Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/05/2015
1. BIMCO Welcomes New EUNAVFOR Focus
The decision of the EU Council to launch EUNAVFOR Med was strongly welcomed by BIMCO, following the association’s statement on 24 April calling for an extension of Operation Triton’s geographical reach. BIMCO’s April statement highlighted the risks to the health, safety and security of seafarers who assist distressed migrants in increasingly large numbers – and that merchant shipping is not equipped to handle the humanitarian crisis at sea caused by the levels of migration in the Mediterranean. Giles Noakes, Chief Officer for Maritime Security at BIMCO, said: “It is reassuring to see the efforts…to address this crisis."
2. EU Sulphur Fuel Spot Checks
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has reported on the results of spot checks on vessels, testing their compliance with new EU regulations concerning the sulphur content of fuel. A total of 1,458 vessels operating in European waters between January and April 2015 were spot checked, and 90 vessels (6%) were found to be non-compliant with the new regulations. The reasons for the vessels’ non-compliance included: keeping inaccurate records or having incorrect processes, being unable to produce satisfactory fuel samples, and having fuel in tank with a sulphur content above 0.1%.
3. Success of ATALANTA
The success of ATALANTA in combatting Somali piracy has led to it becoming the model for a proposed EU mission to fight people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Atalanta has four warships and two aircraft, rotating between 10 nations, and has patrolled off the Horn of Africa since 2008, tasked with protecting merchant ships including the cargo vessel carrying aid for the war-torn region. The controversial plan envisages naval patrols with a mandate to destroy boats used by Libyan people smugglers, something that Atalanta aircraft have occasionally done in Somalia. The plan has been criticised by Libya and some UN officials.
4. Weekly Maritime Threat and Risk Report
PGI has released its latest update – it features attacks by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Also the increased regional tensions linked to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. From a piracy perspective the report features analysis of the repeat attack on the Malaysia-flagged product tanker, Oriental Glory, which marked the ninth hijacking in Southeast Asia since the start of 2015, and the fifth off Malaysia. Two robberies were reported in Chittagong anchorage this week. Chittagong sees a consistently high, and steadily increasing, number of robberies with eight incidents reported since the beginning of 2015.
5. Singapore Calls for Cooperation
Singapore’s defense minister Ng Eng Hen has delivered a speech calling for global maritime cooperation to address a number of key shared challenges. Ng suggested three “focus areas” for the international community, he emphasized forging understanding as well as trust and confidence, he called for practical measures to reduce miscalculation at sea. Third and lastly, he focused on the need for capacity-building to respond to challenges quickly and effectively.
6. Nigerian Navy Impersonators
The Nigerian Navy in collaboration with the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation PULO SHIELD, and other security agencies, have arrested over 84 vessels and their crew from January 2014 to date. The naval chief also said the Navy had noted with concern the increasing cases of impersonation of its personnel, a number of unscrupulous persons had been caught recently disguising themselves as naval personnel. According to him, the suspects were using dresses which resemble the naval uniform. "Accordingly, the Navy has taken drastic measures to …arrest and prosecute any person impersonating as naval personnel," he said.
7. Seafarers Awareness Stresses Opportunities
20 to 28 June 2015 has been designated Seafarers Awareness Week and this year the theme is to be ‘Opportunities to Work at Sea’ with the intention of informing young people of the opportunities of a job in the Merchant service aboard anything from a container ship to a freight ferry or cruise liner, or indeed with the Royal Navy. The idea is to promote the relevant education, training and recruitment services that can lead to maritime employment. Seafarers Awareness Week will promote the vital role seafarers play in the UK and global economies, an industry employing 1.5 million seafarers worldwide, of which over 70,000 are from the UK. http://goo.gl/DX12bN
8. Vessel Orders Converted to Tankers
Twenty-three Capesize bulker orders have been converted to tankers as of now. This month, South Korean shipowner Dong-A Tanker converted four Capesizes it ordered at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in June 2014 to Aframax tankers. The company has since secured timecharter contracts for tankers from Teekay Tankers. The ships were ordered for USD61 million each. Dry bulk consultancy Commodore Research commented, "These developments remain supportive to the Capesize market for 2016 and afterwards, and several more Capesize conversions are expected to be announced."
9. Deepwater Horizon Claims Settled
Transocean Ltd., owner of the rig that sank in the 2010 Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, joined Halliburton Co. in settling all remaining issues with BP Plc. Transocean and BP, the well’s owner, will mutually release all claims against each other, while the London-based exploration and production company will pay the rig contractor $125 million in compensation for legal fees, Transocean said Wednesday in a statement. Transocean, based in Vernier, Switzerland, also agreed to pay $212 million to two classes of plaintiffs represented by a committee in the Macondo litigation. The settlements were the latest in a series of resolutions.
10. First Aid for Ships in Distress
A new system for facilitating the risk assessment of vessels in distress and to improve communication in maritime emergencies has been launched. The new system, known as Vessel TRIAGE, is a way of easily categorizing a vessel’s safety status in order to assess the seriousness of the vessel’s situation and to facilitate decision-making regarding search and rescue. The system expresses the safety status of the vessel in terms of a Vessel TRIAGE category – easily classified from good to bad using the color codes GREEN, YELLOW, RED and BLACK.
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