News Bulletin – 05 September 2020

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1. At G20 Meet, India Calls for Facilitating Movement of Stranded Seafarers.

04 Sept 2020 : India on Thursday called upon governments around the world to ensure that interests of foreign students are protected and movement of stranded seafarers back to their home countries is facilitated in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an address at an ‘extraordinary meeting’ of G20 foreign ministers, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also proposed developing protocols for the movement of people and quarantine procedures by the grouping.

The meeting was convened by Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair. “The discussions centred on strengthening international cooperation across borders in the wake of COVID-19 crisis. The ministers also exchanged national experiences and lessons learned from the cross-border management measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

2. Indian Oil-tanker fire update: 1 missing, 1 injured out of 23 crew.

04 Sept 2020 : A fully loaded oil tanker caught fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka earlier on Thursday leaving one of its 23 crew members missing and another injured. Sri Lanka dispatched four navy ships to help rescue the trapped crew members and put out the fire.

The tanker known as New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) was chartered by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and was headed towards the Paradip Port in Odisha, where the state-run oil company operates a three lakh barrel-per-day refinery.

According to agency reports stating Sri Lankan navy spokesperson Capt Indika Silva, the fire started in the engine room of New Diamond and later spread across to other parts of the tanker.

3. Support for stranded seafarers.

03 Sept 2020 : Pre COVID-19 seafarer life at sea was already tough with 60% of the 1.5 million Seafarers worldwide suffering from depression and the highest industrial suicide rate in the world. Some seafarers at times have to endure war zones, piracy, slave labour and abandonment.

The average seafarer contract at sea can last up to 9 months away from home. Since the 1980’s the Anglican led Mission to Seafarers Nelson has supported tens of thousands of seafarers who at various times were absent from family events like childbirth, graduations, birthdays, Christmas, weddings, and funerals. Mission to Seafarers Nelson is solely funded by the generosity of donations and grant applications.

Since Covid-19, thousands of seafarers visiting NZ are currently stranded on their ships due to the 28-day quarantine restrictions. Only a small percentage of these ships have WIFI access for crew to contact home.

4. Philippines extends seafarer STCW certificate validity by a year due to Covid-19.

03 Sept 2020 : The Philippines has extended the validity of seafarers’ STCW certificates that are due to expire by another year.

The Philippines Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said in an advisory to the industry the actions taken in the Philippines and worldwide to combat Covid-19 had severely affected training, revalidation of certificates and crew change and shore leave, and as a it was extending the validity of STCW certificates.

All STCW certificates expiring between 1 September and 31 December 2020 will be extended in validity for a period of one year without application having to be made.

5. Philippines ready to handle crew change demand. (Seafarers IMG)

2 Sept 2020 : The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) gave assurances that the country is ready to handle crew change with additional ports already activated and more international ports being readied to be opened to serve ships of any sizes and thus boost revenues for the maritime industry.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said the crew change hubs in the country were seen to generate economic activities and revenues from the collection of port dues and charges from ship dockage or anchorage.

Three crew change hubs located at the Port of Manila, Port of Capinpin in Bataan, and Subic Bay Freeport Zone were activated. Other ports for activation include Batangas, Davao, and Cebu.

6. Seafarer repatriation procedures highlighted as part of in-depth webinar run by Embassy of Indonesia in London.

2 Sept 2020 : IMO says successful seafarer repatriation procedures have been highlighted as part of an in-depth webinar run by the Embassy of Indonesia in London (26 August). The event, which gathered representatives from governments and international organizations, provided a platform for countries to learn from effective measures and to discuss ways forward.

It included a presentation on Indonesia’s experience in dealing with the issue, which has led to the repatriation of over 25 thousand seafarers involving 38 countries and international waters. Methods of return (evacuation and repatriation), the resources used, whether by government, shipowner or agent, were all presented (see video link below at 24:18 minutes). The challenges, with regard to key stakeholders – shipowner, port States, regional government and flag States were also addressed. 

The webinar also featured the United Kingdom’s approach to resolving cases surrounding global cruise line vessels (14:13). For example, port State control action was used to drive action by flag State, company and P&I clubs to protect seafarer welfare after vessel detainment.

7. Philippines : A pioneering app-based recruitment tool for seafarers.

1 Sept 2020 : TSM Group had recently launched the TSM Recruit—the first app-based recruitment tool in the Philippine maritime industry. Driven by its passion to constantly innovate and build a pool of highly skilled seafarers, the TSM Recruit makes application more convenient for seafarer applicants. 

Through the app, the seafarer gets access to the latest job openings and updates from various companies of the TSM Group. Bringing the job search to the next level, the applicant can submit multiple applications to different companies at the same time and is automatically matched with the job openings suited to his/her experience and credential.

There are other exciting features designed for the applicant to get notifications, view status and activities of each application and a calendar that shows assigned schedule and other significant information. The welfare of the Filipino seafarers has always been our top priority. With this innovation, we look forward to continue providing job opportunities for them as we remain steadfast in serving the global maritime industry even during these challenging times,” said Ian R. Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of TSM Group. 

8. Maritime’s challenges in addressing cyber risk.

1 Sept 2020 : Vessel owners, operators and managers are constantly challenged by the changing cyber threats facing their IT networks, operational technology (OT) and assets. Network intrusions and data theft can be prevented through effective cyber risk management and bolstered security. Vulnerabilities need to be identified to allow systems to be protected against these cyber threats.

Otherwise, shipping companies risk direct losses and the indirect consequences of a successful cyber attack, said Willis Towers Watson executive director and cyber cover specialist Andrew Hill.

He said cyber risk impact could include direct loss of revenue or loss of hire due to unavailable networks, during Riviera Maritime Media’s ‘Minimising cost and disruption after a cyber event’ webinar on 6 August. This was the concluding event of Riviera’s Maritime Cyber Security Webinar Week.

9. Shipping Corporation outclasses rival Indian fleet owners in recruiting women.

31 August 2020 : Domestic liner Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) has emerged as a pioneer among top Indian fleet owners when it comes to hiring women in key roles on ships with over 20 per cent women workforce and a robust gender-neutral hiring policy in place.

Incidentally, SCI — which owns and operates around one-third of the Indian tonnage and has operating interests in practically all areas of the shipping business, servicing both national and international trades — has at its helm a woman as the chairperson and managing director, H K Joshi.

Of the total 646 employees, 135 are women. “SCI has been the pioneer in India with regards to recruiting women for jobs on board its fleet. Presently, two masters, five chief officers, two second engineers, 31 second/third officers, six third/fourth engineers and two nurses are women serving on various types of ships,” as per the annual report of the Navratna public sector enterprise.

10. Singapore sets up floating crew holding facility and $736,000 crew change fund.

31 August 2020 : Singapore is establishing a floating Crew Facilitation Centre (CFC) with on-site medical provisions, as well as a SGD1m ($736,000) Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund.

From 1 September, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), with support of PSA Singapore, will use an existing floating accommodation to set up the CFC at Tanjong Pagar Terminal. The CFC is a self-contained facility with medical centre, testing and holding facilities, dedicated to sign-on crew to house them for 48 hours prior to them boarding their ships when their ship and flight schedule do not match.

MPA said the CFC will facilitate more crew change to take place in Singapore and keep both the ships and local community safe. Sign-off crew, based on current procedures, will proceed to depart Singapore or stay at existing designated holding facilities for up to 48 hours.

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