Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/02/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/02/2015


1. Pirates Kill Greek Officer

Pirates have hijacked a crude oil tanker off the Nigerian coast, taking three hostages and killing the vessel’s Greek deputy commander, the Greek coastguard said Wednesday. The Malta-flagged Kalamos was anchored and awaiting fresh cargo from Qua Iboe, an oil terminal in Nigeria’s southeastern region operated by ExxonMobil, when it was boarded on Tuesday. Two of the three hostages are Greek, and Greeks make up 10 out of the total 23 crew, a spokeswoman for the coastguard told Agence France-Presse. The hijacking of the 15-year-old tanker took place in the Gulf of Guinea.



2. Seacurus Launches New Petro Piracy Product

Specialist marine insurance intermediary, Seacurus, has developed a petro-piracy endorsement which can be added to existing kidnap & ransom (KR) insurance cover. The coverage was developed in response to the evolving threats to ships, their cargoes and crews when transiting the South China Sea, Malacca Straits, Indonesian Archipelago and Gulf of Guinea.

“The criminal reach demonstrated by last year’s hijack of the tanker Kerala, coupled with the number of successful and attempted attacks in 2014 and the lack of any evidence that such gangs have been neutralised, suggests that further attempts at cargo theft will take place in 2015 across the region,” said Denis Nifontov, Head of Marine K&R at Seacurus.


3. Nigerians Act Against Armed Guards

The Nigerian Federal Government has said that it will not hesitate to detain any vessel entering the country’s territorial and coastal waters with security escorts on board, whether armed or unarmed. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, gave this warning when the agency detained three vessels, LILAC VICTORIA, UACC EAGLE and MORGANE, because they sailed into Nigeria with individuals linked to private security firms overseas offering training on the use of weapons. P&I Clubs are advising members to be aware of this new, troubling and potentially confusing new dictat. As attacks increase, removing the ability to use guards is a major concern to many owners.



4. Rena Delay Could Free Owner

A decision by Maritime New Zealand to approve a request by the owners of the Rena wreck to temporarily halt salvage efforts has sparked fears it will allow the owners and insurers to walk. MNZ has announced a "pause" on salvage operations pending the outcome of the resource consent application made by the ship’s owners, Daina Shipping, to leave parts of the wreck on Astrolabe (Otaiti) Reef. Salvage could be suspended only after the wreck reaches the "benign and practicable" as set out in the application. The application under the Resource Management Act is due to be heard later this year. The Rena struck the reef, off the coast of Tauranga, on October 5, 2011. It subsequently broke up, spilling oil.




5. Search, Rescue and Data

The seas are vast. And they claim vessels in significant numbers. The yachts Cheeki Rafiki, Niña, Munetra, Tenacious are just some of the more high-profile names on a list of lost or capsized vessels which grows by hundreds each year. Yet it took the disappearance of flight MH370 to demonstrate how difficult it can be to find something in the open ocean. As the search continued, incredulity grew: exactly how, in the 21st century, is it possible to lose a 64-metre aircraft? Experts believe maritime search and rescue teams must be provided with better data and imagery from satellites, as these provide the vantage point necessary to monitor large areas of ocean.



6. Sad End to Seafarers Welfare Centre

A welfare centre used by seafarers visiting Milford Haven is to close, with the expected loss of eight jobs. The trustees of the International Seafarers’ Centre, in Robert Street, have taken the difficult decision to close the centre, following a fall in the number of people using it.  A charity jointly managed by the Sailors’ Society, the Apostleship of the Sea and the Mission to Seafarers, it has for many years provided welfare facilities for seafarers visiting the port.  “Recent years have seen turnaround times rapidly increase, with seafarers often spending only six to 24 hours in port rather than several days,” she said.  As a result, declining numbers of visiting seafarers were accessing the centre, and so it will close.



7. Spanish Court Convicts Pirates

A Spanish court on Wednesday convicted six Somalis for piracy and sentenced them each to 16 and a half years in jail for attacking a Spanish tuna trawler off the coast of Somalia in 2012. The six men have been held in a Spanish jail since November 2012 since being caught by Dutch sailors after they ambushed the Izurdia off the Horn of Africa using AK-47 assault rifles. Spain’s National Court, the country top criminal court, convicted the six of piracy and membership of a criminal group. In its ruling the court said the six men formed "an assault cell or organised pirate group with material to board and kidnap commercial boats that sailed in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia."




8. Joint Patrols to Be Initiated

Malaysian Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar has said regional joint patrols would soon be launched to tackle piracy in and around the Johor Strait, local media reports. The joint patrol is understood to be a collaboration between Malaysia, Singapore,Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. The Malaysian Navy has already earmarked a vessel, KD Pahang, for the operations, said Abdul Aziz. "We are also working closely with the Marine Department and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA)," he added. The joint patrol is likely to be launched during the 2015 biannual Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in March as petro piracy is on the rise.



9. Owner Goes to the Wall

Privately-owned shipping company Copenship has filed for bankruptcy in Copenhagen after losses in the dry bulk market, its Chief Executive Michael Fenger told the press. Copenship had been operating over 50 chartered small-sized dry-bulk vessels carrying goods such as grain, iron ore and timber. “We have done what we could to raise the funds to save the company, but we have reached a point where there is not more to do,” Michael Fenger said. “First of all, we have found ourselves in an extremely bad dry cargo market. Secondly, there are several counterparties that have caused us losses, and then thirdly there are different insurance cases that could hit us,” Fenger wrote.




10. New Steel Gains Approval

Leading classification society ClassNK  issued approval for Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation’s newly developed corrosion resistant steel (NSGP™-2) for use on the upper deck and/or inner bottom of crude oil tanker cargo oil tanks (COT). Following earlier approvals of steels for the inner bottom plating of COTs, this marks the first time that approval has been granted for corrosion resistant steels for both the top and bottom parts of the COT, providing owners and shipyards with a practical alternative to coating systems. In order to reduce COT corrosion and improve crude oil tanker safety, new amendments to the SOLAS Convention were issued in May 2010 for oil tankers over 5000 dwt.



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


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S Jones
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