Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/03/2015
1. Seafarers Need More Rest to Stop Accidents
MLC2006 has combined with a number of high profile catastrophic maritime casualties to shine a spotlight on seafarers. It is clear that there are significant direct links between accidents and the “the human factor”. As such preliminary results from the Paris MoU should be disturbing at the least. The data from the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on STCW Hours of Rest, carried out between September and November 2014 showed that 16 ships (14% of detentions during CIC) were detained over the 3 month period as a direct result of deficiencies related to hours of rest. Main areas of concern are hours of rest not being recorded properly and watch keeping personnel without sufficient rest.
2. Three Strikes Aussie Rule
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has released a Marine Order detailing its ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy for ships breaching international safety and labour standards. ‘Directions and refusal of access to Australian ports’ details AMSA’s newfound powers under the Navigation Act 2012. AMSA may refuse a ship access to Australian ports if it has a poor port state control (PSC) record or there are concerns about its vessel operator. The notice highlights wages, crew welfare, fatigue management, and unsound navigation practices, especially while transiting the Great Barrier Reef as issues leading to detentions and bans.
3. Dodgy Injury Claims Causing Concern
A crewing expert in Manila has warned the Philippines crewing industry is losing out because of many fake disability claims. Barista Uno, founder of the widely read Marine Café Blog, said there is a growing problem with seafarers’ money claims – with some seamen seeking disability benefits, only to sail again once they are declared permanently disabled and awarded huge sums. This has prompted some foreign shipowners to switch to other nationalities for their crewing requirements, Uno warned.
4. Looking Towards An Even Bigger Future
Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou this week said in an interview at the Trans-Pacific Marine conference in Long Beach, U.S., that ships with capacities of 25,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) are possible but will not be practical in the foreseeable future. From a design point of view, nothing is stopping the advent of ships 25 percent larger than the world’s current highest capacity vessels, he said. "But with the kind of market growth we’re seeing, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon." Such large ships are of limited utility, said Skou, and are only compatible on high volume Europe-Asia routes with very large ports at either end.
5. ISIS Maritime Threat Examined
British anti-terrorism group Quilliam recently intercepted a document from the Islamic State detailing the group’s plan to wreak “pandemonium” in Europe from the Libyan coast targeting commercial shipping. The report, which calls for the “targeting of the Crusader ships and tankers” – with the “closure of shipping lines”, chillingly, listed as a desirable outcome – has been disregarded by some as bluff and bluster. But evidence shows that the group has made considerable headway in the Libya’s coastal cities, with reports indicating consolidated control over Sirte, and increasing control of the capital Tripoli. In fact, trans-Mediterranean passages by ISIS may already be happening.
6. UN Looking to Rescue Remaining Hostages
United Nations agencies are seeking to rescue 26 more Asian crewmen being held captive by Somali pirates after successfully helping to free the Thai crew of the fishing vessel Prantalay 12 in a mission joined by Thai government agencies. Roy Paul, programme director for the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP), told the Bangkok Post that officials had worked hard to rescue the Thai crew but declined to provide the details of the mission, saying it could affect operations to help other fishermen still being held by pirates.
7. Indian Seafarers Looking to Tax Breaks
Indian seafarers may finally obtain an exemption from income tax bringing relief to domestic shipping companies struggling with inflated wage bills. Budget proposals for 2015-16 unveiled by finance minister Arun Jaitley in parliament on Saturday include a directive to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to rationalise computation of income tax paid by Indian seafarers serving on Indian-flag ships involved in overseas voyages. Indian crew serving on foreign vessels involved in overseas trade from an Indian port to a foreign port, however, are not required to pay tax. The Indian National Shipowners’ Association (INSA) has been making repeated demands to the government to resolve this ‘anomaly’.
8. Ten Year High for Asian Piracy
In 2014 cases of piracy and armed robbery in Asia hit a 10-year high of 183, a 22 percent over the previous year, according to data from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). The 183 cases which were reported last year comprised of 168 actual incidents and 15 attempted incidents, meaning over 90 percent of the attempts by pirates resulted in actual incidents, up from 80 percent five years ago. Of the 183 cases, 13 were classified as Category 1, or "very significant" incidents, and it was noted that the majority of such events related to bunker piracy. "Of the 13 Category 1 incidents, 11 incidents were siphoning of ship fuel/oil.
9. Indian Navy Shifts to Drones
Seeking to enhance its surveillance capabilities on its warships, the Indian Navy (IN) has now announced a global competition for procuring ‘Ship-Borne Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ (UAV) that can augment various patrolling and search-related tactics on its vessels. The navy is planning to acquire a total of 50 shipborne drones for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as part of its effort to boost maritime security, says a report in PTI. "We want to have such a capability and want to know what kinds of products are available in the market," defence sources said. The Naval force had recently issued a request for information (RFI) seeking details about naval shipborne unmanned aerial system (NSUAS).
10. Orders Fill Up for Mega Box Ships
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has entered into a contract with Samsung Heavy Industries for the construction of four 20,150 TEU capacity Ultra Large Container Carriers. MOL also announced that it has concluded an Memorandum of Understanding for long-term charter of two additional 20,150 TEU capacity containerships with Shoei Kisen Kaisha, headquartered in Imabari-shi, Japan. Those two containerships will be built at Imabari Shipbuilding Co., also of Japan. MOL says that the six ships are the world’s largest among delivered and on order containerships. The vessels will measure 400 meters long by 58.8 meters wide, and have a designed draft of 14.5 meters and 16 meter load draft.
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