Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/10/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/10/2015


1. Crew Taken Hostage

Armed pirates kidnapped four mariners and robbed a vessel in south Nigeria’s Port Harcourt. The abducted crewmembers are believed to be Lithuanian and Ukrainian. There were 19 crewmembers aboard the unnamed Comoros-flagged vessel prior to the incident. The Lithuanian government has reported that the pirates boarded the vessel late Monday evening and stole cash, destroyed equipment and fled with the four crewmembers as hostages. The pirates have yet to make a ransom demand and the Lithuanians have set up a task force to respond to the incident.



2. VW in Marine Engine Scandal

Norwegian shipowner I.M. Skaugen has disclosed it is seeking $50 million(32 million pounds) in compensation from a marine unit of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) for rigging performance tests of ship engines produced over a decade ago.  I.M. Skaugen alleges that the specifications of the six engines it bought from MAN were misleading and it is seeking compensation for higher fuel use than specified over the expected 30-year lifetimes of the engines.  VW now owns 75 percent of MAN Diesel and Turbo SE, although it was not an owner of MAN when the engines were made. MAN supplied the engines to Skaugen in 2002-03.


3. Class Acts on Liquefaction

DNV GL has published new guidelines for designing and operating of vessels carrying cargoes at risk of liquefaction and sloshing, “now the most significant factor in lives lost at sea for bulk carriers”. Sloshing of cargoes such as iron ore fines, nickel ore and various mineral concentrates have likely caused the loss of six vessels of more than 40, 000dwt since 2009 with 111 seafarers losing their lives to incidents since 2010. “These incidents have shown that cargo liquefaction is an issue that has not been sufficiently dealt with,” said DNV GL Bulk Carriers business director Morten Løvstad.


4. How to Measure Safety

It is hard to determine if you are safer if you are not measuring safety, and it is even harder to measure safety if you haven’t yet defined what that is. How can we improve safety if we are unable to describe what safety is? There are numerous definitions of terms used when reporting undesirable events, including non-conformity, near miss, injury, accident, incident, grounding, and hazardous occurrence to name a few. If your goal is zero incidents, what does that mean: zero lost time injuries; zero spills outside of containment; zero customer service complaints; zero “not on time” arrivals or departures?



5. RN Ready to Unmanned

Unmanned boat technology has successfully been demonstrated for the first time by BAE Systems in partnership with ASV at a site near Portsmouth Naval Base in the U.K.  The new system will allow naval crews to carry out vital tasks such as high speed reconnaissance and remote surveillance while keeping sailors out of harm’s way. The modified boat is capable of operating autonomously for up to 12 hours at a time on either a pre-planned route or via remote control. It can reach speeds in excess of 38 knots providing unique ship-launched maneuverability and enhanced situational awareness to support the decision-making of its operators.



6. Kenyan Cruise Concerns

Kenya is yet to receive a single cruise ship this year as the country’s tourism sector continues to bear the brunt of insecurity, recording an 18.4 per cent drop this year. The country is missing out on the niche market that has been a major boost for the Coast region and game parks. According to Kenya Tourism Board 2014/15 data, the last cruise docked in Kenya last year. MV Hamburg was the only cruise vessel in 2014 that called at the port of Mombasa on February 10, with 362 passengers. The low number has been witnessed since 2008 largely due to piracy concerns off the Somali coast.



7. Box Ship to the Rescue

An NYK containership came to the rescue of seven Filipino fishermen on 3 October. The NYK Joanna was sailing from Vung Tau, Vietnam to Japan its crew discovered the fishermen adrift off the coast of the Philippines. The seven fishermen were all rescued in the space of two hours. The fishermen had departed from Pangasinan in the Philippines on 30 September, and their boat had overturned and sunk in bad weather on 2 October. The rescued fishermen were taken onboard the NYK Joanna to Tokyo from where they returned home to the Philippines.



8. Electric Ship Hook Ups

Inspired by Norway’s successful promotion of electric cars, maritime organisations are working with engineers and investors to study how to expand the country’s shore power and boost its use of electric- and hybrid-powered ships. Headed by certification and classification group DNV GL, the ReCharge project includes port equipment and electrification specialists Cavotec, the port of Oslo, and government energy agency Enova, which is contributing much of the initiative’s NOK1.45 million (USD178,000) budget. While Norway is outside the EU, the project’s initiators argue the country needs to invest in shore power to keep pace with the EU.



9. Iraq Settling for Low Oil

Iraq has passed its 2016 budget having forecasted oil exports of 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd) and an oil price of $45 per barrel, Platts reports.  The Dinar 106 trillion ($94 billion) budget reportedly assumes that 550,000 bpd will be exported from northern Iraq, 250,000 bpd from Kurdistan, and 300,000 bpd from Iraq’s North Oil Company. The exports from Kurdistan, which is semi-autonomous, were reportedly expected to be in exchange for being allocated 17 percent of the Iraqi budget. Last month Iran set its draft budget based on oil priced between $42 and $50 per barrel.



10. Armoury Fallout in Maldives

The Maldives government has moved to dismiss reports that a company from Malta had been given permission to set up an armoury in Maldives. Press reports state that a foreign company is conducting works that could be construed as the government giving permission to set up an armoury on the island to provide security for vessels transiting northern Maldives. Marketing documentation suggests Malta’s Safety At Sea Logistics Private Limited (SASL) is now permitted to establish an armoury and operate armed marine vessels.



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


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S Jones
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