Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/11/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/11/2015


1. Crew Kidnapped off West Africa

On the night of November 26, a team of pirates in two boats boarded the Cyprus-registered ship Szafir and kidnapped her captain and four crewmembers, including other officers. At the time of the attack, the 6,000 gt geared freighter "Szafir" was anchored some 35 nm off the coast of Nigeria, according to Polish operator EuroAfrica.

The Cyprus-flagged vessel was en route from Antwerp to Port Harcourt with a load of cranes and other items. In addition to the kidnapping, the pirates looted the vessel’s accommodation. Polish media report, “more than a dozen sailors locked themselves in the engine room and turned off the engines” in an attempt to hold off the pirates.



2. Somali Hijackers Killed

A vessel held by Somali pirates has been freed after a gun battle, fishermen and witnesses said on Sunday, claiming several of the pirates were killed. There was no precise information on the boat or the fate of its crew, whether international forces were involved in the rescue, or whether the crew had wrested back control on their own.

However, security sources said the boat was believed to be an Iranian fishing vessel seized earlier this week with 15 crew, held off the central Somali coastline. "We heard heavy exchange of gunfire… Several of the pirates were killed and a boat they hijacked was freed," said Muktar Yakub, a fisherman in the Harardhere area.



3. Ballast Water Trigger Poised

Ratification by Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco leaves legislation tantalisingly within reach as industry awaits notice of a 2016 compliance countdown. Shipowners have been left waiting to hear if the quorum to bring the divisive ballast water convention into force has been reached and the countdown started for owners to comply with costly and confusing legislation. A frantic reassessment of international fleet figures within the International Maritime Organization is under way as officials try to establish whether a flurry of ratification notices has already hit the required 35% of world fleet required for the convention to enter into force within a year.



4. All Crew Feared Lost

Eleven people are missing and presumed lost after a Panama-flagged cargo ship sank in the South China Sea off the Philippines, the Philippines Coast Guard has confirmed. The ship, the 152-meter "MV Fortune Life", is believed to have sank Friday approximately 130 nautical miles West of Vigan City, Philippines. The Philippines Coast Guard reported that 6 crewmembers of the cargo ship were rescued by MT Ashley. The Coast Guard updated Saturday that 8 crewmembers had been rescued and 11 remain missing. The Philippines Coast Guard was alerted to the incident by the China MRCC, which received a distress call from the ship at 11:20 a.m. Friday.


5. HRA Reduction Reaction

Shipping companies could find themselves victims of Somali pirate attacks as a result of the reduction of the High Risk Area (HRA) in the western Indian Ocean. The decision announced by the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (GCPCS) in October to reduce the HRA off the coast of Somalia was welcomed by many sections of the Shipping industry, but this could ultimately increase the number of attacks by opportunistic and organised pirate groups, Gerry Northwood, COO of Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST), has said. The Joint War Committee at Lloyd’s is due to meet in December, although it is thought unlikely they will follow suit in reducing its size.



6. Rogue Waves Strikes Cruise

A rogue wave struck the "MSC Divina" cruise ship Nov. 26 as the ship sailed between Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The 136,000 gross registered ton ship, which carries 3,500 people and is owned by MSC Cruises, is based in Miami. The travel site reports two people were slightly injured when the wave, height unknown, damaged a porthole cabin. "The safety and wellbeing of guests and crew are MSC Cruises’ number one priority, and onboard technicians immediately sealed the damaged porthole," the cruise line in a statement. "As a further precaution, MSC Cruises has given alternative cabins to the guests from the affected cabin and those adjacent to it."



7. New Guide for Tanker Security

ReCAAP ISC has published a guide for tankers operating in Asia aimed at helping prevent piracy. The Guide for Tankers Operating in Asia against Piracy and Armed Robbery Involving Oil Cargo Theft was prepared as a result of the continued occurrence of oil cargo theft but is also relevant to other vessel types. The new guide makes a number of recommendations for both offices ashore and the ship master and crew. Information and reporting is key, as is an effective reporting regime. The ship should adopt best practices in anti-piracy efforts and other relevant elements of BMP 4.



8. Report on Climate Pledges

The United Nations (UNFCCC) has published a Synthesis Report analysing the impact of the pledges made by 146 nations to reduce CO2 emissions ahead of next week’s Paris Climate Change Conference.  Taking up the shipowners’ case, ICS said the mandatory CO2 reduction measures already adopted by the IMO, combined with the aggressive fuel efficiency measures, will proportionately deliver far more ambitious CO2 reductions than the pledges so far made by governments. The UNFCCC said governments’ commitments overall should reduce CO2 emissions per capita by just 5% in 2030, compared to 2010.


9. Power Generator Ship Arrives

A power-generating ship was officially welcomed at Ghana’s main port on Sunday after arriving the previous day in what Power Minister Kwabena Donkor said was a bid to keep the country on track to end chronic blackouts. Power has become a political issue, and anger over the blackouts, which can last for 24 hours at a time, threatens President John Mahama’s chances of re-election next year. He has vowed to end the power cuts by Dec. 31. The government contracted the ship from independent Turkish producer Karpowership to generate 235 megawatts of electricity daily to help offset a national supply deficit of around 500 megawatts.



10. Seafarer Welfare Awards Announced

The International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards 2016 are open for nomination. They recognise excellence in the provision of welfare services, acknowledging shipping companies, welfare organisations, ports and individuals – on ship, as well as ashore. They showcase good practice within the industry, and highlight the commitment and dedication shown in the service to seafarers. With nominations now open, seafarers are encouraged to recognise those that have shown them exceptional service this year. Categories include: Seafarers’ Centre of the Year; Shipping Company of the Year; Port of the Year; and The Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year.



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


Best regards,

S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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