Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/01/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/01/2015


1. Bomb Hoax Paralyses Vessel

Gas supply from Lithuania’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal was interrupted on Wednesday due to a bomb threat that later turned out to be a hoax, the terminal’s operator Klaipedos Nafta said on Wednesday. The terminal is now preparing to restart, a spokeswoman said. The floating terminal, leased from Norway’s Hoegh LNG , was opened last year and received the first commercial LNG cargo from Norway in late December. The terminal halted gas withdrawals at around 0900 GMT after receiving a bomb threat and was evacuated.




2. Surprise UK Seafarer Growth

The number of UK seafarers has increased for the first time since 2010, new figures released by the Department for Transport show. The annual Seafarer Statistics show: – the total number of UK seafarers active at sea in 2014 was estimated to be 22,910 – the total number of UK officers increased by around 1000 compared to 2013. This was the first annual increase in the total number of UK seafarers, since 2010. – Nearly 2000 officer cadets were in training, the second highest level for over a decade The figures also show that nearly 2000 officer cadets were in training, the second highest level since the Government’s ‘Support for Maritime Training’ scheme was introduced in 1998.


3. Call for Stiff Concordia Sentence

An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people. Francesco Schettino was the commander of the vessel when it came too close to shore and hit rocks off the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio. In summing up arguments at the trial in the nearby of Grosseto, Prosecutor Maria Navarro said Schettino should serve 14 years for manslaughter and causing injuries, nine for causing a shipwreck, three for abandoning ship, and a further three months for giving false testimony. The trial is expected to go to the jury next month.



4. Abandoned Seafarer Concerns

There are concerns about the welfare of 20 Filipino seafarers aboard a flag-of-convenience bulk carrier berthed at Port Kembla after it was found the stores aboard the ship were severely lacking and none of the crew had been paid in four months. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has detained the ship, the "Bulk Brasil", for serious breaches to the Maritime Labor Convention. The "Bulk Brasil" is an 82,000 dead weight ton, Panamanian-registered vessel, managed and operated Japanese-based multinational Keymax. It is a repeat offender and has been found to have deficiencies in 12 ports worldwide.  An AMSA inspection found the vessel had deficiencies in pollution prevention, working and living conditions, safety of navigation and fire safety.




5. US Somali Pirate Trial Commences

Two Somali pirates convicted in the shooting deaths of four Americans aboard a yacht will have their appeals heard in a Virginia courtroom. Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar were sentenced to 21 life terms for their roles in the February 2011 attack off the coast of Africa. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Richmond. Beyle and Abrar were among 19 men who boarded the 58-foot yacht in hopes of holding the Americans for ransom. The plan fell apart when the U.S. Navy intervened. Yacht owners Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and their friends, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were killed. Four pirates also died.



6. Widow Denied Damages After Failed Pirate Rescue

The widow of a Taiwanese man whose fishing vessel was sunk in the effort to rid it of pirates cannot seek damages, the 4th Circuit ruled. Wu Lai-Yu was the master and owner of the ship, Jin Chun Tsai 68, which pirates hijacked in 2010. He and two crew members were still aboard the JCT 68 as hostages on May 10, 2011, when the USS Stephen W. Groves followed orders from a NATO task force commander to engage the ship and forced its surrender. Three of the nearly two dozen pirates were killed in the engagement, and a special team also found Wu dead in his sleeping quarters, the master’s widow, Wu Tien Li-Shou, claimed in a federal complaint against the United States.



7. Coastguards Need Training

Coastguards in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia require training and mentoring to help coastal nations combat piracy in their territorial waters and economic zones, maritime security company Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST) has said. MAST also said the nations need to rely on their own organic resources for security in international waters, in the wake of western governments’ decision to cut spending on defence. "There is still much to be done ashore if a resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean is to be prevented."




8. Piracy Attack Stalls Port Movements

Cargo movement to the Fertilisers and Chemicals terminal in Travancore have been stalled for the last seven days owing to piracy attacks on local shipping. Lots Shipping, a Kochi-based barge operator, was forced to stop service after a ‘piracy attack’ on  its barge last Thursday inside the Cochin Port limits. Though the company had sought police protection, it has not been provided yet due to technical reasons.  “As  there is no other way, we have stopped our operations. We will re-start the service only if protection to our  barge is given,” a senior company official said. He alleged that the police had so far not taken serious action against the culprits in spite of their complaint.




9. Loopholes In Minimum Wage Rules

A new report, commissioned by the specialist transport trade union RMT from maritime specialists at Cardiff University has found serious loopholes in the country’s legislation regarding the minimum wage paid to seafarers. A shocking table of shame indicates that on some UK RoRo freight and passenger ferries crews are being paid at the rate of just £2.25 per hour as opposed to the current rate of £6.50 for workers over 21, and a minimum even for first year apprentices of £2.73.  The main problem is that crews employed from elsewhere in Europe and around the globe are not subject to Britain’s pay legislation. The RMT points out that this is having a debilitating effect on native seafarers




10. New Vision of Future Bridges

For decades the maritime industry has long-theorized of emulating the “airline model” in uniformity and technical capability of its own ship and boat integrated bridge platform. But the term “integrated bridge” itself is somewhat of a question, as there are as many definitions as there are current ‘solutions.’  Enter Rolls-Royce and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland which together have launched a ship intelligence system that it believes could be the next major transition for the shipping, able to gather, process and reasonably present increasing amounts of complex and high-level data from onboard systems to manage propulsion, navigation and potentially lead to autonomous vessels.


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


Best regards,

S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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