Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/03/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/03/2016


1. Security Stepped Up

Security at the Port of Dover has been stepped up in reaction to the Brussels terrorist attacks in Belgium. The Home Office has deployed specialist search dogs in Dover as well as other major ports in Britain. Heathrow and Gatwick airports have both heightened security there too. A Home office spokesman said: "We have taken steps to intensify our efforts at the UK-Belgian and UK-French border. This includes: Enhanced searching of inbound tourist vehicles, additional opening of car boots / transit vans, a heightened Border Force presence at ports, targeted Border Force presence at specific ports, with additional security checks.


2. Not Ready for Panama Expansion

U.S. East Coast ports looking to use the Panama Canal expansion to lure traffic from congested West Coast ports have failed to invest in infrastructure and are years away from being ready for extra business, the head of the world’s largest lessor of container ships said. "The infrastructure’s just not there," Seaspan Corp Chief Executive Gerry Wang told Reuters in a telephone interview. "At the end of the day… you want the volume to come, you want big ships to come, but you just don’t have the infrastructure to handle them." Seaspan owns large container ships it leases on long-term contracts to the world’s biggest shipping companies.



3. Mega Ships are Mega Problem

The Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) says that the use of mega ships and alliances remain the main problems within the shipping sector. The popular belief is that larger ships and alliances are good for competition because of the benefits they give, but the reality is that there are added costs due to the negative externalities they impose on others, says Chris Welsh, general secretary of GSF. The restriction of competition can make other approaches necessary for regulatory policy or competition to address the competition concerns raised by the mega ships and alliances, he said.



4. Rising Cost of Crime

386 counts of maritime crime in were recorded in 2015, according to maritime security company MAST. Figures for global maritime crime shown on the MAST risk map, show that 66 per cent of all pirate activity took place in Asia (255 incidents) compared with 16 per cent around the Horn of Africa and 17 per cent on the West African Coast. Gerry Northwood, OBE, COO of MAST and former Royal Navy counter-piracy commander warns that conflicts and tensions pose real threat to maritime environment and global security standards are needed to suppress crime.



5. Frank Discussion on Cyber Security

KVH Industries, Inc., hosted maritime industry leaders for a frank discussion about cyber security prior to the start of the CMA Shipping 2016 conference in Stamford, Connecticut.  During the roundtable, a range of concerns about the current level of vulnerability emerged. Among the key issues identified were complacency by ship operators, lack of training , non-existent cyber contingency plans, and the need for a set of best practices for minimizing risks. “We need to bring the same best practices that we expect on shore and in our corporate networks to ships,” said Rick Driscoll, KVH vice president of satellite products and services.



6. Shore Based Command Centres

Rolls-Royce unveiled its vision of the land-based control centers that we believe will remotely monitor and control the unmanned ships of the future.  In a six minute film, Rolls-Royce presents a vision of the future in which a small crew of 7 to 14 people monitor and control the operation of a fleet of vessels across the world. The crew uses interactive smart screens, voice recognition systems, holograms and surveillance drones to monitor what is happening both on board and around the ship.  The film marks the final stage of research that will inform the design and construction of a project demonstrator before the end of this decade.



7. Draft Restrictions in Canal

The Panama Canal Authority has said it will temporarily lower the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting through the Panama Canal starting April 18 due to El Nino-related droughts. In shipping advisory on Monday, the authority set the maximum allowable draft to 11.89 meters (39 feet). While the advisory did not specifically state the current maximum allowable draft, the authority said that "as in the past, draft restrictions will be implemented in 15 cm (6 inch) decrements at a time, with each restriction announced at least four weeks in advance."


8. Nuclear Ships Heads Off

An armed British ship believed to be carrying enough plutonium to make about 40 atomic bombs has left a port in eastern Japan to transport the shipment to the US for storage. Kyodo News agency said the British-flagged nuclear fuel transport ship "Pacific Egret" left the port in Tokai village, north east of Tokyo, Tuesday, one day after arriving with another armed ship that had waited off-shore. Tokai is home to Japan Atomic Energy Agency, a research complex where the plutonium had been used for research. The ship, operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd, was to take 730lb of plutonium to a US government facility.


9. Grounding Causes List

A 2,246 dwt general cargo vessel has developed a list after running aground off the coast of Sumarsoyna this morning, the Norwegian Coast Guard confirmed. The 1993-built vessel "MV Selvaagsund" has started taking on water in its ballast tank area due to a breach in its bow caused by the grounding. Selvaagsund’s crew of eight seafarers managed to stop the water ingress, and divers will now asses the damage to the hull. The cause of the grounding of the 81-meter-long ship, owned by Norway-based Berge Rederi, is still unknown. Rescue vessels were sent to the scene to monitor the vessel and evacuate the crew if the situation worsens.




10. New Deal on Lifeboat Testing

Draft mandatory requirements relating to maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear were agreed by the Sub Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), meeting for its 3rd session. The requirements aim to provide for a uniform, safe and documented standard for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats (including free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats and fast rescue boats; and of launching appliances and on-load and off load release gear for lifeboats.



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