Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/12/2014

Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/12/2014

1. Concordia Captain Explains Actions

The captain accused of causing the Costa Concordia disaster says he sailed the cruise ship close to a nearby island to impress passengers. In his first testimony at his trial, Francesco Schettino said he wanted to give passengers a better view. Mr Schettino faces charges of manslaughter and dereliction of duty.

Thirty-two people died in January 2012 after the Concordia struck an outcrop of rocks and rolled onto its side near to the holiday island of Giglio. Mr Schettino denied rumours that he manoeuvred the ship to impress a woman who was at the helm with him at the time. Instead, he told the court that there were "commercial" reasons behind the move.



2. Shell Focuses on Navigation Skills

Close engagement with the bridge team via navigational audits has been "incredibly valuable" for Shell, a company executive told a Nautical Institute seminar in London last night. David Hill, deputy designated person ashore at Shell, told attendees at ‘Watchkeeping Standards – Do Navigation Audits Help?’ that the company has invested heavily in this area. "It’s the highest risk thing we do, so we have to invest in it," he said. Shell conducts navigational audits at least every 12 months and this year launched a Navigational Skills Assessment Programme, he added. "It was a huge investment…but has been really interesting and hugely worthwhile,"




3. Indian Looks to Boost Seafarer Protection

The Indian Parliament has passed two bills to improve the working condition of ship workers and the shipping industry.The Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Merchant Shipping (Second) Amendment, Bill 2013. Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said the Bills were in the interest of the country, workers and the shipping industry and their provisions were in line with the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The Bills amend the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, bringing it into line with the Maritime Labour Convention.




4. Seafarers Facing Prison and Fines

Seafarers are amongst the most heavily regulated working sector in the UK with up to five governmental agencies dedicated to enforcing law and prosecuting criminal acts.  “Even on the best run ship…accidents can, happen", says Howard Quinlivan, solicitor advocate with Bartons Solicitors. Bartons is seeing increased usage of gross negligence manslaughter combined with corporate manslaughter and directors of companies are now more commonly prosecuted in their personal capacities at common law for gross negligence manslaughter.




5. Awe at Work of Ore Giant

For Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, its location in Brazil has always been both its greatest strength and its biggest challenge. In order to get to market Vale’s brash former boss, Roger Agnelli, built a fleet of very large ore carriers (VLOCs), capable of carrying 400,000 tonnes of iron each. This did not prove popular or acceptable to the Chinese. As such the company has pursued â€śPlan B” – a $1.4bn port terminal in Malaysia, which opened at the beginning of November. Valemax ships are now able to transport iron ore from Brazil to the Teluk Rubiah terminal, where the cargo can be redistributed to other Asian countries.




6. Asbestos Concerns on New Ships

Asbestos may be perceived as a problem of the past however, this is unfortunately not the case as it is still found on 85% of new ships.  CTI Marine regularly performs pre delivery surveys on new builds and finds asbestos in their construction. This is a global issue because the material supply chain is global. The problem is mainly caused because suppliers are only required to give a declaration that an item is asbestos free and not provide a formal certificate itemising material content. Over the years the issue of finding asbestos on newer ships has prompted SOLAS to state that all ships built after July 2002 should be asbestos free.




7. Bunker Brokers Black Knight Approach

Just as Monty Python’s Black Knight refused to die, so too are OW Bunker subsidiaries, including Rotterdam-based OW Bunker (Netherlands) B.V. refusing to be killed off just because of the bankruptcy of their former parent company. Subsidiaries are seeking to continue in business and distance themselves from ongoing bankruptcy proceedings in Denmark and elsewhere. Vincent de Vos, MD of OW Bunker Netherlands hopes to continue to trade, collecting debts owed to OW Bunker Netherland and paying its own bills, but in order for this to happen cash needs to bypass receivers and administrators involved in the bankruptcy.




8. What Does The Polar Code Mean?

Last month, the International Maritime Organization adopted the landmark “Polar Code”, the first mandatory blanket legislation for the improved safety of ships operating in the world’s polar regions. The new Code specifically addresses potential hazards unique to arctic and antarctic environments, such as ice, remoteness and rapidly changing and severe weather conditions. But what exactly does the new Polar Code mean for ship safety? A new infographic explains all, and sets out how the Polar Code will be mandatory under both SOLAS and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).



9. Focus on Al Qaedas Tanker Fixation

Al Qaeda discusses strategic attacks on chokepoints of oil shipments from the Middle East to the West in its first issue of “Resurgence,” an English-language propaganda magazine. In a 117-page issue produced by As-Sahab, a new South Asia al Qaeda media branch, the group lays out the American oil flow system in detail and suggests the interruption of that flow with attacks. The extremists have recently taken a back seat in western media to their more evil counterparts, ISIS, but they are still plotting the destruction of America. But some see they wish to attack the "super-extended energy supply line", and that means hitting tankers.



10. Seafarers Rights Launches New App

Seafarers facing legal problems can now obtain immediate information concerning their rights, wherever they are in the world, with a new app formally launched by Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI). Deirdre Fitzpatrick, executive director of SRI said: “Seafarers need tangible support 24/7.  There are many good companies and maritime administrations who provide seafarers with assistance and support with regard to their human rights. However where that is not the case, this app will provide a lifeline for seafarers. The app has been designed to operate offline so that seafarers can access information at all times.





Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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