Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/10/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/10/2016

1. Yemeni Militia Destroys Ship
Arab coalition forces have launched operations against militia boats of Yemen’s Houthi group that struck a civilian logistics ship on a humanitarian voyage in a strategic Red Sea shipping lane, the Saudi-led alliance said. The vessel, an Australian-built high-speed logistics catamaran under lease to the United Arab Emirates military, was attacked by Houthi fighters near the Bab al-Mandab strait off Yemen’s southern coast on Saturday. The coalition rescued its civilian passengers. No crew were hurt. The U.S. State Department condemned the attack, called on the Houthi group to stop attacks against vessels.
2. Seafarer Shortage Strangulation
Britain’s flagging power as a seafaring nation could put the country’s economic security at risk, according to maritime union Nautilus. The body is warning that decades of decline in the number of British-registered vessels means the UK’s Merchant Navy is becoming “so depleted that our economy could be held to ransom” by other nations with stronger shipping industries. Britain depends on the shipping industry for almost all of its goods exports and imports and Nautilus claims that without government action to protect the industry, it could become a danger to the UK’s prosperity.
3. Human Element Still Key
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has highlighted the human element as a consistent factor in accidents. The procedures and safe working systems that lie at the core of safety management systems are there for a reason, says the MAIB. “Investigations into marine accidents consistently identify cases where mariners chose to ignore the instructions and guidance contained in companies’ safety management systems. The root cause for this is often complex, but a disconnect between the safety culture that shore-based managers believe…is in place within their fleet and what is really happening on board.”
4. Training Needed for Safety
Braemar (incorporating The Salvage Association) (Braemar SA) has called for more training to be given in order to make vessel casualties manageable in the event of high-risk incidents. Addressing delegates at the annual International Shipowning and Shipmanagement Summit in Singapore, Graeme Temple, Far East Regional Director for Braemar SA said: “Training is essential to managing incidents effectively and looking at how processes can be improved.  Often we see casualties needlessly occurring because of human error, this can be managed, if not avoided, by providing the appropriate training before such events occur".
5. US Policy Causes Pain
The policy of U.S. immigration officials, barring Hanjin crews from coming ashore, is merely the most overt part of the pain being experienced by these mariners –and others, all over the globe. A prolonged downturn in many seagoing trades – offshore support vessels for energy, the bulk trades and container shipping, just to name a few – is still ongoing. The long term impact of low freight rates is cumulatively taking its toll; here and globally. For those crews, the pain of unemployment is punishment enough. For those still employed at sea on marginally profitable or breakeven vessels, the fallout is less evident but still painful.
6. Relying on Big Data
BigOceanData and Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, have entered into a two-year agreement whereby BigOceanData will deliver vessel tracking services to Maersk Line. The initial system went live on 1 August 2016 and is already in use in operation centres around the world on both desktop and mobile devices. BigOceanData is now working with Maersk Line to optimise the vessel tracking system for their in-house systems. BigOceanData is initially being used to track Maersk Line’s fleet, a total of approximately 630 owned and chartered vessels, using fused satellite and terrestrial data feeds.
7. Massive Day of Migrant Rescues
Around 6,055 migrants were rescued on Monday as they tried to reach Europe on 40 boats, one of the highest numbers in a single day, Italy’s coast guard said. A statement said at least nine migrants had died and a pregnant woman and a child had been taken by helicopter to a hospital on the Italian island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and the Libyan coast. One coast guard ship rescued about 725 migrants on a single rubber boat, one of some 20 rescue operations during the day. About 10 ships from the coast guard, the navy and humanitarian organizations were involved in the rescues.
8. Getting Twitchy on Choke Points
The world is closely watching several contentious flash points that have potential to ignite. The behaviour and rhetoric of China and Russia regarding vital shipping lanes in international waters have been alarming. Disputed sovereignty claims and efforts to enforce them have the maritime world on edge. China’s nine-dash line claims about owning the entire East and South China Sea have created a dilemma for themselves and the other nations in the region. Back to Asia, there is a lot at stake – a huge volume of world trade passes through the South China Sea and East China Sea – uncertainty is frightening for many.
9. Superyacht Rescued by Cruise Ship
A multi-million dollar superyacht sent an SOS off the NSW coast of Australia, and cruise ships raced to the area to assist the stricken crew. Two cruise ships had to divert from their voyages and a rescue plane scrambled from Brisbane after the 37m "Masteka 2" lost steering and started taking on water east of Port Macquarie. A fast-boat launched from the Carnival Spirit retrieved two female crew members from the stricken vessel, but four crew members on board when the drama unfolded elected to stay aboard. It is understood the Masteka 2 was on a transit voyage with no paying passengers when it struck trouble.

10. Kawasaki Shares Plunge
Shares of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. plunged the most in eight years after the company cut its full-year profit forecast by more than half and said it was reviewing whether to continue its shipbuilding business. The stock fell 11 percent to close at 276 yen in Tokyo on Monday, the biggest drop since October 2008. It was the worst performer on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, which rose 0.9 percent. Kawasaki Heavy joins companies including Singapore’s Keppel Corp. whose ship and offshore-structure operations have fallen victim to a plunge in oil prices in the past two years amid global economic weakness and reduced spending.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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