Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/03/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/03/2015


1. Cruise Passengers Confirmed Killed

MSC Cruises has confirmed that a total of twelve of its guests were killed in Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. Those killed included 2 Colombians, 3 French, 3 Japanese, 2 Spanish, 1 British and 1 Belgian, the cruise line reported. Thirteen of its guests were also injured, including 1 Belgian, 7 French, 4 Japanese and 1 South African. Two of those injured are considered in serious conditions. Two guests who remained missing were found hiding in the museum and are in good condition. A total of 20 people died in the attack, the cruise line reported based on information from the Tunisian Minister of Tourism.




2. Who Will Pay for Cruise Shore Terror

Marine insurers say the question about which insurance policy will pay for the passengers of two cruise ships who were killed and injured in the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis is far from clear. The passengers, who were spending the day in the Tunisian capital, were on a tour to the museum and as such the cruise operators are now working with their insurers to see which policy will cover the attack. However, the complexity of the cover taken out by cruise operators means there are several potential insurers involved. The companies may also have specific insurance cover for trips by passengers on land.




3. Pirates Convicted in Seychelles

Nine Somalis, including a juvenile who was 14 years old at the time of arrest, have each been found guilty on three counts of piracy. The Seychelles Supreme Court sentenced the eight adults to 14 years in prison on all three counts and the juvenile to three years. The sentences are to run concurrently and time already spent in prison will be deducted from the sentences. Several of the adults claimed to be under age, but, according to Judge Mohan Niranjit Burhan, "Forensic analysis proved that only one … was in fact a juvenile". The court rejected the defendants’ claim that they were fishermen, with no evidence of fishing gear in their vessel.



4. Another Rise in Asian Piracy

Asian waters were significantly more dangerous last year, with a rise in piracy and sea robbery incidents in these waters, according to statistics from an international counter-piracy body. There were 183 such incidents last year, 22 per cent more than in 2013.  These comprise 168 actual incidents and 15 attempted ones, and include incidents of oil siphoning, where pirates hijack fuel tankers and offload their cargo.  The figures are from the 2014 annual report of the information sharing centre of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).



5. Taking a Fresh Look at Cruise Ships

Perched out of a helicopter with his camera in hand, New York-based photographer Jeffrey Milstein has captured spectacular views of giant cruise ships from above.  Milstein’s Cruise Ships series gives a bird’s-eye view of the huge floating holiday vessels. The New York-based photographer uses high-resolution camera equipment to capture views from a helicopter with an open door. They include the Disney Dream, which features a nine-hole mini-golf course, 11 nightclubs and lounges and the first ‘water roller coaster’: a 765-foot long winding waterslide called the AquaDuck that goes through the ship’s funnel.




6. Calls for Ratification of HK Convention

In a position paper, European shipowners call for a swift ratification of the 2009 IMO Hong Kong Convention (HKC), which is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment. European shipowners also call for a smart application of the 2013 EU Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR) so that the latter act as a lever by incentivising ship recycling yards to upgrade towards compliance with the HKC requirements. EU shipowners have also issued recommendations to ensure the proper ship recycling.



7. COSCO Emerges with Profit Boost

The shipping services arm of China Ocean Shipping, Cosco International reported its profit attributable to equity holders for the year ended 31 December 2014 rose 48.6% year-on-year to HK$359 million ($46.3 million). Revenue, however, fell 18.5% to HK$7.59bn as contributions from the core shipping services businesses decreased. Cosco International noted that the overhang of shipping capacity continues to exist and the shipping market will remain sluggish. “Cost control by shipowners is expected to remain and business prospects of the shipping services industry will unavoidably be under pressure,” the company said.




8. London P&I Progress in Tough Times

At the start of the new P&I policy year, Ian Gooch, Chief Executive of the Management team, looks at Membership and other developments at the London P&I Club over the last 12 months and around the recent renewal. “The recent renewal took place against a backdrop of another challenging year for Members, reflecting the depressed freight markets in many shipping sectors,” says Ian. “The persistently difficult trading conditions intensified the focus on costs, including P&I rates…meant that there were some particularly tough negotiations. As a result, it proved impossible to agree renewal in a few cases".




9. Malacca Security Under Threat

Budget constraints are jeopardizing Malaysia’s defense spending plans, which include beefing up its maritime capabilities. With piracy in  the region rising by 22% recently it had been hoped a more powerful and assertive Malaysian Navy may boost security.  "We have a lot of areas to be concerned about. The Straits of Malacca, the south-western part of the South China Sea and others," Navy chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar said. "We don’t have enough to cover it all. The best way is synergy, by working together with regional partners we can ensure maritime security," Jaafar added.




10. Officers Charged with HK Deaths

Two marine officers in Hong Kong have been charged over a deadly vessel collision in 2012. So Ping-chi, 58, assistant director of the Marine Department of Hong Kong, was charged with one count of misconduct in public office, local police department said. Wong Kam-ching, 60, retired senior inspector, was charged with perjury. They will appear in a local court in Hong Kong on 18 March. On 1 October 2012, high-speed ferry "Sea Smooth" crashed into "Lamma IV" off Lamma Island in Hong Kong. Lamma IV sank shortly after the collision, leaving 39 passengers killed and another 92 injured.


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