Seacurus Daily Top Ten News Stories 06/10/2014
1. Maritime Flag of Convenience Lessons Applied
The ITF is using its experience working with maritime flags of convenience (FOCs) to educate civil aviation unions on the dangers of FOC expansion within their industry. The group has published an educational leaflet to highlight the ways aircraft and companies registered in countries with lower safety and labour standards are already being used to drive down wages and working conditions. The ITF warned of the dangers of FOCs in aviation over a decade ago, but comparisons to the maritime industry were dismissed as alarmist. At the time, it was argued that the tight regulation in aviation would prevent any drop in standards.
2. Hidden Threats Within Alliance Trends
The 2M alliance between the shipping heavyweights, Denmark’s Maersk Line and Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company is currently under scrutiny of the U.S.A. and China regulators. The companies are trying to appear confident in the approval of the alliance, saying that the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) approval should be just a formality. The proposed 2M alliance could pose a serious threat to the market, according to the Chairman of the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) Denis Choumert. Mr. Choumert warned that the “2M operators might set up an extremely damaging situation to world trade.”
3. Tackling West African Piracy
A new industry report on West African piracy sees the risk is highest when the ship is at anchor, drifting off of a port or close to a pilot station and also, when two ships are adrift alongside each other when vessels are transferring cargo between each other. Piracy is more common at night, so ending operations during daylight hours is recommended. The guidance advises vessels to use e-mail or satellite telephone instead of VHF radio communications. The guidelines also recommend avoiding tendering a Notice of Readiness when not immediately conducting cargo operations, as doing so would tip off potential hijackers.
4. Controversial Vessel Still in Port
A controversial ship berthed in New Zealand remains stranded. The "Vega Auriga" arrived in Tauranga in August after being banned from Australia for three months due to problems with the treatment of crew. An inspection of the ship on its arrival found 14 issues that have since been fixed. The Mediterranean Shipping Company, which chartered the ship, ended its charter as it was no longer able to fulfil its contract, which included taking cargo to and from Australia. The company has since been unable to find a new chartererer and so the crew have become trapped and had been struggling to buy food.
5. Charity to Tackle Education and Research
The “Maria Tsakos” Foundation-International Center of Maritime Research and Tradition and DNV GL have embarked on a joint venture to cooperate on the maritime transportation domain, with particular emphasis on maritime education, research and environmental protection. A signing ceremony to commemorate the agreement between the two partners was held at the Foundation’s headquarters. The MoU honours the Foundation and expressing the wish for a long co-operation to the benefit of shipping and the wide objectives the two partners aim to promote safer shipping and better conditions for seafarers and the environment.
6. Chemical Guide for Tankers In Pipeline
A fourth edition of the ICS’‘Tanker Safety Guide (Chemicals)’ is to be published this November. This book will replace the previous edition that was published in 2002. The ICS said that it strongly recommended that a copy is carried on board every tanker engaged in the carriage of chemical cargoes and that copies are also held within shipping company technical departments. As well as taking account of the latest industry best practice, large sections of the Guide have been totally rewritten, primarily with the aim of assisting seafarers’ comprehension, the ICS said. The full list price is £395 per copy, plus delivery charge.
7. Malaysian Navy Loses A Vessel
The Royal Malaysian Navy has lost contact with one of its gunboats off the coast of Sabah. Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar in a Twitter posting last night confirmed the boat with seven crew members was lost during rough seas. "Three Royal Malaysian Navy ships KD Lekiu (above), KD Paus and KD Serang have been tasked in the search and rescue (SAR) operation. "The Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency are also assisting in the SAR operation," he said. Abdul Aziz said the lost gunboat carried the pennant number CB204 and was led by Lieutenant Azri Bakar. "Pray that they are safe," he added.
8. Croatian Shipowners Join European Counterparts
The Croatian Shipowners’ Association ‘Mare Nostrum’ has joined ECSA as full member. The association counts ten members, who deploy a fleet of 141 ships, representing a tonnage of 1.7 million GT and 2.8 million DWT. Croatian shipowners employ 3264 seafarers. The Croatian fleet consists mainly of dry bulk vessels, but also comprises crude and product tankers as well as ferries. Ms Maja Markovčić Kostelac, Director of the Croatian Shipowners’ Association said: “We are very proud and pleased to join ECSA, with which we share the same values and concerns. Being part of the ECSA family will enable us to interact with EU officials".
9. US Unmanned Patrol Vessels
The US navy says it is close to using armed, robotic patrol boats without sailors on board to escort and defend warships moving through the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes and a key shipping route for China. The technology, adapted from space agency Nasa’s rovers on Mars, could transform how a navy operates and is sure to raise fresh concerns about the widening role of robots in warfare. The Office of Naval Research yesterday released the results of what it called an unprecedented demonstration in August involving 13 robotic patrol craft escorting a ship along the James River in the US state of Virginia.
10. Bubble to Bermuda
There may be other examples of ocean crossings that lacked solid planning or risk analysis, but as far as voyages in recent memory, this one certainly takes the cake. With only protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone, US citizen Reza Baluchi attempted to run from Florida to Bermuda inside a hydro pod bubble.
After a making it 70 nautical miles off the coast of St. Augustine , reports came in to the USCG that Baluchi had started asking for directions to Bermuda on Wednesday, October 1st. The man had to be rescued from his foolish mission by a USCG cutter.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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