Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 31/10/2014

Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 31/10/2014

1. Seafarers Finally Freed After Years in Captivity

Seven Indian seafarers held hostage by pirates in Somalia for more than four years have been released. The men are the remaining crew members of the Panama-flagged 3,884dwt general cargo ship Asphalt Venture, which was hijacked on 28 September 2010. In April 2011 eight of the crew, along with the vessel, were released, leaving seven men detained ashore. A statement from the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) said the release was achieved by "lengthy negotiations" and a "modest payment" to cover "the logistical and transport costs of the group holding the men".




2. Swedish Grounding and Oil Spill

The Swedish Coast Guard has evacuated a 2874gt bulk carrier as it ran aground and takes on water in the Stockholm archipelago. The ship’s master, engineers and Coast Guard personnel remained on board to pump out water. Sweden’s Maritime Administration will led the operation. Upon first report of the incident at around 5 a.m. locally, there were holes in the hull and double-bottom fuel leaked from a tank. The ship’s crew was working to transfer the oil from the container damaged by the grounding into an intact tank on the vessel. Concern is spreading over Stockholm’s pristine network of islands and inlets, and the impact of the oil spill.



3. Concerns As Passengers Jump From Ships

The Philippines Coast Guard has voiced grave concerns at the growing number of suicide cases rising among ship passengers.There have been 12 cases of passengers jumping off the ship from June to October 2014, higher than the 10 cases recorded in 2013 The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the number of people committing suicide by jumping off a ship has increased. "There is a growing number of cases. Those mostly involved were depressed and have mental problems," said PCG Spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo. Suicide, an avoidable mental health concern, is a phenomenon affecting thousands of people worldwide.




4. Institutional Reform Needed in Piracy Battle

Heads of international delegations voiced their views on the closing day of the fourth UAE Counter-Piracy Conference hosted in Dubai, calling for institutional reforms. Providing an overview of the high-level discussions at the conference, Riad Kahwaji, CEO of INEGMA, said, “Companies have come together to help with projects which can improve the situation on ground. Projects have helped in building schools, supporting institution reforms and vocational training which has directly contributed to overcoming unemployment and helping the state building process.” He added, “Information sharing has to be both on land and sea".



5. Jobs Needed for Africans Too

As many as 11 million young Africans enter the job market every year yet 70 per cent of them remain unemployed due to skill mismatch, delegates at the closing day of the fourth UAE Counter-Piracy conference heard on Thursday. Speakers at the conference raised concerns about the spike in drug trafficking and the growing link between pirates and smugglers, particularly in West Africa. Underground market activities flourish in times of high unemployment. Didier Acouetey, President of think tank AfricSearch called for a shift in the education system that could provide youngsters with the right skill sets to be employed by the private sector.




6. New Technology to Detect and Deter Pirates

Thales has unveiled new service solution Pastor, which is designed to protect vessels against piracy at the on-going Euronaval 2014 exhibition. Developed mainly for the shipping industry, the new service solution is based on a combination of early warning, prevention and deterrence systems. With its detection and identification functions, the Pastor system will offer early warnings about piracy threats, which will help shipping companies to eliminate additional costs of route changes, late deliveries, thefts of cargo, large onboard vessel protection teams and higher insurance premiums.




7. Marpol Sulphur Talks Dominate Conference

Day one of the Fuels, Lubes & Emissions Technology Conference saw a range of lively and thought-provoking discussions and debate from an array of international speakers, panellists and delegates. The day’s proceedings were inevitably dominated by the imminent deadline for the Marpol Annex VI reduction in permitted sulphur levels, which falls on 1 January 2015. Indeed, ‘Session One: Regulation Update’, began with Poul Woodall of DFDS reminding delegates that the deadline fell in just 65 days and expressing his concern that the industry was not ready for what he called the “modal shift” this date would bring.



8. Offshore Supply Vessel Association Beckons

The OSV sector could benefit from the formation of an association to represent its interests, according to participants at Seatrade Middle East Maritime. The idea was put forward from the audience at the offshore oil and gas conference session on the show’s third day. A representative from the marine department of a significant local oil major shared his experience of dealing with local owners and operators. A significant number of shipowners he works with were asking that they not implement an OVID (Offshore Vessel Inspection Database) requirement, a measure that he views as a necessary measure in moving the industry forwards.



9. Marine Losses Brought Into Focus

Damage encountered in marine losses came into sharp focus recently when Braemar (Incorporating The Salvage Association), referred to as Braemar SA, welcomed an invited group of marine insurance professionals onto its specialist port and shipyard familiarisation course in Falmouth designed to introduce participants to the technical aspects of marine surveying, investigating, reporting techniques and marine insurance. Braemar SA has been running this popular initiative for many years, reinforcing its commitment to the industry by providing background knowledge and understanding to marine insurance professionals.




10. Panama Canal Mule Moves Threaten Safety

In 2006, the Panama Canal Administration determined the Canal needed to be expanded in order to remain competitive. A detailed Master Plan for the expansion project was subsequently developed by the Panama Canal Authority and disseminated throughout the country. The Panama Canal Pilots though are majorly concerned about a shift from using land based locomotives (mules) to tugboats. This is a major issue, as it represents a change from the current highly successful method of moving vessels, as the Panama Canal Administration has dictated to the pilots that we must adopt the new tugboat based system.




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


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S Jones
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