Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/04/2015
1. Crew Seriously Ill After Poisoning
Most of the crew of the general cargo ship Balsa 85 are in a serious condition in hospital in Canada after eating fish on Saturday. 14 of the 19 people on board, including the ship’s master and cook, are suffering from food poisoning from the fish which were caught in international waters. Three are in intensive care. The working diagnosis is the crew has ciguatera, says a medical official in New Brunswick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the illness is caused by eating fish that contain toxins produced by a microalgae Gambierdiscus toxicus. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and neurological problems. http://goo.gl/gHxzQ6
2. Guilty Vessel on Maiden Voyage
The bulk carrier confirmed to be the cause of a bunker spill in Vancouver’s English Bay was on its maiden voyage at the time of the incident, The Canadian Press reports. According to a federal representative from Transport Canada, the Cyprus-flagged MV Marathassa appeared to experience a malfunction, and started leaking fuel while anchored. The ship had reportedly arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday to collect grain. Approximately 2,700 litres of oil was spilled, the Canadian Coast Guard estimated, who also confirmed that 80 percent of the fuel has been recovered as of Friday. Officials are confident that there is no more fuel being leaked.
3. Piracy Takes Political Angle
Suspected Pirates have attacked a passenger boat conveying five aides to the Deputy Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Chief Sam Ateki, along the waterways of Brass in Brass Local Government Area of the State. The whereabouts of the men are still unknown. Two more boats were also attacked and their passengers abducted. However, the boat conveying the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union Journalists (NUJ) managed to escape escape. The Nigerian Armed Forces have said they will be ramping up the security presence in the area.
4. High Seas Decision Hits Pirates
Somalia’s exclusive economic zone counts as the high seas for the purposes of piracy law. That was the conclusion reached in last week’s appeal by Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar against their August 2013 conviction for piracy. The pair were handed multiple life sentences by a court in Virginia, USA. In his appeal, Beyle argued that, under a 1972 law, Somali territorial waters extended 200nm from the shore. Because the incident took place within Somalia’s jurisdiction, the US courts were ineligible to try him, Beyle maintained. The court deemed the EEZ to have counted as the high seas and hound him guilty.
5. Cruise Passengers Caught up in Commercial Dispute
Around 500 holidaymakers heading back to Bristol were delayed for 19 hours after their cruise ship was impounded in a Lisbon harbour. The MV Azores had been due to leave the Portuguese capital for Avonmouth for the last leg of its journey on Tuesday night, but the vessel did not leave until Wednesday afternoon. The passengers had enjoyed a 15-night trip around Spain, the Azores, and Madeira, and were waiting to return back to Bristol when the ship was impounded. There was reportedly a legal debate between a former crew member and the ship’s owners, who were served with a summons for an allegedly unpaid debt.
6. Seafarers Welfare Award Nominations
The 2015 International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards – showcasing excellence in the provision of seafarers’ welfare – will take place on 9th June at the International Maritime Organisation in London. The shortlists for the awards have been announced by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN):
Shipping Company of the Year (sponsored by Garrets): AET Ship Management, Anglo Eastern Ship Management, Eidesvik, Hamburg SUD, JO TANKERS and Stolt Tankers. The winners will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony hosted by the International Maritime Organisation in London on 9th June 2015. http://goo.gl/NXO3KR
7. Looking at the Bigger Picture
Sturla Henriksen, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association paints a not-so-rosy picture in his association’s 2015 Outlook Report. Heightened global geopolitical turmoil, income inequality, climate change and economic protectionism have all resulted in a world with a far less certain future. “‘Realpolitik’ is once again in vogue,” says Henriksen. “Fragmentation and polarization seem more prominent than continued globalization. A territorial and aggressive Russia is met with sanctions from the West, China is converting its economic might into global influence, a war-weary USA is on the retreat, and the EU countries are preoccupied".
8. Anthem of the Seas Delivered
Royal Caribbean International on Friday took delivery of the Anthem of the Seas, the second of the company’s new Quantum-class ships. The cruise ship was delivered by Meyer Werft of Papenburg, Germany during a signing ceremony held in Bremerhaven, Germany. “I am very happy to receive Anthem of the Seas from Meyer Werft Yards,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean. “We’ve always broken the mold with each successive ship we build, and Anthem of the Seas is no different". Anthem of the Seas spans 16 guest decks; encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons; carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy. http://goo.gl/SXTxQb
9. Guards Remain in India after Delay
Six ex-servicemen who have been trapped in India for 20 months face yet more delay after a Supreme Court case to decide whether they can go free was adjourned another fortnight. The charges, including entering Indian territorial waters and carrying weapons, were quashed by the High Court last July and the men freed.
But security forces, known as Q’ branch, appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The men can’t get their passports back without the police issuing a “no objection” certificate and have spent their second Christmas, living in hostels, without pay, while they wait for the Supreme Court to decide.
10. USS America On Sea Trials
The US Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, USS America (LHA 6), has successfully completed final contractor trials (FCT), as part of a series of post-delivery tests. The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) carries out the FCT during which the ship and its major systems are exercised, tested and corrected as required. USS America assistant FCT coordinator Ensign Nicholas Haan said: "The warranty on our ship, straight from the factory, is going to expire soon, so we want to catch all the discrepancies we can find, make sure they are all noted and get them fixed.
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