Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/05/2017

1. Polaris Family Settlement
The operator of the Stellar Daisy, the bulk carrier that sank in the South Atlantic on March 31, has reached a compensation agreement with the families of most missing crew members. Polaris Shipping, the South Korean operator of the missing vessel, said it has agreed to compensation to families of 17 missing sailors and the two rescued crew, without detailing the financial terms. Five other families have demanded that the company continues search efforts which were officially ended last week. "We hope we will reach an amicable settlement with the remaining bereaved families," said an official from Polaris Shipping. The Stellar Daisy sank in the Atlantic Ocean about 2,000 nautical miles from the Port of Montevideo with 24 crew members on board. So far, only two have been rescued.

2. Union on Seafarer Mental Health
Trade union Nautilus has supported calls for improved services to help seafarers deal with the increasing pressures of working at sea. The union has backed a number of initiatives including action to raise awareness of the challenges that seafarers face and the need for programs to support them in dealing with the impact of issues such as stress, fatigue, long working hours, and isolation. “Seafarers face particular challenges that can lead to workplace stress, such as long working hours, and frequent absences from home. While these conditions are part and parcel of a seafarer’s job, the union is campaigning for greater mental health awareness and for mental health training to be incorporated into first aid training onboard ships, so that the topic is no longer taboo,” Mark Dickinson, Nautilus’ General Secretary, commented.
3. Reefer Towed to Sea
The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) announced Friday that the reefer "Frio Las Palmas" has successfully towed the stricken fishing tender "Uruguay Reefer" out to sea. The "Uruguay Reefer" had drifted into the Falkland Islands Conservation Zone after her crew abandoned ship, and she may well sink in the coming days. If and when she goes down, the Uruguay will take with her about 560 tons of HFO and 180 tons of MGO, raising fears of pollution. "The operation to tow the Uruguay Reefer did not start as soon as it could have done, but ultimately it has been successful in removing any risk of damage to the fishery resources, wildlife and environment of the Falkland Islands. This is a good outcome," the government said. As of Thursday morning, the Frio Las Palmas’ AIS signal showed her about 150 nm due east of the Falklands.
4. Aussie FoC Report
Australia’s Turnbull government has announced its recommendations on the interim report of the Senate Inquiry into Flags of Convenience, saying another review is unlikely to change the current decline of the Australian shipping industry. The inquiry came about following revelations in a Four Corners episode aired in June 2015 regarding three deaths at sea on board the MV Sage Sagittarius, dubbed the Death Ship. The tragedy involved the deaths of two Filipino nationals – chief cook Cesar Llanto and chief engineer Hector Collado – and Japanese superintendent Kosaku Monji on board the Panama-flagged coal carrier in 2012. A coroner’s inquest into the two deaths, which will hand down its findings next Friday in Sydney, heard that guns were being sold on board and that assaults on and intimidation of the crew was widespread.

5. More Human Remains Found
The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said in a statement Saturday that search crews have recovered more suspected human bones from within the wreck of the ferry Sewol. In addition to the bones, a search team recovered a gold tooth from a cabin towards the aft end of the fourth deck. Sources reported that the tooth may have belonged to Cho Eun-hwa, one of the hundreds of students who died in the sinking. Cho’s personal effects were found in the same compartment. The Ministry noted that DNA testing will be required to confirm this report, a process that will take about one month. More bones were also recovered from the fourth deck over the weekend, adding to finds that have been accumulating since last Wednesday.

6. First X-Bow Cruise Order
Australian-based Aurora Expeditions has ordered its latest expedition cruise ship, the first such ship to feature Norwegian designer Ulstein’s X-Bow. The yet-to-be-named ship was designed in conjunction with U.S.-based SunStone Ships Inc. Built to Polar Code specifications, the ship will enter service in time for for the 2019/20 Antarctica season. The X-Bow inverted bow concept was conceived in 2005 and has now been used in over 100 vessels. It’s main advantage is its ability to pierce waves with greater stability than a traditional bow, says Aurora Expeditions, and it is also expected to improve fuel efficiency and reduce air emissions. An X-Bow vessel is less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves, and continues on course more smoothly, while maintaining its speed.
7. Video of Ro-Ro Firefight
At 0200 hours on Sunday, a refrigerated truck caught fire on the Italian ro/pax cargo ferry "Guissepe Sa" about 25 nm off the coast of Olbia, a seaport on the northeastern coast of Sardinia. The maritime authorities in Olbia dispatched a harbor tug and a patrol boat, and two additional ferries operated by the same firm diverted to assist. Outside intervention turned out to be unnecessary, as the crew closed the cargo deck’s fire
dampers and successfully used the ship’s CO2 fixed firefighting system to extinguish the flames. The ferry continued under her own power to Olbia, arriving at 0600 hours, and all 88 passengers and 25 crew were safely evacuated at the ferry terminal. No injuries were reported and the ferry’s operator said that the rest of the vehicles on board were undamaged, as confirmed in video provided by first responders in Olbia.

8. Frontline Tanker Battle
The ongoing, very public tit-for-tat between the tanker titans Frontline and DHT Robert Macleod has fired off another angry letter. DHT continues to bat away takeover bids from Frontline, much to the chagrin of the John Fredriksen-controlled company. Macleod, Frontline’s CEO, sent a letter to Erik Lind, DHT’s chairman, in which he stated: “Your criticism of our offer is self-serving and misleading, particularly in light of the fact that DHT itself has deemed the offer ‘non-coercive’.” Macleod claimed the DHT board was failing to act in the best interests of its shareholders. He also hit out at how DHT allowed another tanker owner, BW Group, to buy into it, while not allowing Frontline a chance to bid for it.

9. Dredging Giant Sheds Jobs
Dutch dredging and services company Royal Boskalis Westminster has decided to cut around 230 jobs from its head office in Papendrecht as it looks to save around EUR30-35m. The move follows a study commissioned on the back of deteriorated market circumstances and the expected long spell of low energy prices. Cuts will be implemented in the next 18 months. “The reduction will be absorbed through attrition and redeployment where possible, but compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out,” Boskalis said in a statement.
10. Reflecting on Shipping Cyber Risks
As the first autonomous containerships are expected by 2020, news last week that hospitals, multinational corporations and government offices across more than 100 countries were hit by the world’s biggest ransomware cyber attack, underlines the devastating impact such an attack could have on an unmanned shipping fleet. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the potential socio-political impact computer hacks can have on the status quo, with claims of election interference, so it is inevitable that the nefarious will at some point correlate seaborne trade with global economies and energy security and hold us all to ransom. So far, shipping industry conservatism and a lack of wider public understanding have, perhaps, inadvertently kept the hackers at bay, but the industry cannot remain complacent.

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


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