Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 12/03/2015
1. Cruise Fire Prompts Change
Shipowners and operators of all vessel types have been urged by the US Coast Guard (USCG) to update safety guidelines following a cruise ship fire that killed three people in December 2014. In a Marine Safety Alert issued 11 March by the USCG’s Inspections and Compliance Directorate, the agency "strongly recommends" to owners that their vessels’ service vendors, technicians, and crew members working within machinery spaces understand escape routes and emergency equipment before starting work. Owners should have up-to-date service bulletins and letters for critical equipment, particularly for items that relate to fire prevention.
2. Hong Kong Raises Fuel Stakes
Beginning July 1, 2015, ocean going vessels berthed in Hong Kong will be required to use cleaner burning fuels or be faced with steep fines. Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department unveiled details of the new low sulphur fuel regulations on Wednesday that will ensure reduced ship emissions and improved air quality in local communities. Known as the Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation, ocean going vessels (OGVs) will be required to use bunkers with a sulphur content no greater than .5% while berthing. Hong Kong has incentivized shipowners to meet the .5% mark with lower fees.
3. Piracy Case Focus on Hague Visby Rules
In the case of Trafigura Beheer BV v Navigazione Montanari SpA  EWCA Civ 91 the subject vessel was chartered to carry a cargo of oil from Abidjan, Ivory Coast to Lagos, Nigeria. Clause 46 of the charter (on an amended BPVOY3 form) incorporated the Hague-Visby Rules, which contain exemptions in respect of loss or damage arising or resulting from various parties. This case exemplifies the importance to contractual interpretation of the commercial rationale behind a clause, while it is felt the courts are likely to be reluctant to extend the situations in which charterers can recover from owners.
4. Pirates Ordered Home
A Kenyan Court on Wednesday ordered the repatriation of ten suspected pirates to Somalia. Mombasa High Court Judge, Justice Muya ruled that the ten serves the remaining four year jail in their country of origin for offence of hijacking a vessel along the Gulf of Aden waters. Muya said he had considered the ongoing initiative by both Somalia and Kenya to maintain peace. Muya said Somalia had undergone several changes, which had made it stable and friendly to its citizens, hence suspects would be closer to their relatives, rather than being held in cells in a foreign country.
5. Trust Continues to Fund Humanitarian Programme
ITF Seafarers’ Trust renews support for a humanitarian response to seafarers subjected to maritime piracy The Seafarers’ Trust provided core funding for the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) launched in September 2011 when maritime piracy was at its peak, with many seafarers subjected to serious attacks by pirates and armed robbers. Trust funding enabled the MPHRP to make a significant contribution to the welfare support of seafarers, and their families caught up in and affected by such attacks. In addition, the MPHRP has achieved considerable recognition in the industry.
6. Grounding Highlighted Poor Response
"MV Fri Sea", recently grounded while docking in Scotland, did not make a timely report to the Coastguard and the MCA when, trying to enter the berth stern-first, a strong gust of wind led to her stern hitting the eastern end of the pier there – and then blew her aground. A timeline shows the Master taking 4 hours to report damage and a grounding and only then moving to make the official notification to the MCA. It has even been questioned whether, had the local coastguard not instructed him to call Stornoway, when would the MCA have been informed? The ship’s owners said the delay was due to them checking damage.
7. Drug Smuggling as an Insurance Peril
Tom Gorrard-Smith, of Clyde & Co, looks at a recent court decision in which the court ruled that detention arising from drug smuggling is an insured peril under Institute War and Strikes Clauses Hulls 1/10/83 Thwarting the efforts of traffickers transporting drugs by ocean is an increasingly difficult task for customs authorities worldwide. With traffickers using more and more creative measures to avoid seizure, the search methods now being adopted by authorities to stem the flow of drugs being carried by ships are now, in turn, increasingly extensive in their scope and often involve delays while divers undertake underwater surveys.
8. Virgin Sued for Cruise Concept
The former chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd sued Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in federal court in Miami for $300 million on Wednesday over plans by the British billionaire to launch his own luxury cruise line. The lawsuit by Colin Veitch, who oversaw Norwegian from 2000 to 2008, claims that Virgin muscled him out of a joint venture to break into the industry with massive ships capable of carrying thousands of passengers and operating as floating resorts, according to court documents. Veitch alleges he presented to Virgin a plan that would give it a foothold in the hard-to-enter but highly profitable sector.
9. Search Rescue Underway
A search and rescue is underway in the Sea of Japan following a distress call from a Cambodian-flagged cargo ship. Reports say that a distress call was received Wednesday morning from MV Tong Yuan Hai located approximately 280 kilometers off Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture after the ship developed a list and was in danger of sinking. All 14 crewmembers have been rescued from the vessel, which remains adrift in the Sea of Japan, local reports say. The incident occurred as the vessel was sailing from the Russian port of Nakhodka to South Korea with a shipment of coal. The search and rescue is being coordinated by the Korean Coast Guard..
10. Time to Free Guards Held in India
Two maritime campaign groups are calling for six former soldiers detained in India to be returned home. Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) and The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) have issued a global plea for action for the crew of US ship the MV Seaman Guard Ohio. They were arrested more than 500 days ago for illegal possession of weapons, but charges were dropped last July. They have had their passports confiscated, however, while prosecutors consider an appeal. Nick Dunn Mr Dunn’s family said the cost of supporting him while he is in India has run into "thousands of pounds". HRAS founder David Hammond voiced strong concerns.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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