Southeast Asian Piracy at All-Time High

By MarEx 2015-08-11 18:25:26

Piracy and hijacking are hitting all-time highs in Southeast Asia as oil demand and a thriving black market continue to drive maritime attacks in the region.

According to PVI, a maritime security company, Southeast Asian pirates are targeting small tankers and siphoning fuel from their victims. Smaller tankers usually do not have adequate security in place to combat pirates. The total value and amount of siphoned oil cargo is unknown, but at least 20,270 metric tons of fuel has been lost this year at an estimated cost $10 million.

In July, Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said that incidents of piracy and armed robbery had risen 18 percent in the first half of 2015 when compared to the same time period in 2014. There were 106 incidents reported between January and June 2015 and just 90 last year.

Of the 106 vessels attacked, 11 were targeted in fuel and oil attacks. In February, the product tanker Lapin had 2,000 tons of fuel siphoned from it, which is the biggest recorded volume stolen this year.

The Singapore-flagged Joaquim was the latest victim of small tanker hijackings on August 8. The vessel was found the next day without the 3,500 tons of fuel it was transporting to Pulau Langwai, Malaysia. The missing cargo is valued at $700,000.

The Orkim Harmony hijacking in June is possibly 2015’s most serious. The attack was orchestrated by 13 pirates who boarded the vessel without alerting the crew, took command of the bridge and disabled the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS). The pirates also repainted the hull and altered the vessel’s name to avoid detection. The Orkin Harmony was found eight days later and eight of the pirates were arrested.

According to the PGI Risk Portal, a risk management solutions company, 11 percent of the world’s maritime hijacking took place in Malaysian and Indonesian waters. Though the majority of these robberies were small scale, it illustrates the growing trend in Asia.

Since April 2014, hijackings in the Malaccan and Singapore Straits have had common threads. The majority of these hijackings have been concentrated in highly congested areas that offer ideal opportunities for pirates to board tankers. There have been 13 reported hijackings in such areas in 2015.

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Seven Cruise Lines Violate Air Standards

By MarEx 2015-08-11 18:16:16

The Alaskan Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has penalized seven major cruise lines for emissions violations since 2010. The violations were revealed in Norwegian Cruise Line’s quarterly Security and Exchange Commission filing.

Carnival, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises are the other six cruise lines being penalized. The DEC has issued 18 violations involving 48 instances of excessive emissions since 2010.

The cruise lines violated the Alaska Marine Vessel Visible Emission Standards, which concern the opacity of visible emissions from ships within three miles of shore.

Details of the violations have not yet been made public because the penalties are still being negotiated. According to DEC officials, the penalty is usually about $37,000 per incident.

In 2000, Royal Caribbean paid for a five-year $250,000 cruise ship opacity monitoring program to settle past opacity violations.

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Maersk Posts Three Minute Suez Canal Run Video

By MarEx 2015-08-11 15:37:14

Maersk Line posted a 3-minute time lapse of the M/V Adrian Maersk, 6,000 TEUs, passing through the newly expanded New Suez Canal.

The New Suez Canal was inaugurated by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a ceremony held at the port city of Ismailiya on August 6.

The $8 billion project took 11 months to complete, included the widening and deepening of 35 kilometers of the existing Canal up to a depth of 24 meters, as well as digging and creating 37 kilometers of the so-called ”second lane,” running parallel to the existing Canal.

Egypt expects that up to 20,000 ships to transit each year. The new section is also projected to cut transit times from 20 to about 11 hours.

The Suez Canal accounts for roughly 7.5% of world sea trade and container vessels account for over 50% of the canal’s tonnage passage, according to Maersk Line.

Maersk had more than 1,400 transits in 2014, which accounts for 20% of the container transits through the canal. All Maersk Line’s Asia-Europe cargo goes through the Canal.

”The extension will enable larger vessels to transit, benefitting not only the shipping companies, but also our partners and world trade as a whole,” said Claus V. Hemmingsen, Maersk Group representative, who participated in the official opening of the Suez Canal along with COO of Maersk Line, Søren Toft.

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11 Fishermen Rescued By Crowley Vessel

By MarEx 2015-08-11 15:28:52

The Crowley-managed, USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS 23) ­– a Military Sealift Command (MSC) Impeccable class, ocean surveillance ship ­–rescued 11 fishermen struggling to stay afloat on a sinking vessel that had been adrift for five days in the South China Sea. While enroute to Subic Bay, Philippines, on July 19, Impeccable’s on-watch lookout spotted lights and debris floating in the water and numerous distressed mariners waving from atop the wheelhouse of a nearly submerged ship located approximately 100 nautical miles northwest of Cape Bolinao, Philippines.

Impeccable’s master, Capt. Robert Wiechert, maneuvered the vessel towards the stricken craft, and assessed that immediate assistance was required in order to save the stranded mariners.

The RHIB, manned by Chief Mate Wayne Robinson and Able Bodied Seaman Clifford Blackmon, made three trips to the sinking vessel and successfully rescued all 11 distressed mariners, four at a time. Within minutes of the final rescue trip, the derelict vessel completely sunk.

Once the mariners were safely aboard Impeccable, each was examined and treated for non-life threatening injuries by the ship’s medical department representative. They were also given the opportunity to take showers and were offered clean clothes, food and water for the one-day transit to port, where they were transferred ashore to the Philippine Coast Guard.

“This was a true team effort … [with] civilian mariners, security detachment, military detachment and SURTASS (Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System) operations center personnel working together to achieve an efficient rescue of all 11 fishermen. This was a prime example of team work between Crowley and military personnel working towards a common goal,” said Capt. Wiechert.

“Bravo Zulu (well done) to Captain Robert Weichert and the crew of USNS Impeccable for your superb performance in recovering 11 fishermen from a sinking vessel,” said Capt. Paul Harvey, USN commodore, Military Sealift Command Far East. “Your officers’ and crew’s professional actions assuredly saved their lives. The events conducted at sea displayed a superb performance of seamanship; especially noteworthy was the flawless coordination between the ship’s crew and [the] embarked security team.”

“The officers and crew of the Impeccable are fully trained and prepared to respond to a variety of marine incidents,” said Mike Golonka, vice president, Crowley government services. “In addition to meeting defined regulatory training requirements, crewmembers participate annually in company-sponsored safety programs, designed exclusively for mariners. The safety program provides training in survival tactics, shipboard firefighting, medical incidents and other relevant topics designed to give mariners the skills they need to survive in emergency situations such as this.”

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Panama Canal Workers Strike

By MarEx 2015-08-11 15:20:10

The expansion of the Panama Canal may face another roadblock unless 6,000 construction workers get an eight percent raise. The workers are represented by the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium who is arguing that workers were due a raise July 1 per a contract with the Panamanian Construction Association.

The GUPC is also demanding a solution to the lack of transportation for workers as well as sanitary improvements. Labor action is expected this week on August 12 unless worker demands are met.

Negotiations between GUPC and the Panamanian government have been ongoing since June, but the protests didn’t until August 8. The workers currently earn between $2.90 and $3.37 per hour depending on skill level.

The strike would come just six days after Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Manuel Chaves inaugurated the expansion project

The $5.5 billion expansion project, which has already been delayed by two work stoppages in 2014. The project is about 90 percent complete and is expected to open April 2016.

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Panama Canal Workers’ Strike Averted

By MarEx 2015-08-11 15:20:10

The expansion of the Panama Canal may face another roadblock unless 6,000 construction workers get an eight percent raise. The workers are represented by the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium who is arguing that workers were due a raise July 1 per a contract with the Panamanian Construction Association.

The GUPC is also demanding a solution to the lack of transportation for workers as well as sanitary improvements. Labor action is expected this week on August 12 unless worker demands are met.

Negotiations between GUPC and the Panamanian government have been ongoing since June, but the protests didn’t until August 8. The workers currently earn between $2.90 and $3.37 per hour depending on skill level.

The strike would come just six days after Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Manuel Chaves inaugurated the expansion project

The $5.5 billion expansion project, which has already been delayed by two work stoppages in 2014. The project is about 90 percent complete and is expected to open April 2016.

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