacked Singaporean oil tanker carrying 21 sailors was released yesterday, a week after being seized by pirates in waters off Ghana in West Africa, Seoul’s foreign ministry said. The 3,200-tons tanker, carrying a South Korean captain and chief engineer, was hijacked on July 26 off the southern coast of Ghana, the ministry added. The vessel, which had loaded in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, was also carrying 12 Chinese, one Singaporean and six Burmese, it said. “All sailors are unhurt and it appears that some of their fuel has been stolen,” it said, adding that the ship was released in waters off Nigeria.
2. Raging Fire Takes Hold of Port
A fire that started Sunday afternoon at the warehouses of Brazil’s largest sugar producer Cosan in Santos Port continues to burn out of control, the local fire department said. The fire broke out at Cosan’s Rumo sugar terminal at 4.30 pm local time Sunday and 12 fire trucks from the surrounding area were still trying to bring it under control, Sargent Rodrigues of the Santos Fire Department told Reuters. Last October Cosan’s rival Copersucar, Brazil’s largest sugar trader, lost nearly all of its newly expanded sugar export terminal to fire. The loss of five warehouses, which are still not fully repaired, quickly sent sugar futures prices rising.
3. Navy Fighting Asian Pirates
Malaysia’s navy has fought off a pirate attack on a tanker off its east coast in the South China Sea, the International Maritime Bureau said today. The Malaysian force was assisted by the Indonesian and Singaporean navies in fending off the attack late yesterday, said Noel Choong, head of the IMB’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Centre. The pirates fled the Singapore-managed tanker after navy patrol boats arrived before they could loot the vessel, the international body said. “The Malaysian navy quickly dispatched a patrol boat and managed to intercept the tanker. Pirates managed to escape before the arrival of the naval boat,” the IMB said.
4. Shoreleave Survey Reveals Rip off
Shore leave significantly improves seafarers’ health and the safe and efficient operation of a vessel according to the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) Center for Seafarers’ Rights. The group has collected data pertaining to shore leave as part of its annual Seafarer Shore Leave Survey. Asking port welfare workers in 27 ports across the United States to monitor seafarers’ shore leave on vessels. Results show the large majority of seafarers denied shore leave are denied it because they lack visas. The are also concerns gaining access to areas outside the port can be expensive and strenuous as seafarers must rely on transport from local sources.
5. Tiredness Can Kill
Working while fatigued is equivalent to working while under the influence of alcohol, says the Nautical Institute. A recent report brings home the importance of adequate and continuous sleep for all crew and of keeping a proper lookout, they say. The report describes a small container ship that hit a seawall when the officer of the watch (OOW), alone on the bridge in the dark, fell asleep. It was the early morning hours, but still dark, and the ship was making way at about 15 knots on autopilot. The visibility was good and there was no traffic, so the OOW sat in but fell asleep – until the vessel came to a dramatic halt and he was thrown from his chair.
6. Mystery of Sanctioned Oil Cargo
Part of a Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from a Greek-managed tanker into another tanker in the South China Sea, but mystery surrounds the identity of the buyer and where the two tankers are headed. The "United Emblem", which is carrying more than 1 million barrels of oil, is one of three tankers loaded with oil from the autonomous Kurdish region, which is trying to sell oil independently. Iraqi Kurdistan is locked in a bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over international oil sales. All three tankers are managed by Marine Management Services M.C., a Piraeus-based shipping company who claims the transfer to be legal.
7. Sheep Death Cover Up Denied
The Australian Department of Agriculture has denied covering up the circumstances surrounding the mass death of more than 4000 sheep on a voyage to the Middle East. Most of the sheep died on an afternoon of extreme heat 15 days after leaving Fremantle on board the Livestock Shipping Services Pty Ltd–operated "Bader III". The exporter then took 13 days to officially notify the DoA that the mortality rate on the horror voyage exceeded reportable limits. The ship spent three days unloading livestock in Doha with dead sheep littering the decks. Australian authorities received no hint that anything was wrong.
8. Cargo and Rain Turn Waters Red
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in The Philippines has suspended iron ore transhipment operations by Vale during heavy rains after local residents complained of pollution. SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said he had ordered the management of Vale, which operates two floating transfer stations (FTS) in Subic Bay, to stop trans-shipment during heavy rains to avoid spillage. The spill was caused by excess iron ore being was off the decks of vessels during heavy rains. Photos posted on the “Stop Vale operations in Subic Bay now” Facebook page showed the water around vessels turned a rusty red colour.
9. Ore Surge Awe
A “very large surge” in Brazilian iron ore exports is being forecast by analyst Commodore Research & Consultancy, and is set to boost the capesize market. Brazilian miner Vale announced that its shipment volume this was expected to reach a record 321m tonnes. Given the miner 144.7m tonnes in the first half of 2014, this equates to a 22% increase in shipments in the second half of the year versus the first half. “Going forward, a very large surge in Brazilian iron ore shipments is about to begin and demand for capesize vessels is set to find significant support,” said Jeffrey Landsberg, managing director of Commodore.
10. Fundraising for Safety
The Maritime Accident Casebook has launched a crowdfunding effort, seeking $35,000 of sponsorship and support to produce more professional podcasts and develop a project on enclosed/confined space safety. Launched in summer 2006, Maritime Accident Casebook aims at improving safety at sea by posting podcasts, case studies and safety information on its website, reaching out directly to seafarers. The site doesn’t charge a subscription and doesn’t accept advertising. Its team also manages a 7,000-strong member LinkedIn group for maritime safety and investigation. The cash will fund professional podcasts, and a new book on safety. http://goo.gl/0MHmV5
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