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Added: 20 Aug 2017
In mid-July the World Shipping Council (WSC) released an update to its survey and estimate of containers lost at sea.

WSC undertook the first survey of its member companies in 2011, with updates in 2014 and 2017.

Based on the most recent survey results, WSC estimates that for the combined nine year period from 2008 to 2016, on average, there were 568 containers lost at sea each year, not counting catastrophic events, and 1,582 containers lost at sea each year including catastrophic events. On average, 64% of containers lost during this period were attributed to a catastrophic event.

In the words of John Butler, WSC President and CEO: ‘Although the number of containers lost at sea represents a very small fraction of the number of containers carried on ships each year, the industry continuously strives to reduces those losses.

‘The latest report shows that the average number of containers estimated to be lost each year is down from the estimates reported in 2014. This is an encouraging sign. The report also identifies initiatives the industry is actively supporting to increase container safety and reduce losses further.’

According to WSC Containers in the global container fleet equate to more than 34 million TEU.

The goal of the World Shipping Council (WSC) is to provide a coordinated voice for the liner shipping industry. The WSC and its member companies partner with governments and other stakeholders to collaborate on actionable solutions for some of the world’s most challenging transportation problems.
Added: 18 Aug 2017
Early in August it was announced from Victoria BC, Canada, that Carmanah Technologies Corporation had closed its previously announced transaction to acquire New Zealand-based Vega Industries Limited. The purchase price is NZD $12.0 million (USD $9.0 million) subject to certain adjustments and escrow holdbacks, it is understood.

Vega, with revenues of approximately NZD $7.7 million (USD $5.8 million) in its fiscal year March, 2017, will be maintained as a wholly owned subsidiary of Carmanah at its base of operations in Porirua, New Zealand. The acquired business will operationally report to Sabik Marine OY based in Porvoo, Finland.

This acquisition brings together Sabik Marine, Carmanah, Ekta, and Vega to create a global leader in the marine aids to navigation market. Integration plans, with a specific focus on providing marine aids to navigation customers comprehensive single-source solutions, are expected to be implemented over the coming months.

As of 31 July 2017, Vega’s estimated balance sheet is comprised approximately NZD $3.5 million (USD $2.6 million) of working capital, NZD $3.6 million (USD $2.7 million) of fixed assets including land and buildings. Vega had negligible net debt on the closing date.

About Carmanah Technologies Corporation
Carmanah designs, develops, and distributes a portfolio of products focused on energy-optimized LED solutions for infrastructure. Since 1996, the company has earned a global reputation for delivering durable, dependable, efficient, and cost-effective solutions for industrial applications that perform in some of the world’s harshest environments.

Business is contained within two reportable segments: Signals and Illumination.

The Signals segment serves the Airfield Ground Lighting, Aviation Obstruction, Offshore Wind, Marine, and Traffic markets.

In addition the Illumination segment provides solar-powered LED outdoor lights for municipal and commercial customers.

With 30 years’ specialist experience in design and manufacturing of visual aids to navigation Sabik Marine is a part of Carmanah Technologies Corporation with HQ in Finland. Other offices are located in the UK, Estonia and Singapore. Together with representative offices in Canada, Germany and Russia there is a global distribution network.

Sabik Marine manufactures high-quality products to aid visual navigation on the sea, on roads as well as rail. Product range consists of a wide selection of high performance optical lanterns and signals which can be tailored to meet customized needs; all lanterns are adapted to remote monitoring and control.

Picture caption
In January Carmanah announced that its subsidiary, Sabik Oy, had been selected by the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) to provide remote monitored LED lanterns for their coastal waters under an agreement for the next three to four years.
Photo: SABIK OY ©
Added: 15 Aug 2017
The Nippon Foundation
1st Japan Coast Guard Global Summit
14 September

The Nippon Foundation and the Japan Coast Guard held a press conference on 18 July to announce the Coast Guard Global Summit, a forum of senior maritime safety officials to be held in Tokyo on 14 September, with a total of 40 countries, territories, and institutions expected to participate. This summit is also expected to issue a joint statement calling for cooperation that transcends existing bilateral and regional frameworks.

At the press conference, Admiral Satoshi Nakajima, commandant of the Japan Coast Guard, referred to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s message delivered to the launch ceremony of the Umi-to-Nippon Project (The Ocean and Japan Project), held on Japan’s Marine Day public holiday (17 July). In his message, Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of global-level cooperation among institutions on the front line of maritime safety issues, along with diplomacy, toward achieving free and safe seas.

Admiral Nakajima also discussed the summit’s expected attendees. In addition to the 22 countries and territories that participate in the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum and the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting, 15 countries from Europe, Africa, and Central and South America have been invited, bringing the total number of countries and territories to 37, along with three international agencies. Currently, 19 countries and territories including the United States and New Zealand, and two international agencies have expressed their intention to attend, and the China Coast Guard has indicated that it is considering participating. Ultimately, all 40 invitees are expected to attend.

Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, added that the crisis of the ocean is quietly becoming worse, and cannot be solved by any one country. He also expressed his hope that bringing together the leaders of maritime agencies would be a first step toward the global resolution of these issues.

The summit will feature a keynote address on new roles for coast guards as the legal enforcement agencies for sustainable maritime management, followed by three sessions: Maritime Safety and Marine Environmental Protection, dealing with international ocean pollution; Maritime Security, to discuss international cooperation in addressing maritime crime; and Capacity Building to address maritime issues at the global level.

This event is also expected to adopt a joint statement on the subject of open seas based on the rule of law.

The forum grew out of a conference held in Tokyo in March 2000, with 16 countries and territories participating, to strengthen the response to piracy. Later, the first Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting was held in Tokyo in 2004, and has been held at alternating locations almost every year since. The upcoming forum will be the first of its kind to be held at the global level.

Photo caption
The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (left) and Admiral Satoshi Nakajima, commandant of the Japan Coast Guard (right), at the press conference.
Photo kindly provided by the Nippon Foundation©.
Added: 14 Aug 2017
Earlier this year, one of Svitzer’s tugs, the 28m loa Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled manoeuvres. From the quayside in Copenhagen the vessel’s master, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ, before docking again.

These companies have also signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels. The primary systems involved will be autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control centre and communication.

Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine who witnessed the event said: ‘It was an honour to be present at what I believe was a world first and a genuinely historic moment for the maritime industry. We have been saying for a couple of years that a remotely operated commercial vessel would be in operation by the end of the decade. Thanks to a unique combination of Svitzer’s operational knowledge and our technological expertise, we have made that vision a reality much sooner than we anticipated.’

Kristian Brauner, Chief Technology Officer, Svitzer added: ‘Disruption through innovation is happening in almost every industry and sector and technology will also be transforming the maritime industry. As the largest global towage company, Svitzer is actively engaging in projects that allow us to explore innovative ways to improve the safety and efficiency of towage operations to benefit our customers and our crews. With its direct impact on our customer performance, operational cost and environmental footprint vessel efficiency remains a main driver now and going forward. We are proud to be partnering with Rolls-Royce in this high-level research and development of systems for remote operation.’

The Svitzer Hermod, a Robert Allan ship design, was built in Turkey at the Sanmar yard in 2016. It is equipped with a Rolls-Royce Dynamic Positioning System, which is the key link to the remote controlled system. The vessel is also equipped with a pair of MTU 16V4000 M63 diesel engines from Rolls-Royce, each rated 2000 kW at 1800 rpm.

This vessel also features a range of sensors which combine different data inputs using advanced software to give the captain an enhanced understanding of the vessel and its surroundings. The data is transmitted reliably and securely to a Remote Operating Centre (ROC) from where the Master controls the vessel.

The Remote Operating Centre was designed to redefine the way in which vessels are controlled. Instead of copying existing wheelhouse design the ROC used input from experienced captains to place the different system components in the optimum place to give the master confidence and control. The aim is to create a future proof standard for the control of vessels remotely.

Lloyd’s Register’s Marine & Offshore Director, Nick Brown, commented: ‘Working on this project with Rolls-Royce and Svitzer and supporting them on the safe demonstration of the Svitzer Hermod is truly a landmark moment for LR and the industry. With autonomous ships likely to enter service soon, we have already set out the ‘how’ of marine autonomous operations in our ShipRight procedure guidance as it is vital these technologies are implemented in a safe way and there is a route for compliance. Lack of prescriptive Rules was no barrier for “de-risking” the project and we provided assurance against LR’s Cyber-Enabled Ships ShipRight Procedure, whilst considering the safety implications associated with the first closed demonstration. We are honoured to be working as partners on this ground-breaking project in the industry’s journey to autonomous vessels.’

Throughout the demonstration the vessel had a fully qualified ship master and crew on board to ensure safe operation in the event of a system failure.

Picture caption:
Rolls-Royce has demonstrated the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel.
Photo: www.rolls-royce.com ©
Added: 11 Aug 2017
A strict approach to Port State Control in Australia
mvRena and mvKiunga Chief

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier mv Rena from Australian ports for six months after the ship repeatedly failed to pay outstanding wages and maintain a safe workplace for its crew. This was reported by AMSA in early August.

On 30 June AMSA received a complaint from the International Transport Workers’ Federation alleging the crew had not been paid their total wages for several months.

AMSA conducted a Port State Control inspection when the ship arrived at Hay Point in Queensland on 6 July. Upon completion of the inspection AMSA issued the ship with a number of serious deficiencies including:

• Failure of the emergency generator to start;
• Failure of the lifeboat starting arrangements;
• Short comings in the safety management system (ISM); and
• Failure to pay crew the cash component of their wages which totalled about US$53,000.

The emergency generator, lifeboat and safety management system deficiencies presented a clear risk to the health and safety of the crew, the ship and Australia’s marine environment. Failure to pay crew their total wages is a clear and unacceptable breach of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

AMSA takes a strict approach to Port State Control in Australia, and these deficiencies were serious enough to warrant immediate detention of the ship at Hay Point.

The ship had also been detained by AMSA earlier this year, in February, at Port Adelaide for a number of serious deficiencies, including crew working excess hours.

Rena remained detained at Hay Point for 29 days until AMSA and the vessel’s flag state (Bahamas) received evidence that the crew had been paid their outstanding wages on 3 August.

AMSA’s General Manger of Operations, Allan Schwartz, said the behaviour of the ship’s owners gave AMSA considerable cause for concern but expressed appreciation to the Bahamas Maritime Authority for taking an active role in resolving the issues.

He said: ‘The failure of the ship operator to ensure that the ship is effectively managed along with the repeated failures of the ISM Code and Maritime Labour Convention, is a clear indication the ship is not being operated to meet applicable minimum standards. The length of time taken to rectify the outstanding issues, particularly in relation to crew welfare, is completely unacceptable.’

All vessels operating in Australian waters must comply with the relevant international standards which are given effect under Australian law. Ship owners must ensure that their vessels are operated and maintained to meet or exceed mechanical and safety standards and that their crews are treated in line with their obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention.

Substandard ships are not welcome in Australian waters, and as such AMSA has banned Rena from Australian ports for a period of six months. The ban will expire on 3 February 2018. If the ship returns to Australia after the ban expires and is detained again by AMSA for serious deficiencies, it may be subject to a further ban of 12 months

Kiunga Chief
In early June AMSA announced that it had banned the Papua New Guinea-flagged cargo ship Kiunga Chief from entering or using Australian ports for three months after the ship was detained for a third time in less than 18 months due to the failure of its operators to safely and effectively manage the operations of the vessel.

An official direction banning Kiunga Chief from Australian ports was issued by AMSA to the master in the Port of Brisbane. The ship left for an anchorage within the port to undergo an inspection by its class society, before it continued its voyage. The three month ban took effect once the vessel left the port.

Kiunga Chief had attention drawn to a total of 79 deficiencies by AMSA between 14 August 2015 and 29 May 2017.

These deficiencies include, but are not limited to, failure to maintain critical equipment such as the ship’s engines and fire extinguishing systems, inadequate food provisions, unsanitary living conditions including defective toilets and water leakage into cabins, inadequate training for crew and evidence of crew exceeding 72 hours of work in seven days and being underpaid.

AMSA’s Acting General Manager of Operations, Stephen Curry, commented: ‘These are serious and systemic failures on behalf of the ship’s operator which have placed the safety and wellbeing of the crew and the health of Australia’s marine environment at risk. Despite numerous opportunities for improvement, the operator of Kiunga Chief has consistently failed to provide a safe workplace for crew or meet minimum applicable standards, and as such, this ship is unwelcome in Australian waters. Let this be a reminder that sub-standard ships will not be tolerated in Australia.’
Added: 09 Aug 2017
It was announced from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 17 July 2017 that an agreement had been signed between global trade enabler DP World and Indonesian government and port officials to advise on the development of the Kuala Tanjung greenfield port and logistics zone and Belawan port in North Sumatra.

As part of a Technical Assistance Contract, DP World will share its expertise and experience in increasing efficiencies, training and development for employees and developing multi-modal transport hubs. The agreement was signed by DP World Group Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Anil Wats and state-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) I President Director, Bambang Eka Cahyana. The event was also attended by Indonesian Minister of State Owned Enterprises Rini M Soemarno, Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE, Husein Bagis and senior DP World officials.

DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said of the accord: ‘This partnership highlights Indonesia’s efforts to accelerate development of its ports and trade infrastructure, something we can help with given our global experience of advising governments on connecting with international markets. In growing our global portfolio of 78 terminals in 40 countries we have become a knowledge exporter with insights on how to link countries with the goods they need. Our existing operations at PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya (TPS) give us an added advantage of understanding local and regional markets and we look forward to working with the Indonesian port authorities on developing international and domestic trade.’

DP World will be reviewing operations at Belawan port and advising on efficiency improvements, and plans for the Kuala Tanjung greenfield port and logistics zone to reduce costs, which will positively impact prices of goods sold in the local market.

This agreement is expected to have a far-reaching positive impact on the social and economic growth of the region, it is understood.

DP World’s PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya (TPS) is located on the northern shore of eastern Java along the edge of Madura Strait. TPS is the gateway to Eastern Indonesia delivering world class efficiencies, customer service and operational standards.

Trade between Dubai and Indonesia in the first quarter of 2017 totalled AED 1.45 billion*.

*Whereas AED 1.00 = €0.23 / $0.27 / £0.21
Added: 07 Aug 2017
IMO Awards

Koji Sekimizu awarded the IMO International Maritime Prize for 2016

Two Houston Pilots to receive the 2017 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.

Koji Sekimizu

We learnt from an IMO briefing of early August that the International Maritime Prize for 2016 goes to Koji Sekimizu, former IMO Secretary-General.

​The IMO Council unanimously decided to award the Prize to Mr Sekimizu, IMO Secretary-General Emeritus, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization and the international maritime community as a whole. He held a long and distinguished career with the Organization culminating in his four-year stewardship, following election, as Secretary-General from 2012 to 2016.

In nominating his candidature for the International Maritime Prize, the Government of Japan recognized Mr Sekimizu’s lifetime dedication to promoting safety of life at sea and protecting the marine environment, as well as his outstanding leadership and contribution to the work and objectives of IMO.

Mr Sekimizu joined the IMO Secretariat in 1989 and worked in both the Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Divisions, holding the post of Director for each before going on to be elected Secretary-General.

In this role he oversaw the adoption of a number of key instruments, including the amendments to make the IMO Member State Audit Scheme mandatory, the Polar Code, and the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety.

Japan also highlighted his work to push forward with the reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ships. He contributed greatly to the enforcement of anti-piracy measures, including setting up the Djibouti Regional Training Centre.

Furthermore he worked to strengthen the governance and capacity of IMO’s educational institutions, and the financial sustainability of the World Maritime University.

Within IMO he began a review and reform process which led to the Organization’s Sub-Committees being restructured and revised working methods being introduced, including “PaperSmart” practices and enhancements in information and communication technology.

The International Maritime Prize for 2016 will be presented during a ceremony to be held during 30th session of the IMO Assembly in November.

It will be recalled that he was involved with IMO meetings for the Government of Japan for some years until he joined IMO in 1989. He was involved in the development of many important Conventions and Codes, with responsibility for maritime safety, security, anti-piracy measures and marine environment issues. Before becoming Secretary General he served as Director of both IMO’s Marine Environment Division and Maritime Safety Division.

Picture caption

Koji Sekimizu joined the IMO Secretariat in 1989 and worked in both the Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Divisions, holding the post of Director for each before going on to be elected IMO Secretary-General, a post he held from 2012 to 2016.

Illustration kindly provided by IMO ©.

Two Houston Pilots to receive the 2017 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.

Captain Michael G McGee and Captain Michael C Phillips

Two members of the Houston Pilots are to receive the 2017 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. The pair will be recognized for their role in averting a major tragedy when the ship they were piloting broke down and burst into flames after colliding with mooring dolphins.

Despite being surrounded by a towering wall of burning fuel for nearly 90 minutes, pilots Captain Michael G McGee and Captain Michael C Phillips showed decisiveness, dedication and ship-handling expertise. As a result of their courageous actions, no lives were lost, serious damage to pier structures and petro-chemical facilities were prevented and a major marine pollution incident was avoided.

This incident occurred shortly after midnight on 6 September 2016, when Captain McGee and Captain Phillips were piloting the 247 metre loa tanker Aframax River in the Houston Ship Channel. The size of the tanker meant it required two pilots.

A sudden mechanical failure of the engines resulted in a loss of control and led to the ship striking two mooring dolphins. A fuel tank ruptured, causing a spill of diesel fuel that quickly ignited. The ship was engulfed in flames which reached up to 60 to 90 metres high. The raging fire quickly spread across the channel, threatening other tank ships and nearby waterfront facilities, and enveloped the area in thick toxic smoke.

Despite the imminent danger, at great risk to their own lives, both pilots remained at their stations on the bridge of the ship during the fire.

Captain McGee managed to manoeuvre the stricken and blazing vessel away from surrounding ships and facilities.

Captain Phillips coordinated communications and firefighting efforts with the United States Coast Guard and numerous local fireboats. He rushed to grab a fire extinguisher and put out a fire raging on the port bridge wing.

The inferno was finally extinguished after 90 minutes, leaving both pilots exhausted and suffering minor burns. Captain McGee, using tugs, was then able to bring the damaged tanker safely to a mooring facility.

Captain McGee and Captain Phillips were nominated by the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA). The Award was decided by a Panel of Judges and endorsed by the IMO Council at its 118th session in London held from 24-27 July.

The 2017 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea will be presented during a ceremony to be held during the 30th session of the IMO Assembly in November.

Added: 01 Aug 2017
Samskip has announced that it will acquire activities associated with Nor Lines AS, in a major expansion of its shipping, transport and logistics businesses in Norway.

Subject to approval by Norway’s competition authorities, Samskip has agreed with the DSD Group to acquire the activities of Nor Lines, which generate an average annual turnover of €110 million. This was reported on 25 July.

With its head office in Stavanger, Nor Lines is a diversified logistics business offering domestic and international services. The transaction includes terminal activities nationwide, warehousing and haulage services, while five out of seven multi-purpose vessels will be transferred under a time charter arrangement to Samskip. It also brings 170 employees, based in 14 locations throughout Norway. Post-acquisition, activities will continue operate under the Nor Lines brand name.

In the words of Ásbjörn Gíslason, Chief Executive Officer, Samskip Logistics: ‘The Nor Lines takeover represents a major opportunity for Samskip. It is a natural but significant extension of our shipping and logistics activities in Norway which will further broaden our customer offerings. Nor Lines’ financial performance has been disappointing in recent years, but we are confident that by combining our respective strengths and refocusing the business we will create synergies, improve efficiency and provide customers with enhanced services.’

Samskip’s presence in Norway has been significantly strengthened over the past years through internal growth and several acquisitions.

Samskip now transports around 90,000 TEU a year between Norway and Northern Europe, a volume it aims to further increase through the Nor Lines acquisition. The frigoCare (fully owned by Samskip) cold store and terminal in Aalesund serves an important hub in both Samskip’s container system and Nor Lines vessel system. Samskip also owns a 50% share in Bergen-based Silver Sea AS, which operates a fleet of 14 reefer vessels. Samskip’s combined annual turnover after the Nor Lines takeover will make it a major player in the market.

Concluded Ingvald Løyning, Chief Executive of DSD: ‘We are pleased to complete our divestment of Nor Lines and entrust the business to Samskip, in a strategic solution for a specialized business that needs to be part of a larger structure to develop and thrive. We believe that Samskip will be a good home for Nor Lines, and a good solution for our employees and customers.’

Samskip, as an ISO14001-certified company whose sustainable transport policy has been recognised with many industry awards. Examples of its fleet are the LNG-vessels, Kvitnos and Kvitbjørn. These Rolls-Royce Marine-designed vessels, delivered in 2015, eliminate NOx emissions, minimise SOx emissions and, in per ton/km terms, produce 70% lower CO2 emissions than the equivalent truck freight move. Overall, they are 65% more energy-efficient than a ship running on conventional marine fuel, it is reported.
Added: 18 Jul 2017
According to the UK P & I Club Hong Kong will introduce its own regulation to require vessels plying Hong Kong waters to use cleaner fuel from January 2019 to complement the efforts under the PRC’s Ministry of Transport’s action plan for the Hong Kong, Macau and PRD (Pearl River Delta).

Published in March 2013A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong, was the first document issued by the Environment Bureau (ENB) which set out an emission control plan to improve the air quality in Hong Kong, Macau and PRD.

This plan looked into emission level and set out the emission reduction targets for various sectors, such as Road, Marine, Power Plants and Non-Road Mobile Machinery for the future.

In June 2017 the ENB and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Hong Kong updated their publication Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2013-2017 Progress Report.

This document updates the 2013 publication and reveals stricter control measures for Hong Kong’s air quality and its future plans. It can be downloaded at: http://www.enb.gov.hk/sites/default/files/CleanAirPlanUpdateEng_W3C.pdf (Pages 25 – 30 relates to marine trade).

From 1 January 2019 onwards, vessels trading within the PRD Domestic Emission Control Areas (DECA) are required to run on low-sulphur fuel with the sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%, according to the plan set out by the PRC’s Ministry of Transport. However, the penalty violating the 0.5% requirement remains unknown at present.

KS Wong,Secretary for the Environment, HK SAR in recent communication said: ‘As pledged by the Chief Executive in her Election Manifesto, the Environment Bureau will continue to implement the various blueprints for environmental protection and will ensure co-ordination among various bureaux and departments to improve air quality, waste management, energy conservation, biodiversity as well as to combat climate change, etc. Our aim is to develop Hong Kong into a more sustainable and liveable city.

‘In response to the Paris Agreement, we must combat global climate change through a three-pronged approach, namely mitigation, adaptation and resilience. Meanwhile, we are tackling various local environmental challenges. The future challenges are largely interconnected. We should enhance innovation, interaction and collaboration. Let us make positive changes together...’

Picture caption
KS Wong, Secretary for the Environment, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Added: 14 Jul 2017
On 12 July the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee of the House of Lords published a report on the EU’s naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia.

See: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldeucom/5/5.pdf

This report concludes that it has failed in its mission to disrupt the business of people smuggling in the central Mediterranean.


On 22 June 2015, the European Union launched a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation to disrupt the business model of people smuggling in the Southern Central Mediterranean. On 28 September 2015, the mission was renamed Operation Sophia, after a baby born aboard one of the mission’s ships off the coast of Libya. It patrols the high seas off the coast of Libya to Italy, gathering information, rescuing migrants, and destroying boats used by smugglers.

In May 2016, the EU Committee published Operation Sophia, the EU’s naval mission in the Mediterranean: an impossible challenge (HTML).

Key findings

Operation Sophia has failed to achieve its objective of "contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean".

An unintended consequence of Operation Sophia’s destruction of smugglers’ boats has been that they have adapted, sending migrants to sea in unseaworthy vessels, resulting in more deaths at sea.

A unified government in Libya, able to provide security across the country, is a precondition for meaningful EU action against people smuggling networks onshore.

Political and security conditions in Libya are unlikely to improve sufficiently to allow onshore operations by the EU any time soon. There is therefore little reason to renew the mandate of Operation Sophia, but the search and rescue work, which has saved the lives of many people, should continue, using more suitable vessels.

Operation Sophia vessels have rescued over 33,000 people since the inception of the mission.

The number of recorded casualties on the central Mediterranean route increased by around 42% in 2016. There have been 2,150 recorded deaths to date in 2017.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee, Baroness Verma, said:

‘People smuggling begins onshore, so a naval mission is the wrong tool for tackling this dangerous, inhumane and unscrupulous business. Once the boats have set sail, it is too late.

‘Operation Sophia has failed to meet the objective of its mandate—to disrupt the business model of people smuggling. It should not be renewed. However it has been a humanitarian success, and it is critical that the EU’s lifesaving search and rescue work continues, but using more suitable, non-military, vessels.

‘Future UK and EU action should focus on tackling people smuggling in source and transit countries, and supporting sustainable economic development and good governance in these countries.

‘Italy has found itself on the front line of a mass movement of people into Europe, and deserves credit for its efforts to respond."

Source: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/eu-external-affairs-subcommittee/news-parliament-2017/operation-sophia-follow-up-publication/
Added: 12 Jul 2017
Hull City Council has been awarded £15m of National Lottery money to help secure Hull’s future as a major UK tourist destination. Building on its success as UK City of Culture 2017, this historic maritime city on England’s North Sea coast will reclaim and share elements of its past by developing three important sites: the Maritime Museum; the Dock Office Chambers and the North End Shipyard and two historic vessels, Arctic Corsair and the Spurn lightship. This was announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund at the end of June.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), said: ‘This is the perfect moment for Hull to benefit from a £15m investment from the National Lottery. Its profile has already been substantially raised by the ongoing UK City of Culture activities and this new funding will now enable an in-depth exploration of its maritime heritage. With a greater understanding of the wider Hull story we hope local people will feel proud of their great city’s past and optimistic about its resurgence moving forwards.’

This project, which firmly places Hull’s maritime past at its centre, will be developed and delivered over the next seven years. It is part of a wider plan to regenerate the city and will look back to Hull’s history as a trading and fishing port and then take the story onwards to the present and beyond.

Following on from its continuing £100m investment in the city’s cultural and visitor infrastructure, Hull City Council will provide a further £12.5m towards the project from its capital programme.

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, added: This £15m investment will help Hull build an enduring legacy from its fantastic year as UK City of Culture, as I was able to observe first hand on my visit to the city last week. Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will ensure that Hull’s unique seafaring history will not only be protected, but used to help fulfil its goal to become one of the top tourist destinations in the country.’

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, commented: ‘Today’s announcement is a huge vote of confidence in our city and another major step towards achieving one of the key ambitions of our City Plan to make Hull a world-class visitor destination. My heartfelt thanks go to National Lottery players – it could not have happened without them.’

The project will create at least 20 new jobs, increase visitor numbers and create a volunteer programme to raise awareness and pride in Hull’s maritime history.

The project has the following core elements:

· Hull Maritime Museum will be reconfigured and visitors given access to one of the building domes which has spectacular views over the city and the River Humber. There will be a 50% increase of the number of items on public view, it is understood.

· The Dock Office Chambers will be converted into a state-of-the-art home for the maritime collection.

· Arctic Corsair and the Spurn lightship will undergo full conservation before being relocated. The former will be permanently berthed in a dry dock at the North End Shipyard and the latter returned to Hull Marina. Both will have on-board exhibitions and updated displays.

· A visitor orientation centre will be built at the North End Shipyard on Dock Office Row.

Councillor Brady concluded by saying: ‘This is a major investment which will conserve and showcase Hull’s maritime heritage and allow the city to develop its already strong cultural and tourism offer, ensuring that visitors continue to flock to Hull well beyond our time as UK City of Culture.

‘Just as important, this investment will allow the city to celebrate and reflect on its past, present and future as Yorkshire’s Maritime City. Drawing on the unique spirit of local people, it is another example of how Hull is flourishing and prospering through the regeneration and development of its proud heritage.’

A visitor centre will be built at the North End Shipyard on Dock Office Row.

Picture caption and credit:

Arctic Corsair.

Photo: Hull City Council ©.
Added: 10 Jul 2017
On 5 July the UK Chamber of Shipping drew attention to the fact that hard border controls will lead to increased bureaucracy and threaten prosperity. Furthermore, the Chamber informed that the EU is ignoring the risk of Brexit to European ports.

In a video released that day to be found here: https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/latest/eu-ports-risk-too-uk-chamber-shipping-tells-brexit-negotiators/ the Chamber warned that the return of border controls would lead to increased bureaucracy, guaranteed lorry gridlock and threats to the prosperity of both EU member states and the UK. It also reflected that the dangers to major EU ports has been understated.

Chief Executive of the Chamber, Guy Platten commented: The EU sells £240bn of goods to the UK each year, most of which travels through ports. So the negative impact of a so-called hard Brexit on ports such as Dover will be felt just as severely if not more so by European ports. I do not think the EU has fully grasped this yet.’

Platten urged Brexit negotiators to “put ideology aside” and retain frictionless trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union. He added: ‘Much of the attention on the impact of leaving the customs union has been on UK ports such as Dover. Major EU ports such as Calais, Zeebrugge and Dublin would find themselves equally as vulnerable.’

The Chamber stated that Brexit negotiators on both sides must agree that the reintroduction of border controls would be a bad thing, and said Prime Minister Theresa May and Michel Barnier (the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator) must “put ideology aside and be pragmatic”.
It added that by protecting trade, both the economies of the EU and the UK would be safeguarded. Platten concluded by saying: ‘The UK Government understands the importance of sorting this out around the negotiating table, but we are yet to see evidence that the EU negotiators fully understand their own vulnerability.’

Video by CPL
Added: 03 Jul 2017
First maritime mass rescue operations course involving senior emergency planning officers from around the world.

From 14-16 June the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) held a maritime mass rescue operations experts’ course at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

This event attracted 40 senior personnel with emergency planning responsibilities from a total of 18 countries: Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, Malaysia, the Maldives, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the USA.

Bruce Reid, the IMRF’s Chief Executive, commented: ‘This course has brought senior emergency planners together to discuss common challenges and highlight important issues relating to maritime mass rescue operations. Working together, we can share our experiences and ideas. While we cannot stop accidents occurring, we do have the capacity, by working with SAR services around the world, to improve preparedness and save more lives.’

Mass rescue operations are, by international definition, beyond normal search and rescue (SAR) capability. That is to say there are more people in distress than there are SAR units available to save them.

How many people this will be depends on the circumstances: location, weather and sea conditions and the availability of rescue craft locally. Mass rescue operations are a global concern, in developed as well as developing States.

Emergency response organisations need to be prepared for the unprepared, ready to respond to emergencies on a scale for which they are not resourced which, although rare, are extremely challenging.

At Chalmers University the aim of the course was to study in depth the generic issues identified by the IMRF’s mass rescue operations project, enabling the participants to develop subject-matter expertise.

Focus on the issues enables the review and development of detailed plans to fill the capability gap back home.

Participants worked in facilitated breakout sessions to discuss the issues in turn, coming together again to present their results. There was also a lively tabletop exercise (illustrated) delivered by specialists from the United States Coast Guard, which allowed some of the mass rescue challenges to be demonstrated in an example scenario, based on a passenger ferry fire.

Ahmed Mujuthaba Mohamed, Commanding Officer of the Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard said: ‘This has been the best brain-drain session on SAR that I have attended in my 18-year career. It was beneficial in every aspect of mass rescue operations and maritime SAR, with so much experience and knowledge shared passionately among colleagues from all corners. I am sincerely grateful to the IMRF for opening this avenue for the Maldives and its SAR community, where this experience will be utilised in the best way possible.’

David Jardine-Smith, IMRFs mass rescue operations project manager, commented: ‘The commitment and enthusiasm of all involved in this course was great to see. The participants are well aware that they or their organisations may have to conduct a mass rescue operation one day, and they are determined to be as ready as they can. They know it is not if but when.

‘The IMRF ran a conference on mass rescue operations in Gothenburg immediately before the course. Both events sold out, so the desire to work on these issues is clear. We also offer a workshop package, designed to bring local response organisations together so that they can talk through the issues with the partners they will work with when such an operation is required. The workshop enables better mutual understanding and communication – before a response is needed, at the planning stage, as well as during the operation itself.

‘We will now be following up with the participants for their thoughts on this first course, and will offer it elsewhere as resources become available. We also want to hear what the effects of the course have been – how it has helped the participants prepare for mass rescue.’

The course was run with the support of the EU Picasso Project, which aims to achieve modern and well-developed maritime transport, with a well-trained and up-to-date work force, that enables the sector to become greener, safer and more efficient and sustainable. For more information on the Project readers are invited to visit www.picassoproject.eu/project and on the course hosts, Chalmers University of Technology, www.lindholmen.se

Funding from the Bahamas-based TK Foundation (www.tkfoundation.bs) and from London, Trinity House (www.trinityhouse.co.uk) allowed scholarship places to be offered to delegates from developing countries. The course was also generously supported by the Swedish Sea Rescue Society (www.ssrs.se), the Swedish Maritime Administration (www.sjofartsverket.se), and Orolia McMurdo (www.mcmurdogroup.com ).

More information about the IMRF’s work on mass rescue operations can be found on the project website, www.imrfmro.org

About IMRF

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is a charity, and the only organization to represent and unite search and rescue providers around the world, sharing best practice and knowledge and representing this important sector at the UN’s International Maritime Organization.

The IMRF brings the world’s maritime search and rescue organisations together in one global and growing family. IMRF’s member organisations share their lifesaving ideas, technologies and experiences and freely cooperate with one another to achieve their common humanitarian aim: Preventing loss of life in the world’s waters.

The IMRF was founded (as the International Lifeboat Federation) in 1924. In 1985 it was granted non-governmental consultative status with the IMO in recognition of the good work being undertaken and the growing need for an organisation to act as a global focal point for maritime search and rescue. In 2003 it was registered as an independent charity and in 2007 the organisation was renamed the International Maritime Rescue Federation, reflecting the broader scope of modern maritime search and rescue activity.
Added: 02 Jul 2017
A survey carried out by the UK Chamber of Shipping has found that a majority of its members believe that the general election result will damage the economy and hinder the Brexit negotiation process, and that a deal on transitional arrangements must be struck with the EU as the Article 50 process unfolds.

The study, which was carried out among the UK’s biggest shipping companies, found that 62.5% of the 107 respondents felt some level of concern over the effect that the June 8th general election will have on the economy, with nearly 9% describing themselves as "very concerned".

68% of those surveyed said that they would not welcome another general election within the next 12 months, with several respondents adding that an election would only serve as a distraction to the Brexit negotiations. Only 22% said that they would welcome another election in the next 12 months.

Less than one in five respondents said that the result of the June 8 election would make the negotiation process easier, with nearly 56% predicting that the election result – which failed to produce a majority government – would make it harder for the UK to strike a mutually beneficial deal with Brussels.

The UK Chamber of Shipping represents nearly 200 of the UK’s biggest shipping and maritime organisations, in a sector that is responsible for the movement of 95% of the UK international trade. Key to the maritime industries, as Brexit negotiations get underway, will the the preservation of frictionless trade with the EU.

Speaking about the minority government’s ability to successfully carry out the negotiation process, one respondent said "unless the Tories come to their senses and open the EU negotiations up to other parties within the UK, as a sensible coalition of ideas, the negotiations are unlikely to be successful." Others expressed concerns that the UK would now be forced to make more concessions to Brussels as negotiations go on.

The biggest consensus among respondents came when asked about the need for transitional arrangements to be put in place as the Article 50 process gets underway. A massive 92% of respondents said they believe it to be necessary, with less than 2% saying it wasn’t. One respondent commented that the election results may now force a softer Brexit, which would make a transitional deal more likely.
Added: 29 Jun 2017
On 28 June ABPmer made available for viewing a new national dataset of marine vessel traffic for the UK.

Data layers display AIS vessel transit lines provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s network of receivers, which ABPmer has mapped on behalf of the Marine Management Organisation.

The dataset shows tracks by vessel type and a further layer shows the average weekly density grid (heat map) for 2015.

To create the layers ABPmer processed raw AIS data sampled from the first seven days of each month. The data processing follows the method contained in Mapping UK shipping density and routes from AIS (Project MMO 1066).

Monty Smedley, maritime specialist at ABPmer commented: ‘AIS is a valuable source of vessel information so we are really excited to share this latest AIS dataset with the maritime community.

‘Many port and harbour authorities collect this information but are unable to interrogate and map the information in a meaningful way. ABPmer has specialised in decoding and mapping AIS for a range of marine safety and planning applications.

‘Vessel transits can be examined to identify traffic of a certain type, for example, traffic associated with particular industry, berth or offshore activity.

‘We can also identify shipping density and look at differences over time to identify shipping trends or changes on a seasonal, annual or project basis. And of course it is really valuable for informing EIA navigational risk assessments to understand the implications of planned developments and activities.’

AIS (Automatic Identification System) is used by vessels to automatically transmit their position. AIS is carried by international voyaging ships with gross tonnage of 300 gt or greater, and all passenger ships regardless of size. AIS is also carried by smaller commercial vessels, the fishing sector and leisure craft users.

Data has been sampled from the first seven days of every month, providing 84 days of AIS information. This amounted to more than 1 billion position reports representing more than 20 million nautical miles of vessel transits.
The 2015 AIS dataset can be viewed or downloaded at http://vision.abpmer.net/maritime/AIS2015/

Based in Southampton, England, ABPmer has supported projects around the globe. All its work is undertaken in accordance with our Quality Management System certified to ISO 9001:2015 for the delivery of Environmental Consultancy and Research Services.
Added: 28 Jun 2017
ABPmer and shingle spit management at Pagham Harbour

ABPmer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated British Ports Holdings Limited and has been assisting clients develop, manage, operate and protect the marine environment for more than 65 years. It is known for its knowledge of the marine environment, technical ability and emphasis on service excellence.

The company reported satisfaction that planning consents had been granted on 27 June for a proposal to manage the large shingle spit in front of Pagham Harbour in West Sussex on the English Channel coast.

Arun District Council, Chichester District Council and the Marine Management Organisation together granted the necessary planning permissions, the approvals under the Habitats Regulations and the marine licence for this project.

Over the last decade the shingle spit at Pagham has grown and changed enormously resulting in beach erosion which has caused much distress to residents there. This coastline is very dynamic and an area of high conservation value both nationally and internationally. Being mindful of these factors, the community asked ABPmer to review the available options and develop a proactive and sustainable intervention which addressed the problem and worked with, rather than fought with, nature.

This consented scheme involves managing the shape of the spit to divert tidal energies away from the eroding beach together with creating a new shingle island that could be used by internationally important populations of Little Terns which nest in Pagham Harbour.

Colin Scott, a coastal adaptation specialist at ABPmer commented: ‘We are delighted that the Pagham Community has finally been granted planning permission for this project. It is always good news when a project we have contributed to receives permission to proceed and this is an innovative project that brings combined benefits to people and the environment. Securing the necessary permissions took over 18 months and this followed a year of prior consultation and assessment work. This extended duration occurred because of distinct challenges, relating to issues of certainty and risk, that can come with trying to work with nature in the manner proposed.’

On behalf of the local community, ABPmer led the planning application process, developed the scheme design, provided advice on marine environmental issues and carried out the majority of the other technical studies that were needed (including Environmental Impact Assessment, Habitat Regulations Assessments, Marine Conservation Zone Assessment, and Water Framework Directive compliance Assessment). The company also helped to develop appropriate compensation, mitigation and monitoring commitments in consultation with the regulators and Natural England.

Photo kindly provided by ABPmer©.
The IMO Maritime Safety Committee 98th meeting 7-16 JuneThe IMO Maritime Safety Committee 98th meeting 7-16 June
Added: 26 Jun 2017
From 7 to 16 June the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) convened at it 98th meeting at IMO.

Here the MSC agreed to include the issue of marine autonomous surface ships on its agenda. This will be in the form of a scoping exercise to determine how the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) may be introduced in IMO instruments.

To continue the MSC recognized that the organization should take a proactive and leading role, given the rapid technological developments relating to the introduction of commercially operated ships in autonomous/unmanned mode. This scoping exercise is seen as a starting point and is expected to touch on an extensive range of issues, including the human element, safety, security, interaction with ports, pilotage, response to incidents and protection of the marine environment.

Furthermore. the scoping exercise could include identifying: (i) IMO regulations which, as currently drafted, preclude autonomous/unmanned operations; (ii) IMO regulations that would have no application to autonomous/unmanned operations (as they relate purely to a human presence on board); and (iii) IMO regulations which do not preclude unmanned operations but may need to be amended in order to ensure that the construction and operation of MASS are carried out safely, securely, and in an environmentally sound manner.

In conclusion it is understood that the scoping exercise should address different levels of automation, including semi-autonomous and unmanned ships and could include discussion of a definition of what is meant by an autonomous ship.

It is anticipated that the work would take place over four MSC sessions, through to mid-2020. Submissions were invited to the next session, that is MSC 99 to convene in May 2018.

More news of the MSC deliberations is anticipated in due course.

Photograph reproduced by kind courtesy of IMO©.
Added: 19 Jun 2017
The EU funded EfficienSea2 project, which aims to implement innovative and smart solutions to increase efficient, safe and sustainable traffic at sea, has finished a full-scale simulation of a wide variety of e-Navigation solutions. This was reported by the Danish Maritime Authority on 16 June.

It is understood that the simulations, which involved eight navigators and took a total of four days, were conducted at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and focused on the human factors in e-Navigation.

Multiple services, ranging from a digitalised form of navigational warnings to an interactive VTS-reporting system, were tested by the mariners on a full-bridge simulator while wearing eye-trackers and devices to detect users’ emotional changes.

Such simulations will ensure that the new services are optimised to guarantee fewer burdens for navigators when exploiting digital tools for navigation, explained Mads Friis Sørensen, Project Manager for EfficienSea2 and Senior Adviser at the Danish Maritime Authority who said: ‘We have what appear to be endless possibilities with modern technology, but there is a danger of overcomplicating things for the navigator. The solutions we develop must relieve pressure – not add complexity – so navigators can focus on performing their primary duty, which is to sail the ship safely. We ensure this by conducting these simulations focusing on the human factors when using digital tools.’

Human factors testing is an integral part of the EfficienSea2 project and the 32 partners involved all work to develop solutions with an eye towards the impact on the mariners. The project also includes Force Technology and Chalmers University of Technology, both leading in the field of human element and human-machine interfaces.

Solutions available online
In addition to developing a wide range of digitalised services, the EfficienSea2 project has built the web-based platform BalticWeb, which was used during the simulation to present the new services to seafarers.

They were first asked to plan their route using tools from the BalticWeb and then to use different services when conducting the full-bridge simulation.

Sørensen explained: ‘BalticWeb is an essential demonstrator for e-Navigation solutions and it reveals the possibilities of the solutions developed in the EfficienSea2 project. It is an easy to use map-based platform for navigators, and for the industry it is easy to adapt many of the underlying digital services displayed on BalticWeb so they can be presented on other maritime platforms.’

In order to exploit the different services developed by EfficienSea2 and presented on BalticWeb the user needs an account in the Maritime Cloud, which is the innovation centrepiece of the project and where services can be found in a standardised format. Furthermore, it will be possible for private developers and authorities to register individual services.

Readers are invited to learn more about the many aspects of EfficienSea2 at the website: www.efficiensea2.org

Photo reproduced by kind courtesy of Efficiensea2©.
Added: 16 Jun 2017
This year, once again, 25 June will mark the annual Day of the Seafarer (DotS).

DotS was established in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised STCW Convention. Its stated purpose is to recognize the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole.

The resolution: ‘…encourages Governments, shipping organizations, companies, shipowners and all other parties concerned to duly and appropriately promote the Day of the Seafarer and take action to celebrate it meaningfully’.

This year IMO’s theme is Seafarers Matter.

For 2017, IMO wants to particularly engage ports and seafarer centres to demonstrate how much seafarers matter to them. The idea is for ports and seafarer centres to share and showcase best practices in seafarer support and welfare.

Furthermore, IMO wants ports and seafarer centres to organize special activities for seafarers on the Day, for example: (a) a social event organised in port to celebrate seafarers; (b) a public open day at seafarer centres and (c) the provision of free wi-fi in port for a day.

In order to see IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim’s video message for Day of the Seafarer readers are invited to take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVppbLS1rno
Added: 06 Jun 2017
Frontex, EFCA and EMSA
Creation of a European Coast Guard

At a closing workshop in Lisbon on 2 June the pilot project Creation of a European Coast Guard Function brought together more than 110 participants from various European and national entities at the premises of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

During the event the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the
European Fisheries’ Control Agency (EFCA) and EMSA jointly presented the project results.

This 18 months’ pilot project was launched in January 2016 in order to provide the test bed for the co-operation mechanism proposed by the Commission within the framework of the European border and coast guard package.

It was reported that the project aimed to raise cross-sectorial awareness of Frontex, EMSA’s and EFCA’s activities between the three agencies and amongst pilot project stakeholders and to create operational and technical synergies between different coast guard functions at EU level.

In the framework of the project the three Agencies explored and tested ways to further enhance their cooperation in four areas:

• The sharing of information generated by fusing and analysing vessel movement and earth observation data.

• Provision of surveillance and communication services based on state-of-the-art technology.

• Capacity building.

• Capacity sharing including multipurpose operations and the sharing of assets and capabilities across sectors and borders.

Furthermore, it was reported that the enhanced cooperation among EMSA, EFCA and Frontex will enable them to support in an effective and cost-efficient way the activities of more than 300 civilian and military authorities in the EU Member States responsible for carrying out coast guard functions in a wide range of areas such as maritime safety, security, search and rescue, border control, fisheries control, customs control, general law enforcement and environmental protection.
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