Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/11/2014
1. Pirate Suspects Acquitted
Twelve Somali men tried for piracy were acquitted Thursday in Mauritius for lack of evidence, court officials said. "The prosecution did not provide enough evidence to prove the guilt of the accused," magistrate Wendy Rangan said, ending a year-long trial that began in October 2013. The 12 men, aged between 20 and 45, were accused of attacking the Panamanian-flagged container ship MSC Jasmine in the Indian Ocean in January 2013, before being captured by European naval forces and transferred to Mauritius for trial.
2. Engine Room Explosion Injures Crew
Five crew members were seriously injured in a crankcase explosion that occurred on board the Chinese-flagged bulker "Tian Xiang 69". The explosion occurred while the vessel was sailing 50 nautical miles southeast off Weihai. The crew has been evacuated by a helicopter to a nearby hospital with the assistance of Beihai Rescue Bureau, a division of the Ministry of Transport. The cause of the explosion is yet to be determined, as investigation is underway. According to the vessel tracking data from Marine Traffic the vessel is currently anchored some 6.5 nautical miles off Bindao Island.
3. Maersk Digs Deep for Settlement
Maersk Line has paid the United States of America USD 8.7 million as the result of a civil settlement regarding Maersk’s failure to fully comply with certain terms of its contract with the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). Under Maersk’s contract with USTRANSCOM, the Department of Defense used Maersk services to ship cargo from the United States to military outposts in Afghanistan. Maersk moved cargo by sea to an appropriate port, then by trucks over land. Some claims submitted by Maersk contained suspicious signatures. Further investigation revealed that receipts of shipments in Afghanistan were forged.
4. Recovery Set to be Slow Process
The global shipping market is unlikely to see a recovery during the next two years as it grapples with an oversupply of vessels, the chairman of China’s largest shipping group has said. The sector has been battling overcapacity since the 2008 financial crisis because new vessels ordered before the downturn have flooded the market, dragging down rates and hitting Chinese ship builders hard. Ma Zehua, the chairman of China Ocean Shipping Group (COSCO), said the firm was focusing on cost control, securing long-term customers and expanding in emerging markets, such as South America and the Middle East, to counter the slump.
5. Terror Threat Spooks Indian Navy
India pulled two naval warships out the Kolkata port yesterday after intelligence information that they might be targeted by terrorists, a navy officer reported. The INS Khukri and INS Sumitra had entered the port of the city previously known as Calcutta late Nov.3 and had been scheduled to stay until tomorrow for public viewings, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the intelligence data isn’t public. The public visiting program has been canceled, the official said. Kolkata remains on high alert, K.S. Dhatwalia, a spokesman for India’s Home Ministry, stated.
6. Bulk Cargoes Code Compliance
Skuld P&I Clubs has advised members that as of 1 January 2015 compliance with the Amendments 02-13 to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code will become mandatory as per Resolution MSC.354(92) adopted during The Maritime Safety Committee’s ninety-second session (12 to 21 June 2013).
Amendments 02-13 are the second set of amendments to the IMSBC Code. There is a general aim to have an amendment carried out every two years to reflect changes in the nature and variety of solid bulk cargoes shipped and advances in expert understanding of the safest ways to carry established solid bulk cargoes.
7. Crude Market Stays Close to Home
In the three months ending in August, the United States and Canada swapped a record amount of crude oil with each other, one of the more bizarre consequences of outdated U.S. export controls. Because U.S. oil producers cannot export crude oil to any other country, crude is sent north to refineries in Canada, even if it would make more sense to ship it to refineries in Europe, Latin America or Asia. In some instances, crude is even shipped past U.S. refineries on the East Coast that want to take it and on up north because of the antiquated restrictions on coastwise trade within the United States imposed by the Jones Act.
8. China Crisis of Air Quality
US-based Natural Resources Defense Council has released a report on air pollution in China citing shipping as a major contributor and recommending the introduction of emission control areas (ECAs). The report: "Prevention and Control of Shipping and Port Air Emissions in Chin" a states China is home to seven of the world’s ten busiest container ports. About 26% of the world’s containers pass through the top ten Chinese ports every year. Every ship and truck brings pollution along with its cargo, and China is paying a high price for pollution from shipping. In 2010 the country saw an estimated 1.2 million premature deaths caused by air pollution.
9. Sierra Leone Vessel Set for Strict Tests
The crew of a ship due to arrive in Falmouth this weekend from Sierra Leone are being subjected to rigorous screening for the Ebola virus. Under a new programme not usually used in ports, Public Health England (PHE) will carry out temperature checks on arrival of the Gypsum Centennial and go through a questionnaire with each of the 30 crew, similar to those given to people arriving at airports. A spokesman for PHE said it was "working closely with port authorities and the ship", adding: "Crew on board the ship are having their temperature checked daily and will be given screening questionnaires to complete prior to their arrival."
10. Manila Looks to Reshuffle Cargo Pack
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is reshuffling berthing arrangements in order to ease port congestion in the country ahead of the Christmas season. Vessels designated or arranged to call at the Port of Manila on an ‘ad hoc’ basis will be berthed at South Harbor or Subic Bay Freeport, according to a PPA memorandum released on Monday. Those vessels calling at the Port as part of a regularly scheduled service will not be affected. Vessels whose ports of loading and/or unloading are both South Harbor and MICT will be directed by the PPA to berth at South Harbor or Manila International Container Terminal upon arrival.
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