Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/03/2017
1. Joint Asian Piracy Patrols
The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia will launch joint patrols in piracy-plagued waters, Manila’s defence secretary said on Thursday (March 9), after a wave of attacks that saw Islamic militants kidnapping and murdering foreigners. The Abu Sayyaf, a kidnap-for-ransom network that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, has been kidnapping sailors on fishing vessels and cargo barges including an elderly German whom it beheaded last month after ransom demands were not met.
2. Panic Over Ghost Ships
The Daily Mail has been in a flap about the fact that, "Hundreds of ‘ghost ships’ turn off their tracking devices" and sail suspiciously close to terror zones before entering European waters – including dozens who ended up off the British coast, it was revealed today. Large vessels entering Europe routinely turn off their GPS tracking to ‘disappear’ from monitoring systems after making dubious stops close to terrorist hotspots. It is fuelling concerns they are smuggling people and weapons to the continent.
3. Ferry Stranded by Breath Tests
Passengers were left stranded on an island after an early-morning ferry was suddenly removed from service because several crew members had allegedly failed breath tests. Paul Graham was among those waiting to board the 7am Caledonian MacBrayne vessel from Port Ellen, Islay, to Kennacraig on Tuesday when the sailing was cancelled. Mr Graham, a member of Islay and Jura Marketing group, from Bruichladdich, Islay, said: “At 6.35am I noticed a chap in a white shirt wander into the office and come out with a bag and quickly realised it was a breathalyser that was going on to the vessel.”
4. Largest Ship Announced
Royal Caribbean announced plans to build the largest cruise ship in the world on Wednesday. The cruise line’s next ship, Symphony of the Seas, is expected to be the largest in the world when it premieres next year. In a phone call with journalists, Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley said that the new ship was the “latest, greatest, newest, most beautiful baby that’s coming soon,” according to Skift. On their website, Royal Caribbean also referred to the ship as a “mic drop.”
5. Proud New Ship Launch
The first of a fleet of five warships being built on the Clyde has been formally named "HMS Forth". A bottle of Deanston 12-year-old malt was broken over the bow of the 90-metre Offshore Patrol Vessel in a ceremony at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun yard. The ship is expected to go into service next year and will be used for counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling and defence. The MoD said work on HMS Forth and her sister ships was sustaining 800 Scottish jobs.
6. Fighting Ship Transfers
Campaigners fighting against planned ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth have handed a petition with more than 100,000 names to Highland Council. Port of Cromarty Firth has proposed the transfers of oil at sea. It has said the work could be done safely and without risk to the environment. In January, it withdrew an application for a licence for the operations and began preparations on a resubmission. Campaigners oppose the planned transfers because of concerns that the operations would harm the environment.
7. Hot Shipmangement Market
Chinese leasing houses are becoming increasingly important to shipmanagement companies, according to Anglo-Eastern Univan Group executive chairman Peter Cremers. Mr Cremers said the major lessors in China have been making significant headway in the international shipping arena, hence proving a “niche for people like us”. He revealed that the Hong Kong-based ship manager currently manages three of the four valemaxes owned by ICBC Financial Leasing and operated by Hong Kong Ming Wah Shipping, a unit of China Merchant Energy Shipping.
8. Cruise Murder Mystery
Italian police continue to search for the body of a Chinese woman who went missing from a luxury Mediterranean cruise in February, as her husband Daniel Belling, 45, is detained in Rome, accused of her murder. After searching the cabin that the couple occupied with their two children on cruise ship MSC Magnifica, the authorities found that the only missing item belonging to 36-year-old Xing Lei Li (who went by the Western name Angie) is her large, blue and orange suitcase. All her other personal belongings were found in the cabin, as well as her red coat, shoes and gowns.
9. GoG Ship Attack
A bulk carrier controlled by Paris Dragnis’s Goldenport was attacked in the Gulf of Guinea yesterday morning. The Sofia was en route from Lagos to Libreville when the incident happened in the Bayelsa region, an increasingly common place for ship attacks to take place. The bulker was attacked by seven armed men who fired shots from a skiff. The Greek ship increased speed and commenced evasive manouvers. A number of the crew headed to the ship’s citadel. After around 40 minutes the pursuing assailants gave up. No crew were injured although the ship did suffer some bullet damage and is now at anchorage in Nigeria.
10. Union Welcomes Budget
Nautilus International has welcomed the Budget announcement of plans to assist the North Sea oil and gas industry – but is calling on the government to ensure the pledged support is far-reaching and helps British shipping and seafarers in equal measure. Mark Dickinson, General Secretary of Nautilus,said: "The downturn in the offshore energy sector has hit British seafarers really hard, with hundreds of job losses and many more being forced to accept radical cuts in their pay and conditions.
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