Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/03/2015
1. EU Stresses Innovation for Shipping
Violeta Bulc, the EU Commissioner for Transport European Shipping has stated her belief that shipping must remain at the forefront of innovation to stay competitive. According to Bulc, the environmental impact of shipping is a challenge and ship-owners and operators have to sustain an interest in more fuel efficient ships. She also believes that the EU is at the forefront of safety and that the rest of the shipping world will slowly be forced into a gradual convergence towards the high standards of safety that are in Europe already today. As such she believes that innovation is therefore, first and foremost, an opportunity.
2. IMO Faces up to Passenger Ship Issues
IMO conducted a hazard identification (HAZID) exercise for non-SOLAS passenger ships in the Philippines last week. The aim is to develop a template for the use of the HAZID by other IMO member states, as a way of enhancing the safety of domestic passenger services. The exercise was conducted with the participation of officials from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Department of Transportation and Communications, Republic of the Philippines, other government agencies, local classification societies, IACS members, domestic shipowners, domestic crew associations, shipyard operators, surveyors and consumer groups. http://goo.gl/24QKBu
3. US Detains Box Ship
U.S. Coast Guard personnel detained the container ship "MOL Precision" in Seattle, late last week. Port state control officers discovered several significant violations on the Panamanian-flagged ship including defective oil bilge line filtering equipment, missing security training records, and not sending required ballast tank information to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) prior to entering a U.S. port. The oil bilge line filtering equipment is required to be maintained so that the ship will not discharge bilge oil overboard. However, it had a non-functional alarm and intermittently operating meter.
4. Heavy Trouble for Heavy Lift Ship
COSCO’s heavy-lift ship Da Dan Xia was detained in Cartagena by Colombian authorities on 4 March for carrying illegal weapons. About 100 tonnes of gunpowder, 2.6 million detonators, 99 projectiles, and about 3,000 cannon shells were found on the Hong Kong-flagged ship, which was bound for Cuba, reported local media.
Containers labelled China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) – China’s biggest arms maker – was also found aboard the vessel, according to the Colombian Attorney-General’s office. However, according to the ship’s records, it was carrying chemicals and spare parts. The captain, faces charges.
5. Tight Times for Container Rates
Container freight rates fell for the second month in a row in January, figures released today by UK-based consultancy Container Trade Statistics (CTS) have revealed. The rates dropped by one point to 81 in January following the previous one-point dip in December 2014 on the previous month. The freight index is now below the 83-87 point range, in which it had traded from April 2013 to September 2014, for the second consecutive month, CTS data shows. However, the situation may have been reversed last month as freight rates rose marginally in February, said Jacob Pedersen, senior analyst at Sydbank in Denmark.
6. Nigerians Very Confident About Piracy
Despite some criticism externally, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, has reiterated the commitment of the agency to eliminate piracy from the nation’s waterways. He said with its 24-hour Satellite Surveillance Centre in Lagos, the agency is well equipped to curb piracy. Akpobolokemi told the local media that the satellite system which the agency launched last year would provide a safety net for corporate bodies and individuals who transact businesses within Nigerian waters. With a ban on foreign guards in place, this confidence may be tested.
7. Fixing Piracy Must Happen Ashore
The operational commander of EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta, Major-General Martin Smith has praised the progress that has been made against piracy in the region, and has said that EUNAVFOR will spend the following two years of its extended mandate with its Indian Ocean partners to enable them to build their own regional capacity for maritime security. Major-General Smith said that despite activities at sea, "We need to remember that the ultimate solution to piracy is on land in Somalia, and that may take some time to achieve".
8. Port Delays Affecting Seafarers
Hundreds of seafarers are still stuck on ships awaiting berths at the two busiest U.S. ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, two weeks after dockworkers and their employers settled a nine-month labor dispute that snarled cargo. Clearing out the backlog could take about three months, the heads of both ports said this week.
With the contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association now tentatively sealed, ships are again moving through the harbor shared by both ports. Yet 29 vessels remain at sea, and more than 700 crew members are still stranded awaiting calls into the ports.
9. Ice Blocks Route to Seaway
Heavy ice throughout the Great Lakes region has forced a week’s delay in the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway for the 2015 navigation season. According to Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the Canadian Seaway Management Corp, the Seaway had planned to open on 27 March but after studying the ice cover of the five lakes decided to wait until 2 April. "We want to make sure everything is ready to go; we remember what happened last year," he said. By early March 2014, the region was about 92% iced over and it took nearly a month for the Canadian and US Coast Guards to open routes for commercial navigation. http://goo.gl/qHTSZf
10. Floating Armoury is Political Hot Potato
A floating armory in the Galle Harbor, Sri Lankam has made headlines since several allegations were made regarding its legality. However, local politicians have now decided that the vessel has been run properly and legally. It appears, according to the companies involved, that after some concerns they have been confirmed as operating the vessel under authorisation of the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka. As such they are once again able to supply Sea Marshals and weapons to any kind of vessels that seek security and protection during their voyages to any destination in the World. So far they have handled 120 commercial vessels. http://goo.gl/Xq3uFB
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