Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/05/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/05/2016


1. European Ships Collide

Two European-owned container ships collided off the coast of China late Saturday with one catching fire, but the crews of both vessels are safe, one of the operators involved said Sunday. Maersk Line, said the 292-meter (958-foot) Safmarine Meru, which it owns, collided with the 318-meter (1,043-foot) Northern Jasper operated by Germany’s  Norddeutsche Reederei H. Schuldt GmbH & Co. The collision took place in opens seas 138 miles east of the Chinese port of Ningbo, south of Shanghai and severely damaged the Safmarine Meru and a fire broke out.



2. Arrest Leads to Crew Limbo

A bulk carrier arrested in Venice this week is at the centre of a dispute over an unpaid bunker bill in which discussions seem to have stalled, leaving the ship’s 22 crew in limbo. "DST Oslo" (74,500 dwt, built 1999) spent over a month at anchorage just outside the Port of Venice, Italy, before being allowed to berth at the port of Marghera on May 1. Athens-based bunker supplier Termoil arrested the vessel earlier this week and has threatened the vessel with auction, local sources say. Crew repatriation is currently impeded by Italy’s strict immigration rules, which prevent seafarers from disembarking without a visa.



3. Joint Asian Security Declaration

Foreign ministers and defense force chiefs from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines signed a joint declaration on maritime security on Thursday, calling on all governments in the region to increase efforts to tackle marine threats, reports Jakarta Post. The three officials hashed out details of joint patrols, including issues on how the exchange of information would take place between the three countries. The leaders called for intensified maritime security following the recent kidnapping of seamen by the Southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group, and other armed sea robberies, that have endangered national security in the region.



4. Oil Hijacks Held at Bay

The latest report from the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAPP), which covers incidents of piracy and armed robbery in Asian waters during April 2016, shows that there still have not been any incidents of tanker hijackings for oil cargo theft since September 2015. ReCAAP says a total of 25 incidents were reported between January and the end of April in Asia, representing a 61 percent decline in number of incidents from the 64 incidents reported during the same period of 2015. While there was a decrease in the number of overall incidents, ReCAAP notes that there were two Category 1 (very significant) incidents during the month.



5. Quarter of Ship Passengers Ill

A stomach bug causing vomiting and diarrhea has spread to more than a quarter of the 919 passengers aboard a British cruise ship, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, as the ship docked in Maine. It also said eight of the 520 crew on the Balmoral, operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, had also fallen ill with the bug, identified as a norovirus. The Balmoral left Southampton, on April 16 for a 34-day cruise, making stops in Portugal and Bermuda before putting in at Norfolk, Virginia, where it first arrived in the United States late last month. CDC officials said at that time that 153 passengers and six crew had been infected by norovirus.



6. Shipping Demand Flatlines

The demand for container shipping is really not going anywhere at the moment. Indicators for growth in the first months of 2016 point to limited overall demand and huge variations from trade to trade. In addition, all numbers are impacted by Chinese New Year, which disrupts most trade figures for the first months of any year. BIMCO’s own data for the United States (US) imports on the east coast shows an increase of 6.5%, a significant rise even above the strong level seen in 2015. The west coast imports of loaded containers are only impressive in comparison with the very poor volumes seen in 2015.



7. Collision Leads to Missing Crew

Seventeen people were missing after a Chinese fishing boat collided with a Maltese cargo ship and sank in the East China Sea on Saturday, state media reported, citing the country’s coastguard fleet. The fishing boat, Lu Rong Yu 58398, had 19 people on board when the incident happened at 3.40 a.m. Beijing time (1940 GMT), the China News Service said, adding that two people had been rescued by passing fishing boats and a search and rescue operation was still underway. China National Radio said that it had hit Maltese cargo ship "Catalina", a 40,485 ton bulk carrier, which has continued sailing.



8. Class Looks at Big Data

Japanese classification society ClassNK has commenced operations at its ShipDC big data centre. It is run by ClassNK subsidiary Ship Data Center Co with the aim of providing a secure platform through which ship-related mass data can be accumulated and provided to end users. Ship Data Center Co president Takashi Nagatome said data is fed to the centre from ships that are classed by ClassNK. He added: “ShipDC has officially begun operations following successful data transfer trials from ship to shore. As of now, voyage data from multiple vessels from Japanese shipping companies is being continuously gathered.



9. New Legal Bills Law Enacted

A new law has recently been passed in the Philippines that is intended to protect seafarers from incurring unfair legal fees. The ANGKLA Seafarer’s Protection Act [Republic Act No. 10706], also known as the Anti-Ambulance Chasing Act, became effective from 16 December 2015. The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) which define the details of the law are expected to be published in the next few months. The Seafarers Protection Act does not have retrospective effect. The act is intended to limit any legal fees to 10% of the compensation or benefit awarded to the seafarer.



10. Tackling Workplace Disease

The International Chamber of Shipping reports that there are currently around 1.2 million seafarers actively serving on vessels in the world merchant fleet. Given the financial exposure that crew claims pose for owners there are concerns over crew illness claims – work-related disease. Looking at the key contractual provisions for work-related illness under the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency Standard Employment Contract (POEA SEC), the challenges posed by contracts which fall silent on definitions of work-related illness and advice to Members on mitigating liability in these types of claim. So what should owners do?




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


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S Jones
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