Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/09/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/09/2015

1. Piracy Attacks Up 18%

Singapore-based anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) reported an 18% increase in piracy incidents during the January-August 2015 period from a year ago. According to ReCAAP ISC’s monthly report, a total of 141 incidents were recorded in the past eight months. Although there were no piracy incidents recorded in August, there were 24 incidents of armed robbery against ships in the month. Out of the 24 incidents, 22 were classified as actual incidents, while the other two were attempted incidents. The Category 1 incident involved the hijacking of Singapore-registered tanker MT Joaquim.



2. Nigeria Lifts Tanker Ban

In a surprise move, Nigeria has lifted its ban preventing around 100 tankers from operating in its territorial waters, after legal experts suggested the prohibition would be permanent, according to media reports. A letter from state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) dated September 8 states that Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari had approved the consideration of all incoming vessels "subject to receipt of a Letter of Comfort from all terminal operators and off-takers of Nigerian Oil and Gas as guarantee that nominated ships are free and will not be utilized for any illegal activity whatsoever."



3. Migrant Response to Hit Profits

The shipping industry faces a hit to profits from the escalating migrant crisis in Europe, the security manager at the world’s largest shipping association has warned. And as commercial vessels play their part in the humanitarian crisis, there could also be an impact on trade around the Mediterranean Sea, said Philip Tinsley, maritime security manager at BIMCO. Under international conventions, any vessel spotting another ship in distress must go to the rescue, regardless of nationality, cargo or route. Commercial ships delivering goods from A to B would have to stop to take on board any migrants in trouble.  they meet on their way.



4. Massive Cost of West African Piracy

Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe, on Thursday said $7billion is lost to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea annually due to insecurity in the country. Mr. Gnassingbe stated that the figure rose by 13.6% ($950million) in 2013, following increased level of insecurity in some of the countries in the Gulf. Nigeria, alongside some other West African countries have since 2009 been bedevilled by Boko Haram’s relentless attacks on military and civilians, killing thousands and leaving about 1.4 million internally displaced. He stressed the need for the member countries to cooperate in efforts to curb the activities of the pirates.



5. Call for Seafarer Nation

LISW’s ‘Big Maritime Welfare Debate’ sees call for IMO seafarers committee and better access to data on rates of illness, suicide and death onboard. Clay Maitland, keynote speaker at London International Shipping Week’s inaugural ‘Big Maritime Welfare Debate’ called for a ‘Seafarers Standing Committee’ at the International Maritime Organization, as well as better access to data by flag states on rates of illness, suicide and deaths on board.  He also called for the UK government in particular to take a lead role in determining how best to protect seafarers’ rights. ‘When it comes to seafarers’ rights, flag states are in a darkened room’ said Maitland.



6. Europe Looks to Sink Vessels

As hundreds of thousands of refugees flee to Europe to escape wars in the Middle East and Africa, the European powers are drawing up plans to block the flow of refugees into Europe by sinking their vessels in the Mediterranean – according to a socialist watchdog. A group of European countries led by Britain is circulating a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that would allow European warships to board and destroy vessels carrying refugees from Libya. Those aboard the refugee ships would then be detained and taken to Italy. Those suspected of being the vessel’s crew would face prosecution, while refugees face expulsion.




7. Hijack Vessel Mystery Continues

A Malaysian cargo ship that went missing and was feared hijacked has been reportedly found – however there are conflicting reports, with authorities claiming they have rushed to the vessel’s supposed location and it was not there. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has yet to detect the cargo ship Sah Lian, despite an announcement this morning that it had been found 23 nautical miles from Miri. Local authorities said another cargo ship had contacted the owner of Sah Lian claiming it was drifting in the area at 10.45pm last night. He said MMEA rushed to the location but could not find the ship.



8. COSCO Orders Megaships

Chinese shipping and port giant Cosco Holdings Co. has said it would order 11 container megaships, joining an array of competitors in their quest to dominate the world’s busiest trade routes. The so-called Triple-E’s, which are roughly as long as the Empire State Building is tall, will cost a combined $1.5 billion and will each carry 19,000 containers from China to Northern European port hubs such as Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and Hamburg. Cosco said the order would go to four Chinese yards, which it didn’t name. With competitors including Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM SA already running such vessels there are fears of over capacity.



9. Technology Can Diminish Seafarer Role

Data-centric engineering and technology have the potential to enhance safety at sea but could also diminish the role of seafarers and lead to a loss of skills, Professor Richard Clegg, managing director of the LR Foundation, told delegates at the Britain and the Sea conference held at the Royal Society of Arts. Discussing education, research and development, he said, could be a ‘blind faith in technology’. Therefore investment in technology was not just about engineering but also about the human interface, if we are not to lose touch with seafarers’ practical skills.”


10. Level Playing Field Needed

A “level playing field” must be implemented for regulating transportation if shipping is to meet with its environmental obligations, panel members at London International Shipping Week (LISW) have concluded. Euronav ceo Paddy Rodgers indicated that public listing would be one way shipping companies could garner more understanding in governments.  “At the moment we’re not invested with any particular countries, so it’s very easy for shipping to become a whipping boy.” “We’re all for environmental changes but they need to take place in a level playing field,” said Sabrina Chao, chairman of Wah Kwong Maritime Holdings.





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