Crew Mirror Digest 02-2023

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Indian law aims to repress maritime piracy

08 Jan 2023
In December 2022, both Houses of Parliament finally passed a special legislation on “repression of piracy”. The 2019 Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill is in tune with India’s assurance of “respect for international law” and “commitment to international law”. The Standing Committee on External Affairs (SCEA) has provided concrete suggestions to strengthen the original Bill, which was introduced in Parliament by the External Affairs Minister on December 2, 2019. Ostensibly, it seeks to address the challenge of piracy on the high seas and gives effect to obligations under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The UNCLOS, with 168 parties, was ratified by India on June 29, 1995.

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Piracy has emerged as a menace in the area surrounding the Gulf of Aden that separates Somalia from Yemen. The Gulf of Aden connects the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal, to the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2008, Somali pirates have posed a serious threat to some 2,000 ships that monthly carry cargo for trade between Asia, Europe and the East Coast of Africa. With the presence of navies in the Gulf of Aden, the pirates have shifted their base and now pose a threat to the western coast of India. Intensive patrolling by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard has led to apprehending of pirates and, in turn, the need to prosecute them under a specialised domestic law.

Charges such as armed robbery (Section 392 of the IPC) and invocation of jurisdiction of the admiralty courts (dealing with shipping and maritime disputes) were found to be inadequate. Thus, the anti-piracy lex specialis was needed for prosecution of piracy crimes as well as ensuring safety of the Indian maritime trade, vessels and the crew.

Historically, piracy has been dealt with under international law or the Law of Nations. It comprises any illegal act of violence or detention or depredation committed by the crew or passengers on the high seas (beyond limits of national jurisdiction). Hence, pirates can be tried and punished by any nation. In fact, pirates have been considered as enemies of humankind. Reference

Time to make seafarer abandonment a thing of the past

07 Jan 2023
No Reputable international industry should allow its lowest-paid workers to find themselves stranded far away from home, often without food and sometimes without even a source of potable water.

Image Source: ITF

On that benchmark, shipping is not a reputable international industry.

Lloyd’s List has reported how 1,555 seafarers serving on 113 ships were abandoned in 2022, the highest number of such cases since records began.

Seafarer abandonment is a clear breach of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which as of this year has been in force for a decade. It is needless and should not be happening at all.

Where shipowners fail to see their duty to provide for repatriation through, flag states have a clear MLC obligation to step in act. As the statistics indicate, this isn’t always happening.

The International Maritime Organization and theInternational Labour Organisation last month agreed new guidelines on the question.

Commendable though warm words always are, the guidelines are voluntary and non-binding. It is difficult to see how a glorified advisory notice will materially change the picture on the ground. Reference

India: Seafarers should get a copy of Employment Agreement three days before departure

06 Jan 2023
The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has advised all the ship owners, agents, and Recruitment and Placement Services (RPS) companies to make available a copy of the Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA) to seafarers prior to their signing of departure to work on board a ship. This comes following complaints by many seafarers that they were not given enough time to go through and examine the SEA. Most of the time, when the owners and agents are taking their signatures in the SEA at the last moment of their departure, they complain. India provides nearly 10 per cent of the 20 lakh global seafarers.

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The advisory comes in the wake of complaints received by the DG Shipping, not only from seafarers but also the next of kin of deceased seafarers, stating/intimating that they are not aware of the clauses incorporated in the SEA/ Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with regard to death and disability compensation, wage scale, hours of work and rest, overtime, and other allowances.

The MS (Maritime Labour) Rules 2016 ensures that seafarers recruited or placed by it are informed of their rights and duties under their employment agreements, prior to or in the process of their engagement. All the ship-owners, agents, and RPSs are hereby advised that while entering into an agreement with seafarers for working on board ships, a three-day gap may be provided to enable them to examine their employment agreement, the advisory said.

The SEA is an enforceable document with legal obligations for employers. The proposal needs to be thought through carefully. It is important, however, that the seafarer exercises his duty of care and reads the SEA prior to signing and should refuse if sufficient time is not afforded. The seafarer will be well within his rights to refuse signing, said Rajesh Tandon, CEO, Foreign Owners Representatives and Ship Managers Association. Reference

Evergreen pays employee bonuses of up to four years salary

06 Jan 2023
Taiwanese container line Evergreen Marine has given employees bonuses of up to four years annual pay, according to local press reports.

Image Source: Seatrade Maritime News

Bonuses of up to 52 months for some employees of Evergreen were reported by the Liberty Times, which is even higher than the up to 40 months the line paid out to some in 2021. According to reports the bonus for most employees of the container line ranged from 10 months to 45 months.

As other container lines Evergreen has enjoyed extraordinary levels of profitability over the last two years as the pandemic drove up demand and vessel supply was constrained by supply chain congestion.

Evergreen reported a net profit of NT$304.35bn ($9.91bn) during the first three quarters of 2022, up 92% year-on-year. Reference

First high-tech ammonia-ready Armada vessel arrives in Europe

06 Jan 2023
The first of eight robotic vessels that will form part of Ocean Infinity’s high-tech Armada fleet has arrived in Norway for equipment installation.

Image Source: Offshore Energy

The vessel, built by Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam, arrived at Vard Søviknes for remote system outfitting and payload equipment installation. According to Ocean Infinity, this first ship is expected to enter service on offshore data acquisition tasks in the coming months.

Vard Electro is equipping the ships with advanced marine electronics for remote operations from its SeaQ product range, while VARD Accommodation is providing an accommodation solution. Seaonics is delivering modular launch and recovery systems for moonpools that can be adapted to various marine operations.

The fuel-efficient, onshore-controlled vessels will initially only use a skeleton crew onboard, and in due course are planned to work with no personnel offshore.

The vessels are prepared for green ammonia as a fuel with fuel cell and battery technology and are designed for an ultra-low carbon footprint. Reference

New ship design capable of supplying H2 using green ammonia emerges

05 Jan 2023
French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, through its Louis Dreyfus Ports and Logistics (LDPL), has developed an innovative vessel design capable of storing and supplying hydrogen using green ammonia.

Image Source: Offshore Energy

To develop a new design for the ship, dubbed “Floating Renewable Energy Solution for Hydrogen vessel (FRESH)”, the company has assessed different technology providers and collaborated with specialized engineering companies.

LDPL has partnered with Korean Register (KR) classification society to review and approve FRESH as this novel concept is not covered by existing classification prescriptive rules, to ensure that its level of safety is in line with the marine industry practices.

The intermittency of these energies requires the power generation plants to include expensive battery energy storage systems (BESS) or to use high energy density energy carriers like hydrogen.

LPDL stressed that one of the key advantages of green hydrogen is that it can be converted back into electricity using a fuel cell or directly injected into a combustion engine.

Furthermore, ammonia is equally attractive as this known product is relatively easy to store and transport using dedicated seaborne vessels.

Not only ammonia can be used as is to make urea and fertilizers, but it can also be dissociated into hydrogen and nitrogen using readily existing, conventional reactors and separation technologies. The resulting hydrogen can again be used in fuel cells to generate electricity for mobile or stationary applications, according to LDPL. Reference

Cruise ships are rescuing more and more refugees adrift at sea

05 Jan 2023
While cruise ship operators may get angry at their Captains and crew for stopping to help, it sounds like passengers are usually just fine with interrupting their vacations to help migrants who may otherwise be lost at sea. It may seem counterintuitive to those in the United States, but we still have it far better than others, even with our Congress disarray and a horde of Christian fascists mucking up the system.

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The refugees were among the latest arrivals of hundreds seeking new lives after reaching the Florida Keys over the last several days. Overall, an estimated 300 migrants arrived at the sparsely populated Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles west of Key West.

Another 160 arrived by boat in other parts of the Keys over the weekend. On Monday, about 30 people in two groups were found in the Middle Keys.

Once the migrants were rescued from their drifting craft by the Celebration on Monday, they were taken into custody by the U.S. Coast Guard offshore, said Carnival spokesman Matt Lupoli in a statement sent to the Sun Sentinel. Reference

Hull Fouling Spoils Australia-New Zealand Cruise

05 Jan 2023
Viking Cruises will compensate hundreds of passengers on its Orion cruise ship after cruisers were forced to stay on board and miss multiple stops because officials blocked port access due to marine growth on the ship’s hull.

The front of the Viking Orion cruise ship, which has been stranded at sea for eight days after a potential harmful “marine growth” was found on its hull, is seen from the ship’s observatory deck off the coast of Australia January 3, 2023. Julie Reby Waas/via REUTERS. Image Source: gCaptain

The 930-guest capacity Viking Orion docked in Sydney on Wednesday, the final stop on what is normally a 15-day, 9-stop cruise of New Zealand and Australia.

But plans went awry, local media reported, after New Zealand officials asked the ship to leave the country’s waters part way through its cruise after finding small amounts of biofoul – plants, algae and small animals – that grow on ship hulls.

Steaming directly to the southern Australian port of Adelaide and bypassing planned stops in Tasmania and New Zealand’s south island, officials stopped the ship approximately 12 nautical miles out to sea while professional divers cleared the hull.

The four-year-old luxury vessel finished its journey as planned with stops in Melbourne and Sydney.

Viking confirmed to Reuters in a statement that all guests would receive a voucher equal to what they had already paid for use on any future voyages. Reference

IMO faces the New Year squarely

04 Jan 2023
The beginning of every year is a time for undertaking new activities and intensifying new ones. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is doing both. IMO begins 2023 with the implementation of new carbon regulations.

These include the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) that rates vessels from A to E based on how much CO2 they emit as indicated by cargo capacity and nautical miles traveled.

Likewise, the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) shall be enforced to measure the energy efficiency of ships based on their technical specifications.

The Seemp is a special tool developed and structured by the IMO to measure and control GHG emissions from the already existing shipping fleet. The shipowner has to develop and implement the plan to potentially reduce the operational cost of the ship which will in turn help in reducing the overall fuel consumption.

Another challenge the IMO is taking on in coordination with another organization, the International Labor Organization (ILO), is the tightening of procedures against seafarer abandonment, after noting a steep increase in the number of stranded crews in recent years. From a mere 20 cases reported per year between 2011 and 2016, the number jumped to 40 in 2019, 85 in 2020, 95 in 2021, and 114 as of mid-December 2022. Reference

04 Jan 2023
The box ship sector is speeding towards net zero: biofuel, methanol and hydrogen use is ramping up and companies are collaborating to decarbonise.

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Strong foundations for methanol use were laid in 2022 – and 2023 will be the year this fuel makes it in the container ship industry.

Several container inland barge projects running on hydrogen fuel cells currently being developed highlight the potential of hydrogen for box ships.

Future Proof Shipping has retrofitted its inland container vessel Maas to run on 100% hydrogen – the vessel is successfully running on fuel cells.

LNG is still a major player in the box ship industry, and its potential to bridge the decarbonisation gap is greater than ever, with the ability to use bio or synthetic LNG. And 2022 saw major LNG launches aimed specifically at the box ship sector, which should boost its use.

If the industry is to reach net zero, increased collaboration across all sectors and stakeholders within box shipping is needed. This has already started, and we will see it increase sharply. 

There will also be more collaboration with container ports, which are crucial when it comes to providing refuelling solutions and shoreside power. Reference

30 seafarers abandoned by Chinese vessel employer

04 Jan 2023
More than 30 Filipino crewmembers of the livestock carrier, Yangtze Fortune, are stranded in Australia and reportedly abandoned by the registered vessel owner Soar Harmony Shipping of China.

According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Yangtze Fortune has been arrested in Portland, Victoria by the Australian Federal Court.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the ITF are working with the Admiralty Marshall to support the crew after the shipowner failed to pay their wages or meet its obligations under international maritime law.

The ship, which is registered in Liberia, has been anchored near Portland since October and is subject to Australian Court proceedings brought by commercial creditors from Singapore to recover debts owed to them by the shipowner.

Provisions aboard the ship are running low and many of the crew are desperate to return home but must now stay with the ship to wait for the court decision.

ITF Australia’s Assistant Coordinator, Matt Purcell, who is providing support to the crew, said that five members of the crew had already worked eight months aboard the vessel. Reference

Shipping’s Decarbonization Outlook for 2023

03 Jan 2023
Will the CII succeed? Will green fuels take off? And will the IMO enact a carbon levy? This year, we may have the answers.

Image Source: The Maritime Executive

As we begin 2023, maritime experts are looking into their crystal balls for the trends that might define the year. Of course, decarbonization will remain at the center of the debate, with shipping stakeholders yet to agree on an equitable approach to cut the sector’s carbon emissions.

Specifically, 2023 could be a definitive year for CII (Carbon Intensity Indicator) regulation. Will it succeed or fail? The question has become even more salient after BIMCO recently released its CII Operations Clause for Time Charter Parties. The general feeling is that the BIMCO Clause has brought more confusion, with owners and charterers divided on their roles in implementing CII regulations.

Meanwhile, some analysts are christening 2023 as the dawn for alternative fuels in shipping. Biofuels and LNG are expected to become more popular in the year.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has already developed a provisional national quality standard for marine biofuel, significantly enhancing Singapore’s readiness for biofuel bunkering. With this, MPA targets to reach a capacity for five million mt/year by 2030.

LNG-capable vessels are preferred in part for their flexibility. Although the LNG energy market’s volatility persists, there is likely to be a demand explosion for LNG-capable ships, with gas prices expected to correct in 2023.

Methanol is another alternative shipping fuel predicted to gain a commercial head start in 2023. In 2022, major carriers such as Maersk and COSCO committed billions of dollars in development of methanol-fueled containerships. Reference

China’s Lockdowns are Over, but its Shipping Outlook is Still Mixed

03 Jan 2023
Beijing’s on-and-off COVID lockdowns created serious challenges for shipping in 2022, and even though pandemic-era controls have eased, the trade outlook for China looks mixed. As the world’s largest exporter, China’s long-running lockdowns meant severe disruptions in manufacturing and supply chains. As a result, China has seen the weakest economic growth in years.

Image Source: The Maritime Executive

Coupled with rising inflation, the second half of 2022 also saw China’s status as a global shipping giant take a small step backwards. 

Early in December, the CNBC Supply Chain Heat Map revealed that U.S manufacturing orders in China were down by 40 percent. Supply chain research firm Project 44 also corroborated this finding, claiming the vessel TEU volume from China to the US had significantly reduced by the end of summer 2022.

Meanwhile, the shift in manufacturing from China to Southeast Asian countries accelerated in 2022. A study released in September by DHL and the NYU Stern School of Business showed that new trade leaders are emerging in Southeast Asia. Vietnam, India and the Philippines are increasingly seeing major industrialization investments, with many global companies diversifying their China-centric production and sourcing strategies.

The latest US curbs on China’s semiconductor industry are another shakeup prompting companies to exit the Chinese market.

Despite the Southeast Asia shift, it does not necessarily mean China is losing ground as a global manufacturing powerhouse. At the Central Economic Work Conference that wrapped up last Friday, President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders pledged renewed focus on boosting the economy next year. Reference

India: PM Modi to Launch 3,200 Km River Cruise from Kashi Soon

02 Jan 2023
The world’s longest river cruise, from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, will be launched on January 13 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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In 50 days, the luxury cruise with foreign tourists will cover approximately 3,200 km of 27 river systems in India, including the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly, Brahmaputra, and West Coast Canal.

“This will be a unique cruise in the world and a reflection of growing cruise tourism in India. I request that the people of West Bengal take advantage of this,” Modi said on Friday while launching several projects for the state via video-conferencing. He also stated that the cruise’s inaugural voyage will take place on January 13.

The cruise operated by a private player will be a regular feature, a senior official of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the agency responsible for National Waterways (NWs) told the Times of India.

The report quoted officials as saying that the development of the India-Bangladesh Protocol route was critical in the planning of the cruise service. Reference

More seafarers seek support for mental health over Christmas period

02 Jan 2023
Calls for support services from seafarers who are away at sea increase over the Christmas period as crews struggle more with loneliness and isolation, says One Care Solutions.

Image Source: Safety4Sea

OneCare Solutions says it sees a higher volume of calls to its psychological teams through its partner Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS) during the Christmas period with a rise of around 5%.

The most common factor that led to seafarers seeking help through helplines was stress, closely followed by family matters.

Shipping companies can ensure they are looking out for the well-being of their seafarers during the Christmas period through a number of initiatives. They can enhance their entertainment packages, offer more access to WIFI to enable better communication with their loved ones, boost morale among crews with a special Christmas or New Year dinner and encourage crew members to bond through activities onboard. Reference

Note: All above news items compiled in this digest should be considered as news in brief. For detailed news, please refer to reference link, mentioned with each item.

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