Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/01/2016
1. Cruise Line Crew Smuggling
Five men including three crewmembers of the NCL cruise ship Norwegian Dawn have been arrested by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents in New Orleans on felony charges of cocaine smuggling. According to a federal court filing, January 3, Homeland Security agents spotted two crewmembers removing shoes and clothing in a public restroom near the docks and detained them. The agents allegedly found them in possession of six packages of cocaine in a shoulder bag. Authorities separately tailed and detained a third crewmember, Esias Felicien, and a fourth man Esias had met nearby.
2. Committing to Piracy Progress
Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) remains committed to three priority areas that will guide our efforts in the coming year, says a press release from the company. First – a comprehensive solution to maritime piracy requires an inclusive, long-term approach. Second – Seafarers and fishermen are those most affected by violence at sea. We seek increased security for them by improving incident reporting, ensuring basic training for those in high-risk areas, and ensuring post-incident support. Third – Piracy and armed robbery at sea are being addressed, but are not solved. The international community must remain ready for a rapid re-engagement. http://goo.gl/hzRsnx
3. Piracy Surge Continues
The surge of piracy in South-East Asia waters continues as ships passing the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are falling victim to acts of piracy. Whilst Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia operate anti-piracy patrols in the area, it has limited resources. The sheltered coast and islands also makes it easier for robbers to operate. As piracy rampages on, Indonesia and Malaysia has taken efforts to jointly increase security. By far, the most significant incident suggests activities going beyond the usual act of armed robbery or theft on board ship.
4. Big Ship Orders in Every Sense
The seemingly never-ending quest by ocean carriers to operate bigger ships was a significant spur for orders for 60 18,000-22,000 teu behemoths in 2015, according to Alphaliner. Carriers were apparently undeterred by weakening market conditions last year and continued their big-ship strategies – ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) representing 24% of the total cellular orderbook. The analyst warned that the “ongoing race” between carriers within the four east-west vessel-sharing alliances to have the lowest unit costs, by reason of the highest nominal capacity, would add to further overcapacity pressures.
5. Door Accident Verdict Slammed
A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a $21.5 million jury verdict awarded to an Illinois man who claimed he was injured during an around-the-world cruise in 2011, after the man’s former assistant came forward to say he had intentionally deleted emails that could have hurt his case. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein ordered a new trial, saying she found the assistant’s testimony at a hearing last month credible – and that newly uncovered emails expose “grave inconsistencies” with James R. Hausman’s story. Hausman said he suffered dizziness and seizures after an automatic sliding glass door improperly closed and struck his head.
6. Crew Left Stranded and Unpaid
Crew of three Goa-based ships owned by a Kuwaiti are left with no pay for the past seven months. In yet another case of seafarer abandonment, 21 Indian sailors have been left stranded on board three ships in Ajman port with no pay for the past seven months, according to the men on board. The three Goa-based ships, Orchid United 1, 2 and 3, are registered with the flag of the Pacific island nation of Palau. Each ship has a crew of seven men on board. Abdulrehda Abdullah, a Kuwaiti national residing in Kuwait, owns all three ships. The chief engineer of Orchid United 3 says the crew has gone without pay.
7. Turkey Steps Up to MLC
Turkish Parliament to ratify maritime convention for protection of seafarers. A parliamentary commission has approved the Maritime Labour Convention, which addresses some of the difficulties encountered by Turkish seafarers in international ports. The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission has approved the Maritime Labour Convention, which was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2006 and establishes minimum working and living standards for crewmembers of ships whose flags belong to signatory states. The agreement still needs to be put to a full vote on the floor, and the president must sign it.
8. Maritime Distress Hoaxer Jailed
A 27-year-old North Carolina man has been sentenced to 41 months jail and fined $18,994 for making a hoax distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard. United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced the decision handed down in federal court on January 6 by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan.
The man, Charles Robert Dowd, 27, of Beaufort, North Carolina, entered a guilty plea on September 16, 2015. False distress calls incur significant cost to the public by obligating search resources and vast amounts of tax payer dollars. More importantly, they risk the very lives of responders, the USCG said.
9. UK Interests Buying Vessels
While ship owners from Greece have ended 2015 as the “leaders”, when it comes to investing in new vessels. In total, according to figures compiled from Allied Shipbroking, Greek owners led the charge, but UK based owners made a splash too. Greeks invested a total of $7.13 billion for the acquisition of all types of ships. In second place came ship owners based in the UK, with a total investment of $2.14 billion, while the Chinese ship owners came in third, as they invested $1.59 billion. Globally, ship owners during 2015 bought 1,351 ships in the S&P market, with a total deadweight capacity of over 90 million dwt.
10. Life in the Faz Lane
The CEO of mutual marine insurance company, Norwegian Hull Club, which insures over 10,000 unique vessels and units globally, has written to the insurer’s members and clients to explain his plans to develop the business and offer new products. Faz Peermohamed, who officially took responsibility for the 15-year old marine insurer on 1 January, informed members that he intends to conduct a review of the club’s products and services with the aim of identifying opportunities for change and growth. Lately the Club has been showing an interest in autonomous ship concepts and Mr Peermohamed emphasised the changing nature of shippinh.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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