Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/06/2015
1. Owner in Soccer Disgrace
Evangelos Marinakis, one of the best known names in Greek shipping is owner of Greek football champions, Olympiakos. The 47-year-old Marinakis was banned from participating in football related activities after his seven-hour testimony before a corruption investigating judge who is looking into a major match-fixing scandal. The new leftist government has introduced legislation to reform the Greek Football Federation and impose prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up Euro 1m for corruption-related cases. Marinakis, through the Capital group, which includes the Nasdaq-listed tanker operator, Capital Product Partners, controls a fleet of 59 vessels of some 5.576m dwt.
2. Plague of Laws and Legislation
The influential Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) has attacked the plague “of new laws and legislation that, whilst well-meaning, do not actually better the lot of the seafarer, the environment or the shipping industry in general”. Chairman of the London-based GSCC, Haralambos Fafalios has gone so far as to describe the Ballast Water Management Convention as "a deeply flawed IMO convention". He also said system makers do not understand the limitations. Fafalios said that "despite the plethora of IMO approved systems, it has become apparent many existing vessels have neither the space nor the electrical generator power to support the BWT retrofits”.
3. Happy Day of the Seafarer
The IMO’s annual International Day of the Seafarer 2015, today 25 June, is promoting a #CareerAtSea Seafarers are being encouraged to share their experiences of life working at sea via social media with the hashtag #CareerAtSea and posting pictures of their career at sea on the IMO’s photo wall. In a video message IMO secretary-general Koki Sekimizu said: “On the day of the Seafarer, I wish to encourage everybody who is already engaged in this vital professional world to reach out to a new generation; tell them about your life and your work; inspire and encourage them to explore for themselves a career at sea or elsewhere in the maritime industries.”
4. Sending Somalis Back Home
The Kenyan government on Wednesday claimed to have repatriated 62 Somali pirates who have finished their jail terms, as part of its Piracy Prisoner Transfer Programme. The authorities say 164 pirates, who were captured over hijacking vessels at Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden since 2008, are still in prison. “The government is working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to facilitate the transfer of pirates who have completed their jail terms in the country,” Meshack Okiya, deputy chief at Shimo la Tewa Prison in Mombasa, told Xinhua. Another 14 pirates will be handed over to the Somali Embassy in Nairobi after they completed their jail terms.
5. Fight for Sewol Salvage
As many as 27 salvage firms are in a bidding war for the $185m project to recover sunken South Korean ferry Sewol. The operation to raise the vessel, which claimed more than 300 lives when it capsized and sank in April last year, many of them children, is slated to begin in September. The plan includes moving the wreck, currently resting 44 m below sea level, to shallower waters using cranes, from where it can be hoisted onto a floating dock. The operation is expected to take at least a year to complete thanks to the vessel’s advanced age and “severely weakened” structure. Salvage companies bidding for the job will be scored on a scale of their technical capability and price.
6. Fifty Shades of Shame
Francesco Schettino, the former captain of the Coast Concordia, has written about the 2012 disaster in a new 600-page book that promises to give his version of the story. Francesco Schettino was in command of the Costa Concordia when it wrecked along Italian island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people people. In February, Schettino was sentenced to 16 years in prison after an Italian court found him guilty of multiple counts of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship with passengers still onboard. Schettino has remained free as he appeals the conviction. The book, called “Le Verità Sommerse” was co-written with an Italian journalist.
7. Legal Fight over Arrested Crew
Glencore Plc is being sued by a former representative in Nigeria who says the commodities trader promised him $5 million to help free 15 Russian sailors detained on suspicion of smuggling guns. Og Amazu, owner of trader Amazoil Nigeria Ltd., says in a London lawsuit that Alex Beard, Glencore’s head of oil, failed to pay the fee in return for his assistance. Amazu, who claims to have earned $64 million working for Glencore since 2007, says in the complaint that he arranged meetings with “high-ranking” Nigerian security officials at the behest of Beard to help free crew members of the Seadiver.
8. No Price Fixing Found
Mario Cordero, chairman of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) says global maritime regulators have found no evidence of price fixing in freight rates among the biggest players in container shipping. The comments come after the FMC met with counterparts from the European Union and China in Brussels last week. The meeting was held to discuss concerns that new alliances among the largest players in container shipping would eventually control freight rates by forcing out smaller players unable to compete with price and capacity. Analysts and shipping executives said the industry’s 16 biggest players work together to move over 80% of all container cargo.
9. Latest Security Update
In Mogadishu, a suicide bombing near the national intelligence headquarters reportedly killed four people. Some Al-Shabaab fighters were also killed in the encounter. This was one of many attacks in a new campaign by Al-Shabaab, which purposely coincides with Ramadan. Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of leading maritime security company MAST, said: ‘It is clear that Somalia is someway from the levels of political stability desired by the International Community ahead of elections next year, and the Federal Government lacks the ability to enforce law and order. The country remains a permissive environment for potential piracy operations into the Indian Ocean.’
10. Piracy Model for Traffickers
The European operation against piracy in the Indian Ocean (EUNAVFOR Atalanta) has become a reference for possible maritime operation in the Mediterranean against those traffickers. Created in 2008 as an operation to protect merchant ships again pirate attacks, mainly in the Gulf of Aden an particularly in the IRTC (International Recommended Transit Corridor) put in place to make sure vessels from the World Food Programme would reach the populations in need, Atalanta has become much more than a simple EU joint operation. If the destruction of ships was not part of the original objectives of Atalanta, its actions soon grew offensive.
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