Maritime Safety News Today – 11th March 2008

March 12, 2008

Three dead, one missing in SW China boat crash
Xinhua – China
The accident happened on the Wu River in Changshou District at 8 pm when a passenger ship from the suburban Fuling District crashed with the cargo ship 

Boat slams bridge
Sun.Star – Philippines
The head of the Mandaue City 701st Maritime Station, Chief Insp. Greg Togonon, said the accident was recorded in their blotter.

Late-winter storm in northwest of France beaches a Dutch cargo
Web in France Magazine – Miami,USA
The Dutch cargo liner was sailing empty, and so luckily the accident caused no pollution, according to the French maritime prefecture of the Atlantic.

USS John S. McCain Rescues ROK Fishing Vessel Crew Members
Posted 03/11/08 at 10:22 AM

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) assisted in the rescue of 11 crew members of a Republic of Korea (ROK) fishing vessel off the Korean Peninsula, March

Crew kin send SOS to Sonia
Daily News & Analysis – Mumbai,India
The families of missing crew of MV Rezzak, on Monday, demanded a CBI inquiry into the ship’s disappearance. They have written a letter to Congress president 

Crewing becoming ever more serious issue says broker
Offshore Shipping Online – Ledbury,England,UK
“With the Bourbon Dolphin report due out at the beginning of April, there is no doubt that safety offshore will be receiving close scrutiny over the coming

Marine pilots, tugs to rescue when ship breaks free
Mackay Daily Mercury – Australia
Maritime Safety Queensland Pilotage Services, Mackay, has been commended for its handling of the emergency. Strong northerly winds snapped mooring lines on 

EMSA TO EXPAND SPILL RESPONSE FLEET
Maritime Global Net – Warren,RI,USA
THE European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is launching a new procurement procedure for stand-by oil spill recovery vessels in the Black Sea and North Sea 

Ship owners must pay – lawsuit
Legalbrief (subscription) – Durban,South Africa
was part of an early settlement reached in a lawsuit his office filed against Regal Stone Ltd. of Hong Kong, which owns the Cosco Busan container ship. 

Start of Napoli grounding inquiry
Dorset Echo – England,UK
AN INQUIRY into the grounding of the MSC Napoli off the world heritage coast was launched yesterday at Branscombe, near where the storm-damaged ship was

Global Warming to Affect Transport
The Associated Press
The resulting lower water levels would reduce vessel shipping capacity, seriously impairing freight movements in the region, such as occurred during the .

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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 – 5th March 2008

March 5, 2008

Felixstowe cranes collapse in high winds

Two ship-to-shore gantry cranes at Felixstowe’s Landguard Terminal ended up in a mangled heap on the quayside at the weekend after a ship delivering three new ship-to-shore cranes to the port broke loose from its moorings in high winds and crashed into them.

Bangladesh ferry toll reaches 45, police say
AFP –
DHAKA (AFP) — Rescuers in Bangladesh found six more bodies Sunday as the death toll from a ferry accident last week near Dhaka reached 45 with several still

Fishing crew airlifted to safety
Newstalk ZB – New Zealand
winds are hampering the efforts of an oil spill response team heading to the site of a grounding of a commercial fishing vessel in the Far North.

Japan warship collides with freighter in Vietnam
Reuters – USA
The reason for the collision in Vietnam, which scratched paint off the Cambodian ship and bent a flag pole on the Japanese vessel, was not yet clear,

Oil spilled by freighter forces closing of Boca Chica beach
Dominican Today – Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic
The Dominican Navy and Environmental Police agents retained the ship after the accident, said Environment minister Omar Ramirez, after meeting with the

Ship insurer pays $2M over San Francisco oil spill
Business Insurance – Chicago,IL,USA
By Judy Greenwald SAN FRANCISCO—The insurer of a ship that spilled fuel oil into San Francisco Bay following a November accident has made an initial payment

Desal workers strike over safety fears
ABC Online – Australia
Maritime Union of Australia secretary Warren Smith says basic safety standards are not being met on the site. “These are basic issues, such as no recovery

Salvage Team Assessing Boat Grounded on Reef
Scoop.co.nzNew Zealand
with the grounding has now improved significantly. An Auckland-based salvage team appointed by the Seawyf’s owner had headed out to the grounded vessel

Workboats Fiji to remove vessel
Fiji Times – Suva,Fiji
Crew discovered that the vessel listed on the starboard side, that the Ground Deck was full of water, the cargo hold half full of sand, there were further

Turkey hints at maritime fraud behind missing Rezzak
Daily News & Analysis – Mumbai,India
Surprisingly, other sophisticated gadgets like the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon had also

One dead in boat collision off Bamfield
BCLocalNews – Victoria,BC,Canada
A 30-year-old female passenger was thrown from the vessel entering the inlet. She was recovered from the water and both CPR and first aid were administered.

Storm sinks “pirates” ship in Bahamas
Sebastian Sun (subscription) – Sebastian,FL,USA
The 104-foot dive boat SV Juliet, which was departing Turks and Caicos at the time, heard the USCG call and diverted 45 miles to the sinking boat’s location

Companies swap accusations over SKorea’s worst oil spill
AFP –
They have said it was impossible for the ship to have weighed anchor in time to avoid a collision, which took place nine minutes after the towlines snapped.

Commandant demands USCG treat mariners with “professionalism and
Marine Log – New York,NY,USA
The Coast Guard has been making a major effort to get the maritime safety mission back on track since a House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation

Times Colonist – Victoria,British Columbia,Canada
was a very substantial period of time between the sinking of the vessel and the RCMP to have access to any of the individuals on the ship,” she said.

Singapore – safety of towed ships and other floating objects The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding owners, operators, and masters to observe relevant portions of the IMO Guidelines on the Safety of Towed Ships and Other Floating Objects.  Shipping Circular No. 7 of 2008 (2/27/08).

TSB to release report on ferry sinking next week in Vancouver
The Canadian Press – VICTORIA
Two people were killed, while 101 others were rescued before the 37-year-old ship sank about an hour after the collision. Three crew members lost their jobs

 


Maritime Safety News Today – 28th December 2007

December 28, 2007

Suspected Sunken Shipwreck Found
Korea Times – South Korea
By Kim Rahn The Navy has found an object on the sea floor which is suspected of being the hull of the cargo vessel Eastern Bright, which sank Tuesday in

Heavy storms to keep ships in harbors
Jakarta Post – Jakarta,Indonesia
While Indonesia is a maritime nation, its sea transportation remains a public concern, because many vessels are poorly equipped and apply minimum safety

Barge Hits Rail Bridge
Posted 12/27/07 at 08:29 AM

The Coast Guard, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company responded after a tug and barge struck a railroad bridge in Beverly, MA, on December 21, 2007.

Work still on target
Devon 24 – UK
STORMS which caused the stern of the MSC Napoli to list have complicated matters, but work is still progressing to cut up the remaining half of the ship.


Maritime Safety News Today – 14 November 2007

November 14, 2007


Crew member escapes from hijacked Japanese tanker
AFP –
It has urged the pirates to abandon the vessels. The CTF-150 also operates under international maritime conventions to secure international waters for

Lobster boat sinking takes captain’s life
CBC New Brunswick – New Brunswick,Canada
The captain, 54, was believed to have been trapped inside the sinking vessel, but was later spotted on the water and picked up by another boat.

55 rescued as boat sinks off Camotes, Cebu
Inquirer.net – Philippines
vessel drifted towards Bohol. When the boat finally began sinking, the passengers, starting with the older ones, were transferred to life rafts.

Horizon Crew Awarded For Bravery For Guam Rescue
pacific – Honolulu,HI,USA
United States Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton who cited the seafarers for “extraordinary selfless actions in the spirit of the brotherhood of the

In Black Sea, storm highlights maritimesafety issues
Christian Science Monitor – Boston,MA,USA
The spill raised questions about maritime safety in the Kerch Strait, a busy waterway that separates Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor

The 2007 San Francisco Bay Oil Spill: Lessons Learned, Questions
California Progress Report – Oakland,CA,USA
When did the first vessel containing significant containment boom leave the storage facility? 3. The website of the private spill response contractor for

4 saved in sinking off Sandy Hook
Asbury Park Press – Asbury Park,NJ,USA
“The vessel was submerged to the point where just the superstructure was out of the water,” Stark said. “The good Samaritan was waving his arms,

Rowan Pleads Guilty To Dumping Waste

Posted 11/13/07 at 09:48 AM

Rowan Companies Inc. will pay $9m in penalties and add a corporate environmental division under a plea agreement in which it admitted the routine discharge of pollutants and garbage into the Gulf of Mexico from one of its drilling rigs, the Justice Department recently announced.

NTSB Outlines Desired Safety Improvements

Posted 11/13/07 at 09:51 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a statement noting that its two most wanted safety improvements in the marine sector are: (1) a reduction in accidents and incidents caused by human fatigue and (2) an enhancement of recreational boating safety…

071108-G-0269W-002-01.jpg
PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard rescue crews from Station Portsmouth ferry passengers of the cruise ship SPIRIT OF NANTUCKET to shore after the ship ran aground in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway approximately 8-miles north of the Virginia, North Carolina stateline,Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007. The Coast Guard is investigating investigating the cause of the grounding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kip Wadlow)

Safety At Sea Headlines>

Crew saved after five days at sea

KAVARATTI 13 November – All six crewmembers of the sunken cargo ship MSV Lakshadweep have been rescued by local fishermen after spending five days in the sea. The seafarers, all Indians, were found floating in their lifeboats, the Coast guard station at Kavaratti reported. They were admitted to a local hospital in Calicut (Kerala) and were discharged a day later on Monday. The ship, belonging to Lakshadweep Cooperative Marketing Federation, had left Mangalore for Kalpeni Island in Lakshadweep on 3 November, carrying 140 tonnes of cargo including steel, rice and general provisions, but sank 90 nautical miles south west of New Mangalore port. A coast guard aircraft from Cochin made several sorties to locate the missing ship while the Kasturba Gandhi made numerous attempts to trace it.

11:19 13 Nov

 

Rubbish disposal policy trashed after accident

15:15 13 Nov

G&G Shipping, a small Fort Lauderdale-based carrier, is changing its rubbish-handling policies after one of its crew was badly burned from a trash fire aboard one of its ships. Full story

 

Yachtsmen had good survival chance

16:29 12 Nov

THE three yachtsmen drowned as a result of the P&O ferry pride of Bilbao colliding with or swamping their yacht could have been saved if an alert had been issued. Full story

 

UK appoints new Sosrep

15:45 12 Nov

A NEW secretary of state’s representative (Sosrep) for the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency has been appointed. Full story

 

Russia assesses Kerch catastrophe

13:00 12 Nov

At least two seafarers have died and several more are missing after storms battered several ships in the Kerch strait. Full story

23 saved as log carrier sinks

12:14 12 Nov

A PANAMANIAN vessel sank 160nm east of Taizhou, Zhejiang province yesterday night. Full story

 

 

 

 


Maritime Safety News Today – 19th October 2007

October 19, 2007

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Captain missing in Greek cargo ship collision
Trading Markets (press release) – Los Angeles,CA,USA
It was the second maritime accident near Thessaloniki in less than a week. Last Friday, a Greek ferry collided with a fishing boat 23 km off the coast.

Canadian ferry crews warned against smoking pot
Reuters Canada – Toronto,Ontario,Canada
One hundred and one passengers and crew were forced to abandon the sinking vessel and were rescued by residents of the isolated community of Hartley Bay. 

MT Efunya sinks at Lagos port
Vanguard – Apapa,Lagos,Nigeria
He stated that the solution to further halt any vessel from sinking is to remove the vessels around the sunken vessel as soon as possible to a safe place. 

Ship’s Chief Engineer Convicted in Vessel Pollution Case

Posted 10/18/07 at 07:08 AM

Mark Humphries, the chief engineer of the M/V Tanabata, an American-flagged car-carrier ship based in Baltimore, was convicted by a jury on one count of conspiracy and two counts of making false statements, announced Ronald J. Admiral wants new safety standards
MaineToday.com – Portland,ME,USA
that requiring competency among pilots and requiring boats to undergo periodic safety checks would go a long way to providing for maritime safety.

Liverpool: service for victims of modern slavery
Independent Catholic News – London,UK
Among those taking part in the service will be representatives from Asylum Link Merseyside, Christian Aid, the Mersey Mission to Seafarers and Apostleship

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From Safety At Sea

Fatal dhow master appeals jail term

MANAMA, BAHRAIN 16 October – Abdulla Al Kobaisi, owner of the ill-fated dhow Al Dhana, is appealing against his ten-year jail sentence for his part in the deaths of 58 people. Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News reports that Al Kobaisi was convicted of manslaughter in May this year following the capsize of the Al Dhana, a pleasure craft carrying employees celebrating completion of part of a construction project, in shallow waters off the Bahraini coast. Al Kobaisi’s lawyer has asked the Bahraini High Criminal Court to throw out his conviction on the grounds that the tour operator Island Tours was responsible. He claimed that the dhow was carrying too many passengers – 150 instead of 100 – and that the rental deal between himself and Island Tours provided that two small boats should accommodate extra passengers. He also claimed that the Bahraini Coastguard took too long to arrive – about 30 to 40 minutes. However, a spokesman for the US 5th Fleet has previously told the BBC that US naval personnel reached the site within 15 to 20 minutes. The defence has also argued that Al Kobaisi’s craft carried all the appropriate licences and permits and was not in breach of any law. The defence added that the investigation found 11 reasons for the tragedy, none of which were connected to Al Kobaisi, who is currently free on bail pending the conclusion of the appeal. Captain Rajendra Kumar Ramjibhai, master of the dhow, was also convicted of manslaughter and is appealing his sentence on the grounds that his interpreter did not take the correct oath.

Fifth ferry victim’s body recovered

A FIFTH body from the ill-fated Seagull Express ‘came ashore’ at lunchtime today, amidst mounting rancour in Malaysia.

One dead in Mexican vessel fire

AT least one person is dead and two are missing after a fire yesterday in the engine room of the Mexican-flagged crew vessel Seba’an


Shipowners Need To Get Seriously Green

October 3, 2007

Increasingly, Masters are finding themselves at the pointy end of criminal charges, facing heavy fines and imprisonment for pollution incidents and shipowners need to stop paying lip-service to anti-pollution regulations and get their act together, says the Nautical Institute.

In an article in the October issue of Seaways, the institute’s magazine, the NI says that shipowners need to get serious, and impress that seriousness on their crews. They need to make sure the right equipment and the right training is given and, says Captain Harry Gale, NI Technical Manager “Rules and management systems do not work in isolation. Urgent action is needed to ensure that people onboard have the equipment, the guidance, the motivation and empowerment needed to act on pollution”.

 

In a sttement, the NI says: “With so much attention across shipping focusing on the environment, there seems to be more than just pollution in the air, there is a real sense of urgency to make improvements and to make the current rules work.”

In exploring the issues and practicalities of day-to-day environmental shipboard management, the NI’s SeaGoing Correspondence Group (SGCG) has raised a number of concerns and has identified some disconcerting trends.

In examining why there appear such difficulties in complying, there are reportedly repeated failures by many owners to engage in a positive interpretation of the rules and procedures, and to communicate these to their shipmasters.

Environmental excellence and compliance shape our “green credentials”, it is vital therefore that in the face of vigorous policing and enforcement that pollution prevention requirements must be matched by positive onboard systems and encouragement.

The NI has identified a number of potential pitfalls in ensuring compliance, and these include poor equipment and maintenance, procedural problems and out dated practices, through to ill equipped port facilities.

In addition, owners need to convince those onboard that they are truly serious about tackling pollution. Companies cannot simply pay lip service to the rules, and tangible action is needed to guard against complacency, to mitigate the risks of mistakes, and to guard against errors of judgement. With the risk of enormous financial penalties and with jail time a real possibility, owners who simply relax and assume all is in order can get a real shock when things go wrong.

However, not all the problems stem from equipment or procedures, and the NI regretfully recognises the age-old “can do” attitude of many seafarers can be damaging. In too many instances there appears the problems of falsified records, and of a continued willingness to do what is thought best by an individual, even when that flies in the face of the Safety Management System (SMS).

According to Captain Gale, “Environmental crimes are sadly tarnishing the image of shipping. It is vital to remember that responsibility always rests with the owner, and it is not simply enough to put systems onto the ship – these need to be supported and made to work, to ensure the actions of those onboard are always the right actions”.