Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/09/2015
1. Seafarers Run Away from Abuse
Four men returned to Cambodia on Sunday evening after escaping from a Chinese ship docked in the Philippines and contacting the Cambodian Embassy in Manila last week, the Cambodia Daily reports. The seafarers claimed they had been abused, overworked and underpaid on the ship, the general cargo Blue Emperor 1 (11,889 dwt; built 2008). A fifth Cambodian escaped from the ship on August 13. According to Equasis, Blue Emperor 1 is run by Nanjing-based New Unite Marine, with the beneficial owner listed as the Chinese government.
2. Piracy Mastermind Found
The suspected mastermind behind the hijacking of an Orkim product tanker earlier this year off Malaysia has been arrested outside Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta. Indonesian media and the Navy reported Monday the arrest of Albert Yohanes, a man suspected of being the mastermind behind the hijacking drama of the MT Orkim Harmony in June. The Malaysian-flagged Orkim Harmony was carrying approximately 6,000 metric tonnes of gasoline when it went missing on June 11th while off the coast Malaysia, prompting a search involving the Malaysian maritime authorities and the Indonesian Navy.
3. US Concerned about Tianjin Fallout
There are conflicting reports about the risks for seafarers calling at the port of Tianjin, where a giant chemical fire broke out 16 days ago. Currently a bio team is still cleaning the site and authorities have built a 20,000-sq-m tank to gather the contaminated earth. The USCG and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been monitoring vessel traffic and cargo departing the port complex in Tianjin due to concerns that there may be potentially hazardous ash, debris or residues on vessels or cargo bound for US ports. The USCG said it is “concerned” that impacted vessels and cargo may carry hazardous chemicals.
4. Threat of Piracy Resurgence
In northern Somalia, government officials are warning of a revival of piracy, unless foreign nations – and the naval armada patrolling the coast – do more to help create jobs and security ashore, and to combat illegal fishing at sea. Reporters claim that men in the local teashop, who bitterly condemned the lack of development, and employment are thinking about going back out to sea to hunt ships not fish. "If I don’t get a job soon, then yeah, sure, maybe I can go back to piracy. Anything can happen. All these people can be pirates," said unemployed teacher Daoud Ali Mohamed, 28, gesturing around the room.
5. China Embraces MLC
China’s top legislature on Saturday ratified the 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), which aims at protecting the rights and interests of maritime workers as well as fair competition in the global shipping industry. Announcing the ratification at the close of its bi-monthly session, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee stressed that, under the convention, maritime workers must be offered old-age, medical, work-related injury, unemployment and child-birth insurance in China. The 2006 MLC does not apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Macao SAR for the time being, it said.
6. Nigeria Embraces Security Partners
More than 20 nations are partnering with the Nigerian Navy to combat piracy. The Nigerians, naval officials from neighboring countries as well as U.N. representatives convened at the 2015 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) conference, which is hosted annually by Nigeria’s Navy in Lagos. A key agenda of the conference is to build cooperation in Africa and increase coastal surveillance to enhance maritime security. Pirates along Africa’s west coast constantly disrupt commerce by stealing crude oil, poaching fish in territorial waters and robbing cargoes from ships and have murdered crew members.
7. Iranian Crew Escape Pirates
An Iranian fishing vessel and its crew have escaped after being held captive for five months by Somali fishermen, maritime piracy experts said on Friday, but it was not clear how many crew members had escaped. Jaber, an Iranian fishing vessel believed to have up to 19 crew, was captured on March 26, along with another Iranian fishing vessel, Siraj. Local officials accused them of illegal fishing in Somali waters. "It looks like the captain took the opportunity of a passing helicopter or whatever, when the guards were distracted and were not on the ship … and cut his anchors and motored out," Steed, who runs a programme helping hostages.
8. Ship Game Causes Furore
The videogame "Ship Emergency Simulator" does not seem the most likely candidate for controversy. Due out in time for Christmas 2016, even its creator has admitted large sections will be “fairly undramatic”. Instead of sex, violence and Grand Theft Auto-style criminality, the game “features accurate models of real-life transport vessels and faithfully mimics the daily life on ships”. But Ship Emergency Simulator has been developed with the help of £75,500 from the European Commission, and it and 28 other games granted a total of £2.4m have attracted the fury of the British pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
9. Cruise Passenger Mutiny
Passengers had to be forcibly removed from a cruise ship docked in the city yesterday, in a dispute over a change of route. Around 300 passengers refused to disembark yesterday morning when the "Quantum of the Seas" arrived at Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Baoshan District, following a nine-day voyage.
The ship had originally been scheduled to visit three Japanese cities. But due to concerns about Typhoon Goni, this was changed to cities in South Korea instead. Passengers argued that they should receive compensation for the change of route, and some were removed amid reports of irrational and illegal behaviour http://goo.gl/dnDrLA
10. German Owners Want LNG Assistance
Germany’s shipowners’ association VDR, is calling for the German federal government to introduce state aid for newbuildings that run on LNG fuel. The association stresses that Germany occupies a strong position in LNG technology which could be further boosted by introducing an incentive scheme for newbuildings built to either exclusively or partially sail on LNG fuel. This would also help carriers reduce sulfur and particle emissions. "Without a comprehensive incentive scheme from the federal government for the construction and retrofitting of LNG-powered ships, it will not be possible to dismantle the barriers to market entry", they claim.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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