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10 Nov 2017

Pakistani Shipbreaking Yard Closed

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"This is the same floating oil production tanker that blew up on 1 November last year – an explosion that caused the death of 31 workers and seriously injured at least another 58 workers. Fortunately, reports seem to indicate that no workers got caught in the flames of yesterday’s fire on the ACES. After having been left untouched and unbroken in the same yard since last year’s catastrophic explosion, the Pakistan Department of Environment gave permission last week for the continued breaking of the ACES. Shockingly, on the very first day that the breaking commenced, a massive fire broke out again as the oil residues inside the tanker had not been removed. While there have been no reported fatalities or injuries as a result of the fire, yesterday’s event goes far in demonstrating the Pakistani Government’s negligent attitude towards workers’ rights and safety, as well as enforcing proper environmental standards. “Clearly, no lessons have been learnt from the series of tragedies that have hit Gadani in the last year”, says Dr Muhammad Irfan Khan, member of the NGO Shipbeaking Platform’s Board. “More investments are sorely needed to ensure institutional capacity build-up. For the industry to be allowed to continue operating in Pakistan, authorities need to guarantee the protection of shipbreaking workers and the enforcement of existing environmental regulations”, he adds. Following the major blast on 1 November 2016, dubbed the worst tragedy in shipbreaking history and caused by several gas cylinder explosions, workers have over and over rallied in Gadani to protest against the deplorable working conditions and the lack of Government support in enforcing safety and occupational health laws. Evidently, by authorising the breaking of the ACES to commence again, without having even ensured that the tanks were cleaned, Pakistani authorities blatantly ignore workers’ calls as yards are allowed to return to business as usual and perpetuate the industry’s violent legacy. The appalling working conditions at Gadani are well-known, yet European ships are still being sold to Pakistan for breaking. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, seven ships – five German, one Greek, and one Norwegian – were sold to the Gadani beach for breaking. NGO Shipbreaking Platform “It is shameful that European ship-owners benefit from a situation where worker’s lives are continuously put at risk. Unless the yards are moved to industrial platforms away from the tidal beach where the safety of workers and the containment of pollutants can be ensured, we do not recommend the breaking of ships in Pakistan”, says Ingvild Jenssen, Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “How many more accidents and deaths at the Gadani beach is the global shipping industry ready to accept?”, she adds. Following yesterday’s fire, the Deputy Commissioner of Hub District – Mr. Mangal – set up an inquiry committee to look into to the EPA approval to resume breaking of the ACES and sealed the shipbreaking yard where it is beached. The Platform urges the Government to ensure that end-of-life ships are dismantled in safe and clean ship recycling facilities off the beach. Only then will safe working conditions and the protection of the coastal environment from pollution be safeguarded."

09 Nov 2017

"Major Ports register positive growth of 3.27% during April-October, 2017 "

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"The Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari reviewed the work of all ports in Goa this week. He interacted with stakeholders including PPP operators, port users and other private sector service providers. In his address Shri Gadkari said that as per the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Blue Economy is proving to be a catalyst in India's progress and the performance of ports is a clear pointer towards the same. The review meeting was aimed at serving the industry needs in a better way, identifying issues holding up new projects and understanding ways to improve efficiency. The meeting provided a platform to all officials and stakeholders to communicate with each other and with the Ministry of Shipping, breaking the conventional tight silo - bound approach and expediting decision making processes. Promoting coastal shipping and improving port infrastructure are high up on the Ministry’s agenda. The Minister recently flagged off consignments of trucks to Bangladesh from Chennai and Steel from Vizag. Overall traffic growth at Major Ports The major ports in India have recorded a growth of 3.27% during the period April to September, 2017 and together handled 383 Million Tonnes of cargo as against 371 Million Tonnes handled during the corresponding period of previous year. The Eight Ports i.e. Kolkata, Paradip, Chennai, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mumbai, JNPT and Kandla registered positive growth in traffic during the period April to October, 2017. Cargo traffic handled at Major Ports: The highest growth was registered by Cochin Port (17.66%), followed by Kolkata [incl. Haldia], New Mangalore, Paradip with growth of about 12%. The Cochin Port growth was mainly due to increase in traffic of POL (24.56%) and Containers (11.12%). In Kolkata Port, overall growth was positive i.e. 12.39%. Kolkata Dock System (KDS) registered traffic growth of 3.80%. Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) registered positive growth of 16.66%. During the period April to September 2017, Kandla Port handled the highest volume of traffic i.e. 63.13 Million tonnes (16.49% share), followed by Paradip with 55.78 Million Tonnes (14.57% share), JNPT with 37.90 Million Tonnes (9.90% share), Mumbai with 36.72 Million Tonnes (9.59% share), and Visakhapatnam with 35.74 Million Tonnes (9.33% share). Together, these five ports handled around 60% of Major Port Traffic. Commodity wise Share % in Traffic in October 2017 Commodity-wise percentage share of POL was maximum i.e. 34.07%, followed by Container (20.01%), Thermal & Steam Coal (12.81%), Other Misc. Cargo (12.24%), Coking & Other Coal (7.57%), Iron Ore & Pellets (6.61%), Other Liquid (4.30%), Finished Fertilizer (1.29%) and FRM (1.10%)."

04 Nov 2017

International Women Seafarers Foundation launched in Mumbai

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"Three veteran seafarers came together on Friday to launch the International Women Seafarers Foundation (IWSF). The foundation aims at encouraging more women to join the profession and to work with the government and shipping companies in bridging gaps in policies for women seafarers. The foundation was launched in the presence of Director General (Shipping) Malini V Shankar, Sujata Tolani, the owner of Tolani Shipping Ltd, Captain Ashok Mahapatra, the Director of Safety Council, International Maritime Organisation and Pradeep Rawat, Chairman of the National Shipping Board. The body has been founded by the veteran seafarers, Captain Radhika Menon, Suneeti Bala and Sharvani Mishra, all of whom have had pioneering and award-winning careers in the merchant navy. Bala said that since women comprised less than 2% of the 1.25 million seafarers working onboard more than 85,000 ships, they have been affected by gaps in policies, procedures and general social understanding of co-existence in the confined working environment of ships."

03 Nov 2017

Financial Assistance of Rs 2,302.05 Crore for Projects under Coastal Berth Scheme of Sagarmala

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"Scope of Coastal Berth Scheme expanded to cover DPR preparation The Ministry of Shipping has taken up projects worth Rs 2,302 crore for financial assistance under the Coastal Berth Scheme of the flagship Sagarmala Programme. The Ministry, after due appraisal in consultation with NITI Aayog and Department of Expenditure, has extended the period of the scheme for three years, upto 31st March, 2020 and expanded its scope to cover capital dredging at Major Ports and preparation of DPR for coastal berth project, in Oct 2017. The projects under Coastal Berth Scheme of the flagship Sagarmala Programme are distributed over eight states with the highest number of projects in Maharashtra (12 projects), Andhra Pradesh & Goa (10 projects), Karnataka (6 projects), Kerala and Tamil Nadu (3 projects), Gujarat (2 projects) and West Bengal (1 project). Out of the 47 projects, 23 projects worth Rs 1075.61 crore have been sanctioned for total financial assistance of Rs 390.42 crore and Rs 230.01 crore has been released to Major Ports, State Maritime Boards and State Governments. The remaining 24 projects are under various stages of development and process of approval. The most recent beneficiaries of the scheme were Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Karnataka Government respectively for developing coastal infrastructure at Jawahar Lal Nehru Port, Karwar Port and Old Manglore Port. Rs 25 crore were sanctioned for construction of coastal berth (270m x 30m) at JNPT . Rs 114.4 crore were sanctioned for Karnataka Government for extension of the existing Southern breakwater by 145 metres, construction of a new North breakwater of 1160 metres, construction of coastal berths at Karwar port and construction of coastal berth an capital dredging at Old Manglore port . The Coastal Berth Scheme aims to provide financial support to ports or state governments for creation of infrastructure for movement of cargo and passenger by sea or national waterways. The admissible financial assistance from Central Government is 50% of the total cost of the project subject to: (i) a maximum of Rs 25 crore for projects relating to construction/up-gradation of coastal berths by Major/Non-Major Ports, (ii) a maximum of Rs 10 crore for construction of platforms/jetties for hovercrafts & seaplanes by Ports/State Governments & passenger jetties in National Waterways and islands by State Governments, (iii) a maximum of Rs 15 crore for mechanization of berths by Major/Non-Major Ports (iv) a maximum of Rs 50 crore for capital dredging of Major Ports/operational Non-Major Ports ; and (v) a maximum of Rs 50 crore for construction of breakwater for existing and Greenfield Ports. The financial assistance will also be provided for the preparation of DPRs for the projects to be considered under this scheme. The construction of passenger jetties also includes construction of terminal building and allied infrastructure. The balance expenditure has to be incurred by the respective Ports/ concerned State Governments (including State Maritime Boards) from their own resources. Once completed, the projects will help to promote coastal shipping and increase its share in domestic cargo movement in India. Better infrastructure for coastal shipping will decongest rail and road network besides ensuring cost competitive and effective multi-modal transportation solution. The country has high potential to use coastal shipping for its internal cargo movement given its 7500 kms long coastline."

01 Nov 2017

Goa Maritime Conclave inaugurated by Defence Minister at Naval War College

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"The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) was inaugurated by Honourable Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman at the Tarang Auditorium of INS Mandovi, Goa. The conclave was aimed at “Addressing Regional Maritime Challenges” wherein the deliberations were focused on emerging maritime threats and force structuring, maritime domain awareness, maritime security architecture, and maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region(IOR). Each of these themes was elaborated upon by speakers of national and international renown, comprising a veritable who’s who of analysts, scholars and practitioners such as Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd) of India, Admiral Dr Jayanth Colombage (Retd) of Sri Lanka, Admiral Md Khurshed Alam of Bangladesh, Professor Ashley J Tellis, Dr C Raja Mohan, Professor Harsh V Pant and Dr Christian Bueger. Delivering the key note address the Hon’ble Defence Minsiter said “FOR OUR COLLECTIVE ASPIRATIONS TO BEAR FRUITION AND THEIR IMPACT TO BE SUSTAINABLE, HAVING A PEACEFUL, STABLE AND SECURE MARITIME ENVIRONMENT IN THE REGION IS A PRE-REQUISITE”. She further said that the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) aims to bring together like minded nations to evolve and formulate collective responses to emerging challenges in the maritime domain. It would also provide an opportunity to communicate our viewpoints in a forthright manner and collectively shape a favourable maritime environment for all countries in the region added the Raksha Mantri. She further said that the IOR has progressively gained centre-stage largely due to the political impact of its regional dynamics on international geo-politics. One can claim with considerable assertion that the future of the world will be shaped, to a large extent, by the political and economic interactions between the stake holders in the IOR, she added. She further stated that “Whilst it is good that the compulsions of globalisation have enabled economics to shape transactional relationships between nations, opaqueness in strategic intent and incoherent behaviour by certain nations are preventing these very relationships from evolving beyond their transactional nature. On land, the unresolved borders and riparian disputes which are predominantly a legacy of the colonial era are some of the key causes of conflict. Further, this impasse in international relationships, is a product of many causes such as ideological differences, political insecurities, economic dependency, technological dependencies, inequitable access to resources, geographical imperatives etc. The net impact of these differences is that trust deficit and tensions between nations continue to persist, on account of perceived challenges to sovereignty, despite positive economic interactions between them. As international behaviour in the maritime medium is influenced considerably by land based imperatives, cordially or latent hostility prevalent amongst countries on land tends to be reflected in the seas”. Concluding her address the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri recommended the following to be deliberated during the GMC:- Evaluation of the impact of emerging maritime security architectures on overcoming maritime security challenges. Shaping a discourse in the region in order to work out the differences and capitalise on commonalities so as to ensure maritime security in IOR. Tapping the considerable intellectual capital resident in the region and evolve customised solutions to the challenges rather than importing extra-regional solutions and force-fit them on to the regional template. While delivering the inaugural address, Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff thanked the Hon’ble RM to have graced the occasion. He also thanked all the delegates whose presence reaffirmed the bonhomie that is shared by the navies and innate friendship that prevails amongst the nations. The CNS, however brought out that there is a perceptible lack of formal arrangements with respect to engagement between littoral navies of the south and south eastern IOR and the concept of GMC has been evolved to bridge this gap and to establish a regional maritime forum amongst like-minded navies of the region for the apex level dialogue. The Admiral further stressed on creation of comprehensive infrastructure, equipping the force with technology and investing in quality training while exercising financial prudence. He also said that by making large and long term financial commitments to counter specific threats from perceived adversaries may not necessarily yield the desired results in the future. Instead it would be wiser to adhere to long term plan which is underpinned by a clear assessment of desired capabilities. The CNS concluded with remarks that we hope to consolidate the progress made so far and shape a way ahead for greater maritime cooperation in the region. "

25 Oct 2017

Indian Navy Re-Balances Deployments In Indian Ocean Region (Ior)

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"Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR) is being pursued in full earnest by the Indian Navy. Mission-based Deployments The new Mission-based deployment concept was unveiled in the last Naval Commander’s Conference and was ratified for incremental implementation. Supported by the MoD, the plan involves deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points. These ships are deployed always ready to meet any eventuality across the spectrum of operations ranging from acts of maritime terrorism and piracy to HADR missions. These deployments are aimed to be maintained 24/7 and round the year with ships being sustained and turned around on station. The concept is already showing dividends with the Navy being the first responder to many crisis situations around the IOR. The Navy was the quick to respond to the heavy rains and flooding in Sri Lanka as also to the HADR requirements post Cyclone Mora in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Navy was also there to secure the release of the Indian dhow Al- Kausar and the crew from Somali pirates. The rescue of three persons including a woman from a sinking tug off Maldives was another instance where a mission-deployed ship was available to respond immediately to a request for help. The change in the deployment concept has necessitated a change in the methods used to sustain and support ships within the Navy. Accordingly, the Chief of the Naval Staff has approved a new Transition cycle for ships from Maintenance periods to Operational Deployments that allows for a focussed and gradual transition of ships from periods of maintenance layoffs to full scale operations. The new Transition cycle focuses efforts of Operational Commanders on ‘Training and Safety Inspections of ships’ prior to their deployment for operations. Security and Growth Along with these deployments, the Navy has, in tandem with the MEA, focussed efforts on the Capacity and Capability development of navies in the region. The Indian approach of providing equipment and training is finding increasing favour amongst the IOR nations. The Indian Navy has a time-tested model of Joint operations with regional navies. The idea that there can be no growth without security is well understood. With the Indian Navy emerging as the Net Security Provider in the region, engagements through Coordinated patrols (CORPATs) of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), Bi-lateral exercises, Training exchanges and cross-visits of trainees and others have seen an increase. Whole of Government Approach The initiatives to improve the security environment in the region and provide opportunities for growth to all have seen an unprecedented ‘Whole of Government’ approach. Synergy between initiatives of the MoD, MEA and the Navy has resulted in more effective and efficient engagements in the region. The Navy’s ability to deploy and sustain in tandem with the new Mission-based deployment concept has resulted in greater presence and visibility. Naval Commander’s Conference The ongoing Naval Commander’s Conference would, among other issues, review the new Mission-based deployment concept and seek to ascertain it’s effectiveness. The top naval commanders would also deliberate upon ways to improve it’s efficiency and functioning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR is being unfolded in an effective and deliberate manner through security cooperation and capacity/capability building initiatives to protect and preserve maritime security, peace and stability in the region."

23 Oct 2017

Ocean Change requires solutions - UN Oceans Envoy

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"Solutions to address human-induced “Ocean Change” are needed to save life in the ocean and reverse the cycle of decline in which it is caught, according to Fiji's Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Ocean. Peter Thomson, who was visiting the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, said that as a Fijian, he had personally witnessed the degradation of the marine environment in his lifetime, citing marine litter and coral bleaching as just two examples. “As a grandfather I find these changes tragic. It is time for us to implement the solutions to ocean's many problems,” he said. Special Envoy Thomson told a briefing of IMO senior staff that the UN Ocean Conference, held in New York in June 2017, had demonstrated a clear will and commitment by all sectors of the ocean community to support the implementation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 14. SDG14 calls for the world to conserve and sustainably use the resources of the ocean for sustainable development. “We are all aware of ‘Climate Change’; but we need to talk more about ‘Ocean Change’ and the effects of acidification, warming, plastic pollution, dead zones and so on,” Thomson said. “The world must know that we have a plan to save the ocean. As it stands, SDG14 represents the only universal commitment we have to save life in the ocean for our grandchildren to enjoy. We have a strategy to drive SDG14 and what is required over the next three years is concerted action.” The UN Ocean Conference resulted in a firm Call for Action declaration, subsequently adopted by consensus at the UN General Assembly, to support the implementation of SDG14. More than 1,400 voluntary commitments have been pledged as a result the conference and these are now being shaped into Communities of Ocean Action. Special Envoy Thomson said he would be working closely with these communities to ensure the commitments were being developed and implemented into meaningful ocean action. He said he would be cooperating with Member States and the UN system to optimize the effectiveness of UN-Oceans, the UN's inter-agency mechanism for ocean action. Equally important, he said, would be his work with civil society, the scientific community, the business sector, and other relevant stakeholders, to coalesce and encourage their activities in support of the implementation of SDG 14. Thomson emphasized that IMO, as the United Nations agency responsible for developing and adopting measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships, had an integral role to play in the effort to meet SDG14's targets. IMO has adopted regulations to protect the marine environment from ships, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships (MARPOL), and the Ballast Water Management Convention, which aims to prevent the spread of potentially harmful aquatic invasive species. IMO is the Secretariat for The London Convention and Protocol, treaties which regulate the dumping of wastes at sea, and these are hosted by IMO. The 2016 Strategic Plan for the London Protocol/Convention has been registered as a voluntary commitment under SDG 14. IMO also fulfils secretariat functions for the Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), an advisory body of the United Nations. GESAMP has issued peer-reviewed reports on microplastics in the marine environment and on other relevant topics. IMO is one of the partners in the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML), which is managed by UN Environment, with IMO co-leading on sea-based sources of marine litter together with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Peter Thomson was appointed as Special Envoy for the Ocean by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in September. "

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