Thursday, 24 September 2020

Shipping Industry Calls on EU for Plan to Safely Disembark Migrants

shipping leaders call on EU to ensure migrants disembark promptly
Migrants aboard the Maersk Etienne - courtesy Maersk Tankers


With the EU leaders putting forth a new plan to address Europe’s migrant crisis, leaders from the shipping industry are calling for provisions that guarantee that ships which undertake humanitarian efforts can quickly and safely disembark the people they are rescuing. 

The shipping industry says that its ships are fulfilling their moral and legal requirements to save the migrants but then are being put in jeopardy due to the lack of agreements on how to promptly disembark the people.

The challenges faced by merchant ships in the migrant crisis came to the forefront recently when a tanker, the Maersk Etienne was called on to go to the rescue of 27 migrants in distress in the waters south of Malta. Responding to calls from a human rights group the tanker saved the migrants including women and children. The vessel was then caught in limbo for nearly six weeks with no port willing to let the ship land the people. 

Citing the situation that has just been resolved with the Maersk tanker and other incidents the leaders of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations, European Transport Workers' Federation, International Chamber of Shipping, and International Transport Workers' Federation signed an open letter to the president, vice president and commissioners of the European Commission calling for action to ensure a similar situation did not happen again.

Reporting that since the height of the migrant crisis in 2014, merchant ships have helped rescue over 80,000 distressed persons in the waters of the Central Mediterranean, the industry is calling for action from the EC. While acknowledging that there had been a decline in the number of migrants, they cited new data from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, known as Frontex, that reports an 85 percent increase in the number of migrant transits this year over last year. 

“This is deeply alarming to the shipping industry, as the migrant routes pass through international shipping lanes, increasing the likelihood of merchant ships being called on to conduct rescues. As recent incidents such as the Talia and Maersk Etienne demonstrate, there is no guarantee that those ships will receive prompt and adequate assistance when fulfilling their humanitarian responsibilities,” the letter says.

They go on to cite the obligations that ships face in these situations noting that once they take the migrants on board the ships act based on instructions received from the Search and Rescue (SAR) Authority coordinating the SAR operation.

“Merchant ships will not shrink from their legal and moral responsibility to render assistance to those in need of assistance at sea,” they say while pointing out that vessels such as the Maersk Etienne are not designed or equipped to take these numbers of people aboard. In addition to the safety issues of boarding the people, they point out that the ships do not have provisions for first aid, medical care, and food and water for large groups of distressed persons. 

"It is therefore essential that the rescued persons can be disembarked at the earliest opportunity in a place of safety – as the law demands.” They call for clear rules without attempts to criminalize or complicate the situation further. “States must ensure that the vessels and the masters of those vessels carrying persons in distress whom they have rescued at sea are relieved as soon as reasonably possible in accordance with international law.”

The letter concludes by saying that the ECSA, ICS, ETF, and ITF call on the EU and Member States to facilitate such an outcome without any further delays, taking full account of the need to ensure the safety and security of merchant ships, seafarers, and the distressed people they help.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Reefer Ship Attacked Offshore Nigeria. Two Crew Members Kidnapped

Image by Roli B - MarineTraffic.Com


Maritime security intelligence agencies have reported that the Water Phoenix reefer vessel was boarded Tuesday morning off Nigeria by an unknown number of persons and that two Russian nationals have been kidnapped.

Per Praesidium International, a risk consultancy and maritime security company, the incident happened at 5:50 a.m. UTC Tuesday, approximately 34 nautical miles south of Lagos.

"According to the initial reports, the perpetrators managed to board the vessel and kidnap the master and another crew member, both Russian," Praesidium said, adding that the crew includes 18 seafarers, of which seven Russians and 11 Filipinos.

Apart from the two crew members who have, reportedly, been kidnapped, the rest of the crew managed to retreat into the citadel.

The Water Phoenix is a reefer owned by the Dutch company Seatrade Groningen.

"AIS tracking indicates that the vessel was on route to Lagos at 14kts and undertook evasive maneuvers before coming to a stop and is currently drifting," maritime safety intelligence group Dryad Global informed.

Praesidium said Tuesday that the same vessel had been involved in another piracy incident in April 2019, around 80 nautical miles southwest of Brass, Nigeria. The attack was foiled after warning shots forced the perpetrators to abort their attempt.

Nigerian maritime authorities have dispatched the NSS Ekulu to provide assistance, Presidium said.

According to Dryad, the attack on Tuesday was the 13th reported incident in waters of the Lagos Port Complex and Anchorage in the past 12 months "most of which have manifest as boarding for theft."

"This is the 3rd offshore incidents in the waters south of Lagos within 2020,"

Per Dryad, 93 personnel have been kidnapped from vessels in incidents off West Africa in 2020, so far.



Iranian Fuel Seized by US to Reach Texas Within Days

Euroforce (© Pak Agen / MarineTraffic.com)

Iranian fuel that the United States seized last month while it was being transported to Venezuela is now being taken to Texas by two tankers due to arrive in coming days, part of Washington’s efforts to disrupt trade between Caracas and Tehran, according to sources and data.

The first fuel cargo, on Liberia-flagged tanker Euroforce, was to arrive in Texas in the coming 24 hours, the sources said. It is broadcasting the U.S. Gulf port of Galveston as destination, according to shipping data on Refinitiv Eikon.

The second cargo on Singapore-flagged tanker Maersk Progress tanker, is expected to arrive on Sep 19 to Houston port, the Eikon data showed.

Eurotankers and Maersk Tankers, which manage the two vessels, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment.

The U.S. announced in August that it had confiscated 1.1 million barrels of Iranian fuel bound for Venezuela. The sources said the four tankers originally carrying the fuel had transferred their cargoes onto the two vessels, which had special permits to enter into the U.S. waters to deliver the cargoes.

Stena RoRo’s E-Flexer GALICIA Delivered to Brittany Ferries – with Higher Passenger Capacity

 

GALICIA, the first of three ships in the E-Flexer class ordered by Brittany Ferries was delivered on September 3. 

The vessel is the third E-Flexer of nine ordered by Stena RoRo from the Chinese shipyard CMI Jinling (Weihai). The Galicia will be chartered by Brittany Ferries on a long-term basis and has been especially adapted to the wishes of the French ferry company:

The basic model car deck on Deck 7 has been converted to cabins. This, in combination with the deckhouse having been extended on both Decks 7 and 8, has enabled the number of cabins to be increased from 175 to 343.

Two scrubbers, one for each main engine

Two extra lifeboats added due to the ferry’s increased passenger capacity

The public spaces on Decks 7 and 8 have been partially given over to other functions compared to the basic model, but largely follow the E-Flexer standard.

“GALICIA is special because she is the first in the E-Flexer series to be delivered to an external customer. The design has been adapted to Brittany Ferries’ special requirements and the yard has been able to deliver according to schedule despite the ongoing pandemic, which we are very happy about.”

Per Westling, CEO for Stena RoRo. 

Stena RoRo has an agreement with Brittany Ferries for long-term charters of two more vessels in the Stena E-Flexer series. Both will be powered by LNG, are under construction and will be delivered in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Second Survivor and One Body Found From Livestock Ship Lost Off Japan

Search continues for lost livestock carrier off Japan

 A second survivor has been located from the livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1 lost two days ago in a typhoon according to reports from the Japan Coast Guard. 

The search and rescue operations are continuing in a race against time as a second, potentially even larger, typhoon is nearing the area.

The Japan Coast Guard announced this afternoon, September 4, that it had located a survivor in life raft approximately a mile from Kodakara Island in the East China Sea. 

The Gulf Livestock 1’s last known position was south of there about 115 miles west of Amami Oshima island. Winds from Typhoon Maysak and tides are believed to have carried the raft away from the sinking. 

The 30-year old Filipino sailor was reported in good condition and taken a hospital. The first survivor, who was discovered on Wednesday, also remains in a hospital. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said that it was working to repatriate him to the Philippines once COVID-19 protocols are cleared.

Earlier in the day on Friday, the Japan Coast Guard also pulled an unconscious sailor from the water. 

Found floating face down in a life jacket, the sailor was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said identification was pending on this person but that he was in a blue jacket with the label “Fitter” on it.

24-Year-Old Migrant Found Dead in Vehicle Hold Aboard Ro/Pax Ferry

cruise europa

The body of an Afghan migrant was found Sunday in the vehicle deck of a ro/pax ferry in Ancona, Italy. 

The cruise ferry Cruise Europa arrived in Ancona at about 1700 hours Sunday on a voyage from Patras, Greece. 

The victim's body was found within the vessel's vehicle hold, and it showed no signs of injury or violence, according to the local prosecutor's office. 

The enclosed hold can get as hot as 120 degrees Fahrenheit in summer weather, and Italian authorities believe it is likely that the victim asphyxiated while the vessel was under way, according to local media.

Italy's border police are leading an investigation into the cause of the casualty. It is not known whether the victim came aboard in a truck, and the drivers whose vehicles were in the hold did not report seeing him. 

The 24-year-old migrant was identifiable because he was carrying a Greek refugee asylum application, according to InfoMigrants. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Dolphin Death Mystery Stokes Anger in Mauritius

Dead dolphins blamed on oil spill, thousands protest against government  inaction in Mauritius - ABC News

The unexplained deaths of Dolphins in Mauritius are fanning anger over the government’s handling of an oil spill that’s the nation’s worst ecological disaster.

In less than a week, 46 melon-headed whales have been found dead on the nation’s southeast coast where the Nagashiki Shipping Co.’s Wakashio leaked fuel, according to the government. Tests so far haven’t linked the deaths to the spillage.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Port Louis, at the weekend, claiming the deaths were linked to the spill and blaming the government for failing to prevent the leakage.

“The reasons for the deaths are unknown,” Jasvin Sok Appadu, spokesman for the Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping Ministry, said by phone from Port Louis. “Preliminary reports following autopsies of the first set of dead mammals do not show any presence of fuel oil in their lungs and digestive systems.”

Mauritius was left almost helpless after the vessel spilled about 1,000 tons of fuel into its pristine waters that communities and the government rely on for fishing and tourism. The leakage started more than a week after the ship ran aground on July 25 after salvage operations were delayed.

Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said that the government was unable to act immediately because it lacked the resources.


Luke Smout