Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/03/2015
1. Mapping Shipping Cities
Analysis of vessel ownership often focuses on the major shipowning countries. This week we take a closer look to reveal the top shipowning cities, and find that even though shipping is a global industry, ownership is fairly well concentrated in a relatively small number of major centres. These include both shipping’s usual suspects as well as some perhaps less obvious locations. It is headed, perhaps unsurprisingly, by Athens, with a fleet of 4,043 vessels of 161.5m GT. This is equivalent to 14%, or one seventh, of the current world fleet. After Athens comes Tokyo, with 98.3m GT, and Hamburg with 70.5m GT. Singapore and Hong Kong.
2. Acting on Container Lashing
The IMO has acted on container weights, amending the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require verification, and it has progressed on packing by approving the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code). Both are significant moves to improve safety and cargo integrity. Now, as larger container tonnage becomes commonplace, it is time to turn the attention on lashing and securing. Relevant ISO standards (ISO 3874, Series 1 Freight containers, lashing and securing, and ISO 1161, Series 1 Freight containers, Corner and intermediate fittings – Specifications) are undergoing thorough review.
3. Arrested for Crimea Call
A Turkish owned vessel flying the flag of Tuvalu was arrested by Ukrainian authorities over a visit it made to a port in Crimea, reports Reuters. The ship’s captain detained. Tuvalu-registered 5,095 deadweight ton ship Kanton was being held in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. They said the crew could go to jail for up to three years and the ship could be seized. Russian annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine last year, after Ukrainian protesters toppled a pro-Moscow president. Ukraine has said any visit to Crimean ports is illegal, and a ban came into effect in July last year. The owners called the arrest "unlawful".
4. India Left Wrestling with Piracy
For a nation with a known piracy problem, it is perhaps surprising that the crime is not listed within the Indian Penal Code. This means that India has problems prosecuting, indeed the only current law under which prosecution can be brought is the colonial-era Admiralty Offences Act of 1849. The Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper last year quoted a senior Indian Coast Guard officer as saying: "When we capture pirates today we don’t know what to do with them. The police refuse to file a case because they do not know what section to book them under." An estimated 200 piracy suspects are being held in Indian jails awaiting trial.
5. Advice to Vessels In Malacca
The Indian government has asked Indian ships sailing in the Malacca Strait and South East Asia to be "extra cautious" and take necessary security steps in view of rising incidents of hijacking and robbery by pirates in the region. The development comes in the wake of the International Maritime Bureau reporting incidents of hijacking and armed robbery in Malacca Strait. "All Indian flag vessels are advised to be extra cautious and to take necessary precautionary measures when navigating in the area," Directorate General of Shipping said in an advisory to ship owners, managers and others .
6. Avoiding Bombs and Yemen
With Yemen the subject of military action, some have questioned whether this could lead to the closure of the Bab el-Mandeb – and the route to the Suez Canal. Shipping groups say there’s no sign yet that the sea lanes are disrupted after Saudi Arabia and its allies started a bombing campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen. Vessels use the waterway to reach the Suez Canal, a route that handles about 20 percent of all trade and almost 7 percent of oil and fuel cargoes. “There’s no way that the Bab el-Mandeb could ever be closed because it’s too important,” Andreas Krieg, from the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London,
7. Libyan Tanker Traffic Picks Up
A tanker bound for Italy was loading 600,000 barrels of oil at the Libyan port of Hariga on Sunday, an oil official said, the eighth loading at the eastern terminal this month as exports continue despite fights between armed factions. Another tanker, also bound for Italy, lifted 130,000 barrels of oil on Wednesday at the Zueitina port, which is also located in the east of the OPEC member country, a second oil official said. Rising exports from the ports of Hariga and Zueitina offer some hope for Libya’s oil sector, which has been battered by Islamist militant attacks and fighting between rival factions.
8. Massive Support for Offshore Strike Action
Trade unions Unite and GMB said members working offshore in Britain’s oil and gas industry had shown overwhelming support for industrial action over proposed changes to their terms and conditions in a consultative ballot which closed on Friday. Unite’s members covered by the Offshore Contractors’ Agreement delivered a 93.5 percent vote in favour of proceeding to a strike ballot, increasing the likelihood of North Sea strike action for the first time in a generation, the union said. GMB’s members also voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of an official ballot for strike action over proposals to change their conditions of employment, GMB said.
9. New Apps to Helps with Port State Control
LR and the UK P&I Club have released three new pocket checklist mobile apps to help owners and operators comply with international convention requirements and reduce the risk of port state controls detentions. The Marine Fire Safety pocket checklist app includes a list of where deficiencies are most commonly found and certificates and documents that must be carried on board. The Marine Pollution Prevention pocket checklist app highlights the most common deficiencies listed by the MARPOL Annexes, to help ensure compliance. The Port State Control pocket checklist app identifies the most common causes of ship detention.
10. New Military Training Regime
Cote d’Ivoire’s authorities have initiated military training aimed at securing the country’s maritime zone, a security source said Thursday. The source said the training is meant to reinforce surveillance and prepare the forces to effectively fight against acts of maritime piracy. “This exercise which is being done with the support of partners who include the U.S., will help Cote d’Ivoire to properly secure its maritime space,” Cote d’Ivoire’s Navy Commander Contre-Amiral Djakaridja Konate said. He said the training in which several army patrol boats are taking part, will enable the country to assess its operational capacity.
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