Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/11/2014
1. EU Extends Anti-piracy Programme
The European Union’s counter-piracy EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta, has been extended by two more years as the threat of Somali piracy remains. Operation Atalanta’s main focus is the protection of World Food Programme vessels delivering humanitarian aid to Somalia, as well as the deterrence, repression and disruption of piracy off the Somali coast. In addition, Operation Atalanta contributes to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia. The extension will ensure the Operation continues until at least 12 December 2016.
2. Owners Getting Bigger More Often
Expansion of the world fleet is today creating more “big” shipowners. Over the past decade membership of the “100 Club” – owner groups with 100 or more vessels – has more than doubled. As the fleet continues to grow, more members are expected to join the club, and there are plenty of incentives for them to do so. There are advantages to being one of the big boys, and not surprisingly more owners want to join the club. By the time today’s orderbook has been delivered, another 13 ownership groups will have crossed the 100-ship threshold, and as the fleet continues to grow it is likely that more will join them.
3. Death from Lifeboat Accident
One seafarer was killed and two others were seriously injured Friday in an apparent lifeboat accident while off the coast of Germany near the Elbe River. The German Society for Sea Rescue Service reports that its Bremen unit responded to a report one man overboard and two seriously injured on board a lifeboat from the Hong Kong-flagged oil and chemical tanker MTM Westport approximately 11 miles southeast of Helgoland, Germany. Rescue boats arrived on scene to attend to those injured while a search and rescue helicopter from the German navy plucked the man overboard the water. The incident is under investigation.
4. Most Oil Spilled Out East
Oil spills from vessels occur most frequently in East Asian countries, said a speaker at the Korea Shipowners’ Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (Korea P&I Club)’s renewal strategy seminar in Seoul, South Korea. Alex Hunt, technical team manager at the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) said that 11.2% of spills of 211 incidents attended by ITOPF in the last 10 years since 2004 have occurred in China. South Korea placed second with 6.0%, followed by Japan with 4.8%. The remainder has happened in 64 different countries. Spills from non-tankers are going up, bulk carriers and container ships in particular.
5. Ship Operating Costs Drop
The cost of operating ships last year marginally declined for bulkers and containers and rose slightly for tankers as owners have worked to cap costs amid eroding earnings since 2008, a shipping industry study said. Consultancy Moore Stephens International said in the report released late Thursday that daily operating costs for Aframaxes and Suezmaxes stood at $8,272 and $9,378 in 2013, up 1.2% and 1.3% year on year, respectively, and $10,194 for VLCCs, down 1.5% year on year. For bulkers, operating costs were down 1.2% last year. Total annual operating costs fell by an average of 0.3% in 2013, after a 1.8% drop in 2012.
6. Nigerian Bemoans Lack of Legal Framework
Nigeria’s maritime administrator has expressed his frustration at the lack of effective legal sanctions against pirates and maritime criminals in the Gulf of Guinea. Speaking at an Admiralty law seminar in Lagos, Patrick Akpobolokemi, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), lamented the absence of successful prosecutions of sea raiders caught in Nigerian waters. Akpobolokemi said: "We arrest someone for piracy with guns, arms, and the rest, the next day you see them on the street." His complaint is not new and neither the navy nor NIMASA have prosecution powers.
7. IMO Adopts Polar Code
The IMO has adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), and related amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to make it mandatory. The Polar Code and SOLAS amendments were adopted during the 94th session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). The Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in waters surrounding the two poles.
8. Italy Rescues Hundreds of Migrants
Italy’s coastguard said it has rescued more than 600 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and North Africa this weekend and started a search for one man feared drowned during the passage. Further east, 270 Syrian refugees were rescued off Turkish-Cypriot controlled northern Cyprus overnight when their ship’s engine broke down, the Kibris Postasi website in Nicosia reported. The Italian coastguard said it picked up 520 migrants in the Strait of Sicily between Thursday night and Friday, before heading to a point 60 miles north of the Libyan capital Tripoli to assist a merchant ship that had picked up 93 migrants.
9. Prosecuted for Garbage Dumping
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has prosecuted China Earth Shipping Incorporated, the owners of Panama flagged bulk carrier Xin Tai Hai and its master after the ship’s crew tossed bags of garbage overboard near Gladstone in June last year. The shipowner was fined $20,000 and the ship’s master was fined $6000 in the Townsville Magistrate’s Court. Both the company and the master entered pleas of guilty. The conviction stemmed from a report by a local fisherman who saw a number of plastic bags of rubbish last year. The AMSA subsequently identified Xin Tai Hai as the potential source of the pollution.
10. Modern Slavery Concerns at Sea
An estimated 35.8 million men, women and children around the world are today trapped in modern slavery, 20 percent more than previously estimated. This is according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI), the flagship research report published today by the Walk Free Foundation. The Global Slavery Index report highlights three countries in particular where slavery at sea is occurring: Indonesia, Netherlands and Thailand. The fishing industry is considered to be the worst offender, but some inland shipping has been accused of trapping young seafarers on sham contracts and with little pay, enduring brutal treatment.
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