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Maritime Monday 138

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December 1, 2008

The following is posted by Fred Fry:

Welcome to this 138th edition of Maritime Monday.

You can find Maritime Monday 88 here. (Published 10 December 2007)

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find links to all the previous editions at the bottom of this post. You are encouraged to participate using the comment link/form at the bottom of the post. If you have photos or stories to tell, do email me at [email protected].


This Week’s Photos:

This week’s photos come from the website of J Lauritzen Shipowners (link) :

J. Lauritzen (JL) was founded in 1884 and has been a leading supplier of ocean transport solutions for almost 125 years. During this period, JL has been involved in a broad range of shipping activities consistently focusing on operations that require competence and know-how.

Today, JL’s business activities encompass: Lauritzen Bulkers (dry bulk cargoes), Lauritzen Kosan (liquefied gases), Lauritzen Tankers (oil products and chemicals).

JL’s heritage has allowed us to gain a vast store of experience and know-how in virtually all facets of merchant shipping. This know-how is reflected across the entire range of the Group’s operations, and over time the JL name has evolved into a byword for respectability and trustworthiness in international merchant shipping. Despite working in different fields, JL’s different business activities are linked to one another by a unified business philosophy and a common set of values.

JL has always focused on depth of service. By building operational expertise, our companies are in a position to offer genuinely valuable assistance to customers – a philosophy that allows our customers to concentrate on what they’re good at, while we take care of their transport needs.

Values such as commercial acumen, decency and fair dealing characterize the way JL companies operate around the world and remain firmly anchored at the core of everything we do. – Link

* Grab-fitted Log/Bulker M/V CHARLOTE BULKER *

*Grab-fitted Log/Bulker M/V NORDIC BULKER *




* Lauritzen Bulker Vessel *

Here is a good five minute video about the company: ‘Oceans of Know-How’.

Their homepage can be found here.


This Week’s Items:

EagleSpeak has “Somali Pirates and Western Wimpism“.

Also be sure to check out EagleSpeak‘s weekly series “Sunday Ship History: The Battle of Tassafaronga

gCaptain has “The New Hawsepipe – An Interview With Leonard Lambert” who is one of the first to climb up through the hawsepipe under the current STCW 95 rules, all because he saw a huge line at the Coast Guard office and decided to come back the next day, which was the first day that the rules were in effect. A great interview.

Lloyd’s List Newsroom Blog has “Hostage to fortune“.

PIRACY is akin to terrorism on water. Governments should not negotiate with terrorists and they should not negotiate with pirates either. That is why the Sirius Star hijacking presents a diplomatic dilemma for the government of Saudi Arabia. The tanker and its $100m cargo of crude is ultimately owned by the Saudi Arabian government. State oil company Saudi Aramco is the beneficial owner of the very large crude carrier, operated by its shipping arm, Vela International Marine.

Kathimerini (Greece) has a surprising update on the cruiseship SEA DIAMOND sinking with “Error on map ‘sank liner‘”.

The new map reportedly shows the reef to be 113 meters away from the island’s coast and not 58 meters as shown on the previous map. The map also determines that the depth of the water at the spot of the collision is 5 meters and not 18 to 22 meters as the original map had indicated.

Kennebec Captain has “The (Unarmed) Defense of the Biscaglia” wondering if it is wise to arm merchant ships against pirates. I guess the first thing to do is to de-brief the security detail involved in the failed defense of the M/V BISCAGLIA to better understand how the defense of the ship failed.

On my own blog Fred Fry International, I have some ideas “On Defending Unarmed Merchant Ships Against Pirates“.

TimesOnline has “Questions of who bears any loss of the Sirius Star’s £68m oil load“. The EXXON VALDEZ oil spill happened in 1989 and is still bouncing around the courts with even the US Supreme Court being involved as late as June of this year. This case would probably be as complicated if not more-so given the multiple jurisdictions that could be involved.


Some interesting news items concerning the hijacked supertanker SIRIUS STAR. AFP has this Saturday “Somali pirates hope for ‘favourable’ reply for Saudi ship ransom” as the Sunday ransom deadline approached. A couple days earlier, AFP had “Somali pirates urge ‘honest’ talks to free Saudi tanker“.

“We are urging the owners of the Saudi tanker to have an honest dialogue in order to end the crisis,” he said.

“We need them (vessel’s owners) to call their captain and our members on the Sirius Star so we can speed up the negotiations.

Why don’t they call the owners? Earlier in the week, The Telegraph had “Somali pirates treating hijacked crew ‘like prisoners of war’” noting that the pirates had yet to even hear from the vessel’s owners. Which makes me wonder if they ever got in touch with them:

Speaking by telephone from the ship, “Daybad” also said no company, such as the supertanker owners Vela International, had been in contact to negotiate, only people claiming to be intermediaries who “cannot be trusted”.

“We captured the ship for ransom, of course, but we don’t have anybody reliable to talk to directly about it,” he said.

Daybad denied reports that the pirates have demanded $25 million (£16.6 million) for the hostages’ safe release, but would not say how much money was involved.

It is easy enough to find the ship’s satphone number. Might it be that some freelance brokers contacted the ship and fooled the pirates into thinking that they could negotiate on the owner’s behalf? At any rate, these stories indicate some sort of communication problem.

Finally, this morning, one day after the pirate’s stated deadline comes good news with Russia’s RIA Novosti reporting “Somali pirates ‘to free Saudi tanker within 48 hours’“.

CAIRO, December 1 (RIA Novosti) – The Saudi supertanker the Sirius Star, seized by Somali pirates on November 15, will be released within the next two days, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Kenya said on Monday.

Nabil Ashur said in an interview with the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that his country was optimistic the supertanker and its crew would be released.

The report was confirmed by Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Khalid bin Saud bin Khalid.

“We have signals giving us hope for a positive outcome soon,” he said.

He reiterated that the authorities were not in negotiations with the pirates and did not intend to pay a ransom.


The BBC has good news for the crew of the cargo of the M/V FAINA, the ship full of tanks and weapons: “Pirates ‘to release Ukraine ship’“. Will anyone track to see where the final destination of the cargo really is?

The BBC also has “Libyan Gaza aid ship turns back

National Security Policy explains the LRAD device that was used with temporary success in the defense of the M/V BISCAGLIA in “Technology against Pirates“.

GMA News has “Cargo ship sinks off Corregidor; 17 rescued“. The ship was the M/V S-1 SKY.


Balkan Insight has long-overdue good news with “Croatian Captain Acquitted in Greece“.

After spending 16 months in a Greek prison, an appeal court in the town of Patras on Thursday found the Croatian ship captain Kristo Laptalo not guilty of smuggling cocaine from Ecuador.

Laptalo was arrested in July 2007 after his cargo ship the “Coral Sea” sailed into the Greek port of Egion.

Seems that he might have been better off being captured by terrorists. As a reminder, the story mentions how he got into trouble:

The prosecution claimed and the judicial council accepted the argument that Laptalo as captain had to know everything that was going on on the ship, including the content of the cargo it was carrying.

It also claimed that it was “illogical that someone would send cocaine without any control over it”. They said that the claim by the Ecuadorian police that they had inspected the cargo before the ship sailed proved that the drugs were loaded onto the ship somewhere in the open sea.

The Press and Journal (UK) has “Trawler had lucky escape after collision with ship – Only good fortune prevented boat from capsizing, say accident investigators“. The mate on watch was busy making chart corrections…

The Inverness-based ship Scot Venture collided with the Fraserburgh trawler Golden Promise in the Moray Firth because the officer on watch was not paying attention.

The accident happened in clear conditions, in broad daylight, four miles north of Buckie.

Newsweek has “Sharks In the Water – How to finally rid the seas of Somalia’s growing pirate problem.” Somalia’s failed state is partly to blame. Does this mean that today’s pirate problem can be traced back to President Clinton’s decision to pull out of Somalia?

I miss this Friday’s Whale Wars but looking at a couple forums: gCaptain, and ‘Bloody Decks‘ for example, the show is good for two reasons: 1) the Sea Shepherd crew is dangerously incompetent and 2) watching their incompetence is highly entertaining. I look forward t getting caught up this next Friday, where they apparently get to put their engineering skills to use in tackling a main engine casualty. Hell, the ship’s crew is even getting trashed on the show’s own forums here.

Of Arms and the Law has “High-tech shipping sets up vessels for pirate attack” wondering if pirates are targeting ships by taking advantage of the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) signaling which announce each vessels position and course details, among other things. As the post notes, and as noted before in Maritime Monday, is a great free site to view AIS vessel tracking.

Keep in mind that just because there is no AIS coverage for an area does not mean that the system is not working there, only that there is nobody uploading the information to the internet. Ships broadcast this information 24/7.

twest820 has “thieving for open water on the edge of the cryosphere“.

Travelling the Northwest Passage by kayak is about many things. But sea ice is what dominates the journey’s feasibility. No open water, no kayaking. Where things get complicated is how much open water one needs to be able to paddle between two resupply points before running out of food or summer.

Bob Couttie’s Maritime Accident Casebook has “If Today’s Pilots Think They’ve Got It Tough…” noting that in old-time Europe, a mistake could cost you your head.

BreakBulk Industry News has “Twin Marine Lifter deliveries delayed“.

Information Dissemination has “Russia and India Reach Final Stage in Gorshkov Negotiations” pointing out Russia’s limited options and the leverage that India probably has over Russia in the end in getting a much better deal for the carrier.

CBS5 has “Judge Dismisses Countersuit By Cosco Busan Owner“. They sued blaming the State for the accident, for issuing the Pilot his license. This is just one piece of a very complicated legal puzzle.

The Sydney Morning Herald has “Cruise ship fired on by pirates“. The ship is the OCEANIA NAUTICA with over 1,000 passengers and crew.

The Earth Times has “Pirates leave hijacked Yemeni ship without ransom: Owner“. The ship is the ERIN.

MarineLog has “Golden Gate District to buy two mothballed WSF ferries“.

MarineBuzz has “Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre Launched in Melbourne” and “Danish Cargo Ship Groundings from 2000 to mid 2008: Safety Study by DMA“.

The Monitor has photos of the hull-jarring launch of the Chinese-made LPG Carrier HONG YUE in “Sink or swim“. Really, how hard would it have been to make a simple slipway? The photos make me want to ask, where is the video? (And a post-launch hull survey)

The Pilot Boat lists “The Top 5 (by special request…)” ships that he has enjoyed piloting into/out of port.

Hellenic Shipping News has “Coming soon: a pay cut for Indian ship officers“.

It is nearing pay-cut time for officers operating ships as owners look at ways to trim operating expenses and stay profitable in a falling freight market. Many ship owners have internally started discussing this unpopular move, which would become public in the coming days. With freight rates plunging to the lowest levels in years because of the credit squeeze and declining global trade, owners feel this action is essential to prevent shipping companies going bust. Firms losing money from operating ships are looking to cut at least 20-25% from the salary of an individual officer hired to operate ships.

This is probably a sign that these companies will go under anyway and surely they will be the ones most avoided if possible. Also, this is an odd development for an industry that has been talking about a growing shortage of officers.

IMC Brokers has a summary of “Registering a vessel in Belgium“. Just in case you were wondering what was involved. Of course, you’ll also make sure that your crew has the proper Belgium licenses/endorsements.

IceNews has “Cod stocks at the centre of discussions between EU and Norway“. One goal is to stop the idiotic practice of throwing away by-catch fish.

BarentsObserver has “Norway launches Arctic logistics centre“.

Last week I linked to a story that claimed that the Somali pirates were receiving training from the Iranians. Now Middle East Online has “Piracy in the Red Sea: Saudi points towards Israel – Columnists fear that a plan is underway for ‘internationalization’ of security in the Red Sea.” One of the claims is that the piracy is being done partly to punish Egypt as ships respond by going around Africa, shunning the Suez Canal due to the piracy threat.


Time Magazine has “The Sushi Wars: Can the Bluefin Tuna Be Saved?“.

If environmentalists and marine scientists are right, the world’s remaining stocks of bluefin tuna, 90% of which are in the Mediterranean, could be on the verge of extinction. Says Alain Fonteneau, a marine biologist for France’s government-run Institute for Development Research in Montpellier: “If we do nothing, in five years we will fish the last bluefin tuna.”

But not everyone is ready to heed the warning. A week-long international meeting to save the species ended in splenetic arguments Monday night, as European officials thwarted a proposal by the U.S. and environmental groups to impose a partial moratorium on bluefin fishing and to drastically reduce catch quotas.

So enjoy the tuna whenever you get the chance, because the chances of the international community saving this tuna are slim. The story mentions the next move of getting the tuna declared an endangered species by the international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES. (See ‘How CITES Works‘) This is the same convention that banned the trade of elephant tusks. It sounds like a good move but wouldn’t the EU stop that as well?

Maritime Compass has “Thanksgiving at sea“. The ship profiled was the drillship JOIDES RESOLUTION.

HAWSEPIPER: The Longest Climb is unable to mail home some books and goes off on a direct-hit rant.

So, to work on a ship these days, one needs to go through a background check, medical check, and paid-for-useless-ID check. We get vetted by Uncle Sugar. Not to say that every now and again we haven’t had ex-cons and lowlifes abord, but by and large, we undergo a lot of scrutiny to get permission to do our jobs. Unlike some of the folks who are working in the refinery.

So, it bakes my balls a little when we get forbidden to go ashore at some refineries for ‘security reasons.’ Security my ass. There are guys who are wearing monitoring bracelets working in the refinery and I can’t go to the post office across the street.

He has lots more golden material in his post so go read it all. I would think that vessel crews are giving these shore staff denying them access lots of grief for this inconvenience. Is it just a flat denial or are they stationing security at the gangway? Here’s a thought, don’t lower the gangway in those ports. Let the agents and staff deal with it noting that iyou can’t lower the gangway for ‘security reasons’. Don’t try this if it is the Coast Guard who is asking…

An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog has “Good Reads about the Indian Coast Guard” looking at their response during the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.

An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog also has “Icebreaker Gap“, “” and “A Coastie’s Guide to the Instruments of Power“.

Naval Open Source INTelligence has “Scrapping of aircraft carrier given go-ahead“. The ship is the French carrier Le CLEMENCEAU which was already refused entry to India for scrapping. The ship will now be scrapped in the UK. Score one for France?

Energy Daily has “Fish Technology Draws Renewable Energy From Slow Water Currents“.

iCommandant – Web Journal of Admiral Thad Allen has “Out of Hemisphere Deployments“.

SAILORS, MARINERS & WARRIORS LEAGUE has “Turkey Ship Harassed Oil Vessels, Says Cyprus“.

MarEx Newsletter has “Freight Operations – Seven Paths to a Working Capital Goldmine“.

Shipping News has “Suez Canal charges may be reduced – Global downturn and piracy could affect 2009 rates…

THE PRIVATE ISLANDS BLOG has “Monemvasia, Greece“, characterized as “the Gibraltar of East”.

Tugster has an invitation for his readers in the NY area: “Mary Whalen’s 70th Birthday“. The party is on December 6th.

Ottawa Citizen has “Ill-fated vessel not fit for ice, says report“. This concerns the sealing vessel L’ACADIEN II which sank last winter while under tow by the Canadian Coast Guard. The report is being disputed by others claiming that it was the tow itself that resulted in the sinking. Seems to me that ice contributed to the initial casualty while the vessel was fatally damaged while under tow, resulting in four dead. (Note: This is mere speculation as I have not yet had time to read the report.) You can read the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) report here: “Marine Investigation Report, Capsizing While Under Tow, Small Fishing Vessel L’Acadien II, 18 nm Southeast of Cape North, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, 29 March 2008

Augen Geradeaus (Note: Site in German language) has photos taken by a German P-3 Orion aircraft of Somali pirates in the process of taking over a ship. (Found via this comment on EagleSpeak) Decent Google Translation of the page can be read here noting that these are photos of the takeover of the BRIGHT RUBY.

BitterEnd has “WA State to build one “Island Home Boat”“. There is a very relevant comment on this post taken from an engineer’s viewpoint.

Robin Storm – In Search of Severe Weather has “Will the Opening of the Northwest Passage Transform Global Shipping Anytime Soon?” It seems that the ice threat only changes with the increased melting.

Neptunus Lex notes the arrival of the Russian Navy in Venezuela in “Welcome to Our Hemisphere” noting that ‘It’ll be nice to have the tyranny of distance on our side for a change’. Be sure to read the reader comments as well.

The Stupid Shall Be Punished has more with “USS Georgia Responds To Russian Caribbean Deployment!“. In a show of confidence, the Russian Navy brought a tugboat with them.

Freaque Waves has three more deaths blamed on a freak wave striking the shoreline in “Tragedy at Point Mugu“.

Never Sea Land has a photo of the beached sailboat GYPSY DANE for his “I don’t like Mondays” post. Be sure to click through for more photos and the story (being presented by the owner) behind the grounding.

International Herald Tribune has “Greek officials charged in migrant smuggling case“.

Five harbor police officers are charged with belonging to a criminal gang that smuggled illegal immigrants to Italy, authorities said Thursday. The officers, who served at Greece’s third largest port of Patras, were among eight people arrested and charged with ring membership late Wednesday.

Navy Newsstand has the photo “USS Freedom (LCS 1) transits through one of many locks stations.

081118-N-5758H-076 PORT ROBINSON, Ontario (Nov. 18, 2008) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) transits through one of many locks stations in the Welland Canal. Freedom is the first of two littoral combat ships designed to operate in shallow water environments to counter threats in coastal regions and is in route to Norfolk, Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class Specialist Kenneth R. Hendrix/Released) – Link


Haight’s Maritime Items has:

Singapore – LRIT conformance testing – The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority issued a circular reminding owners, operators, and masters of the importance of conducting conformance testing of installed Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) equipment. Such equipment on covered vessels must be fully compliant by the first radio survey after 31 December 2008. Shipping Circular No. 30 of 2008 (11/25/08). – Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)


CBP – undeclared monies seized The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that its officers seized $19,300 from an arriving passenger at Logan Airport in Boston who made a false declaration when asked if he was carrying more than $10,000 in monetary instruments.  While this was not a maritime incident, masters and crewmembers are reminded that the same rules apply for entries and exits at seaports. (11/28/08). – Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)

Fairplay Daily News has:

Credit crisis could solve yard squeeze – SHORTAGES of qualified staff at well-established yards could be resolved when yards fail, classification sources has told Fairplay.

“Ordering and S&P activity have all but ceased,” Alan Gavin, marine director of Lloyd’s Register said yesterday. “The market is going through a period of adjustment – adjustments to ranges of value for assets as well as freight rates.”

This has already affected Turkish yards, where 3,000 jobs are reported to have been shed in two months.

Gavin said his class society noted much interest in the potential for cancellations with “reports of actual cancellations coming through daily”.

A positive knock on affect of expected job losses at smaller yards would be the release of highly adept personnel in a competitive market, he said.

“One effect of the current crisis, to the benefit of well-established yards, is likely to be the release of qualified managers and workers from failing or failed yards,” he predicted.

“This could help reduce the current manpower shortages that we have seen in the years of high expansion. This Good technical people have been in short supply world-wide during the boom – it may be easier for us all to find them now,” he concluded. – Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)


Hebei Spirit anger at IMO meeting – CONCERN over the fate of the detained officers of the Hebei Spirit has been repeated at an IMO safety meeting in London.

Capt MM Saggi was one individual who expressed great concern yesterday over the failure of the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal (KMST) to follow the IMO Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents. Saggi is nautical adviser to the government of India.

Hebei Spirit, was struck by a barge in December 2007, resulting in a major oil spill affecting miles of Korean shoreline, and the captain and chief officer were arrested in South Korea.

Delegates at the IMO meeting condemned the unjustified detention of the two Indian officers of the Hebei Spirit saying it was a breach of the UNCLOS legislation and demanded their immediate repatriation. The fear of all those supporting the case for the immediate release of the Hebei Spirit officers is that the Korean Courts will accept the findings of the KMST Report, and that the officers will receive lengthy jail sentences.

A few days ago the IBF also condemned the treatment of the Hebei Spirit officers detained in South Korea and pledged that its members to do all they can to secure their release. – Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)


Submissions for future editions:

Please submit articles for inclusion in next week’s edition using the following submit form at Blog Carnival. You are also welcome to email stories and photos to [email protected] for inclusion in future editions as well as suggest areas of coverage.


Previous Editions: As linked below or click on the tag ‘Maritime Monday’ for all gCaptain editions.

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