Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/10/2015
1. Preliminary El Faro Report Issued
The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released a preliminary report on its investigation into the October 1 sinking of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship El Faro near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin. While the report contains little new information other than what has already been released by the NTSB about the incident, it does state that the U.S. Navy Salvage and Diving division of the Naval Seas Systems Command has contracted to locate the sunken ship, assist in the sea floor documentation of the wreckage, and recover the voyage data recorder.
2. Slamming Alternative Views
Defenders of the Jones Act in the US have taken extreme exception to any suggestion that the legislation could have anything to do with the sinking of El Faro – or the fact that 40 year old vessels are still working today when the rest of the world has left them far behind. One publication slammed the views of some young writers, as they were felt to lack the requisite knowledge and experience to comment. An article questioning the Jones Act was painted as a "regrettable rant by two neophytes with little relevant business experience". It all seems rather unedifying that the wagons should be circling, when answers need to be found.
3. Crew Freed from Libya
Ten crew members who were aboard the Russian-flagged M/T Mekhanik Chebotarev have been released after being detained by the Libyan government for nearly one month. There were 12 crewmembers onboard when the vessel was detained on September 16. It has not been confirmed if the vessel has been returned to its owner, the Oil Marine Group. Military forces allied with Libya’s self-declared government in Tripoli detained the vessel last month claiming that its crew was attempting to smuggle oil from the port of Zawara.
4. Malaysia Foils Tanker Hijack
The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) here through quick action foiled an attempt by six pirates to rob an oil tanker, off Tanjung Piai. The Liberia-registered ship "MT Almi Spirit" was carrying 90,000 metric tonnes of marine fuel oil worth US$23 million from Brazil. Maritime enforcement chief, said the agency’s vessel KM Rawa was patrolling the area when personnel intercepted the tanker. “When they saw our vessel approaching, the pirates immediately escaped in a boat or jumped into the sea. They did not have time to take anything,” a media conference was told. The 26 crew members were all safe.
5. Ghana Embraces Information Sharing
President of Ghana John Mahama says the nation is prepared to share information through the use of Information and Communication Technology to help ECOWAS fight piracy and maritime crimes. He said Ghana has adopted the vessel Information Tracking and Management System to monitor the activities of vessels in the country’s territorial waters. President Mahama said this when the Finland Ambassador to Ghana, Pirjo Suomela Chowdhury presented her letters of credence at the Flagstaff House in Accra. She said Ghana has taken giant steps in recent years to become a model in many ways.
6. Nuclear Waste Vessel Heads South
A ship carrying nuclear waste to Australia has left a French port despite warnings from environmentalists that the vessel may be unsafe. Environmental campaigners had called for the shipment, sent by France-based nuclear company Areva, to be stopped. The BBC Shanghai is due to reach Australia by 27 November. French officials said an inspection had revealed no problems that could prevent the ship from sailing. The 25 tonnes of nuclear waste comes from Areva’s reprocessing plant in Beaumont-Hague, near the port of Cherbourg, from where the ship set sail on Thursday. The BBC Shanghai is registered in Antigua and Barbuda.
7. Harsh Truth of Mother Nature
Storms and wrecks sound like the stuff of Victorian novels, but ships can still founder in severe weather. This year, on 29 September, the container ship El Faro, left Jacksonville, in Florida, bound for Puerto Rico. But it headed into Hurricane Joaquin, which was east of the Bahamas. Container ships often lose some of the containers stacked on deck during storms. A hurricane like Joaquin, with winds exceeding 100mph, and 16-metre high waves, presents a real hazard. Even in our technically advanced age, there is nothing which can bare the full force of mother nature, and we need to respect the sea.
8. ACL New Builds Almost Ready
ACL, a shipping company owned by the Italian Grimaldi Group, is going to launch five new combined container/cars/ro-ro vessels starting by the end of the year. These ships are the world’s largest in their class, and the first of them, Atlantic Star, will call at the Port of Gothenburg around December 20th, 2015. ACL, which has been operating in Gothenburg since 1967, selected the Swedish Port of Gothenburg to welcome the first vessel of the G4 fleet this year. Atlantic Star is a part of the ACL’s G4 Fleet, together with her sister ships Atlantic Sail, Atlantic Sea, Atlantic Sky and Atlantic Sun. The new G4 vessels will be bigger, faster, and greener.
9. Laws Lost in Translation
Maritime lawyers attending the Shipping and the Law conference in Naples have been alerted to how shipping conventions can suffer from mistranslation. While international treaties have "proliferated" since the Second World War and often impact shipping, they must "be implemented properly", said Mans Jacobsson, former director of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds). Conventions tend to be implemented in two ways. Under the "monistic" approach treaties are ratified by a government and become domestic law. But with the "dualistic" method, treaties become law through a domestic statute and are translated. http://goo.gl/6mun4m
10. Ferry Owners Fight Pollution Claims
At trade association Interferry’s 40th annual conference in Copenhagen last week delegates came under fire from a leading Green politician claiming that ‘shipping is currently one of the unaddressed areas of air pollution’. Michael Cramer, German chair of the European Parliament’s transport and tourism committee, delivered a stinging opening address demanding that the ferry and shipping sectors become more environmentally sustainable. He said ‘most vessels are like hazardous waste incinerators because they burn heavy fuel oil which should be processed as highly toxic waste but is usually exhaled without sufficient filtering’. http://goo.gl/416ueZ
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