Maritime Safety News Today – 21st March 2008

March 21, 2008

Turkish and Greek Ships Collide

A Turkish sailor has died and five others are missing after two ships collided in the Aegean Sea near the Greek island of Hydra.

Seven Foreign Ships Under Detention in the UK During January


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announces that 5 foreign ships were under detention in UK ports during January 2008 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.

BC Ferries adding voice recorders
Arrow Lakes News – Nakusp,British Columbia,Canada
all vessels by the end of the year and has increased training and safety regulations in an effort to avoid the circumstances that led to the sinking of 

 


Maritime Safety News Today – 7th March 2008

March 7, 2008
Vietnam tanker sinks, 14 missing
BBC News – UK
maritime authorities have said. One seaman was rescued at the time of the accident on Sunday, but most of the crew were trapped in the hull,
One dead, three missing in ship collision: Japan
AFP –
TOKYO (AFP) — Three vessels collided Wednesday in a strait in western Japan killing one Filipino crew member and leaving three others missing when their

16 dead in Albanian boat tragedy
B92 – Serbia
The authorities think the ship capsized and sank because it was overloaded. Four passengers survived the accident, said Katragini. .

Officials Provide Update On Grounded Oil Tanker
The Bahama Journal – Nassau,Bahamas
By Sasha L. Lightbourne The government will not incur any costs as a result of the grounding of an oil tanker off the west coast of New Providence,

Oil tanker towed to dock after SOS call
Middle East North Africa Financial Network – Amman,Jordan
The ship, which reported engine failure about 200 kilometers from the port, arrived back at the port yesterday, officials told Arab News.

Ill-fated trawler lodged on reef
Northern Advocate – Whangarei,New Zealand
“It’s still too early to determine what the cause of the grounding was, and we’ll be making no further comment on the incident until inquiries are complete

Wednesday, March 5th 2008
Virgin Islands Daily News – U.S. Virgin Islands
The National Park Service expects to complete its investigation into the grounding and coral damage during the next two months, VI National Park chief

Relations of victims of ill-fated passenger boat besiege Yenagoa
Vanguard – Apapa,Lagos,Nigeria
The maritime union leader Comrade Sylvanus Egele confirmed the incident , but said only five bodies have been discovered, that is, two ladies,

Fishing boat saved from sinking off Hawke’s Bay coast
All About Hawke’s Bay – Napier,Hawke’s Bay,New Zealand
The skipper of the Thelma G radioed for assistance just after noon saying the vessel was taking on water. The boat was about 15km south west from Portland

Crane crash terminal still out of action
East Anglian Daily Times – Ipswich,England,UK
Cranes on board then smashed into one of the ship-to-shore cranes at Landguard, which then toppled into the next crane, bringing them both smashing down.

Islands mourn loss of chief
Queen Charlotte Islands Observer – Queen Charlotte,British Columbia,Canada
Sandspit Coast Guard reported a vessel sinking in the QC harbour, after hearing radio traffic to that effect, according to Mike Stacey, maritime search and

Posted 03/05/08 at 10:21 AM

The US Coast Guard posted guidance on the inspection, repair, and maintenance of liftboats. As the guidance points out, for many purposes, liftboats are treated by the Coast Guard like conventional hulled offshore supply vessels (OSVs).

Donjon Marine Tows Disabled LNG Carrier

Posted 03/06/08 at 10:29 AM

Donjon Marine Co., Inc. provided the 7000hp salvage tug Atlantic Salvor to assist the (LNG) tanker Catalunya Spirit, which lost propulsion and became disabled and adrift East of Cape Cod in February. On February 12, 2008, Donjon Marine, Co…

Start of Napoli grounding inquiry
Dorset Echo – England,UK
The inquiry comes before work begins in April to remove the final section of the vessel, the stern, from the sea off Sidmouth. The grounding of the

US overturns shipper haz liability

NEW YORK 6 March – OCEAN carriers who sustain losses resulting from dangerous cargoes no longer enjoy a virtual guarantee that shippers of the cargo will be held liable for their losses. A 3 March ruling by the US Appeals Court for the Second District, struck down the “strict liability” standard of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) where the carrier is aware that a cargo is inherently dangerous. In a communiqué to its clients, the Blank Rome law firm warns that “Where the carrier is generally aware of the hazardous nature of cargo, even if it is not aware of the precise nature of the risk, and the carrier nevertheless exposes it to potentially dangerous conditions, it will not be able to rely on the strict liability provisions of COGSA but will be required to show that the shipper acted negligently with respect to the cargo and/or its obligation to warn the carrier of the specific nature of the cargo’s risks== 2E” The change came as the appellate court reversed a lower court ruling that held PPG Industries fully liable for the loss of the DG Harmony, which caught fire off Brazil in November 2007 after one of ten containers packed with calcium hypochlorite (hydrated) (“calhypo”) exploded. The lower court held PPG fully liable under the “strict liability standard” but the appeals court that “a shipper cannot be held strictly liable for damage caused during the shipment of hazardous cargo in circumstances where the carrier was generally aware that the cargo’s dangerous nature requires careful handling or stowage.” The case has been returned to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York “to make findings on the issue of whether an adequate warning would have affected how the carrier stowed the calhypo.”


Ghostly Goings On – The Rezzak Mystery

March 5, 2008

On 29th February the wife of Indian sailor Afroze Ahmed called the cellphone of electrical engineer Pritam Singh. The phone was answered and immediately went silent. An Indian called Udaynarayan rang his brother Hridaynarayan’s cellphone on the evening of Wednesday 26th February. A voice replied “Hello” then the cellphone went dead. The previous Sunday, the 23rd, an SMS text had been successfully delivered to the cellphone of a ship’s engineer and the cost of the roaming SMS facility been charged to his account.

Not especially remarkable except that Ahmed, Hridaynarayan and the ship’s engineer are three of the 25 Indian crew still missing in the Black Sea, along with their vessel MV Rezzak since 17th February.

Suspicions were enhanced by the fact that Turkish search and rescue efforts produced several items of survival equipment, lifebouys, lifeboats and the like together with an oil slick. The equipment was marked Asean Energy, a name the ship had not carried for around a decade.

That no bodies or personal effect were found is not particularly suspicious. When the British trawler Gaul vanished in a storm the only debris was a single lifejacket found the following year.

When the Bow Mariner exploded and sank off the coast of Virginia (See The Case Of The Unfamiliar Mariner) the majority of bodies were never found even though search and rescue personnel were on site within hours.

It didn’t help allay suspicions, that the ship’s manning agent, Pelican Marine, was also responsible for supplying crew, who came from the same place as those aboard the Rezzak, to the Jupiter 6 which disappeared with all hands in 2005. Then, too, there was an electronic anomaly – 32 days after its disappearance the Jupiter 6′s EPIRB briefly burst into life.

In that case, too, Pelican Marine exhibited a less than enthusiastic interest in helping the families of the vanished crew members.

Like any other piece of equipment, EPIRBS require maintenance that is often not carried out so the lack of an activated EPIRB on the Rezzak may be down to depressingly common lack of attention to life-critical systems aboard ship. Yes, batteries can suddenly, briefly, come back to life for no apparent reason.

No distress call was sent from the Rezzak, but massive structural failure or over overwhelming of the vessel in the bad weather at the time can happen too fast to send a distress call. Even if the failure did not lead to loss of the vessel immediately it may simply be that in the onboard panic the thought of sending such a call fell by the wayside under stress, as it did to the master of the Bow Mariner.

There has been much talk of piracy. Some have dismissed it because there has been no ransom demand, but piracy for ransom is more a feature of the Somalia coast. Most piracy is little more than maritime mugging – grab the cash, valuables and supplies and run – the curse of south easian waters like the Strait of Malacca, in which case there would still be a ship and crew. The third strand of piracy, in which a ship and its cargo is seized and sold, involves international gangs and big business for whom the $3m worth of steel billets and the scrap value of the vessel itself would be small potatoes indeed, although a ready market could be found in China, whose economy is driving much of the current shipping boom and newbuilds. It would be difficult to conduct such an operation under the weather conditions at the time.

Before the Rezzak left the Russian port of Novorossisk she was detained for 37 deficiencies, which included 11 problems related to stability, structure and related equipment, five related to life-saving equipment, and five related to fire safety. There were three deficiencies relted to propulsion and auxiliary equipment., four more related to navigational safety and one related to radio communications.

The ships class society apparently allowed it to sail to Bartin, Turkey, because three deficiencies could not be resolved in Novorossisk.

The Black Sea is a small inland sea. It wouldn’t be particularly easy for a vessel to vanish but still be floating. However, more advanced pirates will weld and cut the ship’s superstructure, paint it, and give it new documentation, typically from an FOC. Nevertheless, piracy, while possible, appears unlikely.

Fraud is a more significant likelihood – scuttling a ship and its cargo and claiming insurance. It is not unknown in the Mediterranean or the Baltic. One would expect the crew to have ‘miraculously’ escaped before the vessel was lost. It is a possibility being explored by the Turkish authorities and the Director General Of Shipping in India has asked the International Maritime Bureau, a private maritime crime organisation attached to the International Chamber of Commerce, for help, and sent an investigator to Turkey on March 6.

One element of the story would appear to make fraud difficult to hide: crew would have had to be involved. There is no history of the entire extermination of a ship’s crew in such cases, which doesn’t mean it can’t happen or hasn’t happened. A very large percentage of the crew, 10 out of 25, came from one tiny dot of an island, part of the Maldives, the only inhabited island in the Maliku Atoll and the most southerly island in the Lakshadweep archipelago, under Indian administration, Minicoy.

Minicoy boasts little more than coconut trees, a lighthouse and a population of a little less than 10,000. The 10 men who have vanished were almost certainly related to just about everyone else in the community. It is hard to believe that the necessary secrecy for fraud could be maintained in that community.

It is difficult to accept that one’s loved ones, relatives, husbands, sons, lovers have vanish so completely, and entirely understandable that there is a reluctance to believe that the Rezzak went to the bottom taking them with it, to cling to the thought that its crew is still alive. But the sea often takes its own in silence.

To put context into the loss, it is as if 300,000 Americans or Europeans suddenly ceased to exist. For Minicoy it is the equivalent of 10 9/11s, or triple the combined losses of Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined in the dropping of the atomic bomb in World War 2.

Its ‘sexy’ to talk about piracy and fraud, and it’s a convenient excuse to with-hold compensation for the seafarer’s families until the insurance companies pay up, but the chances are that the Rezzak went down with all hands in a storm, a great tragedy for that community, a community that, at this moment, is seeing little help or support.

Seafarers are a community bound together by the risk of work and water. The loss of the Rezzak crew is a loss to us all.


Maritime Safety News Today 3rd January 2008

January 3, 2008

Container Vessel Runs Aground Off South Coast of UK (Update1)
Bloomberg – USA
2 (Bloomberg) — A container ship ran aground in the Dover Strait, the world’s busiest shipping lane, the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard agency said.

Bering Sea – disabled freighter The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is responding to a distress call from a disabled freighter in the Bering Sea 180 nautical miles northeast of Attu, Alaska.  The ship has a cargo of 28,000 tons of copper concentrate.  It carries a crew of 24 and has 760 metric tons of fuel. (1/1/08). (Update) Freighter adrift near Attu regains power Anchorage Daily News (subscription) – Anchorage,AK,USA Initial reports by e-mail from the crew indicated the ship was probably not in danger of sinking but the Coast Guard wanted to get a look first hand,

Lifeboat tows trawler to shore
RTE.ie – Ireland
Four crewmen on board the vessel dealt with the blaze and stayed on board as it was towed back by the Dún Laoghaire lifeboat.

Three crew saved from sinking yacht near Corregidor
ABS CBN News – Philippines
A rescue ship was immediately dispatched after the yacht’s crewmen sent distress signals to PCG. PCG search and rescue vessel BRP Pampanga was reported to

ID system to become mandatory for all boats on Turkish seas
Today’s Zaman – Istanbul,Turkey
Officials from the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs, under which the Search and Rescue Coordination Center operates, said the Automatic Identification

REHABILITATION PROSPECTS AFTER WORST KOREAN OIL SPILL ARE GOOD, UN
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit and EC Monitoring and Information Centre, comprising experts from OCHA, UNEP, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, the EC Environmental Directorate-General and the European Maritime Safety Agency.

Customs publishes 10+2 rule
Washington issues long-awaited proposed rule requiring importers and carriers to provide cargo data not found on a ship’s manifest.

Ship emissions below estimate
Air pollution emissions from ships in the Mediterranean Sea might be 30%-40% lower than the estimates made in 2000, calling into question the need to designate the region as a sulphur emission control area, according to data collected by oil industry body Concawe which analysed ship movements and fuel use in the Mediterranean.

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