Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/11/2014
1. Tanker Boarded Seafarers Taken
Turkish media said the 10,700-dwt Basat (built 2008) was en route from Cameroon to Ivory coast when it was boarded by gunmen on 5 November. All but two of the 14 Turks on board made it to the citadel on the vessel. The pirates opened fire at random and stole valuables, as well as abducting Murat Yilmaz and Emrah Samancioglu. Contact has been made over a ransom. The vessel reached Abidjan a day later. It is operated by Tune Chemical Tankers of the Netherlands.
2. Sentence Handed to Sewol Master
The ferry captain who abandoned hundreds of schoolchildren when the Sewol capsized and sank off the coast of South Korea in April has been given 36 years in prison on the same day that divers abandoned the search for the bodies of six people still missing. Lee Jun-seok was sentenced after a court in the city of Gwangju found him not guilty of murder but convicted him of gross negligence causing death for abandoning the sinking ship with more than 300 passengers, most of them teenagers on a school excursion, on board. The court sentenced the Sewol’s chief engineer to 30 years after finding him guilty of homicide.
3. Seafarer Welfare Awards Announced
The International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards 2015 are being launched today. For seafarers, the backbone of the industry, welfare services and facilities can be a life line when working away from home for long periods of time. These awards recognise excellence in the provision of welfare services by shipping companies, welfare organisations, ports and individuals – on ship and ashore. They showcase good practice in the industry, and highlight the commitment and dedication shown by many – in the service to seafarers. With nominations now open, seafarers are encouraged to recognise those that have shown them exceptional service.
4. Owners Warn of Algerian Frauds
A Shipowner recently encountered a fraud for a substantial sum in Algeria. They fixed a contract with charterers for the carriage of a cargo of phosphate and boilers loading at Oran, Algeria under “Liner In” terms. But after making payments of US$100,000 in advance for stevedore and berthing costs, they were no longer able to reach the charterer’s designated local agent – Messrs. SUTCU Shipping & Logistics Ltd. P&I Club correspondents in Algeria have advised that the Owner is unfortunately a victim of fraudsters, who are not located in Algeria but in Turkey. Similar incidents have been encountered in Algeria since 2011.
5. Awards Made to Shipping Stars
The United Seamen’s Service (USS) 2014 Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards (AOTOS) were presented to Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF); Joseph J. Cox, President/CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America; and Frederick J. Harris, President of General Dynamics NASSCO and Bath Iron Works, an American shipbuilder. The maritime industry’s most prestigious awards were presented at a gala industry dinner and dance held at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, New York City.
6. Denial of Care to Sick Crews
United Nations and other leading international transport, trade and tourism organizations have expressed concern about the report denial of medical care for ill seafarers on board ships that had previously called at ports in Ebola-affected countries. In a statement, the Travel and Transport Task Force called for international cooperation of governments and the transport sector in following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola, convened by the UN World Health Organization (WHO). The Task Force said noted it is concerned about reports of denial of medical care for ill seafarers.
7. Winding Up Fund Causes Headaches
A decision to wind up the 1971 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) before all cases are resolved has caused headaches for the P&I Clubs, Simon Bennett of ICS has said. It puts a spoke in the wheel of a quick and efficient regime established by the IMO Civil Liability (CLC) and Fund Conventions. This compensates pollution victims with costs being divided between shipowners and cargo interests; the shipowners’ contribution is paid regardless of fault and claimants have recourse to the oil-industry funded IOPCF if the shipowner’s liability is exceeded.
8. Sea Health Checks are Vital
“How do we know if the Baltic sea is healthy if we don’t measure how fit it is?” says Johanna Laurila of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM. The issue has been however that measurement needs a yardstick. Especially since the large, and ecologically high-profile Baltic region has gathered a plethora of recommendations for monitoring of mammals and seabirds, fisheries, nonindigenous species and benthic habitats. Given this, it is very easy to waste time and resources on reinventing the wheel – while other aspects get missed. Further, there’s a need to ‘show and tell’ what’s being done.
9. Spending Big On Silk Road
China, already at the centre of world trade, plans to spend billions of dollars to revive intercontinental land routes and develop maritime links to expand commerce and give it more weight in a freight system dominated by European shipping lines. President Xi Jinping set out his vision during a visit to Kazakhstan and has announced an initial $40 billion for a “Silk Road fund” to invest in infrastructure and industrial and financial cooperation, aiming to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia. “The cost of it is so mind-blowingly big and I would say that the only country in the world that could ever dream of this is China,” he said.
10. Bulker Clips Brooklyn Bridge
A bulk carrier clipped the bottom of the Brooklyn Bridge Friday night causing its brief closure but no damage to the bridge or ship. A U.S. Coast Guard official said that the MV Rainbow Quest scraped the bottom of the Brooklyn Bridge with its mast while outbound on New York’s East River at approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday, the Associated Press reports. The bridge was closed for a short period as crews assessed the span, but inspections showed no signs of damage. AIS Data from MarineTraffic.com showed the Gibraltar-flagged MV Rainbow Quest moored in Providence, RI after the incident.
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