Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/08/2016

1. British Flag Hijack Averted
The Nigerian navy has foiled a pirate attack on a British-flagged merchant vessel off the coast of the oil-rich west African country, a hotbed of piracy and militancy, a spokesman has said. Commodore Christian Ezekobe said in a statement on Wednesday the navy deployed a warship after receiving a distress call that pirates were about to hijack the "MT Vectis Osprey" 20 nautical miles off Bonny in southern Rivers state. “NNS Nwamba engaged the attackers on approaching the vessel which made them abandon their mission due to superior fire power,” he said.
2. Owners Call for Abandonment Action
The Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) on Thursday called on the city’s authorities to provide assistance to the crew of a Hong Kong-flagged coal ship off the east coast of Australia that is running out of food and fuel. The HKSOA said in a statement that the ship was under detention by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), off the port of Gladstone, for breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention relating to lack of provisions and unpaid wages. "The Hong Kong Shipowners Association…is extremely concerned about the welfare of the seafarers on the ship" they are urging the Hong Kong Government to assist.

3. Nigerians Claim Crew Collusion
The Nigerian Navy said in thwarting a pirate attack on the "Vectis Osprey" off of Bonny Terminal that an investigation would focus on her crew, citing a “trend of involvement of crew members in attacks on their own vessels.” A spokesperson implied that the attack may have been carried out with the cooperation of crewmembers. "Investigation has also commenced . . .Additionally, ship owners are hereby advised to profile their crew before embarking them onboard to avoid situations in which some disgruntled crew members stage-manage attacks on their own vessels.”
4. Vigilance Needed in Malacca
According to PGI’s Risk Portal, there were at least 81 incidents of piracy or attempted piracy in or around the Singapore and Malacca Straits between April 2015 and April 2016. The majority of these incidents have occurred on the western approach to the narrow waterway, indicative of the heightened risk of piracy in surrounding waters. The actual number of incidents is likely higher, given that many are thought to go unreported. The high-level of piracy in surrounding waters presents security considerations for travel to and from Singapore’s port. All vessel should retain a high state of security awareness in these waters.
5. Focus on Flag Role
The "Five Stars Fujian" furore has demonstrated how vulnerable seafarers are in the face of some disgraceful shipowners. Thankfully the latest amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which will come into force in January 2017 means that not only employment agencies but also shipowners are obliged to indemnify crew for unpaid wages. Owners will need to buy insurance that ensures seafarers can recover delayed wages before being repatriated home in the event of an employer’s financial default. Others think the emphasis should also be on the ship registry, which can hardly disappear — unlike a shipping firm.
6. Indian Ocean Commission Speaks
The newly appointed Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) has said security will be his priority during his four-year mandate. Hamada Madi Boléro made the statement after meeting with Seychelles’ President James Michel at State House in Victoria, the country’s capital. “My mandate is going to be about security: food security, security of the persons and their assets, fighting against terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy as well as sanitary safety,” said Boléro. The new Secretary General said once there is security in all its forms, the member states will then be able to talk about developing the region.

7. Seafarers Should Update STCW
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is urging seafarers with international qualifications to check the validity of their STCW certificates. This is in recognition that many qualifications are set to expire on December 31, 2016, including previously perpetual certificates. In line with amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 (STCW), for certificates to be valid past December 31 seafarers are required to demonstrate continued competencies for a range of certificates.
8. Seafarers Stuck in Canada
Fourteen seafarers are stuck onboard a bulk carrier in Canada while they await the settlement of a dispute between the vessel’s old and new owners. The open-hatch handysize "Ardita" (5,000 dwt, built 2007) was sold by Italy’s Armamento Setramar to McKeil Marine of Canada, but closure of the deal was blocked by Italian banks and the vessel was arrested in Hamilton, Canada, according to local reports. McKeil said around $2m is owed in bills, mostly to his company, but also to a shipping repair company in Hamilton. The 14-man crew is still getting paid by Setramar and are in reasonably good spirits.
9. Slashing Offshore Jobs
Hundreds of British maritime jobs could be at risk as part of plans by shipping giant Maersk to cut costs in the face of sluggish global demand. Maersk Supply Service, the shipping giant’s division servicing the oil and gas sector, announced on Thursday it would cut 20 vessels from its fleet of 56 over the next 18 months, resulting in 400 job losses. About 200 British workers hold offshore jobs with Maersk Supply Service, according to a firm representative. The company said cuts were necessary amid limited trading opportunities and poor global demand for offshore supply ships.
10. Suezmax Head Through Panama
The first Suezmax crude oil tanker that was slated to go through the newly expanded Panama Canal began its transit on Thursday, a public relations official told Reuters. The 2016-built "Aegean Unity", a Greece-flagged Suezmax vessel coming from the U.S. West Coast, entered the Canal Thursday morning, according to Reuters’ vessel tracking data. Suezmax-sized vessels, which can carry some 1 million barrels of oil, were unable to pass through the canal prior its expansion. The new canal may help open new trade routes for oil.

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


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