Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/01/2016
1. Prestige Mess Continues
Spain’s Supreme Court has sentenced Apostolos Mangouras, the captain of the "Prestige" tanker, which sank off Spain’s northwestern coast in 2002, to two years in prison on Tuesday in a ruling that could have very damaging ramifications for a UK-based insurer. Mangouras was convicted of recklessness resulting in catastrophic environmental damage, according to a statement by the court, overturning a previous sentence which cleared him of criminal responsibility. The Prestige sinking saw roughly 63,000 tonnes of bunker fuel wash up along the Galicia coast. The new ruling could see damage claims against the captain and the insurer.
2. ITF to Fund Guard Appeal
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is to fund an appeal on behalf of the crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio who were jailed for five years by an Indian court earlier this month. The crew of 25 private security personnel and 10 seafarers were sentenced to five years “rigorous imprisonment” by a Tuticorin court on 12 January for illegally entering Indian waters with weapons in October 2013. The ITF said on Tuesday it would pay for legal support for an appeal. “We have now completed a full legal analysis of the court’s judgment and we firmly believe there are grounds for appeal. We will match our determination with funds". http://goo.gl/yiIBwN
3. Asian Maritime Terror Fear
Southeast Asia could see maritime terrorism incidents this year, a leading maritime security expert has said. Kevin Doherty, president of Nexus Consulting, said: “We think 2016 may see its first maritime terrorism attack in a while.” He pointed out that there are a number of terrorists who are being released from Indonesia for a few of the early 2000s bombings, and there are number of Syrian fighters returning to Asia as well. “Should an Indonesia terrorist link up with a Filipino terrorist, things will get bad quickly in Southeast Asia,” Doherty said.
4. Crime in GoG Drops
Piracy and maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea dropped by nearly a third in 2015 compared to the previous year, while Somali piracy remains contained, according to a new report, which notes that maritime crime in Southeast Asia continues to rise. Dryad Maritime has reported that offshore maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea saw a 29% drop in reported incidents in 2015 compared to 2014. “This drop…also saw an unprecedented five month break in piracy". However, it is not a time to be complacent, and the risk of kidnap remains a concern for crew of vessels operating off Nigeria with the overall figures surpassing 2014’s records.
5. Billionaire Looks to Broking
Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen has teamed up with investment bank Arctic Securities to form a ship broking company aimed at taking on bigger rivals and betting on a recovery in the global shipping market. Many segments of the shipping industry, including dry bulk commodities, are struggling due to world economic worries and a surfeit of vessels. Fredriksen, via his family’s investment company Geveran Trading Co, and Oslo-headquartered Arctic Securities said on Monday they had established a 50-50 joint venture broking company, Arctic Shipping Norway, which they expect to start operations in the first half of this year.
6. Mission Goes Digital
The Mission to Seafarers has launched a new international digital centre for Seafarers’ Ministry. The MARE project will bring together a number of seafarers’ ministry organisations to deliver support, information and professional development using social media. The Mission to Seafarers (MTS) say that MARE has been designed with the aim of “enhancing the ability of seafarers’ welfare agencies to connect with seafarers using innovative digital tools.” It will provide a tool that will actively help seafarers make the connection with shore-based seafarers’ welfare personnel. Distribute social media on seafarers’ welfare and produce CPD tools.
7. Crew Rescued from Burning Ship
22 crewmembers from the Cido-controlled roro "Modern Express" were rescued by Spanish Search & Rescue helicopters on Tuesday evening. The Spanish coastguard (Salvamento Marítimo) confirmed it had rescued the 22 seafarers after the "Modern Express" had sounded the alarm 148 miles off Cape Ortegal in Galicia.
“The ship, 163 metres long, was listing up to 40 degrees, which together with the weather, with force 8 southwesterly winds and very high seas with heavy waves, meant they decided to request evacuation, made more difficult by the great distance from land at which they found themselves”, said the statement.
8. Firefighters Battle Blaze
More than 50 firefighters are battling a blaze on a ship in Derry. Fire crews were called shortly before 7am today, Tuesday, January 26, to reports of a fire in a ship in Lisahally Port. It is believed the fire started in one of the cabin on the ship. Members of the public are being asked to avoid the area. Group Commander Keith Black said: "We received the call at 6.55am this morning and have over 50 firefighters on site dealing with the incident. "NIFRS is working closely with the Port Authority and the ship’s crew to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.
9. Owners Want Specific Training
Demand is growing from shipowners for more non-regulatory training for seafarers and simulators that specifically match their own bridge equipment, according to Transas. “It is fair to say that STCW is not really keeping up with requirements,” Neil Bennett, vice president of Transas Americas, said at its Simulation User Conference in Singapore on Tuesday. Bennett noted there was more demand for non-regulatory training such as DP2 courses. Owners are also increasingly not content to train their seafarers on generic simulators and Bennett said there had been a growth in demand for type specific training.
10. Turkish Explosives Ship Held
Sweden is holding a Turkish cargo ship in a port in the south west of the country, authorities said on Tuesday, amid reports that it was carrying explosives and was bound for the Middle East. The Panamanian-flagged "Whiskey Trio", belonging to a Turkish company called Trio Shipping, has remained at the Varberg port in Halland county since Friday. The Swedish Transport Agency said: "We are prohibiting them from leaving port, mainly for safety reasons, but also because of the working conditions for the crew." The transports workers’ union decried it "a rusty ship with poverty wages", which it said was "laden with rockets and explosives".
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