Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/08/2016

1. Seafarers Fed Just in Time
Food has been delivered in the nick of time to an abandoned crew onboard the capesize "Five Stars Fujian" (181,400 dwt, built 2009), who were on the verge of running out of supplies while at anchor at Australia’s Port of Gladstone. On Monday, the Gladstone branch of the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) dispatched a helicopter (pictured) to deliver three days’ worth of food to the 20 Chinese seafarers onboard the capesize. Previously the MTS in Australia had organised and paid for supplies to be delivered to the ship, but could not find a transport provider to carry the goods to the vessel by sea.
2. Tanker Hijacked off Indonesia
An oil tanker carrying 900,000 liters of diesel has been hijacked and taken into Indonesian waters, Malaysian maritime authorities said on Tuesday. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said in a statement that the ship, Vier Harmoni, has been located in the waters off Batam, Indonesia. The MMEA said they have yet to confirm the identity of the hijackers. The ship, which sailed from the Tanjung Pelepas port in Malaysia on Monday, was carrying diesel with an estimated value of $392,795.
3. Legal System is Lashed
The UK P&I Club has hit out at the Philippine legal system’s failure to look after its seafarers. In a release, Tony Nicholson, senior claims director at the insurance firm, commented: “Filipino seafarers make an immense contribution to the world’s ocean-going merchant shipping fleet and their home country. Unfortunately this is somewhat overshadowed by continuing frustrations within the Philippine legal system.” Nicholson outlined how “ambulance-chasing” lawyers are succeeding with what he called “spurious” claims against employers the new Seafarers’ Protection Act is designed to change this.
4. Doing It The NORTH Way
North P&I Club will provide full support to its shipowner members and the shipping industry to help deal with the challenges and opportunities faced during the coming years, says chairman Pratap Shirke. ‘During what has been another difficult year for the shipping industry, North has continued to provide its Members with high levels of service whilst ensuring it remains a financially solid Club that is well positioned to meet future challenges,’ says Shirke. He says North’s ‘excellent set of results’ which saw free reserves increase by US$90 million to US$428 million, means the Club is well-placed for an uncertain trading environment.
5. Moving Closer to Unmanned
Shipping is moving closer to adopting unmanned ships, and catching up with other maritime industries on autonomous vessels. As can be read in the upcoming August/September issue of Marine Electronics & Communications, commercial shipping is considering the technical application of remote control of ships. There remains a significant degree of scepticism about the viability of autonomous ships. But there are several levels of autonomy to aim for and some potential commercial applications – especially for repetitive operations and where there is little risk of pollution.
6. Mysterious Motor Boat Concerns
The presence of high powered boats in waters off Johor has raised eyebrows at the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). Registered overseas, these are known as “phantom boats” and are believed to be used by pirates in search of target vessels along the trade routes. MMEA southern region First Admiral Adon Shalan said these boats have been spotted in the eastern part of Johor waters, near Penggerang, lately. “For the past several weeks, our men patrolling these waters have noticed these small boats, which we believe might be collecting information on the location of trading vessels they want to rob".
7. Panama Set for Record Year
The Panama Canal expects to handle 17% more tonnage in fiscal year 2017 — the first full year of operations at the expanded waterway — compared with last fiscal year’s record high of 340.8 million Panama Canal tons, Panama Canal Administrator and CEO Jorge L. Quijano said Monday. “In the 50 days since inaugurating the canal expansion, we’ve received 289 reservations and transited 104 Neopanamax vessels, and these numbers continue to grow daily,” Quijano said. The canal celebrated 102 years of operations Monday, one day after transiting the 100th vessel, the "Hanjin Xiamen" — through the expanded locks.
8. Hijacked Skipper Amends Lawsuit
A captain whose Chevron supply ship was attacked by pirates can amend his lawsuit claiming that he was given an unseaworthy vessel, the Fifth Circuit ruled. Wren Thomas was captain of the "C-Retriever", a supply ship for Chevron’s operations off the coast of Nigeria. Thomas’ primary employer was Edison Chouest Offshore LLC. Thomas claimed that he warned Chevron and Edison that his ship’s age and lack of speed made it vulnerable to a pirate attack. He said he began to receive threats over his ship’s radio in 2013, but Edison did not act on his request to be transferred.
9. Vessel Ground on Breakwater
The general cargo ship "Tokay Akar" grounded in breakwater rocks at Samsun Fishery Port, Turkey. The vessel was under ballast at Samsun anchorage, but strong winds and storm in vicinity pushed her to the rocks and dragged anchor. The local fishermen saw the drifting vessel and informed the local authorities, but the bad weather hampered the salvage operation and the general cargo ship hardly stuck into the rocks. The vessel suffered underwater damages and breaches, which caused water ingress. Some of the ballast tanks were flooded, but there is no oil leak and water pollution. The vessel remain stable.
10. Ship Loses Steering
The general cargo ship "Volodimyr Sharkov" suffered steering gear failure in Bosphorus Strait. The vessel was entering the strait from Marmara sea en route to Port of Kherson in Ukraine, but one of the rudder pumps blocked and the ship lost steering. The incident was reported to local authorities and at the scene of the troubled vessel was dispatched harbor tug, which towed her to the Yenikapi anchorage for repairs and further inspection. The local authorities orders special survey for the general cargo ship Volodimyr Sharkov, before return in operations and being allowed to pass through the Bosphorus Strait.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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