Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/05/2017

1. No Deal Means No Trade
Economists have warned that trade is likely to come to a halt if the UK fails to negotiate a deal in leaving the EU. Contrary to claims “no deal is better than a bad deal”, the chief economist at ADS Group, Jeegar Kakkad, said no deal would be the “worst” option. “A bad deal is one with regulatory and economic divergence,” he said. “It may require more forms be filled out, more bureaucracy, but we will still be able to trade – no deal means no trade.” Senior economist at Dun & Bradstreet Markus Kuger said his firm was working on the premise that negotiations would throw up three scenarios. Scenario A, deemed both the most likely and best, would result in an amicable divorce, “parting as friends”, with firm agreements, including on free trade. Scenario B means a breakdown in talks, leading to no deal and a return to WTO rules.
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2. Russians Escorted Against ISIS
Combined Turkish forces are escorting Russian ships through the Bosphorus Strait as a result of an intelligence tip that Islamic State (IS) was planning an attack using missiles and long-barrel weapons, according to a Xinhua news agency report. Istanbul police and the coast guard were said to have issued a highest-level alarm. As a result Russian ships passing through the Bosphorus were being accompanied by two Turkish attack boats and a police helicopter. Istanbul police have also established nearly 150 security checkpoints in along the strait. Soldiers were seen last week standing guard on a Russian warship.
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3. Silicon Valley Swoops
Silicon Valley has come in with an initial $2.5m to support Shipamax, a new bulk broking tool. Shipamax’s founders say they are “on a mission to fix the ship booking experience for transporting dry bulk commodities”, according to a release today. The $2.5m seed investment is led by Cherubic Ventures with participation from AME Cloud and FF Angel. Shipamax noted in a release: “Booking a ship for dry bulk commodities is a slow and painful process. Data is siloed, making it hard to work as a team – shipowners and brokers receive in excess of 5,000 emails daily. Administrative costs are incredibly high with room for error every step of the way.” In the intense debate about the future of shipbroking, much of which has taken place on this site over the first few months of this year, Shipamax has a different vision for the future.
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4. China Finds Fire Ice
China has successfully extracted combustible ice, also know as methane hydrate, from the seafloor in the South China Sea. Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the fuel was successfully mined by a drilling rig operating on Thursday with the Chinese Minister of Land and Resources saying the resource had the potential for a global energy revolution. The mining was reportedly undertaken in an area of the South China Sea southeast of Hong Kong that is not heavily contested by neighboring countries. Engineers extracted gas trapped in ice crystals and converted it to natural gas in a single, continuous operation on a floating production platform, reported the Minister.
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5. Death Ship Finding Delay
The Australian Coroner who has spent two years investigating how two men died on the bulk carrier Sage Sagittarius, dubbed the Death Ship, will take more time before handing down her findings. Deputy NSW Coroner Sharon Freund had been expected to hand down her findings on Friday, but the matter has been delayed until a date yet to be fixed. The Sydney inquest is examining the disappearance of chief cook Cesar Llanto and the death of chief engineer Hector Collado. Llanto, 42, disappeared overboard off Cairns on August 30, 2012. Collado, 55, died a fortnight later after falling 12 storeys down an engineering shaft when the ship was moored at the Port of Newcastle.
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6. Guide to Collecting Evidence
The Nautical Institute’s latest book Guidelines for Collecting Maritime Evidence is now available. The guide is intended for anyone at sea and onshore – master, crew and managers – who might need to handle material after a maritime incident that could be used as evidence for later legal proceedings or insurance claims. It is designed to remove uncertainty from the task and therefore reduce the risk of seafarer criminalization.
The book is a completely revised edition of The NI The Mariner’s Role in Collecting Evidence. The scope has been broadened and the content updated to reflect the growing importance of electronic evidence. A state safety inspector, master, insurer, surveyor, lawyer and an arbitrator each describe evidence collection from their own point of view, explaining what material needs to be gathered and how it will be used.
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7. Keeping Kids from Piracy
A first step has been taken to raise awareness of the horrific abuse of children in piracy with the release of a handbook for the maritime security sector. The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative began academic research, in collaboration with Human Rights at Sea, the Dalhousie University Marine Piracy Project and the 100 Series Rules, in 2011. Following on from that, in 2016, Darin Reeves, Director of Training for the Dallaire Initiative, led their creation of Children Affected by Maritime Piracy: A Handbook for Maritime Security Sector Actors. On behalf of the Dallaire Initiative, Darin explains how children are involved, how their recruitment is intertwined with terrorism and how adults confronting them can suffer the consequences.
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8. Video of Pirate Rescue
The Indian Navy patrol vessel INS Sharda rescued the Liberian-flagged bulker "Lord Mountbatten" from a pirate attack 150 nm off the northeastern tip of Somalia. The Mountbatten made a distress call at 1645 hours, Indian Navy officials said, and she reported two suspected mother ships accompanied by eight skiffs. The Sharda diverted to assist. The Mountbatten was about 30 nm away at the time of the call, and the Sharda arrived towards 1900. She found all ten aggressor vessels on scene and launched an armed helicopter and special forces boarding units, which chased down the remaining pirates. Boarding teams found one gun aboard one of the dhows, according to an Indian Navy statement. The dhows reportedly lacked fishing gear.
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9. Superyacht Vulnerabilities Shown
The recent worldwide ransomware attack on Windows-based computer systems has brought new awareness to the serious threat of hacking to corporate and government operations. For years, maritime agencies and industry groups have warned that this danger does not end at the water’s edge. Earlier this month, a cybercrime specialist working for the mobile device company demonstrated the vulnerabilities of a superyacht’s IT systems, using a boat’s WiFi connection to gain control of many vital functions – including navigation and the onboard CCTV.  “We had control of the satellite communications,” said Murray, speaking to the Guardian earlier this month. “We had control of the telephone system, the Wi-Fi, the navigation . . . And we could wipe the data to erase any evidence of what we had done.”
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10. Ship Breaking Still Bad
Despite the loss of almost 40 lives of workers at the Gadani ship-breaking yard since November 2016, no efforts have been made by the state or the owners to improve the conditions. This was stated by Nasser Mansoor, general secretary of the Pakistan National Trades Unions Federation (PNTUF), while addressing a seminar on the issue. According to Mansoor, departments like the police and the environment took bribes from the owners to do their bidding against the labourers, he alleged. He went on to claim, "The capitalist owners, he said, spent Rs4million on having the genuine union of the workers De-registered. Mansoor also claimed that factories are serving as slaughter houses. It is clear there is much to be done to improve the actual and perceived conditions in the many breakers.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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S Jones
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