News Digest 08-Nov-2021

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 01 Nov 2021 to 07 Nov 2021 in descending order:


High time to invest in Green Maritime Technology Training for future Seafarers

06 Nov 2021
There is a burning need for maritime professionals to receive training in environmentally friendly skills and technologies, second engineer Allan Dickson told the Maritime Skills Commission (MSC) Green Skills Forum at COP26 in Glasgow.

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“We need to look at how we retrain the existing workforce with the skills of the future, and don’t just resign generations of highly skilled seafarers to the scrap heap,” he said.

Dickson called on the UK government to develop policies to maximise the employment of British seafarers in the UK to avoid a repeat of the HGV crisis in the maritime sector.

“The impact would be even more profound if similar issues were to occur among seafarers,” he stressed.

Speaking on his own training experience, Dickson noted the lack of training he received on new fuels and technologies.

“I must have had no more than an hour or two of training in battery power in the three-year cadetship. We did study gas fuel, but the technologies of the future that will help achieve net zero were entirely lacking.”

There is extra training available, however, it is usually very expensive and doesn’t cover the new hybrid systems that are being developed, according to Dickson.

“The problem is, we’re in a catch 22 situation now, because some of these new technologies that might get us to net zero, actually are so new that there’s not many ships using them, and the training certainly hasn’t caught up,” he further said.

Because of this lack of proper training, seafarers have called on the UK government and industry to invest in the maritime workforce of the future with targeted, modern training in green technologies in order to reach environmental targets.

Maritime union Nautilus would like to see a commitment from industry and from the government to help fund the retraining of merchant navy officers who may miss out on these new skills because they went through their training before they were offered. Reference


Carnival Cruise Ship Rescues Sailors in Gulf of Mexico

06 Nov 2021
A Carnival Cruise Line ship honored one of the oldest traditions of the sea diverting from its course to come to the aid of a sailboat in distress in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the second time in a year that a Carnival cruise ship has been called on to provide assistance.

According to Carnival Cruise Line and passengers who were aboard the cruise, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, November 4, the Carnival Breeze received a mayday call. The 130,000 gross ton cruise ship was returning to its home port of Galveston, Texas after a five-night cruise to Mexico.  The captain of the sailboat reported that he had injured his back and required assistance. There were also two passengers and two dogs on board the sailboat.

After locating the boat, the crew aboard the Carnival Breeze lowered one of its lifeboats and maneuvered it alongside the sailboat while passengers watched from the deck of the cruise ship. The three people aboard along with their dogs were transferred to the cruise ship, where the ship’s doctor provided medical assistance to the injured sailor. It was the second time in a year that a Carnival Cruise Line ship had undertaken a rescue. Reference


World’s Largest Cruise Ship Delivered and Departing Shipyard

05 Nov 2021
The world’s largest cruise ship was quietly delivered to its owners last week and is scheduled to depart the shipyard tomorrow, November 5. Unlike the past where the events were met with great fanfare, the new cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Wonder of the Seas will wait four months for its maiden voyage as the cruise industry continues to ramp up after the long pause in operations.

Wonder of the Seas at 226,857 GT is the largest cruise ship (Chantiers d’Atlantique). Image Source: Maritime Executive

At 236,857 gross tons, the new cruise ship is nearly five percent larger than the first Oasis class cruise ship that Royal Caribbean introduced more than a decade ago and even slightly larger than the fourth ship of the class that was introduced three years ago. The Wonder of the Seas, which is 1,188 feet in length, also has an increased passenger capacity with a maximum of 6,988 passengers in addition to 2,300 crew.

Like all modern cruise ships, the new ship will have a broad range of amenities for its passengers. As with the prior ships of the class, she will have different zones for entertainment, accommodations, and dining with features including a water slide, outdoor theater, and a zip line. New to the Wonder of the Seas is a cantilevered pool bar as well as a special zone for suite passengers complete with a lounge, restaurant, and private outdoor deck space

Construction for the Wonder of the Seas began at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard with the first steel in April 2019 and the first block was placed in the drydock in October 2019. The delivery of the ship however was delayed while the shipyard was closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. The floating out was completed in September 2020 and the sea trials were in August 2021. Reference


16 Crew members Abandoned Without Food or Wages at Port of Mombasa

05 Nov 2021
International seafarers’ charity Stella Maris is calling attention to the plight of 16 abandoned crew members aboard a fishing vessel that has been stuck in Kenya’s Mombasa port since March – the latest incident in a wave of abandonment cases at the bottom end of the maritime industry. 

Last week, the crew ran out of all food except for some old vegetables because the vessel owners stopped providing them with supplies, Stella Maris reported. The crew members say that they are owed wages for the last eight months, and they are increasingly worried about family members who are struggling to survive because of the loss of income. 

The remaining owner-provided food supply for the 16 crew members of the Ra’Horakhty (Stella Maris). Image Source: Maritime Executive

The Kenyan-flagged vessel, Ra-Horakhty, is crewed by Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese nationals. At first there were Kenyans and Tanzanians on board, but they have since been repatriated and paid their salaries.

Stella Maris has stepped in to provide emergency relief for the remaining men, supplying a week’s worth of groceries, including oil, meat and rice. The seafarers are also in need of fresh water and diesel to run the ship’s generator.  

“We were informed of the crew’s dire situation by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) inspector based here, so went to visit the vessel to assess the situation and see how best we could help. We invited the local Mission to Seafarers team to assist in our response,” said Stella Maris Mombasa port chaplain Margaret Masibo. “We had a long conversation with the captain of the ship, who said he and his crew were distressed, frustrated, hungry and exhausted.

Stella Maris understands that the men all signed one-year contracts, in excess of MLC limits. The contracts of six Indonesian fishermen expired five months ago but they are still on board. They are unable to leave the port area because their documents are no longer valid. The crew, led by the captain, has begun to pursue legal action.

“The situation is becoming increasingly hopeless, and no one knows how long a court case will take, but Stella Maris will keep looking out for the crew’s wellbeing and monitoring the situation,” said Margaret. Reference


US Government suspends training at sea program

05 Nov 2021
The federal government’s academy for merchant mariners is halting a key training program that sends students thousands of miles away from campus on commercial ships after a 19-year-old student was allegedly raped at sea.

The Department of Transportation has suspended the Sea Year program for students at the US Merchant Marine Academy after a current senior published an online account saying she had been raped on a Maersk ship. Image Source: CNN

The decision by the Department of Transportation, which oversees the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), came just weeks before students were set to embark on their “Sea Year” voyage, in which students are typically sent in pairs to work alongside older, predominantly male crew members.
In a letter to students notifying them that the program has been temporarily suspended, school and transportation officials said the academy and the maritime industry were confronting a “challenging time” and that the decision to halt the program was “one of the most difficult we have faced.”
Just days earlier, congressional lawmakers expressed concern that students at the academy were being put in danger while participating in the Sea Year program.
Sea Year was designed to provide students at the academy, located in Kings Point, New York, with valuable experience working on commercial vessels and is one of the school’s major draws, with many hoping to go on to become engineers and leaders in the shipping industry.
Officials told students on Tuesday that Sea Year would not resume until they were able to put together a detailed plan with new safety measures as requested by lawmakers. They said sailing wouldn’t resume until December at the very earliest. The letter did not provide details about the changes but said that some were already in the works and being discussed with both the school community and the maritime industry. Lawmakers had also called for the resignation of USMMA’s superintendent Jack Buono, but no leadership changes have been announced and Buono was one of the officials involved with Tuesday’s action.
This is the second time in five years that Sea Year has been halted amid concerns about sexual assault and harassment.
The academy first suspended the program back in 2016, before reinstating it the following year and pledging that new rules and a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault and harassment would keep cadets safe both on campus and at sea. Since then, school reports show that students have been reluctant to report cases of sexual assault in part because they have been so worried that Sea Year would be canceled again.
But a current student did decide to come forward anonymously this fall, bringing the school under fire once again. Known as Midshipman-X, the woman wrote online that she was raped by her supervisor, a senior crew member, in 2019 while aboard a Maersk ship during Sea Year. She said that she was the only female on the ship and that for the next 50 days, she had to continue to work for her assailant and see him every day.
While she said she was too scared to report the crime at the time, she decided to share her experience after learning that nine other female students currently enrolled at the academy said they had also been raped during their Sea Year.
As her story circulated among the USMMA community and others in the maritime industry, Maersk suspended five crew members and both the company and the federal government have been investigating the reported rape. Reference


More job growth expected in offshore wind energy

05 Nov 2021
Several paths are leading professionals to the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry, and no two paths are exactly alike. Many discover the sector through prior work in the maritime industry, but why they chose to join the fast-growing offshore wind sector often tends to be a personal choice.

A wind turbine under construction. Siemens photo. Image Source:

According to Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan group of business leaders who advocate for policies that are both good for the environment and the economy, many of the jobs that will be opening up in offshore wind will be a fit for professionals from a variety of backgrounds including ex-military members and even plumbers. The group expects offshore wind’s U.S. workforce to eventually number close to one million jobs.

Those jobs will cover many responsibilities, some of which seasoned mariners are no doubt familiar with — especially those mariners who have experience in offshore power generation. The jobs will cover a variety of areas, including work as site managers and supervisors, project engineers, quality control specialists, electrical technicians, oceanographers, geophysicists, technical trainers, and others.

Initially, the U.S. offshore wind industry will need many technicians and engineers. As the sector grows, though, many business and communications professionals will be needed, in order to help keep pace with that growth. Reference


Shipping boss: Christmas will be safe from shortages

03 Nov 2021
Christmas trading will be safe from supply chain problems, the boss of shipping firm Maersk has told the BBC – adding, “at least that’s what I’m hearing from our customers”.

Maersk’s CEO says a shortage of labour is the biggest reason for supply chains problems. Image Source:

The company handles almost 20% of the world’s shipping containers.

Chief executive Soren Skou, said the firm is chartering more ships, keeping ports open longer and has opened more warehouses to help.

The firm is doing “everything” it can to alleviate the problems, he said.

There have been recent warnings in the UK and the US that logjams at ports will lead to shortages at Christmas.

Mr Skou said that a shortage of workers in the ports to unload ships and a lack of truckers was behind the problems.

A Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey of its members estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified drivers in the UK. That number includes thousands of drivers from European Union (EU) member states who were previously living and working in the UK. There are also shortages across Europe and the US.
Mr Skou estimated that approximately 300 large container ships around the world are sitting waiting outside ports. Almost 80 of these, he added, were in Los Angeles, with a “few” outside Felixstowe and others stuck by Chinese ports including Shanghai and Ningbo.
This widespread congestion was triggered by a collapse in demand during the early stages of the pandemic. That was followed by a period of frantic activity, as people who were forced to stay at home rather than travel or socialise, ordered large quantities of consumer goods. Reference


Canada ends cruise ship ban after 19 months

03 Nov 2021
After 19 months, the COVID-19 health safety policy of banning cruise ships from reaching Canadian ports has come to an end.

Canada Place cruise ship terminal in downtown Vancouver. (Shutterstock). Image Source:

The federal government rescinded the restrictions today, November 1, following through with its July 2021 announcement that it would do so by this date — instead of the previous plan to end the ban in February 2022.

But the end of the ban also comes at the tail end of Canada’s cruise ship season, which typically ends in the middle of fall and resumes in the middle of spring.

As well, the federal government has retained its travel advisory for cruise ships, with Canadians still urged to “avoid all travel on cruise ships until further notice.” This could change over the coming months as the pandemic turns another corner.

Ending the ban now also provides cruise lines, the logistics companies that support these businesses, and ports with ample lead time to prepare for the return of cruise ships at Canadian ports, likely in Spring 2022. It also provides passengers with the lead-up period for cruise bookings to be made.

In a statement, the provincial government says a Cruise Ship Restart Committee has been formed to plan for the safe return of cruise passengers to BC, and in response to two proposed separate US bills that would permanently allow cruise ships sailing between two American ports to skip a Canadian port. Reference


Urgent Need to Make Maritime Safe for Women, says ITF

03 Nov 2021
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) says the recent report of sexual assault by a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy cadet during her at sea training brings shame on the shipping industry and underlines the urgent need for action to eliminate violence in the workplace.

ITF Seafarers’ Section Women Transport Workers’ representative Lena Dyring | (Credit: Leo Erdfelt, WMU). Image Source: gCaptain

The case, which has become known as Midshipman X in some circles, has generated a lot of attention and scrutiny in the maritime industry. Details of the incident were revealed in an online post by victim and published last month by a whistleblower website which works to expose incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment within the U.S. merchant marine.

In her post, the unidentified author describes how she was raped by a supervisor during her Sea Year training on board Maersk Line, Limited vessel operating in the Middle East in 2019. The victim also pointed to broader problems involving other female Midshipmen at the federal service academy. The incident has prompted inquiries by A.P. Moller Maersk which has already led to the suspension of five crew, as well as investigations by U.S. authorities.

In a news article posted Tuesday, the ITF called for the shipping industry to work with seafarers to make the maritime industry safer for women.

“Sadly, this is not an isolated incident, but a reality for many seafarers, both male and female, regardless of flag or company,” said ITF Seafarers’ Section Women’s representative, Lena Dyring.

“We know that women’s experiences in the shipping industry, ashore and at sea often do not match the best intentions laid out in policies. Although many women seafarer trainees have great support during their education ashore, including as part of mentoring programs,” Dyrin adds.

“It is an all-too-common an experience that too many women seafarers suffer from harassment and bullying. Too many encounter discrimination in the workplace, and in the worst cases, assault.”

Dyring said everyone in maritime has a responsibility to change the male-dominated culture and remove obstacles and barriers faced by women in the industry. During also revealed details of a letter she received from a female seafarer following a recent publication of an ITF statement condemning an assault on a female ITF inspector.

In the letter, the seafarer argues that “violence is NOT the only reason why the Maritime Industry cannot retain more women. The Maritime Industry is riddled with poor attitudes & perceptions towards employing / training women, cronyism, nepotism, lack of career progress (i.e.: by not being considered capable of doing the job, being passed over [usually by a junior male] and lack of opportunities, employment options, career development, etc.).”

As the ITF’s Seafarers’ Section Women’s Representative, Lena Dyring agrees that attracting and retaining women to seafaring requires more than just dealing with perpetrators to remove negative behavior.

“She is absolutely right that positive contribution of women at sea need to be celebrated and profiled. Together, we can make a career at sea safe. We can make it secure place for everyone, including women, so that all seafarers can progress and achieve their full potential,” said Dyring. Reference


India’s ambitious Deep Ocean Mission, Samudrayaan, gets launched

02 Nov 2021
Just a few months back, India got 75,000 square kilometers in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) allotted to it by UN International Sea Bed Authority.

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It has been called out that even a meagre 10% of trapping out of this large reserve can drive the energy demand of India (that is constantly rising) for the next 100 years to come.

And hence looked forward to its Deep Ocean Mission so that it can effectively utilize the resources lying unspent on ocean floor, with an outlay of ₹4,077 crore for next 5 years.

India has efficiently worked over Chandrayaan, successfully launched Mangalyan, is working for Gaganyaan. So, the leadership thought, why not Samudrayan?

One of its main motives was to develop a manned submersible that can carry 3 people to 6000 meters deep in the heart of ocean guided and controlled with a suit of scientific sensors and tools.

India has brought to life its first manned ocean mission and has joined only six other nations capable of reaching the ocean floors for studies and research.

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Union Minister Jitendra Singh exclaimed: “Launched India’s First Manned Ocean Mission #Samudrayan at #Chennai. India joins elite club of select nations USA, Russia, Japan, France & China having such underwater vehicles.”

He also cruised in Sagar Nidhi from Chennai port, interacted with scientists and discussed in depth regarding several upcoming Sea projects.

“A new chapter opens to explore ocean resources for drinking water, clean energy & blue economy.”

The country, though blessed with abundant coastline, find the relationship with its coastline a bit neglected. India struggling with its population constant and its troubled past, has long been embroiled in its economical, political and socio-cultural aspects.

The coasts and its allied communities thus, too needed a way out.

Through this project, India will be once again displaying its capability with unconventional and advanced infrastructures such as a high thickness welding facility, deep ocean simulator etc.

As per the press-release: “System design, concept of operation, subcomponents functionality and integrity, emergency rescue, failure mode analysis are reviewed and certified as per the rules of International Association of Classification and Certification Society for man-rated usage of manned submersible at a depth of 6000 metres”.

This project has been undertaken by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and the vehicle has been named Matsya 6000, made of titanium alloy in a 2.1-metre diameter enclosed space. Reference


Shipping Lines Could Be Sailing Towards Astonishing $200 Billion Profit This Year

02 Nov 2021
With stock market-listed ocean carriers reporting even better-than-expected profits for the third quarter, their executive boards are being forced yet again to upgrade full-year earnings forecasts.

A third of the way through the final quarter, carrier profits are trending even stronger, as higher contract rates begin to filter through to voyage results and combine with the sky-high spot rates lines are enjoying across many trades.

File Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock. Image Source: gCaptain

Indeed, the massive industry-wide $150bn full-year estimate Drewry posited just a few weeks ago already appears a tad conservative.

For example, ahead of publication of its nine-month interim result, on 12 November, Hapag-Lloyd has upgraded its full-year ebitda guidance by an eye-watering 24%, to $12bn to $13bn.

This follows a stunning provisional ebitda of $3.9bn for Q3 and a nine-month ebitda of $8.2bn.

It said: “Due to unabated global demand for container transport and the continuing disruptions in global supply chains, causing a shortage of available transport capacity, Hapag-Lloyd posted very strong financial results in the first nine months of 2021.”

And following ONE’s stellar result for its Q2 of $4.2bn, announced on Friday, leading to it upgrading its fiscal year profit to nearly $12bn, analysts are having to recalibrate their earnings expectations.

Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, said the cumulative profit for the liner industry could be nearer to $200bn – which is, extraordinarily, double the profit made by carriers in the past 20 years.

The analyst used the Japanese carrier’s results as a marker, and said: “ONE has a market share of 6.3% and, if this were applied to its profit, it would imply an industry profit approaching $190bn.” Reference


Google Maps watchers spot SHIPWRECK on mysterious island hiding deadly tribe

02 Nov 2021
GOOGLE Maps users are marvelling at a shipwreck with a dramatic past that is visible online.

Satellite images available on the digital map tool show a vessel run aground on North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean.

The shipwreck on North Sentinel island is visible in satellite imageryCredit: Google. Image Source: The U.S. Sun

The remote spot is home to the Sentinelese, an uncontacted tribe of between 100 and 150 people who are hostile to visitors.

The ship hit a coral reef near the island in 1981 and came under attack from the indigenous people.

Reddit user “Klutzy_Professor5039” posted a screengrab of the wreck of the Primrose last month.

“Shipwrecked on North Sentinel Island,” they wrote, adding that the Sentinelese are “the most hostile tribe in the world”.

In 2019, a US missionary was killed by Sentinelese tribespeople after several uninvited trips to the island as part of a mission to convert the clan to Christianity.

The Primrose was a 16,000-ton freighter that ran aground in a storm while transporting a cargo of chicken feed from Bangladesh to Australia on August 2, 1981.

The 31 crew members had endured a night of terror as the ship was tossed around the Bay of Bengal for hours before becoming lodged on a coral reef just before midnight. Reference


At COP26, Denmark, US and Other Nation’s Back Tougher Climate Target for Shipping

02 Nov 2021
Denmark, the United States and 12 other countries on Monday backed a goal to reduce emissions by the global maritime sector to zero by 2050, a target to be fleshed out in negotiations at the United Nations shipping agency.

File Photo: BNMK 0819/Shutterstock. Image Source: gCaptain

The initiative, led by Denmark and announced on the sidelines of the U.N. COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, aims to build support among countries for the goal at the International Maritime Organization, which is considering new emissions-cutting measures by a 2023 deadline.

“We urge the IMO to take action to set ambitious targets to achieve zero emission shipping by 2050,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference at COP26. “Carbon-neutral shipping is vital to reaching our climate goals.”

Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, the Marshall Islands, Norway, Panama and Sweden also signed the maritime sector declaration.

It commits countries to “work at IMO to adopt such a goal, to adopt goals for 2030 and 2040 that place the sector on a pathway to full decarbonisation by 2050, and to adopt the measures to help achieve these goals.”

The IMO sets shipping regulations through its 175 member countries and aims to reach decisions through consensus. A tougher target would need approval from a majority, posing political challenges. Countries with big maritime shipping sectors including Japan and Greece did not sign the declaration.

An IMO spokesperson said it would hold discussions on proposals from countries for broader climate measures to be adopted in 2023. “IMO is providing the global forum where member states can begin forward their proposals for discussion.” Reference


Modern Piracy Is A Threat To The Lives And Livelihoods Of Seafarers

01 Nov 2021
While reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery are down to their lowest level in decades, violence against crew remains high in many areas of the world. A Gard correspondent was recently called to attend onboard a ship where crew members had been severely beaten by robbers during a stay at the Conakry Anchorage, Guinea.

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According to one of Gard’s African correspondent, TCI Africa/ Eltvedt & O’Sullivan, robbery incidents occurring at the Conakry anchorage appear to be increasing, not only in numbers but also in the level of violence asserted against seafarers. Not long ago, the correspondent was called to attend onboard a ship where crew members had been severely beaten by robbers, who also looted cash, mobile phones and other electric items. Fortunately, there was no loss of life, however, the incident serves as a stark reminder of how modern piracy continue to be a threat to the lives and livelihoods of seafarers. The correspondent further advises that ships destined for Guinea should exercise vigilance and, where possible, avoid long stays at the Conakry Anchorage.

We are grateful to TCI Africa / Eltvedt & O’Sullivan for providing the above information.

The recent incidents in the region remind the maritime industry that the piracy risk in the Gulf of Guinea region should never be underestimated. On 25 October 2021, a container ship was boarded by an unknown number of pirates while underway approximately 149NM SW of Brass, Nigeria. The ship’s crew managed to retreat into the citadel and remained safe, but the pirates escaped with various items of ship property. Later that same day, an offshore supply vessel (OSV) was attacked further east in the same area. At the time of writing, information regarding the safety of the crew onboard the OSV remains unclear. Data also shows that the number of attacks in the region is generally lower during the rainy season, which lasts from April to September. As an example, 18 of the 35 incidents recorded by the IMB PRC in Nigeria in 2020 occurred in the last quarter of the year. Hence, with weather improving, attacks may be more likely to take place, also at significant distances from the coastline.

While the reduction of reported incidents is welcome, the IMB PRC warns that seafarers must remain vigilant as violence against crew remains high in many areas of the world.

Prior to entering any piracy prone area, it is important to review the ship security plan in light of latest information received, conduct a voyage specific risk assessment, brief and train the crew and prepare and test the ship’s emergency communication plans. Relevant preventive measures must be adopted, following available industry guidance and best management practices (BMP), such as the BMP West Africa, BMP5, and the Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and 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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