Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/03/2016
1. Nigerian Attack Reported
The product tanker Sampatiki reported a pirate attack off of Nigeria in the early hours of March 26. The pirates boarded the ship at 04’20”N 005’10”E, about 35 nautical miles off the coast of Rivers State in the Gulf of Guinea, near Port Harcourt, said the British security advising firm Asket. The vessel made a VHF report to say that she had been boarded by eight armed pirates. The attackers stayed aboard for four hours, then departed with five hostages. Media report that the captives are officers, plus one engineer. Equipment aboard was damaged but the crew reported no injuries. The remaining crew complement headed back to port.
2. Tug Hijacked and Crew Held
The Indonesian Embassy in Manila has confirmed reports that an Indonesian tug, "Brahma 12", has been hijacked in the far south of the Philippines with the 10-strong crew held hostage. Reports in the Philippines suggest the attack was conducted by the militant group Abu Sayyaf although the Indonesian embassy has not confirmed this. Ransom in excess of $1m has allegedly been demanded. The tugboat was seized just off the island of Tawi-Tawi. Abu Sayyaf has taken a number of hostages recently. Earlier this month it posted a video of three foreign hostages, two Canadians and one Norwegian, held for ransoms totalling to $60m.
3. Offshore Workers Freed
French oil services company Bourbon Offshore has confirmed that two crew members kidnapped from their vessel off the coast of Nigeria last month have been released. The company did not say if or how much ransom was paid for their release. The two men were abducted from the Bourbon Liberty 251 on February 23 after the vessel came under attack off the coast of Nigeria. Ten other crew members were left unharmed. The abducted men were reported to be of Russian and Nigerian nationalities. Both men are said to be in good health.
4. Struggle to Contain Spill
Authorities in Taiwan are trying to contain an oil spill from a grounded container ship which has split in two off the shore of New Taipei City. The 15,487-ton ship "TS Lines" ran aground in a storm about 300 metres from the shore while it was sailing from Hong Kong to Keelung Port in Taiwan on March 10.
On Friday the ship broke apart, releasing heavy oil into the sea. Authorities have been attempting to clean up the leakage, but efforts have been hampered by stormy weather, which left rescue boats unable to reach the wreckage on Friday to pump the oil.
5. Drunken Skipper Charged
A ship captain is facing charges of endangering naval traffic, after blocking access to the German port of Rostock while he was under the influence of alcohol, police say. The 85-metre (279ft) long cargo ship the "Abis Bergen" ran aground as he tried to steer it out to sea. Police said he was "absolutely unfit for duty".
The identity of the captain has not been made public. Police said he risked causing an accident. A breathalyser test, carried out after harbour police smelled alcohol on the captain’s breath, established he was over the legal limit. The ship was refloated using tugboats and steered back into the harbour.
6. Pirates on Trial
Seven Somalis go on trial in France, accused of piracy and murder. This will be the fourth trial of Somali piracy in the Gulf of Aden to be held in France. The men, aged between 25 and 32 years old, are accused of pirating a catamaran in 2011 off the coast of Somalia. On board was a French couple, Christian and Evelyne Colombo, who were on a round-the world trip. They left the port of Aden in Yemen on 3 September 2011, heading for Oman. Five days later, after a distress signal, naval authorities found the empty boat with bullet holes and blood on the deck. The Spanish navy raided a pirate boat and rescued Evelyne Colombo. http://goo.gl/Kh6VnJ
7. Horse Death Dispute
A ship involved in a horse cargo incident is back on its way to Malta, as the owners insisted this morning that its crew had not been detained. Nineteen out of 64 horses on the "Med Patron" died in stormy seas during transportation from Malta to Misurata in Libya. But Josette Zammit from Patron Group, owners of the vessel, insisted its captain had advised against shipping the horses because of the rough seas last Tuesday, but the Italian representatives of the shipment insisted it should go ahead. "Our ship was surveyed and approved by veterinary dept and certified to carry livestock. The captain tried to take the safest route".
8. Fast Ship Designs
A mathematical model developed at the University of Leeds in the U.K. could make it possible to design safer versions of the fast ships used in many offshore operations. Travelling at up to 30 knots, fast ships are used for search and rescue, anti-piracy and for transporting wind farm, oil and gas personnel. These ships are especially vulnerable to waves that amplify suddenly due to local weather and sea conditions, so-called rogue or freak waves, with about 100 ships lost or damaged each year worldwide, incurring around 2,500 casualties. The new model produces simulations that can show exactly how sea waves can affect fast ships. http://goo.gl/IAGGVU
9. Drones Using Marine Insurance
ISO is preparing for the potential rise and fall of commercial drones with new inland marine insurance forms to help protect businesses from the costs of such potential crashes, including damage to the drones, their equipment, and their cargo. The new ISO forms provide insurers with underwriting tools to address commercial drones, which have developed a wide range of potential and reported uses, including package delivery, crop protection, and aerial photography. For enhanced flexibility, the new coverage options allow for drones to be covered by endorsement to some ISO commercial inland marine classes.
10. Wife Swims Back to Ship
A 65-year-old British tourist has been rescued by fishermen off the island of Madeira after she tried to swim back to her cruise ship following a row with her husband. Susan Brown was plucked out of the Atlantic around midnight on Saturday some 500m from the coast, shivering and clinging to her handbag, the head of the Funchal port authority, Felix Marques, said. Fishermen came to the rescue after they were alerted by her cries for help, he added. The woman decided to fly back to Britain after having an argument, but then decided to swim out to the ship from the airport when she saw it sailing out of Funchal in the evening.
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