Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/12/2014
1. Ferry Fire Leaves Passengers Adrift
More than 200 passengers and crew remained trapped on a burning ferry and adrift in rough seas between Italy and Albania early Monday after enduring a second night of smoke, frigid temperatures and gale-force winds awaiting evacuation after fire broke out. At least one person died and two were injured in the risky rescue operation. The Italian navy said 221 of the 478 people on the ferry, sailing from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona in Italy, had been evacuated by early Monday. Most were airlifted by helicopter to other merchant vessels sailing nearby, though a few were flown to hospitals in southern Italy to be treated.
2. Italian Collision Claims Seafarer Lives
Two people drowned and four were missing at sea and feared dead after two merchant ships collided in rough seas off the Italian coast on Sunday, Italian officials said. A Turkish ship with 11 crew members sank after the collision with a vessel carrying a Belize flag in poor visibility a mile from the Italian Adriatic port of Ravenna, a coastguard official said. The mayor of Ravenna Fabrizio Matteucci said on Italian state television that the dead and missing were all Turkish men from the ship Gokbel which sank after the collision with the Belize-flagged Lady Aziza at around 0800 GMT. “There are two victims and four missing,” he said.
3. Pirates Nabbed in Malacca Raid
The Indonesian Navy has apprehended six pirates involved in a sea piracy network operating in the straits of Malacca and Singapore. The Navy’s Western Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Widodo, said the perpetrators, who were residents of Terong island, Riau Islands province, had robbed three ships passing through the straits.“We received information on sea piracy from the Information Fusion Center [IFC] of Singapore on Wednesday. We deployed a team to arrest the pirates,” Widodo said. He said the team also confiscated 0.5 kilograms of marijuana, 104 small packages of marijuana and a package of crystal methamphetamine.
4. Sniffing Out Emission Offenders
The Port of Gothenburg has been outfitted with new technology called a "sniffer" that is capable of detecting sulfur content in exhaust fumes, the port has announced. The small fridge-sized box will help the Swedish port in enforcing Emission Control Area (ECA) compliance, which will limit sulfur content in marine fuel used in ECAs to 0.10 percent by weight beginning January 1, 2015. The technology, which has been installed in the port for the last few years in testing, was developed by researchers at the Chalmers University Technology with support from Vinnova, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Gothenburg Port.
5. Seafarers Lost Off Japan
A general cargo ship sank on Friday off Japan’s northern coast leaving three crew members dead. Two of those that died were from China, the other from Myanmar. The three men were pulled from the cold waters unconscious and were confirmed dead later in hospital, according to the coast guard. Local media reports that seven others were rescued. The survivors included men from Bangladesh, including the master, and five Chinese. The 1,915-ton Cambodia-registered "Ming Guang" was carrying scrap metal from Japan to South Korea when it started leaking late on Thursday. The crew abandoned ship just before it sank.
6. Fire Erupts Onboard Costa Ship
All crew and passengers are safe after a fire broke out onboard Costa Cruises’ ship, the Costa neoClassica, in the Red Sea on Christmas Eve. There were no reported injuries. The fire broke out in the funnel of the ship, but was quickly extinguished by the ship’s crew. During the incident, no onboard services were interrupted and the ship reached its destination port in Aqaba, where it is berthed pending a safety inspection. It is not clear what caused the fire aboard Costa neoClassica or whether its scheduled 25-day Indian Ocean itinerary will need to be abandoned. Costa Cruises stated that proper investigations on root causes are in progress.
7. Panama Canal Claims Massive Overuns
The consortium working on the extensive Panama Canal expansion has submitted two new claims for cost overruns of almost $740 million, the canal administrator said. A dispute between the canal and the consortium over cost overruns temporarily halted work on the expansion earlier this year and arguments over the project are now being heard in an arbitration court in Miami. The consortium, Grupo Unidos por el Canal, formed by Spain’s Sacyr, Italy’s Salini Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan de Nul as well as the Panamanian company CUSA, has now presented a total of about $2.3 billion in claims for overruns, said Panama Canal Authority.
8. IMB Slams Piracy Payouts
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has joined other maritime organisations in expressing concern over the decision to compensate convicted Somali pirates. These criminals have been responsible for taking hostage thousands of seafarers, who were subjected to unprovoked violence and sometimes torture. Some seafarers have also been murdered while carrying out their lawful business on the high seas. IMB said “There are practical difficulties with respect to the gathering of evidence and transporting of the alleged perpetrators when a crime is committed at sea, thousands of miles from where the court proceedings take place".
9. Force Is Not the Real Piracy Answer
International efforts to solve piracy often focus on displays of force. Whether it is the United States-led Task Force 151 in the Gulf of Aden or international operations in the Strait of Malacca, states most often revert to military or law enforcement to end piracy. Force is not the ultimate answer. While states should certainly keep up efforts to apprehend pirates, security threats from piracy are just a symptom. The cause is inherently an economic problem. The current peak of piracy and maritime armed robbery off Indonesia is a prime example of the economic problems at hand. The poor state of coastal communities must be addressed.
10. Power Needs to Balance Efficiency and Emissions
As ship operators continue their quest for higher efficiency and lower costs, it is maybe time to think again about the best engines for ships carrying bulk cargoes over long distances; Birger Jacobsen, senior researcher at MAN Diesel & Turbo in Copenhagen, has been giving an engine designer’s view. The optimum propeller speed is changing as well, steadily becoming lower, because the larger the propeller diameter that can be used for a ship, the actual propeller power and pertaining speed requirement will be correspondingly lower, and the lower the propulsion power demand per ton bulk transported.
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