News Digest 05-Sep-2022

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 29 Aug 2022 to 04 Sep 2022 in descending order:

India: When discussing maritime interest, India should also think about Pacific Ocean: EAM Jaishankar

04 Sep 2022
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on September 4 said talking about the Indian Ocean and not the Pacific Ocean when discussing India’s maritime interest shows a limitation of thinking, and India should go beyond this historical line of thinking.

The idea that India should not interfere with the issues of other countries is a kind of “dogma” which should change, Mr. Jaishankar said at a function to unveil the Gujarati translation of his book, “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World.”

Being the fifth largest economy, India should display confidence, “which is lacking because of our habits that keep us tied up”, he said.

“So far, we think about the Indian Ocean whenever we think about oceans. This is the limitation of our thinking that we talk about the Indian Ocean whenever we talk about maritime interest,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

“But more than 50% of our trade goes towards the East, towards the Pacific Ocean. The line between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean is only on the map, exists on an atlas, but there is no such thing in reality… We should go beyond the historical lines in our thinking, because our interest has increased. Indo-Pacific is a new strategic concept going on in the world,” he said. Reference

UK: Flags hoisted to thank seafarers on Merchant Navy Day 2022

04 Sep 2022
Cumbria County Council is showing its support for Merchant Navy Day (Saturday 3 September) by flying the Red Ensign flag at County Offices, Kendal; Cumbria House, Carlisle; and the Port of Workington today and over the weekend.

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The 3 September 1939 marked the outbreak of the Second World War and also marked the first major British maritime casualty, the merchant vessel SS Athenia, torpedoed just a few hours after hostilities were declared.

This day later became enshrined as Merchant Navy Day to honour the bravery of those during both World Wars, and to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

The County Council is supporting the nationwide call from the Seafarers UK Charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmarks.

The Red Ensign, also known as the Red Duster, is being flown from flag poles at County Offices and Cumbria House, as well as at the Port of Workington using a Liebherr crane.

The Port of Workington, owned and operated by Cumbria County Council, has an operational area of approximately 50 acres, handling up to 500,000 tonnes of cargo per year including dry bulk, liquid bulk, renewable energy, project cargo, forest products and containers. Reference

Indian Navy’s New Ensign: A fitting tribute to the rich Indian maritime heritage

03 Sep 2022
Marking a departure from the colonial past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the new Naval Ensign and dedicated the Ensign to Chhatrapati Shivaji.

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“The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet,” the navy said in a video showcasing the new ensign.

The navy said the blue octagonal shape represents the eight directions symbolising the Indian Navy’s multidirectional reach and multidimensional operational capability. The anchor symbol represents “steadfastness”, the navy said. Over the years India’s naval ensign has undergone several changes and transformed on many occasions. It is for the fourth time that the ensign is being changed from January 26, 1950. Reference

India: Government keen on strengthening maritime sector: PM Modi

03 Sep 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the government was keenly working on strengthening the maritime sector, both on defence and economic fronts, for the overall development of the country.

Speaking after inaugurating several completed projects and launching new ones related to New Mangalore Port Authority (NMPA) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd., (MRPL) here, Mr. Modi noted the country’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, INS Vikranth, was dedicated to the nation in Kochi a few hours before the Mangaluru programme by him. Immediately thereafter, he was launching projects worth ₹3,800 crore connected to the port in Mangaluru, he said.

Mr. Modi said the government was strengthening port-related infrastructure in a big way realising the potential of ports. Nearly 250 new projects were identified for port connectivity across the country while several were already completed. Because of these initiatives, the capacity of Indian ports had doubled in the last eight years — that was equal to the capacities created since the Independence till 2014. Reference

PM Modi Commissions India’s First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant At Cochin Shipyard

03 Sep 2022

Video Source: Youtibe – Zee Business

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday commissioned India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited, which is named after India’s first aircraft carrier that played a vital role in 1971 war. Watch this video for more details.

Need for cadet berths one of the ‘greatest challenges’ facing shipping

02 Sep 2022
Nautical Institute (NI) Capt André LeGoubin called on owners to provide at least two cadet berths on their newbuildings to ensure the industry has the leaders it needs for the future.

Image Source: Marine Insight

Speaking at the NI Singapore Conference 2022 LeGoubin described the struggle by many cadets globally to find a berth on a vessel as one of the “greatest challenges” facing the industry.

Capt LeGoubin said that many cadets from round the world contacted himself and other members of the institute in an effort to secure a cadet berth, however, so in his presidency he had been unable to do so. Capt LeGoubin was elected president of NI in July.

Maritime academies in the Philippines churn out tens of thousands of graduates a year, but only around 15% will ever serve on board a vessel.

Capt LeGoubin noted that shipowners had invested many millions in building new, more environmentally-friendly ships, to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. “I’m asking you to commit a further small amount in comparison to the future Seafarer by putting at least two cadets onboard every one of these new vessels.

Giving a keynote address following Capt LeGoubin, Mark Cameron, Executive Vice President and COO of Ardmore Shipping agreed on the importance of cadets. Reference

The evolution of maritime communications

02 Sep 2022
Shipping has traditionally been slow in integrating technological developments, but maritime communications are certainly not a representative case. From flag semaphores, as a primary means of ships’ communication, to the GMDSS, the evolution of maritime communications has been long.

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Ship communications involve both ship-to-shore interactions, such as voyage instructions, notices of arrival contact with ports, etc., and ship-to-ship interactions, such as safety of navigation matters. In an era of increased connectivity, shipping legislation is expected to increasingly mandate vessel communication and information reporting (see the IMO DCS and EU MRV). But what have the key means of communication been over the years?

Signal Flags: Dating back to ancient times, this is a system under which a series of flags can spell out a message, each flag representing a letter. Individual flags have specific meanings.

The Radiotelegraphy: In the early 19th century, the radio enabled ship-to-shore communication by means of Morse Code or other coded signals. Morse code is a method that encodes text characters as standardized sequences of two different signal durations (dits and dahs). 

The VHF: The integration of VHF radio resulted in a drastic transformation of marine communications, making ship-to-ship communication a reality and improving the safety of everyone involved. Using uses FM channels in the very high frequency (VHF) radio band, marine VHF radio involves two-way radio transceivers on ships enabling voice communication, not only from ship-to-ship, but also ship-to-shore (e.g., with harbormasters). 

The satellites: To overcome the disadvantages associated with VHF radio, the IMO in 1979 encouraged all member nations to establish Maritime Mobile Satellite Communication (MMSC) systems.  As enablers of modern ship communications since the late 20th century, the satellite antenna is a tenuous link to systems ashore.

VSATs: Ship communications are often challenged by the large quantities of data that most satellite communication systems generate. This is what the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) seeks to address.

The GMDSS: A new era for ship communications arrived in the early 1990s with the implementation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS); an integrated communications system using satellite and terrestrial radiocommunication systems.

The Digital selective calling: As part of the GMDSS, Digital Selective Calling (DSC) allowed for greater communication capabilities including remote control commands that could transmit and receive distress signals, place urgent safety calls, and put out routine messages.

Current challenges: As expected, the increasing digitization of maritime communications has brought respective cyber vulnerabilities, which requires constant vigilance. Reference

Using big data to analyze changes in workforce skills demand

02 Sep 2022
Big data derived from vacancies and applications on online jobs listings can provide important information about changes in the skills employers require and workers offer, especially in countries where alternative sources are scarce, says a new working paper by the ILO.

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Using data from the Uruguayan jobs board BuscoJobs, the authors of Using Online Vacancy and Job Applicants’ Data to Study Skills Dynamics created a skills taxonomy that aggregates three broad categories of skills: Cognitive, Socioemotional, Manual and fourteen commonly-observed and recognizable sub-categories related to skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, communication or finger dexterity.

Data from online job vacancies and applicants’ profiles are a promising source for analyzing skills dynamics, including in countries where job boards and job aggregators do not have a long tradition.

This is a relevant finding, given that these data capture country-specific developments, are available in many countries, and entail granular and longitudinal information, often for both labour demand and supply.

In contrast to what one might have expected, the data capture in meaningful ways intermediate and even lower educational levels of jobs and jobseekers in addition to highly qualified labour.

Although, shipping seems to have started taking advantage of innovation to solve several issues in various departments, manning seems to be overlooked.

Consequently, the whole recruitment process seems to be falling off, affecting millions of seafarers. However, technology and data can help improve crewing in every aspect. In fact, digital sourcing of seafarers is a crucial element of this.

As for the future sea workforce, seafarers should consider the 3 key issues; Automation, Corporate Social Responsibility and Soft Skills. Reference

Shipping headed towards record number of seafarer abandonments in 2022

01 Sep 2022
A record that no-one wanted to see broken is set for a new high this year – the number of seafarer abandonment cases.

The crew of the Ula abandoned off Kuwait. Image Source: Seatrade Maritime News

Over the last two and half years of the pandemic cases of companies abandoning their seafarers on ships around the world have increased sharply with a record 95 cases reported last year to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) joint database on abandonment of seafarers.

Speaking at the International Safety@Sea Conference in Singapore Dr Heike Deggim, Director, Maritime Safety Division, IMO, said that so far this year 74 cases of seafarer abandonment had been reported to the IMO/ILO database.

Clearly this not a trend anyone wants to see continuing and it was something Dr Degim said needed to be worked on.

The working group will also address other issues related to seafarer welfare including the treatment of those suspected of maritime crimes, and bullying and harassment, including sexual assault.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) recently highlighted the growing number of cases seafarers reporting the non-payment of wages for two months or longer, which meets the ILO’s definition of abandonment. It said that seafarers did not always realise that not being paid for a couple of months could be a precursor to abandonment. Reference

Inmarsat study reveals surge in maritime data usage

01 Sep 2022
Data usage on commercial maritime vessels has jumped more than threefold since 2019, according to a new communications analysis by Inmarsat.

Image Source: Splash247

The study found that the shipping industry’s reliance on digital connectivity to enhance operating efficiency and safeguard crew welfare has resulted in data usage among Inmarsat maritime customers rising almost 70 per cent in the 12 months to mid-2022.

Analysis of data usage by vessel operators shows year-on-year demand for data was highest among container shipping companies, more than doubling (108 per cent) in June 2022 compared to June 2021, while use of connectivity increased by 70 per cent among oil tanker operators and by 47 per cent on bulk carriers over the same period.

Inmarsat’s maritime data usage study comes amid a record order book for the company’s Fleet Xpress satellite communications systems. The Fleet Xpress installed base rose by 17 per cent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to Q2 2021, to almost 13,000 ships, with an order book of over 1,000 vessels.

Earlier this year, Inmarsat completed technical proof of concept tests for the terrestrial 5G mesh component of its new ORCHESTRA network. The tests took place in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest container ports. ORCHESTRA provides innovative spectrum-management and connectivity technology to deliver additional data capacity at key shipping hot spots via a unique, shore-based terrestrial networks. Reference

The Star Of India: See The World’s Oldest Working Ship In San Diego

01 Sep 2022
Go to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and one will see The Star of India – the oldest active sailing ship in the world and the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still afloat. The oldest ship afloat in the United States is the USS Constitution (which people can also visit). The Star of India was originally called “Euterpe,” and today, she is a magnet for maritime enthusiasts.

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When she was built, iron ships were still sort of experimental as most ships at the time were still being made of wood. The Star of India was built in 1863 in Britain and was launched just five days before Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. She was a full-rigged ship while in British service and went on to see her fair share of adventures.

She was made on the Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man. She enjoyed a very active career in British service and sailed from Great Britain to India to New Zealand. Her name “Euterpe” was after the Greek muse of music and poetry. The Isle of Man is a quaint and peaceful isle between England and Ireland that everyone should visit.

During her sailing career, she had two almost disastrous voyages to India. On her first voyage here she had a collision and a mutiny (she collided with a Spanish brig off the coast of Wales). Following her mutiny, many of her crew were jailed, while her captain also died on the return voyage. During the second trip, she was caught up in a cyclone and lost her topmasts. She was only just able to make it into port. But after a very tumultuous start, Euterpe had a more settled career and made more voyages to India as a cargo ship.

She eventually retired in 1926. The Zoological Society purchased her to be a museum in 1926, but the Great Depression and then WW2 canceled those plans. She was restored into a seaworthy condition as a museum ship in 1962-63 and has been based at the Maritime Museum of San Diego ever since. Reference

31 Aug 2022
Royal Caribbean Group this week revealed it will be the industry’s first cruise ship operator to implement SpaceX’s Starlink for onboard broadband internet service for guests and crew fleetwide.

Royal Caribbean said faster and more reliable internet will enable passengers and crew to maintain connection with work, family and friends anywhere in the world. (Photo: Royal Caribbean Group). Image Source: Marine Link

The cruise giant said on Tuesday it will immediately begin installing Starlink high-speed, low-latency connectivity on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises ships, along with all new vessels for each of its brands going forward. Initial installations are expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

The move follows authorization in June from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet network for moving vehicles, including commercial ships, airlines and trucks.

Royal Caribbean said a Starlink trial on board its vessel Freedom of the Seas received “a tremendous amount of positive feedback from guests and crew”. Increasingly, cruise ship passengers and crewmembers are expecting robust internet connectivity for high-bandwidth activities such as video calling and streaming. Reference

Singapore further eases COVID-19 restrictions for vessels

31 Aug 2022
MPA Singapore published a new circular, updating the easing of COVID-19 restrictions for vessels in the Port of Singapore.

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Owners, agents and masters of vessels are strongly encouraged to conduct all port operations (e.g. cargo operations, bunkering, ship’s supplies and stores, and other marine services) are carried out contactless or contactless with segregation protocol.

In circumstance where a contactless operation is required, no person is to board the visiting vessel except MPA-licensed harbour pilots, authorised government officers, and persons approved by the Port Master.

If it is necessary for shore-based personnel to board the vessel, segregation protocol should be in place to minimise interactions between the vessel’s crew and shore-based personnel. Examples of contactless operations with segregation protocols are bunkering, cargo operations and tank cleaning. Owners, agents and masters of vessels are required to work with the destination terminals to agree on the segregation protocol before the operations commence.

What is more, all non-fully vaccinated crew arriving in Singapore from 28 August 2022, 2359 hours will no longer be required to undergo a 7-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) prior to departing for Singapore.

Seafarers will continue to be required to take a pre-departure test within 2 days before departure for Singapore, as well as carry a valid travel insurance for non-fully vaccinated Short-Term Visitors (STVs). Reference

Chennai Port offers shore leave to Indian seafarers

31 Aug 2022
Chennai Port has agreed to grant Indian seafarers shore leave, provided they adhere to basic protocols of undergoing dual vaccination and wearing masks.

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The decision was taken after port authorities held a meeting, highlighting the plight of the sailors. Seafarers of foreign vessels, however, would not be granted shore leave.

This comes after the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) sought feedback from the port authorities regarding status of grant of shore leave to seafarers in their respective jurisdictions.

DGS said that despite India being a party to the Maritime Labour Convention, some ports were not granting shore leave to seafarers on some cases.

What is more, a port health official told local media that shore leave was granted to sailors provided they adhere to safety protocols. “The master and the ship owners have been asked to monitor those sailors, who have gone on shore leave for two weeks, to ensure they don’t catch any infection.”

Recently, AMSA drew attention to the importance of providing shore leave to seafarers, for ships visiting Australian ports. Reference

IMO Secretary-General to visit Odesa to gauge Black Sea Grain Initiative

30 Aug 2022
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim is scheduled to visit the port of Odesa on 29 August, to see at first-hand the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

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IMO Sec-Gen will also hear how ship safety and port management is being implemented. Mr. Lim is expected to board a ship and speak to seafarers.

During July, Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, increasing hopes that an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion can be eased.

Safe passage into and out of the ports would be guaranteed in what one official called a “de facto ceasefire” for the ships and facilities covered, they said, although the word “ceasefire” was not in the agreement text.

Monitored by a Joint Coordination Center based in Istanbul, the ships would then transit the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus strait and proceed to world markets. Reference

How Supply Chain Management is redefined using Blockchain

30 Aug 2022
The supply chain industry is at the cusp of a transformation. Cutting-edge startups are building platform-driven solutions that are all set to disrupt this space by leveraging the power of IoT and blockchain technologies. 

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Blockchain technology makes it possible to create an indelible ledger of assets and transactions that is time-stamped, secure, and tamper-proof, allowing a wide array of stakeholders to communicate near-real-time. Peer-to-peer transactions of any kind (invoices, payments, shipments) become more visible and easy to track. And information from different sources (end consumers, sales channels, suppliers, contract manufacturers and underlying systems) can be consolidated and digitized for more unified communication across the network. 

Because the logistics industry is characterized by fragmentation and huge inefficiencies which drive up costs and negatively impact supply chain reliability and resilience, making savings in this area equals significantly higher margins. Blockchain technologies offer significant cost and resource benefits to enterprises across industry sectors. In fact, 86% of tech-savvy executive teams surveyed by Deloitte said they believe there’s huge business potential in blockchain technology.

43% of large companies say achieving efficient invoice processing is a major struggle. Processing a single invoice in 2019 cost companies upwards of 1000 Rs and took 8.6 days on average. Vendors and suppliers who comprise small and medium enterprises have to bear the brunt of longer waiting times, and resolve disputes in case of human error or discrepancies which creep in during these largely manual processes. 

One of the best-selling cars in India in its segment, the Renault Kwid is a case study for Make in India, with 97% of its parts sourced locally. Only some critical engine components like fuel injectors and knock sensors are imported, with Indian OEMs and contract manufacturers supplying the bulk of parts required for assembly.

Containerized shipping has brought the world closer, allowing businesses to trade across borders, but there are many modern-day challenges that plague the maritime transport industry and hamper the free flow of goods and products. 

In the past, sceptics have raised valid and important questions about blockchain technologies for enterprises. Start-ups have been working hard to address these real-world problems by experimenting with new toolsets and tech stacks. And today, as both the technology and market mature, many more successful pilots and proofs of concept exist across industry sectors. Reference

Ukraine Allows its Seafarers to Rejoin Foreign Ships

29 Aug 2022
All Ukrainian men aged 18-60 have been subject to a wartime travel ban since February, but certain seafarers will soon have an exemption.

Image Source: Reuters

On August 27, 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine finally adopted a resolution on allowing Ukrainian seafarers to leave the country to work under contracts on vessels.

Our company, SKYMAR, is a leading travel service provider in Ukraine for shipowners and seafarers. In the difficult days of March 2022, when all maritime market players and relevant organizations refused to deal with the problem of Ukrainian seafarers leaving, SKYMAR began to pursue a positive solution by all possible official and behind-the-scenes methods. Every week we wrote letters to the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Office of the President of Ukraine. We wrote SMS, called all the known numbers and tried to prove and show how important it is for Ukrainian seaferers to return to their jobs and relieve their colleagues who were on vessels at the time of the start of the war. Our petition to the President of Ukraine was able to collect 25,000 signatures and attract his attention.

Ukrainian seafarers bring up to $4 billion annually to the country. Ukraine ranks sixth in the world in terms of the number of employed seafarers. The urgent need to remove restrictions from Ukrainian seafarers was due to the fact that most of the seafarers could be left without a livelihood. Their skills and abilities are very specific and have little use ashore, even in times of war. In addition, a huge proportion of Ukrainian seafarers help our army in the fight against the enemy, both financially and with humanitarian aid.

And on Saturday it happened! We welcome this decision of the government of Ukraine. Now Ukrainian seafarers will again be able to travel to their jobs on vessels around the world, relieve their colleagues, start providing for their families again and continue to support Ukraine’s army. This is a victory for seafarers and their families, and there are about one million of them in Ukraine.

In the coming days, the Cabinet of Ministers will approve the final adjustments to the adopted resolution and approve the final date from which Ukrainian seafarers will be able to leave on contracts. Our company continues to participate in the discussions of the working group for details on the departure of seafarers. 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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