Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/05/2017

1. Special Forces Inspect Tankers
Divers working for the UK’s special forces are inspecting LNG carriers bound for Britain over fears Al Qaeda or Islamic State might attach limpet mines to these giant ships. The UK newspaper Mail on Sunday reported members of the Special Boat Service (SBS) and specialists from the Royal Navy are inspecting ships with LNG, predominantly from Qatar, which are headed for terminals on the Isle of Grain in Kent and at Milford Haven in Wales. A source told the newspaper: “The threat against gas tankers emerged a couple years ago and we have been training to counter it ever since. The concern is that tankers could be sailed into UK waters and destroyed either with mines or improvised explosive devices [IEDs].”
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2. CMA CGM Profits Boost
Container shipping line CMA CGM posted higher first-quarter profits, helped by a turnaround at recently acquired NOL, and gave an upbeat assessment for the current quarter in another sign that the shipping industry is emerging from a slump. The French-based group reported on Friday a first-quarter net profit, including Singapore-based NOL which it consolidated in June last year, of $86 million compared with a $100 million loss in the same period of 2016. This was also above the $45 million net profit it recorded in the previous quarter when the privately held firm returned to profit after heavy losses earlier in 2016 during a severe downturn in container shipping.
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3. Lobbying for Better Training
The UK Chamber of Shipping has contacted over 800 parliamentary candidates from around the country, asking them to back its campaign for enhanced support for maritime training. The proposal, called SMarT Plus, would see a doubling in government support to GBP 30 million a year. In return, many leading shipowners will increase the number of seafarers they train and guarantee them their first job. The benefits of this would be significant: British seafarers are among the most productive workers in the UK economy, contributing GBP 17,500 per year more to UK GDP than the average worker. According to the government’s own figures, the UK economy gets GBP5 back for every GBP1 invested in maritime training.
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4. Treat for Abandoned Crew
The crew of a ship who have been stranded in Aberdeen for several months got a taste of Scottish Cup fever during a tour of Pittodrie. A legal dispute over unpaid wages mean the Malaviya Seven has been “arrested” and is confined to the city’s harbour, leaving the seafarers in limbo. But thanks to a maritime charity, the Indian nationals were able to savour the behind-the-scenes build-up to Saturday’s showdown with Celtic.
They were taken to the boardroom, got a trackside view of the pitch and a seat in the manager’s dug-out guided tour by club official Alan McKimmie. The visit was organised by Apostleship of the Sea, whose port chaplain Doug Duncan and national development officer Euan McArthur joined the party. Mr McArthur said: “We would like to sincerely thank Aberdeen Football Club and Alan McKimmie for their support.
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5. Seafarers Worked to Death
The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) is concerned about seafarers overworking and not having sufficient rest. MSAF chief executive officer John Tunidau yesterday said this during their stakeholders’ awareness and consultation attended by 25 participants at Hotel North Pole in Labasa. He said about 99 per cent of seafarers fatalities were sailors who were on watch non-stop for 24 hours in the high seas. Mr Tunidau advised that seafarers must have sufficient rest to be able to be alert to avoid accidents and incidents. “We are also concerned about others who play different roles in the boat such as the cooks and so on,” Mr Tunidau said. “It is about time for seafarers to have enough rest after a shift of work.” The consultation also covered the Maritime Labour Convention draft.
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6. Passengers Swamping Medical Facilities
Sickly cruise ship passengers are clogging up mainland medical waiting rooms and straining local health services as they try to avoid expensive on-board doctors, according to GPs in Australia. Heather Briggs has operated a GP clinic in Broome for five years and said she could always tell when a large cruise ship had docked. "It’s difficult to suddenly cope with an influx in one day. There was one particular ship this year where we had 20 or so people queueing for an appointment," Dr Briggs said. "It’s difficult, because the hospital can’t cope with them, and they’re getting quite large in number." Lesley Parker said they have had to turn away a large number of cruise ship passengers who were onshore for a day trip. Most cruise ship doctors are not covered by Medicare, and charge between $200 and $300 per appointment.
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7. Ships Agents With Drones
Marking a seismic shift in just how ships agents can support their customers, Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) will soon be delivering its agency essentials via drone. A much talked about technology, with obvious applications for the shipping industry, it is WSS’ ships agency team, rather than the company’s supply chain, or product divisions, which have been assessing the business opportunities offered by drones.
Marius Johansen, VP Business Solutions & Marketing, WSS Ships Agency explains, “Whether it is deliveries of critical documents or vital medical supplies, tank inspections, or monitoring cargo and stockpile levels, we believe semi-autonomous drone flights can support and further enhance what our ships agency team can offer our customers”.
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8. Crew Head Home Without Pay
The crew of two oil tankers stranded for several months off India have disembarked without any assurances about the wages they are owed. The 26 Indian sailors have been in a legal wrangle over unpaid wages, and one tried to jump overboard last week, saying he could not provide for his family. The men are reported to be owed around six months’ wages for their time on the tankers Nautical Global XVI and Nautical Global VII. Another 12 seafarers, including the master and four Pakistanis, remain on board. “The man who wanted to jump was the first to go off board,” said Captain Suchittar Kumar Sharma. “Conditions at his home are pathetic, because he has had no money to send, and they (his family) have little food to eat. Now at least he will be home with his family.”
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9. New Idea for Short Sea
SeaHorse Shipping in the U.S. has touted a plan aimed at revolutionizing container shipping and freeing shippers from the constraints and congestion caused by mega container ships and mega ports. “While carriers complain that they are losing money, it’s the shippers who truly feel the pain,” says the narrator of a video describing the system. “Ocean freight is no longer a viable option for shippers looking to streamline and synchronize their supply chains.” The company is proposing the SeaHorse ship system which consists of a deepsea semi-submersible vessel that carries six shortsea container ships with a combined capacity of 13,500 TEUs. The deepsea vessel never comes into port. Instead, existing heavy lift technology is used to float out the smaller vessels which then travel to small, under-utilized, uncongested ports.
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10. Seafarers Charity Innovates
A new charity shop, opened today (May 19) at 52 Market Street, Eastleigh by Southampton charity Sailors’ Society, has ditched the fusty image traditionally associated with charity shops in favour of a fresh approach. The store has the feel of a quirky boutique, using industrial décor including container-like dressing rooms and crates to reflect its work with merchant seafarers. People were waiting outside for the doors to open and in the first hour alone goods were sold every two minutes. It is more than 20 years since Sailors’ Society opened a new charity shop, by a new commercial team including south coast retail manager Paul Long-Collins, who has 35 years’ experience with household name brands including B&Q, John Lewis and Wyevale Garden Centres.
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