Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/05/2017

1. Astonishing Rates of Seafarer Suicide
The UK P&I Club is putting the spotlight on seafarer mental health with suicide the cause of 15% of deaths at sea. As a career seafarers are second most at risk from suicide Anuj Velankar, senior loss prevention advisor, UK P&I Club, told a seminar in Singapore on Tuesday. The career with the highest risk was being a veterinary physician, which was explained due to a tendency towards self-medication and a ready access to drugs. In the case of seafarers young age, isolation and the impact of social media were all cited as factors. Velankar noted that there were constantly reports of younger crew onboard, who were not experienced – “these are the people most at risk of mental health issues”.
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2. Six Crew Taken Hostage
Six seamen were kidnapped after general cargo ship was attacked by pirates in Gulf of Guinea on 32 nautical miles southwest off Bonny island in Nigeria, reported International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The vessel was underway, when was approached by fast boat with armed men on board, who succeeded to board her and to take control. The pirates robbed the cabins and took six crew members as hostages and fled away. The crew of the general cargo ship reported the accident to Nigerian navy and proceeded to Bonny anchorage, where successfully docked for further investigation. According to the piracy report, the accident occurred in position 03 59N and 006 46E on 21 nautical miles south off Nigerian Coast and 32 nautical miles southwest off Bonny island.
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3. Abandoned Crew in Desperation
Thirty-four Indian sailors and four Pakistani crew have been stranded aboard two oil tankers for more than two months off the coast of Kandla, in west India, because of unpaid wages and a legal dispute between ship owners and a UAE chartering company. One sailor tried to jump into the sea on Tuesday distressed that he had not sent money home because he had not been paid for six months. Rations ran so low last week that the captains of Nautical Global VII and Nautical Global XVI made SOS calls to the Kandla port authority pleading for food and water. Both tankers were “arrested”, or restricted to the area, on February 27 by an Indian court order after a maritime claim for damages was filed by the chartering company Nautical Global Ship Management, based in Dubai, against Ajman-based owners Gulf Shipping Services.
goo.gl/cScEz2
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4. New Rules Unlikely To Halt
The 0.5% global sulfur limit on bunker fuels from the start of 2020 is “highly unlikely” to face any delay, Edmund Hughes, head of air pollution and energy efficiency at the International Maritime Organization, told S&P Global Platts in an exclusive interview. There has been speculation in the shipping and bunker sectors, especially in Singapore, that there could be a hold-up in the IMO’s implementation of the cap. But Hughes was happy to quash this. “I’d say there’s a negligible chance of January 1, 2020 being postponed,” Hughes said. “The only way the date could be changed is by an amendment to MARPOL Annex VI. It takes a minimum of 22 months for an amendment to be proposed, approved, adopted and then enter into force…We have worked hard to get this decision.” Hughes also dismissed talk of a phased implementation from 2020.
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5. Lloyd’s Settles on Sewol
Lloyd’s of London and Korean Re have reached an agreement to pay more than 100 billion won (US$89 million) for South Korea’s Sewol ferry accident victims after two years of negotiating whether or not insurance claims were valid due to the ferry owner failing to operate according to regulations, the Investor reported. 304 passengers lost their lives when the ferry sank 25 kilometers from Jindo, South Jeolla Province, on the southwest coast in 2014. Lloyd’s had acted as a reinsurer of policies worth 150 billion (US$130 million) won to Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance and Korean Re, firms which in turn reinsured the Korea Shipping Association – from which the ferry’s operator had bought insurance policies worth up to 350 million won per passenger, or a total of 150 billion won.
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6. North Korean Ship Disgrace
All North Korean ships, which underwent safety inspections at ports in the Asia-Pacific region last year, were found to have had deficiencies, a U.S. broadcaster said Thursday. "North Korea recorded a 100 percent deficiency rate in safety inspections at Asia-Pacific ports last year," Voice of America said, citing the 2016 Annual Report on Port State Control (PSC). The Port State Control Committee of the Memorandum of Understanding on PSC in the Asia-Pacific Region in Tokyo (Tokyo MOU) recently released the report. Tokyo MOU, one of regional PSC organizations, aims to eliminate sub-standard shipping, to promote maritime safety and security, and to safeguard seafarers’ working conditions. It has 20 full members, including South Korea, China, Australia, Canada and Chile.
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7. Series of Shipyard Explosions
A series of explosions occurred at shipyards in the coastal city of Cartagena in Colombia, killing at least six people and injuring more than 20 others. According to the local fire service, the blasts occurred within about 30 minutes of each other on Wednesday at two industrial facilities. One blast occurred at Colombian naval corporation Cotecmar, while another two explosions struck US shipbuilder Astivik, which mainly builds specialised barges, floating docks and tugboats. Cotecmar President Jorge Enrique Carreno told reporters that the explosion happened on a ship that was under maintenance. Firefighters have put out the fires caused by the explosions. Local police are still investigating whether it was an accident or an attack.
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8. Cracking Up Challenges
Brazilian iron ore producer Vale is facing up to a new challenge as hull cracks were found on a third converted very large ore carrier (VLOC) ship it has on charter and the viability of the vessel class came under scrutiny. But, should Vale lose faith in the VLOC fleet, the repercussions will boom throughout the market. So, Vale faces a significant choice. If it abandons the VLOCs, it will have 60mn t of iron ore — assuming four journeys a year carrying 300,000t ore for each ship — that it will have to charter spot market ships for until its Valemaxes start to be delivered in 2018-19. In addition, standard Capesize ships can probably only carry 150,000-180,000 t of material, so it will likely need two Capesize ships for every VLOC it stops using.
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9. Passengers Claiming for Noise
In two recent cases, the Rostock District Court decided that cruise ship passengers are not entitled to claims for repayment or damages due to unpleasant noises or vibrations which are attributable to the normal course of operation of a cruise ship. This is because a ship, in contrast to a hotel, is a means of transportation which cannot be operated without any noticeable vibrations or noise-producing units. In both cases, passengers claimed repayment of the cruise fare and further damages due to unpleasant impairment of their cruise holidays. In the first case, the plaintiffs alleged that they were affected by heavy vibrations noticeable inside their cabin. In the second case, the plaintiff complained about noise in the morning and evening hours caused by exterior cleaning operations, as well as by use of anchor winches and bow thrusters.
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10. Peek at Giant Build
The construction of Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship ever, is approaching a milestone at a shipyard in Europe. As can be seen in the photos above, taken in recent weeks at the giant STX shipbuilding facility in St. Nazaire, France, the bulk of the 230,000-ton Royal Caribbean vessel’s superstructure now is in place. Symphony has been under construction at the STX shipyard for more than a year, and nearly another year of work remains.  Thousands of workers are involved in the project. Scheduled to debut in April, Symphony will be more than 3,000 tons bigger than the current size leader in the cruise world, Royal Caribbean’s 226,963-ton Harmony of the Seas. Like Harmony, Symphony will be part of Royal Caribbean’s record-breaking Oasis Class of ships, but it won’t be an exact copy of its sisters.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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