Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/11/2014
1. UN Backs Somali Piracy Patrols
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to authorise international ships to keep patrolling sea lanes off Somalia and protecting shipping in the Indian Ocean from pirates who threaten the delivery of humanitarian aid and the safety of key maritime routes. The resolution adopted on Wednesday said counter-piracy efforts by states, regions, organisations, the maritime industry and others "have resulted in a sharp decline in pirate attacks as well as hijackings since 2011". But the council expressed grave concern at the threat that pirates pose not only to commercial shipping but to fishing activities and the safety of seafarers.
2. Egyptian Drama as Gun Boat Attacked
Gunmen in a fishing boat opened fire on an Egyptian naval launch which shot back, killing at least four of the attackers on Wednesday. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in the Mediterranean north of the port of Damietta, near the Suez Canal. The military has faced attacks from Islamist militants based in the Sinai Peninsula further east, and smugglers also operate in the area. The military said in a statement it had destroyed four of the militants’ boats and captured 32 individuals in what it termed a "terrorist incident." The statement said five navy forces were wounded and eight others were still unaccounted for.
3. Free and Vital Seafarer Guidance on Ebola
KVH Industries has announced it will release Videotel’s new video about Ebola safety to mariners for free. In an effort to increase awareness of important prevention measures, Ebola – Staying Safe explains the dangers of the Ebola virus and its impact on ships and seafarers. On KVH’s Ebola safety website mariners will be able to download the free video and an accompanying workbook. In addition to this, KVH delivered the entire video program today to its IP MobileCast customers on vessels across the globe, who will automatically receive the video for immediate viewing onboard.
4. Harsh Sewol Sentence Slammed
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has condemned the sentences handed down to the captain and crew of the Sewol. ITF seafarers’ section chair David Heindel said the 36 year sentence handed down to Captain Lee Joon-Seok was “excessive and unjust”. "The ITF believes that the judgment is based more on emotion and the need to find someone to blame than justice,” he said. “The sentencing of the captain and the other seafarers is too severe and does not take into account the actions or lack of actions by others in the industry.
5. Somali Prime Minister on the Ropes
Somali lawmakers said they began debate on Tuesday on a motion to sack Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, a move Washington warned could deepen political turmoil. The no-confidence motion was backed by lawmakers loyal to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after the two men fell out over a cabinet reshuffle last month. Western donors who have promised to help rebuild Somalia’s battered institutions worry that the removal of a second prime minister in less than a year will weaken the government and leave it rudderless in its fight against Islamist rebels.
6. Crew Appeal Sewol Convictions
Eight of the 15 surviving crew members of a South Korean ferry that capsized in April have filed for appeal against their convictions on negligence charges in the country’s worst maritime disaster in more than four decades. The eight crew members, who had been given prison sentences ranging from five to 30 years, filed appeal papers on Thursday, according to court records. Defence attorneys have said the crew panicked at the time of the accident and were not adequately trained to perform duties to evacuate passengers.
7. MLC and Hours of Rest
Skuld has sent a message to Member regarding the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and in particular the requirements for hours of work and rest (as this is something PSC inspectors in contracting states have focused on). They stress that it needs to be remembered that the STCW 2010 are broadly similar to the provisions of the MLC with respect to rest provisions (they differ on possible exceptions) and may apply where the MLC does not (despite the significant ambit of the MLC it is not ubiquitous). The STCW Convention is more widely ratified than the MLC at this time. They stress the issue of fatigue, accidents and the human element.
7. Insurance Disputes Rage On
Despite progress against Somali pirates, a considerable number of General Average recovery actions remain unresolved, so the judgment gives the potential for shipowners and their insurers to make significant additional recoveries from cargo interests. The additional liability for cargo interests will be felt most acutely for hijackings in 2011 and 2012, which were typically for longer periods, and also for hijackings where the cargo made up a high proportion of the value of the property released (such as where crude oil was being carried). A ruling in the case of the "Longchamp" has raised the spectre of increased owner costs. http://goo.gl/6JPGOr
8. Seeing Nigerian Piracy Problems First Hand
The BBC has been out into Lagos Roads to see just why piracy is so rife and such a problem. Take a boat ride out from the Nigerian port of Lagos and it is easy to see why piracy, sea robbery and other forms of maritime crime are endemic. According to the BBC report. the ocean is swarming with cargo ships, oil tankers, barges and other vessels waiting for permission to enter the overcrowded port. Great hulks of rusting metal, anchored and sitting low in the water, almost as if they are inviting pirates to sling their ladders over the side and clamber up on board. "The situation in the Gulf of Guinea is going to get worse before it gets better."
9. US Box Ports Fit to Burst
Congestion associated with the continued introduction of ultra-large container ships is well advertised, but the US is already suffering without them. A combination of circumstances—a congestive perfect storm – has afflicted container handlings at ports in such disparate centers as Los Angeles/Long Beach and New York, and threatens the growth of intermodal movements. Port shippers are complaining about backups and the associative costs, especially demurrage charges for containers that exceed free time. The gridlock goes beyond the coasts even reaching Chicago, and the Midwest cross-section where US railroads interchange. http://goo.gl/4H8HDf
10. Virgin Territory for Philanthropic Efforts
The philanthropic business magnate, Sir Richard Branson, is assisting YachtAid Global in delivering supplies to kids and families in St. Maarten for post Hurricane Gonzalo relief using his yacht Necker Belle. On 14 October 2014, Hurricane Gonzalo raced through St. Maarten. The people of St. Maarten were expecting a tropical storm and, only 30 minutes prior to landfall received notice the storm had grown into a Category 3 hurricane. With very little preparation time, the island residents did not have proper protection in place as the storm swept over the island.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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