1. Shipping Employers and Trade Unions Give One Month to Ensure Safe Crew Changes.
15 May 2020 : Shipping industry employers and trade unions have agreed to extend seafarer contracts for another month in order to give time for governments and companies to implement the International Maritime Organization protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Circular Letter issued May 5, the IMO made recommendations to Member States about measures to facilitate ship crew changes advised global industry associations with consultative status at the IMO.
Each month around 150,000 seafarers need to be changed over to and from the ships to ensure compliance with international maritime regulations for ensuring safety, crew health and welfare, and to prevent fatigue. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, government-imposed travel restrictions have meant a large numbers of seafarers are having to extend their service after long hitches at sea.
2. Ships Crew Abandoned Without Supplies of Food, Water or Fuel.
15 May 2020 : There is never a good time to be abandoned at sea on a ship with no rudder and dwindling supplies of food, water and electricity, but certainly the situation is further exacerbated when the world is in the grip of a global pandemic. Such are the circumstances suffered by the crew of fifteen aboard the MV Celanova (IMO 9268394).
With batteries running low on their mobile phones, the crew who are trapped 13 nautical miles out at sea have been making calls for urgent assistance as the vessel is running dangerously low on the fuel and diesel oil and food, fresh water and medicines needed to ensure their survival.
The 7,600 gross tonne MV Celanova is a Spanish flagged LPG tanker owned by GLOBALGAS SA, Madrid, Spain. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) tells us the company has left the crew without pay for months and begging for vital provisions.
3. Prevention at Sea: Addressing the human element in maritime safety.
15 May 2020 : The development of maritime technologies has significantly enhanced the safety level of ship navigation today however human error is still widely recognized ass a main cause of maritime incidents.
Cyprus based maritime technology and marine risk firm prevention at sea is offering a technology solution to address the human element in maritime safety. Petros Achtypis, CEO at Prevention at sea, reckons that maritime manpower tends to be the weak link for safe ship operations.
4. Coronavirus | Indian seafarers to be evacuated through Vande Bharat Mission.
14 May 2020 : Indian seafarers stranded in different parts of the world will have to register for evacuation through the Vande Bharat Mission so that the government can evacuate them, sources said here on Wednesday. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is compiling data about the seafarers who are likely to be part of the third phase of the evacuation towards the end of this month.
Informed sources said in response to online appeals from the seafarers that the COVID-19 module of the MEA is tracking around 20,000 seafarers located in the Caribbean, Latin America, Spanish coast, Gulf of Mexico among other areas.
5. 800 seafarers to arrive on June 5 at MPT.
14 May 2020 : Around 800 seafarers will arrive at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) on June 5, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant announced on Tuesday. The Chief Minister said this during an hour-long interaction with the people of the State that was held on social media.
Replying to a question on seafarers, Sawant said the State was concerned about them and hence has been interacting with Central agencies in this regard. “We have been successful in bringing the seafarers from Marella Discovery, besides the Angriya crew has already come yesterday and have been quarantined in a hotel,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that in the next few days a few cruise ships are scheduled to come directly to MPT. “On June 5, Carnival is coming to Goa with 800 crew members. The Karnika cruise will come in the next two days,” he said.
6. Crew welfare tops reasons for investment in communications.
14 May 2020 : The single most important factor in shipping companies making investments into satellite communications between the ship and shore is crew welfare.
The latest poll run on Seatrade Maritime News which gave readers five choices as to the why companies make investments in satellite communications for their vessels. Emerging as the top factor was crew welfare as the choice of 36% of readers. The crew welfare aspect of communications has been particularly in focus lately given the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought halt to almost all shore leave and crew changes.
The other two main choices of readers related to operational ship-to-shore communications. Some 26% of readers saw the collection of data from sensors to optimise vessel operations as the most important factor for investment in satellite communications, while 24% chose communications between the vessels and the office.
7. Baze Technology launches offline streaming service for vessels.
14 May 2020 : The new solution, named BazePort Seea aims to improve the crew welfare within commercial vessels. Crew will have the opportunity to watch the latest films available, receive updated news, listen to podcasts and receive important information from the captain, directly on their personal devices or TV screen.
A selection of films will be available with subtitles and dubbing options. The library is topped up with 10 new films every month and up to 28 hours of TV series every quarter. Podcast listening is increasing in popularity, and the number of available podcasts has exploded over the last years. With BazePort Seea the crew gets access to an unlimited number of podcasts. Subscriptions to podcasts for free can enable crew to receive new podcasts every day.
8. Ray of hope for 150,000 seafearers stranded in ships.
13 May 2020 : More than 150,000 seafarers currently stranded aboard ships in the world are set to find a way out after the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a roadmap to have them return to their homes in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
The recommendations of the IMO are contained in the 12-step plan to its 174 member States, which will act as a roadmap to free seafarers from their Covid-19 lockdown and allow appropriate exemptions for them to join or leave ships. The organisation made the recommendations in a circular last week which was also copied to all IMO member States, United Nations and specialised agencies, intergovernmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations in consultative status with IMO.
In some of its recommendations, IMO wants governments and relevant national authorities to designate professional seafarers and marine personnel, regardless of nationality when in their jurisdiction, as “key workers” providing an essential service.
9. More ships attacked in Gulf of Guinea and crew kidnapped.
13 May 2020 : Three vessels have been attacked in the Gulf of Guinea in the latest incidences of piracy and maritime crime off West Africa, with six crew apparently kidnapped. The incidents all happened on 9 May off the coast of Equatorial Guinea.
According to Preasidium International, the Equatorial Guinea-flagged research/survey vessel Djibloho was attacked and boarded by a group of unknown men, with three crew likely kidnapped (two Russians and one Equatoguinean).
Meanwhile, whilst within the Malabo anchorage area off Equatorial Guinea, the Comoros flagged general cargo vessel Rio Mitong was approached by a speedboat whose perpetrators used a ladder to board the vessel and kidnap two crew members, apparently one Russian and one Ukrainian national. Praesidium reported that the perpetrators left the area and proceeded towards Cameroon.
10. COVID-19 | Focus on reforms to enhance efficiency of Indian ports.
12 May 2020 : COVID-19 has brought life to a standstill. To contain the virus transmission, countries announced lockdowns and border closures. Though it is not clear for how long these measures will be required, it is certain these restrictions would cause a huge blow to the global economy.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has remarked that the ‘Great Lockdown’ will dramatically shrink global growth and contract global output by 3 percent in 2020. This would invariably have adverse consequences on global trade, and hence the shipping sector as ports cater to 90 percent of global trade.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports suggest that growth in international seaborne trade slowed down after the 2009 financial crisis and stood at a meagre 2.7 percent in 2018. Moreover, the lockdown in China, which is the leading global manufacturer, disrupted global supply chains.
11. Shipping and ports: Navigating the new issues arising from COVID-19.
12 May 2020 : The current crisis has highlighted the extent to which the economy we live in is global, and how with the economic strength of that trade comes weakness that we had perhaps not noticed before.
The weakness was highlighted by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation, in a recent statement, where he discussed the important role of shipping services and seafarers in delivering essential goods and the need to maintain the flow of trade while prioritising safety.
12. Cyber Security in Shipping during COVID-19 pandemic.
11 May 2020 : The COVID-19 crisis has been testing the foundations of our lives, societies and economies posing huge challenges for the future. Organisations across industries are rightly focusing on their employees’ well-being, whilst making sure that their operations continue undisrupted and at the same time, adapting to the new ways of operating.
Inevitably, secondary aspects of day-to-day operations such as cyber security may fall by the wayside, potentially increasing the risk of cyber security attacks. Cyber criminals are cognisant of the change in priorities, making the pandemic an attractive opportunity for them to make their way into corporate networks to steal data, money or cause disruption.
1. Shipping Employers and Trade Unions Give One Month to Ensure Safe Crew Changes.