Seacurus Top Ten Daily News Stories 11/08/2014
1. Gulf of Guinea Gamechanger
An attempted hijacking of a product tanker 200 nm offshore Nigeria at the weekend could be a “game changer” in Gulf of Guinea piracy warn security firm Dryad Maritime. According to Dryad a product tanker transiting 200 nm south of the Nigerian shoreline on 9 August encountered a radar contact with a vessel, believed to be a pirate mothership, drifting along its track. Three smaller vessels then opened fire on the tanker and made an unsuccessful attempt to board from the stern. While the attack was unsuccessful Dryad warn that a well-planned attack 200 nm from shore represents a change in tactics by the pirates.
2. Fuel Supplies in Spotlight
Negotiations on long-term fuel supplies starting in 2015 between European shipowners and suppliers are stalling on the back of disagreements over the value of the new Emission Control Areas-compliant marine fuel, market sources said. Shipowners, who are already envisaging significant cost increases as result of the higher-quality fuel required, are in disagreement with suppliers on the pricing basis as well as the price differential for potential long-term supply contracts starting in 2015. The new IMO regulationto lower the sulfur cap for bunker fuel in ECAs to 0.1% from 1% comes into effect on January 1, 2015.
3. Somali Pirate Attack Foiled
A pirate attack against the Italian tanker Giacinta has been foiled by armed guards onboard the vessel. The incident happened on August 6 at around 11 a.m. LT in the Gulf of Aden. The Giacinta was en route to Fujairah (United Arab Emirates) when it became surrounded by eight suspicious boats. The armed security guards and the crew members onboard Giacinta followed the procedures against piracy. According to ASSIV, they fired a rocket but the pirates were pushed back after the guards fired warning shots. The incident was immediately reported and the Italian tanker continued towards its destination in safe conditions.
4. Alcohol Regulations Post Sewol
The South Korean government has announced it will tighten regulations on the consumption of alcohol on ships as part of its focus on maritime safety after the Sewol ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing in April. Yonhap reports that blood alcohol limits will be reduced from 0.05 to 0.03 percent. Crew members of ships larger than five tons or ferries and fishing vessels under five tons could be fined a maximum of US$14,479 or two years in prison if convicted. The number of alcohol-related convictions in the maritime industry in South Korea has averaged 113 a year over the past five years.
5. Reflecting On Seafarer Work Loads
While the western world retreats to the beach in August, seafarers have no such quiet period. Fatigue is a 360 day issue and the Paris and Toyko MoUs will launch a three-month campaign starting in September to verify deck and engine room watchkeeper hours of rest under the STCW Convention. That means that the authorities in most of the countries in Europe and Asia are going to send Port State Control inspectors to visit ships in their ports and ensure that the watchkeepers are getting the right amount of time off and are not unduly fatigued when they sail from port. Which is a problem as most watchkeepers are very tired.
6. Indian Ramps Up Hunt for Kidnapped Crews
About four years since seven Indian sailors were taken hostage by Somali pirates after their merchant ships were hijacked, separate affidavits filed by the Ministry of External Affairs in the Supreme Court are narratives of a trail of inconclusive efforts made with the African nation to trace them. The uncertainty over the fate of the Indian nationals has led to governmental pressure to find the seven crew members of various vessels. Affidavits filed in June 2014 show negotiations with Somalia to get “conclusive information” on the sailors’ whereabouts are inconclusive. But steps are now being taken to find them and bring them home.
7. Aussie Iron Ore Push Problems
Australia’s plans to export more iron ore this year than any nation ever is driving up shipping costs by 80 percent. Increased sales from Brazil before year-end means freight rates could go higher still. Rio Tinto Group and other miners will ship an extra 97.8 million metric tons from Australia, equal to more than 600 cargoes for Capesizes hauling the ore, says Clarkson Plc. Brazil will add another 12.4 million tons, the first expansion since 2011, with shipments accelerating in the second half as the weather improves. Increasing production from Australia and Brazil will deepen a global glut through 2018 and the market will be 200 ships short.
8. Cracking Through The Glass Ceiling
Last week saw WISTA-UK, the founding body of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association, celebrating its 40th anniversary in some style with a sumptuous gala dinner held in the restaurant of the IMO on London’s South Bank. WISTA-UK secretary Bridget Hogan (of the Nautical Institute) invited one member each to speak about one of the four decades since a small group of women shipbrokers met for a Christmas lunch in London, and decided to formalise a more substantial network. That initiative has grown into the international WISTA grouping, which includes more than 1,800 individual members in more than 30 countries.
9. US Looks To Better Research
The Stevens Institute of Technology in the U.S. has been selected as the lead institution for a new Center of Excellence for Maritime Research (CMR). The work conducted through the CMR will help the U.S. address challenges in the maritime domain. Increased and diversified use of maritime spaces is generating new security challenges and risks, and the potential for increased conflicts among maritime users, stakeholders, and interests. It will develop new ideas and research to identify better ways to create transparency in the maritime domain along coastal regions and inland waterways, while integrating information and intelligence.
10. Major Fire Ravages Port
A major fire broke out at a Brisbane shipyard on Monday in a boat shed where a naval vessel was under repair. According to local reports 50 firefighters were battling the blaze, which broke out on the patrol boat "HMAS Bundaberg". Pictures from 7News TV channel showed smoke billowing from the boat shed across the Brisbane skyline. The HMAS Bundaberg is a 2007-built 56 m patrol vessel and was under repair in a facility in Brisbane Marine Industry Park. Local reports said one man was treated for smoke inhalation but no other injuries were reported.
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