Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/12/2014
1. Another Magic Pipe Mariner Convicted
A New Orleans court has convicted a chief engineer of environmental crimes relating to the use of a ‘magic pipe’. Matthaios Fafalios, 64, of Greece, was found guilty of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by knowingly falsifying his vessel’s oil record book during his service onboard the M/V Trident Navigator. He was also convicted of obstruction of justice and witness tampering as a result. According to the DOJ release, in late December 2013, Fafalios ordered his engineering crew to construct a so-called “magic pipe”, to bypass the shipboard pollution prevention equipment and discharge oily waste water.
2. Dock Worker Dies on Bulker
A dock worker died on Wednesday morning inside the hold of the Panama-flagged bulk carrier Hanjin Sines while moored in the outer port of Ferrol, Spain for unloading. The victim is a Spanish 57-year-old man employed with the stevedore company at the port. It is understood the worker was supposed to conduct a cleanup of the vessel. However, the worker entered by mistake a compartment that was not available for cleanup as it had a high concentration of carbon dioxide that proved lethal for the worker. The cause of death, as informed by local medical services, could either be inhalation of carbon dioxide or a fall triggered by the inhalation. http://goo.gl/oXwKqm
3. Slow Steaming Still on Agenda
Oil prices may still be continuing its downward slide, but the overcapacity glutting the shipping industry means that slow-steaming should continue, according to BIMCO. "When you consider the entire dry bulk fleet on a global scale, overcapacity remains substantial," said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO, adding that there was no wider case to be made at the moment for speeding up ships. "BIMCO concurs with the estimates made by Drewry, which point to an operating surplus of some 25 percent in the market today." “Lower ship speed has significantly assisted freight rates in staying higher than they would". http://goo.gl/NNzL1D
4. Even Small Ships Getting Bigger
Small and specialist mutual P&I provider The Shipowners’ Club is now actively encouraging vessels up to 20,000 gt to enter its fleet. While the club previously had no fixed upper limit on vessel size, only a very small percentage of its fleet was over 12,000 gt. Now, as small ships are getting bigger, the club is "actively encouraging vessels up to 20,000 gt." The average size of an entered vessel has more than doubled in 20 years, from 297 gt to 672 gt while the club’s number of insured vessels has almost tripled to over 33,000. Over the same period the average size of vessels has grown at an astonishing rate.
5. Does Sulphur Compliance Add Up?
With the 0.1% sulphur ECAs in North Europe and North America just a fortnight the big question is whether ship owners are now switching to distillates, or turning on their scrubbers, or flicking the switch for LNG conversion to comply with the new Emission Control Area (ECA) regulations that stipulate that vessels can only burn fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1%. Of course the other option is to carry on as usual, and do nothing. Many owners and operators are assessing the risks and rewards of whether it’s worth being compliant.
6. Year of Promise Delivers Little Action
A year after vowing to banish buccaneers from their waters, countries in the Gulf of Guinea — the new epicentre of piracy in Africa — are struggling to get their act together. The coastal area extending from Senegal to Angola has stolen the limelight from the Gulf of Aden on the piracy front. From hijacking cargo ships and siphoning their fuel to illegal fishing and transporting contraband, seafaring robbers are squeezing the region’s economy. Between January and September the Gulf of Guinea recorded 33 incidents of piracy and armed robbery, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
7. Floating Armouries in Spotlight
The BBC reports that maritime (floating) armouries could be a security risk. In a new expose they ask how to arm the private security guards, and how to store the weapons when they are not in use? Initially, most weapons were stored in state-run, land-based armouries. But governments, such as that of Sri Lanka, became increasingly uneasy about having such large quantities of arms, ammunition, body armour, night-vision goggles and other military equipment on their territory. And so the floating armouries were born. Tugs, patrol boats, de-mining craft and other vessels have been converted by private companies into floating arms stores.
8. Lawyers Look to General Average Costs of a Hijacking
Stephen Askins of law firm Ince & Co has been assessing the case of Mitsui & Co Ltd & others v. Beteiligungsgesellschaft LPG Tankerflotte MBH & Co KG (Longchamp) as the Longchamp judgment overturned accepted industry thinking in how bunkers and crew wages are dealt with in a hijacking. Not only has it wrong-footed lawyers, but it flies in the face of the written and considered views of the Advisory Committee of the Association of Average Adjustors and opens up interesting questions on other heads of claim not considered in the judgment. In the end, the Judge seems to have been guided by principles of equity.
9. Ship Stopper Technology to Grab Vessels
Following a full product trial in New Zealand the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has signed its acceptance of the first of two ShipArrestor systems from Miko Marine. As a result Norway will become the first country in the world with a system that gives it the ability to protect its shores from the danger of drifting oil tankers and from the disastrous pollution that can result when they run aground. The system consists of a large fabric parachute-style sea anchor that is looped by a helicopter onto a ship drifting without engine power. This is achieved without any involvement of the ship’s crew.
10. Rena Shortcut Doomed Vessel
The New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission has blamed the crew and ship management for the grounding of the container ship Rena on Otaiti Astrolabe Reef three years ago. But it also concluded not enough data is being collected to make a meaningful analysis of shipping movements around the New Zealand coast for safety purposes. The grounding released large quantities of oil which polluted beaches throughout the Bay of Plenty, and the wreck continues to seep oil and other pollutants in rough weather. Rena ran aground because they took a "short cut" in an effort to reach Tauranga Harbour before a tide change.
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