Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/12/2014
1. Pirates Payment Judgment
A European court has ordered France to pay thousands of euros to a group of Somali pirates over a 48 delay in presenting the accused men before a judge upon their arrival in the country. A judge at the European Union of Human Rights made the ruling, determining that France violated the European Convention of Human Rights by not immediately presenting the accused before a judicial authority upon their arrival in France. The pirates to be compensated, nine in total, were accused and some even convicted of hijacking a French-flagged cruise ship and yacht in two separate incidents off the coast of Somalia in 2008.
2. Owners Groups Press Same View
BIMCO has criticised the European Commission’s proposal for regional monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) regulation. Due to come into force in 2018 if formally passed by the European Parliament, the agreement would make it mandatory for ships over 5,000 gt to report their carbon emissions, which BIMCO regarded as “unhelpful in terms of reaching an international agreement on the crucial issue of CO2 monitoring,” according to deputy secretary general Lars Robert Pedersen. BIMCO’s other complaint is the rules would require cargo-related information to be reported, creating issues with data reliability and confidentiality.
3. Iranian Hackers Target Energy Firms
Iranian hackers have infiltrated some of the world’s top energy, transport and infrastructure companies over the past two years in a campaign that could allow them to eventually cause physical damage, according to U.S. cyber security firm Cylance. Aerospace firms, airports and airlines, universities, energy firms, hospitals, and telecommunications operators based in the United States, Israel, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, France, England have been hit by the campaign, the research firm said, without naming individual companies.Saudi Aramco and Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), were also among the specific targets.
4. Missing Seafarers Database Gets Kickstart
Seafarers UK has announced a grant in support of Human Rights at Sea (HRAS), a not-for-profit resource for the international maritime community. The funding will kick-start a major new flagship project; the development of an international register of missing seafarers, including fishermen. HRAS was founded by barrister David Hammond, a leading voice and author for the on-going international development and codification of ‘Human Rights at Sea’ who said: ‘Despite Human Rights at Sea being a very young organisation, I was humbled by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the proposal and the financial support provided by donors.
5. Auction Fails But Tries Again
Guangzhou Maritime Court announced that it will start a second round of auctions online beginning December 10, to sell of six vessels from bankrupt Lanhai Shipping. The court held an auction for the vessels in November but didn’t manage to sell the vessels. A total of 20 vessels from Lanhai Shipping have been sent for auction since the closedown of the company in August last year. The company has also cancelled a series of newbuild orders including four bulkers at Rongsheng Heavy Industries, two bulkers at Yangfan Shipyard, three bulkers at Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry, two bulkers at Sanfu Shipbuiding and four bulkers.
6. Massive Tanker Deal Done
South Korean shipbuilder Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has clinched a deal to build two 157,000dwt shuttle tankers from a major Greek ship owner. With this, Sungdong has recently closed four new build orders from Greek shipowners. The shipbuilder said that the two tankers would be equipped to enable them to fix their positions at sea, so that they can ship oil directly from offshore oil fields to onshore storage facilities. Sungdong is not disclosing the identity of the customer. However shipbroking sources advise Tsakos are behind the contract. The contract is worth about $200M in total.
7. West African Complications Emerge
Everything which was learned about tackling pirates off Somalia is having to be relearned for West Africa. This is mainly because maritime security companies can only operate with armed personnel provided by littoral states (Local Security Personnel or LSP) such as a detachment of armed police or coastguards, and this majorly impacts the contracts which need to be in place. These guards are bound by their own military and local laws, which may conflict with GUARDCON and the company’s operating procedures. Combined with the varying quality and expertise of local guards, this has led to liability and insurance concerns for shipowners.
8. Russia Killing Offshore Market
Russian authorities "have dealt a crushing blow not only to offshore activities in their territorial waters but also to shipowners expectations for the North Sea next year." The news that Viking Supply Ships, Siem Offshore and Rem Offshore have had their Kara Sea contracts cancelled came as a setback but did not surprise market observers. However, the subsequent announcement by Russian authorities that the South Stream project would also be put on ice came as quite a shock to the markets and contractors. This seems particularly true for the contractor Saipem who has said it intends to press on with the work.
9. Legal Eagles Gather to Discuss Somalia
Lawyers have gathered in Tanzania, for the Third Regional Conference of Prosecutors dealing with Piracy and other Maritime Crime. In his opening speech, the EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Filiberto Sebregondi said, "The EU is proud to have contributed significantly to curb down piracy in the Indian Ocean. This is part of a coordinated effort to stabilize Somalia, to improve maritime security at sea and to bring the criminal to justice". Head of EUCAP Nestor Mission, Etienne de Poncins, said the “Pirates are still out there. They remain ashore ready to act given the opportunity".
10. Skuld Warns Members on Migrants
Despite the weather thousands of people continue to brave the treacherous seas of the Mediterranean seeking to reach the shores of Europe. Ships traversing the eastern Mediterranean need to be prepared for the situation they may encounter there. Skuld has stated that as members should be aware that the uncertain situation in North Africa and the Middle East has led to an increasing number of refugees attempting to reach Europe. This on-going situation has come with significant tragedy, and with the launch of a new reduced force search and rescue operations in international waters will be more limited previously.
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