Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/06/2015
1. IMO Launches New Gas Rules
New rules governing the use of gas as a fuel on ships will come into force in 2017 after the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted them last week. The International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) was adopted during the 95th session of MSC, with amendments made to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea to make the code mandatory. The changes come as the use of LNG as a marine fuel is gathering pace, and regulators move to ensure the safe adoption of the fuel, which is stored at extremely low temperatures, along with other low-flashpoint fuels.
2. Vessels Taking Chances Again
Vessels have gradually returned to travelling along the shortest route, closer to Somalia, and to sailing again at normal speed, according to a report by the European Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Cervice (JRC). This also has a positive impact on fuel consumption and maritime transport costs.
The report used historical Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) data of States participating in the EU LRIT Cooperative Data Centre provided through the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). It is the first time that LRIT data have been used and analysed to demonstrate that routes and speed have changed.
3. Tanker Mystery Deepens
The mysterious whereabouts of Malaysian oil tanker, MT Orkim Harmony, reported to be missing since last Thursday, could possibly be an ‘inside’ job, leading to a hostile takeover of the ship and subsequent hijack by pirates, says Satumarin Sdn Bhd Special Projects Director, Captain Ahmad Imran Mohd Azmi. “There’s a chance that the disappearance was carried out by an accomplice who had access to inside information, conspiring with the pirates by exposing the location and position of the tanker. “Personally, I also believe that the accomplice is not one of us (Malaysian) since the incident happened between the Singapore and Indonesia".
4. Human Rights on Labour Agenda
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) report progress being made on the urgent issue of the criminalisation of seafarers. The paper analysed replies by member states to a survey conducted by SRI on the implementation into their national laws of the IMO/ILO (International Labour Organization) Guidelines on Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident. This followed an SRI survey of 3,480 seafarers that suggested that the human and other legal rights of seafarers contained in the Guidelines are often subject to violation, causing widespread concern.
5. Change of Heart on Beach Ban
With the maritime media beginning to question a ban on beach scrappings, lobbying has begun to make the practice seem more acceptable. With the raising of ship recycling standards in the Indian subcontinent spreading, and the industry becoming aware of these improvements in the region, the resistance to the European Commission’s (EC’s) possible ban on beaching is steadily increasing. The tide seems to be turning against those who are opposed to beaching without being willing to witness the facts for themselves. It is evident that there are facilities capable of complying with internationally acceptable standards, proponents claim.
6. Vessel Demand is Dipping
The demand situation is developing a tad slower than what the market had anticipated. After the expected dip around Chinese New Year (February), volumes have failed to pick up markedly. Global volume growth in Q1 was just 1.8%. Nevertheless, things are moving in the right direction and volume growth across the board is seen reflecting the overall positive macroeconomic development. On the major as well as minor trading lanes out of Shanghai specifically and China in general, spot freight rates are found at a six-year low, for this time of the year; with Shanghai-Korea being the only exception.
7. LR Wins Over Norden Fleet
A total of 32 ships will be transferred to Lloyd’s Register class as part of new agreement that covers a total of 57 ships including the entire fleet of Danish shipping company Norden AS. Leading tramp ship operator Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S, based in Copenhagen, contracted LR to class 57 ships, including the full Norden fleet and other externally managed Norden owned ships. 32 of the ships in the agreement will be transfer of class (ToC) ships and includes nine new ships, which will transfer to LR upon delivery. Four ships are currently classed by LR and 16 externally managed ships will also be transferred to LR.
8. Fresh Indictment for Oil Spills
DSD Shipping and four of its employees have been hit with a second indictment relating to illegal discharges from one of the company’s vessels. Last week, a federal grand jury in Lafayette, Louisiana, returned a three-count indictment charging DSD Shipping, and four employees with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice. According to the indictment, in 2014, DSD Shipping and its employees discharged oil-contaminated waste water generated aboard the DSD-operated crude oil tanker Stavanger Blossom directly into the sea. To hide the illegal discharges, DSD maintained a fictitious oil record book.
9. Cruise Ship to the Rescue
Seattle-based cruise line Holland America Line reported that one of its cruise ships assisted 41 people on a disabled sightseeing boat adrift off Jaw Point at Glaciaer Bay, Alaska. MS Noordam responded to a call for aid at approximately 12:35 pm local time June 10, to assist the 79-foot sightseeing vessel Baranof Wind, which was experiencing mechanical troubles near Johns Hopkins Glacier. The ship lowered a tender, which collected 40 tourists and one Glacier Bay National Park ranger and returned to Noordam. Noordam was in the middle of a seven-day Alaska cruise that sailed roundtrip from Vancouver, British Columbia.
10. US Release Cyber Strategy
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, has released the service’s cyber strategy. The strategy is designed to ensure the prosperity and security of the nation’s Maritime Transportation System (MTS) in the face of a rapidly evolving cyber domain. It stress 3 key elements. Defend cyberspace – Ensure the full scope of the Coast Guard’s capabilities are effective and efficient; Enable operations – Detect, deter, disable and defeat adversaries by developing and leveraging a diverse set of cyber capabilities and Protect critical infrastructure through a unity of effort to protect maritime infrastructure from attacks.
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