Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/03/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/03/2015

1. US Disruption Boosts Panama Canal
The disruption at US west coast ports over recent months could provide a substantial boost to traffic on the Panama Canal after its expansion is completed next year, the canal’s administrator said, in the latest sign that the dispute has done long-term damage to the ports. Jorge Quijano said the canal had been expecting to win an additional four to five weekly container-shipping services from Asia to the US east coast after bigger vessels are allowed to use the canal.
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2. Owners Urge Action on Migrants
The International Chamber of Shipping will urge EU governments to save the lives of thousands of migrants by intervening in the "humanitarian crisis" in the Mediterranean Sea. The IMO is hosting a high-level meeting of UN agencies and concerned parties in London on 4 March to address "Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea". According to the IMO over 200,000 people were rescued in 2014 during "unsafe, irregular and illegal" passages on the Mediterranean.
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3. Ransom Payment Suggested
At least $400,000 (about N88million), was reportedly paid as ransom to secure the release of three seafarers kidnapped from the Greek VLCC Kalamos, off the Nigerian coast on February 3. The seafarers, two Greeks and a Pakistani, were taken hostage three weeks ago off the coast of Nigeria in a bloody attack on the Greek oil tanker. The firm said no details would be released on how the three men were freed.
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4. Surge of Piracy Attacks Reported
There has been a surge of piracy related incidents, including thefts, robberies as well as vessel hijackings for cargo siphoning during 2014, and further incidents have already been reported in the first months of 2015. Ships, particularly smaller tankers, should consider taking mitigation and loss prevention measures. Members have been made aware of the increase in the number of incidents in South East Asian waters 
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5. Pirate Attack Repulsed
It has emerged that a pirate attack on a tanker in the Gulf of Aden last month was repulsed by the crew with the assistance of the Indian Navy, according to reports by the international naval coalition patrolling the region off the coast of East Africa. Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) confirmed that its 52,000-dwt oil tanker Burgan came under attack from pirates during and water cannon was used successfully to deter the attackers
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6. Superyacht Skippers Struggle with MLC
On of the most pressing industry bugbears for super yachts is the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). There concerns rest on the fact that although the convention applies to superyachts, it was not created with them in mind, and as such places the sub-50m fleet in contravention of its rules. It has been lightheartedly suggested, that a special crew boat will be towed behind the owner’s yacht behind because this is the only way to marry MLC safety and rest.
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7. EU Shipping Employment Leaps
The number of people directly employed by the European shipping industry increased by 25% between 2004 and 2013, a study has found. Carried out on behalf of the European Communities Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) by Oxford Economics, the study found that the industry’s directly employed workforce stood at 615,000 in 2013 – more than the 423,000 employed by the aviation sector. 80% of these are are EU seafarers.
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8. Migrant Rescue Needs Crowdfunding
Mediterranean SAR operation needs crowdfunding to save lives in 2015, that is according to the independent Search and Rescue (SAR) operation MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) a foundation created with private funds to assist naval, commercial and private mariners to carry out rescue and life saving at sea. In 2014 MOAS Rescued 3,000 People in 60 Days, and they are no less busy this year.
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9. Time for Africa to Rise
African countries that have direct access to the sea should emulate Japan in exploiting their vast maritime resources to bolster their economic progress, said IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu. Speaking in Nairobi, Sekimizu said much needed to be done to develop the continent’s maritime industry, or "blue economy". The IMO head wants to see Africa’s nations develop concrete maritime policies to marshal support from both the public and private sectors.
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10. Sea Transport Underutilised
Almost 40% of goods traded within the European Union are transported by sea, a cleaner alternative to road transport. Despite efforts from Brussels to promote maritime transport, the sector’s market share within the EU has not grown in the last 15 years. EurActiv France reports.  Shipping is still Europe’s second choice for short distance transport, behind road transport, despite its environmental credentials and the congested state of European roads.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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