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.”

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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 – 26th February 2008

February 27, 2008
At least 11 missing in boat mishaps off Chinese coast
Thaindian.com – Bangkok,Bangkok,Thailand
Hangzhou (China), Feb 25 (Xinhua) Chinese maritime rescue service officials are searching for at least 11 seamen who have been missing off the east coast 
Leylon Sneed Runs Aground at Trunk Bay Reef
St. John Tradewinds – St. John,U.S. Virgin Islands
The Leylon Sneed drifted aground at the Trunk Bay reef near Jumbie Beach on Tuesday afternoon, February 19, as the vessel was loading up cruise ship

Ship crews face high degree of fatigue at sea’
Daily News & Analysis – Mumbai,India
Every-time there is an accident (now mv Rezzak has gone missing off the Turkish coast) on the high seas, there are theories about how high-stress levels 
Coast Guard on Alert for Toxic Ship
Posted 02/26/08 at 09:46 AM

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency are on alert for the possible arrival of the contaminated cruise liner, SS Independence, which is reportedly heading to Guam after being refused entry in Hawaii, The Variety reported..

USCG Sets Conditions Indonesia Ships
Posted 02/26/08 at 08:35 AM

The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that, effective March 10, it will impose conditions of entry on vessels arriving from Indonesia. With the exception of vessels arriving from certain named ports, any vessel arriving in the United States that called in Indonesia during its previous five port calls must demonstrate the following: (1) that..

UN maritime agency endorses campaign for fair treatment of seafarers
UN News Centre –
necessary measures should be taken to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly when detained by public authorities in the event of a maritime accident. .

Port workers threaten India strike
One-day protest in March will press for wage improvements, other demands.

New code for accident investigation
Safety at Sea – London,England,UK
LONDON 26 February – An IMO Marine Casualty Investigation Code will be “a major change in the maritime sector” predicts Brice Martin-Castex, 


Weekly Piracy Report

February 21, 2008

Weekly Piracy Report from the Internal Maritime Bureau
12-18 February 2008
The following is a summary of the daily reports broadcast by the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre to ships in Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean Regions on the SafetyNET service of Inmarsat-C from 12 to 18 February 2008.

ALERT

Chittagong anchorage, Bangladesh
The number of attacks has reduced since 2006. However, the area is still listed as a high risk area and mariners are advised to be cautious especially while approaching the anchorage and while at anchor at Chittagong

Nigeria
Violent attacks carried out by pirates on board vessels at anchor and vessel carrying out STS operations. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution in these waters.

Suspicious crafts

None reportedRecently reported incidents

06.02.2008: 0052 LT: Anchorage no. 1, Callao, Peru.Robbers boarded a container ship at anchor from a small boat. Duty crew spotted them. Alarm raised, crew mustered. Robbers escaped. Authorities informed. Coast guard patrol boat arrived after more than one hour, patrolled the waters around the vessel for about ten minutes, and moved away.
17.02.2008: 0540 LT: 05:48N – 118:05E, Berth no.2, Sandakan port, Malaysia.Duty crew on board a general cargo ship reported that a boat approached from the port bow. One robber was noticed on the forecastle deck passing ship stores to the other robbers in the boat. On seeing the alert crew, the robber jumped overboard and escaped with the ship stores. The forward booby hatch lock was found broken. The IMB PRC was notified who then liaised with local police for further action. Police arrived and conducted an investigation.
14.02.2008: 0341 LT: 06:43.5S – 039:43.8E, 20 nm off Tanzania coast.Three pirates boarded the ship from a small wooden boat equipped with an out board engine. The ship was drifting, awaiting berthing instructions. Alert duty crew noticed the pirates and the alarm was raised, ship’s whistle sounded, crew mustered and master increased speed. Pirates fled immediately. Upon inspection, two containers were found opened.
11.02.2008: 0540 UTC: 13.38.5N – 050:22.0E, Gulf of Aden.Two suspicious vessels one with blue hull and the other with red hull and both with white superstructure increased speed and altered course towards a bulk carrier. Master increased speed and altered course to increase CAP. Later both suspicious vessels stopped following.
09.02.2008: 0030 LT: Kandla anchorage, India.Duty watchman on an oil tanker at anchor noticed robbers on the forecastle. On seeing the alert ships crew, the robbers jumped overboard and escaped. The padlock of the forecastle store was broken but nothing was missing

Piracy prone areas and warnings

Mariners are warned to be extra cautious and to take necessary precautionary measures when transiting the following areas:

S E Asia and the Indian Sub Continent

  • Bangladesh : Sixty two incidents have been reported since January 2006. Pirates are targeting ships preparing to anchor. Most attacks reported at Chittagong anchorages and approaches. Although the number of attacks has fallen recently, the area is still listed as very high risk.
  • Indonesia : Balongan, Balikpapan, Belawan. Generally be vigilant in other areas. Many attacks may have gone unreported.
  • Malacca straits : Although the number of attacks has dropped due to the increase and constant patrols by the littoral states relevant Authorities since July 2005, ships are advised to continue maintaining a strict anti piracy watch when transiting the straits.
  • Philippines : Manila – Pirates target ships at anchor.
  • Singapore Straits : Pirates seen attacking ships while at anchor but in the past several ships were attacked while underway.

Africa and Red Sea

  • Lagos (Nigeria) : Pirates are violent and have attacked and robbed vessels/kidnapped crews along the coast and river, at anchorages and ports. A total of 42 incidents have been reported in Nigeria since 08.01.2007. Twenty five attacks alone for Lagos and seven for Bonny River. Generally be vigilant in other areas in Nigeria.
  • Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) : Twenty incidents have been reported since 05.06.2006. Pirates are targeting ships in port and anchorages.
  • Mombasa (Kenya):
  • Gulf of Aden / Red Sea : Numerous pirate attacks have been reported by ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden/Red sea. In the past, some of the vessels were fired upon.
  • Somalian waters : The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has received 31 actual and attempted attacks in 2007. Many more attacks may have gone unreported. Some pirates are dangerous and would fire their automatic weapons at ships to stop them. Occasionally, they would use their RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) launchers at ships. Pirates are believed to be using “mother vessels” to launch attacks at very far distance from coast. These “mother vessel” is able to proceed to very far out to sea to launch smaller boats to attack and hijack passing ships. Eastern and Northeastern coasts are high risk areas for attacks and hijackings. Vessels not making scheduled calls to ports in Somalia should keep as far away as possible from the Somali coast, ideally more than 200 nautical miles. Mariners are also advised to report any suspicious boats to the Centre.

South and Central America and the Caribbean waters

  • Brazil : Though the number of attacks has dropped in Santos, ships are advised to continue to be vigilant.
  • Peru : Callao

Rest of the World

  • Arabian Sea : Sightings and calls from suspicious small boats. In some cases, boats pursued the ships with unknown intent.

  • Weekly Piracy Alerts

    November 28, 2007

    For more information on the following alerts go to the International Maritime Bureau here. 

    Suspicious crafts

    Recently reported incidents

    24.11.2007: 0345 LT: 06:17.8S – 003:21.2E, Lagos anchorage, Nigeria.
    Four armed robbers in a small wooden boat boarded a container ship from aft.
    They stole ship’s store and escaped.  No injuries to crew.
    21.11.2007: 0212 LT: 06:12N-003:18E (15 miles from shore), Lagos, Nigeria.
    Five pirates armed with knives boarded a tanker drifting around 15 nm from shore. Duty crew spotted the pirates and informed the duty officer. Alarm raised and crew mustered.  Pirates escaped with ship stores
    01.11.2007: 0830 LT: Corentyne coast, Guyana.
    Masked pirates armed with guns attacked a Guyanese fishing boat. The pirates stole the boats engines and equipment and then ordered the fishermen to board their craft and pilot their craft while they raided other boats. Later , the fishermen were taken to neighboring Suriname where they were left with the boat. The fishermen managed to return home after two days and report to the coast guard and police.
    03.10.2007: 0700 LT: Bonny channel, Nigeria.
    Pirates armed with guns and hiding in a mangrove swamp ambushed a passenger vessel during it’s passage to bonny town.  It is suspected some of the pirates could have mingled among the passengers and boarded the vessel at the jetty at Port Harcourt.  The pirates waited at the midway point and attacked the vessel when signaled. The pirates stole passenger valuables.  Pirates fired a volley of shots into the air before escaping.  Injured passengers received medical treatment ashore.
    06.11.2007: Point Cruz, Solomon Islands.
    Armed pirates boarded a fishing vessel at anchor. They stole crew personal belongings, cash money and ship’s properties.
    08.10.2007: Panaji, off the Yermal coast in Udupi: Karnataka: India.
    Pirates in canoes boarded a vessel carrying scientists on a
    Marine research project.  After a brief struggle with the scientists, the pirates took the scientific instruments. It is unclear if the instruments were thrown into the water or stolen. The scientists are reported to be safe.

    Human Element sinks 23 ships

    November 16, 2007

    The Press Trust of India report:  As many as 25 ships have sunk in the Arabian Sea in the last three years due to rough weather coupled with negligence of seafarers, a top shipping official has said.


    “Data for the last three years on shipping casualties in the Arabian sea have been analysed in depth which shows 23 ships sank due to serious technical and human failure aboard such ships,” Nautical Surveyor-cum-Deputy Director General of Shipping (Technical) Captain Deepak Kapoor has said in a reply under the Right to Information Act.

    The response came in the wake of an application filed by a Mumbai resident– Attar Azeemi who wanted to know the reason behind the sinking of five merchant vessels during monsoons this year.

    “The factors and primary cause of these accidents have been–very severe weather conditions during the monsoon period, the negligence on part of the Indian seafarers in exercising due care and displaying their professional skills in discharging their duties,” Kapoor said.

    In addition to this, poor maintenance of the vessels by the owners along with various other factors like slips, lapses, mistakes, fatigue, defect in design of ships, which have contributed towards sinking ships, he added. PTI