Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/10/2014

Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/10/2014


1. Seafarers Placed on High Alert

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has shipping firms and manning agencies on alert, as well as the nearly 400,000 Filipino seafarers deployed worldwide against the spread of Ebola, which has claimed nearly 4,500 lives, mostly in West Africa. Citing an advisory issued by the Bureau of Quarantine, Marina said all officers and crew members of international cargo ships and passenger vessels entering a Philippine port are required to submit a declaration of health saying they are Ebola-free. Marina said officers and crew should “be properly screened through the use of a thermal gun and subjected to a physical examination.”



2. Legal Implications of Ebola Expand

How the shipping industry copes with Ebola and the legal issues surrounding charter parties and contracts are coming increasingly into focus as the deadly virus continues to spread. Recently the New York’s Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA) hosted a presentation by lawyer Leo Kailas, on Charter Party Agreements: Issues Related to Ebola Epidemic. Unlike some illnesses where it is readily apparent whether an individual is sick, Ebola has a three-week incubation period. Meaning quarantines of vessels could bring about lengthy delays.




3. Web of Crime and Piracy

An intricate web of criminal gangs, tribal clans and international finance networks that help Somali piracy survive is the subject of a new book written by a Dubai-based consultant. Andrew Palmer says in "The New Pirates" it would be a mistake to write off pirates as a spent force. “Piracy is an international criminal activity and needs to be considered in the same way as drug smuggling or human trafficking and involves a complex international network of financiers,” he said. “Somali piracy could reactivate itself. It wouldn’t take very much for it to become an increasing force again." “The threat from Somali piracy has not gone away." he added.




4. Somali Pirate Kingpin Arrested

Somali security forces have arrested one of the country’s most powerful pirate chiefs, who once hijacked giant vessels earning him multi-million dollar ransoms, security sources said today. Mohamed Garfanji was seized late Sunday in the capital Mogadishu along with several of his well-armed bodyguards, according to foreign and Somali security sources. There was no official confirmation from the internationally-backed government, and sources could not confirm if he was still being held. Both the United States and the Seychelles reportedly want to question him for his alleged kidnapping of citizens from both nations.


5. Polar Code Set to Enter Force

The Polar Code could enter into force in 2017 after it gained approval at the recent 67th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 67). The IMO committee approved the environmental provisions in the draft International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, known as the Polar Code, as well as the draft amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The next step will see MEPC consider the code and the draft amendments for adoption. If adopted at that meeting, the Polar Code and MARPOL amendments could enter into force on 1 January 2017.




6. New Head of Frontline

Frontline Ltd, the tanker firm led by John Fredriksen has brought on a new CEO to take the company forward. Mr. Robert Hvide Macleod, a 35-year old Norwegian, is currently the managing director and owner of Highlander Tankers AS will take the top post on November 3rd. FRO has seen its share price plummet from a high of around $5 in January to its current value of around $1.61. This year, spot charter rates for VLCCs and Suezmax tankers fell from around $40k per day to well under $20k during the second quarter. For Frontline, their break even rates for those ships are $24,000 per day and $17,800 per day, respectively.



7. US Looking to Grab Pirates

US attorney Dana J. Boenta says it is easy for the US government to capture and arrest Somali pirate leaders. She said they will not be spared from prosecution in a US court and the international law. This comes while sometime before four prosecutors were awarded for verifying the cases of four sea pirates who are in American jails. One of those prosecutors got "The John Marshall Award" awarded because of their investigation on the cases of 14 pirates who were accused of killing 4 US nationals in the sea waters off the Somali Coast. Some time in the past, a US court also sentenced an interpreter for pirates with 12 years imprisonment.




8. Nations Monitor Pirate Prisoners

Seychelles joins international monitoring committee members on first mission to assess detention facilities for convicted pirates in Somalia. The monitoring aims to check on how authorities in Somalia’s autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland are faring in implementing international standards at the prisons built for convicted Somali pirates to serve their sentences.  This was one of the main objective of a recent visit of members of the International Monitoring Committee (IMC) to the Garowe (Puntland) and Hargeysa (Somaliland) prisons, two detention facilities built by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).




9. Box Lines Add Service Charges

Most member lines in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) are charging USD 100 per 40-foot container (FEU), and USD 90 per 20ft container, as an additional delivery fee, TSA said. “Congested U.S. port terminals, harbor and over-the-road truck and driver shortages, slower trains and longer rail terminal dwell times due to increased domestic rates have not only disrupted service but also driven intermodal rates and cargo handling costs up sharply. Asia-U.S. container lines, still heavily reliant on intermodal service, have now been forced to respond with intermodal door delivery charges to recover those costs,” TSA members explained.




10. Class Acts on Exhaust Cleaning

Leading classification society ClassNK announced that it has released Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems. These guidelines cover class safety requirements as well as safety requirements stipulated in the IMO guidelines. The MARPOL Convention Annex VI has placed phased limits on the maximum allowable amount of sulphur in fuel oils used by vessels globally, as well as stricter requirements in geographically defined emission control areas. Under the regulation, more stringent limits will be enforced over time. The use of such systems requires approval from relevant authorities in accordance with guidelines issued by the IMO.





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


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