Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/12/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/12/2015


1. Poor Watchkeeping Blamed

A collision between UK-flagged containership Ever Smart and Marshall Islands-registered oil tanker Alexandra 1 in Jebel Ali, UAE, was in large part caused by poor watchkeeping, an investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has concluded. Evergreen Marine (UK)-managed Ever Smart hit Iships Management’s Alexandra 1 at a speed of 12 knots, while attempting to pass one another in the Jebel Ali approach channel, had not agreed a passing arrangement beforehand. Both vessels sustained severe bow damage, but no injuries or pollution were reported. The crucial factor was deemed to be inadequate watchkeeping on both vessels.



2. Pirates Free Polish Hostages

Five crew members kidnapped from a Polish-owned cargo last month off the coast of Nigeria are heading home, according to Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. The captain and four crew members of the Cyprus-flagged MV Szafir were kidnapped by pirates at about 11 p.m. on November 26th. According to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, pirates in two speedboats approached and boarded the ship while underway approximately 70 nautical miles south-west of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Eleven crew members managed to lock themselves in the engine room, but five remaining crew members were kidnapped and taken ashore by the pirates, the IMB said.



3. Nigerian Naval Surveillance

The Nigerian Navy has begun use of the Israeli-designed, UAE-built Falcon Eye mass surveillance system for purposes of maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Gulf of Guinea. The waters off the coast of Nigeria are notorious for piracy, especially kidnappings and oil theft, and the technology is intended to help the country’s armed forces combat maritime crimes. Rear Admiral Raphael Osondu told media that piracy is a persistent threat to Nigeria’s economy, and that countering it is a key priority for the military. Falcon Eye’s six electro-optical stations provide for the monitoring of aircraft, vessels and offshore oil infrastructure. The system has a range of up to 35 nm.



4. Newbuild Tanker Activity

Any newbuilding activity these days seems to be revolving around the tanker market. In its latest weekly report Allied Shipbroking noted that it was “yet another week with tanker vessels taking an exclusive role in terms of reported activity. It seems that newbuilding orders will continue to be driven almost in their entirety by this market sector, while benefiting from both the stellar performance being noted in the freight market as well as the considerably smaller gap in prices offered by shipbuilders in comparison to where secondhand asset values lie for modern vessels”, said Allied.



5. Railway Bridge Wiped Out

A 111-meter cargo ship plowed through a span of a railway bridge Thursday in Germany, closing the bridge indefinitely. Reports say the general cargo ship "MV Emsmoon" was transiting the Ems River when it struck the bridge near the town of Weener, Germany at about 6:40 p.m. local time after the bridge failed to raise for the vessel.

The vessel has been removed from the area and is now moored in Papenburg, Germany, according to the AIS data from Marine Traffic. The Antigua and Barbuda-registered Emsmoon is operated by Germany’s Grona Shipping and was built in 2000. The incident is under investigation.



6. Shipowner Calls for End of Corruption

Nick Fisher, the CEO of Masterbulk, calls for an industry-wide zero-tolerance approach to corruption, warning we are all tarred by the same brush. Today, 9 December, is International Anti-Corruption Day. On this day we look to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption has in combating and preventing it. The shipping industry, as a sector, comes face-to-face with the issue of corruption more than most. From significant demands for funds and threats to seize and detain vessels, through to demands for cigarettes, alcohol and ships stores from low ranking officials – corrupt practices affect our industry and our reputation.



7. Maersk Saigon Runs Aground

The Marersk Saigon, a 332-meter containership flying under the Liberian flag, ran aground at the Port of Santos access channel in Brazil during her departure Monday, December 7th. The Maersk Line ship was bound for Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The vessel was refloated later Monday night and had to be towed to an nearby anchorage. It is currently safely anchored awaiting inspections to assess possible damage before continuing to its destination. No injuries were reported and there is no evidence of environmental pollution. The Port Authority has initiated an investigation to ascertain the cause of the incident and those responsible.



8. Massive Gas Investment Needed

The US would need to build at least 100 LNG carriers if the government were to require that natural gas exports be transported to overseas markets on U.S.-built-and-flagged ships, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. According to Department of Energy (DOE) in the next few years the United States is expected to change from a net importer of natural gas to a net exporter, with those exports destined for different regions of the world, especially Asia. Currently there are five large-scale U.S. liquefaction facilities under construction across the nation with a projected capacity to export more than 12 percent of U.S. natural gas production in 2020.



9. Employment Law Rattles Superyachts

An increasing awareness of French employment law has left the industry at a crossroads: stop cruising French waters and employing French crew or make amendments to crew employment contracts, as required by the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC). Superyacht crew in French waters or of French nationality are reportedly being approached by the Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail (CFDT, or the French Democratic Confederation of Labour), and are being encouraged to take cases of dismissal to the French courts. Owners are now seemingly black listing French crews, and avoiding French waters.



10. P&I Guidance on Bunkers

The Swedish Club, who say its lawyers are currently handling "about 40 cases" involving disputes over the collapse of OW Bunker & Trading A/S, is advising owners and charterers to take specific steps to "bring contractual clarity" and lessen the risk for competing claims. The Club points out that OW Bunker’s bankruptcy and the British and U.S. court cases that have tried to determine the legal parameters involving bunker payment have demonstrated "significant risks for shipowners and charterers in using intermediaries for the supply of bunkers." It adds that "There is an inherent risk for competing claims" where the intermediary fails to pass on the payment to the supplier.



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


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S Jones
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