Category Archives: News

MSC boxship grounded in Brazil

MSC Regina aground off Itaparica, near Salvador, on September 12

The Panama-flagged boxship MSC Regina (built 1999) reportedly ran aground off the Island of Itaparica, located approximately 20 km (11 nautical miles) to the east of Salvador, at about 05:15 hours on September 12.

According to the Brazilian surveyor Charles Rotta, the ship unberthed and disembarked the pilot without incident and then engaged herself in a series of maneuvers, the last of which ended in the grounding.

In Rotta’s Facebook, there is a video that shows the track of MSC Regina during the minutes that preceded the accident and photos of the ship with some list to port.

MSC Regina reportedly managed to refloat herself with no tug assistance at 13:00 hours of the same day. She was held by the local representative of the Maritime Authority for about a day afterwards and, according to the information presented by the site Marine Traffic at http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/datasheet.aspx?datasource=ITINERARIES&MMSI=357332000, departed from Salvador in the evening of September 13.

No hull damage has been reported and there was no pollution.

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MARIME INSURANCE: Ship total losses on the rise

 

Edited from Tradewinds, 2012.09.17

Reported total ship losses have reached 39 this year compared to 24 at the same period of last year according to Harry Yerkes, chairman of the International Union of Marine Insurance’s (IUMI) ocean hull committee.

Yerkes warns that early casualty figures deteriorate quite markedly over the following 12 months so it would be no surprise if the 2012 total loss figure trebled in due course.

The falling insured value of ships and even shipping companies going out of business was adding to the claims pressure on underwriters according to Yerkes.

“This is putting us all under the gun,” Yerkes added ahead of the IUMI conference in San Diego.

The heavy claims and other pressures meant the outlook for the hull market was at best break even said Yerkes who is chief executive of the American Hull Insurance Syndicate.

Yerkes said underwriters would be questioning if they have analysed risk appropriately, what ship operators were doing to assess their operations and the safety and regulatory issues arising.

It would be bad enough even without the loss of Costa Concordia…

 

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COSTA CONCORDIA: An organizational accident, after all?

It is increasingly clear to me that what took place off Giglio last January was an organizational rather than an individual accident. Have a look at the text below, from http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/98536–court-experts-fault-captain-crew-owner-for-deadly-ship-grounding-off-tuscany, and have your say:

ROME – Court-appointed experts have squarely blamed the captain of a cruise ship that ran aground off Italy for the wreckage and deaths of 32 people, but they also faulted the crew and ship owner for a series of blunders, delays and safety breaches that contributed to the disaster.

The Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio on Jan. 13 after Capt. Francesco Schettino took it off course and brought it close to the island as part of a stunt. He is accused of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all passengers were evacuated.

Eight other people, among them crew members and Costa’s crisis co-ordinator, are also under investigation. The court in Grosseto ordered the expert investigation to help it determine who, if anyone, should be put on trial. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

In a 270-page analysis, the four experts described in second-by-second detail the unfolding disaster as Schettino slowly came to realize the gravity of the situation. Using data and voice recorders to reconstruct the drama on the bridge, the report showed how Schettino failed to grasp for a good 45 minutes repeated reports from his crew that his ship was flooding and its motors dead.

The analysis came out Wednesday and was placed online Thursday by the Rome daily La Repubblica.

The experts contrasted what went wrong on board with maritime rules and procedures and determined that Schettino should have given the “abandon ship” order at 10 p.m. that night, 15 minutes after the 9:45 p.m. grounding against the rocks off Giglio.

Instead, the evacuation order only went out at 10:43 p.m. — and Schettino himself didn’t give it but another officer, in violation of maritime rules. By that time, passengers on their own had already reported to their muster stations with life jackets on, despite a decision from a crew member at one point that they should go back to the dining room.

“Madonna, what a mess I’ve made,” Schettino muttered soon after the collision, according to the transcript.

Beyond Schettino’s faults, the experts said a series of problems hobbled the execution of his initial manoeuvre and efforts to fix it, and contributed to the botched evacuation. Bridge crew members bungled directions and didn’t his understand orders because of language barriers. Other crew members weren’t trained or certified in security and emergency drills, the report found.

In all, the experts said, Schettino and his bridge crew showed “scarce professional seriousness” before and during the disaster, with Schettino joking just before the crash, after his helmsman again misunderstood an order, that he needed to do it right “otherwise we go on the rocks.”

And the experts said ship owner Costa Crociere bore blame, too, by delaying alerting coastal authorities about the emergency — a charge Costa denied Thursday.

In a statement, Costa said by law it was Schettino who was supposed to have alerted authorities about the accident, and that the captain assured the Costa crew on land that he had done so. And regardless, Costa said, Schettino’s reports to Costa’s headquarters were so delayed, “partial and confused” that the company couldn’t discern how serious the emergency was.

Yet the expert report said Schettino had “clearly explained the situation” to Costa’s fleet crisis co-ordinator in his initial call. Schettino was far less forthcoming when the Livorno port authorities called him after hearing word the ship was in trouble: in that conversation, Schettino only told the port that there was a blackout on board.

And Costa firmly rejected the experts’ claims that the crew was unprepared for emergencies, saying the “alleged defects in the certifications of some of the crew” didn’t affect the evacuation.

From the start, passengers described a confused and delayed evacuation, with many of the lifeboats unable to be lowered because the boat was listing too far to one side. Some of the 4,200 people aboard jumped into the Mediterranean and swam to Giglio, while others had to be plucked from the vessel by rescue helicopters hours after the collision.

Some passengers said they were shocked to see Schettino already ashore when they were being evacuated. Schettino claims he helped direct the evacuation from the island after leaving the ship. The report demonstrates how he refused several demands by port authorities to return to the ship to oversee the evacuation.

Schettino has insisted that by guiding the stricken ship to shallower waters near Giglio’s port instead of immediately ordering an evacuation he potentially saved lives. He has claimed that another official, and not he, was at the helm when the ship struck.

But the timeline in the expert report makes clear that he had assumed control with a verbal order at 9:39 p.m., after being called back up to the bridge to oversee the stunt, which he had planned as a favour to friends from Giglio.

Work has begun to remove the tons of rocky reef embedded into the Concordia’s hull, a first step in plans to eventually tow the wreck away from the island.

The whole removal process is expected to take as long as a year.

To learn more about organizational accidents, an interesting starting point might be Organizational Accidents: A Systemic Model of Production versus Protection, a paper written by Yang Miang Goh, Peter E. D. Love, Helen Brown and Jeffery Spickett of Curtin University of Technology, Australia. I quote the abstract below:

Production pressure is often cited as an underlying contributory factor of organizational accidents. The relationship, however, between production and safety protection is complex and has not been adequately addressed by current theories regarding organizational accident. In addressing this gap, this paper uses the methodology of system dynamics to develop a causal model to address the dynamic interaction between management of production and protection, which can accumulate in an organizational accident. A case study of a fatal rock fall accident in Tasmania, Australia was conducted based on the developed model and is used to uncover the intricate dynamics linking production pressure, risk tolerability, perception of safety margin, and protection efforts. In particular, the study demonstrates how a strong production focus can trigger a vicious cycle of deteriorating risk perception and how increased protection effort can, ironically, lead to deterioration of protection.

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Spain to Try Bulgarian Sailors Busted on Cocaine-Loaded Ship

Despite Bulgaria’s hopes for a domestic trial, it will be Spain that will be trying 21 Bulgarian sailors on drug trafficking charges, after last week the Spanish authorities captured the Bulgarian ship St. Nikolay with 3 metric tons of cocaine on board.

“The Bulgarian sailors from the St. Nikolay ship must be tried in Spain,” Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters Thursday night upon meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Tsvetan Tsvetanov in Madrid, the bTV channel reported.

Tsvetanov, who went to Spain specially for the cocaine ship affair together with Commissar Stanimir Florov, head of the Bulgarian anti-mafia unit GDBOP, in turn declared that the sailors must receive a “fair trial”, no matter where it would take place, and that “those responsible must bear their punishment, even if it is the harshest one.”

According to the Bulgarian Interior Minister, the crew of the Bulgarian vessel must first “help themselves” before they can expect assistance from anybody else by cooperating with the investigation.

At the same time, the Spanish authorities released more detailed data about the St. Nikolay cocaine ship affair.

According to their information, the Bulgarian vessel was loaded with cocaine between July 20 and July 24, 2012, in Venezuela.

Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz hinted that he believes that all sailors on board of the St. Nikolay ship were aware that they were transporting cocaine since they spent some 20 days on board with the shipment.

Edited from http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=142572

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SALVAGE: MSC Flaminia to find shelter in the North Sea

The fire ravaged MSC Flaminia is to be towed to a sheltered anchorage in the North Sea, its owners confirmed Tuesday.

Reederei NSB said the ship will be towed to German waters prior to being transferred to an as yet unnamed port.

An initial inspection of the 6,732-teu MSC Flaminia (built 2001) will be carried out by British, Dutch and French experts on behalf of the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The ship will be brought to a position 30 miles from the UK to enable the inspection team to board the vessel on Friday.

“Much has been done to stabilise the ship since the accident last month,” said Hugh Shaw, the UK Secretary of State’s representative for Maritime and Salvage Intervention (SOSREP).

“The outcome of the inspection will be made available to all coastal States involved with the incident and will enable them to determine if there are any further requirements before the ship transits the English Channel en-route to German Territorial waters,” he added.

Once the ship is anchored off Germany firefighters, chemists and engineers will then go aboard to determine which hazards might emanate from the vessel and its cargo.

“Only afterwards a decision to which port the vessel will be towed, can be made,” Reederei NSB said in a statement.

The containership and its accompanying group of tugs are now located about 350 nautical miles off the entrance to the English Channel.

Reederei NSB said it expects the ship to reach a so-called sheltered area in German territorial waters in the week after the next.

The German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies estimates that the complete salvage operation will take up to two months.

“We are glad that after the assignment to the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, the salvage of our MSC Flaminia is finally proceeding,” said Reederei NSB chief executive Helmut Ponath.

“To us this indicates that our company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off,” he added.

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MSC Flaminia: Owners Declare General Average

 

The Smit salvage group engaged on Lloyd’s Open Form terms to fight the fire and tow the 6,732–teu MSC Flaminia (built 2001) from the middle of the North Atlantic to a location 240 miles off the south west of the UK are also looking for security based on a percentage of the cargo value.

Contributions to general average will be assessed by Hamburg adjusters Schlimme & Partners who are working with Rogers Wilkin Ahern of London and Groninger Welke Janssen of Bremen.

Mediterranean Shipping Co, the long term charterer of the MSC Flaminia has told shippers that it “regrets any inconvenience” that the declaration of general average will cause.

The latest photograph of the MSC Flaminia managed by NSB Niederelbe but owned by a Conti Reederei KG scheme appear to show the ship and cargo in worse condition than previously.

But the fire is under control although smoke is still pouring from cargo hold seven immediately ahead of the accommodation.

A list that reached 11 degrees has been reduced to 2.5 degrees by pumping water from the cargo holds into the ballast tanks.

NSB Niederelbe is still trying to find a sheltered coastal area or port of refuge to continue the salvage operation but after two weeks has had no success.

The company’s chief executive, Helmut Ponath, has described it as “shocking” that no European country appears willing to provide a refuge for a German flag ship.

The Swedish Club leads the hull cover of the MSC Flaminia with a 25% share and is also the ship’s protection and indemnity insurer.

Source: Tradewinds

General average can be a nasty surprise to cargo owners, particularly if they have no cargo insurance. If you have any doubt about it, have a look at http://www.cargolaw.com/2008nightmare_msc_sabrina.html#GA — the contribution can exceed the value of the cargo one has on board.

 

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SHIPPING: Cargo ships fail to report their position, risk disaster on Great Barrier Reef

HUNDREDS of ships have been caught breaking laws intended to prevent an environmental disaster in the Great Barrier Reef.

About one ship every two days is failing to report its position before entering the Reef, raising fears foreign crews with limited knowledge of Australian maritime law are ignoring basic rules to safeguard against an oil spill in the marine park.

Ships of 50m or more and all oil tankers must report their positions before entering the reef so their journey through its waters can be automatically tracked and a computer-generated warning issued should they stray off course.

Most of the 250 cases of ships breaching reporting laws in the past 18 months were in a section of reef where new rules were introduced following the 2010 grounding of bulk carrier Shen Neng 1.

The Chinese carrier was loaded with 65,000 tonnes of coal when it ran aground on Douglas Shoal 80km north of Rockhampton, gouging a 3km-long scar in the reef and spilling tonnes of oil.

Mandatory reporting and vessel tracking was extended to the southern border of the reef after the incident.

Australian Reef Pilots chief executive Simon Meyjes said it was another reason for mandatory pilotage of ships through the whole of the marine park.

“About two-thirds the length of the marine park does not require a pilot onboard the ship,” he said.

“A lot of ships arrive in Australia with a foreign crew with no local knowledge.

“If they are failing to do that (report) it makes the job of alerting them to a potential risk that much more difficult.”

Failing to report a position does not mean a ship has strayed from designated shipping lanes or rat run through the reef.

But it makes it harder for officials to program a ship’s intended route so a warning can be generated should it steam into danger.

Townsville-based Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service manager Mick Bishop said vessels were still closely monitored by staff using satellite-tracking.

Two staff a shift monitor 40-50 ships in the reef at any one time.

“The most important thing is that they report the route they intend to follow,” Mr Bishop said of the reporting rules.

“Once they do that we can then electronically program that into the VTS (vessel tracking service) and we would then get alerted if there was any deviation from that route that they hadn’t given us prior notification of.

“The reason (for failing to notify staff) would be they were unaware of the requirement to report. I don’t think we have people trying to sneak in.”

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/cargo-ships-risk-disaster-on-great-barrier-reef-by-failing-to-report-their-position/story-fndo45r1-1226419835047

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