Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/11/2014
1. Kiel Canal Lock Drama
A cargo ship struck a lock gate in a chamber of the Kiel Canal in Germany on Monday, causing damage so severe that the gate will need to be replaced entirely. Authorities report that a large seagoing vessel allided with the sliding lock gate in the Great Northern Chamber located at the north end of the Kiel Canal at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday, prompting its immediate closure. The vessel involved is reported to be the UK-flagged MV Vectis Eagle. The gate was so severely damaged in the allision that crews will need to replace the entire gate. Work to fix the damage began immediately after the incident.
2. Antwerp Port Closed by Strike
The port of Antwerp is at a standstill as dockers stage a 24-hour strike to protest the Belgian government’s austerity program. The ports of Zeebrugge and Ghent have also been brought to a halt in the first of successive Mondays of regional strikes through December 15 when unions plan a day of nationwide action. The work stoppages targeting the Flanders region have also hit the railways, including rail freight services to and from the three ports. The strike at Antwerp, which began at 6 AM local time on Monday also involves ship pilots. Port workers have been particularly angered by measures to extend the start of pensions by two years. http://goo.gl/F57eRC
3. Aussies Ban Repeat Offender
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a direction to Indonesian flagged container ship Territory Trader (IMO 8812899) not to enter or use any port in Australia for three months. The direction for the multi-purpose vessel is a result of repeated detentions and a history of machinery and equipment malfunctions, and breakdowns. Territory Trader has been detained by AMSA on three occasions since July 2013, prompting serious concerns the vessel is not being operated or managed to meet applicable standards. The vessel was considered high risk and a non-scheduled port state control inspection was undertaken.
4. Social Media Storms Hit Safety
Media pressure, and particularly the posting of unverified stories on social media, has become a significant factor in major maritime search and rescue (SAR) events. Bruce Reid, CEO of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) said they needed to be prepared for the media onslaught that accompanied SAR incidents and exercises. "Seconds after incidents occur texts are sent, photos uploaded and opinions posted,” said Reid. “The challenge we face is that social media are becoming the first source of news. He added political pressures fed by misinformed social media campaigns can have deleterious effects on the SAR effort.
5. Passenger Overboard Search Ends
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has concluded the search for a missing 84 year old cruise ship passenger based on expert medical advice regarding his survivability. AMSA coordinated the search for an 84 year old man who went overboard around 8.40pm on Monday night from the Sun Princess cruise ship, about 175 nautical miles east of Sydney. AMSA tasked its Essendon based Dornier search and rescue aircraft and the Sun Princess cruise ship to the search area. The Sun Princess, which was completing a 13 day New Zealand cruise, also helped in the search. However, there were no sightings of the man.
6. Tackling Fraud and Bribes
Sometimes captains face demands for bribes or facilitation payments at a port before shore passes are granted. Sometimes they are fined for fabricated issues relating to their crew’s nationality, their documentation or the inspection of their vessel. And sometimes these requests come with the threat of violence or physical detainment. According to the United Nations, corruption adds 10 percent or more to the cost of doing business in many parts of the world. The Danish Shipowners’ Association is looking to tackle this, and says "It requires collective action by the industry and also close cooperation with inter-governmental organizations.”
7. Caribbean Coastguard Fearful of Violence
The union representing Coast Guard personnel (NAPB) has reported that the Dutch Coast Guard in the Caribbean part of the kingdom of the Netherlands no longer patrols the territorial waters around Bonaire and Curacao. This is the result of increasing violence against Coast Guard personnel. According to a spokesman, personnel still perform rescue operations. The coast is still being monitored, but from the air from the Hato support center at the Curacao Airport. Curacao is a popular island for drug transit. Members are regularly intimidated and neither the government nor the Coast Guard itself can guarantee the safety of its members.
8. Asian Pirates in for Long Haul
Piracy in the Malacca Straits is as old as the trade routes that snake between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Mariners have run the Malaccan gauntlet for centuries, braving the navigation hazards and seagoing thugs that inhabit the shortest route between India and China. After a brief hiatus in petty theft and looting at the end of the last decade, the recent resurgence in maritime crime has turned its sights on the global oil trade. The key elements driving the piracy are vessel vulnerabilities, owners cutting costs, pirates adopting the Nigerian business model, the fact that piracy leads to profit and the links to politics in the region.
9. Spike in Asian Piracy
An increase in the number of attacks on shipping in the first half of 2014 has fed concerns that piracy is in the ascendant in and around Southeast Asia. Experts believe that efforts to contain the menace must be rolled out, and should include: arresting pirates at the scene, product tanker owners adopting a regional version of Best Management Practices (BMP), which prescribe self-help onboard security measures originally designed to "harden" merchant ships against piracy threats in the Indian Ocean. While Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia could agree to extend the Malacca Strait Patrols to "tag-team" a continuous presence.
10. New Training for Man Overboard
Falling overboard is a life-threatening emergency, not only for the person in question but also for those involved in their rescue. Every step in the rescue process has its own associated hazards and in such a fraught and potentially distressing situation a well-structured rescue plan is essential. Since 1 July 2014, SOLAS has required ships to have ‘plans and procedures for the recovery of persons from the water’ which will minimize the risk to the rescuers as well as to the casualty or casualties. In response to this, Videotel™, a KVH company, has developed a new programme Recovery of Persons from the Water (Man Overboard Edition 2).
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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