Maritime Safety & Security News – 10th September 2009

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Sep 092009

Deadly capsize off Sierra Leone

A boat with about 150 people on board has capsized off the coast of Sierra Leone, with dozens feared dead.

Chinese cargo ship sinking off Paradeep port
A Chinese cargo vessel carrying iron ore and 27 crew members is sinking three km off Paradeep port in Orissa but all but one of the men have been rescued.

Fuel to be removed from stranded ship
hindered any efforts to remove the oil and it was also impossible to refloat the vessel as it had suffered structural damage during the accident.

APPEA backs bill to tackle Montara spill 9 September 2009

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) has thrown in its support for a legislation tabled in federal parliament to provide for an inquiry into the well leak at PTTEP’s Montara oil project.

Confusion over who should probe Pluto LNG injury
a decision on which body would investigate the accident. “It took calls from workers on site, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and UnionsWA before .

Probe of SuperFerry accident starts
Santos City to gather testimonies from the rescued passengers of the sunken sea vessel. “All shipboard officers of the ferry will be required to attend the

Salvors succeed following ‘Full City’ grounding
Maritime Journal
The 1995 built vessel went aground off the Norwegian port of Langesund during the early morning of July 30. Three Bukser og Berging tugs are seen in


US to sign anti-piracy document
The signing announcement comes on the day US maritime officials warned that the end of the monsoon season will likely bring an increase in piracy off the

Puntland plans to free sailors from Seychelles
Piracy has surged off the Horn of Africa’s coast in 2009, with sea gangs playing cat and mouse with the foreign navies patrolling the strategic shipping

Pink Lady News

Locals plot course to help teen sailor
WA today
The vessel was damaged in a collision with the 63000-tonne Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel Silver Yang 15 nautical miles off North Stradbroke Island’s Point

Solo teen sailor ‘tried repeatedly to radio the ship.’
Sail World
Jessica, after requesting vainly by radio that the ship change course to avoid her, and realising a collision was about to happen, had gone below and braced

‘Hit and run’ at high sea
Brisbane Times
She was below the deck at the time of the collision but would not say yesterday whether she was sleeping. It is understood that the ship was in autopilot

Off The Radar

US Government believed bomb ship had been salvaged
An American ship which lies on the seabed of the Thames Estuary loaded with unexploded bombs has been disowned by the US Government,

Centre provides home-away-from-home for sailors
Esperance Express
SINCE being established in 2001, the Esperance Seafarer’s Centre has played host to more than 20000 visitors from 55 different countries.

NJ town remembers victims of 1934 cruise ship fire
Philadelphia Inquirer
AP ASBURY PARK, NJ – A monument has been dedicated on a New Jersey boardwalk in memory of 137 people who died when a cruise ship caught fire off the coast

LNG terrorism – Al Quaida Is Winning

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Jun 252008

Sharp eyes picked up on a headline in Maritime Safety News for 16th June: “The LNG Threat:Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers Remain Giant Terror Targets on the extremist American website The Cutting Edge,. We would have ignored it except that the report was based on a paper,.The Terrorist Threat to Liquefied Natural Gas: Fact or Fiction? from a political analyst with the US military’s Foreign Military Studies Office, Cindy Hurst, a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Reserve, and is, therefore, likely to be cited in other news reports and academic papers and may ‘inform policy’ as the saying goes.

The paper originates with the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security,IAGS, a grouping of politicians, rightwing activists and religious organisations and associated with the ‘Make American Free Coalition”‘ which tells us it is “spearheading a global effort to transition the transportation sector to next-generation fuels and vehicles that can utilize them, the United States can deny its adversaries the wherewithal they use to harm us.”

The assumption of the paper is that LNG carriers are manned by non-American crews and flagged under non-US registries and until they are, America won’t be safe: “…members of the public remain adamantly opposed to bringing LNG with its foreign ships and crews into their “backyards,” perhaps rightly so.”

Or, more likely, wrongly so. A sniffy person might point out that American men, women and children are more at risk from other American men, women and, sadly, children than from Al Quaida. Eight times more Americans are killed by American bullets every year than died in the 9/11 attack at ‘foreign’ hands. Every American president subject to actual or attempted assassination has been the victim of an American with the sole exception of William Kinley in 1901.

Says Hurst: “The rest of the world does not seem to share the same security and safety concerns as Americans regarding LNG. This could be a potential problem..” Of course, it may be that the rest of the world has a far better idea of the real potential for using an LNG carrier as a weapon and whther or not one is likely explode if attacked.”

One of MAC’s correspondents, in command of an LNG tanker, criticised the Cutting Edge version of the Hurst report: “Yet another article by partisan authors scaring the pants off the American public. I am master of one of these potential LNG bombers they seem so worried about and it distresses me beyond words to be slandered in front of Congress. My crime is to be non-American. The union delegate speaking to congress has alternate motives, he’s looking for jobs for his members, terrorism is the red herring being used to convince the American public I am a threat.

“As for all this rot about flags of convenience, where does the author get her information from? In case anyone really is interested many of the new LNG ships, including the one I am master of is registered in the Marshall Islands, which I believe is US territory and a US second register.

“Cut out this nonsense and scaremongering. Tell the truth for a change. Anyone who knows anything about LNG tankers knows it’s almost impossible to blow such a ship up.”

The mechanism posited by Hurst is a boiling-liquid-expanding-vapor-explosion or BLEVE and suggests, based on a report citing a DNV executive, that Moss-type tanks are particularly at risk. She does not suggest any means by which this could occur.

Indeed, one of Hurst’s sources, Scott Conway who has served eight years onboard LNG tankers and who is intimately familiar with the construction of the Moss spherical tanker, asks: ““Where is the BLEVE going to occur in this tank? Where are you going to direct the flames back at this tank to heat up the liquid? How are you going to build up the pressure so that it overcomes the safety release? When you can explain this all logically as per the ship’s construction, then we’ll talk seriously.”

Neither Hurst, nor The Cutting Edge provide a practical scenario for creating a BLEVE in a Moss tank, or any other LNG tank, logically or illogically.

Responding to the Cutting Edge version of the report, Captain Bryan Mitchell dismissed claims by an American union regarding the inadequacy of seafarer identification: “The union representatives know nothing of our (UK that is) vetting or monitoring procedures, scaring the US public with visions of floating bombs manned by any Tom, Dick or Harry that choses to board is just so ridiculous I can’t believe the politicians don’t see through it. No one can sail on board any ship I have ever worked on without an official seaman’s registration book issued by their own country and more commonly now the flag state of the ship registration as well. The flag state issues the identification document after verifying the national ID and certification. I (and every other certificated officer in the UK) am subject to a revalidation process every 5 years, the British government has my full history of the 40 years I have spent at sea. We come to the US and suddenly I am a security risk? I am master on one of the largest, latest generation LNG ships scheduled eventually to come to the US and I can tell you I don’t like the idea at all.

The US is dependent on international, not American, shipping, without it the country would quickly stop, the only reason your union bosses insist on using the terror-threat card at every turn is for them to get their members on board my ship. Wake up, their is no terror threat from an LNG tanker bomber. ..The cargo is almost impossible to explode and the notion that a ship can be blown up on demand is beyond belief and as for a Naval officer suggesting such a thing raises doubt on the credability of US naval intelligence services. “

Captain Mitchell points out, which neither the Hurst paper nor the Cutting Edge does, “ LNG burns with a “lazy” flame, not an explosive one; in all probability any incident on a tanker would lead to fire nothing more, bad enough for those on board but this does not represent a major danger to surrounding areas. No large scale test has ever been conducted of the results of a leak of LNG, all results are an extrapolation of a test using very small quantities of LNG carried out in the early seventies”

Hurst and the Cutting Edge cclaim that much of America’s LNG supplies come from unstable states which are, or are likely to be, sources of terrorist activity. A 2005 Congress Report Service analysis of the previous year’s shipments give the following statistics: In 2004, LNG imports to the United States originated primarily in Trinidad (75%), Algeria (16%), and Malaysia (3%). Some shipments also came from Qatar, Nigeria, Oman, Australia and other countries.4 Brunei, Indonesia, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates. Of those, only Libya has a historical terrorisdm background but it has long since ‘joined the fold’.

The real argument isn’t about the safety of LNG ship’s, but that if manned by Americans and flagged in the US the imaginary threat will disappear.

Terrorists seek the downfall of their target state but don’t intend to do it themselves. They create the conditions under which the instruments of the target state do it for them., by themselves creating fear, economic destablisation and justifying infringements of cultural values, social norms and legal structure in the name of that fear, eventually losing the mandate of the citizenry to govern.

Everything that serves to generate fear and lead to unrealistic goals through uneconomic means serves to strengthen the terrorists’ arm. Indeed,  it is far more effective now for terrorist organisations to fund papers and research into terrorist threats than go through the risk and expense of a large scale attack. In this case, xenophobia against a workforce on which America depends for its existence, works well for the terrorists.

The terrorists have co-opted those who think, or claim themselves to be working in America’s interests to generate fear for them. Al Quaida, it seems, is winning the exchange.

Maritime Safety News – 17th-20th June 2008

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Jun 202008

2 workers killed, 5 hurt in shipyard mishap
Straits Times – Singapore
Fourteen others were hurt in the explosion on the Rainbow Star. No explosion took place on Wednesday on board the ship that was being converted into a

Posted 06/18/08 at 08:42 AM

A 52-year-old Surrey man died after being crushed between two barges at a log sorting operation near Crofton, reported. The accident occurred just before midnight while the men were working on barges towed by tugboats in the Shoal Island area, near the Catalyst mill in Crofton

Labrador freighter runs aground
Western Star – Corner Brook,Newfoundland and Labrador,Canada
The Canadian Coast Guard received a distress call at around 1:30 am The ship’s 13 crew members abandoned the vessel in a life boat.

New Jersey – passengers ferried ashore after cruise vessel becomes disabled

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the passengers and crew of a 62-foot long harbor cruise vessel were transported ashore after the vessel’s propellers became entangled.

Edinburgh ship blaze could take week to bring under control, warn
Glasgow Daily Record – Glasgow,Scotland,UK
A BLAZE severely damaging a ship could take until the end of the week to extinguish, fire chiefs said yesterday. Ten firefighters are tackling the blaze on

UK. Torbay RNLI Lifeboat aids sinking fishing vessel; tows to Brixham
BYM News (press release) – Gibraltar,Spain
A nearby fishing vessel, the Marina, responded to the Pan Pan and proceeded to the sinking vessel. The Marina was requested to stand by the vessel until the .

Regulator failed to check vessel’s safety: coroner
Queensland’s maritime safety regulator failed to inspect an unseaworthy Torres Strait-based vessel in the years before a deckhand fell to his death, the state’s coroner has found.

Queensland coroner Michael Barnes found Maritime Safety Queensland had not inspected the vessel, The Alert, operated by company Torres Pilots for years prior to the 2004 death of 55-year-old Phillemon Mosby, despite receiving complaints that it was unsafe.

German-Based Operator of Ship and Chief Engineer Plead Guilty to
Biloxi Sun Herald – MS, USA
“The company and chief engineer used the ocean as a dumping ground for waste oil and tried to cover that up,” said David M. Dillon, Special Agent-in-Charge,

Boats, words collide in dispute between marina and shipper
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Milwaukee,WI,USA
By TOM DAYKIN A long-simmering dispute between two Milwaukee businesses has boiled over after a cargo ship operated by St. Marys Cement Inc. collided Monday

9 Non-British Ships Under Detention in the Uk During May

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced today that 9 foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during May 2008 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection. read more.

Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers Remain Giant Terror Targets
The Cutting Edge – Washington,DC,USA
Foreign seafarers are not. US mariners will be subject to terrorism background checks through the TSA. Foreign Seafarers are not.

Somalia, French firm sign pact to tackle piracy.
By David Barouski(David Barouski)
Mombasa-based Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) says the move is laudable as it could enhance security of vessels and crew noting that many seagoing vessels and maritime insurers have been avoiding Somali coast because of piracy

Oil dealers raise alarm over danger of big spill at port
Business Daily Africa – Nairobi,Kenya
Marketers raise fears that KPA and the Kenya Maritime Authority may not have capacity to manage a spill of more than 1000 metric tonnes.

Singapore – IMO unique owner and registered owner ID number scheme

The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding owners and operators that, effective 1 January 2009, the IMO unique company and registered owner identification (ID) number must be reflected in a number of ship’s documents.  This includes the Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR), the Document of Compliance, the Safety Management Certificate (SMC), and the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC), among others. Shipping Circular No. 11 of 2008 (6/16/08).

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