Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/01/2015
1. Launch of New Box Network
Departure of Maersk Line’s 14th Triple-E vessel, the Munkebo Maersk, from Dalian, China, has marked the official start of Maersk Line’s new East-West Network as a result of 2M Alliance between MSC and Maersk. The Munkebo Maersk has been freshly delivered by Daiwoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard in Okpo. The 18,270 TEU contanership left Dalian on Sunday, January 10 and is en route for Busan New Port, according to Marine Traffic data. The vessel’s maiden voyage will include calls at Qingdao, Ningbo, Xiamen, and Tanjung Pelepas followed by transit of the Suez Canal on February 7 wherefrom it will head to Europe.
2. Charges Against Seafarers Slammed
The pressing of charges against crew members of the Norman Atlantic ro-ro ferry, which suffered a devastating and fatal fire on 28 December, has been strongly criticised by some in the shipping industry. President of the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Association (IFSMA), Captain Hans Sande, said he "condemns the action of the Italian authorities".
He said that the practice of arresting the master before investigations are complete adds to a growing perception that authorities are using seafarers as "scapegoats", facilitating a "witch hunt to find someone to blame" in publicly shocking incidents. "The Master may be guilty but what has happened to the presumption that a person is presumed innocent"?
3. Express Runs Aground
MOL-operated containership MOL Express ran aground in shallow water in Tateyama Harbor, Chiba Prefecture at about 19:00 JST on January 11, 2015, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines informed. The 4,600-TEU containership, built in 2003, was chartered from an overseas shipowner, an affiliate of Seaspan Corporation from Canada. The ship was to undergo repairs on its main engines and was maneuvering to an anchoring area within the harbor when the grounding occurred, the company said in its press release. “As of 12:00 on January 12, the hull is in a stable condition, no crewmembers have been injured, and no oil leakage has been confirmed,” according to MOL. The Hong Kong-flagged ship is manned by 25 seafarers.
4. Ro-Ro Tug Collision
One of the two tugs securing Höegh Osaka collided with the vessel on Saturday afternoon. The damaged tug has now been replaced, and no pollution occurred during the incident. Höegh Osaka remains at anchor, and Saturday’s weather conditions prevented any activity on the vessel other than to connect a third tug. The main concern at the moment is the weather. The forecast is for continuing high winds in the coming week, says the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Plans are therefore being refined to meet the challenges this presents. In particular, the salvors Svitzer now intend to start ballasting work before pumping the 3,000t of water out of the vessel.
5. Celebrating Oil Spill Progress
Half-way into this decade and the downward trend in oil spills from tankers is sustained. For the last two and a half decades the average number of incidents involving oil spills from tankers has progressively halved, with the current figures showing the lowest yet, at less than two per year. At a time when focus on protecting the marine environment is high, this trend should provide encouragement to tanker owners, states the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF). It is also a testament to the ongoing work by industry and governments to maintain high standards of operations in sea-borne transportation.
6. Siphoning of Fuel Rising Trend
Siphoning of ship fuel is not a new trend, but the frequency of incidents has escalated. 15 incidents of siphoning of ship fuel or oil were reported on board tankers in Asia in 2014, of which 12 were successful. A new ReCAAP report says the attacks have a number of common characteristics including minimal violence against the crew. The report provides an update to the Special Report on ‘Incidents of siphoning of ship fuel/oil at Sea in Asia’ and focuses on the method of operation of the perpetrators including the involvement of syndicates and organized groups. In most cases, the perpetrators were interested in the manifest of fuel or oil on board the vessel and had no intention of hijacking the vessel.
7. Tackling Box Weight Problems
Overweight containers are a serious issue for the industry, impacting crew, vessel and cargo safety. Some countries such as Vietnam are seeking to address the issue with domestic legislation. Christian Ott, Vice President Head of Claims, at Skuld Singapore, with support from Total Marine Claims, has issued an advisory note saying that following repeat concerns with respect to containers having been found to be overweight when presented for shipment, the Vietnamese Government enacted a new law in 2014 which limited the total weight of 20 and 40 feet boxes to no more than 20 metric tons, including the weight of the container itself. The limit applies to containers for both road an sea transport.
8. Prioritising The Fight Against Pirates
One of the priorities of the 2014 EU Chairmanship of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) has been to adequately document the lessons learned. This includes both the accounts of people affected by piracy or involved in the fight against piracy and also the more academic, analytical work. To achieve this objective, a CGPCS Lessons Learned Consortium was established in 2013 consisting of the EU Institute for Security Studies, Cardiff University and Oceans Beyond Piracy. Thanks to the Contact Group’s efforts, three crucial counter-piracy policies have been adopted: the naval response, BMPs and the legal framework.
9. The Move to Mega Ships
Sleek passenger liners used to be masters of the seas, charging across the Atlantic for the coveted Blue Riband Trophy, but now behemoth container ships chase the more prosaic accolade of the world’s biggest floating warehouse. The current holder, the Hong Kong-registered CSCL Globe, recently docked for the first time in the UK on a mission to re stock the nation with 57,000 tons of consumer goods after the Christmas clear-out.The maritime industry is still important to the economy however and in 2011 it was shown to have made a £13.8billion contribution to the nation’s GDP. The industry employs approximately 262,700 people and generates nearly £2.7billion of tax revenue a year.
10. Emissions Waiver for Dying Line
Soon-to-be defunct Horizon Lines says it has been issued a waiver from the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) fuel sulfur content requirements allowing three of its Jones Act vessels to continue to use low-sulfur heavy fuel oil on its Alaska trade route as the company pursues the installation of gas scrubbers. The permit, effective as of Jan. 1, 2015, was issued by the USCG and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and provides a conditional waiver for three diesel-powered D7-class containerships to use low-sulfur heavy fuel oil in their main engines while operating between Washington state and Alaska as they await the installation of the Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), aka scrubbers.
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