Guidance on Deprivation of Liberty Released

By MarEx 2015-06-04 17:59:54

Human Rights at Sea has published a new international and independent guidance for shipowners, crew and private maritime security guards titled: “Deprivation of Liberty at Sea.”

The guidance, published jointly by Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) and the Network of Experts on the Legal Aspects of Maritime Safety and Security (MARSAFENET) and financed through the European Union COST Action IS1105, is the first independently drafted international document covering deprivation of liberty (DoL) by ship masters, crew and private maritime security personnel. It is the result of in-depth research into the domestic and international legal frameworks governing deprivation of liberty on board private vessels.

The guidance, which complements existing guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident as adopted by the IMO, aims to become a leading soft law instrument voluntarily applied by relevant actors in the shipping, fishing and security industries.

The guidance outlines a succinct set of principles and detailed guidance for safeguarding a criminal suspect’s human rights at sea. It additionally contains checklists for shipowners, masters, crew and private maritime security companies in relation to the lawful deprivation of liberty of suspected criminals at sea covering both the pre-transit planning and in-transit actions.

There is a growing likelihood that masters will have to deal with criminal offences committed at sea, with increasingly smaller crews and against a background of potential legal actions conducted against seafarers for unlawful deprivation of liberty, says David Hammond Founder of HRAS. It is highly relevant in piracy prone areas and areas with large migrant movements, like the Mediterranean and the Andaman Sea, where masters are likely to be confronted with suspected human traffickers.

The guidance is a reference for all interested parties in support of decisive and lawful decision-making, says Hammond. “This first edition of the Deprivation of Liberty at Sea Guidance has been the result of six months’ work involving significant research and stakeholder input. Working alongside European colleagues, Human Rights at Sea is proud to be able to deliver a new and relevant maritime human rights reference document in partnership with EU MARSAFENET.”

HRAS and MARSAFENET have determined that the voluntary guidance should be made freely available for the international public benefit in line with the charitable focus of HRAS and the open access policy pursued by MARSAFENET. Any entity using the document in whole, in part or in concept must fully attribute its use to HRAS and MARSAFENET. HRAS retains full IP and copyright over the work and the associated HRAS Deprivation of Liberty at Sea concept.

The authors of the Guidance are:

David Hammond, GDL

CEO & Founder of HRAS, Barrister & Member of MARSAFENET

Dr. Anna Petrig, LL.M.

Attorney-at-Law & Management Committee Member of MARSAFENET

Legal Research: Elizabeth Mavropoulou, LL.M. Attorney-at-Law & HRAS Intern

The guidance is part of the HRAS “Unlocking the issue” campaign to raise global awareness of maritime human rights and constitutes a milestone in MARSAFENET’s quest to transfer scientific findings into concrete normative and policy solutions.

The Deprivation of Liberty report is available to download from the Human Rights at Sea website under Publications here.

Salvage Underway for Sunken Cruise Ship

By MarEx 2015-06-04 16:50:04

Rescue efforts for the sunken Eastern Star cruise ship turned into a salvage operation Thursday night as authorities began taking steps to right the sunken vessel.

State television confirmed that preparations for righting the ship began around 8:00 pm when two 500 ton salvage ships moved into place on either side of the Yangtze River. Divers then attached steel cables to the ship’s hull in eight places.

Rescue workers had “groped under the water” and cut into the hull into the evening, news agency Xinhua said, and more than 200 divers searched all the cabins of the ship but did not find any survivors.

Workers cut into three regions in the hull that were “important escape channels” and found “no signs of life”, Xinhua said. “In a situation in which the overall judgment is that there is no chance of people being alive, we could start the work of righting the boat,” transport ministry spokesman Xu Chengguang told a news conference.

The actual righting will take around five hours, barring any complications, and is not expected to happen until 1:00 am Friday morning.

Recovery operations will happen in two stages. First, cranes attached to the salvage ships will lift the Eastern Star high enough to clear the river’s bottom. The cranes will be under considerable strain until the water can be drained out. The second stage will then consist of flipping the vessel and draining it of the water.

After the ship is righted, authorities will conduct a full search of all cabins. That will allow rescuers to “search for the missing persons in the shortest possible time,” state news agency Xinhua said, citing the transport ministry.

Hu Kaihong, a government spokesman, said at a news briefing that there were now more than 1,200 family members in Jianli city, near the salvage site. Relatives have asked the government to release the names of survivors and the 77 people confirmed to have died so far. They also questioned why most of those rescued were crew members.

Tents have been set up along the banks of the Yangtze River to process any bodies recovered from the wreckage. Local funeral establishment are also reported to be preparing for the influx of bodies following the salvage.

The transportation ministry has stated that the salvage will be carried out to preserve the dignity of the dead.

As of Thursday afternoon 360 people are still missing. Only 14 survivors have been found, including the captain and chief engineer.

Sea Storage Plays Feeds Bloated Oil Market

By Reuters 2015-06-04 13:54:09

Physical oil is coming under pressure as trade houses unwind a profitable storage play after several months that saw them holding millions of barrels on tankers at sea.

A drop in the volume of crude stored for speculative profit is putting more supply into an already saturated market, elbowing out new loadings leading to a build-up of unsold West African, North Sea and Mediterranean oil.

“When the contango started, it created a demand,” said Tamas Varga of PVM oil brokerage. Now “they are creating additional supply”.

“The structure of the market should weaken significantly,” Varga added. “There is just lots of oil around in the U.S. and globally.”

Oil prices collapsed by 60 percent between June last year and January 2015, pushing the cost of oil for immediate delivery to a big discount below future prices and making it profitable to buy oil and store it for sale later.

At its peak earlier this year as much as 50 million barrels of oil was estimated to have been earmarked for storage on tankers. The oil market has since rallied – flattening that discount, also known as a contango, leading trade houses to cash in on profits.

Shipping sources and shipping data estimated that volumes earmarked for contango-led floating storage had dropped to as few as 10 tankers, known as very large crude carriers, each capable of carrying a maximum of 2 million barrels, meaning at most 20 million barrels.

“We’re getting to the point where it makes sense to sell,” Richard Mallinson, analyst with Energy Aspects.

“Effectively, we’re reaching the end of that storage.”

In the past week alone as much as 5 million barrels of floating storage has been sold, shipping data showed.

In an earlier sale last month, Chinese trader Unipec sold 2 million barrels of Nigerian crude that was stored on one of the world’s largest tankers, capable of holding 3 million barrels, to an Indian refiner.

Trade sources said trading firms such as Trafigura and Vitol as well as Shell had all sold cargoes held in floating storage.

The companies declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“If you want to recreate the contango trade, you need a steep drop … in the oil price to make it viable given where tanker rates are today,” said Arctic Securities analyst Erik Nikolai Stavseth.

Mallinson contends that the long-term effect may be a drop in the market surplus of crude oil, but in the near-term, it adds to the oversupply:

“It makes the pain worse in the short term,” he said.

Nevertheless, for holders of millions of barrels of West African crude and also North Sea oil in the Atlantic, the sell-off in floating storage could mean a longer wait to offload cargoes as they compete. “Everyone is trying to sell,” one oil trader said.

Storming the Hill for Recognition for USMM of WWII

By Tony Munoz 2015-06-04 14:33:23

In January, Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA-44) introduced H.R. 563–Honoring Our WWII Merchant Marine Act of 2015, which would compensate qualified mariners with a one-time payment of $25,000.

Morris Harvey, president of the American Merchant Marine Veterans, said the House of Representatives passed HR 563, but Harry Reid, (D-NV) has failed to introduce the bill to the senate. Harvey and six other WWII mariner vets will be “storming the Hill” next week. Good luck!

Forgotten Valor – Damn the Torpedoes: Full Speed Ahead!

World War II ended 70 years ago and today its veterans are in their late eighties and nineties. The veterans of WWII were honored for their contributions to liberate Europe and Asia Pacific from the tyranny of the Axis with GI benefits for education, home loans and medical. And they went on the build the greatest generation and most influential middle class in history.

Those Americans that served in the U.S. Merchant Marine of WWII were also thrust into war and forced to fight with other free peoples for the right to live among their neighbors in freedom, in common decency, and without fear of assault.

Every single man, woman and child would become partners in the greatest undertaking in American history. They accepted the bad news, the good news, the defeats, the victories, and the changing fortunes of war. Every citizen in every walk of life shared this responsibility. And, each and every one of them understood the obligation and was determined to prevail.

Long before the United States entered the war, the U.S. Merchant Marine sailed the Atlantic Ocean bringing supplies to our besieged Allies on the European Continent and England. From 1939 to December 7, 1941, the U.S. Merchant Marine lost 146 ships and 169 merchant seamen were killed.

When the U.S. entered the war on December 7, 1941, five U-boats were deployed to U.S. waters in an operation code-named “Drum Roll.” Unfortunately, the United States had not enforced the blackout of its coastal cities at night. The U-boats lay on the bottom of the ocean during daylight hours, and then surfaced at night to sink the merchant ships that were silhouetted against the glow of the city lights.

It is estimated that 400 Allied ships were destroyed in the first six months ending in July, 1942 in the western-Atlantic, and only one U-boat was destroyed. About 5,000 American, British, Norwegian and other seamen were killed in the operation dubbed by the U-boat captains as the “American turkey shoot.”

The battle of the Atlantic for control over the shipping lanes lased from September 1939 to May 1945. The U-boats sank merchant ships faster than the Allies could build them. In the winter of 1943, conditions in the North Atlantic were some of the worst on record, and the endless lines of merchant ships were attacked with a vengeance by the U-boats.

Early in 1943, the U-boats sophisticated coding device known as the “Enigma” had been deciphered, and almost immediately the tide of the war quickly turned. From May 1943 until the end of the war the Allies sunk over 500 U-boats. By the end of 1943, the convoys of supply ships operated in relatively safe conditions until the end of the war.

The U.S. Merchant Marine played a significant role in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Approximately, 2700 merchant ships were involved in the first wave of the invasion on D-Day, landing troop and munitions under heavy fire.

During the next year, at great risk, about 150 merchant marine ships shuttled 2.5 million troops, 17 million tons of munitions and supplies, and half-a-million trucks and tanks from England to France.

U.S. Merchant Maine in the Pacific

On December 7, 1941, the cargo ship SS Cynthia Olson was the first U.S. flag ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Pacific. The ship and all were lost about 1,200 miles off the Pacific Coast. The tanker SS Emidio was also sunk by a Japanese sub just 18 miles off Crescent City, California on December 20, 1941.

In October 1944, the merchant marine delivered 30,000 troops and 500,000 tons of supplies to Leyte during the invasion of the Philippines. They shot down 107 Japanese planes during the almost continuous air attack. In the Mindoro invasion of the Philippines, more U.S. Merchant Marine lost their lives than did members of all of the other armed services combined.

During the invasion of Okinawa, merchant ships came under fire by 2,000 kamikazes and conventional aircraft. At the same time, they delivered many of the 180,000 troops and over 1 million tons of supplies necessary for the invasion. Forty-four merchant ships were sunk, while the U.S. Merchant Marine took part in every invasion from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima.

The United States Armed Forces suffered 300,000 battle casualties in the Pacific up to July 1, 1945. Following the end of hostilities, the Merchant Marine was given the job of transporting the surrendered troops back to Japan, returning U.S. troops back home, and bringing in replacement troops and supplies for the occupation. Arms and munitions were also returned to the U.S.

In December 1945, the U.S. War Shipping Administration listed 1,200 sailings, 400 more than the busiest month of the previous four years. Tragically, twenty-five more U.S. merchant ships were sunk after V-J Day.

A Hero’s Welcome

On the morning of June 6, 1994, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a conspicuous remnant of the once great fleet of over 6,000 ships that made up the 1944 D-Day invasion armada, sat anchored off Point de Hoc. This icon of American heritage; this symbol of an era when a nation was baptized in the blood of its sons and daughters in the greatest global conflict for freedom, was the only 1944 Normandy ship to return for the 50th Commemorative Ceremonies.

Note: In 1988, the U.S. Merchant Marine of WWII finally received U.S. Veterans status.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

Singapore Named Most Important Maritime Capital

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-04 13:26:05

Singapore tops the list as the most important maritime capitals for 2015, according to a new report released by Menon Business Economics today.

The Asian capital was listed as number one based on a combination of objective indicators derived from public data sources as well as a survey of 200 industry experts from over 33 countries.

The report analyses 15 leading maritime cities based on shipping, finance and law, technology, and ports and logistics. It also takes into account competitiveness and attractiveness to maritime companies. The complete top five maritime capitals listing is shown below with important area highlights.


Singapore was cited as the number one most important maritime capital. It is located in a pivotal geographic location near important markets. It was ranked first for ports and logistics and second for finance/law and shipping. Singapore is home to the fourth largest fleet and is an important center for commercial management. The city has also been successful at attracting a wide variety of global companies.


Hamburg earned its place near the top of the list by being very strong in the area of maritime technology. It scored very high expert marks in the areas of R&D/ Education, Maritime Equipment, IT services. Additionally, Germany is home to companies such as Caterpillar Marine Power Systems and Man, making the country a highly important maritime equipment center.


Oslo landed the third most important spot largely because of its significance in the field of maritime technology. The city was ranked number one in this area largely because the overall importance of Norway as a maritime technology center. DNV GL one of the world leaders in the field, is headquartered out of Oslo. The city also gets high marks in the area of maritime finance.

Hong Kong and Shanghai

Hong Kong and Shanghai took the fourth and fifth positions respectively. China has the world’s second largest economy and has been showed growing influence in world market. The country has one of the world’s largest shipbuilding industries and is home to six of the world’s ten largest ports. The experts surveyed anticipate Shanghai becoming the second most important maritime city by 2020.

Other Notable Findings

Asia as a whole is gaining increasing control of the maritime market. The Philippines recently overtook European nations as the fourth largest shipbuilder and Manila and Jakarta continue to grow in importance for the maritime segment in the region.

In the Middle East Dubai is predicted to become a maritime leader.

Also, Brazil is investing heavily in new ship orders particularly in the offshore segment. The country currently accounts for only 1% of the world fleet, but it holds 7% of the world’s orderbook.

The complete report can be accessed here