Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/11/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/11/2015


1. El Faro Believed Found

Searchers say they believe they have found the wreckage of a cargo ship which went missing off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin last month. The 790ft (241m) El Faro disappeared while sailing from Florida to Puerto Rico with 33 crew on board.  A US Navy ship using sonar equipment has now located a vessel at a depth of 15,000ft. Debris was spotted in the ocean in the days after it disappeared, and one body was recovered. In a statement, the US National Transportation Safety Board said a remotely operated vehicle would be deployed "to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage".



2. Cyclone Batter Gulf of Aden

A rare and rapidly intensifying cyclone killed one person and injured nine Sunday on the remote Yemeni island of Socotra as it moved toward the Yemeni mainland, local security officials said. The officials said Cyclone Chapala seriously damaged or destroyed at least 20 homes on the island. They said many residents living near the coast are taking shelter in caves or in schools. The island is being hit by heavy rain and strong winds, and rising waves are battering the coast. The officials said coastal areas are flooded. The UN weather agency said Cyclone Chapala could dump more than a year’s worth of rainfall on the Yemen.


3. UN Talks Shipping

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD as released its "Review of Maritime Transport 2015". According to the report, the world economy embarked on a slow-moving recovery led by uneven growth in developed economies and a slowdown in developing countries and economies in transition. The world fleet grew by 3.5 per cent during the 12 months to 1 January 2015, the lowest annual growth rate in over a decade. In total, at the beginning of the year, the world’s commercial fleet consisted of 89,464 vessels, with a total tonnage of 1.75 billion dwt. The average age of the world fleet increased slightly during 2014.



4. Box Giant Hits Crane

The ultra-large containership "APL Temasek" allided with a gantry crane and navy barge at Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) in Port Said on October 27 at 16:42hrs (local time). The 13,900-teu vessel is was not permitted to move from beneath the gantry crane, which is at risk of collapsing, according to a schedule update from NYK Line.  The vessel was operating on NYK’s Loop 4 Asia-Europe service between Ningbo and Hamburg via the Suez Canal. Crane specialists will perform risk assessments on the structure and recommend what needs to be secured and how. No injuries or pollution have been reported from the vessel.




5. Shipping Working Together on Cyber

Leading shipping organisations will be publishing guidelines on cyber security on board ships. The guidelines are expected to be issued mid November by the Shipping Industry Round Table comprising BIMCO, CLIA, ICS, Intercargo and Intertanko. The aim is to adopt and harmonise guidelines that can be followed globally, in a way similar to Best Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (current BMP4). These guidelines will be submitted to the next meetings of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee and Maritime Safety Committee in April and May 2016 respectively.



6. US Owner Seeks to Avoid Lawsuits

The owner of the U.S. cargo ship El Faro that sank in a powerful hurricane off the Bahamas nearly a month ago has filed for protection in Florida federal court from claims it is liable for the deaths of its 33 crew members. Tote Services Inc filed for exoneration from or limitation of liability in U.S. district court in Jacksonville, Florida, citing U.S. maritime law and saying El Faro “was in all respects seaworthy and properly manned” and that it bears no responsibility for its loss. If it prevails, the company’s liability could top out at $1 million, or about $30,000 per lost crew member, Kurt Arnold, a lawyer for one of the victim’s families, said.



7. Crew Die as Ship Flips

At least three people are thought to have died when a Vietnamese vessel, Hoang Phuc 18, capsized off Ho Chi Minh City in the evening of October 30. Divers spent the weekend trying to rescue two or three seafarers believed to still be alive in the vessel’s flipped hull, the rescue made difficult by strong currents and inclement weather. 13 out of 18 crew had been rescued, with two believed to be alive in the hull, one confirmed dead and two more missing by Sunday morning. The ship, loaded with 700 tons of stones and machinery, was anchored on the Soai Rap river in rough weather when it suddenly listed to starboard.



8. Vessel Costs Set to Rise

Vessel operating costs are expected to rise in both 2015 and 2016, according to the latest survey by international accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens. Crew wages, repairs and maintenance, and drydocking are the cost categories likely to increase most significantly over that period. The survey is based on responses from key players in the international shipping industry, predominantly shipowners and managers in Europe and Asia. Those responses revealed that vessel operating costs are expected to rise by 2.8 percent in 2015 and by 3.1 percent in 2016.



9. Operation to Remove Bunker Oil

All remaining heavy fuel oil has been removed from the "Flinterstar", with teams now turning their attention to removing the marine gas oil (MGO) from the tanks, Netherlands-based vessel owner Flinter said.  "After a few days without any news we just received the GREAT news that all remaining heavy fuel oil (HFO 380) has successfully been removed," the statement read. "Divers and salvage teams did a great job by removing the HFO from the more difficult to reach tanks like the day- and settling tanks in the flooded engine room. "Work will now continue to remove the Gasoil from the tanks.



10. Sickness Delays Cruise Ship

P&O Cruises’ "Azura" was delayed in Southampton due to a Norovirus outbreak onboard over the weekend. The 3,096-passenger ship was being deep cleaned and passengers were being asked to arrive five hours later than planned. P&O Cruises is offering passengers £20 onboard credit for refreshments while they wait. There has been an increase in gastrointestinal illness on board, we believe this was caused by Norovirus which is the second most frequently reported illness after the common cold. "Azura" is about to depart on a 15-night Transatlantic crossing to the Caribbean.




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


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S Jones
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