Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/07/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/07/2016

1. US Calls for China Agreement
The US has called on China and other countries in the South China Sea to renew diplomatic efforts to solve their territorial disputes after a UN tribunal ruled there is “no legal basis” for China’s expansive claims in the area. The Obama administration, which had framed the ruling as a test of China’s support for international law, said on Tuesday that the decision could provide the basis for renewed international negotiations between China and the other South China Sea claimants, which include Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. “It does create an important diplomatic opportunity,” said a senior US official.
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2. Where Now Post BREXIT
While the nature of the United Kingdom’s future trading relationship with the European Union (“EU”) will take some time to become clear, it is important to realise that in the immediate aftermath of the result of the UK’s recent EU referendum, nothing has changed in terms of the trading relationship and the movement of people and goods between the EU and the UK and the laws which apply to your maritime business and contractual arrangements. As the political machinations play out, it is clear that Article 50 will not be invoked until a new Prime Minister is in place, which will not be until at least September.
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3. 1000 Migrants Saved
Nearly 1,000 migrants were saved in six separate rescue operations in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, while four were found dead below the deck of their boat, Italy’s coast guard said. The four dead had suffocated, according to the Malta-based humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), whose Topaz Responder rescue ship recovered the bodies and 400 survivors. Italy has long been on the front line of seaborne migration from Africa to Europe, and is now the main point of entry after the European Union struck a deal with Turkey to stem flows to Greece amid Europe’s worst migration crisis since WW2.
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4. Indonesia Warns On Ransoms
Indonesia’s vice president has underlined the danger of paying ransoms to kidnappers, telling journalists Tuesday that those who enter such negotiations put others in jeopardy. "If it [piracy] is tolerated, it will cause the next piracy," Jusuf Kalla was quoted as saying, "But for the sake of the salvation of their employees, businessmen are negotiating. As a result of this [hostage situations are reoccurring]." On Sunday, Malaysian police revealed that five gunmen in “military appearance” had seized three Indonesians from a Malaysian-registered fishing trawler, but released four other crew, the fourth recent kidnapping.
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5. Bigger Could be Better
The government is considering providing bigger barges for coal exports to the Philippines in order to prevent further incidents of piracy in the regional waters. Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said on Tuesday that the rather small size of Indonesian-flagged tugboats traveling across the border could be one reason why they often became victims of hijackings by militant groups. “The vessels that we use to deliver coal are rather small and susceptible to being hijacked. If we used bigger barges it would be harder [for other groups to take them over],” Luhut told journalists.
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6. No Blast to Free Ship
Authorities in Mauritius indicated that they do not favour an earlier plan to blast free the grounded bulker Benita, which is hard aground on rocks off a lagoon at Le Bouchon. A basalt rock outcropping has penetrated her hull, preventing salvage tugs from pulling her back off the rocks, and salvors with Five Oceans and DEMEX International had examined the possibility of demolishing the protruding rock section with explosives. DEMEX made a series of tests at a local basalt quarry to determine the effectiveness of blasting, but authorities were not convinced that this would be effective.
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7. Ship Fire Fears
Ship fires pose a threat to maritime safety in Europe with the highest risk on roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) passenger ships because a single ship may carry more than 1000 people and tens of millions use this transport. This is the main conclusion drawn from a risk assessment on ship fires produced by the Finnish Border Guard and Finnish Transport Safety Agency and produced for use in the Baltic Sea Maritime Incident Response Group (Baltic Sea MIRG) project. The report concluded that it is very difficult to prevent ship fires and minimising their consequences also poses great challenges. 
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8. Drug Skipper Found Guilty
The Turkish captain and second-in-command of a ship carrying a record £512m ($670m) worth of cocaine were convicted yesterday in a Glasgow court of an international drug smuggling operation. Some 3.2 tonnes of the drug was found in a ballast tank in the bows of the Hamal OSV after it was stopped 160 km off Aberdeen. The OSV was detained by the Royal Navy following a tip off from French authorities. Other crewmembers were released while the two men convicted face life long jail sentences. The OSV is run by Italy’s Augusta Offshore.
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9. Hanjin Wrestle with Dilemma
Troubled Hanjin Shipping is looking to extend its deadlines to meet all obligations to receive debt relief from creditors by another month. Sources say senior management at the Korean line feel it is impossible to meet the August 4 deadline set by creditors to get part of its restructuring fixed, including its negotiations with tonnage providers to get charter fees cut. The line is keen to push the deadline back to September. Hanjin Shipping officials declined to confirm the story saying, “I am afraid to tell you that nothing has been decided as of now and it shall be thoroughly discussed with [lead creditor Korea Development Bank]".
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10. Robot Cruise Crew
Costa Cruises has installed five latest generation robots on board its flagship vessel, Costa Diadema. Pepper is claimed to be the first robot in the world able to recognize main human emotions and proactively interact with the surrounding environment. Starting from July 12, five Pepper robots will be operative on all seven-day cruises Costa Diadema makes in the Western Mediterranean. Their task will be to entertain guests. Pepper can dance with guests, involve them in games or propose that they take souvenir selfies.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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