Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/01/2016
1. New UK Seafarer Stats
New UK Seafarer statistics show a slight overall increase of 2% from 2015, rising to 23,380 at the end of June 2015. UK Chamber CEO, Guy Platten, warns that decisive action will be necessary to ensure future growth. The figures show: The total number of UK seafarers active at sea was estimated to be 23,380. The number of UK officers remained at 10,930 – largely unchanged from 2014. The total number of UK Ratings rose by 5% to around 8,830 – the first increase in the number of ratings since 2011. The number of officer cadets in training remained static at around 2000, with a small increase of new entrants under the SMarT scheme.
2. Super Yacht Coral Trouble
The 3,000 gt megayacht "Tatoosh" and her crew stand accused of damaging 14,000 square feet of protected coral reefs in the Cayman Islands due to a dragged anchor, local authorities claim. Divers surveyed the reef last week to determine the extent of the damage, and they reportedly found that 80 percent of the coral in the affected area had been destroyed. A Department of the Environment spokesman told local media that “in addition to assessing the damage and determining the cause of this incident, we are also paying close attention to lessons learned so that we can more effectively prevent these accidents.
3. All Change on Ownership
Many of the dry bulk industry’s largest vessels, such as the Capesize vessel have undergone new ownership, according to Shipping Watch. Companies that specialise in dry bulk, such as Star Bulk Carriers and Scorpio Bulkers, are among some of the sellers. Denmark’s Norden sold ‘Nord-Energy’, which was the last of its Capesize carriers. Amit Mehrotra, an Analyst at Deutsche Bank, said: "For example, there are over 240 dry bulk ships over 100,000 DWT that are 15 years of age or older. “This equates to 47 million on a DWT basis, which is over 15% of the 100,000+ DWT fleet.
4. Galley Fire Rages
Fire at the Iranian motor ship "Nardiz" in the Volga-Caspian canal has been extinguished, no one was injured in the incident, Russian Emergencies Ministry’s local department press service head Dmitry Dubrovsky told TASS on Wednesday. "Fire has been put out on the Iranian motor ship, no one was injured. According to preliminary information, the fire was caused by short circuit in the ship’s galley," Dubrovsky said. He added that the ship may be brought to the port of Astrakhan for repair. Fire on the Iranian motor ship en route from Russia’s Astrakhan to Iran’s Anzali with 11 crew onboard was reported at 6:38am earlier today. http://goo.gl/6VG2DY
5. Poachers and Gamekeepers
Somali pirates who raked in millions of dollars in ship hijackings have developed a lucrative new racket – acting as armed "escorts" to foreign trawlers that steal the country’s fish. In a striking case of poacher-turned-gamekeeper, the same armed gangs who once preyed on the trawlermen are now acting as their bodyguards, earning huge "protection fees" in return for letting them poach Somalia’s rich fishing stocks. Fisheries experts have warned that many of the fishing vessels are using huge illegal nets, causing potentially enormous damage to the country’s marine ecosystem. The new racket offers a much-needed source of income.
6. Nigeria Urged to Act on Security
Former President of Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transportation Senior Staff Association, Thomas Kerewerigha, yesterday called on the Federal Government to urgently tackle the increasing cases of sea robbery in the Niger Delta. Kerewerigha at briefing in Lagos, said there had been seven attacks in the last two weeks and warned that the attacks might take a dangerous dimension if urgent steps were not taken to curb the trend. The Chief Executive Officer of Tomjak Nigeria Limited slammed the Nigerian Navy and the management of Nigerian Navy or the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
7. Crew Airlifted to Safety
The crew of a giant car carrier have been airlifted to safety after the ship developed a dangerous list and they were forced to abandoned it. British coastguards helped in a major operation with colleagues in Spain and France to try and save the vessel which was drifting out of control in a busy shipping lane in the Cantabrian Sea. The 10,000 tonne "Modern Express" was on its way from Gabon in Africa to Le Havre but lost its engines in a force eight south-westerly storm off the northern Spanish coast and 200 miles off the French south-western coast. Sea conditions were described as "treacherous" and after the captain put out an SOS.
8. Salvage Concepts Change
Whether driven by treasure hunting or environmental protection, the days of forgotten wrecks, even at great depths, is past. It seems like every month we see reports of long-lost maritime wrecks being discovered on the ocean bottom and treasures being salvaged from great depths. We also hear regularly of oil being recovered from sunken wrecks. There is now no practical limit to the ability to recover objects from the sea floor, regardless of depth, currents, weather, or other obstacles. The only existing obstacle seems to be financing – and costs are decreasing regularly.
9. Rallying for Sacked Seafarers
Simultaneous rallies in Australia’s Melbourne and Sydney were held on January 27 in support of the sacked crew of the MV Portland. The Maritime Union of Australia is demanding an investigation into Alcoa’s actions after the American-based miner forcibly replaced the Australian seafarers with foreign workers. On January 13, at 1am five crewmembers on board the Alcoa-owned vessel, the MV Portland, were woken by up to 30 security guards and intimidated into leaving the vessel following a 60-day dispute. The MV Portland had plied the trade between Western Australia and Victoria for more than 27 years.
10. Taking a View on Fouling
Every ship manager wages an endless battle against fouling – the bacteria, seaweed, barnacles and other marine life that take residence on the hull of ships. This biofouling is thought to add more than 20 per cent to the fuel costs of commercial shipping. Using lasers and a window in a ship’s hull, researchers will assess how quickly the efficiency of the ship declines, and then how to balance fuel efficiency and the cost of putting a ship in dry dock to clean it. "Essentially we’ve built a laboratory worth thousands of dollars inside the hull of the ship".
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