Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/07/2015
1. Libyan Tanker Bombing Continues
Libya’s internationally-recognised government has claimed its warplanes have sunk one vessel and attacked another close to the coast of Benghazi. An air force spokesman was quoted as saying that the vessel was sunk "because it had loaded fighters, weapons and ammunition to support terrorism in the eastern region," Reuters news agency reported. There has so far been no independent confirmation of the attacks, but several ships have come under fire under similar circumstances this year. Earlier this month, Libyan forces bombed the 1997-built 5,100 dwt Cook Islands-flagged Tuna 1 in international waters as it approached the Port of Tobruk, killing the third officer.
2. IMO Issues New Guidelines
Draft Guidelines for port State control under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention) have been agreed by the IMO Sub-Committee. The draft guidelines will be submitted to the Marine Environment Protection committee (MEPC 67), in October 2014, for adoption. The MEPC was invited to decide on how to address matters related to sampling and whether indicative analysis could be used for verifying compliance or non-compliance with the convention standards. PSCO guidelines on ISM code, rest hours and manning have also been agreed.
3. NY Times Shipping Expose Continues
The NY Times expose of the worst elements of global shipping is continuing this week – and the second area of interest surround allegations of wanton violence and killing at sea. The article focuses on video footage found on a mobile phone in Fiji which purports to show people in the sea being shot. With no bodies, no identified victims and no exact location of where the shootings occurred, it is unclear which, if any, government will take responsibility for leading an investigation. Taiwanese fishing authorities say they believe the dead men were part of a failed pirate attack. But maritime security experts said it is just as likely that the men were local fishermen in disputed waters.
4. Ferry Tanker Collision
A Stena Line ferry collided with a tanker carrying 12,000 tons of fuel near Gothenburg, Sweden, on Sunday morning. There have been no injuries reported and no fuel spilt into the sea. The accident happened near the island of Vinga in the waterway leading toward Gothenburg’s harbor. The ferry, Stena Jutlandica, was carrying around 600 passengers at the time of the accident. The ferry’s hull was punctured on the port side, but the vessel was able to enter port under its own power. The Swedish Coast Guard has divers in the water checking the tanker’s damage and potential for an oil spill. The tanker is operated by Terntank. An investigation is now underway.
5. Celtic League Seeks Seafarer Answers
The Celtic League, an inter Celtic organisation that campaigns for the political, language, cultural and social rights of the Celtic nations has taken rather a surprising interest in seafarer welfare issues of late – and has been seeking answers from the IMO, ILO and Isle of Man, as to how seafarers are treated and the progress which the MLC is making. The group has pointed to shortcomings to MLC and is seeking action from the relevant authorities. The League is also looking at pressing a possible Article 7 violation complaint to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to ensure the perceived deficiencies in the convention are rectified.
6. Shipping Company’s Complex Situation
In extremely complex financial situation faced by Lithuanian Shipping Company (LSC), the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania says it will take every effort in order to ensure that the crews on the company’s owned vessels could be provided with basic resources and could safely return to Lithuania. In order to resolve the problems, the LSC Board of Supervisors and Board members were convened urgently. A decision to negotiate with a bank for the additional financing was made. The Lithuanian Government, owning 56.66% of LSC shares, cannot financially bail out the company as the European Union law prohibits the state from directly supporting business.
7. People Tracking on Cruise Ships
The latest IT solutions in People Tracking have captured the interest of Carnival Corporation and the Italian Navy. A live demo last month was attended by safety and technical management of Carnival Group, and by the Naval Armaments Directorate of the Italian Ministry of Defense. Martec, a partner of the MONALISA 2.0 project, demonstrated a test installation on the cruise ship Ruby Princess connected in real-time from Alaska. The People Tracking System ensures a quick response to ship emergencies in terms of rapid automatic detection of crew presence in sensitive areas. It will help with evacuating crew before extinguishing fires with CO2 for example.
8. Shoreleave Issues Come to the Fore
New rules addressing shoreleave access in the US are being rolled out. Before port states became hyper-sensitive to security issues, shore leave was natural part of a seafarer’s life. You worked long and hard hours at sea, often for extended periods of time on long voyages. When the ship reached port, you went ashore and decompressed, connecting with family and friends. The bottom line is that vessels moored in the United States should not be held in the equivalent of solitary confinement. These regulations are long overdue and, with minor modifications, should be promulgated as soon as possible.
9. Sulphur Rules Hitting Owners
UK P&I Club has expressed concern over the increasing number of states forming new sulphur regulations, and the availability of low-sulphur fuels. “The move towards using cleaner fuels supports a global drive to reducing carbon emissions, with many countries forming new or reforming old regulations,” said Club loss prevention director Stuart Edmonston. “Hong Kong and Australia are the latest to introduce their own bespoke requirements. In Hong Kong, all ocean-going vessels (above 500 gt) are required to switch to low-sulphur fuel (or LNG/or similar approved fuels) during the periods the ship is at a berth, excluding the first and last hour of the berthing period".
10. Iranian Ships Emerge Internationally
USA excluded shipping line IRISL and port operator Tidewater Middle East Maritime Company from sanctions list, which previously prohibited operations of the Iranian vessels in international waters. According to the US sanctions against Iran the ban blocked visit of foreign shipping companies in port of Iran and operations of the port operation abroad. Currently shipping line IRISL manages fleet of 170 ships, which from today may operate worldwide. After the agreement between USA, Germany and Iran on country nuclear program, the doors for foreign trade with Iran were opened and 6 container lines called at largest port of the country Shahid Rajai.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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