Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/07/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/07/2016

1. A Heavy Day for Shipping
Today marks either container shipping’s Y2K moment, or a potential supply chain calamity – only time will tell. After months of confusion, obfuscation and frustration July 1 sees the start of new container weighing rules. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and now requires the verified gross mass (VGM) of containers to be documented before they can be loaded on ships. Exactly how these boxes are weighed has been the source of much debate and battles have raged between shippers and carriers on who should be paying for it.
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2. New Enclosed Space Rule
A new regulation aimed at protecting seafarers who enter enclosed spaces, by requiring ships to carry portable atmosphere testing equipment on board, enters into force on July 1, 2016. The new regulation XI-1/7 Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces in SOLAS, requires ships to carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments, capable, as a minimum, of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapors, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, prior to entry into enclosed spaces.
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3. Port State Making Progress
Paris MoU reports that 2015 shows a large decrease in the refusal of access (“bans”) within the region: 11 bans compared to 20 in 2014. The detention percentage has remained stable at 3.33 percent. The number of deficiencies has decreased 10 percent related to 2014. The number of inspections carried out was 17,858, slightly less than 2014 (18,430). Over a three-year period of time, most cases of refusal of access involve ships which have been banned for multiple detentions (45). Five ships have been banned a second time. A significant number (12) were banned for failing to call at an indicated repair yard.
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4. USCG Drug Test Reminder
The US Coast Guard (USCG) has reminded shipowners and operators that they must have a valid random drug test program in place for all ships calling in the US. Failure to comply, the USCG has warned, may result in civil penalties of up to $7,500 per day, per violation. The random chemical testing program the USCG said was designed “to prevent drug misuse as a causative factor in marine casualties”. Random chemical testing programs must be conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements and achieve their intended purpose of deterring, detecting and preventing drug abuse within the maritime industry.
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5. Kidnappings and New Attacks Confirmed
The Samarinda Port authority has confirmed that seven Indonesian crewmembers of the TB Charles boat have been kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants in the Celebes Sea, off the coast of Indonesia’s Tanjung Mangkalihat in East Kalimantan. Six of the vessel’s crew were spared by the kidnappers, and reports have arisen that ASG has already demanded a ransom of USD 5 mn from boat owner PT Rusianto Bersaudara for the release of the hostages. While elsewhere three robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier anchored at Dumai Inner Anchorage, and threatened a duty crewman.
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6. On a Mission for 160 Years
The Mission to Seafarers is marking its 160th anniversary. The charity plans to celebrate 160 years of caring for seafarers around the world with a special Sea Sunday Evensong Service held in conjunction with Chelmsford Cathedral in Essex. Sea Sunday is held annually. Mission supporters all over the world come together to celebrate and remember the lives of those who work at sea. Since 1856 the Mission has faithfully served the men and women of the merchant fleet who have dedicated their lives to seafaring; crews who have in turn served their countries during war and through peacetime.
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7. Nigerian Navy New Surveillance System
The Nigerian Navy has inaugurated its Falcon Eye maritime surveillance system in a ceremony at Naval Headquarters in Abuja. The ceremony took place last week, with Nigerian Navy Chief Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas saying the system "reduces the cost of patrols, it gives you an accurate way of doing things. Hitherto you would have ships patrolling without a focus, [now] you can sit back here and identify vessels of interest and investigate them and operations become more efficient". The Falcon Eye is a mass surveillance system designed in Israeli by Asia Global Technology but manufactured by United Arab Emirates (UAE).
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8. Green Port Initiatives Expanded
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Thursday announced that, under its Maritime Singapore Green Initiative (MSGI), the organisation has extended incentives of its Green Ship Programme (GSP) to include ships using liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkers, effective July 1, 2016. MPA says it has also tightened the sulfur oxide limit of its Green Port Programme (GPP) to 0.5 percent. In addition, GPP, which offers a flat concession rate of 25 percent to vessels using low sulfur fuel, will be extended to ships using LNG bunkers at the port.
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9. Demolition Rate Picks Up
Demolition of containerships almost tripled in the first five months of 2016 in comparison to the same period of 2015. This illustrates the efforts carried out by shipowners to counter the fundamental imbalance between supply and demand under poor container shipping market conditions. However, more needs to be done to lift the charter market. The demolition of capacity in the panamax segment (3-5,999 TEUs), since the start of January 2016 till the year to date, has been especially significant. A total of 150,863 TEUs of panamax ships have been demolished so far in 2016.
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10. Providing Comfort to Seafarers
Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has supported crew of a bulk carrier following the death of their colleague on board. The crew of the "MV Moonray" were left distressed and saddened when a 26 year-old Filipino crew member died after an accident on board in late May. A service has been held on board the ship, which docked at Mombasa Port, Kenya in late June. AoS Mombasa port chaplain George Sunguh has been on board providing pastoral and emotional support to the crew. He arranged for a priest to say Mass on board. The crew also requested that the ship be blessed.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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