Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/07/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/07/2016

1. Concerns on Crew Kidnaps
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Center (ReCAAP ISC) says it is “concerned” with the spate of incidents involving the abduction of crew while underway in waters off eastern Sabah and southern Philippines which have occurred since March this year. Of the six incidents, five involved tug boats towing barges, and one involved a fishing trawler. Ship masters and crew are strongly encouraged to exercise vigilance, and should there be any suspicious boats in the vicinity, they are to raise the alarm and report to the Philippine Coast Guard.
2. Saving Seafarers from Zika
KVH Industries, Inc. has launched Videotel’s new safety and training video about the Zika virus and it is free to all mariners worldwide. The goal of the program is to increase awareness of the vitally important prevention measures that can keep seafarers and their colleagues and families safe. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a public health emergency earlier this year. Given the global nature of the maritime industry, it is imperative that seafarers take precautions to prevent further spread of the disease. “Zika Virus – Staying Safe” is a 13-minute training video with an accompanying workbook.
3. Owner to Blame for Hijack
Malaysia’s inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Baka has said the most recent Abu Sayyaf tug crew kidnapping off of Sabah was the fault of the tug’s operator, which he alleged had not followed official guidance. He emphasized that he did not mean to blame the victims of the attack, but rather the operator. "I hold them responsible because we have engaged with them and advised them what they should be doing.‎ But they did not heed our calls‎,” he said. Khalid added that he believed there were other operators who were not treating the matter with enough seriousness.
4. Panama Canal Suffers Again
A Chinese container ship has hit a wall of the recently-widened Panama Canal, amid concerns that it has less space for manoeuvres and could be unsafe. It is the third accident of this kind since the multi-million dollar expansion opened a month ago. Workers’ groups say the new locks are too small for safe operations now that the canal can take ships three times larger than before. The Panama Canal authority says it is investigating the incidents. The Xin Fei Zhou, owned by China Shipping Container Lines, suffered a large gash in its hull and is now undergoing repairs. The new locks use tugboats instead of the old locomotives.

5. Benita Salvage Problems
The bulk carrier "Benita", which is grounded off the south of Mauritius, is at risk of sinking as towage of the holed ship proves problematic. Salvors are re-assessing the vessel’s tow-worthiness, after the vessel settled deeper into the water when towage initially commenced from its stern. The attempt was abandoned and the tow line has since been attached to the the vessel’s bow, Five Ocean Salvage said. “Given that the tow is a dead ship and also considering the prevailing sea conditions, it is extremely dangerous for a boarding team to attempt to get onboard, so the process of adjusting the towing arrangement is slow.”
6. COSCO Shark Fin Ban
China’s COSCO Shipping Corporation has announced that it will ban all shark fin shipments, joining a growing number of transport and logistics companies standing up against a brutal trade that kills millions of sharks annually. Wan Min, Director and President of COSCO Shipping, announced that his company will “[…] make sure that no shark fin-related products are carried by our vessels through stricter monitoring and regulation. We also pledge to implement the No Shark Fin carriage policies as other global container lines.” COSCO Shipping’s commitment follows concerns raised by WildAid and other wildlife conservation groups.
7. IMO Talks About Migrants
Migration should be managed so that migrants are not put in the dangerous position of having to be rescued at sea. This was the message of IMO’s Chris Trelawny, Special Advisor on Maritime Security and Facilitation, speaking at the “Maritime Security and Migrant Protection in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea” workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia (26-27 July). Addressing the point that merchant ships are not designed for mass rescue, Mr. Trelawny said that rescues will continue, but safe, legal, alternative pathways to migration must be developed, including safe, organized migration by sea, if necessary.
8. Long Time for Litigation
After 12 years of litigation, a federal district court has decided in favor of the owners of the tanker Athos I on a claim related to the one of the largest tanker spills in the U.S. since the Exxon Valdez.  On the evening of November 26, 2004, the 60,000 dwt tanker "Athos I" struck an uncharted nine ton anchor on the river bed located about a ship’s length off the CITGO Asphalt Refining Company (CARCO) berth at Paulsboro, New Jersey. The single bottom tanker was holed in her Number 7 port ballast tank and Number 7 center cargo tank, resulting in a spill of 265,000 gallons of heavy crude oil.
9. Bulker Amadeus Runs Aground
The navigation through the Parana River, Argentina, was briefly obstructed as a Panama-flagged bulk carrier "Amadeus" ran aground in the area near the Campana Port in the early morning hours of July 26, according to Maritime Agency NABSA. At the time of the incident the 81,700 dwt vessel was heading up the river from Recalada. There were no reports of pollution in the area or injuries to the crewmembers following the grounding. The Panamax bulk carrier, built in 2016 by Japanese Namura shipyard, features a length of 225 meters and a width of 33 meters.
10. ITF Tackling Seafarer HIV
The free app is available for both Android and iOS devices. It provides the basic facts on HIV/AIDS – how it is transmitted, what the symptoms are, how you can prevent being infected and what treatment is available. It also gives examples of workers who have challenged the stigma around the disease, and sets out what international and national rights a HIV-positive worker has.

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


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S Jones
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