Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/07/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/07/2017

1. Cyber Weakness Laid Bare
The vulnerability of shipboard systems has been laid bare for all to see on social media. A France-based security researcher was able to enter the satellite communications system of a ship in mid-voyage by entering simple username and passwords. The researcher used the search engine Shodan to find easy online targets at sea. Shodan is now live tracking ships via VSAT antennas exposing web services. Using the username ‘admin’ and the password ‘1234’ the tech expert was then able to access the communication centre of the ship as it made its way through South American waters. 

2. Decarbonization of Shipping
After two weeks of testing and occasionally fiery negotiations at the International Maritime Organization, one sentence emerged as a potential sign of progress. “The IMO is committed to the decarbonization of shipping by the second half of the century,” read a line proposed by the Bahamas as a potential goal for the sector. It’s by no means official IMO policy yet, but aside from vocal opposition from Saudi Arabia and Brazil , it won support from the vast majority of countries at the talks. “There is large support for a vision for emissions reductions", said Marshall Islands transport minister Mike Halferty, who voiced his backing.
3. Tail Wagging the Dog
The conversation on unmanned ships is being driven by equipment vendors rather than owner demand, Splash readers overwhelmingly believe. The latest quarterly survey, MarPoll, has been drawing some interesting early results and comments. 84% of the 400-plus voters to date believe the unmanned ship debate is being led by equipment vendors rather than owners. One reader commented that the unmanned vessel debate was akin to the ecoship marketing deployed by South Korean yards at the start of the decade.
4. Latest ReCAAP Piracy Report
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) has released its half-yearly report. With 36 reported incidents reported by government enforcement agencies in the region, ReCAAP stated the year to date had seen the lowest total number of incidents since 2007. Of the 36 reported incidents, 27 were armed robbery against ships, two were piracy, seven were kidnaps for ransom. The number of incidents was a 22 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2016, and 41 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2013.
5. Russia in the Dock
The Permanent Court of Arbitration has ordered the Russian government to pay the Netherlands $6 million in damages for seizing a Dutch-flagged vessel in international waters. The panel had already ruled that Russia had violated UNCLOS when its agents boarded the ship without the permission of the flag state. Russia maintains that as the ship was within its EEZ, it was within its rights to act to defend its economic interests, even though the vessel was outside Russian territorial seas. 

6. Lending on Ships Plummets
The world’s top 40 banks lending to shipping at the beginning of 2017 had a combined portfolio of $355.25bn, the lowest level in a decade, according to Athens-based Petrofin Global Bank Research. The 2017 figure is down $42.5bn on 2016 and now stands at the level of 2007. Petrofin reports the lending book is $42.5bn lighter than at the beginning of 2016. Mainly because of the removal of Commerzbank and RBS, which “are selling their loans or the vessels at a fast pace”, the lower bank portfolios by many banks, as well as “a stabilisation of exposure by Chinese banks, as a result of the sharp increase of Chinese leasing".
7. Nigerians Foil Hijacking
The Nigerian Navy has foiled an attempted hijacking of a merchant vessel some 16 nautical miles off the coast of Bonny, Nigeria. Six persons in a skiff boarded a general cargo ship underway in the early morning hours on July 13, according to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. IMB added that the alarm was raised, SSAS was activated and all crew retreated to the citadel. The Nigerian Navy boarded the ship and found all crew safe. The vessel in question was reportedly the 2012-built general cargo ship UAL Houston, operated by US-based shipping firm UAL America.
8. List, Cargo Loss, Allision
The general cargo vessel "Mosvik" (ex name Star Vita) took on a list of thirty degrees near the Holtenau entrance to the Kiel Canal. She came close to capsizing, and her crew put out a call for help. Five tugs responded to the scene, along with four rescue boats and police launches. A police helicopter kept watch overhead, according to local outlet Kieler Nachrichten.  The Mosvik’s crew released a portion of the vessel’s deck load of lumber in order to help keep the ship afloat. 60-80 bundles of wood were set adrift, and three response boats focused on rounding them up in order to minimize the risk to other traffic. 

9. Crew Vaccination Programmes
Sophia Bullard, Crew Health Programme Director at UK P&I Club, discusses the importance of vaccinations for seafarers: “One of the most effective and obvious ways to prevent infections onboard a ship is good personal hygiene. However, for seafarers who travel worldwide this is often not enough. Vaccination is the most effective method to prevent the spread of common, preventable, illnesses onboard, such as Hepatitis B and Chickenpox. Seafarers are encouraged to keep their vaccinations up to date. A seafarer who can fight the infection will be able to continue in his job and be efficient on board.
10. Port State Looking at Safety
As the Port State Control’s concentrated inspection campaigns (CIC) on Safety of Navigation and Life Saving Appliances will start on 1 September 2017, DNV GL has summarised considerations on how to prepare for the upcoming inspections. The CIC on Safety of Navigation will be conducted by Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU, Black Sea MoU, Indian Ocean MoU and Vina del Mar and the corresponding checklist will normally be published 4 to 6 weeks prior the start of the campaign. The main deficiencies were found resulting in PSC detentions are publications out of date, light and radio lists missing or expired, lack of updating.

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


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