Seafarer Welfare Initiatives Unite

By MarEx 2015-08-04 19:45:20

The boards of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are moving the activities of the MPHRP into ISWAN. A transfer agreement was signed on August 3.

ISWAN will now be responsible for all the activities of the highly respected MPHRP. The move to ISWAN will enable the program to develop under the auspices of a well-established international seafarers’ welfare organization that is registered as a charity.

The program will continue to support the seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy. While piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia have significantly decreased, attacks are on the increase in South East Asia and continuing in the Gulf of Guinea. The MPHRP program will concentrate on these areas while still supporting seafarers who were held for years in Somalia. The program will seek to develop constructive and positive relationships with existing and new industry partners.

ISWAN has already appointed a new program manager, Tom Holmer, to lead the MPHRP in this new phase of its development. The program in South Asia will continue while an immediate priority will be to secure funding to continue the program in South East Asia and Eastern Europe.

Peter Hinchliffe, speaking on behalf of the MPHRP Board said “The MPHRP Board decided some time ago that the best way to provide the very best long term stability for the support of seafarers and their families caught up in the appalling acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean and in Somalia was to find a permanent home under the umbrella of an existing and highly respected seafarers’ charity. Attacks on merchant ships and seafarers are still happening and we must ensure that the MPHRP is there to support seafarers if they are attacked and to prepare them for passages through high risk areas.”

Jon Whitlow, Secretary of the Seafarers Section of the International Transport Workers Federation said “We are pleased that the program can now continue as part of ISWAN. The ITF will play its role, with other industry partners, to ensure that piracy, with its devastating effect upon seafarers and their families, is not forgotten about.”

Per Gullestrup, Chairman of ISWAN and former Managing Partner of Clipper whose ship CEC Future, and its crew, was hijacked off Somalia and held for 71 days said “I am delighted that the program is coming into ISWAN. MPHRP has done outstanding work in the past and I believe ISWAN is the right organization to take the program forward. We look forward to working with current and new partners on developing MPHRP.”

Other key industry partners involved in the MPHRP, such as the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Maritime Bureau, fully support the move of the program into ISWAN.

Commenting on the news CEO of Human Rights at Sea, David Hammond, said “This is superb news for the future of what is a highly valuable humanitarian program and which has already achieved impressive results. ISWAN is the ideal place for assuring the charitable future of MPHRP with clear industry support and wider international engagement.”


New Jersey Spill Cleaned Up

By MarEx 2015-08-04 18:44:23

Most of the oil spilled after a tug allided with a fuel terminal in New Jersey on Saturday has now been cleaned up, says the U.S. Coast Guard

About 1,000 gallons of oil was spilled in Bayonne, New Jersey, following the allision. The fuel terminal, which is located about 10 miles south of Manhattan, began to leak shortly after the incident.

Members of the International-Matex Tank Terminal (IMTT) quickly notified the New York Coast Guard, which dispatched its Pollution Response Team to investigate. The response team and terminal employees launched a containment boom of 2,500 feet and secured the source of the oil.

Coast Guard officials state that a contractor hired by the IMTT is overseeing the final cleanup operations. No sensitive areas or wildlife have been affected by the spill.

The Coast Guard is investigating what caused the tugboat to allide with the pier.


IMO Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas Agenda

By MarEx 2015-08-04 17:07:02

The International Maritime Organization, Pacific Regional Environments Programme (SPREP) and Pacific island representatives met in Nadji, Fiji for a workshop to designate key areas as Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) in the Pacific Ocean.

The IMO and SPREP identified areas off the of Papa New Guinea, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Kiribati waters as meeting the PSSA criteria. Areas near the Tonga, Marshall and Solomon Islands are also being considered. Representatives from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau and Papua New Guinea attended the seminar.

“The Pacific region possesses some of the most outstanding ecological resources in the world. These resources face many pressures including from international shipping. Despite this, the region does not have any designated PSSAs to protect these areas from such pressures. It is our hope that, through this workshop, Pacific island countries can come up with a workable plan to develop and submit a successful PSSA proposal,” said the IMO’s Edward Kleverlaan.

PSSAs are areas that require special protections to be set in place because of its ecological, socio-economic or scientific attributes that make it vulnerable to damage from international shipping activities.

A PSSA can gain additional protection by achieving global recognition through the adoption of protective measures like ship routing systems and proposing that specified areas be avoided or establishing shipping lanes to reduce the risk of collisions.

The training workshop also instructed each representative in the development of four-year national action plans aimed at structuring PSSA proposals to the IMO in the future.