Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/01/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/01/2015

1. Libya Insurance Warning

The London P&I Club has echoed the International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS) warnings over calling at Libyan ports to its members. The ICS issued a circular to its members on the security situation in Libya in the wake of confirmed and reported attacks on innocent vessels in Libyan waters. The Aegean tanker "Araevo" was bombed in early January and there have been reports of a subsequent bombing this week. The Commander of the Libyan Airforce has stated that airstrikes will be carried out against any ships calling at militant-held Misrata port. "flag Administrations have issued notices to the effect that shipowners should carefully consider whether to continue with scheduled calls at Libyan ports".



2. Reports of Second Tanker Bombing

The Libyan National Army (LNA) was said to have bombed another tanker near Benghazi.  According to a spokesperson for the LNA Chief of Staff, the unnamed vessel was attempting to deliver petrol to a radical Islamist group Ansar Al-Sharia, the Libya Herald reported. The LNA provided no further details. Press reports have stated that local residents saw plumes of smoke coming from the coast in the direction of the port, which is not controlled by either side. Inchcape Shipping services has reported that together with Benghazi, the Libyan ports of Zueitina, Ras Lanuf (Rasco), Ras Lanuf (Harouge) and Es Sider are closed, due to armed clashes, the newswires said.



3. Tanker Hijack Rescue

The Ghana Navy on Saturday foiled a pirate attack on a Nigerian cargo vessel, "MT Mariam" and captured all eight bandits. The pirates were armed, but no one, including a nine-member crew aboard MT Mariam, was injured when the Ghana Navy crew aboard GNS BLIKA effected the arrest. According to the Ghana Armed Forces, all eight pirates are Nigerians. Owners of the hijacked ship alerted the Ghana Navy about the incident and requested for assistance. This prompted the successful rescue operation.


4. Floating Armoury Debate Gets Political

A vessel serving as a floating armoury for commercial vessels sailing in the pirates infested Indian Ocean was detained at the Galle Harbour yesterday on suspicion of harbouring weapons for use in a coup. The discovery of huge caches of arms and ammunition on board a vessel in Galle on Sunday has kept alive speculation about an attempt by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts to stage an armed coup to avert defeat in the January 8 Presidential election. The vessel "MV Mahanuwara" an off shore supply ship sailing with the Sri Lanka flag belongs to a private shipping company which has operated with approval from the Ministry of Defence for several years.



5. Crude Attempts to Disguise Oil Cargoes

Attempts are being made near the United Arab Emirates’ coast to disguise oil from Iran so that it can be sold to countries that are blocked by the U.S. from purchasing such shipments, global ship insurers said. “In recent weeks it has become apparent that sophisticated attempts are being made to dupe shipowners,” the London P&I Club said in a notice on its website. The attempts to transfer cargoes between ships off the U.A.E.’s coast are to allow the transportation of crude to countries that don’t have a waiver to U.S. sanctions blocking the purchase of Iranian oil, it said. The alleged attempt to disguise cargoes was also reported by the West of England Club.



6. US Issues Environmental Fines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its penalty policy for violations by ships of new, 2015 Emissions Control Area (ECA) rules. Ships will be subject to a maximum fine of $25,000 per violation, per day. "This policy is intended to deter potential violators, ensure that the EPA assesses fair and equitable penalties and allow for the swift resolution of claims arising from noncompliance," said EPA in a statement. "EPA is committed to enforcing marine emission standards." Penalties will be multiplied for serious or serial offenders. The California Air Resouces Board Tuesday announced it had fined four shippers a total of $147,000 for non-compliance with state sulphur regulations.


7. New Generation of Sail Vessels

According to a recent study, shipping accounts for around 3% of global CO2 emissions. Not surprising when you consider that the engines of the world’s estimated 90,000 cargo ships are in use 24 hours a day while traveling. Futuristic concepts for container ships powered by alternative energy range from windmill-powered propellers to banks of vertical metal sails. Even though most are still on the drawing board, one concept is starting to be viewed seriously by the shipping industry. Called the "Vindskip," the Norwegian design uses the high sides of its container ships as sails, turning the whole vessel into a wind-assisted airfoil. The futuristic container ship works more like an airplane than a conventional sailing ship.



8. Singapore Not Quite the Busiest Port

The Port of Singapore maintained its position as one of the busiest in the world as it recorded container throughput of 33.9 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) in 2014, 4 per cent more than the 32.6 million TEUs registered in 2013. Total cargo tonnage handled last year also rose 3.5 per cent over 2013 to 580.8 million tonnes, according to Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. This was however not enough to displace China’s Shanghai port, which earlier this week revealed a 2014 throughput of 35.29 million TEUs – making it the world’s busiest container port for the fifth consecutive year.



9. Union Praise for Sensible Safety Decision

Nautilus International, a trades union and professional association representing seafarers and allied workers in the United Kingdom,  has welcomed the UK government’s decision to abandon controversial proposals to scrap rules requiring ro-ro passenger ships to be fitted with lockers containing emergency equipment. Following an eight-week consultation and talks between the Union and shipping minister John Hayes, the government said ‘persuasive’ arguments had been made in favour of retaining the regulations, which were introduced following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987. The regulations require ro-ro passengerships to be fitted with on-deck emergency equipment lockers.


10. Facing Up to the Challenges Ahead

The top 10 global challenges affecting the world today include international trade, investment concerns, infrastructure development and resource scarcity, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in its Global Risks Report 2015 released today. "There is great interest in infrastructure development in emerging economies like Africa though corruption and instability remains key concerns," Axel Lehmann, group chief risk officer at Zurich insurance group told IHS Maritime today. The assessment comes ahead of the organisation’s annual World Economic Forum, which opens in Davos, Switzerland, on 21 January. In its 80-page report, the WEF highlighted 28 key global risks for the next 10 years.




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


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S Jones
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