Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/07/2015
1. Aussie Detentions Up
The number of ships detained in Australian ports increased by 15.5% in 2014, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Port State Control 2014 report released this month. The authority detained 269 ships last year, up from 233 in 2013. Along with the sharp increase in detentions, ship deficiencies rose 31.1% despite a modest 4.6% rise in ship arrivals. Port State Control ship inspections rose 12% for the year with 3,742 inspections, up by 400. "The overall picture indicates that the international community’s PSC (Port State Control)/ FSC (Flag State Control) efforts are not delivering lasting results," AMSA said.
2. Nigerian Pirates Shift Offshore
According to triumphal reported from Nigeria – "pirates on Nigerian waters went to sleep in June, in the first month after President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power from Goodluck Jonathan". The latest report on piracy by the International Maritime Bureau showed that off Nigeria, 11 incidents were reported in the first half of 2015, though no incidents were reported in the month of June. However, a cursory glance just offshore shows that they seem to have just shifted – as 10 crew kidnappings in three separate events were reported in and around Nigerian waters.
3. Violence is Getting Ignored
Violent crime at sea — including murder — often goes unreported, and therefore uninvestigated and unprosecuted. Up to 70 percent of violent crime in the Gulf of Guinea, for instance, goes unreported. There are two initiatives, specifically designed to increase reporting that could provide a useful framework: The federal Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act that mandates reporting of criminal activity on passenger ships to the F.B.I., and the Declaration Condemning Acts of Violence Against Seafarers (the Washington Declaration), where major flag states (the country where a vessel is registered) commit to reporting to the IMB.
4. Maritime Matters Overlooked
Every seafarer knows that things that happen at sea don’t get the attention of things that happen on land. Oil spilled on beaches makes headlines, abuse and abandonment rarely do. That’s despite the debt we owe to seafarers who bring us, as the title of a recent book reminds, 90 percent of everything. ‘Flags of convenience’ cloak ownership and let those who don’t pay crews, or who run unseaworthy ships, escape detection. How can this be? One reason is the proliferation of flags of convenience, in which countries hire out their flags to shipowners based in other countries on a purely commercial basis.
5. All the Gear, No Idea
Navigators who sailed with decent companies under respectable flags, were brought up with the golden rule that “keeping a good look-out” was the absolute priority for the hours they were on the bridge. There was nothing more important, because the sea always had the capacity to surprise the person whose brain had gone into neutral. While casualties in general are happily in decline, P&I Club claims statistics largely agree that those due to navigational causes remain stubbornly constant, a source of frustration to those who look at the equipment available to the modern watchkeeper and wonder why this fails to make any difference.
6. Sainty Set to Let Ships Go
Shenzhen-listed Sainty Marine plans to dispose of four completed Ultramaxes that have been abandoned by Germany’s Corbita Maritime Investment. The company will take advantage of the disposal to mitigate its financial hardships and boost its liquidity, a stock filing of Sainty Marine said on 23 July. The newbuildings had been completed at Sainty Shipbuilding (Yangzhou). In November 2014, the shipbuilder cancelled the newbuilding contracts signed with Corbita for the four Ultramaxes as the shipowner failed to make the newbuilding payment. The parties signed the newbuilding contract in April 2014.
7. More Wage Woes for Seafarers
Another tale of unpaid crew has hit the headlines Down Under. Lancelot V, a Greek-owned and Panamanian flagged bulk carrier, has been detained in New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga (pictured), arrested on behalf of charterers. Its 18-man crew, a mix of Russians, Ukrainians and Filipinos, have gone unpaid and have had to fend for themselves. Finally, yesterday the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) managed to secure some cash for the crew as well as temporary visas for them to go ashore. The 19-year-old, 41,515 dwt ship, whose classification certificates have expired and has faulty cranes, is owned by Throne Shipping.
8. Panama Progresses at Pace
The Panama Canal Expansion Program is nearing completion with the construction of the Third Set of Locks reaching 90% completion this month. The Panama Canal Expansion Program will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, increasing the waterway’s capacity. The new locks will have three chambers, water-saving basins, lateral filling and emptying system and rolling gates. The Panama Canal Authority has produced an informative video to highlight the developments and update on the current standing and future plans
9. Child Migrants Lost at Sea
Up to 40 African migrants, including seven children, are feared drowned after their inflatable boat sank near the Libyan coast, survivors told the United Nations refugee agency on Thursday after reaching Italy. "They said between 35 and 40 people died on Wednesday morning," said Carlotta Sami, the UNHCR spokeswoman for southern Europe. All the dead came from sub-Saharan countries such as Senegal, Mali and Benin. A team from the Save the Children charity that interviewed some of the survivors said up to seven children, aged about 15 or 16, were also believed to have died in the incident.
10. Lessons from Somalia
Lessons from Somalia indicate we should be worried about far more than just the economics. Wealth gained from piracy in Somalia supported increased criminality and the terrorist activities of Al Shabaab. If such activities are allowed to continue unchallenged the region may face similar problems. While states hold much of the responsibility for security in their littoral zones, shipowners and operators should also boost their capacity to deter pirates. The improved vigilance of crews, and armed guards on some vessels, worked in deterring Somali pirates and may have a similar impact on deterring Southeast Asian piracy and armed robbery.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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