Seacurus Daily Top Ten News Stories 08/10/2014
1. Radioactive Ship Fire Drama
A ship carrying radioactive concrete was forced to put down its anchor just off the Scottish coast in the North Sea on Tuesday after a fire in one of its funnels, the British coastguard said. The fire on the Parida, which was believed to be carrying radioactive concrete from a power station to Antwerp, Belgium, is now out and the ship was attempting to put down its anchor, the coastguard told Reuters. “The fire is out and he is lowering his anchor to stop him drifting,” the coastguard said by telephone. The fire was reported at about 1900 GMT, the coastguard said.
2. Nigerian Piracy Set to Increase
Piracy will increase in the Gulf of Guinea as Nigeria prepares for an election next February in order to funnel ransom money into campaign financing, intelligence experts have reported. Risk Intelligence said two "mother ships" belonging to pirates are currently located just south of Nigeria and five seafarers are know to be held hostage onshore. "Ahead of general elections, kidnap-for-ransom and attacks on offshore targets increase," Managing Director Hans Tino Hansen told Reuters at a special session on maritime crime and the effects on growth and development in Africa.
3. Maritime College Cyber Attack
The website of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy was targeted Monday by a group of hackers identifying themselves as the Moroccan Islamic Union-mail. The attack was first noticed Monday afternoon at about 1:30 p.m. when visitors to the school’s webmail were redirected to a website run by Islamic extremists, according to a statement from the school’s President, Rear Admiral Richard Gurnon. The landing page reportedly showed an image of an American soldier’s grave with Arabic writing underneath. The school’s website was restored, but was again attacked Monday night.
4. Social Media Storm
Ten days ago, the Costa Fascinosa was hit by 90 knot winds after the cruise ship left Venice. The cruise ship listed heavily and plates and glasses crashed to the decks and floors throughout the galleys and bars on the ship. Passengers experienced widespread panic. A Filipino pastry chef working aboard the Fascinosa posted his accounts of the storm on Facebook and included photographs and video of considerable damage in the galley where he worked. It is understood that Costa terminated the pastry chef’s employment for mentioning the incident on Facebook. The cruise company’s conduct has been slammed online.
5. Hunt for Missing Tanker
Southeast Asian maritime authorities have begun a search for a Vietnamese oil tanker, which has been missing for six days and is feared to have been hijacked by pirates, reports said. The 5,900-dwt Sunrise 689, which was carrying a crew of 18 people and over 5,000 tonnes of gas oil, disappeared from the radar 40 minutes after it left Singapore on 2 October when it was bound for Quang Tri province in central Vietnam. “It looks like their communication system is off or destroyed,” Noel Choong, head of International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur, told Reuters. Attempts to trace the tanker have failed.
6. Failure to Make Lifting Gear Safe
It can’t be clearer or more dramatic: failures in the present regime of onboard lifting gear inspections are resulting in injury and death. “A crane failure resulted in three fatalities – just weeks after a ship survey,” says Richard Brough of ICHCA adding that a ‘significant’ number of lifting appliances on workboats or provisions barges have failed with serious consequences for those underneath. Peregrine Storrs-Fox of TT Club adds: “There is a misconception that Classification Societies ‘regulate’ inspections of ships’ lifting appliances,” adding that "unclear records" likewise adds to the problem. It is a difficult issue, admits Mr Brough.
7. Ferry Disaster Captain Apology
The captain of a South Korean ferry that capsized in April killing about 300 people, most of them school children, apologised in court on Wednesday for his failure to rescue passengers in the country’s worst maritime disaster for decades. "I have committed a grave crime. I am sorry," Lee Joon-seok, the 68-year-old captain, was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. Anger and grief gripped the nation after the disaster, and President Park Geun-hye’s government was heavily criticised for what was seen as a botched rescue operation. Lee was among 15 crew members accused of abandoning the ferry after telling the passengers to stay put. http://goo.gl/PhZAta
8. Shipowners Call for Scrubber Clarity
The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ESCA) has released a position paper reiterating its call for clarity on scrubber legislation in the North Sea Emissions Control Area (ECA), ahead of the entry into force of the 0.1% sulphur cap in January. “ECSA urges national competent authorities in member states to define with no delay a harmonised, clear and long-term position on the discharge of scrubbing technology washwater in ports, estuaries and coastal waters,” the paper reads. “ECSA stresses that the IMO Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) Guidelines should prevail and should not be overruled by diverging local regulations.”
9. Major Bulk Company Merger
Golden Ocean Group and Knightsbridge Shipping have agreed to merge to form a single dry bulk shipping company with a fleet of 72 vessels, of which 36 are newbuildings under construction. Golden Ocean and Knightsbridge are two separately-listed shipowners under John Fredriksen’s group of companies. “By combining Knightsbridge and Golden Ocean we seek to create a company with a unique fleet and strong balance sheet and build one of the world’s leading dry bulk shipping companies,” Ola Lorentzon, chairman and ceo of Knightsbridge, and John Fredriksen, chairman of Golden Ocean Group Limited, jointly commented in a statement.
10. Robots Monitoring The Seas
A fleet of marine robots is being launched in the largest deployment of its kind in British waters. Unmanned boats and submarines will travel 500km (300 miles) across an area off the southwestern tip of the UK. The aim is to test new technologies and to map marine life in a key fishing ground. In total, seven autonomous machines are being released in a trial heralded as a new era of robotic research at sea. Two of the craft are innovative British devices that are designed to operate for months using renewable sources of power including wind and wave energy. The project involves more than a dozen research centres.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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