Maritime Robbery, Hijacking Rising in Asia

By MarEx 2015-07-22 17:30:39

Maritime hijacking is rising in Asia. The latest data from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) reveals that incidents of piracy and armed robbery have risen 18% 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.

Southeast Asian vessels are the most vulnerable to attack. In June, Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) released its fifth annual State of Maritime Piracy Report, analyzing the impact of piracy in the Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Guinea and Southeast Asia. In 2014, about 3,600 ships were boarded by pirates and pirates enjoyed a 90 percent success rate in boarding targeted vessels.

The ReCAAP report states that a ship’s fuel and oil are primary targets, and financial losses are reaching record highs. The OBP report claims that the Gulf of Guinea lost $983 million due to piracy in 2014. And Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the International Maritime Bureau, estimates that up to 70 percent of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea are unreported. “This makes it difficult to assess the extent of the threats seafarers face in this region,” Mukundan added.

According to ReCAAP, 11 ships have been targeted in oil and fuel attacks. The victims piloted seven product tankers, two chemical tankers, one tanker and one supply vessel.

“Collective and concerted efforts are essential to address the increasing incidents of siphoning and hijacking of ships,” the ReCAAP wrote.

The rise in Southeast Asian hijacking prompted the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to release a statement underlining the difference between armed robbery and piracy. The report states that armed robbery is confined to the territorial waters of sovereign states, while piracy occurs on the open sea.

The SSA states: “The distinction determines whether a merchant vessel can seek protection from the navy or coast guard of the littoral state or from the navy or coast guard of the vessel’s flag of registry.”

The statement also noted that the majority of reports are likely to be armed robberies targeting specific vessel types. The SSA’s findings show that only 14 percent of attacks on merchant vessels were classified as piracy, while 85 percent were cases of armed robbery. 46 percent of those robberies occurred while in port or at anchorage.


Freedom Of The Seas Catches Fire

By MarEx 2015-07-22 17:17:30

The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship caught fire entering Jamaica Wednesday. One crew member was treated for first-degree burns, but no passengers were injured.

The ship departed from Cape Canaveral, Florida and was pulling into port in Falmouth at the time of the incident, and is now docked safely. The fire occurred in a mechanical space, according to officials, and on-board fire suppression systems quickly put out the flame.

Passengers were instructed to go to evacuation assembly stations as a precaution. Officials say all systems are operating normally.

The Freedom of the Seas has been sailing out of Central Florida since 2009, and the 1,112 foot ship is currently on a seven-night cruise that departed on Sunday.


Philippines Repeal Cabotage Law

By MarEx 2015-07-22 16:11:31

The Philippines has waived its cabotage laws. President Benigno Aquino III signed the Philippine Competition Act, which will open competition on its commercial waterways. The repeal is aimed at decreasing transportation costs and will allow foreign operators to ship domestic cargoes within Philippines sovereign territories. The new regulation was enacted by the Philippine Competition Committee.

National trade groups rallied to repeal the cabotage law due to the Philippines archipelago being more of an international trading zone encompassing Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Malaysia. The trade groups claim they can ship cargoes internationally cheaper than domestic shipping.

With a population of about 100,998,376, the Philippines is the 12th most populous nation in the world. Its flagged fleet is about 446 vessels while its largest container port, Manila, throughput is just 3,342,200 TEUs. The Philippine Competition Act is expected to have an immediate impact on its economy, which is ranked 153rd globally with a GDP of $693.7 billion.


Another Bosphorus Accident -one dead, 11 Rescued

By MarEx 2015-07-22 15:23:12

One crew member died and 11 others were rescued following the sinking of the M/V/ Akel after the ship collided with a bulker. The Akel and the M/V Sengul-K were both Turkish-flagged vessels. The collision occurred early morning hours on July 22nd near the town of Riva, which is at the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait from the Black Sea.

The General Directive of Coast Safety and Coast Guard were on the scene after the 2:40 am accident. The collision was caused when the Sengul-K attempted changed course a last-minute but ran into the Akel, which was transporting sand from Katal, a district of Istanbul located on the Asian side of the city.

The Sengul-K was built in 1968 and is owned by Akel Shipping and Trading. The Sengul-K is owned by Victory Transport Company. This is the second incident on the Bosphorus Strait this week. On Tuesday, the cargo ship M/V Majed and Randy crashed into a villa on Turkey’s Bosphorus strait. Read about that accident here.


New Method for Cutting Offshore Unit Construction Costs

By MarEx 2015-07-22 09:58:52

Variations in owner, operator and regulatory requirements during engineering and construction phases at South Korean shipyards present a huge challenge for operators and drive up costs. DNV GL has kicked off a joint industry project (JIP) with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company (DSME) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) that will establish a new international standard for offshore oil and gas projects. The results could potentially cut project costs by 15 percent, or approximately USD 500 million for a typical TLP (tension leg platform) project, for example.

The JIP aims to develop common and global best practices for components and equipment to reduce the number of, and variations in, requirements to the minimum necessary. The JIP is also supported by Korea Offshore and Shipbuilding Association (KOSHIPA) and the Korea Marine Equipment Research Institute (KOMERI) to address this issue. Other oil companies and engineering firms are still welcome to join the project.

“Unfamiliar specifications and processes are today resulting in re-work, delays and misunderstandings and add thousands of engineering hours to projects,” says Arthur Stoddart, DNV GL’s new Regional Manager for Korea and Japan. “The implementation of a standardized approach will be an opportunity to significantly reduce the general cost level of offshore projects without compromising on quality or safety.”

According to the JIP partners, standardizing even the simplest components at this early stage will deliver huge cost savings. “The full cost of a typical TLP project, for example, is typically around $3,500 million. Although the project partners have not yet published estimates, we at DNV GL expect to see savings in the region of $150 to 250 million for this type of project, which is up to seven percent of the total project cost. The full standardization potential is more than 15 percent of the project cost.”

The JIP will initially focus on simple components and equipment, such as tertiary structures and bulk materials for construction, piping and electrical and instrumentation engineering. Next year, the scope will be extended to complete modules and equipment packages. The project will consider industry standards, company standards as well as maritime rules and approaches for standardization, as all methodologies will be reviewed to ensure the most effective and efficient means are applied.

“We hope this will lead to standardization that helps to reduce design periods and minimize design changes,” said JongBong Park, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of HHI’s offshore and engineering division. “Other potential benefits include reduced material costs resulting from lower material purchase, manufacturing and testing expenses. A shortening of the material purchasing lead-time would be expected as more materials could be held in stock. Surplus materials could be used in other construction projects.”

Elisabeth Torstad, CEO of DNV GL – Oil & Gas, says: “Using international standards more widely in offshore oil and gas projects has the potential to significantly reduce cost levels. This will also lower the risk of project overruns without compromising on quality or safety.”