Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/06/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/06/2016

1. Ships Getting Too Big
In December, the quarter-mile-long Benjamin Franklin became the largest cargo ship ever to dock at a U.S. port. Five more mega-vessels were supposed to follow, creating a trans-Pacific shipping juggernaut by the end of May. But, according to a new report, thanks to a massive miscalculation on the part of the fleet’s owner — there’s not enough demand for all that shipping — the Benjamin Franklin made its last U.S. port visit a few weeks ago. It was an ignominious end to an overly ambitious plan. But it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Shipping is struggling through its worst recession in half a century, and giant ships don’t help.
2. Sewol Salvage Delayed
High waves have forced salvage crews to delay the operation to lift the sunken Sewol ferry in South Korea. The lifting of vessel kicked off Sunday afternoon but by Monday high waves and wind forced the suspension of operations before lifting beams to be used to raise the vessel could be inserted into place. According to the South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, salvors were able to lift the bow section from the seabed by a few meters but bobbing from the waves caused the cables to cut into the wreck, forcing the operation to be suspended. Lifting operations could be postponed by as many as 10 days.
3. IMO Praises Legal Committee
IMO Secretary General praised the legal committee, "You had a number of important issues on your agenda this week, and you should feel satisfied with the progress made on all of them". The key areas they addressed were facilitation of the entry into force and harmonized interpretation of the HNS Protocol, 2010; work on the fair treatment of seafarers; and advice and guidance on issues brought to the Legal Committee in connection with the implementation of IMO instruments, in particular the 1992 CLC and 2010 HNS Convention;
4. MLC Template For All Workers
New international standards to protect those working in global supply chains, were made at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva on June 10. The ILO acts to protect countless workers worldwide said the ITF general secretary Steve Cotton. “Currently many of them are defenseless, victimized and exploited, as the shocking recent investigations into slavery in the fisheries sector have shown. We need accountability and governance, particularly from the  ‘economic employer’, the lead firm in the supply chain," Cotton added. The new global standards will look to implement lessons from the MLC.
5. Bribery Allegations in Singapore
Prominent Singapore companies Keppel and Sembcorp Marine are accused in US court documents of paying specific amounts in the Petrobras corruption scandal, according to Singapore newspaper The Straits Times. Both companies had previously denied paying any bribes in the notorious scheme whereby contractor firms made graft payments to get inflated contracts for business with Petrobras, Brazil’s state oil firm. The court documents include allegations by former Petrobras executive Pedro Jose Barusco Filho that agents for Keppel and Sembcorp forked over $9.5m to Petrobras to procure 12 contracts to build drillships.

6. Filipino Activists Face Off
A group of activists with Philippine advocacy groups Kalayaan Atin Ito and Sea Access for International Law (SAIL) took a 90 foot wooden fishing boat to waters near disputed Scarborough Shoal, where they were confronted by Chinese coast guard vessels and small-boat teams. Scarborough Shoal has been a long-standing flash point for Philippine and Chinese interests in the South China Sea. Unlike many other small islands and atolls in the Spratly chain, Scarborough has not yet been backfilled and built up, but it has been occupied by the Chinese since 2012, when the Philippines conceded a naval confrontation.
7. New President Comes in From Cold
The newly elected President of The Nautical Institute, Captain David (Duke) Snider FNI, has pledged to ensure the mariner’s voice is heard loud and clear within the maritime industry. Speaking at the Institute’s annual general meeting in Aberdeen, Captain Snider said that one of his first roles as President will be to champion the new five-year Strategic Plan. The plan, informed by responses from more than 1,400 members surveyed in a questionnaire, will see a renewed focus on human element projects aimed at building competencies for modern integrated ships.
8. On A Corporate Mission
The Mission to Seafarers has launched a Corporate Partnerships Portfolio with suggestions for how the maritime industry can deliver on corporate social responsibility. The document also describes how the mission, and more widely the shipping community, can provide practical support for seafarers’ welfare projects around the world. The document details key areas that are vital for the operations carried out by the mission, corporate social responsibility, its network of branches, corporate partnership, and the support it receives and employee engagement.

9. Looking to Cruise Model
It’s one month today until giant cruise conglomerate Carnival opens a world-leading training facility, the Ariston Maritime Centre, in the Netherlands. The $100m project will allow 6,500 seafarers to be trained using Transas simulators, and for Frank Coles, the ceo of Transas, this investment by Carnival should be looked at closely by commercial shipping. “We can learn a lot in general maritime from cruise’s commitment to safety and training,” says Coles. Coles is adamant that shipping is finally getting its head around how technology can save the industry money.
10. Psychosocial Risks for Seafarers
Over the past few years, the OCIMF’s Tanker Management and Self-Assessment program, and others, have made recommendations about the psychometric evaluation of seafarers. However, there is still quite strong skepticism among the maritime industry, and there is little research, if any, about the psychosocial risks faced by seafarers, even though they are among the first to be experience occupational stress, burnout and various other psychological problems. The effective management of these risks should be a priority for policymakers, employers and employees.

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