Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/11/2014
1. Piracy Ransoms Remain Legal
A new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, presented to the UK parliament on Wednesday, will not change current rules on piracy ransom payments, insurance industry experts and maritime lawyers believe. The bill is a response to heightened concerns over radicalisation and threats from Islamic State. London-based marine solicitors Waltons & Morse (W&M) issued a briefing, stating: "The present position under English law is that contribution to ransom payments by insurance companies is considered legitimate, but this has always been subject to the understanding that the payment will not be used to fund any terrorist organisations."
2. Owners Slam EU Emissions Monitoring
ICS has criticised moves at the EU to mandate Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions regionally. ICS said in a press statement that it is “disappointed and concerned” at the move, which would require all vessels, both EU and non-EU, to monitor their carbon emissions in EU waters after implementation in 2018. The body indicates that while it supports a global IMO-mandated MRV system, the EU’s regional regime may be incompatible with the IMO’s system, jeopardising future negotiations and causing major problems for “developing countries such as China and India" as they wrestle with additional CO2 regulations.
3. Crew Stand Down, But Stay Strong
Facing legal action, the crew sit-in on board the Tandara Spirit tanker in Port Phillip Bay, Australia has ended after three weeks. The ship, employing all Australian seafarers on the coastal tanker trade will be replaced with foreign-crewed tankers and road transport. "The crew of Tandara Spirit have decided to end our sit in," they said in a letter from the ship, released yesterday. "The threat of destructive legal action against us has been of deep concern. We don’t want our wives and families to be worried about losing the family home [but] our conviction that we are doing the right thing – both for ourselves and the nation is unbent."
4. Box Giants Can Grow Even Bigger
DNV GL says 24,000 TEU-capacity container ships are both possible and on the horizon for the near future, but are still likely to face "numerous navigational obstacles." The mega-ships are likely to be limited by existing port infrastructure and seaways, in addition to being limited overhead by bridges, according to the classification society. “We are slowly approaching limits in ship size development,” said DNV business director Jost Bergmann. Larger ships may experience more arrival delays, and will also make the job of ports and terminals tougher as they grapple with an increased number of containers during a single port call.
5. Taking a View of African Piracy
The Gulf of Guinea is the worst piracy hotspot, accounting for 19% of attacks worldwide, as recorded by the International Maritime Bureau. It registers an attack nearly every week. The numbers are probably underestimates. America’s Office of Naval Intelligence reckons the real figure is more than twice as large—and growing. Some of the smaller countries in the region have appealed for help from the world’s navies. The success of various task forces, including the European Union’s Operation Atalanta, in dealing with criminality off east Africa leads people to ask why they should not repeat the job off the west coast.
6. Shipping Companies Together on Sulphur
Fourteen more shipping companies have joined the Trident Alliance, which the group said aims to promote the enforcement of upcoming sulfur regulations. "It is reassuring to witness that so many companies want to make sure the new regulations are implemented in a way that ensures the expected environmental benefits as well as a level playing field," said chairman of the alliance Roger Strevens. Upcoming sulfur regulations will apply to Emission Control Areas (ECA), which will limit sulfur content in marine fuel used in ECAs to 0.10 percent by weight beginning next year. “So many companies want to make sure … [of] a level playing field."
7. EU Navy Meets IMO
The Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Major General Martin Smith MBE, visited the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Mr Koji Sekimizu, at the IMO headquarters in London. Meeting to discuss the current situation off the Horn of Africa, the two leaders agreed that Somali-based piracy remains a threat to international shipping, and agreed that there was no room for complacency where pirates are concerned. Naval forces are still very much required in the West Indian Ocean, and merchant ships should continue to apply IMO guidance and Best Management Practices with diligence.
8. Book on Seafarers Tipped for Top
In a list of books which come highly recommended for Christmas, one about seafarers has been drawing rave reviews. Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare (Chatto & Windus) features the lives and work of many seafarers working onboard Maersk box ships. Writer Clare thought he was joining a cargo ship to find out about ships and oceans. But it was the seafarers who became his real subject, and from whom he felt torn at the end: “I wanted to take someone by the arm and say, listen, there is a ship at sea tonight, and this is who is on board, and this is what their lives are like". He does just that, and wonderfully well.
9. Nigerian Joining Shipping Elite
The recent election of a Nigerian to chair Governing Bodies of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) London Convention and Protocol is something which has instilled pride in the Nigerian shipping industry. Nigeria’s emergence followed the election her Alternate Permanent Representative (APR) to IMO, Captain Ibrahim Olugbade to the coveted seat. The purpose of the London Convention is to control all sources of marine pollution and prevent pollution of the sea through regulation of dumping into the sea of waste materials. The purpose of the Protocol is similar to that of the Convention, but the Protocol is more restrictive.
10. Royal Navy Launches New Drone Squadron
The ‘X-men’ have taken hold in the depths of Cornwall with the formation of the Navy’s first squadron of unmanned drone aircraft at RNAS Culdrose 700X – X for ‘Xperimental’ – Naval Air Squadron will be at the vanguard of the Fleet Air Arm’s venture into the world of unmanned flight with ‘eyes in the sky’ pilotless aircraft.
The squadron has been established at RNAS Culdrose to oversee the deployment of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) to pave the way for similar aircraft in the future. For nearly a year, ScanEagle has been launched from the decks of HMS Somerset, Northumberland and Cardigan Bay, during counter-piracy patrols. http://goo.gl/py8iOB
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