Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/03/2016
1. Crew Reported Kidnapped
Four crew members were kidnapped from a chemical tanker underway off the coast of Nigeria earlier this month. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has confirmed the kidnappings, reporting that on March 5th a group of ten armed pirates in a speed boat approached and opened fire at a chemical tanker underway approximately 32 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island, Nigeria. The pirates were able to board the vessel with a grappling hook and ladder, the report said. An alarm was raised and all non-essential crew members retreated to the ship’s citadel. After an hour, the pirates left the tanker with four kidnapped crew.
2. Cruise Giant on Sea Trials
Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, set off on Thursday on its first sea trial from Saint-Nazaire, western France, with just two months to go to delivery. The city’s STX France shipyards began building the €1bn ($1.1bn) mammoth for US shipbuilder Royal Caribbean International (RCI) in September 2013.
Thousands of people gathered at the dock to watch as the 120,000-tonne ship was helped out to sea by six tugs. The ship, with a height of 70m (210 feet), has been an imposing presence in Saint-Nazaire, visible from miles away. Some 500 people were on board for the first trial, set to continue until Sunday.
3. Cyber Shake Up Needed
Cyber-attacks “can happen now”, and shipping has a steep hill to climb when it comes to increasing technical competencies amongst seafarers, says Lloyd’s Register’s (LR) Luis Benito. Benito, LR’s global strategic marketing manager for business development & innovation, said: “We have to start discussing new competencies. I know some companies have already started looking at these. One of them is, what are you going to do in an emergency? Because now this is not about machinery breaking, but about the ship being run by the wrong software.
4. Charity Team Near Miss
A four-man rowing team attempting to row their boat from Europe to Brazil had a close encounter with a cargo ship, narrowly escaping a collision at night. The team is part of a group called Row2Rio 2016, attempting to row the journey from London to Rio de Janeiro ahead of the summer 2016 Olympics aboard their 8-meter row boat. The incident occurred about a week into the journey, with the team saying that their boat came to within just half a mile of the much larger ship.
5. Containers Plumb New Depths
Container shipping indicators continue to plumb new depths with no bottom in sight for the hard-pressed sector. The World Container Index’s composite index, an average of spot freight rates on the main East-West box tradelanes, reached a record low of $701 per feu yesterday. This is the lowest since the index Moreover, the index rate assessments for the Shanghai-Rotterdam and the Shanghai-Genoa routes have fallen to all-time lows of $354 and $341 per feu, respectively. In another sign of the dire times for the sector, it has just been revealed that the fleet of idled container ships of more than 500 teu has hit a new six-year high.
6. Chinese Blacklist of North Korea
China’s Ministry of Transport has blacklisted 31 North Korean vessels in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution. China has barred a North Korean freighter from one of its ports. The country will start inspecting the North Korean ships that dock at its ports for banned cargo as part of new international sanctions against Pyongyang. The move, which Beijing would start taking against the vessels as of Thursday, corresponds to its commitments under a raft of sanctions adopted against Pyongyang at the United Nations Security Council.
7. Ships Goes Aground
Taiwan’s National Airborne Service Corps on Thursday rescued all 21 crew members from a cargo ship that ran aground about 300 meters off the coast of Shimen Township in New Taipei. The crew members were airlifted to safely after they abandoned ship on the captain’s orders, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA). The CGA said that due to the inclement weather, its vessels were unable to approach the area to rescue the crew and instead it called in the National Airborne Service Corps, which deployed helicopters. All 21 crew members, including five Myanmar nationals, are in good condition.
8. Dumping Waste Indictment
Two shipping companies and two engineers were indicted on charges of dumping 5,000 gallons of oily wastewater from a cargo ship heading to Seattle and concealing it from the U.S. Coast Guard. Federal prosecutors said Thursday that the cargo ship M/V Gallia Graeca released the contaminated water over several days in late October as the ship traveled from China to Seattle. The ship’s operator, Angelakos (Hellas) is a Panama company and its owner, Gallia Graeca Shipping, is based in Cyprus. Prosecutors say during the ship’s voyage, its oil-water filtering equipment was inoperable.
9. Sponsorship of Wellness Programme
Euronav, the largest New York Stock Exchange listed independent crude oil tanker company in the world, has agreed a four-year sponsorship of Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme. Wellness at Sea, which was launched in 2015, is a coaching and support programme devised by the international maritime welfare charity to promote health and well-being among the world’s seafarers. Wellness at Sea is designed to reflect the needs of mariners and the shipping industry alike by promoting cultural awareness, emotional intelligence, social skills and spiritual well-being alongside more familiar skills competence.
10. Union Warns of Seafarer Shortage
India’s largest shipping trade union, the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), has asked the Indian Ministry of Shipping for financial help towards the training of maritime workforce in oil exploration activities. Abdulgani Serang, the union’s General Secretary, said NUSI has requested financial aid and incentives from the Ministry through National Shipping Board for training the maritime workforce at NUSI Offshore Training Institute (NOTI), currently operated by NUSI-ITF Trust. NOTI trains the workforce that operates specialised vessels, or small-sized ships, catering to various needs of oil exploration activities.
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