Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/01/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/01/2016

1. Iran Is Back

After a decade of unprecedented economic sanctions, Iran is about to be back in business. The Islamic Republic curbed its ability to make a nuclear bomb as required under a deal with world powers, clearing the way for it to resume global commerce, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday. The European Union, United Nations and U.S. agreed in July to lift sanctions simultaneously once compliance was verified. The IAEA’s assessment will trigger a financial windfall for Iran that adversaries Saudi Arabia and Israel, which opposed the deal, say will empower Tehran’s theocracy and further destabilize the Middle East.


2. Seafarers Under Safety Risk

The UK Coastguard Agency must respond to concerns that safety of UK seafarers is being compromised by North Sea operators employing foreign workers according to a new report. The RMT union has described conditions on some “flag of convenience” vessels in UK waters as “purgatory”. Unions told the committee that more UK seafarers are being excluded from the North Sea due to “employers using gaps in legislation to employ non-UK seafarers below the UK minimum wage”. Jake Molloy, regional organiser of the RMT union, said: “The conditions on some of those ships are appalling”.



3. Piracy Death Reported

An Asian seafarer has died when a dhow was targeted in a piracy attack off Bahraini regional waters, according to the coast guard. Bahraini public prosecution was notified of the incident when the dhow returned to a maritime checkpoint near the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman bridge in the Hidd area on Saturday morning, the Bahrain News Agency quoted a coast guard commander as saying. He said that GCC authorities were notified for necessary and precautionary measures. The commander urged all mariners to stick to the proper fishing areas in Bahrain’s territories and avoid crossing maritime borders.



4. Cruise Ships Cleaning Up

Scientists with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) has reported the rate of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks on cruise ships dropped sharply in 2014 to just three per thousand voyages, down from over six per thousand in 2012. The team surveyed sanitation report data from larger cruise ships on U.S. voyages from 2008 to 2014 – a total of about 30,000 voyages and 75 million passengers. For these 75 million passengers during the study period, only 130,000 cases of gastroenteritis were reported – a rate of less than two tenths of one percent. The rate for crew members was even lower.



5. Cuban Refugees Picked Up

A Norwegian Cruise liner got some extra passengers last week, when a boatload of Cuban refugees were spotted drifting aimlessly in the Caribbean.  A passenger said the boat made a sudden stop when the makeshift, raft-like vessel was spotted. The 17 people on board said they were from Cuba and had been lost at sea since December 24.  One of the women on the raft was pregnant. The people were hoisted up onto the cruise ship and taken somewhere away from the passengers.  The ship docked in Cozumel, Mexico Friday and it appears the 17 refugees were turned over to Mexican authorities.



6. Passenger Ship Catches Fire

A passenger ship with some 60 people on board caught fire one kilometer off the northeastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island near the town of Whakatane. Rescue teams and local boats have responded to the emergency, pulling dozens of escaping people from water.  The boat reportedly belonged to White Island Tours, according to the NZ Herald. Media reports suggested there were up to 53 passengers and 7 crew members aboard the ship at the time the fire broke out. The total number was later confirmed as 57. All passengers and crew have been evacuated and accounted for, according to Whakatane authorities.



7. China Goes Nuclear

China plans to develop nuclear powered vessels for the offshore industry. The state-owned energy company CNOOC built strategic cooperation framework agreement with China General Nuclear Power Corporation in development of new small modular nuclear reactor, which will be capable for usage in maritime industry and marine engineering. The new reactor is called ACPR50S and will be built in collaboration with the China’s shipbuilding giant China Shipbuilding Industry and should be able to provide power for the offshore oil and gas exploration and production. The development is expected to be implemented within the next 5 years.



8. Ballast Needs More Signatures

Despite the addition of Morocco, Indonesia and Ghana to the list of signatory states in November, the IMO has announced that the ratifying nations’ vessel tonnage remains just under the amount to trigger the Ballast Water Management Convention’s enactment. Nearly fifty nations have signed the convention, but their combined tonnage stands at 34.56 percent of the global total – just under the 35 percent needed. The IMO had announced in November that Indonesia’s signature would be enough to push the total over the 35 percent mark, subject to verification of tonnage. But a detailed tally came up slightly short.



9. Indian P&I Club Launches

An Indian P&I Club is on the cards as part of New Delhi’s ‘Made in India’ drive. The government is getting the nation’s four state backed insurance firms – New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance Company, and Oriental Insurance Company – to come together to create a dedicated Indian mutual for local shipowners. The new club is expected to launch within the next fiscal year. The Narendra Modi-led government in New Delhi has spearheaded the ‘Made in India’ campaign, which is also having a big impact on the local shipbuilding scene, with yards being granted huge financial help.




10. Tanker Sinks After Collision

The tanker "Sunway Maru" sank after collision with aggregate carrier "Daifuku Maru No 8" in Tokyo Bay on several nautical miles off Kawasaki. The both ships were proceeding in same direction and crossing routes, but due to human mistake collided in moderate weather and good visibility. The small tanker "Sunway Maru" suffered breaches below the waterline in the aft part and started begging water ingress. The tanker sank with bow still remaining above the water. All the three crew members succeeded to abandon the ship and were rescued without injuries. The oil tanks of the tanker were damaged and there is oil leaking.




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