Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/05/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/05/2016


1. Grounded Suez Ship Floated

The shipping agency GAC reports that the grounded 12,500 TEU container ship MSC Fabiola was refloated in the early hours of Saturday, April 30, and resumed her southbound journey on the Suez Canal with an escort of five tugs. GAC suggested the grounding was caused by engine trouble, and the Suez Canal Authority confirmed Sunday that it was due to an equipment malfunction. She has reportedly not sustained major damage from the incident.  The Suez Canal Authority said that the Southbound Convoy – stalled at Great Bitter Lake due to the grounding – resumed its transit shortly after, and the Northbound was rescheduled.



2. ICS Slams Spanish Decision

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has "strongly criticised" a January judgement by the Spanish Supreme Court in the so-called "Prestige Case" at last week’s International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPCF) meeting, adding that it "now fears that the entire system of efficient compensation for oil spills could be put in serious jeopardy" as a result of the "unsound" judicial decision making. ICS says that the Supreme Court’s judgement, which it notes was reached in one day, without the addition of any new evidence and without the presence of the Master, raises concern around the "unwarranted criminalisation of seafarers."




3. Hijacked Seafarers Freed

Abu Sayyaf militants have freed 10 Indonesian crew members who were seized at sea in March in the first of three attacks on tugboats that have sparked a regional maritime security alarm, officials said Sunday. The Indonesians appeared to be in good health when they were dropped off Sunday afternoon in front of the house of Sulu province’s governor in the town of Jolo, said the town’s police chief, Junpikar Sitin. The 10 men were then brought to a Philippine military camp and arrangements were underway to turn them over to Indonesian officials.




4. Nigerian Naval Civil War

There is a war going on between “sea criminals” and the Nigerian Navy, which is tasked to suppress them. Many suspected there was something brewing, as the intensity of pirate attacks off the Niger Delta increased inexorably in the course of April, with 15 attacks between 1 and 21 April 2016. After a period of détente following the Nigerian general elections in April 2015, the Niger Delta is once again stirring. Former militants had made their support of the new President Muhammadu Buhari (elected in April 2015) conditional on the continued payment of “amnesty stipends” and retention of inflated security contracts. These have been cut.




5. Social Media Warnings

We use social media to stay in touch with our friends and family. It has changed communications from ship to shore in so many ways and rates extremely high on crew satisfaction surveys. There is an increasing queue of senior people in the industry who are warning of the dangers, criticising seafarers for wanting to be in touch. They know little of the way generations think, or of the changes which connectivity have made. They may make good points – like "think before you post on social media". But wrapping it in talk of limiting interaction for seafarers’ own good is depressing to hear, and will not actually help.



6. Somalia Becomes Migrant Hot Spot

A boat with 92 would-be illegal immigrants trying to cross the Red Sea has docked at Bossaso seaport overnight on Friday, Garowe Online reports.  Puntland marine officials say, the people on board the boat were rescued in a joint rescue mission with multinational anti-piracy taskforce off the coast of Somalia.  85 of the 92 aboard are Ethiopian nationals while the remaining 7 passengers were said to be Somalis whose rickety boat developed mechanical crisis en route to conflict-wracked Yemen.  Hundreds of migrants drowned off Yemeni coast in a desperate bid to reach Saudi Arabia via Yemen over the last decade.




7. Libyan Migrant Rescued

An Italian merchant ship rescued 26 migrants off the coast of Libya in rough seas and others were feared missing, the Coast Guard said on Saturday. The Coast Guard received a call from a satellite telephone on Friday but no voice was heard. It tracked the signal to a location about seven miles off the Libyan coast, a spokesman said. An Italian merchant vessel in the area was diverted and on Friday night rescued the 26 from a rubber boat that had taken on water. The spokesman said such boats used by human traffickers can hold between 100-120 people and are usually full.



8. Shipping Criticised for Lack of Climate Control

Two weeks ago, the eyes of the world were on the U.N. as 175 national governments step up to formally commit their countries to the most wide-ranging and ambitious climate deal in history. But in stark contrast to the sweeping ambition on display in New York, in London a meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) showed an industry moving at a markedly slower pace towards decisive climate action. Despite the hopes of many climate campaigners, the IMO did not deliver a greenhouse gas reductions target for the industry. Once again the difficult decisions were kicked along the shipping path.




9. Lasers Fired at Ships

Lasers can be dangerous weapons. If you use them on people in Washington state (especially police officers and crewmen on commercial ships) you can expect to be charged, prosecuted, and, in the case of one man, hit with a six-figure fine. Mark Raden was charged by the U.S. Coast Guard with aiming a powerful blue industrial laser at a ferry pilot house in October 2015. He injured two crew members, both of whom had to seek medical treatment, according to Ars Technica. Raden was fined $100,000 in a civil suit and still faces criminal felony charges.




10. Southampton Seafarers Centre Closes

Thousands have found rest and support at Southampton’s Centre for Seafarers over the last 130 years, but now it has closed its doors for good. Retired seamen and worshippers gathered for the final service in the iconic chapel yesterday. But senior clergymen insist they will continue supporting sailors – despite the closure of the main centre on Friday. The three charities running the centre blamed lack of funds and reducing numbers of people using it. The Mission is planning on selling the building and seven jobs are at risk. The charities are working to continue to support sailors through a network of unmanned cabins and drop-in visits.




Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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