Arctic Sea Update – Eight Detained

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Aug 182009

image Eight people have reportedly been arrested for the hijacking of the Arctic Sea. It is alleged that the group of four Estonians, two Latvians and two Russians, approached Arctic Sea in a dinghy requesting help to repair a vessel then took over the ship at gunpoint on 24 July.

Arctic Sea’s crew of 15 are safe and are being debriefed by Russian naval personnel. The vessel, missing for two weeks after disappearing in the English Channel was found by the Russian Navy off Cape Verde Islands two days after denials were issued that she had been seen there.

Stil unexplained is why a Russian naval vessel transmitted an AIS signal from the Bay of Biscay on Saturday.

According to Malta’s Maritime Authority, Arctic Sea is flagged in Malta, Finnish, Swedish and Maltese authorities are conducting investigations in close cooperation into the alleged offences relating to the cargo vessel Arctic Sea.

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Aug 172009

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22 Chinese seamen on Panama freighter missing for 9 days in
The company reported the shipwreck to the Qingdao City Administration, which immediately responded to the accident.

ABC Local Catamaran loses mast in cargo ship collision
Catamaran loses mast in cargo ship collision. Posted August 18 2009 093600. Map Port Botany 2036. The crew of a stricken catamaran had to be helped into

Freighter runs aground near Del. Memorial Bridge
The News Journal
where the ship can drop anchor, he said. The ship will have its steering system examined to see if it was damaged in the grounding, Lindberg said.

Governor of Svalbard wants ban on heavy fuel oil
Barents Observer
In a short period of time Norway has experienced two serious ship accidents in its waters. In May the Russian freezer ship “Petrozavodsk” ran aground by the

Inquiry launched into Corrib vessel accident
DUBLIN: The Department of Transport and Shell EP Ireland have initiated separate investigations into the grounding of a Corrib gas project support vessel

Tongan ferry formally identified
The vessel sitting on the Tongan seabed has been formally identified as the ferry Princess Ashika, which sank on August 6 with at least 149 people aboard.


Pirated‘ cargo ship found near Cape Verde islands
Maritime officials feared the vessel had fallen victim to the first case of piracy in European waters in living memory. But there were also claims that it

Piracy drop in the Straits
Malaysia Star
MALACCA: Heightened maritime security along the Straits of Malacca has seen a drop in piracy over the last two years. Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

Conference to tackle piracy threats
United Press International
“With maritime piracy costing the world an estimated $60-70 million in 2008 and a worrying rise in sea crimes across the Middle East and North Africa region

NATO launches new anti-piracy operation off Somalia
ability to combat piracy,” a statement said. The operation “will contribute to a lasting maritime security solution off the Horn of Africa,” NATO said.

Malaysia, Indonesia, The Phillipines To Enhance Maritime Cooperation
of cooperation in the maritime zone and the air space in the region with a more systematic and organised surveillance to curb smuggling and piracy.

Off The Radar

Syracuse University researcher to present ‘Shipwrecks as Fossils
EurekAlert (press release)
The database includes ship names; type and size of the vessels; dates of sinking; information about the cargoes, passengers, ship departure points and

Arctic Sea Update – Criminal Investigation Underway

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Aug 172009

image Malta’s Maritime Authority has issued an update on the Arctic Sea, which is flagged in Malta, regarding an international criminal investigation:

The Finnish, Swedish and Maltese authorities are conducting investigations in close cooperation into the alleged offences relating to the cargo vessel Arctic Sea.

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Maritime Safety & Security News – 16 August 2009

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Aug 162009

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French fisherman injured by wire
BBC News
A Maritime and Coastguard spokesman said weather conditions were very poor, so an alternative landing site at Boscowan Field may have to be used.

4 Suffer Burn Injuries After Small Explosion Aboard Fishing Vessel
Pacific News Center
Memorial Hospital after suffering burns when residual fuel aboard the vessel reportedly exploded or flamed out. The accident occurred about 6:15 pm.

115 migrants rescued from sinking dinghy
As the migrants dinghy was already taking in water, and 5 of their party were already in the water, the Protector-class vessel P-51 was also dispatched to

Monarch fuel removal operations successfully completed in Cook Inlet
At the time of the sinking, an estimated 34603 gallons of diesel fuel and lube oil were on board the vessel. A light sheen was seen in the area on the day


Rising wave of piracy sends shipowners’ costs soaring
Separate figures from the International Maritime Bureau showed a doubling of piracy attacks in the first six months of this year, with virtually all the

Egyptians escape Somali pirates
The case highlights how illegal fishing off Somalia’s coast is one of the “core issues creating the continuation of piracy“, our correspondent said.

AP Top News at 5:01 pm EDT – August 15
KMPH Fox 26
MOSCOW (AP) – The workaday cargo ship the Arctic Sea, which for decades plowed the world’s waterways in obscurity, just had to disappear to be thrust into a

Under The Radar

Dredging damages old fort’s remains
Albany Times Union
Adam Kane, an expert in nautical archaeology from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, is reviewing the damage using underwater video, King said.

Pirates – Doing the Numbers Doesn't Add Up

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Aug 152009

Piracy attacks off Somalia and the Horn of Africa have doubled this year compared to 2008 – or have they? At least one piracy expert is dubious about the widely quoted figures and fears that they may mislead shipping companies into relying on naval forces currently in the region rather than taking appropriate action to protect their own vessels.

In 2008 there were 111 reported attacks and 32 actual hijackings. This year in first six months alone, the figures are 250 attacks and 32 actual ship-takings. Those are worrying numbers, but do they actually mean anything and how should they affect our decision making?

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Arctic Sea Gets Murkier

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Aug 152009

Reports regarding the Arctic Sea are positively Newtonian: for each report there is an equal and opposite report. She was reported in Spain, then Spanish authorities denied the claim. She was reported off the Cape Verde Islands then Russian diplomats and Portuguese authorities said she wasn’t. An AIS signal in the Bay of Biscay signalled her presence, or maybe not because there was no evidence the transmission came from equipment on the ship,the Russian naval officials said it was from a Russian Navy vessel, which raises more questions than it answers.

Now it is reported that ransom demands have been made to the shipowner but, again, there has been no ‘proof of life’ –  a necessary element for a credible ransom demand and until that is given the ransom demands are meaningless.

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May 022009

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Sailor lost as tug capsizes
The National – Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates
All five crew on the tug were thrown into the water as it quickly overturned with the force of the collision. The four survivors, a Bahrani and three .

Crewman on vessel killed in fuel-leaked fire
Thanh Nien Daily – Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam
A Ho Chi Minh City vessel caught fire off the central province of Quang Ngai on Wednesday after a fuel pipe broke, killing a crewmember.

Man drowns after falling into waters at Port Khaled

According to police, the victim was on a cargo vessel at the port when he then fell off the boat and drowned. An investigation has been launched as to how he fell over the vessel.

Main gearbox failure eyed in North Sea Super Puma crash
Aviation International News – Midland Park,NJ,USA
An eyewitness, working on a supply vessel approximately two nautical miles from the accident site, heard the helicopter and saw it descend rapidly before it

Biden manages to anger everyone over bad flu advice
Christian Science Monitor – Boston,MA,USA
The Japanese government severely restricted maritime travel to and from the home islands when the pandemic struck.

Gigantic risks
Lloyd’s List – London,UK
The loss of the MSC Napoli and its cargo, a relative minnow compared to the new generation of boxships, is now the second most costly insurance incident .

Coast Guard Releases Tour Boat Death Report
KHON2 – Honolulu,HI,USA
“When you have a vessel that’s been cleared numerous times to operate despite having numerous problems with it, you’re talking about gross neglect,” said

Efforts on to trace sailor: VS
Kerala Online – Kerala,India
He boarded the vessel on April 10 as it set sail with its cargo for Singapore. Capt. Vinay Singh, director of the shipping company, wrote to Mr. James that

Leader of infamous ship hijacking released yesterday from Italian
WorldNetDaily – Washington,DC,USA
Cossiga singles out Palestinian groups as responsible for a 1980 explosion at an Italian train station that killed 85 people and wounded 200 more.

Coast Guard verifies position of fishing vessel Lady Mary | Coast
By cgnews
The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, the group in charge of looking into the facts and circumstances surrounding the sinking of the vessel, solicited the help of the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Willow, a 225-foot buoy


Ship Captain: Arming Crews Will Not Stop Piracy – Detroit Local
Clancey noted that many governments will not let a ship with armed crew dock in their ports. And the notion of crew members, armed and out to sea for weeks or months, could be a recipe for deadly and costly accidents. “There have been incidents where innocent bystanders have been killed,” Clancey said. “There is exposure.”

Pirate attack foiled by navy
Straits Times – Singapore
On April 24, Nato decided to extend its anti-piracy work off the coast of Somalia. Four vessels from Nato’s Standing Naval Maritime Group One have been

Did MSC Passengers Fight Off Melody’s Pirates?
Cruise Critic – Pennington,NJ,USA
writes, “The only casualty was American John Wright, cut by glass splinters as a MSC Cruises had taken advice from the Maritime Security Center.

Stolt Valor Hijacking Update

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Sep 182008

As of 2pm Japan time, as follows:

1) The vessel’s Master has confirmed on email and phone that all crew on board are safe and unharmed. All crew are confined to one location – the ship’s wheelhouse – but are being allowed to attend to their daily needs; however closely monitored by the Hijackers.

2) The vessel, under instructions from the Hijackers, has arrived at the port of EYL, on the East Coast of Somalia.

3) Vessel’s Owners have appointed a professional negotiator to engage into a dialogue with the Hijackers with the objective of ensuring that the crew remain safe and are returned as soon as possible.

The Stolt Valor was hijacked while she was in the Designated Safety Corridor in accordance with the Recommendations that were issued by the International Coalition of warships entrusted with the task of safeguarding vessels in the Gulf of Aden against Pirate attacks.

The vessel had also made the requisite reports to the UKMTO. The Master had further taken the additional precaution of keeping the vessel close to the Northern limit of the ‘safety corridor’ established by the International Coalition, that is, furthest away from the Somalian Coast.

The owners, with the assistance of the technical manager, are continuing to monitor the situation closely through the Authorities and will ensure the Authorities and all relatives are kept closely informed of developments as they unfold.

Chartered by Stolt Neilsen, Stolt Valor is owned by Central Marine Company in Hiroshima, Japan, and managed by Fleet Management in Hong Kong.

Panama – Rezzak disappearance may be fraud

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Jul 042008

Senior officials in the maritime accident investigation department of the Panama Maritime Authority have told Maritime Accident Casebook that fraud is still being considered in the disappearance of the general cargo carrier M/V Rezzak earlier this year. Panama and other states involved in the case including India, Russia and Turkey are planning a $1.3 underwater search for the missing vessel.

Nothing has been heard from the 26-year old, 3009 tonne M/V Rezzak or her 25-strong Indian crew since she disappeared following her departure from the Russian port of Novorossiysk on February 17 with a cargo of 2,800 tonnes of steel billets, bound for Bartin Lamani in Turkey. Several members of the crew’s family believe they may still be alive and held against their will and some claim that the crews’ cellphone were working for sometime after her disappearance.

Another ship, the tug Jupiter 6, with the same manning agent, Pelican, and an Indian crew disappeared in September 2005. The EPIRB of the Jupiter 6 was manually activated some 33 days after radio contacts was lost. In that case, too, there were odd cellphone issues.

The Indian government says that the incident has “shaken”the government’s confidence in its maritime training policy. Kiran Dhinga, India’s Director General of Shipping, asked for a re-investigation of the incident at an IMO meeting last month. She is quoted in the Indian press as saying that following her criticism of the ‘the fundamental safety mechanism of IMO and every safety mechanism ever put in place by it’ : “The secretary general (IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos of IMO organised a meeting in his chambers with the delegation of the concerned states and the substantially interested state (India), requesting them to work in close cooperation in tracing the missing ship as soon as possible.”

Engineer Gerardo Varela, chief maritime investigator for Panama’s Maritime Authority arrived in Turkey this week to join another investigator who has been there since February co-operating with the Turkish government. Piracy has been ruled out due to the weather conditions at the time of the disappearance but the possibility of fraud is still being considered.

One of the investigators involved told MAC: “We have not discarded the possibility of fraude, as there is so much information collected which lead us to that hypothesis. For example, a life raft was found with the vessel’s previous name written in the raft’s plastic and not on the outside, where the current vessel’s name must be written. Also, if the Captain knew that there was bad weather in that area, why did he continue to sail in that same area?”

The seaworthiness of M/V Rezzak has been questioned but the investigator says that although a number of deficiencies originally led to the detention of the Rezzak for two weeks, the relevant Port State Control authorised the vessel’s departure after the deficiencies were rectified and verified by its classification society, NKK, a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. Among the items replaced on the vessel was its EPIRB unit, which was not triggered during the disappearance.

Currently, an eight-day underwater search for the Rezzak is planned costing $1.3 and funding for the project is being sought from the four involved countries, India, Turkey, Russia and Panama.

See Also: “Ghostly Goings On – The Rezzak Mystery”