Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/04/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/04/2017

1. Hijackers Thwarted by Citadel
The brief hijacking of a Lebanese-registered ship has drawn attention to the resurgence of piracy off the coast of Somalia, after five years of inactivity. Pirates boarded the "OS 35", a cargo ship, Saturday evening but then abandoned it Sunday before naval forces rescued the ship, Mohamed Abdirahman, former director of Puntland’s marine forces, told The Associated Press. The pirates were unable to take the crew hostage because they locked themselves in a citadel, said Abdirahman. No pirates were arrested and international naval forces are now escorting the ship, he said. The ship was hijacked off the coast of Yemen near Socotra.
2. Grounded Mega Ship
The UASC mega container ship "Umm Salal" has been refloated and is en-route to Khorfakkan Container Terminal after it ran aground in the Malacca Strait two nautical miles off Port Klang in Malaysia. The incident occurred shortly after the boxship left the Malaysian port in the early afternoon en route to Khor Fakkan in the UAE. The vessel immediately amended its AIS status to ‘aground’ according to data from MarineTraffic.ocm, which alerted ships in the area to stay clear.

3. Maersk Deal Green Lit
World No. 1 shipping company Maersk Line is set to win EU antitrust approval for its acquisition of Hamburg Sud after agreeing to pull the German company out from some trade routes, a person familiar with the matter said. Maersk, part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, announced the bid last December, part of a wave of mergers in an industry struggling with a glut of ships and slowing global trade which has forced at least one shipping line out of business. The concessions, which Maersk submitted on March 20, were made to address the European Commission’s concerns about the competitive impact of the deal.

4. Questions About Polaris Fleet
A Korean seafarers union has questioned whether Polaris Shipping’s fleet is fit for purpose and suggested tankers that have been converted into bulkers are dangerous. In the wake of last Friday’s disappearance – and presumed sinking – of the Stellar Daisy VLOC, the Federation of Korean Seafarer’s Unions (FKSU) has issued a statement blasting the owner, Polaris, as well as urging the Korean government to take steps to ensure the disaster does not happen again. Search and rescue teams continue to scour the South Atlantic off Uruguay in a vain attempt to find the missing 1993-built converted bulker and 22 missing crew.

5. Rising Tide of Casualties
IUMI has issued a new report on the rising frequency of major vessel casualties – a troubling development, and a challenging problem for insurers.  IUMI says that major vessel casualties occurred more frequently in 2016, the second year in a row after more than a decade of decline. Total losses due to fire and explosion have remained largely static, but claims related to groundings and machinery damage are increasing significantly. IUMI believes falling asset prices could be a factor in machinery-related constructive total losses, as the cost of repairs may now be more likely to exceed the value of the ship. 
6. Filipino Crew Arrested
Norwegian police have arrested 14 Philippine crewmembers of the expedition cruise ship "Nordstjernen" on suspicion of violations of Norway’s Immigration Act.  The 1956-built Nordstjernen ("North Star") was originally owned by Hurtigruten, but the well-known operator sold her to Bergen-based Vestland Marine in 2012. Hurtigruten occasionally leases the vessel back for its own voyages, and the foreign nationals were employed on a Hurtigruten trip. Vestland Marine’s owner, Jarle Rasmussen, said the arrests were a misunderstanding over the requirements for work and residence permits.
7. Pleading Letter from Crew
The U.K.-based charity Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) has published a copy of a desperate letter for help from the remaining Indian seafarers on the Hong Kong flagged "MV Liberty Prrudencia" abandoned in China by the owner Paramount Liberty Shipping. The letter was sent to the charity as well as several other welfare organizations, including the ITF. The crew of the vessel, stranded on board since November last year, were forced to agree to sign-off the vessel in March, but with only one month’s wages and no firm assurance of more. Wage amounts owed range from $34,799 to $743 and, in total, amount to $148,465.25.
8. Call for Swift Investigation
Intercargo has called for a quick and thorough investigation of the causes of the sinking of the VLOC Stellar Daisy that has left 22 seafarers missing. The 1993-built, 266,000 dwt Stellar Daisy sank in the South Atlantic last weekend leaving just two survivors and 22 crew missing. The cause of the accident remains unknown although there have been reports that the vessel’s hull cracked and it split in two before sinking. In a statement Intercargo stressed the timely submission of the casualty report to IMO to identify the causes of the accident and allow corrective actions.
9. New Tanker Management Assessment
The third edition of the Tanker Management and Self Assessment – A Best Practice Guide (TMSA 3) will be available from Monday 10th April. According to OCIMF’s newsletter, the new elements include new best practice guidance to complement the KPIs, streamlining and merging of elements to improve consistency and make conducting the self assessment easier. Also the removal of the option to mark KPIs as not applicable. It covers updated industry legislative requirements, including the Manila Amendments to the MLC, the Polar Code and the Ballast Water Management Convention, and maritime security.
10. Making an Emergency A Crisis
When the giant 266,000 dwt "Stellar Daisy" bulker disappeared in the South Atlantic, likely sunk the owners seemingly were caught like rabbits in headlights. They did not communicate, so they suspect the worst.  When crises hit, Koreans have a habit of turning into their shells – a trait common across East Asia. The problem is that in the 21st century this stonewalling of the media in the face of a snowballing tragedy actually only adds fuel to the fire. This week’s handling of the Stellar Daisy tragedy by its owner Polaris Shipping in fact could go down as a textbook case of how not to handle crisis communications.

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


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S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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