Maritime Safety News Today – 28th May 2003

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May 282008
 

Two bodies found in ship’s hold

The bodies of two men have been found in the hold of a ship docked at Ayr harbour, police have said. Officers were alerted to the discovery on the 90m-long cargo ship, The Pascal, at about 1440 BST. It is believed the ship’s crew are Russian and the dead men may have been on board without their knowledge.

Cargo vessel officer dies in fire

CHENNAI: A Second Officer (Electrical) of a private cargo vessel, T. Babu Thomas (41), died due to suffocation caused by a fire in the ship a couple of days ago.

The body, handed over to relatives on Monday, was taken to Kozhikode.

Police said the vessel, Iswarya, started its journey from Colombo and was on its way to Chennai. While on sea, a fire broke out in the air-conditioner unit in the room of the 2nd Officer, Babu Thomas, on Saturday night. After the fire was put out, other members of the ship found Babu Thomas dead in the room.

Dutch Cargo Ship Hijacked Off Somali Coast
(RTTNews) – A Dutch cargo ship has been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia, said reports on Tuesday. The ship, owned by Reider Shipping BV of Netherlands, is said to have been hijacked after leaving the Kenyan port of Mombasa with a

Family demands investigation into deckhand’s death
Trinidad News – Port of Spain,Trinidad and Tobago
RELATIVES of Julius La Rode, who died on Friday while cleaning a molasses tank on an out- of-commission ship anchored in the Gulf of Paria,

Electrical short contributed to fatal bridge accident
The Times-Picayune – NOLA.com – New Orleans,LA,USA
A bridge tender, who works in a control tower above the movable span of the bridge, is supposed to go through a sequence when a ship signals that it needs

Long Range Identification and Tracking

The IMO Maritime Safety Committee made a number of decisions to ensure the timely implementation of the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system. SOLAS regulation V/19-1 on LRIT entered into force on 1 January 2008 and will apply to ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008 with a phased implementation schedule for ships constructed before 31 December 2008. The lrit system is intended to be operational with respect to the transmission of LRIT information by ships from 30 December 2008.

Port Security Plan Faulted
WASHINGTON — A Department of Homeland Security program to strengthen port security has gaps that terrorists could exploit to smuggle weapons of mass destruction in cargo containers, congressional investigators have found.

Mar 052008
 

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

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Mar 052008
 

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

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Dec 282007
 

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

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.

Sponsorship Brochure Now Available

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Sep 212007
 

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Bob Couttie

Maritime Accident Casebook