Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/12/2015
1. Shipping Dropped From COP21
Emissions from the shipping and aviation sectors have dropped from the latest draft of a global climate agreement being worked out by the United Nations at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris. A previous December 5 draft of the agreement was reported to have included the wording "parties pursue the limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and marine bunker fuels." That text was absent in the latest draft, but EU officials are understood to be amongst those pushing to re-introduce such language. “I don’t know who got it out but we are fighting for it to be put back in" said the EU Energy and Climate Commissioner.
2. Warship and Box Ship Collision
The 151m (500-foot) container ship Nordic Bremen and the German frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern collided in the Kiel Canal, Germany, on Wednesday. The incident occurred during bad weather, and both vessels suffered bow damage but remained afloat. The Nordic Bremen proceeded to Kiel, while the frigate was escorted to Brunsbüttel by three naval tugs. Nordic Bremen is managed by Nordic Hamburg Shipmanagement. The Kiel Canal is a 61-mile long waterway that runs between the North Sea at Brunsbüttel and the Baltic Sea at Kiel.
3. Embattled Owner Blames Conspiracy
In his increasingly bizarre series of rants, Nobu Su, boss of financially troubled Taiwanese line TMT, has issued a release claiming the financial crisis was “planned to rescue bankers”. The TMT chairman has written to senior management at RBS railing over an $85m margin call dating back to August 2008. Su believes that the margin call was related to the AIG bailout rescue of 2008, with TMT shares indirectly insuring the emergency syndication loan by JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, or the PDCF (Prime Dealer Credit Facility) accepted by New York FRB to lend over $200bn.
4. Atrocity Executive Resigns
A senior executive with the United Nations body that regulates Indian Ocean tuna stocks was reportedly forced to resign due to his alleged links to a fishing vessel the crew which was videotaped gunning down four men. Last month, Rondolph Payet, resigned as executive secretary of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). Media has cited documents alleging that Payet was once director of the Seychelles-registered company International Fishing Agency and Shipping. The company is under investigation for a claim that its crewmembers were videotaped gunning down four men at an unspecified location in the Indian Ocean.
5. Sinister Warship Approach
Reports have emerged of a sinister approach by an apparent EU warship in the Gulf of Aden. According to PVI, the warship approached an underway merchant vessel around 60nm south-southeast of Aden in the Gulf of Aden. The warship requested the identity of the vessel and full details, including the cargo, crew and whether a security team was on board. The master complied and provided the details. The warship then requested permission to board for an inspection which the master declined until further verification was received. Around 30 minutes later the warship reported that the vessel’s company had provided the necessary clearances and departed.
6. Hackers Awaken to Shipping
Voice, navigation, and radar data aboard ships are all at risk, according to an expert who claims that some devices that contain sensitive ship information just aren’t secure enough. This could be good news for pirates and spies, and bad news for the good guys. Motherboard reports that large cruise or cargo ships, are quite susceptible to hacking. You see, the maritime equivalent of an airplane’s “black box” can be ridden with vulnerabilities, which practically invite ne’er-do-wells to spy on the vessels, slurping up all sorts of valuable information about the ships—and the countries that own them. Ships need security infrastructure that’s up to snuff.
7. Captain Charged for Being Drunk
A seafarer who took control of a ship while more than twice over the legal drink-drive limit has been given a suspended prison sentence. Captain Emile Huizinga, 48, attempted to move his ship "Skagern", owned by MF Ship BV, in Hull’s King George Dock on September 6. However, suspicions were raised when a pilot on board the ship noticed that Huizinga was struggling to control the vessel. The pilot also smelled alcohol on the defendant and decided to take control of the ship. Bernard Gateshill, prosecuting at Hull Crown Court, said: "The pilot noticed that the defendant could not properly control the vessel as it moved from its position in the dock to the dock gate."
8. Sunken Wreck Terror Target
Concerns have been raised over whether a bomb-filled WWII battleship, partly submerged in the Thames estuary, could be targeted by terrorists. Experts fear the American vessel "SS Richard Montgomery", which was sunk in 1944 near Sheerness, could cause a tsunami if explosives on board are detonated. A blast from the ship could create a huge wave, which would sweep down the River Medway, as well as hit coastal towns in Kent and Essex, including the northern side of Thanet. Security teams are providing 24-hour surveillance of the area around the ship to prevent terror attacks, as the threat from jihadist group Islamic State rises.
9. Philippine Ambulance Chaser Law
The Japan P&I Club reports the enactment of a new law “An Act Protecting Seafarers Against Ambulance Chasing and Imposition of Excessive Fees and Providing Penalties Therefor” (simply called the Seafarers Protection Act) in the Philippines. The act recognizes that seafarers, who have suffered disability or death, have fallen victims to an unfair scheme where unscrupulous lawyers promise them huge monetary award in exchange for exorbitant fees and intends to put an end to such situation. The act now prohibits any person to engage in ambulance chasing or the act of soliciting, personally or through an agent, from seafarers or their heirs.
10. Vale Sells VLOCs
Vale S.A. and a consortium led by ICBC Financial Leasing, a 100 percent owned subsidiary of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, have concluded the sale and purchase of four 400,000 DWT very large ore carriers, also known as Valemaxes, owned and currently operated by Vale. The transaction totalled US$423 million, which was received by Vale Wednesday upon the delivery of the vessels to the new owners. Earlier this month, Vale announced that it plans to sell its 11 remaining Valemax iron ore carriers and lease them back in transactions that could raise $1.1 billion.
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