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26 Jun 2018

Liberia underlines commitment to seafarer wellbeing on IMO Day of the Seafarer

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"The Liberian Registry has underlined its commitment to protecting the welfare of seafarers on the occasion of the International Maritime Organization’s Day of the Seafarer, which this year takes ‘seafarer wellbeing’, and mental health in particular, as its theme. Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “Our seafarers are the lifeblood of our industry. Without them, shipping is nothing, and yet their commitment and efficiency is such that the industry is sometimes in danger of taking them for granted. It is therefore right that IMO should dedicate a specific day each year to recognise this remarkably dedicated workforce, and to highlight the issues they face on a daily basis. “The Liberian Registry is dedicated to protecting the welfare of seafarers and to ensuring that the maritime industry maintains its commitment to promoting greater understanding of mental health concerns and awareness of the issues facing all onboard personnel. There are over 270,000 active seafarers who are certified by Liberia, of which nearly 100,000 are currently employed on Liberian-flagged ships. In addition, Liberia has taken a leading role in ratifying, implementing and overseeing the application of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006). “Everything we do, from our everyday operations to the ongoing development of technical innovation, is designed with the interests of our seafarers in mind. Moreover, our MLC 2006 training programme for Liberian inspectors includes a module on seafarer welfare, developed in co-operation with The Mission to Seafarers, an organisation with which the Liberian Registry enjoys an excellent and highly productive relationship. “In addition, The Ethiopian Maritime Training Institute (EMTI S.C), part of YCF Group, the parent organisation of LISCR, has successfully trained thousands of cadets and officers, who are now employed on vessels around the world. LISCR also manages the Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI), which opened earlier this year. “Whatever advances are made in shipping over the coming years, the maritime workforce will remain the industry’s biggest and most valuable asset. Liberia is dedicated to protecting the interests of that workforce, on IMO’s Day of the Seafarer and on every other day.” ? Gerard Kenny, Technical Manager of LISCR’s offices in London, recently completed the 106km NightRider charity bike ride around London as a member of the IMO team raising funds for The Mission to Seafarers. He says, “Needless to say, I’m feeling rather fragile and a little weary today, but that’s nothing compared to what seafarers go through every day over prolonged periods at sea.” ??The Liberian Registry has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive and innovative service to owners. Moreover, it has a well-deserved reputation for supporting international legislation designed to maintain and improve the safety and effectiveness of the shipping industry and protection of the marine environment."

16 Jun 2018

DP World denies out of court settlement on Djibouti port

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"A DP World spokesperson said that the concession agreement remains in place. DP World, Dubai-based global marine terminal operator, has denied media reports stating that the company was looking for an out of court settlement with respect to the dispute with the Djibouti government over their illegal action in taking control of the port at Doraleh. ''It has been noted in some reports that DP World may consider an out of court settlement with respect to the dispute with the Djiboutian government over their illegal action in taking control of the port at Doraleh,'' a company statement said. A DP World spokesperson said that the concession agreement remains in place, and the action taken by the Djiboutian government is subject to legal process in the International court of Arbitration in London. ""We await the outcome of this process. We remain committed to operating Doraleh port as per original agreement of the concession, and we will not consider any other alternative settlement option."" DP World, the fourth biggest port operator globally, will not consider alternative legal options outside a court settlement in a dispute with the Djibouti government over the Doraleh Container Terminal. The Nasdaq-listed company is awaiting a ruling by the International Arbitration Court in London, a DP World spokesman said in a statement Saturday, in response to media reports that it is considering settling the matter outside the court. “We await the outcome of this process,” a DP World spokesperson said. “We remain committed to operating Doraleh port as per the original agreement of the concession, and we will not consider any other alternative settlement option.” In February, the Djibouti authorities abruptly cancelled DP World’s contract to run the Doraleh terminal. DP World said the move to take control of the port was illegal and began court proceedings. The UAE denounced Djibouti’s termination of DP World’s concession, calling it an “arbitrary” breach of a signed agreement. The port operator said in March that it would consider it illegal if any third-party entered into an agreement or arrangement with the Djibouti government related to the port. DP World is facing a dual challenge in Africa where Somalia’s parliament voted in March to ban the company. DP World’s terminals in Europe, Middle East and Africa, which also includes the home port of Jebel Ali in Dubai, recorded the strongest growth in the first quarter of 2018, up 9.8 per cent. Despite the headwinds it's facing in Africa, the company remains bullish on African markets’ potential for growth and has continued to expand there. In May, DP World signed a preliminary agreement with Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority and government to jointly develop a new inland container depot that will boost the flow of cargo between ships and major land transport networks in the country. It won a 30-year concession to develop a $1 billion deep-water port along the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Atlantic coast in March. DP World will get a 70 per cent stake and the DRC government keeps a 30 per cent holding in the project. Construction will start this year and finish in two years."

11 Jun 2018

Belize Says No For Factory Trawler's Registration

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"Belize has revoked the registration of the 50,000 ton Damanzaihao, the largest fish factory vessel in the world. The International Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) stripped the Damanzaihao of its flag, at the request of Sea Shepherd Legal, for failing to appropriately complete its vessel registration materials and notify Belize of its record of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, according to a statement issued last week. The move renders the vessel stateless, according to marine conservation group Sea Shepherd, who has been working to get the vessel arrested and de-listed in the region. The Damanzaihao is capable of processing 547,000 tons of fish per year. In February 2015, The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization or, SPRFMO, declared the vessel a “pirate” and added the Damanzaihao to its lists of vessels involved in IUU fishing, after detecting an unauthorized trans-shipment and false reporting to authorities about cargo of frozen Pacific mackarel. Pacific Mackerel stocks have collapsed in recent years, being caught increasingly for reduction into feed for the salmon farming industry. Last week Peruvian authorities initiated a criminal investigation into China Fishery Group and detained the vessel in the El Ferrol bay, Chimbote. The ship is being held for a period of 70 days for allegedly polluting the Peruvian sea and for criminal charges relating to IUU fisheries crimes spanning from South America to New Zealand. Ministerio Publico Fiscalia de la Nacion said fines for the vessel could be up to $7 million. In April, bankrupt China Fishery Group, said it would sell the controversial vessel to Singapore-based DVS-R PTE, in a New York Bankruptcy Court. Sea Shepherd has received documents affirming the sale has gone ahead within Peruvian waters. Over the past two weeks, the Damanzaihao had twice requested permission to leave port. Sea Shepherd Vessel M/V John Paul DeJoria was recently in Peruvian waters, investigating and gathering intelligence to assist the Peruvian Government, in its fight against IUU fishing. Sea Shepherd's Captain Paul Watson stated “Sea Shepherd will work hard to ensure that other potential flag states follow suit should the Damanzaihao ever be allowed to leave Peruvian waters. If it ends up on the other side of the world, I hope it is in the form of paperclips, after it has been scrapped.”"

01 Jun 2018

Marshall Islands Aims to Resolve Shipping Industry’s Safety Concerns

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"The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has submitted a paper to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Intersessional Working Group (ISWG) on the consistent implementation of the 2020 global fuel oil sulphur standard under MARPOL Annex VI. The submission, which was co-sponsored by the Republic of Liberia, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), and the World Shipping Council (WSC), is intended to assist the ISWG in developing guidelines on the implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI. The regulation limits sulphur in fuel oil to 0.50% when operating outside of designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs). It was decided at the 70th session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to retain 01 January 2020 as the effective date for the shift to the 0.50% global fuel oil standard. The MEPC issued Resolution MEPC.280(70) to affirm this decision. Additionally, recognizing concerns expressed regarding the implementation of this fuel oil standard, MEPC 71 agreed to establish a new output on what additional measures may be developed to promote consistent implementation of the 0.50% global fuel oil standard. The RMI’s submission to the IMO provides technical information focusing on safety implications and challenges associated with using new fuel oil blends compliant with the new 0.50% sulphur fuel oil standard. The technical information, detailed in the Annex to the submission, aims to cover a wide range of safety aspects associated with the switch to 2020 fuels such as potential issues with blend components, stability, compatibility and other fuel oil parameters. All of these issues are viewed as having the potential to negatively impact fuel and machinery systems. Accordingly, the technical information also touches upon operational and technical measures to address risks during fuel switching, tank cleaning and fuel system arrangements (heating capacities and tank segregation). The information is intended to facilitate informed decision making as the ISWG addresses preparatory and transitional issues. The co-sponsors also recommend that any consequential regulatory amendments and/or guidelines necessary to address the safety issues raised in the submission are brought to the attention of the MEPC at its next session in October 2018. Likewise, it is also proposed that any potential safety implications resulting from new blends or fuel types should be reported to the next session of the Marine Safety Committee (MSC) in December 2018. Theo Xenakoudis, Director, Worldwide Business Operations, International Registries, Inc. (IRI), said: “This paper allows the shipping community to have a voice in the development of rules that shape our industry. We are happy to be the catalyst for smart regulation that has been crafted with careful consideration from everyone it effects. Shipowners in particular will bear the impact of this transition and this will hopefully resolve some of the concerns about the regulation.”"

15 May 2018

"New Liberia President confirms maritime commitment with visit to LMTI"

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"On February 13th, 2018, newly elected President of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Mr. George Manneh Weah, visited the recently rehabilitated Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI) in Marshall, Margibi County, Liberia. He was Liberian President George Manneh Weah joins LISCR Co-Chairmen, Adam and Elan Cohen, LISCR Managing Director & LMTI Chairman, Avi Zaidenberg, and LiMA Commissioner, James Kollie at the newly reopened and LISCR managed LMTI. personally welcomed by LISCR Co-Chairmen, Mr. Adam and Mr. Elan Cohen, Liberian Maritime Administration Commissioner, Mr. James Kollie, and LISCR Managing Director & LMTI Chairman, Mr. Avi Zaidenberg. Following a welcoming ceremony by the residents of the town of Marshall and LMTI Cadets and staff, the President addressed the Institute and the local community. President Weah offered encouragement to the young Cadets and expressed appreciation for LISCR’s contributions and its ongoing management of LMTI. Commissioner Kollie and Mr. Zaidenberg also addressed the Cadets and congratulated each other for their continued close cooperation in developing LMTI as a centre of educational excellence. Thereafter, President Weah was provided a tour of LMTI’s newly constructed facilities, including marine workshops, laboratories, and lecture halls. The town of Marshall has seen a dramatic rise in economic and social activity following LMTI’s rehabilitation, which has become a source of pride for the local community. President’s Weah’s visit confirms his strong commitment to the Liberian maritime sector as well as his emphasis on fostering youth education and employment."

09 May 2018

Kenya inches closer to national policy on blue economy

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"Kenya is moving closer to rolling out the National Maritime Transport Policy that will guide exploitation of resources in the maritime sector. Today, senior government officials who will oversee the roll-out of the policy will undergo training in a two-day workshop. The Transport ministry is hosting maritime players in the workshop that will also discuss ways of tapping the vast potential of the sector. The maritime policy, which is being developed by a multi-sectoral committee, is expected to spell out procedures for harnessing fishery resources from Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) among other activities as the country moves to deepen the exploitation of the blue economy. “We hope to raise awareness on the importance of a NMTP as a good governance and planning tool for various government agencies and other stakeholders as we seek to integrate maritime policies into the national development planning process,” Ms Karigithu said in a telephone interview. She said the training would build capacity among the officials given the complex nature of activities in the maritime industry. The forum brings together several players responsible for different aspects of operations, management, and policy formulation. Maritime industry comprises over 13 sectors, 15 sub-sectors and 87 different interconnected activities. Thus, decision on one of the maritime-related activities may adversely affect performance of another sector. The workshop is facilitated by personnel from the World Maritime University based in Malmo, Sweden. The policy is being drawn as a follow-up to the maritime conference held in Nairobi in 2014, which identified eight areas for emphasis as the country looks to up the sector for increased investments. The conference resolved to initiate the development of an integrated maritime policy that would ensure maximum exploitation of the sector in areas of security, regulation and infrastructural development. Under the plan, the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) will also be restructured to become a commercially viable entity with the government expected to provide initial support by formulating a cargo quota allocation system, according to the recommendations of the conference. The development of the policy comes even as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is auditing Kenya to determine how the country is implementing and enforcing IMO conventions. The audit which started on Monday is expected to enhance Kenya’s compliance to the IMO conventions and build confidence in Kenya’s maritime sector as it relates to maritime safety, security and marine pollution prevention, said Transport principal secretary Prof Paul Maringa. He said the audit process would help the country build capacity in the maritime sector and identify areas for further improvement. “The audit will also enhance continuous improvement in the maritime sector, identification of possible risks and prevention or mitigation of such risks before they occur. If any findings or observations are raised during the IMO audit, the framework provides room for corrective action,” he said."

08 May 2018

Pirates on the prowl, unleash mayhem on Nigeria’s maritime domain

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"The high level of insecurity in Nigerian waterways has ignited a fresh anger within the nation’s maritime domain, raising further questions as to the propriety of the $195 million contract awarded to an Israeli firm, HLSI Security Systems and Technologies, to secure the country’s maritime space. In one of the most recent incidents, suspected pirates on Saturday April 21, 2018, kidnapped12 crew members on a Dutch cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria. The attack occurred early in the morning as the vessel was nearing the Port Harcourt, port in Nigeria. The ship owner, ForestWave Navigation, confirmed that 12 of 14 crew members on board their general cargo ship FWN Rapide were taken from the vessel. The two remaining crew members were reported safe with the vessel allegedly moved to a secure location. ForestWave also said that its main priority is to establish contact with the missing seafarers and secure their earliest and safe return. “The company’s Emergency Response team is working round the clock in liaison with the local and international authorities. ForestWave, together with its local organisations, are in close contact with the families of the valued seafarers to support them in these difficult times,” the company said in a statement. The firm had also commended the two crew members for their “courageous and professional handling” of the incident, crediting them with moving the ship to a safe location after the attack. In an earlier statement, ForestWave said it has activated an emergency response team now monitoring the situation extremely closely. “We are currently in close contact with the authorities and taking professional advice in order to secure the earliest release of those that are currently being held,” ForestWave said. “Together with our local representatives in the countries of origin of our valued seafarers we are keeping the families of the FWN Rapide crew informed about the situation. “ForestWave will not be providing any further information in order not to jeopardise the safety of those involved,” the company added. Meanwhile, AIS ship tracking data showed the FWN Rapide was sailing from Takoradi, Ghana to Bonny, Nigeria when the attack took place. According to a report, about 200 passenger deaths are recorded a year worldwide given that over 21.7 million people cruise each year. However, the number does not include people who died from going overboard. These developments often raise serious concerns when one realises that on Monday October 30, 2017, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, informed Nigerians that the Federal Government had approved the award of a security contract valued at $195 million (about N60 billion) to an Israeli firm, HLSI Security Systems and Technologies, to procure security equipment and train Nigerian security personnel to tackle crimes on the nation’s waterways. He said the agreement became imperative given the high charges shipping firms pay for security escort on Nigerian waterways, adding that due to insecurity on the nation’s waterways, the maritime sector spends $18 million on a yearly basis in addition to high war risk insurance payable by shippers to do business on the waters. “Mr President has kindly approved that, and that is being done through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). They will train our navy, our army and our police for three years so that we can stop spending money escorting boats and vessels on our waterways” he said. But stakeholders have already condemned the idea of ceding the nation’s maritime security to a foreign firm, saying that when the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan awarded the contract to Tompolo, there were less incidences of attacks on Nigerian waters. “It is clear that most of the policies of the Nigerian government since after the war have been induced by either personal or group interest. Otherwise, there are certain due diligences that ought to be carried out before policies are formulated. Monitoring of our national and international waterways is an exclusive internal affairs matter. It is therefore very risky to hand such crucial and strategic issues to foreigners. It is like completely mortgaging the security of the country to a foreign company. We have our police. We have our customs. In some countries they have what is called coast guards. We have more than enough security personnel to handle this task if there is sincerity of purpose. When people like Government Tompolo were given that contract, we saw how effective they were. But they were sent away because they are related to the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan. It is just a matter of somebody cooking up something to make something for himself. The reason they are doing it is for money to go into people’s pocket. That contract is a dangerous thing. It is like giving Indians the free hand to run our armoury . I am not sure that contract was conceived and concluded by NIMASA” one of the angry stakeholders, said. For his part, President, Merchant Navy Engineers, Comrade Matthew Alalade, lamented that his men are being harassed on daily basis, blaming joblessness among Nigerian indigenous seafarers as partly responsible for rising problem of pirates activities. Against this background Alalade however called on the Federal Government to create jobs and provides more fleet for the youths “In the Gulf of Guinea, there are lot of pirate activities now more than ever before. We don’t know why it is like that. Perhaps, this may be due to government policies that rendered youths jobless. So, the government must create jobs for the youths for this to stop. Piracy is on the increase in Nigeria now. The effort of the government to curb the activities is not yielding much fruits. Most of the mariners are afraid to sail on Nigerian waters. For the past three months now there is so much insecurity on the waters. Commenting on the Israeli security company, he said that the Nigerian central policing system does not allow them to operate. “Nigeria has a central policing system as against other countries where they have their different policing system. Of recent our colleagues have reported cases of hostage-taking in Bonny which affected a foreign vessel. Also, the local vessels are not comfortable. There is fear everywhere. So far, no deaths have been reported. In the latest attack of a foreign vessel, out of the 11 crews only one person had been found. We have not had any other report about the rest of them. “Following the increased harassment of our members, I had to write the Marine police and they have responded that they are on top of the situation. Our members have informed me that they are having a respite now. Before now, on daily basis, the police used to extort money from the mariners. Sometimes they move with boats that are not in police colour. They used to hire local boats too. “My advice is that the government should provide jobs for the youths and provide more fleet. They should make the maritime business come alive again. The maritime business is dull now” he said. General manager, Nigerian Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA), Mr Tayo Fadile, for instance that they have provided 12 boats that patrol the Nigerian inland waters stretching from Lokoja to Delta, River Niger Warri and Port Harcourt. “If it is in the Nigerian local inland waters we have 12 patrol boats that move around the country nationwide. They try to monitor the inland waterways. The inland waterways are not too active because the waters are required to be dredged. For that of River Niger, we are working on patrolling that one. We have patrol boats for Onitsha, Port Harcourt and Lokoja. They patrol the waters regularly. But if it is all those ones outside the Nigerian waterways we don’t have control over that. It is Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and probably the Navy that have control over that one” he submitted. Chairman, (Tin Can Port chapter), International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), Chief Patrick Chukwu, noted that if the insecurity in Nigeria persists, foreign vessels will avoid Nigeria and that will reduce throughput and development will be affected. “It beats my imagination how the president can wake up and approve such a security contract without recourse to the National Assembly and things will move on as usual. There is a separation of powers but people do what they want. My question is, how can they continue to do this? What will be the outcome? If the insecurity persists, foreign vessels will decide to go to neighbouring countries and that will reduce our throughput and economic sabotage will thrive. Development will reduce and investors will leave. My advice is for the government to overhaul the security agencies in the country. That will engender new blood in the system” he suggested. President, National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) Lucky Amiwero agreed that constant security threats on Nigerian waters will cause surcharge on freights and people will be discouraged to sail Nigerian waters. “The problem of Nigerian waterways is that our waterways should be safe because if it is not safe, it will attract some surcharge. The freight will be high and it will discourage people from bringing ships into the country. So, we must make sure that our waterways are safe, free from priate attacks. If they (pirates) are allowed to continue with their operations people will declare our zone a war zone and apply surcharge on most of the freights. They (government) should try as much as possible to make the waterways safe. That is the issue of the navy and in conjunction with NIMASA."

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