Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/10/2014

Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/10/2014


1. Container Ship Collision Blaze

Two large containerships collided Tuesday night at Malaysia’s Port Klang, sparking fires in the forward container stacks of both vessels. The containerships involved were the Marshall Islands-flagged MV San Felipe and the Maltese-flagged MV Al Riffa. A photo from the scene shows a large fire in the cargo area of the San Felipe and damage to some of the containers on deck. A spokesman for the Port Klang Fire and Rescue Services Department said that a fire broke out onboard the Al Riffa and it was towed away from the scene to prevent the fire from spreading to the wharf. No injuries have been reported.



2. Suez Canal Defends Plans and Pricing

Admiral Mohab Mameesh, chairman and managing director of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), proved a star turn on the opening day of the Seatrade Middle East Maritime conference, providing further details of the Canal’s recently unveiled expansion plans and launching a robust defence of its pricing policy. The previous night, the former Commander of the Egyptian Navy – appointed to his SCA role two years ago – pledged the Canal’s ongoing commitment to providing “secure and safe” passage for shipping despite the political turbulence and economic hardship that his country and region had been going through.




3. Consulate Comes to Seafarers Aid

The Indian consulate in the UAE has helped 14 sailors – 11 Indians, two Burmese and a Nepalese – get their overdue salaries, after being stranded at Ajman Port.  The consulate said it repatriated seven Indian sailors from the MV Home, while the other four Indian crew remained on board.  Officials said they helped the crew recover their salaries after negotiations with the ship’s owners. Despite the entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention there are still all too many instances of crews being abandoned by their employers.



4. Take The Fight Ashore in Somalia

Bleak economic prospects and social discontent, fuelled by a wobbly political system, are enabling terrorist groups to spread their influence off the Horn of Africa, in the west of the continent and in the Gulf of Guinea. UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said international naval coalitions have stubbed out piracy at sea and the time has come to “take the fight” to terror groups operating in Somalia. Somalia struggles to find its feet after decades of civil strife and exported piracy along its coast. Pirate attacks on ships have declined with only two incidents or two reported this year, but troubles on land cannot be wished away.




5. Setting Up Piracy Survivor Family Fund

A piracy survivor family fund to provide social, medical and psychological assistance to freed hostages and the families of seafarers being held captive by Somali pirates was announced on Tuesday at the end of a two-day meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in Dubai. “An important decision was taken to establish a piracy survivor family fund because many who are captured suffer mentally and physically and return traumatised after their long period of absence from home,” said Maciej Popowski, the chairman of the CGPCS.



6. Optimised Ship Designs Need Rethink

Today, ship designs are optimised around an estimate of normal conditions under which the vessel will operate, known as the "design point". But this does not necessarily represent the conditions the vessel will actually encounter. “In that sense, it’s artificial,” says Tim Kent, technical director at Lloyd’s Register. “It’s a reference point used as part of the ship specification and contractual agreement between the owner and the builder. The ship has to achieve a performance level at this design point.” Lloyd’s Register is working to look at optimisation throughout the design life of the ship, rather than around a single point.



7. Chinese Ships Caught In Drug War

Authorities in Mexico have been holding four Chinese ships and their crews since May as they try to end drug cartels’ involvement in iron ore sales. Some 95 Chinese crew members are on the ships and they are encountering health problems related to being stuck on board for months. Mexico started cracking down on drug cartels’ involvement in the iron ore business in March, reports The Financial Times. The illegal organizations earn about US$ 15 for each ton of exported ore. One group, called the Knights Templar, smuggled some 272,000 tons of ore in 2013, about 44 percent of Mexico’s output.




8. Drones To Sniff Funnels

Drone innovator, Explicit has receive recognition and extra funding for its “sniffer” drone, produced to monitor sulphur emissions from ships. The company was one of only ten finalists at the 2014 Ocean Exchange innovation contest in Savannah, Georgia. The company has also received $100,000 in extra finding from the Danish EPA, which Ocean Exchange says highlights “the urgent need for strong enforcement initiatives with new sulphur limits on ship emissions only a few months away.” The Explicit “sniffer” drone uses a self-guided system which seeks out ships during cruise, measures sulphur emissions and reports back in real time.




9. Boxes Full of Nasty Surprises

It has been an unwelcome part of the containerisation of shipping that the unscrupulous have exploited this (otherwise very positive) development to ship all manner of contraband, and even smuggle people. Recent events in Manila, the Philippines, have thrown a spot light on the problem of mis-declaration of container contents as a way of dumping waste in developing nations. It was reported that in January this year, a shipment of 50 containers was intercepted at the Port of Manila after being allegedly found to contain waste materials instead of the described “scrap plastic materials for recycling”. The shipment originated from Canada.




10. Rush to Arctic Sea Routes

The Northern Sea Route of the Northeast Passage saw a record number of applications for permits to sail the famed arctic route in 2014, while sea ice extent prevented the Northwest Passage from opening up for the first time in five years, according to new data from Weathernews Inc.’s Global Ice Center. In their annual 2014 report,  Weathernews notes that this year the Northeast Passage fully opened in late August and stayed open for six weeks until closing October 1. Russia’s Northern Sea Route Administration (NSRA) received over six hundred applications for permission to transit the Northeastern passage this year, the most on record.




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


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S Jones
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