Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/05/2017

1. Grisly Sewol Find
On Wednesday morning, a search team recovered two fragments of what is believed to be human bone from within the wreck of the ferry "Sewol". According to South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the team found the remains during a search of passenger cabins towards the stern on the fourth deck – an area where students had been berthed on the Sewol’s final voyage. A ministry official told media that the National Forensic Service examined the remains on site, and they are "presumed to be from humans." The bones have been sent for DNA analysis to confirm their origin, a process that may take up to a month to complete.
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2. Deadly Cylinder Warnings
Cruise ships across the world are being warned of the deadly risk posed by corroded nitrogen cylinders used for launching lifeboats after a worker was killed in New Zealand. A Filipino engine room fitter died when a cylinder exploded on board the "Emerald Princess", which was berthed in Dunedin’s Port Chalmers, on February 9. An expert metallurgist says the catastrophic failure occurred as a result of overload caused by corrosion thinning. The New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission released an interim report into the tragedy making a number of recommendations to address safety issues they considered put crew and passengers’ lives at risk wherever nitrogen cylinders were stored in a harsh marine environment. The report said crew were re-pressurising a stored energy system used to raise and lower lifeboats.
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3. Italian Migrant Misery
Italian authorities allowed hundreds of Syrian refugees to drown in 2013 despite being told their boat was in danger, new audio tapes suggest. On October 10, 2013, a boat with as many as 480 people on board left Zuwara, Libya, heading for the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. It capsized 61 nautical miles south of the island, killing 268 refugees, 60 of them children. Italian magazine  L’Espresso released audiotapes Monday that were given to its investigative reporter Fabrizio Gatti by sources in Malta and document conversations between a member of the ship, Mohanned Jammo, and the Italian authorities. The recordings reveal that the Italian coast guard was told about the danger the boat was in almost five hours before it capsized, but that officials refused to help, telling them to head to Malta. 
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4. West African Piracy Woes
As the global shipping sector grapples with the activities of pirates on the seaways, the latest ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report showed that about 43 ships and 58 seafarers were captured in the first quarter (Q1) 2017. The global report highlights persisting violence and piracy hotspots off Nigeria, and around the Southern Philippines, where two crew members were killed in February. This comes as the Nigerian government approved $186 million (about N56.9 billion) to procure machinery to fully combat maritime crimes. The Fund is meant to acquire three new ready-for-war ships, three aircrafts, 12 vessels and 20 amphibious vehicles to combat the menace of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Indonesia also reported frequent incidents, mostly low-level thefts from anchored vessels.
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5. Strengthening Somali Security
The Somali government and the European Union (EU) have held talks on strengthening the Horn of Africa nation’s maritime security to help deter piracy along the coastline. Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and EU Ambassador to Somalia Veronique Lorenzo, who were hosted by the EU Naval Force aboard the flagship ESPS Galicia on Monday, discussed how the EU can best support the government to take full control of its maritime security, which is essential for long-term stability of the country. “We have been a supporter of the security sector in Somalia and maritime safety is a central pillar often overlooked,” Lorenzo said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The discussions highlighted the cooperation existing between EU and the Somalia government in policing Somali waters.
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6. 20/20 Union Vision
The maritime union RMT will launch the Dover part of its ongoing SOS2020 campaign. The initiative, covering a national issue of working conditions, training and pay, is also aimed to get the attention of politicians during the general election campaign. The trade union argues that there has been an exclusion of seafarers from full employment or equality rights, low levels of training and the rise of Flags of Convenience registers. It believes that this has driven a decline in UK ratings and officers from 58,000 in the 1980s to 23,380 in 2015. Non-UK ratings continue to be recruited on pay below the legal UK minimum. The union believes that this is unfair competition that blocks British seafarers’ access to work and drives down employment standards, training and pay across the industry.
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7. Yang Ming Losses Mount
Taiwanese ocean carrier Yang Ming is expected to post another quarterly net loss when it publishes its results on 16 May, according to Alphaliner. This follows a net loss of TWD14.9bn ($492m) in 2016 and a deficit of $258m recorded in the year before. If the analyst is correct in its calculations, a Q1 loss, as many of its peers look likely to report a return to profitability, will do nothing to assist the perception of the container line in the eyes of anxious shippers and service providers, still reeling from last year’s demise of Hanjin Shipping. Last week saw the resumption of trading in Yang Ming shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, following a two-week suspension, and Alphaliner noted that after an initial spike on 4 May – the first day’s trading – to TWD13.30, its shares slumped in the following days to close at TWD11.05.
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8. Dangers of Collapse
Chris Dyson and Lorne Gifford from Brookes Bell Group look at the potential causes and impacts of crane collapses. In recent weeks, there have been a number of high profile crane failures making the news; there have been incidents in Dubai, South Korea, and most recently, in Falmouth in the UK. These incidents have been covered not only by the maritime press, but also the international media. As we have seen, these failures can have a dramatic and costly impact on terminals, ship owners, operators, stevedores, seafarers and shore personnel. Ship to shore container cranes are one of the more frequent items damaged during berthing. When a crane fails, many elements can combine to determine the severity of the incident. This does not just include the upfront cost of the damage, but also the impact of injuries or fatalities.
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9. Yard Crane Collapses
A crane collapsed at Falmouth Docks in Cornwall in the southwest of the UK this morning. A ship under repair in the yard’s drydock is understood to have sustained damage however there are no reports of any workers being injured. The accident caused what one Twitter user described as an “enormous bang”. An exclusion zone has been put in place and a number of properties have been evacuated. The giant crane which has been a feature of the local skyline for the past half century was being dismantled when the accident happened.
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10. Large East River Spill
A transformer at a ConEd electrical station in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood failed on Sunday afternoon, spilling an unknown quantity of transformer oil onto the ground and out into New York’s East River. The unit contained 37,000 gallons of oil, and enough of it reached the water to create an oil sheen extending south under both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. "We continue to assess the volume of oil that migrated to the East River, and how much oil remains in the ground on our property," said ConEd in a statement. The Coast Guard and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation are assisting in efforts to contain and clean up the spill, and as of Tuesday crews had recovered about 550 gallons, according to a ConEd spokesman.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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