Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/03/2016
1. US in Weight Rule Denial
The US Coast Guard (USCG), which this week added further confusion to the soon-to-be enforced SOLAS rules on container weight verification, has written a blog post clarifying its position. As Rear-Admiral Paul Thomas noted at the JOC’s TPM event in Long Beach for US exports, the USCG will not require the exporter to provide the weight, either actual or TARE, of the carrier’s container to the carrier. This position appears to be a result of competitive concerns – and pressure from exporters. Of course an observer might ask, if that was truly the case, why would the IMO introduce the new measures?
2. China Nav Air Fine
The China Navigation Co. deep-sea ship owning and operating arm of the Swire group, has been fined USD 129,500 by the California Air Resources Board for failure to switch its engines over from heavy diesel “bunker” fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur fuel when close to the California coast. Namely, on December 28, 2012, an ARB inspector found that the general cargo vessel Chenan, managed by the China Navigation, operated within Regulated California Waters (i.e. 24 miles or less from the coast) on noncompliant heavy fuel oil on 12 separate days-four voyages-between August 5 and December 28, 2012, while en route to and departing from LA.
3. Cheap Oil Means Longer Routes
The Suez Canal was a revolution for trade. Ever since, passage through the canal has been considered more or less vital to global business. Shipping firms pay what amounts to several billion dollars every year to the Suez Canal Authority, as it cuts a modern journey from Singapore to Rotterdam in the Netherlands by nearly 3,500 nautical miles – saving vessel owners lots of time and lots of money. However, more and more some ships are deciding not to take the Suez route. Instead, they are travelling around the Cape of Good Hope, right at the southern tip of Africa. It is thought prompted by cheap oil, the canal savings are reduced.
4. ECDIS Software Extension
The IMO sub-committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) has extended the transition period for software updates to existing ECDIS for one year to 31 Aug 2017. The NCSR accepted the IHO’s proposal to give all ship owners using ECDIS more time to be able to obtain the correct software updates to the new IHO -52 presentation library and thus ensure compliance with the guidelines on Maintenance of ECDIS software contained in IMO MSC 1.circ 1503. By extending the time available for shipping companies to upgrade their ECDIS software it has been possible to alleviate the imminent pressure. http://goo.gl/KBb6Yl
5. Call for Better GoG Protection
Governments and navies need to work more closely together to protect merchant ships in the Gulf of Guinea, security experts say. The comments come following a spate of piracy attacks, including the hijacking of a Dubai-owned oil-tanker, the MT Maximus. In this case, information sharing by local operatives could have been instrumental in preventing the hijacking, said a UK based maritime and defence consultant. They said: “For some days before the attack occurred there were vague warnings in open source media that a suspicious vessel (a pirate mother vessel) was active in the waters off Togo and Ghana, moving west.
6. Philippines Inspects Suspect Ship
The Philippine coast guard inspected a North Korean cargo vessel in one of the first such checks since the U.N. Security Council imposed further sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear program. The 6,830 dwt general cargo ship "Jin Teng" is among 31 vessels that could be forced to stop trading after being included in an asset freeze against a North Korean shipping company under the tightened sanctions passed unanimously by the Security Council. Three Coast Guard officials, accompanied by a dogs trained to detect explosives, searched the ship and checked crew documents, but nothing suspicious was found on the ship.
7. Ship Recycling Pressures
China’s ship-recycling industry is under mounting pressure from ongoing low steel prices and the increasing costs of adopting “greener” vessel-breaking methods, according to senior industry officials. The latest figures show ship-recycling revenue dropped 15 percent to 3.4 billion yuan ($519 million) in China last year.
But labor and environmental protection costs soared, and the price of scrap plummeted－a double-whammy which Wu Jun, vice-president of the China National Ship-recycling Association, said is putting many firms under threat. The price has dropped as supply and demand fell in many sectors.
8. SpaceX Still Trying Ship Landings
After postponing three times this past week, SpaceX had good news and bad news after its Friday launch. The Elon Musk-founded aerospace company was able to successfully launch its SES-9 communications satellite into Earth’s orbit, but was unable to land the first-stage rocket on a drone ship…again. “Rocket landed hard on the droneship. Didn’t expect this one to work (v hot reentry), but next flight has a good chance,” Musk tweeted after the launch. Friday wasn’t SpaceX’s first attempted drone ship landing. In January, the company almost pulled one off, but a hard landing caused the rocket’s legs to break just as it touched down. http://goo.gl/BlteqO
9. New Lifeline for Seafarers
The International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) is launching its new promotional video. The video ‘Lifeline’, made by Maritime Films UK, showcases the varied work and projects of ISWAN. Short interviews are held with ISWAN staff as they explain the operation of SeafarerHelp, the 24-hour helpline, the work on supporting seafarers affected by piracy, and the projects dealing with the health and wellbeing of seafarers. Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN, said: “We are delighted…with the growing use of video it is important for ISWAN to use this channel to promote the work we do.”
10. Plea for Poles to Stay Upright
Swedish ferry operator Stena Line has had enough of some of its popular cruises getting out of control and is now asking passengers from Poland to sign up to the rules before being allowed on board. “Poles are not seafarers, they’re not used to boat travel and don’t fully understand the safety rules. That is why we want to remind this group in particular…about the rules and we do that with this document,” Agnieszka Zembrzycka, Stena Line’s spokeswoman in Poland, said. “It’s supposed to be silent in the cabins during the night. You can have fun at the nightclub, not in the cabins,” Zembrzyckatold told Swedish Radio.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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