Rena fate divides Maori

Three weeks into the hearings over the fate of the Rena wreck on New Zealand’s Astrolabe Reef, local Maori communities remain divided on whether the Rena should stay or go.
Owner Daina Shipping has submitted that the remaining wreck is benign and should remain. It now holds significant heritage

Clamping Down on Ivory Smuggling

By Wendy Laursen 2015-09-23 21:42:02

Last year, one of Kenya’s most adored elephants, Satao, was killed for his ivory. Poachers shot the bull elephant with a poisoned arrow in Tsavo East National Park, waited for him to die a painful death, and then hacked off his face to remove his massive tusks.

Poachers continue to kill an estimated 30,000 elephants a year, one every 15 minutes, fueled to a large extent by China’s love of ivory. Thirty-five years ago, there were 1.2 million elephants in Africa; now around 500,000 remain.

A recent documentary, 101 East, released by Al Jazeera, traces the poaching of elephants and smuggling of ivory from Tanzania’s port of Dar es Salaam through the port of Zanzibar to Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Hong Kong is one of the busiest ports in the world. It handled nearly 200,000 vessels last year and is a key transit hub for smugglers transporting ivory from Africa to China. Between 2000 and 2014, customs officials seized around 33 tons of ivory, taken from an estimated 11,000 elephants.

With the huge challenge faced by customs and other law enforcement agencies in West Africa, wildlife crime is on the rise. Regional traffickers and organized crime groups are exploiting weak, ineffective and inconsistent port controls throughout the region.

U.N. Action in Africa

To address the issue, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a workshop in Accra, Ghana, from August 25 to 27 August, and in Dakar, Senegal, from August 31 to September 2. The objective was to provide training for national law enforcement agencies to better fight wildlife crime through the control of maritime containers. The workshop was led by trainers and experts from UNODC, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the CITES Management Authority.

The Container Control Programme has been developed jointly by UNODC and WCO to assist governments to create sustainable enforcement structures in selected sea and dry ports to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime. The implementation of the program is an opportunity for UNODC to work with governments in establishing a unit dedicated to targeting and inspecting high-risk containers.

UNODC, in partnership with WCO, delivers basic training programs and provides technical and office equipment. For example, the equipment connects the units to the WCO’s ContainerCOMM – a restricted branch of the Customs Enforcement Network dedicated to sharing information worldwide on the use of containers for illicit trafficking.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon argues: “Illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law, degrades ecosystems and severely hampers the efforts of rural communities striving to sustainably manage their natural resources.”

Wildlife trade is a transnational organized crime that raises profits of about $19 billion annually. In addition, it is often linked to other crimes such as arms trafficking, drug trafficking, corruption, money-laundering and terrorism – that can deprive developing economies of billions of dollars in lost revenues.


It’s hardly surprising that many of the big ivory seizures made in recent years have been detected in shipping containers, says Dr. Richard Thomas, Global Communications Coordinator for the environmental organization TRAFFIC. “Partly that’s due to the sheer quantity of ivory being moved (the largest-ever ivory seizure was 7.1 tons) – which from a practical and cost point of view makes sea carriage more attractive than air carriage.

“Also in the smugglers’ favor is the huge numbers of containers moved by sea. Some of the big ports in Asia deal with literally thousands of containers per day. Obviously it’s not practical or feasible to inspect each and every one, and that’s something the organized criminal gangs behind the trafficking rely upon.”

There’s lots of issues to be dealt with, says Thomas: For example, even when an enforcement agency makes a seizure, it’s not easy to find out who actually booked the passage for the container and who knew precisely what was in it and actually put it there. “That’s one area where transport companies can collaborate with enforcement agencies to assist follow-up enquiries. Obviously companies have records of where the container is headed too, obviously key information for follow-up actions,” says Thomas.

TRAFFIC recently ran a workshop in Bangkok under the auspices of the Wildlife Trafficking Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) project, targeting the movement of illicit wildlife cargoes across borders.

“The transport industry can serve as the eyes and ears of enforcement agencies as part of a global collaboration to eliminate the poaching and trafficking of illegal wildlife commodities,” said Nick Ahlers, Leader of TRAFFIC’s Wildlife TRAPS project.

“To be successful, the entire logistics sector needs to be part of a united push to eliminate wildlife trafficking from supply chains. In particular, we would welcome participation from major shipping lines and the cargo and baggage-handling sector.”

If nothing is done to stop the ivory trade, Africa’s wild elephants could be gone in a few decades.

A short documentary-style film about the African Elephant by RedWind Photography. Shot in multiple locations through out Zimbabwe. Music By Oliver Mtukudzi – Dzoka Uyamwe. FaceBook:

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


MOAS Expanding to South East Asia

By MarEx 2015-09-23 20:04:55

Search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will set sail to South East Asia to expand its life-saving mission to another region of the world currently facing large scale refugee movements by sea.

Since 2014, MOAS has saved more than 11,500 men, women and children from the Mediterranean Sea. The vessel Phoenix will be returning to its base in Malta on Thursday to prepare for a month-long journey to the Bay of Bengal.

“MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone.

“Our job in the Mediterranean is not over but we now feel it is our responsibility over the winter months to use the M.Y.Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis. Through this action, MOAS will be shedding light on another aspect of this pressing global phenomenon in an area where there is no known NGO rescue presence at sea. Once the monsoon rains subside, tens of thousands of Rohingya and others are expected to resume their dangerous sea crossings,” he added.

MOAS director Martin Xuereb said: “MOAS will also continue to monitor the situation closely throughout the autumn and winter months and plans to resume its Mediterranean operation next year. We thank our partners Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for their invaluable support in providing post-rescue care aboard M.Y. Phoenix throughout the summer.”

According to UNHCR, more than 1,100 Bangladeshis and Rohingyas drowned between January 2014 and June 2015, and the number of crossings is expected to increase this year.


Caribbean consolidation continues

Crowley Maritime has signed a letter of intent to acquire Florida-based SeaFreight Agencies, further evidence of consolidation in the Caribbean container sector.
“Both companies are currently working through the due diligence process in anticipation of executing a purchase sale agreement by

Danaos joint venture buys trio

NYSE-listed Danaos Corp has launched a new joint venture to acquire second-hand container ships at the bottom of the cycle.
The joint venture, Gemini Shipholdings, is 49% owned by Danaos and 51% owned by Danaos founder Dr. John Coustas. Danaos paid USD7.35 million for its Gemini stake.
Gemini has

World Maritime Day: What You Think

By Wendy Laursen 2015-09-23 18:51:07

From around the world, and across the industry, we asked what you think about World Maritime Day:

Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy

“As are the world’s oceans, the maritime industry is a global entity that interconnects trade – it is the life blood of nations’ economies. World Maritime Day provides a welcomed opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions made by the international shipping community and its professional mariners, who sail ships and transport the world’s life-essential cargos.”

Jim Watson, President and COO ABS Americas

“World Maritime Day is an opportunity to reflect on the many contributions the maritime industry has made to society. Long before planes, e-mail, cell phones and other modern technology, our world was connected by ships and built on the hard work of the men and women of our industry. Today is not only a day to be proud of our heritage but a day to look ahead with excitement to what lies beyond the horizon.”

Denise Krepp, U.S. ship recycling advocate

“World Maritime Day celebrates the life cycle of the maritime industry – from ship building to ship recycling. In the United States, new ships are built with the steel from those that came before them. This legacy strengthens our military and ensures that future generations sail aboard the most powerful ships in the world.”

David Hammond, CEO and Founder of Human Rights at Sea

“It is a day to refocus interest and attention on the maritime environment and particularly the people who make the related industries tick. The human element is fundamental to this, as are the rights and responsibilities which go with it.”

Jean Gowin, Managing Director of Jeanius Consulting

“For me, World Maritime Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing and diverse industry in which I’m lucky enough to work. As well as working with companies all over the world, I’m a big champion of raising the maritime sector’s profile, so any opportunity to reach out and engage with a wider audience is always welcome. The theme for 2015, “Maritime education and training,” is a well-chosen and topical one, as we need to ensure that maritime, both at sea and ashore, is a career choice for future generations. The future of shipping lies with young people, and it’s crucial to enable them to understand the wide ranging opportunities in the industry and the importance of the role it plays in the global economy.”

David Kelly, Director of Asia PAC – Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)

“World Maritime Day is a great opportunity for the sector and wider world to see the amazing efforts of the maritime industry and the work the IMO does. With a focus on training this year, the IMarEST has been working with a number of organizations to support the professional development of those at sea, and accrediting career routes to provide access to professional qualifications such as Chartered Marine Engineer for engineers and Chartered Marine Technologist for the deck side. The institute is also working with universities, colleges and cadet training organizations to support the Initial Professional Development of their students, putting them on a professional development path for the start of their careers.”

Dean Summers, ITF Australia coordinator

“WMD for me is a time where the lot of seafarers should be considered if only for a day. It’s a day when governments and industry should take time to promote the value of the world’s 1.3 million workers on whom all economies rely. The biggest threat to seafarers today comes from a society oblivious of how everything we buy, consume and trade is transported by workers and almost always maritime workers. At a time when going to sea is more demanding than ever, mariners at least deserve acknowledgement of their contribution to world trade. World Maritime Day will pass almost unnoticed by politicians, communities and employers but if we can use this opportunity to remind ourselves and others that this unique industry is still central to our lives then it will have been well worth any effort. I encourage all sides of the shipping community to work hard to make this day a success and to remember the hard working men and women who go to the sea in ships.”

Alex van Zuijlen, Marketing Director Sinwa Ltd

“We think that World Maritime Day, and in particular the focus on education and training, is a great initiative by the IMO. Historically, the maritime industry has been the backbone of economic growth for developing nations, revolutionizing institutions like education, democracy, human rights and public liberties. We do recognize that today’s maritime industry heavily relies on human resources coming from yet to be developed economies, and we applaud IMO for taking on the social responsibility of creating personal growth opportunities for those who are willing to be away from families for a long time, doing an exciting yet demanding job at sea.”

Paolo Moretti, General Manager, Marine, RINA Services

“It’s great that IMO is focusing on education and training for this year’s World Maritime Day. It is something we have identified as fundamental, and we are doing all we can to share expertise and raise standards of seafarers.”

Sergey Popravko, Managing Director of Unicom Management Services

“For us at Unicom, it is Maritime Day every day – we are passionate about every aspect of shipping. Looking at a great ship photo makes our hearts beat faster! We very much appreciate the good work of IMO and, especially, their great initiative in creating the ongoing WMD and giving it a specific theme each year. This year’s theme, “Maritime Education and Training,” is at the core of our activity, and we constantly review, develop and investigate the training and development needs of our sea and shore personnel. Moreover, we have strong ties with marine academies, as well training our future crew for 2-3 years before they join our ships. But even more importantly, this initiative creates more awareness with the general public about shipping and all the related maritime sectors, especially the career opportunities the industry has to offer young people. Unicom is proud to be a part of such a large multi-faceted sector, which includes shipbuilding, classification, registry, ship management and education and training, as well as many more – all having a part in defining the maritime transport system.”

Bjarne Rasmussen, ice navigator

“I am very big fan of education and training of the entire crew of a ship; but it is as if that shipping today focuses more on theoretical skills learned in a school ashore – rather than focusing on the individual sailor’s personal skills and social skills on board. There was a time at sea where the balanced combination of knowledge and skills were called for good seamanship; I do hope that the World Maritime Day 2016 also focuses on this topic.”

Peter Hult, President of Vikand

“World Maritime Day allows us to remember and focus on the safety, health and wellness of the many seafarers globally who are making international trade possible. Without these many hard working men and women, that world trade would come to a standstill. It is important that we continue to focus on safety, health and continued education for our seafarers in order to make this an attractive trade for people who are considering seafaring as a profession. Having been a seafarer myself, I value the hard work that is going in to being a mariner.”

Mark Cameron, COO of Ardmore Shipping

“It is great to see education and training placed at the heart of this year’s World Maritime Day. At Ardmore Shipping, we passionately believe that seafaring is much more than a 9-5 job. It is a profession and a way of life. We want our seafarers to regard themselves as the highly skilled professionals that they are and to take tremendous pride in their work. Seafarers are the backbone of global shipping and World Maritime Day is an excellent opportunity to remind everyone of their immense contribution, which often goes unseen. We owe it to them to invest in their training and education, to empower them to use their skills when serving at sea and to encourage young people looking for a successful and fulfilling career to consider the maritime industry. World Maritime Day is also about expressing our gratitude and respect for the families of our seafarers. In many ways, they are the unsung heroes of our industry and we mustn’t lose sight of the burden of having a family member away from home for such long periods of time. They are an important part of the maritime community and they deserve our recognition and our support.”

Philippe Donche-Gay, Executive Vice President and head of the Marine & Offshore Division, Bureau Veritas

“World Maritime Day reminds us to be proud of the great global industry we work in. Shipping doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves for the way it makes the world economy work. We should shout more about the benefits shipping delivers to everyone in the world.”

P. Jaime Tetrault, Director, Marine Asset Intelligence & Product Support, Caterpillar Marine

“The theme for World Maritime Day 2015 is “maritime education and training.” This theme is very appropriate as we consider the challenges facing the maritime industry with ever growing complexities of modern day vessels and increased focus on technology to support productivity and reliability. However, as ships become more complex, global crew capabilities are not necessarily improving at the same rate. At Caterpillar Marine, we recognize this industry shift, and as a result have begun to explore different means to help crews manage this challenge. The most aligned technology to the theme for this year’s World Maritime Day is Caterpillar’s newly introduced Marine Asset Intelligence platform. This analytics enabled software solution is able to identify issues and predict failures well before they actually occur on most onboard marine assets. From a crewing perspective, having information about future failure risks and knowledge well in advance of the potential failure mode not only allows the crews confidence in the safety of the vessel, but it also allows for the construction and operation of more complex ships without the need for significant additional education and training. Technology is one of the best solutions to address gaps in education and training, and Caterpillar Marine is pleased to be leading in this effort on a global basis. As the United Nations states in their sponsorship of World Maritime Day, “we need to recall the often unheralded, but always vital, contributions by international shipping to peoples and communities all over the world.” These contributions must come in a safe and sustainable manner, with technology and maritime education at the foundation of this achievement.”

Erik Kravets, Founding Partner of Kravets & Kravets

“The focus of this year’s WMD is education. In our teaching we have gotten to know a lot of future officers and captains. The human component is so essential to shipping and it’s important to remember that when it comes to making money from shipping, it’s the crew and officers who are risking their lives day in and day out, whether it be in brutal weather or against pirates or any of the other innumerable difficulties out on the ocean. § 499 German Commercial Code lists nine liability exclusions, including war, ocean hazards, hazardous cargo, court seizures, etc. If you want to make an easy living it is possible without much effort to think of more comfortable and pleasant jobs. But as I like to say to each class at the beginning of a new semester, without shipping, half of the world would freeze and the other half would starve – and so we should use World Maritime Day to remind us to be grateful to seafarers, and the focus on education should remind us to ensure that these young men and women go board their ships with the best training and knowledge possible.”

Sten Wärnfeldt, Project Manager at Radar Technology

“World Maritime Day is a remembrance day for all at sea. Remembering how critical situations were resolved on board, remembering how good long experience contributed to safety, remembering new procedures and techniques making the day to day life on board better, remembering how the improved co-operation on board made the life on board even safer.”


Egypt Agrees to Buy French Mistral Ships

By MarEx 2015-09-23 16:47:39

France has agreed to sell two French Mistral helicopter carriers to Egypt. The warships were initially built for Russia, who paid about $1.7 billion for the vessels. In a statement, French President Francois Hollande announced that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi had agreed in principle to the terms of the purchase of the two Mistral ships.

Russia’s purchase was agreed to in 2011 but was canceled in September 2014 because of their involvement in the war in Ukraine, and France refunded the Russia’s payments. Under the original terms of the purchase, France would and sell Russia two warships while Russia would contract and build two more in Russia.

France, who did not pay any penalties for canceling Russia’s purchase, had no use for the two vessels because its navy already has three Mistral carriers in its fleet.