News Digest 14-Jun-2022

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 06 Jun 2022 to 12 Jun 2022 in descending order:


Maritime students send special SOS to upcoming UN Ocean Conference

12 Jun 2022
These future maritime leaders, studying at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, based in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria, also used two powerful symbols in their video: an anchor, immediately recognizable in any language, and Semaphore, another universal way to communicate on the high seas, using flags.

The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) More than 200 students from half a dozen countries stand in formation to send the important message to save our oceans.. Image Source: United Nations

Arms moving in sharp patterns, the students spell, with flags, the same urgent text they form with their bodies as seen from above.

The message is not a matter of theory for these future seafarers; it is central to their personal journeys starting at an institution committed to helping the world realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on climate action (Goal 13) and life below water (Goal 14).

Hailing from Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Mauritania, the students created their video message to the UN Ocean Conference, which will put the issue at the top of the international agenda when it convenes in Lisbon from 27 June to 1 July.

Dr. Kareem Mahmoud Tonbol, an Associate Professor of Physical Oceanography and Climatology and Vice Dean for Postgraduate Studies and Scientific Research explains that the hundreds of students who contributed to the video, were motivated to send their nautical SOS, out of concern for humanity’s future.

According to Dr. Tonbol, more than three billion people worldwide rely on marine and coastal biodiversity to survive, while oceans absorb over 30 per cent of carbon dioxide created by humans, helping mitigate the effects of warming on the planet.

It took a week of preparations, a team of video experts, and the choreographing of scores of students in maritime uniforms, but the Academy felt the investment was worth sending a strong signal from their Abu-Qir campus to the Conference. Reference


India Plans First Offshore Wind Auctions to Reach 12 GW Capacity

11 Jun 2022
The Indian government on Thursday announced the first steps in the development of offshore wind energy outlining a strategy and timetable for commencing auctions. The first ever auctions are expected in the next three to four months with an initial strategy mapped out for the development of at least 10 to 12 GW offshore power generation.

India mapped out a strategy and timeline for its first offshore wind power auctions (file photo). Image Source: The Maritime Executive

Exploration of the potential of wind energy began in India in 2015. While the country has yet to conduct auctions and establish its projects, the government points out the strong potential for wind energy. They highlight that India has over 4,700 miles of coastline, with the subcontinent surrounded on three sides by water. Early plans by the government called for 30 GW of wind capacity to be leased by 2030. In its global assessment for potential offshore wind generation, the World Bank set long-term targets for India for as much as 174 GW of offshore wind power nearly equally divided between fixed-bottom and floating installations.

The newly released plan targets two regions for the first sites. One is in southeast India in the Tamil Nadu state which has the capital of Chennai. The first auctions will focus on this area targeting 4 GW of capacity. The second region is in northwest India in the Gujarat state near Karachi.

Starting this year, the government reports it will bid out 4 GW of capacity annually in each of the next three years. In the following five years they are targeting auctions totaling 5 GW annually.

The bidding for the first 12 GW will be conducted on a “single-stage two envelope model” where the bidders will be evaluated based on their techno-commercial capabilities and only the technically qualified bidders will proceed to financial evaluation. The financial evaluation will be based on quoted lease fee per sq km of sea bed area. The bidder offering the highest lease fee per sq km of sea bed area would be declared as the winner for the allocation of the project.

As incentives to attract strong bids, the government reports that for the first two years of capacity up to 8 GW benefits of green attributes like carbon credits will be offered. Reference


World’s First Long-range Autonomous Marine Research Vessel Unveiled

11 Jun 2022
Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) unveiled designs for Oceanus, a long-range autonomous research vessel that PML is saying would be the world’s first. The plan is for this vessel to assist in advanced international marine research and achieve net-zero oceanography.

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While most current oceanographic sampling is performed by either moored data buoys, smaller autonomous devices or fully-manned research trips, the 77-foot-long and 11.5-foot-wide Oceanus is fully unmanned.

This lightweight, monohull vessel was designed to make transatlantic sampling voyages from the United Kingdom to the Falklands. It possesses self-righting capabilities and will be propelled by two pod drive motors.

A battery bank will power the motors and a variety of electronic components on board, such as running lights, cameras, sensors, a multi-beam sonar, and a depth-sensing system.

It will carry monitoring sensors to collect data in areas including biodiversity, climate change, biogeochemistry, and fisheries. The vessel will also utilize AI technology with real-time weather forecasts and marine data feeds to navigate optimal courses.

Oceanus will use solar panels on the deck and onboard micro-energy generation devices. While it will feature a diesel engine, the lack of humans and living facilities will reduce fuel consumption.

PML did not disclose when construction would begin or be finished. Reference


Seafarer shortages – future recruitment and competencies

10 Jun 2022
The pandemic has highlighted the key role of seafarers but much needs to be done in terms of training and recruitment to avoid shortage of senior crew in the future.

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As has been well-documented the pandemic saw up to 400,000 seafarers being forced to work beyond their contracts due the barring of crew change by governments, and them being denied basic human rights such as healthcare. The issues of the pandemic and seafarers for the future were addressed by the second panel at the Global Maritime Club Summit organised by Seatrade Maritime at Posidonia 2022.

Panellist John Platsidakis, Honorary Chairman, Intercargo stated: “I think it has been a success story of the shipping industry and a big failure of the societies, the governments, and the regulators.”

However, the trials and tribulations faced by ship’s crews during the pandemic to keep the shipping industry running have raised the profile and value of seafarers in the industry. Andreas Hadjipetrou, Group CCO, MD, Columbia Shipmanagement, commented, “We have learned all of us an industry to respect the seafarers more, we already initiated a process where the seafarers are being treated in a better way than before.”

Guy Platten Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) agreed saying, “One over-arching good thing that’s come out of it is we now recognise seafarers a vital component into world shipping.”

While the pandemic has been positive in terms of how the industry views seafarers it faces challenges with recruiting and training future generations to go to sea.

At the opening of the Summit Greece’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Giannis Plakiotakis highlighted a potential shortage of 90,000 by the end of the decade.

The extent to which the industry is faces shortage of seafarers both now and in the future proved to be a matter of contention among panellists.

Henrik Jensen, Managing Director of Danica Crewing Services, highlighted that 15% of international seafarers are either Ukraine or Russian nationals, and some Ukrainians wanted to return home, while some owners no longer wanted to employ Russians. He said he’d never seen a situation like that was happening now.

The twin transformations of digitalisation and decarbonization will require new skillsets. “Those seafarers that are onboard those vessels will have to have a whole new competency level,” John McDonald, Executive Vice President – Chief Operating Officer of ABS said.

The industry also faces challenges in terms of recruitment needs to have new young seafarers coming through to train in these competencies and meet the challenges of tomorrow. Reference


MSC to link entire vessel fleet to cloud digital infrastructure

10 Jun 2022
Container giant MSC is to link its entire owned fleet, consisting of approximately 500 ships, to Kongsberg’s Vessel Insight vessel-to-cloud digital data infrastructure, following the agreement of a new deal.

Image Source: msc

As informed, the five-year agreement includes delivery of Kongsberg Digital’s data infrastructure service Vessel Insight and Kongsberg Digital’s Vessel Performance application on the entire MCS’s owned fleet, consisting of approximately 500 vessels, plus options.

Being a founding member of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), MSC is already a digitally mature shipping company with many applications and systems in place. By using Kongsberg Digital’s vessel-to-cloud data infrastructure Vessel Insight, MSC will be able to achieve more transparency and improved utilization of data.

Collecting and contextualizing quality data through applications from the Kognifai Marketplace is said to provide a good starting point to reduce fuel and optimize voyage to reduce emissions to air, automate reporting processes enabling correct and efficient reporting, and increase safety and crew welfare through stable connectivity.

In addition to connecting to Vessel Insight and access to its related applications, Kongsberg Digital will provide close follow-up to MSC.



Inmarsat Fleet Hotspot improves crew welfare as seafarer connectivity becomes a requirement

10 Jun 2022
In May 2022, eight significant amendments were agreed to update the landmark Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), including making onboard crew connectivity a requirement for ship owners.

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The new requirements come at a time when seafarer welfare is under increasing scrutiny from within and outside the shipping industry. As the world leader in global, mobile, satellite communications, Inmarsat is a strong proponent for the well-being of crew, and its Fleet Hotspot solution is helping ship owners address the requirements to ensure that crew remain socially connected while at sea.

Powered by Inmarsat’s industry-leading Fleet Xpress service, Fleet Hotspot delivers high-speed internet access allowing crew at sea to stay in contact with friends and relatives, as well as stream music, films and series. Seafarers can access the user-friendly Fleet Hotspot portal on their own device to monitor their usage or top up their balances as required.

The solution’s value to seafarers and shipowners is evident with the average monthly crew spend on connectivity increasing at a high pace in the past two years.

Following recent enhancements, Fleet Hotspot is now easier to use than ever before. Crew members can access their accounts even while they are at home and purchase data before boarding the vessel. Detailed payment and session history provides full visibility into spending and data consumption, and the management of payments, credit balances, and usage has also been simplified.

Inmarsat was active in supporting seafarer welfare following the onset of Covid-19. Through its Certified Application Provider (CAP) Program, Inmarsat provided seafarers with immediate access to a COVID-19 healthcare hotline. This service delivered vital frontline medical information to the shipping industries and seafaring workforce at a time when it was needed the most. Reference


Best shipping market in 15 years

09 Jun 2022
Shipping is enjoying “easily” its best markets since the boom of 2007 according to Greek shipowner Harry Vafias.

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“If you exclude VLCCs, which are currently loss making and are the exception, everything else containers, LNG, LPG, crude oil and product tankers are all doing very, very well and prices for those ships are going up on a weekly basis,” Vafias told Seatrade in an interview on Wednesday.

“So yes, I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of market in 15 years so it was a long time coming.”

Vafias controls a diversified fleet under four different companies – US-listed Stealth Gas, the gas shipping arm; tankers under Stealth Maritime; dry bulk under Brave Maritime; and the newly US-listed tanker company Imperial Petroleum

Whether it’s a good time a good time to sell given high vessel prices it depends on the particular circumstances of an owner and levels of debt. “For us now we are not selling because we do believe the good markets will stay for a bit and the profit we could make by selling we can make it by trading. On the other hand we were always very conservative on debt levels so as a group we have debt below 30% so we don’t need to sell to please the banks,” he explained.

“For a smaller, family-owned company with higher debt levels I would say you should sell a couple of ships and put some money on the side for the downcycle when it comes.”

A star performer has been smaller, handysize dry bulk carriers. “The handies have had a phenomenal last 12 months because of the booming container market and rates a lot of breakbulk commodities are now being in handies and which have one of the smallest orderbooks than any other shipping sub-sector,” Vafias explained. Reference


Shipping industry calls EU fuel proposal ’unambitious’

09 Jun 2022
Major stakeholders from the European shipping industry have voiced their opposition to the European Union’s recent proposal on the use and regulation of maritime fuel.

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The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), European Waste-based & Advanced Biofuels Association (EWABA), the Advanced Biofuels Coalition and GoodFuels call on the Parliament and the Council to amend the Commission’s FuelEU Maritime proposal to ensure that shipowners and fuels suppliers together play a key role under the new system,” the above entities said in a joint statement released earlier this month.

For the regulation to achieve its objectives, the associations call for the introduction of robust requirements on Member States to ensure that fuel suppliers in European ports deliver compliant fuels to ships in sufficient quantities,” the statement added.

The FuelEU Maritime regulation was designed to help guide the shipping industry towards decarbonisation.

Among its mandates, the proposal includes limits on the carbon intensity of the energy used on board ships and sets up a fuel standard for ships.

Moreover, the proposal also puts forth a requirement for the most polluting ship types to use onshore electricity when at berth.

The responsibility for complying with the above regulations will be with the shipping company involved with the respective vessel.

The ECSA, as well as the other associations, accepted that the FuelEU Maritime regulation is pivotal in the promotion of clean fuels in the shipping industry.

However, they explained that in its current form it may prove to be unsuccessful in helping the EU achieve its climate goals in the maritime sector.

What is more, eFuel Alliance chairwoman of the board Monika Griefahn said that “the proposed targets should be raised to create more powerful incentives to invest in technologies that are not based on fossil fuels”.

The ECSA also said that all of the above stakeholders are in favour of using revenue created through the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to help the shipping industry’s energy transition. Reference


Ship Owners warn against sanctions

08 Jun 2022
Sanctions do not work, according to leading Greek shipowners who are concerned about moves to step up trade measures against Russia.

Image Source: Seatrade Maritime News

“Sanctions have never worked,” shipowner George Procopiou told a panel at Capital Link’s Maritime Leaders Summit, a Posidonia event, June 6.

The founder of Dynacom / Dynagas pointed to previous sanctions against Venezuela and Iran. “Iran became stronger and better at being self-sufficient. Venezuelans are suffering and the elite is having a good time,” he said.

Apart from being counter-productive, sanctions also cause confusion, he said. Bankers and financiers make matter worse by being stricter than the regulations themselves.

Evangelos Marinakis, principal of Capital Maritime, stressed the economic fallout of sanctions on inflation and commodity prices. “Instead of trying to find a peaceful solution that will solve this big problem… they’re discussing more sanctions”, said Marinakis. “Instead of penalising Russia, we’re penalising ourselves. Sooner or later we’ll see the consequences… we’re going to have a huge recession in front of us”. Reference


83-year-old Japanese sailor becomes oldest man to cross Pacific Ocean without any stops

08 Jun 2022
Around 60 years ago, Horie sailed from Japan to San Francisco by yacht and became the first person to cross the Pacific alone with no port calls but he chose to take the opposite road this time. His successful journey broke the previous age record by more than 10 years

File image of Kenichi Horie. Twitter/@karlmondon. Image Source:

Overcoming the barriers of old age, Kenichi Horie – an 83-year-old Japanese sailor – became the oldest person to cross the Pacific Ocean without any stops.

The sailor reached Japan’s Kii Peninsula at 2:39 am local time on 4 June almost two months after he began his journey from California in the US on 27 March.

Staff photographer at the San Jose Mercury News, Karl Mondon tweeted about the achievement of the old sailor. The image shows Horie on his vessel.

On the last leg of his voyage, the seasoned sailor in an interaction with CNN said that one should not let their dreams stay as dreams. He also emphasised that one should have a goal and work towards achieving it. He added that he was in touch with his family during this difficult journey and would call them at least once a day using his satellite phone. Reacting to the achievement, a social media user wrote that one should never stop believing or living.

Another termed the sailor a “legend”. An offshore seller termed it incredible and said that this was not an easy job.

Around 60 years ago, Horie sailed from Japan to San Francisco by yacht and became the first person to cross the Pacific alone with no port calls but he chose to take the opposite road this time. His successful journey broke the previous age record by more than 10 years.

Earlier, Jiya Rai – a 12-year-old daughter of a naval sailor Madan Rai – created a record by swimming a distance of 36 kms in 8 hours and 40 minutes from Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) to Gateway of India. Reference


Asian shipbuilder unveils new fast crew boat design with array of additional features

08 Jun 2022
Singapore-headquartered shipbuilder Strategic Marine has revealed its new, versatile, 38m offshore fast crew boat (FCB) design with 40 knots plus service speed, future-proofed design and many other features and options to meet changing and evolving industry needs.

38m fast crew transfer catamaran vessel (FCTV); Source: Strategic Marine. Image Source: Offshore Energy News

Strategic Marine announced on Tuesday the latest addition to its fleet, a 38m extra fast crew transfer catamaran vessel (FCTV), which has been designed in collaboration with One2Three naval architects in Sydney Australia, incorporating direct feedback from customers.

Designed with a large open deck, covering a third of its length to give space for manoeuvres, the vessel can also be fitted with a basket transfer crane to winch the crew up and down to the offshore installation, if necessary.

The company says that the seating and accommodation area have been arranged to be in the midships of the vessel to reduce slamming and pitching motion.

According to Strategic Marine, this FCTV has a resilient, mounted superstructure which sits on a rubber base to insulate the passenger accommodation from noise, as the engine is very noisy, especially when travelling at high speeds and with big waves. Therefore, this superstructure insulates the passenger space, dramatically reducing vibrations.

Additionally, the latest vessel design is fitted with water jets which are not only much quieter than propellers, but also very efficient at high speeds, and particularly manoeuvrable, which is necessary up close to an offshore installation, the company explained.

This vessel can be fitted with a motion-compensated gangway to offer a ‘walk-to-work’ safe transfer. As the stern and the bow of the vessel are different heights above the water, if the crew need to do a swing rope transfer, they can choose the best option.

In addition, Strategic Marine intends to apply a silicone antifouling coating to the FCTV.

Strategic Marine confirmed that this new design is its answer to the question of how to displace helicopters in crew transfer operations in the long run, for both efficiency and cost savings. Reference


Swan Energy to commission India’s first newbuild FSRU this year

07 Jun 2022
Indian conglomerate with interests in oil and gas Swan Energy is planning to commission India’s first newbuild floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) this year.

Courtesy of Swan Energy. Image Source: Offshore Energy News

Swan Energy is leading the project of constructing and operating an LNG receiving terminal offshore of Jafrabad, Gujarat, India. The Jafrabad FSRU is India’s first newbuild FSRU project.

The company said its terminal has a regasification capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of LNG and is implemented in a phase-wise manner.

The first phase of the project includes LNG port facilities using an FSRU with a regasification capacity of five million tonnes per annum (mmtpa) and a floating storage unit (FSU) connected by ship-to-ship transfer equipment.

The terminal was supposed to be commissioned back in 2019. However, due to two cyclones in the region and the pandemic, it was delayed.

Vivek Merchant, general manager of the projects at the company said that we’re expecting the country’s LNG terminals to have a capacity of about 60 mmtpa in the next eight to 10 years. India, along with China and other countries, has to move towards a greener source of fuel. LNG, is the future’s fuel.

He also added that the company signed regasification agreements including with Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation covering the entire five mmtpa for 20 years. Reference


Idwal adds crew welfare to vessel inspections

07 Jun 2022
Ship inspection company Idwal has added questions on crew welfare to its vessel surveys in a bid to improve conditions for crews.

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Idwal Senior Marine Surveyor Thom Herbert told Seatrade Maritime News that as a former seafarer, the inclusion of crew welfare-related questions in Idwal’s inspections was a passion project of his.

In total, 12 new questions have been added to the firm’s vessel checklist with the focus on objective questions to make the findings harder to ignore and focus on areas where any problem has a clear solution. Questions seek details on amenities like Wi-Fi onboard, gym facilities, onboard training facilities, and access to bonded stores, whether additional periods of rest are available and access to catering services.

After six years at sea on oil and gas tankers across Africa and Venezuela, Herbert said he had first-hand experience of the challenges seafarers face and the tasks they are asked to perform.

The answers to the 12 new questions form part of the Idwal grade, an overall grade the company grants a ship based on over 500 data points from inspections which are run through an algorithm. Idwal’s clients are often commissioned by hedge funds, banks and other large corporations looking to assess the risk profile of assets in sale and purchase deals. Portfolio risk analysis is also offered for larger fleets.

Given their client base, Herbert said the approach to crew welfare had to be focussed: “We can’t just raise the issue, we have to prove it and point to a solution.”

Many of the new questions relate to issues raised repeatedly in the Mission to Seafarers’ Seafarers’ Happiness Index, a project for which Idwal has become a sponsor. The latest edition of the index showed seafarer happiness at an all-time low as the pandemic and Ukraine war increased made seafaring more difficult and strained relationships onboard many vessels.

The company found the pandemic increase demand for its services as owners and managers leaned on Idwal’s network of surveyors to carry out inspections while travel restrictions prevented their own surveyors attending vessels. Reference


A Semi-Autonomous Merchant Ship Made It Across the Ocean

06 Jun 2022
A merchant ship called Prism Courage made it from the Gulf of Mexico to South Korea using a semi-autonomous navigation system developed by HD Hyundai subsidiary Avikus.

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Avikus says(Opens in a new window) that Prism Courage “sailed half of roughly 20,000 kilometers in total distance with the autonomous navigation technology HiNAS 2.0,” with the ship’s crew taking control for the other half of the journey. But the company is undeterred—it says that “this transoceanic voyage is the world’s first case of a vessel using autonomous navigation technology.”

HiNAS 2.0 was able to accomplish those feats because it uses AI trained to recognize specific weather patterns, respond to waves of varying heights, and identify nearby ships. It’s not yet sophisticated enough to handle an entire voyage—presumably because areas near ports are too complicated—but at least it can help the crew halfway across the ocean.

Avikus says that this voyage was conducted under real-time monitoring of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Korea Register of Shipping (KR) to verify the performance and stability of the technology. Reference


Powering the People That Power World Trade

06 Jun 2022
We are going through an era of seismic change in our industry. We are thankfully emerging from the global pandemic, but crewing remains pressured by ongoing Covid disruption and the new challenges of the conflict in Ukraine. Both have taken their toll on our seafarers and those that support and rely on them ashore.

Image Source: The Maritime Executive

Digitization continues apace in our industry, gaining momentum in the pandemic. It brings many benefits, minimizing human error, automating laborious processes and helping us to understand what is really going on in our organizations. However, it also brings new challenges for cyber security, greater digital literacy and development of new skills.

Technology and new fuels are also in sharp focus as key to delivering our decarbonization targets. The world’s ambitions for carbon reduction by 2050, and the 2030 targets that they rely on, simply cannot happen without a huge effort from the shipping community. Whilst more clarity is needed on the fuels of the future, we can already predict the need for a huge effort in maritime skills training.

So, what will all these dimensions mean for our maritime professionals? How will the drive to more sustainable shipping and emissions targets and the new fuels and emergent and technologies?

Luckily there are many tools available to us in the here and now that can help our maritime professionals to meet these challenges.

Finding and retaining the people we need: The world needs skilled and competent seafarers. The recent ICS BIMCO Seafarer Workforce Report predicts a shortage of 26,000 STCW certified officers ahead.

Recruiters need tools, which can provide an accurate and objective picture of a seafarers’ knowledge, ability and personality profile. The best tools also evaluate English language proficiency, which is vital for onboard communication. But it’s not just about what candidates can offer us. We will need to be just as focused on what we can offer them.

Creating a great employee experience: Onboarding people into the organization and familiarizing them becomes vitally important. Reaching into the organization to get feedback and checking that your initiatives are working – as well as campaigning on issues specific to your fleet – is essential.

Saving time: E-learning, AI Proctoring, cloud simulation and virtual classroom all allow more and more training to be done remotely saving precious time away from home for our seafarers. : Reference


Cruise Ship Rescues 16 People Stranded In Open Waters

06 Jun 2022
A Carnival Cruise ship happened to be in the right place at the right time last week.

A Carnival cruise ship rescued 16 people from a small boat in distress near Cuba. Image Source:

A frightening yet incredible situation unfolded Friday morning after a cruise ship rescued over a dozen people stranded in the ocean.

As reported by Orlando Sentinel, a Carnival Cruise ship rescued 16 people as it was returning to its home in Port Canaveral. The Carnival Cruise ship in question was the Mardi Gras, with the crew spotting a small vessel on the open sea near Cuba around 8:00 a.m.

Mardi Gras was on its final day of a seven-day sailing experience and was able to bring all 16 Cubans on board and return them to dry land. Mardi Gras returned to Port Canaveral this weekend. Surprisingly, the number of Cubans picked up from the seas has increased in recent months, according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release. Since Oct. 1 of last year, the Coast Guard has picked up 2,146 Cubans. 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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