Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/04/2016
1. Obese Seafarers A Big Concern
In the past two decades, seafarers have grown fatter. Today’s Jolly Jack is much more likely to be overweight than to be drunk. Two things are happening. One is that food onboard is almost always available in quantity and the other is that the seafarer’s work is becoming somewhat more sedentary. If you have just climbed out of a bulker’s hatch after cleaning between cargoes, or you have just finished doing battle with lashing rods and turnbuckles on a boxboat, you may find this observation hard to accept, but it’s true. There’s a whole lot more sitting down, these days. The world has never before had to cope with overweight sailors.
2. Underestimating Conditions
The sinking of a cargo ship that claimed the lives of eight men was down to an underestimation of the severity of the conditions and “perceived or actual commercial pressure” to press ahead with the journey, an investigation has found. A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) review has found the deaths of the eight Polish and Filipino crew onboard the Cemfjord could have been avoided. The upturned hull of the Cypriot-registered cement carrier was spotted in the Pentland Firth by a passing ferry on January 3 2015. It capsized so quickly in “extraordinarily violent sea conditions” that the crew did not have time to issue a distress call.
3. Amazing Shipping Visualisation
Researchers at UCL Energy Institute together with London-based data visualization and digital journalism studio Kiln have released this amazing interactive map that plots 250 million data points to show the movements of the world’s commercial shipping fleet during the year 2012. (Hit the play button above to learn more about what is being displayed) The map was created based on the methodology developed for the Third IMO GHG Study 2014 and AIS data to estimate emissions from five different ship types; containerships, tankers, dry bulk, gas carriers and vehicle carriers.
4. UN Investigates Migrant Sinking
The United Nations is investigating the sinking of an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean in what could be one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants since an estimated 800 people drowned in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast exactly one year ago. The UN refugee agency UNHCR said Wednesday that a team has interviewed survivors of the wreck to learn more about the extent of the disaster. If confirmed, as many as 500 people may have lost their lives when the large boat went down in the Mediterranean Sea at an unknown location between Libya and Italy.
5. Marine Insurer Bomb Target
A man whose fake bomb brought much of Liverpool city centre to a standstill has been jailed. David Norris, 74, falsely reported a bomb at an office block which housed a marine insurance company which he was in dispute with, on Tithebarn Street and claimed similar devices had been left at the city airport and main railway station. Liverpool Crown Court heard Norris had harboured a decades-long grudge against an insurance firm which had rejected his claim after his boat sank in 1988. He was jailed for 16 months. Norris went to the headquarters of Groves, John and Westrup insurance brokers on the 28th anniversary of his boat’s sinking.
6. When Fire Suppression Fails
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its analysis of the engine room fire on the bulk carrier Marigold, citing problems with the ship’s Halon fire suppression system and the port’s emergency response. The incident occurred at about 1447 on 13 July, 2014. A fire started in the engine room of the bulk carrier while it was loading a cargo of iron ore in Port Hedland, Western Australia. The ATSB determined that the fire began on Marigold’s number one generator after a fuel oil pipe fitting on it failed. The resulting spray of fuel oil likely contacted a hot surface on the generator and ignited.
7. Hanjin Faces Financial Woe
South Korean media is awash with reports that Hanjin Shipping could follow Hyundai Merchant Marine in seeking urgent charter contract renegotiations with shipowners as it fights to repay more than $1bn of debt this year. A report from Deutsche Bank analyst Amit Mehrotra notes there are 22 shipowners with 56 ships who could be hit by Hanjin’s troubles, with Greece’s Danaos most exposed, followed by Seapan. “As we’ve seen with ongoing negotiations with Hyundai Merchant Marine, contract renegotiations are not so simple, especially given the strategic importance of the shipping companies to the country and region,” Mehrotra noted.
8. German Lock Strike
A 24-hour strike action at the German Brunsbüttel locks could cause some delays in vessel traffic during nighttime operations, German GAC agent Sartori & Berger told World Maritime News. The strike, organized by German workers’ union ver.di, is scheduled to start at 6 am local time on April 21, and is expected to end on April 22. Regarding the daytime vessel traffic at the site, Sartori & Berger said that they “don’t expect any delays, depending on availability of private linesmen.” Located at the lower Elbe River and the Kiel Canal, the Brunsbüttel Ports have, together with Elbehafen, handled five percent more volumes than a year before.
9. Singapore Hears About Cyber
A number of prominent figures from the maritime industry take part in the inaugural Cyber Security Seminar at Singapore Maritime Week 2016. Esben Poulsson, President of the Singapore Shipping Association and Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, he addressed two trends which are already significant within the maritime industry – Big Data and Cyber Security. He also expressed his concerns regarding the readiness of companies to deal with the cyber security threat: “Did you know that more than 90% of corporate executives said they cannot read a cyber security report and are not prepared to handle a major attack.
10. UK Engine Stopping Kit
UK electronic specialists e2v has announced the first contract for its engine jamming technology, which will be used for maritime anti-piracy purposes. Known as RF Safe-Stop, the technology consists of an antennae that emits RF pulses that then overloads an engine’s electronic control unit (ECU) with data, causing it to cut fuel to a vehicle’s engine. The technology can be fitted to naval vessels, ground vehicles and be used as a counter-UAV solution. Safe-Stop explained that he saw Safe-Stop as an alternative to using lethal force, and the inherent risk that involves.
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