Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/04/2015
1. IMO Makes Ferry Statement
The IMO Conference on the enhancement of safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages, held in Manila, the Philippines, on 24 April 2015, has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting toll of ferry accidents. The Manila Statement, adopted by the Conference, addresses the question of whether a ship is fit for purpose in its intended role. It acknowledges the urgent need to enhance the safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages in certain parts of the world. States are urged to review and update their national regulations in relation to their passenger ferries.
2. Cyber Fears Surfacing
Cyber-security is fast becoming a hot-button issue in shipping, perhaps because it is one on the agenda everywhere. “Ships are increasingly computerised – they’re getting integrated control systems and systems are developed from electro-mechanical type of controls into computer servo controls,” says Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary general and coo at Bimco. “That can affect the manoeuvrability of the ship – the actual ability to control the equipment on board. “But also there are ENCs and ECDIS, which are becoming mandatory. These need to be updated on a regular basis…the integrity of the chart system is one area of concern".
3. Asian Piracy Spike Reported
Anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP has revealed that the total number of piracy incidents reported in Asia during the first quarter of this year has increased to 38 from the lowest of 29 incidents occurred during the same period in 2013. According to ReCAAP’s quarterly report, four of the 38 incidents occurred during the period were incidence of piracy and the remaining 34 were robberies onboard ships. Meanwhile, the number of incidents reported in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) has doubled when compared with the same period last year and a number of ports and anchorages in Vietnam have witnessed an increasing trend.
4. Can Military Action Against Migrants Work?
EU leaders have suggested that military capabilities should be used to deny Libyan human traffickers the use of their boats. The idea is an interesting one. The aim is to stem the flow of illegal migrants into Europe, but can it legally work? The connection between such suggested targeted military actions and potential reductions in human rights violations, including physical abuses and the murder of innocent migrants desperate to cross the Mediterranean Sea, does not make sense without a comprehensive political, military and humanitarian approach backed by an appropriately worded UN Resolution.
5. IMO to Boost Somali Maritime
International Maritime Organization (IMO)to hold three days Forum aimed at reviewing draft guidelines for the establishment of a Somalia Maritime Administration. The three days forum is sponsored by IMO and is being hosted by the Kenyan Maritime Authority in Mombasa. The forum scheduled to end Wednesday. Two Ministers from the Federal government of Somalia and other top officials from other regional governments such Puntland and Galmudug are expected to attend the forum. The Forum aims to develop a framework for establishing a Somalia Maritime administration to provide governance and oversight.
6. Owners Should Expect the Worse
North P&I Club has warned that shipowners must “be prepared” for more rescues of migrants at sea. The Club told its members there are "security, legal, health and safety issues" to consider for vessels transiting the Mediterranean, with suggested measures including regular drills covering large-scale rescues, incoroporating plans for accommodating and disembarking rescuees. “The number of unsafe sea crossings attempted by refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants is growing rapidly, with around 350,000 people risking such journeys worldwide in 2014,” said Tony Baker, head of loss prevention at North.
7. Police Tackle Ferry Protestors
South Korean police have attacked a peaceful rally of more than 10,000 people in Seoul as they marked the one year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 304 passengers, the majority of whom were high school students. The protest, led by grieving families, was against the right wing Park Geun-hye government’s inept handling of the disaster and its attempts to stonewall an independent investigation into the sinking of the ferry. More than 13,700 police officers attacked the protest and used 470 vehicles to completely wall off Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul.
8. No Point Delaying Sulphur Caps
Oil and bunker industry veteran Dr Rudy Kassinger says there is little point in delaying the implementation of a 0.50 percent global sulphur cap for marine fuels until 2020, or even 2025. The global cap on the sulphur content of marine fuel is currently set to be reduced in 2020 from 3.5 percent to 0.50 percent by weight, although an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) review, currently scheduled for 2018 to assess whether enough compliant product will be available in 2020, could see that date delayed until 2025. “I think it’s a waste of time to dilly-dally and go with the 0.5 percent spec at 2020. There’s no point in waiting".
9. Ports Pushing for Eco Progress
RightShip’s Warwick Norman explains why ports are getting on the emissions-cutting bandwagon. Despite being the most carbon-efficient form of international transport, the IMO’s Third Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) study delivered the alarming news that a best-case scenario of shipping’s CO2 emissions were a 50% increase by 2050 – with worst case an extraordinary 250% increase. This is despite expected average fleet efficiency improvements of around 40%. Environmental port incentive programs are gaining in popularity, with easy-to-administer yet sophisticated tools available for ports to reduce local emissions.
10. Troubled Ships to Troubled Area
The US will start deploying two of its once-highly touted “ships-of-the-future” to Singapore starting in 2016. By 2016, the US Navy plans to permanently station and operate two Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) out of Singapore’s Changi Naval Base. By 2018, the Navy hopes to deploy four of the vessels in order to upgrade the capability of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet. The LCS was intended to be the Navy’s futuristic super-ship. It was envisioned as the first US combat vessel with the ability to remove underwater mines and take on swarm attacks of small craft in coastal waters and fight rival battleships in the open seas.
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