News Digest 27-Jun-2022

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 20 Jun 2022 to 26 Jun 2022 in descending order:


Seafarers’ Day honours maritime journeys and voyages

26 Jun 2022
The United Nations has underlined its support for the men and women working at sea, whose immeasurable contributions help to keep global trade moving.

Seafarers are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food and medical supplies. Image Source: United Nations

Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted both their critical role, as well as the challenges they face, In his message to mark the Day of the Seafarer on Saturday.

“The world counts on seafarers,” he said. “Ships transport a remarkable 90 per cent of the world’s commodities – from grains and energy, to consumer goods and much more. Without ships and the women and men who work on them, economies would stall and people would starve.”

However, seafarers have faced immense challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN chief listed some of these issues, which include contracts extended long beyond their expiry dates and maximum periods of service, and problems related to vaccinations, medical care and shore leave.

Kitack Lim, the IMO Secretary-General, stated that without seafarers, there would be no shipping. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) continues to advocate for seafarers during the pandemic by urging countries to designate them as key workers. The theme for this year’s international day celebrates maritime journeys and voyages, providing a chance “to recognize and pay tribute to seafarers everywhere, whatever their voyage”, he said.

As part of an IMO campaign, seafarers from around the globe are using social media to share images and information about what truly resonates with them, whether a positive experience or challenging circumstances. “Shipping and the call of the oceans, form a way of life,” said Mr. Lim. “It is a meaningful, important career that provides a solid foundation for life and offers endless opportunities to learn and progress.”

The international day is also an opportunity to look to the future, and for the UN Secretary-General, this means listening to seafarers. “They know better than anyone their needs and what this industry needs to do to address key challenges. This includes the expansion of social protection, better working conditions, addressing the crew-change crisis, adopting new digital tools to enhance safety and efficiency, and making this industry greener and more sustainable,” he said.

The UN chief concluded his message by calling for renewed commitment to supporting seafarers everywhere, and honouring their knowledge, professionalism and experience. Reference


India: More needs to be done for seafarers: – Naik

26 Jun 2022
The Centre has initiated various policies for the welfare of seafarers in the last few years and a lot more needs to be done in the future, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Ports said on Saturday.

Function organised by Goan Seamen Association of India to mark International Day for Seafarers at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao. Image Source:

The minister said that in order to promote ‘ease of doing business’, all the processes related to seafarers have been made online.

While addressing the Seafarers Day organised by Goa Seamen Association of India at Margao in South Goa he said, “To bring in transparency and accountability, the Directorate of General Shipping implemented the digitalization of the services like Biometric Seafarers Identity Document (BSID), issuing the certificates, rating automatic issuance of watch keeping certificate, permission of multimodal transport operator, recruitment and placement agency,”.

Stating that India has become the first country to issue BSID cards, he said so far more than 1 lakh 95 thousand BSID cards have been issued to Indian seafarers and DG Shipping will complete issuing of remaining 3 lakh 87 thousand cards soon.

He said the Indian Navy and DG Shipping will facilitate ‘Agniveers’ to join the Merchant Navy in various capacities after completing four years and MoU in this regard has already been signed.

The minister lauded the services of the seafarers during Covid-19 pandemic as Seafarers provided essential services. Reference


India-Norway Blue economy partnership takes shape with focus on ocean industries

25 Jun 2022
The 5th India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development met in New Delhi on June 23 to review the cooperation and chart the way forward. Meeting was led by the Norwegian Ambassador to India, Hans Jacob Frydenlund and the MoES Secretary Dr M Ravichandran.

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Others in attendance were Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Fisheries, DG Shipping, NCCR, NIOT, NIAS, Cochin Shipyard and Tuticorin Port from the Indian side.

From the Norwegian side, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Innovation Norway, the Consulate General in Mumbai, Norwegian Environment Agency, Institute of Marine Research, Port of Oslo, DNV and several Centres of Expertise were present.

A number of action points were agreed, including new projects and workshops, as well as plans to further connect ocean industries on both sides. The parties agreed to explore further cooperation on Green Maritime, Sustainable Ocean Management, Deep Ocean Technology and Offshore Wind.

Over the last 3 years, Norway and India have expanded cooperation on topics including marine pollution, Ocean Management, Green Maritime and Ocean Research. The countries are working towards growing their Blue Economies while cutting emissions and protecting the Ocean. Reference


ITF calls on shipping to fix “broken culture”

25 Jun 2022
SEAFARERS unions are calling on employers to ensure safe workplace policies “are actually being followed” in light of a lawsuit brought against Maersk Line by cadet Hope Hicks.

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In light of the recent development, the International Transport Workers’ Federation has called for practical change to occur before more seafarers are driven away from an industry already facing crew shortages.

In an address to the graduating class of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on 18 June, A.P. Moller Holding CEO Robert Uggla acknowledged the need for cultural change in the industry and in the company.

“I am ashamed to say that sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying occur in our industry – and regretfully also in our own company. This needs to change.”

David Heindel, chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section, said Maersk Line had “acknowledged that they, like much of the industry, have a problem with the way women are treated”.

Mr Heindel noted most employers in the sector already have sufficient protections for crew in their policies and guidelines, but the policies are not always actioned in the real world.

“It is time for industry and mariners to ‘walk the talk’ and ensure that those policies are put into practice every single day of the year. It only takes a few bystanders for horrors like these to take place.”

ITF Seafarers’ Section women’s representative Lena Dyring said the industry’s problem with the treatment of women is much larger than what has occurred within Maersk. “Shipping has a broken culture that all parts of the sector have responsibilities towards addressing.”

Ms Dyring said the industry already has a critical workforce shortage, and it will not attract and retain women if the issues are not taken seriously and properly addressed. Reference


Jumbo Mystery: Hong Kong’s Famous Floating Resturaunt May Still Be Afloat

25 Jun 2022
Hong Kong’s famed Jumbo Floating Restaurant may still be afloat after all.

Closed iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant sails away after the operator announced it would leave Hong Kong because of a lack of funds for maintenance, in Hong Kong, China, June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu. Image Source: gCaptain

The imperial palace-shaped vessel capsized but didn’t sink, a representative for the vessel’s owner, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd., said Friday. Days earlier, the company announced that adverse weather caused the restaurant to capsize and that recovery efforts were “extremely difficult” because of water depths of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). The representative declined to comment further on the situation, including what will happen next.

Both Jumbo and its accompanying tugboat were still in the waters off Xisha Islands — also known as Paracel Islands — in the South China Sea, Hong Kong’s Marine Department said late Thursday.

The revelation became the latest twist in the saga involving the unprofitable landmark, which had been a familiar sight in Aberdeen harbor in southern Hong Kong for four decades. Its owner, a unit of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd., towed away the vessel on June 14 after attempts to donate the restaurant to an amusement park collapsed. The company wouldn’t disclose where it was headed but the SCMP reported Jumbo was being towed to Cambodia.

Opened by Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho in 1976, Jumbo drew visitors including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise during its heyday, while featuring in a number of films, according to the restaurant’s website.

But its attraction waned in recent years, and the pandemic forced it to suspend operations. The restaurant had accumulated losses of HK$100 million ($12.7 million) since 2013, its owner said last month.

Then the owner of the ship issued a statement earlier this week that despite efforts to rescue the vessel, Jumbo had capsized on Sunday.

News of the tragic fate of such a well-known attraction, even one that was losing money, tapped into the city’s downbeat mood. Reference


Immediate action needed to meet net zero targets: DNV

24 Jun 2022

Action is needed now, not just long-term pledges, if the world is going to meet Paris Agreement targets on climate change, says DNV.

Image Source: DNV

Having last week flagged a need to significantly accelerate the development of hydrogen in its Hydrogen Forecast 2050 earlier this month, the classification society reiterated the need to act immediately on climate change at a conference in Singapore on Thursday.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV stated: “So our latest outlook shows that the world is in for a rapid transition. And we’re moving from an 80 – 20 split, that’s 80% fossil – 20% non-fossil [fuel], to a 50 – 50 split by 2050. That will not be fast enough to reach the goals and ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In fact, our forecast indicates we are heading for a global warming of 2.3 degrees compared to the temperature pre-industrial level.”

There is a need to shift the warming curve from 2.3 degrees to 1.5 degrees in the next 30 years, with the burden for this falling most on high income countries with the likes of Europe and the US needing to reach net zero by 2040 rather than 2050, Eriksen said.

While DNV sees energy demand peaking globally in 2035 this will be very different for fast growing regions such as Southeast Asia where the conference was taking place.

Brice Le Gallo, Regional Director for Energy Systems APAC at DNV, said: “Population is growing GDP is growing in that period of time, energy demand is going to double that means that during that period, some industries some countries will have to go below zero much before others and when we look here, we really hope that during that period, we need to focus on a much higher penetration of renewables to get things up to speed.”

For this to happen he stated: “We need to start now, and that is somehow a small disconnect between all the long-term pledges that have been taken, and probably the lack of immediate plans that need to start now.”

DNV sees a need to ramp up hydrogen production to three times current projected growth levels of 5% of global energy demand by 2050 to 15%. This would create a new intercontinental shipping trade for hydrogen which would be transported in the form of ammonia. Reference


Crew abandonment figures continue to horrify

24 Jun 2022
Ahead of Saturday’s Day of the Seafarer, maritime platform RightShip today revealed new data to show that, as at the end of May 2022, 3,623 seafarers remain abandoned on 247 vessels in multiple locations around the world with some of the cases open for more than a decade. As these figures take into account only those abandonments that have been officially recorded, the real number of abandoned crew and vessels is likely to be higher.

Image Source: Splash 247

The majority of seafarers known to be abandoned are from India, closely followed by crew from Ukraine and the Philippines.

The highest number of vessels left adrift is in the United Arab Emirates waters’, with 26 abandoned vessels, and when the data is sorted by flag state, Panama heads the list. Vessels that are between 26 and 30 years of age see the highest number of abandonments, but surprisingly, 32 new ships sailing for fewer than five years have also been cut off.

Simon Grainge, CEO of shipping charity ISWAN, added: “In the last four years, ISWAN has been approached by more than 1,100 seafarers who have found themselves on abandoned vessels. The painful ordeal suffered by these innocent seafarers is disgraceful. Not only must the seafarers endure a traumatic experience for often a considerable period of time – their loved ones at home find themselves in desperate need of support.”


Positive shipping outlook, negative world outlook

24 Jun 2022

Very positive about the shipping outlook, but very negative about the world outlook, was a dichotomy highlighted by BW Group’s Andreas Sohmen-Pao that set the stage for proceedings at Marine Money in New York this week.

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The conference in New York brought together a large gathering of the ship finance community- with the overall theme of “Shipping at a crossroads”. The Day 2 session saw keynote speaker Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Executive Chairman of BW Group, discuss “Adapting and investing in a changing world” in an interview with Doug Mavrinac, who heads up Maritime Investment Banking at Jefferies. Mavrinac- in his introduction, had highlighted the industry’s unique environment driven by the pandemic, war in Ukraine and supply chain disruptions- all of which occurred in the past three years, and have mainly been positive for shipping’s earnings.

Sohmen-Pao set the stage for his remarks by saying “I am very positive about the shipping outlook, but very negative about the world outlook,” further explaining that the peaceful trade network built over the past 50 years, based on cheap energy, abundant capital and low cost labour, was now undergoing unprecedented stresses.

“This machine is breaking down…we can’t take it for granted anymore.” Further the analogy he said, “We ran this economic machine and push it over the limit.” He noted that shortages of semiconductor chips could be dealt with, but, alluding to the crises surrounding Ukraine and Russian agricultural exports, “when it comes to food, it gets messy.”

In response to a question from Mavrinac, Sohmen-Pao elaborated on the dichotomy – great for shipping/ bad for the world – by pointing out that: “Shipping is a play on dislocations of demand and supply…if it involves food and energy…it’s even better.” He mentioned that dry bulk is being fueled by the buildout of infrastructure citing recent increases in Chinese cement consumption.

On that same panel, Jacob Meldgaard, the CEO of product tanker stalwart Torm said, “the product tanker market has legs” while Robert Bugbee, the CEO of Scorpio Tankers added that “charterers are reaching out farther into the future to secure cargo” Skov emphasized on the supply side that, “the yards are tied up…you can’t order ships”. Reference


Indian Navy and DG Shipping Sign MoU for Transition of Indian Navy Personnel to Merchant Navy

23 Jun 2022
A landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Indian Navy (IN) and the Directorate General of Shipping on 20 Jun 22 to facilitate transition of Indian Navy personnel, both serving and retired, into the Merchant Navy. Through this MoU, DG Shipping has envisioned certification of IN personnel in accordance with the International STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) conventions in furtherance to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of expanding Indian presence and share in the global seafarers. The MoU is also in line with the GoI’s focus on the maritime domain including Blue economy as also the optimal utilisation of skilled and trained human resources.

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The detailed procedures to effect this transition have been issued by DG Shipping through the DGS Order 17 of 2022. The Order duly acknowledges the naval sea service and advanced training undergone by IN personnel and covers almost all the officers’ and sailors’ cadres of the IN, both in the Nautical as well as Technical domain. The Scheme would ensure naval personnel to acquire Certificate of Competence, while in Naval Service, which is recognised globally, after undergoing relevant bridging courses and examinations and a minimum merchant ship sea service in certain cases as mandated by STCW provisions. This would aid IN personnel in a smooth transition to various designations on-board Merchant ships, both in India as well as in shipping companies across the globe.

The transition schemes, which have been formulated after due diligence and taking into consideration a host of factors including international regulations, have introduced various provisions which offer a direct transition to IN personnel even up to the apex ranks in the Merchant Navy. Reference


Social interaction shown to be vital to seafarers’ wellbeing

23 Jun 2022
NEW research from the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network has confirmed a link between social interaction and crew wellbeing at sea.

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The Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project Report Phase Two contains findings from the charity’s Social Interaction Matters project, which gathered first-hand accounts from seafarers on 21 different vessels across 10 shipping companies.

ISWAN examined project data to explore the impacts, drivers and barriers of social interaction while living and working on board.

SIM research lead Dr Kate Pike said the project indicated that social interaction promotes mental and physical health and provides an essential outlet for seafarers from their work on board.

The findings highlight the importance of engaged leadership both on board and ashore to encourage crew participation in social activities.

ISWAN said vessels in the SIM trials which supported their crews in this way were able to mitigate the effects of long hours, numerous port calls and other factors that typically lower seafarers’ mood.

The report also suggests clearer boundaries need to be established between work and rest time on board.

In response to the findings, ISWAN said it has developed recommendations for the shipping industry and its workforce to improve opportunities for crew to interact socially.

The guidance intends to help promote a varied program of social events tailored to different crew needs and diversities, and to different voyage plans and vessel specifications.

Among the report recommendations is the appointment of a voluntary social ambassador on board every vessel to help convene social activities and promote crew engagement.

Another recommendation is the provision of free WiFi services for crew to stay in contact with family and friends and access online entertainment.

ISWAN said its report concludes that further research is needed into the effects of fatigue and its impact on seafarers’ mental health. Reference


Cargo Ship Captain Swims to Save Unusual “Passenger”

23 Jun 2022
It is not very often that you hear a tale about a captain that dives overboard to rescue one of his wayward “passengers” from the sea, but the BBC is reporting just such a tale today. What’s more, the passengers were the four-legged kind but both owner and captain feared the creature might not be able to swim leaving little choice but to stage the unusual rescue.

Cargo ship Gry Maritha had some excitement when a “passenger” went overboard and the captain dove in to save the animal (Nilfanion/Wikimedia UK). Image Source: The Maritime Executive

Tom Sexton took command of the small cargo ship the Gry Maritha in April after the vessel’s senior captain retired in the spring after 22 years with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company. Last week during one of her regular runs she boarded two unusual passengers, meerkats that were being transported by their owner on their way to a zoo in Axminster, Devon, England. Named Doris and Boris, the animals which weigh less than two pounds were caged for the trip from the Isles of Scilly. Some how when they were arriving in Penzance, the animals got free and were running around the deck of the little cargo ship.

The crew was able to catch Doris, but much to the dismay of their owner, Boris decided to make a break for it and went over the side of the ship down 10 feet into the harbor. Owner Stephen Griffin told the BBC that he did not think the meerkat could swim, but Captain Sexton said he saw the animal swimming about but realized it had no way to get back aboard the ship.

Sexton quickly changed into a pair of boardshorts and put on a pair of gloves to prevent the animal from biting and he dove in after his wayward passenger. At the same time, the crew tied a cage to a rope and lowered it over the side. Recounting his tale to the BBC, Sexton said it was “easier” than he thought it would be, saying that the animal “was quite glad” to be caught and back on dry ground. Reference


World’s first full-sized electric tug launched in Ports of Auckland

22 Jun 2022
New Zealand’s Ports of Auckland has welcomed the world’s first full size, ship-handling electric tugboat.

Courtesy of Ports of Auckland. Image Source: Offshore Energy News

Named Sparky, as voted by New Zealanders in a public vote in 2020, the e-tug is part of an innovative project launched by the port.

Sparky marks the beginning of a new era for the Auckland Port, which is anticipating saving approximately 465 tonnes of CO2 in diesel emissions annually from the e-tug addition alone. The new tug also supports the port’s goal to be emissions-free by 2040.

The expected cost of operating Sparky is less than a third of the cost of running a diesel tug. Battery operated, the e-tug has a recharge time of approximately two hours and can run up to four shipping moves on one charge.

For Allan D’Souza, GM Marine and Multi Cargo at Ports of Auckland and lead on the e-tug project, the arrival of Sparky has been six years in the making.

There will be approximately six weeks of testing in Auckland before Sparky is fully commissioned and operational.

Sparky is the first Damen RSD-E Tug 2513. She has a 6-metre draft, is 24.73 length and has two azimuth thrusters with 3-metre diameter propellers.

Additionally, the boat has a 70-tonne bollard pull (the same as the port’s strongest diesel tug, Hauraki).

There are 80 battery racks holding 2,240 batteries, totalling 2,784 kWh of power. To ensure absolute safety, Sparky also has two 1000kW back-up generator sets which will only be used in cases of emergency. Reference


Why one of the world’s largest cruise ships is likely to be scrapped before maiden voyage

22 Jun 2022
What was meant to be the world’s largest cruise ships is now likely to be sold for scrap – even before it could sail on its maiden voyage.

The almost finished cruise ship “Global Dream“ is pictured in the main assembly hall of the shipbuilder “MV Werften“. Image Source: Money Control

Global Dream II was being built by Dream Cruises, along with its sister vessel, Global Dream. The ship, which was being built to hold 9,000 passengers and over 2,000 crew, is currently sitting unfinished at a German shipyard, according to a report in The Guardian.

Shipbuilder MV Werften, however, filed for bankruptcy after facing losses during the pandemic. Now, administrators can’t find a buyer for what would have been the largest cruise ship in the world in terms of capacity.

In a press conference, Christoph Morgen, an insolvency administrator at Brinkmann & Partner, said the vessel’s keel and lower hull will be sold for scrap. A report in German cruise industry magazine An Bord further said that Global Dream II’s engine and fixtures are also up for sale.

Christoph Morgen announced during the press conference that the cruise ship needed to be moved out of MV Werften’s Wismar shipyard by the end of the year as the yard had been sold to a manufacturer of naval vessels which plans to build military vessels there. The naval unit has set a deadline for early 2024 for the ship to be moved.

While Global Dream II is likely to be scrapped, there are still hopes of finding a buyer for Global Dream as it is almost 80 % complete. Reference


ICS 100th anniversary – looking back and forwards

22 Jun 2022
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) marked its one hundredth anniversary on 20 June with an impressive dinner at London’s National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Image Source: Seatrade Maritime News

The widely respected veteran association, which now represents more than 80% of the world fleet, deferred the celebration from last year as a result of the pandemic.

Chairman Esben Poulsson, who this week completes an outstandingly successful term as chairman, drew historical parallels in his speech to guests between the challenges which the organisation was set up to address and those which confront it today.

Under its original name, the International Shipping Conference, the organisation held its first meeting at the Hotel Victoria in London in 1921. In the spirit of international cooperation which prevailed following the establishment of the League of Nations two years earlier, 14 national shipowner associations agreed to work together to respond to the international regulatory regime then emerging, and to promote the principle of freedom of the seas. The achievement of consultative status at the IMO in 1961 was the starting point for ICS’s role representing global shipping’s views at IMO meetings.

The organisation now includes 34 national associations, but its core purpose remains the same. These days the key issues include decarbonisation, the theme of its one-day conference this week, and the industry response to digital technologies.

But a sharp focus at the dinner was on seafarer welfare, a subject on which the ICS has been outspoken throughout the pandemic. Reference


Lack of shore leave leaves no room to unwind – SHI Report

21 Jun 2022
Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) Quarter 1 2022 results have been published, The findings with reference to crew working conditions are discussed here..

Image Source: Marine Log

Crew changes have proven challenging amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and seafarers have no choice but to spend a longer contracted time at sea. However, there are many other conditions that make their voyage less than delightful.

A lack of shore leave has been a persistent challenge but with COVID, restrictions are heightened and seafarers have limited access to shore leave, which leaves seafarers with no avenues to ‘unwind or release work pressures within the ships’.

Another set of issues plague those who successfully make it ashore: a lack of welfare provisions. Respondents have used a case in point where not all ports have ‘good, safe, reliable, secure, cheap transport … to a local shopping mall’. When asked how happy they were with welfare facilities when ashore, the average score was 4.92/10, down from 5.93 in the previous quarter.

We will continue to unpack the Q1 results, piece together the seafarer condition and what implications this has for all of us.

The Loss Prevention department at Standard Club is dedicated to improving seafarer welfare, and testament to that commitment, Reference


All-electric ferry sails 50 nautical miles on single battery charge, setting world record

21 Jun 2022
Ellen, the world’s longest-ranging fully electric ferry, set a new world record on 9 June in Sønderborg, Denmark, during the International Energy Agency (IEA) 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency.

Courtesy of Danfoss. Image Source: Offshore Energy News

On its return from the conference, Ellen sailed 50 nautical miles – 92 kilometres – on a single battery charge.

This is the longest recorded distance for an electric ferry able to carry passengers and vehicles to date anywhere in the world, according to the Danish engineering company Danfoss.

Henrik Hagbarth Mikkelsen, Senior Lecturer, Marstal Naval Academy, Denmark, who helped specify the technical solutions for the ferry during its design phase, was on-board for the trip:

“The 92-kilometer trip on a single battery charge is the longest planned distance for an electric ferry able to carry both passengers and vehicles to date, anywhere on the globe. We are talking about a clear record. On normal daily trips, the ferry sails 22 nautical miles, or 40 kilometers, from harbor to harbor before recharging.”

Ellen does not emit carbon and operates at a 24 percent lower cost than a new diesel ferry. She started sailing in 2019, with Danfoss’ Editron division supplying the electric Editron drivetrains and propulsion motors powering the ferry. Reference


Sea piracy is at a low but data-driven technology will drive it down even further

20 Jun 2022
Incidents of piracy at sea may be at their lowest for 27 years according to the ICC International Maritime Bureau, but the threats remain significant, demanding fresh data-driven approaches as well as security hardware


While the Indian Ocean – especially the coast of Somalia – was for years the world’s most dangerous area for piracy, now the Gulf of Guinea is where global anti-piracy focuses its attention. Even though incidents there last year were more than 60 per cent down on 2020, crews continue to face hostage-taking, kidnap, and violence.

The Singapore Straits and waters around Indonesia and the Philippines also continue to witness acts of piracy. And, despite the global decline in piracy last year, incidents continued in South American waters and in anchorages off Haiti. Despite many collaborative initiatives, and programmes such as the EU Coordinated Maritime Presences for the Gulf of Guinea, it is unlikely piracy will be eradicated. The Straits of Malacca have been a hotpsot for piracy for decades, for example, and endemic poverty in coastal west Africa provides a pool of labour that criminal gangs exploit.

The continuing battle against piracy demands that shipping operators revise their approaches in an era of digital innovation. While most vessels already carry a wide array of systems for identification, navigation, cargo handling, and weather monitoring, they need to integrate faster alerting and a broader range of intelligence sources, providing greater insight and a more streamlined approach.

At the very least, vessels carrying ship security alert systems (SSAS), should conduct more thorough testing. These systems are required under the International Ship and Port Security code. They silently alert owners, flag states, and authorities when they are undergoing armed robbery or piracy. The hardware of a SSAS management solution onboard a vessel should automatically display alerts, tests, and position reports on a web-based SSAS management service, providing all the necessary data to mitigate risks in the event of a security event. Onboard hardware should automatically display alerts, tests, and position reports, providing customised test alert profiles and unlimited numbers of recipients.

More far-reaching, however, is the need for operators to integrate intelligence on piracy risk into their monitoring technology so they have a solution providing insight before and during a voyage.

A domain awareness platform will combine the tracking systems most vessels already employ, but to far greater effect. Commercial vessels are obliged to operate AIS (automatic identification systems) and LRIT (long-range tracking and identification technology). AIS broadcasts the vessel’s ID and position on VHF (and satellite), and complies with the International Maritime Organisation’s Safety of Life at Sea Regulations (SOLAS). LRIT, a satellite-based technology, is an IMO-designated closed loop reporting system that flag states and port states employ for security and safety. A domain awareness platform combines these sources, plus Inmarsat positional data, to provide persistent, real-time tracking.

The most effective maritime domain awareness platforms integrate these capabilities and provide operators with customisable intelligence about events in specific areas or time-frames, covering kidnapping, ransom, hijacking, and armed robbery, alongside terrorist attacks and other maritime crime. This reduces complexity and improves decision-making to enable faster responses.

An operator can monitor each vessel’s progress on its voyage, continuously monitoring speed and estimated time of arrival. But when the vessel deviates from its predicted path, the operator will automatically receive an alert, enabling them to check and collaborate with the relevant authorities in the event of a hijack or piracy attack. They can then mobilise assistance far more quickly and effectively, and minimise further risk.

The entire world is becoming more data-driven, and the shipping industry should be no exception. Data and actionable intelligence are now essential to the business continuity of ship operators, to safety at sea, and ultimately, to competitive advantage. 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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