Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/06/2015
1. Terrible Death Toll as Ferry Sinks
Hundreds of people are missing and at least five are confirmed dead after a passenger ship carrying more than 450 passengers sunk in the Yangtze River in southern China. The official Xinhua News Agency said just 12 people of the 458 onboard the ferry had been rescued so far, and that a rescue operation was continuing. Hopes were raised that more survivors would be found after rescuers heard sounds coming from inside the submerged ship. Search teams heard people calling out for help from within the partially submerged ship about 12 hours after it went down.
2. Differing Opinions on Box Giants
A unit of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the World Shipping Council (WSC) have differed in their opinions on larger containerships and their effects on ports and costs, JOC reports. While the International Transport Forum (ITF) in a recent report said it believes that costs are rising as mega-containerships contribute to port congestion and add to the need for costly infrastructure upgrades, the WSC argues that larger vessels reduce the fuel, and therefore cost, of shipping per container. ITF calculations claim that the cost savings from this generation of size upgrades is less than expected. http://goo.gl/r1Hab4
3. Oil May Never Recover
Harvard University professor Meghan O’Sullivan doubts that the price of oil will ever climb to its previous heights. "Will prices be sustained over $100? Doubtful," the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, and former special assistant to U.S. President George Bush said. "We have, from 2011 to 2014, had enormous production gains in the United States and production gains on the global level; that energy abundance will continue." Johnston’s sentiments were shared by Paul Stevens, a research associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
4. New Class Guidance on Batteries
Lloyd’s Register (LR) has released a new guidance document aimed at facilitating a risk-based approach to battery use. The guidance describes the key hazards to consider when installing battery technology, and gives an overview of our non-prescriptive approach to approval. The guidance also covers battery chemistry and industry standards. The guidance starts at the beginning of a battery system’s lifecycle when the cells are being manufactured, and goes on to consider how an installation affects or is affected by a vessel’s power system, placement on board, ventilation, firefighting, electrical protection and maintenance.
5. New DNV Boss Coy on Newbuilds
Incoming DNV GL ceo Remi Eriksen does not see an upswing in ship newbuilding orders until 2017, and “things to get worse before they get better” for the oil and gas sector. Eriksen, who takes over the top post at DNV GL on 1 August, characterised the shipping industry as one with low rates, overcapacity and fierce competition, combined with stricter environmental regulation. “We probably see it being 2017 before we see an upswing in newbuilding ordering again. But it will not be to the levels we have seen during the past 10 years,” he told media briefing ahead of Nor-Shipping 2015.
6. Training Company Passes New Landmark
Videotel has launched its 500th computer-based training (CBT) e-Learning course. This milestone confirms Videotel as the number one provider of e-Learning CBTs to the maritime, offshore, and ports & pilotage sectors, among others. Videotel’s latest course, entitled “The Work of the Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel (ERRV),” covers the crew’s key objectives and emergency procedures when operating these vessels in global offshore oil and gas fields. The CBT course also details the day-to-day operational function of the ERRV. Videotel commenced producing training courses for the maritime industry in 1973.
7. New Code for Gas Ship Expected
IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which meets at the Organization’s London headquarters for its 95th session from 3 to 12 June 2015, is expected to adopt a new mandatory code for gas-fuelled ships. The Committee will also consider cyber security matters and passenger ship safety, as well as a number of items put forward by the sub-committees. The MSC is expected to adopt the draft International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with draft amendments to make the Code mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
8. Looking at Prosecuting Pirates
Cambridge University Press has published a new collected volume on maritime piracy, "Prosecuting Maritime Piracy: Domestic Solutions to International Crimes". The book contains an essay entitled “The problems of pirate punishment", which examines the sentencing of Somali pirates in international law prosecutions in national courts around the world. The chapter finds massive variances in sentences for similar crimes committed by similarly-situated actors of comparable levels of command responsibility. The variance in sentences shows that an international consensus on the criminality of conduct does not lead to similar punishments.
9. A Joint View on Social Impact of Shipping
The European Social Partners for Maritime Transport – the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) – have expressed common views on social-related key issues, such as working and living conditions onboard ships or measures to stimulate seafarers’ recruitment and employment. There is a need to strengthen the attractiveness of the EU shipping industry, which is an important source of jobs, both onboard ships – for ratings and officers – and onshore (directly and indirectly), and lifelong career prospects in the maritime industry and maritime clusters are needed.
10. Mission Launches New Welfare Provisions
The Mission to Seafarers has launched a new welfare support project for families in the seafaring heartland of Manila in the Philippines. The number of seafarers that come from the Far East is thought to be around 37% of all ratings and the Mission estimates that up to a million seafarers are registered in the state of the Philippines alone. The new network will focus on improving support for seafarers’ families over a range of key services including counselling, advocacy, medical advice, IT support and financial guidance. The service launched late in April with the appointment of two full-time staff in post.
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