Seacurus Daily Top Ten News Stories 01/10/2014
1. Changes to Seafarer HRA Payments
Philippine labour officials have announced new guidelines on the limits of high-risk areas in the Gulf of Aden, and the benefits due to seafarers who pass through there. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s Governing Board issued Resolution No. 26 defining these high-risk areas and corresponding benefits. With "Extended Risk Zone" status in place, there will be additional compensation paid to seafarers if the vessel is subject to a confirmed attack. Under the guidelines, seafarers on board ships transiting in areas off Somalia, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea.
2. Car Carrier Collide
Two car carriers collided on Monday afternoon, September 29th in the Zeebrugge Pierre Vandamme lock, Belgium. Cyprus-registered car carrier Neckar Highway was heading from Grimsby bound for Malmo when it collided with Singapore-flagged Baltic Breeze. No injuries have been reported. After the accident, vehicle carrier Baltic Breeze was towed by two tugs, Smit Lion and Smit Kiwi. The vessel is owned and operated by European short sea RoRo operator United European Car Carriers (UECC). The lock is 500m long and 57m wide, enough to to receive the biggest car carriers or several vessels at the same time.
3. IMO Tackles Shoreleave
The Facilitation Committee (FAL) has approved a revised annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), 1965, as amended, following a comprehensive five-year review aimed at modernizing the Convention. Revisions cover shore leave and access to shore-side facilities for crew, including the addition of a paragraph in the standard to say that there should be no discrimination, in respect of shore leave, on grounds of nationality, race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, or social origin, and irrespective of the flag State of the ship on which seafarers are employed, engaged or work.
4. Little Comfort In MOL Report
The loss of the MOL Comfort is considered the single worst containership loss in history. The 8,000 TEU-class ship suffered a hull girder fracture amidships on June 17, 2013, eventually split into two sections, and slowly drifted apart in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Four days later the stern and hundreds (if not thousands) of containers sank in waters 4,000 meters deep. Investigators found that the hull fracture originated from the buckling collapse of the bottom shell plates underneath the No. 6 Cargo Hold. ClassNK now believes it is necessary to assess hull girder ultimate strength differently and with due regard to stresses.
5. Lawyer Look for Red Flags
Maritime law is, perhaps, at its most dramatic when it comes to ship collisions. Often lawyers will seek to identify "Red Flags" which hint at problems onboard, and which have likely contributed to the incident. A "red flag", in English, means "a glaring problem". Avoiding red flags means that glaring problems are being avoided; of course, this can be done honestly, i.e. by not causing the problems to begin with, or dishonestly, i.e. by covering up the problem after the fact. Manipulation of evidence does occur, changes to navigation plots or logbook entries. But seafarers are reminded that any falsifications can lead to criminal penalties.
6. ILO Trainers Meet on Cruise Ship
Costa Cruises’ Costa Luminosa hosted representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and 30 delegates representing countries visited by the ship while docked in the Italian port of Savona on 28 September. Organised in cooperation with the Italian Coast Guard, the event was held as part of ILO’s Train the Trainers programme, which provides a comprehensive set of practices, tools and learning modules related to the education of managers, learning facilitators and other professional trainers. The group participated in a simulation of Flag State and Port State Control inspection and attended a presentation on MLC.
7. China Challenges for Insurers
It could be just the typical morose nature of the insurance industry but even China, which once held out great prospects, is seen as a challenging market. The International Union of Marine Insurers (IUMI) 2014 Conference was held for the first time in China in Hong Kong last week presumably due to those prospects for the industry but attendees were warned that it is tough and going to get tougher. Delegates heard the Chinese marine insurance share is miniscule. Cargo premiums make up just under 2% of total non-life premiums, while hull premiums contribute just over 1%. Furthermore, in 2013 premium growth was negative.
8. South Korea Commits to GoA
South Korean troops will likely extend their deployment in the Gulf of Aden and the United Arab Emirates by another year. South Korea’s cabinet approved a bill on Tuesday, according to a government official. If the South Korean parliament approves the bill, it will allow the troops to stay in the Gulf of Aden until the end of 2015. Since the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia, South Korea, among other nations, has deployed its navy to the Gulf of Aden in 2009 to ensure the safety of cargo vessels, which were getting hijacked by the pirates. There are about 320 South Korean troops in the Gulf, including marines, pilots and navy SEALs.
9. Migrant Deaths Worry Shipping
The increasing number of migrants dying while illegally crossing the Mediterranean sea is set to go from bad to worse. Sub-Saharan immigrants who came from poor countries (economic immigrants) and repressive regimes (asylum seekers) used to make up the bulk of immigrants heading to the ‘death sea’. However, of late, refugees from war-torn countries including Syria, Iraq and Palestine have dominated the migration. The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM), claimed that the total number of migrants ‘lost’ in the sea this year reached 2,900, including those 500 drowned recently in the Mediterranean sea.
10. Robots Checking Ship Hulls
MIT researchers have unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side so that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans. Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also inspect ships for the false hulls and propeller shafts that smugglers frequently use to hide contraband. Because of its small size and unique propulsion mechanism — which leaves no visible wake — the robots could, in theory, be concealed in clumps of algae or other camouflage. Fleets of them could swarm over ships at port.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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