Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/03/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/03/2017

1. Sewol Raises Hits Snag
South Korean efforts to bring a sunken, 6,800-ton ferry back to land cleared an obstacle after divers cut off a dangling vehicle ramp. Removing the ramp allowed workers to raise the ferry to a height where it can be loaded onto a semi-submersible transport vessel and taken to a port. More than 300 people – most of whom were students on a high school trip – died when the Sewol sank on 16 April 2014, touching off an outpouring of national grief and soul searching about long-ignored public safety and regulatory failures. Public outrage over what was seen as a botched rescue contributed to the recent ousting the president.
2. Five Acres of Coral Ravaged
Indonesian maritime authorities have reached an agreement with insurers on the extent of the damage from the grounding of the Caledonian Sky, a British-owned vessel that struck bottom in Raja Ampat, a group of islands and coral reefs in West Papua. A joint survey team estimated that the Sky destroyed about 13,300 square meters of coral and inflicted "medium damage" on an additional 5,600 square meters – an area totalling to nearly five acres. The damage assessment is much larger than an earlier survey by academic researchers, and the government warned that it could worsen.

3. Drugs Found on Box Ship
Some 453 kilos of drugs was found on board a containership at the Port of Santa Marta, Colombia, the country’s Office of the Attorney General said in a statement. Cocaine hydrochloride, believed to be worth around USD 27 million, was discovered on Hammonia Emden which is owned by German shipping company Hammonia Reederei. According to the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia, the cocaine may belong to Clan de Gulfo, a drug-trafficking paramilitary group. The cocaine was found in 18 bundles hidden on the 2006-built Hammonia Emden and destined for Europe.
4. Crew Abducted by Abu Sayyaf
On Thursday afternoon, two licensed mariners were abducted from the vehicle carrier Super Shuttle Roro 9 in the vicinity of General Santos City, Mindanao. Philippine authorities said that pirates in three speedboats approached the vessel, boarded it, and made off with the captives. The Philippine military suspects the involvement of terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, which has carried out a string of maritime kidnappings over the past year. "Two Filipino crew, the ship’s captain and chief engineer, were taken captive," said AFP Lieutenant-Commander Alvin Dagalea, speaking to local media.
5. Master Didn’t Have Right License
The captain of a container ship belonging to shipping company APL was charged on Friday (March 24) for not having a required licence when the vessel stopped in Hong Kong with nine Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) armoured vehicles on board last November. Pan Xuejun, 39, who appeared at West Kowloon Magistrate Court for the first time, did not enter a plea. The Chinese national told the court in Mandarin that he understood the charge after it was read out to him in Cantonese. Pan was charged with one count of importing strategic commodities without the necessary licence.

6. MRV Reporting Landmark
Capital Ship Management Corp. completed the first accredited assessment of their MRV monitoring plan for the vessel M/T ‘Alkiviadis’. The assessment was performed by the world’s leading provider of professional assurance services, LRQA, which is a member of the Lloyd’s Register group (LR). The assessment was conducted in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/757 (monitoring, reporting and verification of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from shipping activities), also known as MRV Regulation. The MRV Regulation came into force on 1st July 2015 and is a significant feature of the EU commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
7. Ships Can be Art
A mural on a bulk carrier? Why not? Canadian shipping company CSL has chosen one of its bulk carriers as the “canvass” for an original work-of-art. Namely, over the course of three weeks in February-March 2017, four urban Montreal artists worked together to create the mural that celebrates the 150th anniversary of Canada and the 375th of the City of Montreal, and marks a renewal under way at CSL. The company chose CSL St-Laurent to host the tribute.
8. Way Down Deeper and Down
Chinese scientists have broken two world records this year at the ocean’s lowest depth – the Mariana Trench. The trench is about 2,550 kilometers (1,580 miles) long and around 69 kilometers (43 miles) wide. It reaches a maximum-known depth of 10,994 meters (36,070 feet) – which is more than Mount Everest at 8,850 meters. China became the first country to collect the artificial seismic stratigraphy of the Challenger Deep, the deepest section of the trench, measured at a depth of more than 10 kilometers. The stratigraphy is used to study the continental plate movement and geological history.
9. Standard Approach to Medicals
The Standard Club is happy to report that its Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) scheme has now entered its second year. The decision to continue the scheme was based on its successful first year of operation: the scheme examined over 2,000 seafarers in 2016, and the monthly rate of examinations and the number of members using the scheme continue to grow. The scheme has distributed health advice to many seafarers with treatable conditions ensuring that these conditions do not worsen and result in a claim. The scheme also identified seafarers who were chronically ill and thus unfit for sea service.

10. Virgin Voyages Cuts Steel
Virgin Voyages has announced a steel cutting ceremony for its fuel-efficient first cruise ship on Wednesday at Fincantieri – Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A. (Fincantieri) shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The vessel comes under a €2 billion ($2.08 billion) order for three cruise ships, all of which are set to feature energy recovery to reduce overall environmental impact. "These ships will stand out for original design and craftsmanship," Fincantieri has previously said. "They will include some highly innovative ideas and design solutions, notably for energy recovery, reducing the overall environmental impact."

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