Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/04/2015
1. Migrants Murdering Each Other
Italian police arrested 15 African men suspected of throwing about a dozen Christians from a migrant boat in the Mediterranean on Thursday, as the crisis off southern Italy intensified. Forty-one more deaths were reported in a separate incident. Police in the Sicilian capital Palermo said they had arrested the men, from Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal, after survivors reported they had thrown 12 people from Nigeria and Ghana to their deaths and threatened other Christians. The 15 were arrested on charges of multiple homicide motivated by religious hatred. “The motive for the resentment was traced to their faiths,” police said.
2. Content Seafarers Image Questioned
Preliminary results of a BIMCO and International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) "seafarer mini-survey" indicate that "the majority of respondents are content with life at sea", the organisations report. But organisations representing seafarer interests, while welcoming the finding, have expressed caution over the lack of detail provided. The executive director of the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, Roger Harris, said that although he found the results "generally encouraging", he would like more detail, particularly on the numbers that constitute the survey respondents, as well as the level of access they have to the internet.
3. Tankers Loitering and Under Pirate Threat
Lower oil and gas prices have led to tankers being anchored or loitering in areas in the region where they are vulnerable to being robbed by opportunistic attackers. As a consequence of these trends, many oil and gas tankers are sitting idle around the world, including in and around Singapore. Some are anchored or loitering underway in areas such as the southern part of the South China Sea and the Singapore Strait. The latter area is one where ships can cluster without having to pay port or anchorage fees while they wait to enter Singapore. However, and as we have seen in the past, they are vulnerable to armed robbery and petty theft.
4. IMO Sec Gen Address Legal Issues
IMO Secretary General has been speaking on his aim to have high-level consultations to find ways for better managing the process of migration by sea. In a statement he said, "Many thousands of desperate people are at the mercy of ruthless and often violent criminals obtaining huge financial gains from organizing illegal and unregulated sea passages in the Mediterranean, with unseaworthy and dangerously overcrowded boats and with total disregard for safety of life". He wants measures to raise awareness among migrant populations about the extreme dangers of opting for unregulated and unsafe transportation by sea. At http://goo.gl/KgVxkZ
5. Yemen Advice for Singapore Ships
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Wednesday strongly advised all Singapore-flagged ships against calling Yemeni ports. "The security situation in Yemen has deteriorated further with increasingly widespread armed conflicts," reads MPA’s advisory circular, for the attention of shipowners, managers, operators, masters, and crew of all Singapore-registered ships."In consideration of the safety and security of Singapore-flagged ships and the crew serving onboard these ships, owners and operators are strongly advised to avoid having their vessels call at ports in Yemen."
6. Ships Stuck off Yemen
At least five merchant vessels carrying food are stuck off Yemen, shipping data showed on Wednesday, as warships from a Saudi-led coalition search them for weapons bound for Iran-allied Houthi rebel forces, with delays adding to a humanitarian crisis. Yemen imports more than 90 percent of its food, including most of its wheat and all its rice, to feed a population of 25 million. Ship tracking data showed at least five cargo ships were anchored off Yemen unable to enter Yemeni waters. "Disruption of navigation in Yemen’s territorial waters will adversely affect food security," U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA said.
7. Dockers Killed in Confined Space
Three dockworkers have died at the Port of Antwerp after unloading coal from an open hatch cargo ship. The three workers were reported to have suffocated when they entered the open cargo hold of the Hong Kong-flagged MV Saga Frontier to clean it. The three killed were all said to be experienced dockworkers. A statement by International Transport Workers’ Federation President and chair, Paddy Crumlin, said “We can never relax on port safety and accident prevention. Antwerp is a port where health and safety is taken very seriously, and, like the three men’s trade unions, we are confident that a full investigation will take place.”
8. Nation Still Mourns Ferry Loss
A day of mourning for the 304 victims of the Sewol ferry sinking was overtaken by acrimony on Thursday, as organizers called off a ceremony planned to mark its one-year anniversary to protest against the South Korean government’s response to the disaster. The main group representing bereaved families said the government had let them down again by failing to announce by the anniversary a decision to raise the ship in hopes of finding the bodies of nine victims still missing. The year since the ferry sank during a routine voyage from Incheon to Jeju island has been one of both grief and anger towards the government.
9. Seafarer Lost Overboard
The search for a crewman lost overboard from the 17,859 tonne Liberian-flagged bulk carrier MV Sea Amity off the Queensland coast on Tuesday night has been suspended, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced today. The ship left the port of Townsville and was heading south past Fraser Island when the crew member went missing around 10.20pm. However AMSA was not notified until following morning. After a brief search the ship continued its voyage to Newcastle where it is currently at anchor. AMSA co-ordinated the search in moderate conditions, it also issued a broadcast for other ships in the area. http://goo.gl/91WbGt
10. UK Chamber Wants MCA Change
The UK Chamber of Shipping – the Chamber of Commerce representing ship owners and managers in the city of London – has appointed Tom Boardley, managing director of Lloyd’s Register, as its new president. In his inaugural speech in this new capacity, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency was on the agenda as Boardley called for an overhaul and expressed the Chamber’s desire for a restructuring of the agency. “A more responsive, proactive, accessible and business-friendly MCA will make us more competitive as a country,” he said. “It is as simple as that.” The Chamber’s chief executive, Guy Platten, expressed a similar sentiment.
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