Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/09/2015
1. Singapore Needs Clear Controls
A Singapore-based scientist has urged the nation to implement an Emission Control Area (ECA) to combat rising pollution. Dr Erik Velasco, of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, made the call during a speech delivered about the nation’s most recent smoke haze event at the Nanyang Polytechnic’ symposium on Air Quality & Public Health. Singapore regularly experiences haze events which are largely contributed to by wildfires in Indonesia, but, says Velasco, shipping is a major source of pollutants to the atmosphere in Singapore on days not affected by fires in neighboring islands.
2. Massive Box Fleet Growth
The world’s container ship capacity has just broken through the 20 million TEU barrier after carriers set a new record for the shortest time to add one million TEUS to the fleet. According to Alphaliner, it took just seven and a half months for the global box fleet to expand from 19 to 20 Million. A total of 152 new vessels with a combined capacity of 1.27 million TEU have been delivered this year. While only 59 were scrapped – the lowest level since 2011.
3. Container Weights Weighing Heavy
Shippers, forwarders, shipping lines and container terminals “urgently” need to begin discussions over the practicalities of implementing the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new regulation on container weights. Some fear the legislation, due on 1 July 2016, could lead to chaos. The new requirements, an amendment SOLAS have been designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by misdeclared containers. The new law says they must verify the weight declared on the bill of lading. It has been criticised as difficult to enforce, while many sea freight buyers are said to be completely unaware of the legislation.
4. US Backs Oil Export
A US House of Representatives bill to repeal the country’s longstanding oil-export ban took another stride on its collision course with the White House on Thursday as it cleared the House’s Energy and Commerce committee, according to Reuters. This was the full committee passing the bill a week after one of its subcommittees (Energy and Power) had done so. Next up in the chain is the full House of Representatives where, with a Republican majority, it should also carry. The Obama administration, however, said it opposes a blanket lifting of the 40-year-old ban. It prefers instead a selective lifting.
5. Libya Arrests Tanker for Smuggling
Military forces allied with Libya’s self-declared government in Tripoli said on Wednesday they had captured a Russian-flagged oil tanker and its crew trying to smuggle oil from the port of Zawara. Twafik Alskir, a senior official with Tripoli-allied naval forces said 11 Russian crew had been detained. Alskir said the tanker and crew had been taken to Tripoli port. "A Russian-flagged oil tanker was captured this afternoon when it tried to smuggle oil off Zawara," Alskir said. Further details were not immediately available. There was no immediate comment from the internationally recognized government.
6. Somali Pirate Boss on Trial
The trial of an alleged Somali pirate kingpin has begun in the Belgian city of Bruges. Following his spectacular arrest, Mohamed Abdi Hassan was charged with hijacking a Belgian ship and leading a criminal organization. Known as "Afweyne," or "Big Mouth," and allegedly the most influential leader of a Somali pirate network, Mohamed Abdi Hassan was missing from the benches behind the defense as the trial against him opened at the criminal court in Bruges, Belgium. "We have decided not to appear because the prosecution has added 2,500 pages to the dossier and we were only notified of this two days ago," said the defense attorney.
7. Ship Fire Has Knock On Effect
A fire aboard the United Arab Shipping Company’s (UASC) M/V Barzan is expected to delay cargoes by up to two weeks. The flames broke out in the ship’s number two hold as it was about to call Felixstowe in the UK last week. The M/V Barzan, which is an LNG-ready ship, was 60 nautical miles off Cape Finistere, at the Northwestern tip of Spain when the fire broke out. The crew extinguished the fire and vessel was diverted to Rotterdam for inspection. The 18,800-TEU vessel is the company’s flagship and the largest in the fleet. Barzan operates UASC’s Asia-Europe service. This is the second fire onboard a UASC vessel in recent weeks. http://goo.gl/Jrx65t
8. Drug and Gun Running Ship Caught
A major security operation in Mombasa port was launched on Thursday night when security personnel ordered a lockdown while looking for drugs. All workers on duty were asked to leave before the officers sealed off a ship that had arrived amid reports it was carrying a haul of narcotic drugs. The operation, which involved personnel from Kenya Defence Forces, General Service Unit, Administration Police and regular police, went on until Friday morning. The operation caused panic at the port as security guards were ordered to leave. Security personnel were acting on a tip off that there were drugs and other dangerous ‘things’ on the ship.
9. Filipino Seafarers Bravery Medal
Fifteen Filipino seafarers from MV Taiko received the Operation Medal from the Norwegian Armed Forces (NAF) on Thursday, marking the first time since World War 2 that civilians were awarded the medal, and the first time that non-Norwegian civilians were given the honour. The Filipino crew were awarded for their efforts in assisting the NAF and the Norwegian government in removing chemical weapons from Syria. The mission was carried out from December 2013 to July 2014 on behalf of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
10. Remembering to Care for Cargo
The Standard Club has issued a timely reminder of the case of the "Bao Yue" – which stresses that a lawful bill of lading holder is under a continuing duty to take delivery of their cargo. "Conversion" is essentially the act of wrongfully interfering with an individual’s goods in such a way that it constitutes a denial of the lawful owner’s rights or an assertion of rights inconsistent with the lawful owner’s. In the recent English High Court case of Bao Yue, the shipowner successfully defended a claim for unlawful conversion following storage of cargo that had not been collected within a reasonable time.
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