Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/07/2015
1. Tankers Alleged Held in Libya
Despite contrary claims elsewhere, it has been reported that the crude oil tankers "Trident Hope" and "Minerva Alexandra" have been arrested by Libyan Army according to the protection of Libya’s oil facilities. The both tankers were bound for Ras Lanuf port in Libya, but were impound by the Petroleum Facilities Guard and remain under arrest. The country lift the ban on crude oil export and Ras Lanuf should restart shipments soon, but terminal remain blocked and attempting to load would result in arrests of the tankers from Petroleum Facilities Guard. The crew are in good condition and good health without any injuries. They will remain detained until further negotiations.
2. Piracy a Major Concern
Piracy at sea figured prominently during a two-panel event on Pan-African Maritime Goals for 2050 hosted by New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI), where one of the questions, was the resurgence of piracy Southeast Asia, particularly the Straits of Malacca. According to the International Maritime Bureau, "there’s a risk that the attacks and violence in Southeast Asia could increase if left unabated" since 93 per cent of all attacks resulted in successful boarding of the victim vessels, significantly increasingly the risk of direct, often violent, interaction between pirates and seafarers. Especially where pirates attack a vessel with the goal of stealing its cargo.
3. Crew Remain Stranded After Abandonment
Twenty-two crew of MV Dahiatul Kalbi, remain stranded in the African country of Guinea for more than seven months, as the authorities there seized the ship upon filing of compensation lawsuits by importers. The stranded crew say they are passing days in hardship due to inadequate supply of food, drinking water, medicine and electricity. Their plight is likely to be prolonged, as reports indicate that the ship owner appears unwilling to bring them back anytime soon. The stranded crew have repeatedly appealed to both the ship owner and the Bangladesh government to take steps for their repatriation, neither made any effort to that end.
4. Vatican Praise on Sea Sunday
The Pontifical Council has issued its Message for Sea Sunday, which is on the 12th of July and has focused on life at sea. In spite of the technological development that makes life on board more comfortable and makes it easier to communicate with loved ones, seafarers are forced to spend long months in a restricted space, away from their families. Restrictive and unjust regulations often limit shore leave when in port and the continuous threat of piracy in many sea routes adds stress while sailing. The Vatican is still confident that MLC, accompanied by effective inspections by flag States will result in a tangible improvement of the labour and working conditions on board all ships.
5. Chamber of Shipping on Accidents
Chamber of Shipping has been speaking of how the industry can reduce human error in accidents. Shipping industry statistics state that around 90% of world trade is carried by sea. Key sea lanes are already busy and as world economies expand, the number and size of ships trading internationally, currently 50,000 vessels, will increase. The natural hazards of being at sea remain the same, but the increased congestion will add to the risk of collision or grounding. Whilst technology, particularly in the form of electronic navigational aids, has done much to reduce incidents in recent years, they do continue to occur with predictable frequency.
6. Greek Owners Wary of Tax Hikes
In its negotiations with international creditors, this seafaring nation says now it will do what it has resisted doing for years—raise taxes on its globe-spanning shipping industry. And that has put the sector in a spin. “Greek owners will do what needs to be done to stay competitive,” said Michael Boudouroglou, who runs Greece-based, New York-listed Box Ships Inc. and Paragon Shipping Inc., with a combined fleet of 25 container and dry-bulk vessels. As part of bigger talks over a possible debt financing deal with its international creditors, Greece has said it is willing to increase tonnage tax for Greece-based shipping companies, and will consider cutting other tax advantages.
7. RBS to End Shipping Operation
Royal Bank of Scotland is winding down its Greek operation and is putting its $5 billion shipping loans portfolio up for sale as the group scales back non-core activities, finance sources familiar with the plans said. The move, part of a wider strategy by RBS to shrink parts of its international business, comes as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras makes a last ditch effort to secure a bailout from international creditors and prevent a financial meltdown in the country. For decades, RBS has been a top lender to the global shipping industry and its Greek office – with an estimated 60 staff members – has played a pivotal role.
8. New Orleans Reaches Deepwater Settlement
New Orleans settled its portion of the Deepwater Horizon compensation deal by accepting a $45m payout from BP. On July 2 BP agreed a total package of $18.7 billion in penalties to five coastal states and the federal government for environmental and economic damage caused by the 2010 oil platform disaster. Louisiana’s share is expected t be around $6.8bn. New Orleans authorities said they will use the $45m for “resilience initiatives, including water management and coastal and ecosystem restoration.” US District Judge Carl Barbier set a July 15 deadline for governments to approve the proposed settlements.
9. Dramatic Pacific Ocean Rescue
Five men are lucky to be alive after spending five days adrift in the Pacific Ocean aboard their 14-foot aluminum skiff with little supplies. The men were rescued Sunday by the crew of the Panama-flagged bulk carrier MV Shourong Harmony after a U.S. Coast Guard air crew spotted the boat 184 miles east northeast of Teraina Island, Kiribati, located in the Central Pacific more than 1,300 miles from Hawaii. The men were first reported missing to the Coast Guard last Wednesday afternoon after they didn’t returned from a fishing trip off Kiribati in a skiff with no engines, little provisions and no lifesaving equipment. The AMVER vessel Shourong Harmony was sent to assist.
10. Box Ship Ripped by Flames
A Liberia-flagged containership is on fire in the East China Sea off the Japanese island of Kuchinoshima. Japanese media reports say that the containership MV Kamala caught fire early Saturday morning approximately 400 kilometers west of Kuchinoshima, one of the Tokara Islands in Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture. The Japanese Coast Guard was notified of the incident at approximately 5:30 a.m. Saturday and dispatched assets to assist, reports say. Photos from the scene on Sunday showed firefighting is underway. No injuries have been reported among the 23 crew members. At this point it is unclear if the crew remains with the vessel or if they have been evacuated.
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