Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/02/2016
1. Global Piracy Levels Persisting
Piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas is persisting at levels close to those in 2014, despite reductions in the number of ships hijacked and crew captured, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) annual piracy report reveals. IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) recorded 246 incidents in 2015, one more than in 2014. The number of vessels boarded rose 11% to 203, one ship was fired at, and a further 27 attacks were thwarted. Armed with guns or knives, pirates killed one seafarer and injured at least 14. Kidnappings doubled from nine in 2014 to 19 in 2015, all off Nigeria.
2. Modern Express Success
The operation to tow a listing cargo ship away from the French coast has succeeded, maritime officials say. A Spanish tugboat "managed to pivot [the ship], point it towards the open sea and begin towing it," spokesman Louis-Xavier Renaux said. The vessels are travelling westward at a speed of three knots (5kmh; 3.5mph), he added. The 22 crew members of the Panamanian-registered "Modern Express" were airlifted off the ship last Tuesday. Officials feared the vessel, which was about 44km (27 miles) off Arcachon near Bordeaux in south-western France, could run aground. But salvors were able to attach a tow line to the vessel.
3. Owners Warned on Certification
The transitional period for the 2010 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 2010) comes to an end on 1 January 2017. To prevent last minute certification ‘logjams’, and potential difficulties during Port State Control inspections next year, it is important that maritime employers liaise closely with maritime administrations, says the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). With less than a year to go before the end of this major transition, ICS and its member national associations are urging shipping companies to check maritime administrations are fully prepared.
4. Liberia Reaches Landmark
The Liberian Registry has reached a historic milestone with the registration of its 4,000th vessel – the 50,000 dwt chemical / product tanker newbuilding High Trust, owned by d’Amico Tankers Limited, Dublin. “The Liberian-registered fleet continues to grow at a rapid pace with the planned addition of quality tonnage under quality ownership and management. The High Trust is an appropriate name for our 4,000th vessel, since it symbolises the ongoing faith shown in the Liberian flag by the international shipping community,” Scott Bergeron, ceo of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), said.
5. Iran Faces New Ban
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain banned Iranian-flagged vessels from their ports and operation in their national waters, after the both countries cease diplomatic relations with their Iran. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran increased a few weeks ago after the execution of Shiite cleric Nimrah Al-Nimrah. Bahrain as well banned cargo ships, which had Iran is last three ports of calls, but Saudi Arabia still did not imposed such restriction. The both middle East countries banned deals undertaken with Iranian flagged vessels until further notice. The ban will not seriously harm the trade in the vicinity, but it could cause troubles on routes in Middle East.
6. Car Carrier Pier Allision
The car carrier "Elbe Highway" collided with pier in Emden, Germany. The vessel was leaving the port in rough weather and strong winds, which caused allision with the berth. The car carrier Elbe Highway was maneuvering with assistance for one tug and pilot on board, but despite of this, the strong wind gusts pushed the vessel to the pier. The tug was not able to prevent the collision. The both ship and pier suffered damages, but fortunately were not so serious and the ship left the port later on the same day after inspection and seaworthiness survey. The car carrier suffered slight delay in time schedule.
8. Timber Goes Overboard
The Lithuanian ship "Afalina" lost about 300 to 500 cubic meters of its timber cargo in the Baltic Sea last weekend, reported LETA newswire via the Latvian National Armed Forces. The Latvian coast guard issued a safety warning to ships in the area immediately after the January 30 accident caused by heavy wind. Based on the weather reports and other factors, the logs probably will be drifting in the sea for another three or four days and are moving towards the Estonian coast. Such accidents happen in the Baltic Sea now and again but this time the ship has lost a comparatively large amount of cargo.
9. Stranded Crew Threatened
Eighteen crewmembers onboard the 20-year-old Agatis bulk carrier, unpaid for months, and stranded in Barranquilla, Colombia since November are being threatened by local authorities for not leaving port. The crew had been given a Sunday deadline to leave the port. Since failing to comply with the deadline, the local ITF division report that authorities have contacted the seafarers to warn they now face prosecution. Conditions onboard the ship are described as dire with very limited drinking water and food, much of which has been supplied by local fishermen. The ship is owned by Indonesia’s Meranti Group.
10. Seafarers Zika Virus Warning
A bishop has advised Filipino workers, especially seafarers, in countries with reported cases of the Zika virus to be vigilant and always be mindful of the disease. "Our dearest OFWs, please be always cautious and be aware of the danger of Zika virus," said Bishop Ruperto Santos, chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. "Don’t take it for granted." "Take necessary prevention: in your work take insect repellent and wear protective clothing," he added. There is pressure to include information about the disease in the mandatory pre-departure seminars for OFWs.
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