Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/10/2014
1. Making Seafarers Life Attractive
The International Maritime Organisation’s Secretary General Koji Sekimizu has announced that the ‘seafarer’s life must be made more attractive’ to ensure that the shipping industry is prepared to meet the challenges ahead. Writing on his blog, Sekimizu discussed ideas brought up at the Danish Maritime Forum where Ministers spoke about the shipping industry as “indispensable for sustainable development”, but, Sekimizu states, “growth will not be without challenges.” Assuming that half the existing officers will retire by 2030, that means 600,000 officers would need to be recruited and trained from now.
2. Whispers of Fraud In Piracy Case
Vietnamese police are attempting to verify the authenticity of a case in which sailors of the oil tanker Sunrise 689 declared that their ship had been seized by pirates for six days before being released on October 9. The clarification is underway amid suspicion over whether an act of piracy actually occurred, or if it was staged. The tanker, with 18 crewmembers on board, returned to the coastal southern city of Vung Tau on October 11 after being hijacked and released by pirates, according to the ship’s captain, Nguyen Quyet Thang, and his men. Investigators are yet to reach a conclusion on the issue.
3. China Looks to Cruise Business
China, the world’s largest shipbuilder, is looking to build its first luxury cruise vessel, with help from cruise operator Carnival Corp and Italian shipyard Fincantieri SpA, as the country looks to expand domestic tourism. Carnival said on Wednesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), with the eventual aim of forming a joint venture that would also include Italy’s Fincantieri. China’s cruise industry is predicted to become one of the world’s largest with 4.5 million passengers by 2020, according to government figures. It has become a top target for firms like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. http://goo.gl/rIim7N
4. IMO Looking to Swift Ebola Response
The IMO have reacted quickly in response to the international emergency recently declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In September the IMO issued an international circular ‘3848’ calling for a united response from the shipping industry to contain the virus. Specifically it calls for ship operators to define ‘measures to reduce the risk of exposure’ if they are likely to have ships trading to and from ports in Ebola-affected States. It is essential that each internationally trading vessel can display a rigorous and well thought out protection plan for the crew.
5. New Partnership for Safe Anchorage
A partnership project between the Nigerian Navy, Ocean Marine Security (OMS) and UK’s PGS Group is working to raise awareness on the availability of legalised security options for ships operating in Nigerian waters of West Africa. The project saw the establishment in 2013 of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) and Secure Ship-To-Ship (STS) zone off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria for vessels that require a dedicated and compliant maritime security solution. As the name suggests, the SAA is a zone where vessels can anchor safely without fear of pirate attacks and so far the zone has recorded a 100% success rate since operations commenced.
6. Warm Feelings for Polar Code
Koji Sekimizu, IMO secretary-general, has highlighted the importance of the Polar Code and the Ballast Water Management Convention in his opening remarks at MEPC67 this week. The Maritime Safety Committee approved the draft Polar Code in May with a view to adopting it and associated SOLAS changes at MSC 94 in November. “The principal remaining task for this Committee is now to finalize Part II of the Code addressing pollution prevention measures and the associated MARPOL amendments,” says Sekimizu. He concedes that there are still several challenges to be overcome, but hopes the 2017 entry into force remains on target.
7. Union Official Claims Owner Gagging
A union official has accused the owner of a foreign flagged ship of trying to gag him in the wake of several crewman deaths, including one en route to Newcastle. The New South Wales Coroner is investigating three deaths on board the "Sage Sagittarius" during a six-week period two years ago. Dean Summers from the ITF said ship owner NYK did its best to block the union’s involvement in the inquest. "We were very disappointed with the company’s attitude," he said. In fact they went to extraordinary lengths to gag me, in fact they tried to keep me off the vessel through the inspection and to gag my input into the process."
8. Owners Want Fund to Remain
A decision by governments to wind up the 1971 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) threatens the smooth running of the well-established global regime for compensation from oil pollution from ships, says the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the global trade association for shipowners. At next week’s IOPCF meeting in London, ICS (in conjunction with BIMCO and Intertanko) will argue that it is premature to wind up the 1971 Fund when there are still outstanding claims not covered by the current 1992 Fund. Some of these claims are subject to litigation, with money potentially still owed to the shipowners’ insurers.
9. UK Ports Fighting Euro Rules
The United Kingdom Major Ports Group Limited trade association (UKMPG), and the British Ports Association (BPA) will continue to fight against the EU Port Services Regulation, resuming their campaign against this proposed regulation since it was launched by the European Commission in May 2013. UK ports are amongst the most efficient and productive in the world, contribute substantially to the UK economy and employment, and operate without cost to the taxpayer, the UKMPG says. The EU proposal would impose unnecessary cost and bureaucracy on UK ports and prevent them from operating as commercial businesses. http://goo.gl/4R0B24
10. Ferry Strikes Pier and Causes Injuries
The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating an allision that occurred when the Ferry Peralta struck a piling at Pier 41 in San Francisco Sunday evening, in which ten passengers sustained minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for evaluation. The Peralta, operated by Blue and Gold Fleet, allided with a piling while backing out of the terminal at Pier 41 at approximately 5:45 p.m. local time. The Peralta was temporarily taken out of service, and inspectors and investigators from Coast Guard Sector San Francisco boarded the vessel. There was no structural damage to the vessel and only minor damage to the piling at Pier 41.
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