Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/11/2014

Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/11/2014


1. Seafarers Cooking Up Trouble

The U.S. Coast Guard reported over the weekend that doctors were transported aboard the 680-foot Liberian-flagged bulk carrier "Agapi S" via tugboat after 19 of 21 crew members came down with food poisoning. Doctors confirmed ill crewmembers were stable and did not require medical attention ashore after suffering from food poisoning after eating fish caught by the crew.  Symptoms for fifteen of the crewmembers are subsiding while four others who still displayed symptoms showed signs of improvement after receiving treatment onboard. In July, a similar situation when barracuda was served onboard a different ship.




2. Singapore Embraces New and Old Tech

A rise in piracy attacks off the coast of Singapore has prompted the city-state to boost surveillance efforts with a radar-equipped blimp over its skyline.  An unmanned helium-filled balloon the length of an Olympic-size pool will be held down by fortified ropes to float 600 meters (2,000 feet) above ground — more than twice the height of Singapore’s tallest building, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on its website.  “Both aviation and maritime domains have to be closely monitored in the light of the more recent developments, for instance the MH370,” said a leading academic in the Island state.




3. Cruise Ship Hit by Crew Death

One crewmember has died and another injured in an accident involving a rescue boat onboard Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess. According to a statement from Princess Cruises the two crewmembers were inside one of the Coral Princess’ two rescue boats performing maintenance work on the hull of ship. When the boat was being raised back onboard the ship with the two crewmembers still inside, one of the cables that raises and lowers the boat parted, causing it to drop back into the water. Both of the crewmembers were taken to local hospital where one of them died from injuries sustained.



4. Confusion Over Growing Piracy Terror Links

Experts are seeking to downplay concerns raised last week by the United Arab Emirates that Islamic State militants could unite with al-Shabab terrorists and expand to the seas, since no evidence has been established of links between terrorists and pirates. The minister described the al-Shabab group not only as a terrorist group, but “also an extortionist group that we have mandated a number of activities to limit their source of funds.” The US State Department see things differently, and believes they have now made it "extremely unprofitable to invest in piracy".




5. Marco Polo Runs Aground

The great explorer would turn in his grave at news that his Cruise ship namesake "MS Marco Polo" has run aground with 750 passengers on board while manoeuvring to anchor near Leknes in Norway’s northern Lofoten Islands. Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), a passenger shipping company headquartered in Essex, UK  informed that due to adverse wind conditions experienced by their cruise ship MS Marco Polo when approaching her berth in Leknes (Lofoten Islands), Norway, it was decided, in the interest of safety, to take anchor. There was no damage to the vessel’s hull or propulsion systems, the company said in a release.



6. Shipping’s Green Credentials Tested

Shipping, the servant of global trade, has a massive environmental footprint. The industry is responsible for 1bn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year (similar to the emissions of Germany). Still, shipping is better than air freight. A Defra study concludes that 2 tonnes of freight carried for 5,000km by a small container ship creates 150kg of CO2e (a measure of relative global warming potential) compared to 6,605kg of CO2e if the freight is carried by plane for the same distance. A clear difference. The only caveat being that container ships are gigantic and getting bigger.




7. Time to Trim the Tonnage Fat

The recent Moore Stephens costs figures for shipping showed some worrying trends, with a surfeit of tonnage on the market likely to have the effect of increasing operating costs. “The recent increase in tonnage supply will add pressure to operating costs,” said one, while another observed, “Only those owners and managers who can trim their vessel operating costs will come out ahead.” Another predicted that owners and operators “will look at possibilities to reduce their cost base by looking at alternative shipmanagement options, or whatever else will result in cost reductions, in order to remain competitive.”




8. New Scrutiny of Death Ship

A shipping firm already under investigation over how two Filipino sailors were killed aboard a bulk carrier in Australian waters faces new scrutiny following allegations the ship is a "rusting hulk" in breach of Australian safety rules.  The "Sage Sagittarius" has been subject to various inspections, and a looming inquest by the NSW State Coroner will look into how the seafarers died on the ship in late 2012.  The death of a Japanese superintendent will also be considered in the inquest.  He was killed on the Sagittarius just weeks after it left the Port of Newcastle, earning the carrier its notorious title of "Death or Murder Ship" from the ITF.




9. Shaping Up for Ship of Shame Campaign

Interlegal together with the Nautical Institute of Ukraine recently organised a Round Table called «ITF Campaign “Black Sea of Shame”: what shall ship owners expect». The ITF has recognised Black Sea as the worst in the world upon vessels quality and working conditions. The following shall be deemed as criteria for the term “substandard” and shall serve as grounds for total detailed vessel inspections: Vessel age (over 20 years old), Small and medium companies – ship-owners, Flag of convenient registration, Absence of P&I insurance. Which all seem perfectly reasonable really.




10. Italy Bows to Migrant Pressure

Italy has said it will close a sea rescue mission that has saved the lives of more than 100,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East, a move one rights group warned could lead to a “surge of deaths” in the Mediterranean. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the Mare Nostrum or “Our Sea” mission would end to make way for a smaller European Union scheme – and to help relieve the strain on Italy’s public finances. “Mare Nostrum is closing down because it was an emergency operation,” Alfano told a news conference. “The number of people who die is not proportionate to the number of euros spent,” Alfano said.



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


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S Jones
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