Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/04/2016
1. SAMI Falls Victim to Success
The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) has become a victim of its own success and gone into voluntary liquidation due to a fall in membership. Piracy off the coast of Somali and the Horn of Africa has fallen since the organisation was founded in April 2011, thanks largely to the carriage of armed guards onboard commercial vessels, as well as coordinated efforts from national navies. This has caused SAMI’s membership to more than halve from its peak of 180 members. This has rendered the Association unsustainable. SAMI has left an "enduring legacy,” Neil Roberts, of the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), said.
2. ITF Attacks Flags
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has taken the opportunity of using the “Panama Papers” to resume its attacks on open ship registries, noting that the only thing they can do to achieve some balance with the scheme of “tax evasion” is to sign agreements that guarantee certain terms and conditions of employment for ship crews. Secretary General of the ITF, Stephen Cotton says, the exposure generated by the disclosure of documents hacked from the firm Mossack-Fonseca, should serve as an ingredient for countries practicing open registry to change their attitude.
3. Iranians Thwart Pirate Attack
The Iranian Navy has thwarted seven pirate boat attacks on an Iranian merchant vessel sailing in the Red Sea. Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that the naval forces of the Islamic Republic April 16 rushed to rescue the ship when pirates on board seven boats were trying to hijack it, forcing the pirates to flee, Tasnim news agency reported April 18. Iranian navy vessels escort the country’s merchant vessels and oil tankers in the high seas, he added. Iran’s navy has increased presence in international waters in a bid to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers, over the past years.
4. Terror Threat Assessed
A senior US Naval officer has been assessing the likelihood of a terror attack on shipping. While the likelihood of near-shore attacks remains a possibility, including against cruise ships, the chance that ISIS will attack blue water objectives out of sight of land is still remote. However, the odds will remain remote only as long as the navies of the world continue to provide a credible presence on the oceans. When the seas are no longer effectively patrolled, terrorist organizations will take advantage of the same opportunities for freedom of maneuver at sea that they currently enjoy ashore.
5. UK Company Accused of Extortion
A civil society group, in Nigeria has alerted the President to what it alleges is a plan by a UK-based marine security company to extort heavily from foreign shipowners whose vessels ply the Nigerian waterways. In a letter of concern signed by the president of the group, it alleges that "unwholesome activities" are being perpetrated in various ports along the approaches to the Bonny Channel by the foreign company, Daimon Group Limited, with offices located in Exeter in the United Kingdom. The disagreement relates to a Safe Anchorage Area along the Bonny Channel designed to provide protection for vessels whilst at anchor.
6. Seafarers Caught in Explosion
One Burmese seafarer died and another four were injured when a fire led to an explosion on a Korean-registered ship off Penang in Malaysia. A gas canister exploded onboard the "Heung-A Pioneer". Paramedics were deployed to the scene, but one seafarer died straight away after the explosion. “The captain of the ship revealed that the fire started from the middle of the ship’s deck which in turn caused the explosion,” a local official from Penang port said.
7. Case for IMO Lead
Kicking off the start of crucial talks at the IMO’s 69th Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting yesterday, secretary general Kitack Lim reiterated his keenness to ensure proper environmental regulations for the industry. “I see the promotion of sustainable shipping and maritime development as one of the major priorities of my tenure,” said Lim, who took on the role at the UN body on January 1. Lim said the UN climate change discussions in Paris last December had shown a “clear imperative for development to be truly sustainable”. The IMO is still the right body to handle shipping environmental regulations, Lim argued.
8. Crew Caught in Drug Trial
A prosecutor in Piraeus on Monday proposed that eight people be found guilty of running the criminal organization that arranged for more than 2 tons of heroin to be smuggled into Greece in 2014 aboard the Noor 1 cargo ship. The prosecutor, Maria Troupi, also called for the 11 members of the Noor 1’s crew to be found guilty on charges of aiding and abetting the alleged ring members, while proposing that another four defendants be cleared.
9. Shipmanagement Merger Talk
Rickmers Holding and E.R. Capital Holding are reviewing a potential merger of their respective ship management units – Rickmers Maritime Services and E.R. Schiffahrt. Both companies have signed a declaration of intent to merge the two business units into a global joint venture, which would manage around 220 ships.
According to Rickmers, the aim of the merger is to pool strengths in a highly competitive market to promote expansion of the ship management business and increase the new company’s capabilities. Rickmers believes the merger will not require modifications to be made to its forecast for the 2016 financial year.
10. Internet Wins, Arctic Loses
The internet has overwhelmingly voted to name the UK’s new $300 million polar research vessel "RRS Boaty McBoatface". The UK National Environment Research Council (NERC) “Name Our Ship” contest closed Saturday with more than 7,000 suggestions for the name of their newest and most advanced research ship to be built at the world-famous Cammell Laird shipyard for delivery in 2019. Of those 7,000 submissions, RRS Boaty McBoatface won the contest by a landslide, racking up more than 124,000 up votes – more than three times the amount of the second place winner. The final name is likely to be a little more sober and serious…
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