Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/05/2015
1. Maersk Tigris Manager Acts
Rickmers Group has issued a statement related to the vessel Maersk Tigris, managed by Rickmers Shipmanagement (Singapore), after they were granted access to attend the crew of 24 seafarers. In his contacts with the crew their representative has been able to establish that all seafarers are safe and on board the vessel, they report that given the current circumstances they are all in a good condition. Rickmers Group has learned the seizure of Maersk Tigris apparently is related to a cargo dispute with Maersk Line, the charterers of the vessel, which dates back to 2005.
2. US Navy Begins Hormuz Escorts
The U.S. Navy has begun accompanying U.S.- flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz in response to Iran’s seizure of a cargo ship flying the flag of the Marshall Islands, American defense officials said. The move is aimed at preventing harassment of ships transiting the strait, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified discussing military operations. One of the officials said discussions are being held with other nations on whether to accompany their vessels as well. The decision reflects increased tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, the No. 1 choke point for oil transit.
3. SHADE Meeting Still Has Somali Concerns
The 35th SHADE conference has convened in Bahrain to discuss counter-piracy efforts. This unique gathering allowed representatives from the commercial shipping industry sector, Military forces, Civilian and International representatives with a vested interest in the activities to prevent piracy activities to come together to discuss the latest developments in the fight against Somali based piracy. Attendees were quick to suggest that if the funding for counter-piracy drops and units ignore the advice that has clearly had a positive impact on the decline of successful pirate activity, we will likely see a re-surgence of the threat.
4. Med Exercises for Russia and China
The Russian and Chinese Navies are to hold a joint exercise in the Mediterranean Sea in mid-May, a first in that part of the world. A total of nine warships from the two countries are to participate, Beijing said. "The aim is to deepen both countries’ friendly and practical cooperation, and increase our navies’ ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said on Thursday in a monthly news briefing. "What needs saying is that these exercises are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the regional situation," he added.
5. New Marine Purchasing Code
The International Marine Purchasing Association has created a new code of conduct which incorporates the United Nations guiding principles and has something to say about migrants, piracy, corruption and bribery – among other things. IMPA act, is an initiative to encourage shipowners, operators and suppliers to manage their supply chains responsibly. It does so through the adoption by members of an industry-wide code of conduct – the Impa act supplier code of conduct (SCoC), which comprises a set of environmental, social and anti-corruption principles.
6. Happy Birthday BP Shipping
BP Shipping today celebrates its 100-year anniversary, making it the longest continually operating company in the BP group. Formed in 1915 as the British Tanker Company, the business has adapted to significant world events including two world wars, the Great Depression, closures of the Suez Canal, and the impact of oil nationalizations on the world economy and the movement of oil and gas. John Ridgway, CEO of BP Shipping, said: “I am delighted to have led this great business in its centenary year, and all the many thousands of people that have served BP Shipping over the course of a century can be rightly proud of the company.”
7. Union Slams Master Life Sentence
Nautilus International, the trade union and professional organisation for maritime professionals, has denounced the life sentence handed down to the Sewol ferry captain on 28 April. Lee Jun-seok, 69, was originally sentenced to 36 years in prison on 11 November 2014 for negligence and for after being acquitted of the murder charge that prosecutors sought. However, the prosecution appealed, saying Lee and the crew had caused the deaths of more than 300 passengers and crew by abandoning the vessel in the knowledge that they could drown. As a result, prosecutors felt Lee and the crew should have been convicted of homicide.
8. Cruise Lines List of Deficiencies
The U.S. Coast Guard has released a list of the top 10 cruise ship deficiencies issued in 2014. A total of 329 deficiencies were issued. These include, Fire Screen Doors not Operating (31 occurrences), Impeding Means of Escape (26 occurrences), Drills and Crew Training Issues (25 occurrences), Problems with Lifeboats (21 occurrences), Improper Utilization of Categorized Spaces (17 occurrences), Problems with Fire Detection (13 occurrences), Fire Suppression Systems (12 occurrences), Issues with Pollution Prevention Equipment (nine occurrences), Emergency Lighting Issues (seven occurrences) and Fuel and oil leaks (seven occurrences).
9. People Traffickers Convicted
A court in Sicily has convicted 20 Somalis for participating in people trafficking operations. The men had previously received political asylum in Italy. The convictions were announced earlier this week, and prosecutors in Catania say the men were part of an international trafficking ring involved in bringing migrants from Kenya and Somalia into Italy. Migrants pay large sums of money, and the smuggling group helped them to continue on to destinations in Northern Europe, especially Sweden. There have now been 42 convictions made as a result of investigations into the smuggling ring which was operating throughout Italy.
10. Ports Want Politicians to Wise Up
In the UK’s pre-election frenzy, every day brings new promises from the politicians. The ports industry has drawn up its own “wish list”, publishing a joint manifesto entitled "Delivering Value, A blueprint for ports policy". This document outlines what the industry wants from the new government after May 7, British Ports Association (BPA) chairman Andrew Moffat told guests at the BPA’s annual lunch. The document, produced jointly by the BPA and the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), says the new government must work with the industry to ensure that ‘the EU works for ports and not against them’.
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