Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/09/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/09/2015


1. Cargo Ship Missing – Piracy Suspected

Malaysian authorities were on Thursday (Sep 10) searching for a cargo ship that has been missing for a week and is feared hijacked in the piracy-prone South China Sea, a coast guard official said. The owners of the Malaysian-registered vessel lost contact with it last Thursday while it travelled along the coast of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, said First Admiral Ismaili Bujang Pit, the state’s coast guard chief. The "MV Sah Lian" was carrying a mixed cargo including iron products, piping and food from the Sarawak capital Kuching to the town of Limbang, manned by a crew of 14 including Malaysian, Indonesian, Myanmar, and Indian nationals.


2. Maersk Vessel Fuel Spill

An oil spill was reported from a Maersk containership yesterday, the 2,240 teu "Nele Maersk" (30,194 dwt, built 2000), around 140km off the coast of Barcelona. The vessel was bound for Genoa when the spill occurred during a routine fuel transfer between tanks. Maersk Line confirmed the incident, a spokesperson saying that the vessel is fully manoeuvrable, there are no injuries to the crew and that the ship has resumed its voyage. “According to initial assessments the spill amounts to approximately 35 metric tonnes,” the spokesperson said. Local authorities mobilised by sea and air to inspect the area and are working to contain the spill.




3. ITF Speaks on MLC Experiences

The ITF has reported its experience of the MLC in its second year in operation. Since its entry into force the ITF’s 150 inspectors worldwide have been reporting MLC-related problems they’ve encountered. In 2014 our inspectors carried out 7,488 ship visits. Thirty six percent (2,755 vessels) were found to have MLC-related problems. This is a four percent increase (371 more vessels) compared to the first year of the convention’s entry into force. The number of inspections undertaken in Year 2 increased slightly by 2%. In 2013/2014 there were 146 inspectors and contacts, at 19 August 2015 there were 153.




4. Women Claim of Stress at Sea

Around 60% of women working on cargo ships and tankers say stress, depression and anxiety is their biggest health complaint while at work, a new survey has revealed. Of these women, over 80% say the problems are work-related. The findings are part of the new 2015 Women Seafarers’ Health Survey, conducted by the ISWAN and presented today at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) conference, part of London International Shipping Week. Over 50% of female seafarers said joint/back pain was their main health issue while at work; 45% said it was stress, depression and anxiety.



5. Crew Die Aboard Tanker

Two crew members on board a tanker anchored off Shenzhen in South China Sea have died from oxygen deficiency. A third crew member was rescued and is receiving treatment at a local hospital, according to local maritime officials. The three crewmen were trapped in the forepeak of Jin Wang You 9. The rescue team ruled out the presence of toxic gas, but found high carbon dioxide content on the first deck of the tanker. The investigation of the accident is under way, according to maritime officials.



6. Bulker Detained for Crew Mistreatment

A bulk grain handling ship has been detained off the coast of Esperance in Western Australia, amid allegations of crew mistreatment. The ITF lodged a complaint about the treatment of staff on board grain carrier MV Apellis, claiming they had been denied fresh food, water and wages. A surveyor from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) boarded the vessel on Wednesday, while it was anchored in the Esperance port zone. AMSA said it had uncovered a number of problems onboard including one crew member working beyond medical restrictions, unpaid wages, no working washing machine and poor quality food.



7. General Calls for United Front

At a breakfast meeting with senior shipping industry representatives, the EU Naval Force Operation Commander, Major General Martin Smith MBE, stated that whilst Somali-based piracy in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden is suppressed, there is no room for complacency regarding the ongoing threat. Major General Smith welcomed the significant reduction in pirate attacks since 2012, stating that this had been achieved by the ‘collective effort’ of shipping companies and dedicated naval forces, including the European Union Naval Force. The General warned however that the pirates’ intent and capability remains.



8. No Easy Way to Tackling Fishing

The shipping industry, which wants a crackdown on illegal fishing off Somalia as it is fuelling piracy, has been told that the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) cannot help. BIMCO is now looking elsewhere for a solution to the problem. The industry claims illegal fishing off Somalia is both the source of maritime piracy in the area and a continuing aggravator of the situation. Unless it is stopped, it argues, the security risk to commercial shipping from Somalia-based pirates will continue. Giles Noakes, of BIMCO, said illegal fishing-continued to be an area that required sustained involvement from the shipping industry.




9. Seafarer Document Challenge

With calls for seafarers to be formally part of the IMO structure, and with pressure building to find new ways of applying seafarers human rights, a study has been stressing the importance of Seafarer Identification Documents. The conference in which MLC was adopted also pointed out the difficulties that were being faced by the seafarers for leaving the shore in certain countries. Identification is key to this – and Convention No. 185 is potentially a very effective Convention designed to serve modern border control and security interests, while also respecting seafarers’ rights. It combines and balances security interests with the welfare of seafarers.



10. Innovative New CPD Scheme Launched

A new maritime CPD Programme was launched by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) together with IMarEST during London International Shipping Week 2015. The programme supports the professional development of engineering, deck and logistic supply professionals and sees the RFA’s IMarEST-accredited internal Career Level Framework matched to levels of competence, grades of IMarEST membership and professional qualifications (such as becoming Chartered). Both seagoing and shore-based staff have been put on a path to obtaining additional professional qualifications. The model seems to have legs and could be a template for industry.



Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


Best regards,

S Jones
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