Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/10/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/10/2015


1. Tanker Collision Kills Crew

Up to nine personnel from a self-propelled barge may have been killed after their vessel collided with a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker in Nigerian waters earlier this month. The incident involved the MT Elixir and the Nigerian vessel MT Tank. One body and three survivors were recovered from the waters immediately following the incident, the source says. According to one of the survivors, the vessel would have had 9 personnel onboard, we are told. Local reports say 12 personnel were onboard, with 3 survivors and nine missing or dead following the collision. The MT Elixir is being detained while the incident is under investigation.


2. Indonesians Claim Bogus Piracy

The Indonesian Navy is frequently confronted with bogus piracy reports in the Malacca Strait, most of which turn out to be related to insurance fraud or business competition. “The number of criminal cases in the Malacca Strait has declined. However, we believe there [must be a plot] to make the Malacca Strait the most dangerous strait in the world,” the commander of the Navy’s Western Fleet (Armabar), Rear Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrochman, told reporters. According to the Navy’s investigation, as many as 90 percent of piracy cases in the area were filed with "ulterior motives", mostly related to insurance claims and competition.



3. Panama Canal Backlog

If your ship is planning to pass through the Panama Canal anytime soon, be prepared to wait.  Looking at AIS data of the anchorages at both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the canal, you will see a huge backlog of ships, mostly tankers and cargo ships it seems. Marine Traffic Control at the Panama Canal, claims there were a total of 129 waiting vessels between the two anchorages as of Thursday afternoon, with waiting times right now of five days for unbooked vessels – that is vessels that did not pay the premium to reserve a space. The backlog is primarily due to weather conditions, including several days of fog at the canal.


4. Whale Watchers Rogue Wave

One of the fishermen first on the scene after a whale-watching ship sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island said a survivor reported that a sudden wave had capsized the boat.  A senior employee of the company operating the boat said the vessel sank so quickly the crew didn’t have time to issue a mayday.  Five people are dead, one person is still missing off Tofino, a popular destination for whale watchers, and more than 20 are injured in one of the worst Canadian marine accidents of the decade. All five people who died were British nationals, Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed Monday.



5. Battered Ship Breaking Up

A 223-meter-long freighter that left the port of Manzanillo to escape the wrath of Hurricane Patricia didn’t get very far, and came out rather the worse for wear. The Navy responded to a call for aid from the captain of the Llanitos after the ship lost power and sustained structural damage at Punta Graham, near Barra de Navidad, Jalisco. A chopper landed on the ship’s deck and rescued 19 of the 27 crew members. The remainder remained aboard voluntarily to look after the ship and its cargo.There was structural damage to the vessel in the engine room and there was a serious risk of greater damage, according to reports.



6. Russians Spying on Marine Cables

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Russian submarines and spy ships are operating near vital undersea fiber-optic cables that transmit the majority of the planet’s communication and economic data. The fear, the report stipulates, is that Russia might be looking for weak spots that could be attacked and severed during a conflict. Though the tactics and threat are reminiscent of the Cold War, the Russians appear to be taking a page out of the book that the U.S. Navy and the NSA wrote in the 1970s in a series of undersea wire-tapping missions that became known as Operation Ivy Bells.



7. Emissions Cuts Added to Bill

A cap on emissions for the shipping sectors has been added back into the draft version of the Paris global climate deal expected to be signed later this year in Paris, sustainability group Transport & Environment (T&E) has announced.  That particular piece of legislation was reportedly cut from the draft earlier this month, a move which sparked outcry from some environmental groups.  "The latest text is the result of developed and developing countries cooperating on this issue for the first time," said Bill Hemmings, clean shipping and aviation manager at T&E. "There is real hope now that Paris will close these gaping loopholes."


8. Missing Seafarers Database Goes Mobile

Human Rights at Sea is pleased to announce that its Missing Seafarers Reporting Programme online platform is now fully mobile enabled for all smart phones, tablets and mobile devices. This facility is a requirement for keeping pace with technological advances and online use for ensuring that the Programme can be easily accessible from mobile devices. This will allow a greater ability for immediate reporting of missing seafarers and fishermen globally. CEO of Human Rights at Sea, David Hammond, commented: “Supported by international donors led by Seafarers UK, we have been able to take this concept from paper to reality.



9. Brazilian Corn Sells to US

A ship carrying corn was scheduled to leave Brazil for the United States, as a strong dollar and plentiful South American supply makes importing corn attractive to U.S. buyers. The ship owned by Bunge Ltd, carrying 54,000 tonnes of corn, was scheduled to depart Itacoatiara Port on the Amazon river, data from Williams Shipping agents and Brazil-based Cargonave showed. The sale reflects the increasing competitiveness of grains from Brazil, which has drastically increased output over the past decade and more recently has improved shipping logistics. Brazil, is the world’s No. 2 corn exporter behind the United States.



10. Ships to Take Water South

With California experiencing long term droughts one politician has mooted the idea of shipping water to the state from Alaska. Janice Hahn, a Democrat representative, has met with Alaska Bulk Water CEO Terry Trapp to discuss the idea. Alaska Bulk Water has the rights to sell up to 9bn gallons of water from Blue Lake in Sitka. Blue Lake is a three-mile long reservoir on the west side of Baranof Island, in the Alexander Archipelago of southeast Alaska. Rather than moving the water by pipeline – an idea that was debated in the 1960s – Hahn has said she is in favour of moving the water in specially sealed containers. Cost is a concern.





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


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S Jones
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