Call for IMO Seafarers’ Committee

By MarEx 2015-09-12 20:38:41

Clay Maitland, head of International Registries Inc. and keynote speaker at London International Shipping Week’s inaugural “Big Maritime Welfare Debate” last week, opened proceedings by calling for a Seafarers Standing Committee at the IMO, as well as better access to data by flag states on rates of illness, suicide and deaths on board.

He also called for the U.K. government in particular to take a lead role in determining how best to protect seafarers’ rights.

“When it comes to seafarers’ rights, flag states are in a darkened room,” said Maitland. International Registries Inc. runs the world’s third largest ship registry, the Marshall Islands flag. “There is no database to refer to in advocating for the seafarer, but if that information was out there the political pressure would then be there to support the seafarer.”

The successful event was a collaborative effort by four maritime welfare charities – Seafarers UK, Mission to Seafarers, Sailors’ Society and Apostleship of the Sea – and was hosted at the Willis Building auditorium with 150 in attendance.

Maitland went on to say that the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) was already out of date, that connectivity at sea needed to be addressed and that action on seafarer rights was unlikely until the abuse of many of the world’s crews was highlighted more effectively.

He then joined a panel discussion chaired by Barry Bryant, Director General of Seafarers UK, and including Per Gullestrup of Clipper Group, Grahaeme Henderson of Shell and David Hammond of Human Rights at Sea that debated whether the industry was yet going far enough to ensure the physical and psychological health of our seafarers.

Three other panel discussions took place during the afternoon. The Mission to Seafarers’ the Revd. Canon Ken Peters chaired a debate on whether there was such a thing as fair treatment for seafarers. Martin Foley of the Apostleship of the Sea chaired a discussion on the MLC and the reality of its impact on the welfare of seafarers. A panel, chaired by Stuart Rivers of the Sailors’ Society, then looked at the impact of technology on the future provision of welfare services to seafarers.


Container Ship Fire, Responders Asked for ID

By MarEx 2015-09-12 20:25:45

A container ship caught fire at the Manila International Container Terminal in The Philippines on Saturday.

The Philippine Coast Guard and local authorities responded with tugs and fire trucks to assist the crew’s fire-fighting efforts.

However, according to local media reports, it took almost nine hours to contain the fire on the 220m Cape Moreton partly because responders were unfamiliar with the ship and partly because were asked by the crew to show ID before boarding the vessel.

Media reports indicate that there may have been an explosion inside containers carrying sodium hydroxide that sent flames and smoke billowing up from the cargo area.

The extent of the damage to the vessel is unknown at this stage.

Cape Moreton has a Russian crew, is owned by Cape Moreton Shipping and is operated by Hanse Bereederung GmbH.


Mission to Seafarers Launches Woolly Hat Day 2015

By MarEx 2015-09-11 17:33:45

Robert Goodwill, U.K. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with responsibility for shipping, helped launch Mission to Seafarers Woolly Hat Day 2015 at an event organized by Red Ensign Group at London International Shipping Week this week.

The U.K. Shipping Minister signalled his support for seafarers in need by wearing a woolly hat to launch the maritime charity’s annual fundraising initiative.

Woolly Hat Day 2015 will take place on Friday 9th October, 2015. Mission to Seafarers is challenging the maritime industry to wear a woolly hat in support of seafarers in need around the world. The maritime charity is encouraging supporters to donate money, and get others involved by wearing a woolly hat, taking a photo and sharing via Facebook and other social media.

This year’s campaign is supported by Old Pulteney, the maritime malt, and the Campaign for Wool which will release five bespoke knitting patterns to raise funds for Mission to Seafarers.

“I want to acknowledge the great work of the Mission to Seafarers and its dedication in supporting mariners worldwide,” said Goodwin. “The Mission does a great and often unsung job and very much deserves our support.”

Andrew Wright, Secretary General of Mission to Seafarers, commented: “I am looking forward to our exciting Woolly Hat Day campaign 2015 which is taking place on 9 October and I would like to ask as many of our supporters as possible to ‘Join the Crew!’ this year. It is vital that our welfare work with seafarers is promoted across the maritime community and further afield.

“This year we are taking our campaign to a far wider audience through our highly valued partners Old Pulteney Maritime Malt Whisky and The Campaign for Wool. We have new videos and lots of interactive fun planned via social media via #WHD. Please download our new fundraising pack filled with ideas and promote the Mission’s Woolly Hat Day to all your friends.”


Missing Vessel and Crew Located

By MarEx 2015-09-11 16:05:38

The missing M/V Sah Lian and its 14 crewmembers were found drifting 25 nautical miles off Tanjong Baram in Malaysia. The vessel, which had been reported missing September 7, sustained engine trouble while transporting cargo to the eastern Malaysian district of Limbang. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has towed the vessel to Limbang.

The Sah Lian left from Malaysia’s Kuching district on September 2 and was transporting 500 tons of general cargo. It was reported missing when it did not arrive at the Port of Limbang on schedule Saturday. Kian Lian Shipping, the vessel’s owner, was last in contact with the crew captain on September 3.

Prior to its discovery, there was speculation that the Sah Lian was the South China Sea’s latest piracy victim. MMEA deployed seven ships and one C-130 aircraft in the search-and-rescue mission.


Nigeria, Togo Partner to Combat Piracy

By MarEx 2015-09-11 15:49:10

Nigeria and the Republic of Togo are partnering to combat rising piracy and oil theft off West Africa. Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe met Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari this week to discuss increasing security measures in the region. Gnassingbe also extended an invitation to a maritime security and development summit to be hosted in Togo in November. Nigeria and Togo both abut the Gulf of Guinea, a hotbed of pirate activity recently.

“The summit will deal with issues of piracy, and we know that one of the problems of Nigeria is the theft of oil through the sea,” President Gnassingbe said in a statement. “The summit will also deal with illicit trafficking in the sea like drug trafficking, human trafficking and also with the issues of pollution of our water.”

Piracy has spiked in the region since 2008, and Nigeria claims losses of about $2 billion per year. The Nigerian government says it loses $800 million to illegal fishing activities and $9 million to piracy attacks. Another $16 million is squandered through oil thefts, and hundreds of millions of dollars are paid out in ransoms.

The Togo President says that the Gulf of Guinea loses $7 billion annually due to piracy. He added that his country and others in the region cannot afford to lose such exorbitant amounts of money to piracy given their current financial states, and that coordinated efforts among African nations are the only solution to a growing problem.

“If all the African countries are on the same page, it would be easy to tackle the security challenges,” he added. “So we have to keep holding summits because individual countries cannot combat piracy effectively without cooperation.”

Nigeria has destroyed 200 illegal oil refineries and 58 oil barges and arrested more than 80 pirate vessels in the past year.


Algoma to Build Three Self-Unloading Freighters

By MarEx 2015-09-11 15:18:46

Algoma Central Corporation announced that it is has signed conditional contracts to build three 740-foot Seaway Max self-unloading bulk freighters to join the Company’s Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway dry-bulk fleet.

These contracts, which are with Uljanik d.d. of Croatia, replace three of the contracts with a Chinese shipyard that were cancelled earlier this year. The agreements are contingent upon delivery by the shipyard of acceptable security for the construction instalments required under the contracts.

“Our experience with the Uljanik Group on the Equinox 650 Class project has given us confidence in the Shipyard’s ability to deliver high quality vessels on the agreed timelines”, said Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of Algoma. “Our Equinox project has faced significant delays as a result of the financial problems encountered by Nantong Mingde shipyard. Working closely with Uljanik, we are confident in the continuation of Algoma’s fleet renewal project.”

These new Equinox Class ships will feature a boom forward configuration designed to provide greater flexibility in certain delivery situations. The vessels will have an overall length of 225.55 metres (740 feet) and a beam of 23.77 metres (78 feet), qualifying as Seaway Max size ships. The vessels will carry 29,300 tonnes at maximum Seaway draft.

The new Equinox vessels will have all of the features of the existing Equinox design, including the exhaust gas scrubber technology pioneered by Algoma on the Great Lakes in its first Equinox Class gearless bulk carriers. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in early 2018 with the balance of the ships delivered by the end of that year. Algoma is continuing discussions with other parties on further fleet renewal opportunities.