Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/07/2015
1. Suez Terror Plot Foiled
Egyptian authorities have arrested 13 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on suspicion of planting bombs around the Suez Canal to disrupt shipping, security sources said on Monday. The men formed a 13-member cell that included an employee at the Suez Canal Authority. Prosecutors had ordered that suspected terrorists be detained for 15 days and said they had planted bombs in areas including sanitation and electricity facilities as well as on beaches, they said. Around 18,000 ships pass through the canal annually, which amounts to 10% of global maritime trade. Attacks against the canal have the potential to severely impeded Egypt’s economic development.
2. Hijack Tug Identified
The Indonesian navy said it has identified a tug used to hijack tanker Orkim Harmony in June 2015. The tug was identified as Meulaboh, and was found abandoned off Batam by the Indonesian Navy’s Western Fleet Command’s Quick Response team. While eight of the 13 armed robbers who carried out the 11 June hijacking have been arrested, the other five remain at large. Orkim Harmony, carrying 6,000 tonnes of unleaded petrol, went missing on 11 June en route from Malacca to Kuantan. The vessel renamed ‘Kim Harmon’ matched the description of Orkim Harmony, the vessel’s IMO number was covered and its AIS was turned off.
3. ISIS Using Migrant Cover
The European Union’s top prosecutor says she has been told that Islamic State terrorists are being smuggled across the Mediterranean hidden among migrants. Michele Coninsx, head of the EU’s judicial co-operation agency Eurojust, has confirmed she received the intelligence as part of the organisation’s efforts to respond to illegal immigration, terrorism and cybercrime. Ms Coninsx said Eurojust’s co-ordination efforts are ongoing and she could not divulge what EU nations have told the agency. But she said groups such as ISIS are also using proceeds from people-trafficking to fund terrorism.
4. Seafarer Rights Training Approved
The IMO’s Technical Co-operation Committee (TCC) has approved the development of training material that aims to better implement seafarer fair treatment guidelines. The decision comes in response to a request from Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) last month for the IMO to provide technical support and assistance to implement the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 2006 guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident. SRI’s request was supported by recent data acquired by the charity on seafarer criminalisation, which it has said often amounted to "trial by media".
5. Aussies Going Down Fighting
Some 200 protesters have marched on a local senator’s office in support of crewmembers onboard the Teekay tanker Alexander Spirit (40,100 dwt, built 2007). The vessel’s crew are refusing to sail the ship to Singapore from where it is docked at Devonport, Tasmania, after being told they will lost their jobs upon arrival. Protestors say the jobs will go to foreign workers, who can be employed more cheaply than Australian nationals. The march was led through Devonport by Ged Kearney, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and proceeded to the office of Liberal senator Richard Colbeck.
6. Greeks Look to Seafaring Once More
Greece has been convulsing this week amid closed banks, capital controls and an upcoming referendum on whether to accept new austerity measures in exchange for another financial lifeline from international creditors. Unemployment was 26.6% in the first quarter, according to government data, with joblessness for those under 25 at 50%.
As a result, many are turning to a traditional escape route: the sea. Greece’s shipping industry, which makes up almost a fifth of the world’s merchant-shipping fleet, is still hiring—and at better than average wages. That has boosted enrollment at Greece’s 10 maritime academies, some of which have been training seafarers for centuries.
7. Danes Looking at new Blue Growth
The Danish Shipowners Association believes that the new government should launch a new maritime growth plan, which can boost the Danish growth. Both sides of the parliament have expressed interest in maritime growth before the election. “One fifth of Danish export comes from shipping, and the Blue Denmark has the potential for even more. Therefore the new government deserves praise for wanting to create growth in the new government basis,” says Managing. Director of the Danish Shipowners Association, Anne H. Steffensen. Further growth in the Blue Denmark is a good place to start for both sides of the parliament have presented ideas before the election.
8. Shipping Facing Greek Anxiety
Greece’s shipping industry is facing a prolonged period of anxiety over its place in its homeland after a Greek referendum that has intensified speculation about the country’s potential exit from the euro and is perceived to have at least bruised the European project. In Sunday’s hastily-organised referendum an unexpectedly high 60% of voters gave the clear “No”. The vast majority of shipowners and other members of the maritime community will have voted “Yes” as the outcome least likely to harm hopes of a return to stability and the country’s standing in Europe. A crucial few days now follow as shipping remains on the hit-list of potential sources of money.
9. Pessimism Reigns in Shipping
The shipping industry is the most pessimistic in six years about its prospects as a fleet surplus persists, according to a survey by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. Two thirds of respondents working in the industry said they were pessimistic about its prospects, the most negative outlook since 2009, the London-based company said in a statement. The biggest contributor to their negative view was excess fleet capacity. While parts of the maritime industry such as the market for hauling oil are surging this year, others are slumping. “Shipping is a notoriously speculative business,” Harry Theochari, the firm’s global head of transport.
10. Acting on Seafarer Recruitment
Myanmar marine authorities have revoked the seafarer recruitment and placement services (SRPS) licenses for five local companies, while suspending five others from sending seafarers to foreign countries, according to an official report Monday. There has been 169 such companies in Myanmar licensed since April 1, 2014 to carry out recruitment and placement of seafarers, according to the Marine Administration Department. The department has urged people to work only with licensed companies to solve problems within the framework of law when dispute arises. Myanmar has implemented the SRPS program as a step for entering into the MLC-2006.
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