Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 12/04/2016
1. Nigerian Tanker Hijack
Pirates have attacked a Turkish product tanker "Puli" off the coast of Nigeria kidnapping six of the crew, says the Nigerian navy. The ship carrying chemicals was believed to be travelling from Gabon to Ivory Coast. The pirates attacked the ship late at night as it was sailing close to the oil-rich Niger Delta. Analysts say winding down an amnesty to former Niger Delta militants has resulted in an increase in piracy. The Nigerian navy say the vessel’s captain and the chief engineer were among those kidnapped. The ship’s Turkish owners say none of the crew were injured in the attack but that they have no information on their whereabouts.
2. Seafarer Minimum Wage Remains
The recommended International Labour Organization (ILO) Minimum Wage for Able Seafarers will remain at its current level of $ 614 basic pay per month until at least 2018. That equates to approximately 431 GBP, 538 Euros, 808 Australian dollars and 825 Singapore dollars. This follows an ILO Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) meeting held in Geneva last week, comprising representatives of maritime employers co-ordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and seafarers’ unions co-ordinated by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The next ILO Joint Maritime Commission review will be during 2018.
The report outlining the calculations used in making the decision is available here.
3. Magic Pipe Sentence and Fine
The Norwegian shipping company DSD Shipping has been sentenced to pay $2.5 million for illegally discharging oily water by the U.S. Department of Justice. The fine is a result of its convictions in Mobile, Alabama, for obstructing justice, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and tampering with witnesses. Three senior engineering officers employed by DSD were also sentenced. Defendant Bo Gao, chief engineer of the vessel, and Xiaobing Chen, second engineer of the vessel, were both sentenced to six months imprisonment as a result of their conduct. All three also face the loss of their marine engineering licenses.
4. IMO Adopts Electronic Exchange
Mandatory requirements for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers have been adopted by the IMO, as part of a revised and modernized annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), which aims to harmonize procedures for ship’s arrival, stay and departure from port. The new standard relating to the obligation of public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information, within a period of three years after the adoption of the amendments, is among important changes in the revised Annex, which is expected to enter into force on January 1, 2018.
5. Polar Oil Response Drafted
The IMO’s third session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response has agreed to submit a final draft of the Guide to Oil Spill Response in Snow and Ice Conditions to the Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 70) to be held in October, with a view to securing its approval and subsequent publication. The guide, produced by Owens Coastal Consultants and DF Dickins Associates, both of the U.S., highlights the need to have a rigorous, scientifically defensible process in place for approving the use of dispersants and in situ burning.
6. Piracy Figures Positive
A decline in maritime piracy in Southeast Asia has been recorded for the first quarter of this year; however, attacks have significantly escalated in the northernmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa. During the first three months of the year, 13 maritime crime cases were reported in Southeast Asia, compared to 35 for the same period last year, according to a global report by Dryad Maritime. "Primarily, we believe that this is because the criminal gangs have come under a lot of pressure. They’ve been subject to a proactive effort in law enforcement and also in deterrence," said the consultancy’s COO, Ian Millen.
7. Seafarers Blamed for Piracy
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has been called upon to detain a Liberian flag vessel which became embroiled in a piracy dispute, but also to arrest and prosecute the crew for oil theft. Local shipowners claim the vessel manned by Indians is not only used to scuttle Nigeria’s carbotage regime, but is also used to trans load stolen Nigeria’s crude from ship to ship off the shore of the Niger Delta region of the country. The Liberian flagged oil vessel was recently hijacked off the shore of the Niger Delta and sighted at Lome, Togo.
8. Maersk Eyes Growth
The Maersk Group, a conglomerate of worldwide businesses focusing on the shipping and energy industries, has Singapore as a majorly important base. Indeed, it is the only place outside Denmark where all its business units are represented. The group operates in some 130 countries and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. The company sees shipping companies playing a strong role in Singapore’s growth as an international maritime centre (IMC) going forward. Maritime Singapore is built on three pillars: competitiveness, a strong rule of law and strong anti-corruption policy; and finally multicultural meritocracy.
9. Superyacht Fires are Coincidence
It started with a puff of smoke, seeping slowly into the clear and sunny St. Thomas air on a mid-March afternoon. “I went into a meeting, and when I came out, it was very on fire,” recalled Ryan Nichols, who witnessed "Positive Energy", a reportedly $2.5 million yacht, go up in flames. Two months earlier, a fire damaged two superyachts at a marina in Marmaris, Turkey, and another superyacht, the 95-foot Queen Anna, burned in Fethiye, Turkey. The string of yacht fires raises the question: Is there something about these multimillion-dollar investments that makes them susceptible to fire? The short answer: No, not really, well, probably not.
10. Iran Denies Caspian Canal Plan
Iranian authorities have denied the country has held talks with neighbouring Russia over building a new canal. Russian media had reported the two nations were looking at building a waterway connecting the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Iran has said it is reviewing the idea but has not held official dialogue with Russia yet. The last few years have been dramatic ones for global canal projects with the widening of the Suez and Panama canals, a mooted Chinese-funded waterway through Nicaragua and speculation that the centuries old plans for a waterway through the Thai isthmus might be revived.
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