Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/02/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/02/2015

1. Asian Pirate Bomb Hoax
When the Thailand-flagged tanker Lapin was boarded by eight men armed with pistols and knives while sailing through the Malacca Straits it seemed just another bad case of petro piracy. However after having taken  the cargo and terrified the crew, this gang decided to leave a rather unique calling card, an improvised explosive device (IED). A ploy which served to distract the authorities, delay their responses, and deter the crew from action.
2. Drug Smuggling Warning for Owners
The use of vessel to smuggle contraband is not new, but it is a risk which shipowners should continue to take very seriously, as there has been an upsurge in smuggling attempts in the Caribbean, says insurer Skuld. The situation is very serious, says the insurer. In a Circular of February 2015, Skuld states it has seen many different attempts being made to use a commercial ship as a drug mule, and owners should be aware of how this is done, to protect themselves.
3. Massive New Wind Farm Beckons
The first consent order for offshore wind energy at Dogger Bank in the North Sea has been granted – making it the largest renewable energy development ever to receive planning consent in the UK.  The consent approval is the result of more than four years of comprehensive assessments, stakeholder consultation and planning by the Forewind consortium, owned equally by the four international energy companies – RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil. 
4. Insurers Fight Actions Against Liability
International Conventions conferring direct rights of action against liability insurers are a concern for P&I Clubs, these include the International Convention on civil liability for oil pollution damage and the International Convention on civil liability for bunker oil pollution damage. There are a also number of jurisdictions which confer “victims” with direct rights of action against insurers. P&I Clubs can, and have found themselves embroiled in legal disputes.
5. New Regional Maritime Information Centre
Work is to start next month on a regional maritime information centre (RMIC) for the western Indian Ocean. The European Union-funded project, initiated by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), will be located in Madagascar, it was decided at last week’s African Union (AU) maritime security meeting in Seychelles. Madagascar was competing with Seychelles – which already hosts IOC’s Anti-Piracy Unit and the regional maritime crime information centre Reflecs3.
6. Africa Called to Act on MLC
Republic of Congo’s Labor and Social Safety Minister Florent Ntsiba has urged all African countries to ratify the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC, 2006). Speaking during a workshop on implementation of the Maritime Labor Convention, organized in partnership with the International Labor Office (ILO), Ntsiba explained that the convention will promote better working, housing, entertainment, food and health conditions.
7. Compliance Is Not and Option
The new sulphur emission regulations have been a hotly contended issue from the start but now debate has moved to their implementation, or more accurately, enforcing compliance. The enforcement of these regulations will be the driver of change, not the regulations themselves. Europort envisages opportunities for innovation not just in relation to the technologies employed in order to be compliant but also in relation to enforcement.
8. Concordia Goes Through Salvage Stages
More than three years after the Costa Concordia ran aground in Giglio, the effort to dismantle and recycle the Costa Concordia continues nearly around-the-clock in Italy. The Costa Concordia arrived in Genoa in July 2014 following the historic salvage project as the dismantling/scrapping project rolls on. The Concordia remains afloat by means of the 30 sponsons that played a key role in the parbuckling, refloating and towing phases of the salvage.
9. Great Barrier Reef Fine
A Taiwanese ship captain has been fined over USD$6,000 for navigating his vessel through an area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without a pilot. The captain was in court in Newcastle, NSW facing charges of “Being the master of a ship that navigates without a pilot in the compulsory pilot area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, contrary to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth)”, according to the Australian Federal Police.
10. Dry Bulk Firm Goes Bust
Chinese dry bulk shipping company Winland Ocean Shipping Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Victoria, Texas. Under the voluntary petition filed on February 12th, the company, together with five of its subsidiaries, plans to restructure its accrued debt worth around USD 48 million. The decision comes after two of the company’s three vessels, the Rui Lee and the Winland Dalian, were arrested late last year.

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


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S Jones
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