Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/11/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/11/2015


1. El Faro Bridge Found

A salvage team looking for the voyage data recorder from the sunken cargo ship El Faro said Thursday it had located the bridge deck that separated from the wreckage, but the ship’s black box has still not been found. National Transportation Safety Board investigators said they are still looking for the data recorder, which is normally affixed to the bridge, that could provide crucial details as to what caused the ship to sink near the Bahamas in a hurricane last month, Reuters reported.



2. Piracy Agreement Expands Scope

An international agreement that has been instrumental in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden is set to significantly broaden its scope. Signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct have agreed to work towards extending its remit to address other illicit maritime activity that threatens safety and security in the region, such as marine terrorism, environmental crimes, human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. National representatives have adopted a resolution expressing concern at the increasing risks from transnational organized crimes at sea and other threats.



3. Nigeria Piracy Hostages Freed

The Deputy Chancellor of the Lithuanian Government Rimantas Vaitkus has announced that Lithuanian seafarers taken hostage from the ship "Solarte" off the coast of Nigeria have been freed. Deputy Chancellor said the hostages were freed on Friday. The owner of the ship informed the deputy chancellor that all of the freed hostages are being checked at the local hospital and are healthy. “They are supervised by doctors. We will return them home once it is possible. The owner of the ship will take care of their journey,” Vaitkus told ELTA. The seafarers were captured near Port Harcourt in late October.



4. Pirate Leader Arrested

Authorities in the Philippines have arrested the alleged leader of a gang of pirates who hijacked the tanker Rehobot earlier this year. Indonesian and Filipino police cooperated in apprehending the alleged pirate leader, Danilo Sorote Wangkanusa. On the morning of November 11, when they served a warrant at Mr. Wangkanusa’s rental house in Davao City, Mindanao, he attempted to escape by leaping from a second story window. Authorities captured him shortly thereafter. A spokesperson for the police said that Mr. Wangkanusa had been in hiding in Davao City since February, and he will be deported to Indonesia to face trial.



5. Ferry Sector Seeks Monitoring Metric

In an initiative led by trade association Interferry, a special correspondence group has been formed to recommend sector-specific metrics for ro-pax vessels under pending implementation rules for E.U. legislation on the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of carbon dioxide emissions.  From January 1, 2018 the legislation – designed to gauge the energy efficiency of a ship’s transport work – will require all vessels of more than 5,000gt operating to or from E.U. ports to document and report their fuel consumption on an annual basis.  Ro-pax operators have argued that mixed cargoes demand a more appropriate metric.



6. Positive News for Arrested Vessels

South African courts have made moves which could bring positive consequences for shipowners providing security to release vessels from arrest. The court ordered security be released even though the order lifting the arrest was under appeal. The Cape Town High Court clarified the effect of an application for leave to appeal an order setting aside a vessel arrest. This is an encouraging step for shipowners – the court held that despite the pending appeal, the security for the claim should be released. This resulted in the return of the Club letter of undertaking (LOU) to Gard before hearing the appeal relating to the arrest.



7. De-Escalating from Armed Guards

At London International Shipping Week in September, experts spoke on many different aspects of maritime security -not least the issue of armed guards. According to various former and serving military personnel, the threat of Somalian piracy remains, if currently latent, and is very real indeed. The three legged stool of naval presence, adherence to BMP 4 and the use of armed guarding by credible PMSCs has led to the successful containment of Somali Piracy. The three legged stool requires all 3 legs to remain in place and International forces will be committed to the region for the foreseeable future.



8. Doing it for the Kids

The Cypriot government is pushing for a new law to exempt children of shipowners from army duty, as long as their families move to the island and transfer their shipping business to Cyprus. The Presidential Cabinet took the decision in an effort to attract more business, including shipping companies who operate under a Cypriot flag or who have satellite offices in Cyprus. “As part of a general policy to attract foreign investment to Cyprus, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works is promoting a package of measures to give incentives to Cypriot shipowners in order for them to conduct business in Cyprus”.



9. Looking at Performance and Limits

The Nautical Institute’s latest book, Human Performance and Limitation for Mariners, builds on a concept first introduced in the aviation industry that was responsible for a massive reduction in accidents. This concept will enable seafarers to make the best use of their physical and mental abilities in the challenging shipboard environment. Launching the book in Manila today (November 13), Captain Robert McCabe FNI, the Institute’s President, said “It will give mariners insights into physical and psychological difficulties they may face.” One of these challenges is fatigue, which is often implicated in casualty reports.



10. Vessel Runs Aground

A loaded cargo ship on its way to Portland ran aground near Woodland, Washington, Saturday afternoon. The Viking Emerald, a 3-year-old vehicle transport registered in Singapore, departed Tacoma early Friday, according to a marine traffic website, and was scheduled to arrive in Portland at 4 p.m. Saturday. But instead, the vessel lost its steering, according to a Coast Guard spokeswoman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross. The ship ended up with its bow on a beach about 4:30 p.m. There were no reports of injuries, pollution or damage. Tugs were sent to assist the ship which is 550 feet long and 90 feet wide



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