Tag Archives: transport

PHOTO: Maersk Leticia as seen from her bridge



2013/02/15 · 20:10

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: Ship brokers join fight for container weight verification

July 12 – FONASBA, the international ship brokers and ship agents federation, has given its full backing to international government and industry efforts aimed at ensuring that shipping containers for export are accurately weighed, writes Adam Flensborg Safikhany.

Readers will recall our article on June 25, which advised of an initiative being led by the World Shipping Council in concert with container shipping lines, and labour organisations in Denmark, Holland and the USA, which will be launched at the 17th session of International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC 17) in September.

The problem of under-declared and unverified containers is a serious one for ports and ships says FONASBA. A paper to be put forward at the IMO meeting revealed that in recent containership accidents, some boxes had been up to ten tonnes heavier than the manifest weight.

FONASBA general manager, Jonathan Williams FICS said: “Ship agents see the problems which inaccurately weighed containers cause ports and ships every day. It is extremely worrying that there is currently no obligation for containers to be accurately weighed anywhere along the transport chain.

One of the formal proposals to the IMO asks that body to rule in favour of a requirement to accurately weigh loaded containers. Citing safety concerns the IMO proposal is asking that the port facility and the ship have a weight verification certificate obtained by officially weighing the container.

But the European Shippers Council (ESC) disagreed, and responded to the proposal by saying that it was a “false remedy for an ill-defined disease.”

The ESC said that the “misdeclared” container weights are a small risk factor compared to more important safety concerns such as the dearth of procedures for lashing, ship maintenance and stowing. 
“We admit that misdeclaration of weights needs our attention, but oppose the idea that it’s the biggest threat to the safety of workers in the supply chain. If the sector is truly looking for a safer supply chain, all parties should take their responsibility,” said the ESC statement.

World Shipping Council president and ceo, Chris Koch welcomed FONASBA’s support for the initiative and said the Council and the other partners were looking forward to the Federation’s input to the discussions in IMO and elsewhere.

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MARITIME: Guidelines to Master-Pilot Exchange

The text below was produced by the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association and published on their site. I understand that not all guidelines may be applicable to pilotage districts elsewhere; still, I regard them as a welcome contribution of the Canadian pilots to the matter of pilotage and maritime safety.

In accordance with Annex 2 of the International Maritime Organization’s Resolution A960 on Pilotage – “Recommendation on training and certification and on operational procedures for maritime pilots other than deep sea pilots” – each pilotage assignment should begin with an information exchange between the pilot and the master. Each pilot group is encouraged to develop, in collaboration with its regional pilotage authority, a standard practice for the exchange of information, taking into account statutory requirements and best practices in the pilotage area. Pilots should consider using an information card or checklist (a “MPX Card”) to ensure that essential exchange items are covered. The card should supplement and assist, not substitute for, the verbal information exchange.

The following is offered as guidance for the development of standard practices for the exchange of information between the master and the pilot regarding navigational procedures, local conditions and rules, and the ship’s characteristics.

Initial conference

The initial conference is an opportunity not only to exchange information that the pilot and master each needs, but also for the pilot and the master to establish an appropriate working relationship.

The amount and nature of the information to be exchanged in the initial conference should be determined by the specific navigation demands of the pilotage assignment. This information should typically include: the ship’s navigational characteristics and equipment; plans and procedures for the anticipated passage, special conditions that may be expected during the passage; the characteristics and number of tugs to be used, as appropriate; and the language to be used on the bridge and with external parties.

For some assignments, particularly those involving a long run or difficult maneuvers at the beginning, not all relevant information must, or should, be exchanged in the initial conference. Additional information can be exchanged as the assignment proceeds and communication should be understood as a continuous process that generally continues for the duration of the assignment.

MPX Card

The pilot should give the MPX Card to the master at the time of the initial conference and use it as the basis for discussion during the conference.

The Card should include information specific to navigation in the local pilotage area as well as the instructions or requests concerning the pilot’s needs from the master and crew.

When presented by the master and crew with “pilot cards” containing the characteristics or operational condition of the vessel, pilots should keep in mind they are under no obligation to sign or initial such documents and that a signature could be construed as a form of confirmation of the condition of the vessel.

Absent or unwilling master

An effective exchange requires the participation of a master who is present, is willing, and has sufficient skills, knowledge, and language proficiency to provide the information needed by the pilot and to understand the pilot’s instructions.

If the master or bridge crew fails to provide the information needed by the pilot or if an unsatisfactory exchange leads the pilot to doubt the ability of the master or crew to perform the navigation duties normally expected during the assignment, the pilot should use his best professional judgment to determine whether it is safe to proceed with the assignment.

If a pilot determines that an assignment can safely proceed despite an unsatisfactory exchange, the pilot should adjust his pilotage practices accordingly and report the master’s refusal to engage in an exchange or to provide required information.

If a pilot determines that it is not safe to proceed with an assignment due to an unsatisfactory exchange, the pilot should refuse to proceed, advise the master/bridge crew on anchoring the vessel or take other steps to secure the vessel’s safety, and notify appropriate authorities by the best means available.

Conduct of the vessel

The MPX Card and the initial conference should clearly convey that, under Canada’s Pilotage Act, no person other than a pilot licensed for the compulsory pilotage area where the assignment takes places may conduct the vessel (Subsection 25 (1)).

The exchange should also underline that the only situation where a person other than the pilot – this being the master – can legally take conduct of the vessel is if he has reasonable grounds to believe that the pilot’s actions are endangering the safety of the vessel. It should be added that, in this event, the master must file a report with the pilotage authority within three days, setting out his reasons.

The exchange may also emphasize that, with the exception of the singular situation described above, the authority to make decisions related to the conduct of the vessel is entrusted solely with the pilot and that no other person, including representatives of the owner, the charterer, the underwriter, the shipper, or their agents, may interfere with the conduct of the vessel by the pilot and related decisions or hinder the discharge of his duties.

Use of auto-pilot and auto-tracking systems

The MPX Card and initial conference should clearly convey that an autopilot or auto-tracking system may only be used with the express consent of the pilot and that, in those situations when such systems are used, a qualified helmsman shall be ready, at all times and without delay, to take over steering control.

Passage planning

In accordance with the IMO’s Resolution A960, plans and procedures for the anticipated passage should be discussed during the initial conference, with the understanding that any passage plan is only a basic indication of preferred intention and that – pilotage being a dynamic exercise – both the pilot and the master should be prepared to depart from the plan when circumstances so dictate.

Portable pilot units (PPU)

In those cases where pilots carry aboard a portable pilot unit, they should advise the master and bridge crew of how the system will be used.

Ships calling on a regular basis

The information exchange should not be abandoned for vessels that call on a frequent basis; such vessels have the potential to induce complacency.

Pilot-to-pilot transfer

The transferor pilot should request the master’s presence during the transfer.

Recognizing that the circumstances of many pilot-to-pilot transfers do not allow much time for extensive discussion among the pilots and the master, pilots should focus on quickly exchanging the most critical information, including any unusual handling or operational characteristics of the vessel.

Where practical, the transferor pilot should repeat to the transferee pilot information previously provided to the master, in the master’s presence, and ask the master to confirm that the information is correct.

Training in the Master-Pilot Information Exchange

The master-pilot information exchange should be an important focus of initial and continuous training for pilots.

Initial training should cover statutory requirements, recognition of language and cultural impediments to effective communication and techniques for overcoming those, and best practices in the pilotage area.

Continuous training should review initial training items and examine new practices and studies dealing with the subject.


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BRAVE NEW WORLD | Dangers as the Vale-China row escalates

From Tradewinds, 2012.05.11

Harsh lessons need to be learned as China’s anger escalated this week over the fleet of 400,000-dwt “Valemax” vessels being built and now operated by the Brazilian miner.

In an intriguing twist to an already extended saga, which could be a parable for our times, Cosco has rounded on Vale for allegedly boycotting its dry-bulk fleet. The blacklisting is in apparent retaliation for what Brazil believes is Cosco’s – and China’s – discrimination against its new fleet of super-bulkers.

It pits one of the world’s biggest commodities producers against a leading shipowner and operator, which just happens to be a state-owned arm of the world’s largest importer and second-biggest economy. Put so bluntly, it is hard to overstate its potential significance.

Cosco president Ma Zehua has threatened to complain to China’s ministry of commerce over what he believes is Vale’s retaliation for government lobbying he says has not happened.

Vale has yet to confirm the boycott but has apparently shunned chartering Cosco ships for around two months, even at times taking higher-priced alternatives.

Vale has already seen some of the 10 Valemax vessels delivered refused entry to Chinese ports on thinly argued “safety” grounds, although some independent experts acknowledge the risks of such large ships in China’s shallow coastal waters.

Vale has set up a transhipment point in the Philippines in an expensive solution that clearly undermines the potential savings of building and operating such giants in the first place.

In response, Cosco’s Ma continues to peddle the fear of “a growing number of [future] safety problems” without any hint of the specific issues, let alone any solutions — which is rather ironic as 20 of the current proposed fleet of 35 Valemaxes are being built at Chinese yards.

Attitudes on both sides appear by turns authoritarian, naive and now increasingly embittered. It is not a pleasant picture with worrying implications for all.

The central message the outside world needs to understand is that commerce and state remain firmly intertwined in modern China, despite apparent modernisation. Until those links are fully broken, it is wise to presume that the two remain cyphers for the other.

Further, no one should underestimate China’s desire to take complete control of its supply chain. If that means breaking the power and influence of any supplier — either of commodities or ships — then that’s what it will do.

It is another chapter in the story of China remodelling the world to its own needs and expectations. China believes the choice is clear: you are either with it or against it.

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MARITIME SAFETY | Preventing duck boat tragedy would not have taken much

Excerpts from http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-13/news/31690185_1_oxygen-for-eight-minutes-robert-mongeluzzi-duck-boat:

Ten feet.

Had Matthew R. Devlin walked that far, he could have alerted his tugboat captain that he was experiencing a family emergency, in all likelihood saving the lives of two Hungarian tourists who died in the July 2010 duck-boat accident.

One minute.

Had Devlin, the first mate, kept watch as the tug pushed a 250-foot barge down the Delaware River, that is all the time he would have needed to turn his boat to avoid the collision that killed Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Szabolcs Prem, 20.

Two lives were lost because of failures both small and epic that day, leading to a $17 million settlement Wednesday for the families and 18 surviving passengers when the federal lawsuit suddenly ended after less than two days of testimony.


Devlin, who is serving a one-year prison sentence for the maritime equivalent of involuntary manslaughter, said in his deposition that he often talked on his cell at work.

“You weren’t some rogue employee who was using your personal cellphone while on watch while no one else did it. … In fact, you were doing what everybody else did, right?” Mongeluzzi asked Devlin.

“Yes,” Devlin replied.

He also testified that hearing about his son had caused him to stop thinking clearly.

His deposition makes painfully clear how little it would have taken to prevent the accident. Devlin knew that K-Sea’s policy was to alert another crew member if he was experiencing a problem.

“How far away was the captain’s cabin from where you were,” Meehan asked.

“Ten feet,” Devlin responded.

“Could you have easily called the captain?” Meehan continued.

“If I was thinking clearly, yes,” Devlin said.


Mongeluzzi also argued that evidence showed repeated failures by Ride the Ducks. The company’s air horn, which could have sounded a warning to Devlin, did not work because Capt. Fox had turned off the engine.

Fox also did not tell passengers to don life jackets until moments before the collision, even though the duck had been stranded on the water for about 12 minutes.

In his deposition, Fox said he did not believe his passengers were imperiled until moments before the barge hit. He feared that passengers would become uncomfortable or sick if they put on life vests.

“I didn’t need anybody passing out or having anybody having heatstroke or any related heat issues,” Fox said.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended Fox’s maritime license for five months because he did not ask passengers to don life jackets and because he failed to call the Coast Guard when the duck boat was stranded.

Read more at http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-13/news/31690185_1_oxygen-for-eight-minutes-robert-mongeluzzi-duck-boat

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ARGENTINA | Divers find four more bodies in sunken vessel

From Buenos Aires Herald, 2012.05.13

Prefecture divers found four more bodies belonging to helmsman Marcelo Osvaldo Córdoba, chief engineer Felipe Aguirre, sailor Cristian Marmet and José de la Fuente Sequeire, all members of the missing crew of the vessel “Río Turbio,” which collided with Paraguayan tug “Ava Paraguya” on the Parana de las Palmas river.

So far six fatal victims have been found in the wreckage: Ciriaco Rodríguez, Gustavo Caracciolo, Felipe Haroldo Aguirre, Marcelo Osvaldo Córdoba, José Mario de la Fuente Sequeire and Cristian Ariel Marmet.

A Prefecture spokesperson announced that divers had found the bodies in the kitchen of the submerged ship.

The accident, which took place in early Saturday morning, resulted in at least four people dead when the two vessels collided. 

Earlier, divers recovered the bodies of captain Gustavo Caracciolo and first officer Ramón Ciriaco Rodríguez.

The collision took place yesterday at 4am between the Argentine sand barge “Río Turbio” and the Paraguayan tugboat “Ava Payagua.” The Argentine vessel sank as a result of the accident and seven of its eight-member crew went missing.

After the distress call, the Coast Guard deployed boats, coast guards and divers to the scene to try to rescue the missing sailors.

Apparently, the Paraguayan boat was not able to complete a manoeuvre and crashed into the sand barge, which was completely loaded. One of the Argentine sailors managed to swim to the surface of the Paraná River after the collision, while his seven colleagues disappeared.

The Coast Guard issued a press release reporting that the overall length of the “Ava Payagua” vessel was 32 metres and it was carrying containers. For its part , the Argentine ship was 82,72 metres long.

Security Minister Nilda Garré “is supervising the search and rescue operation,” and she “is in contact with the rescue teams working in the area,” the statement added.

The only member of the crew who managed to escape and was rescued by two teams of divers suffered “hypothermia” and was therefore hospitalized.

A 12-member crew was travelling on board the Paraguayan vessel but only three of them, those who commanded the ship, were taken into custody and remained in in solitary confinement, Coast Guard commander Sergio Gaetán told the press.

“Those under arrest are the captain of the boat, the “baqueano” (the maritime pilot) and the helmsman and the case will be presided over by the Zárate-Campana courts,” said Gaetán, who is in charge of the Zárate area.

The officer reported that the tugboat “was withheld in order to carry out expert studies.”

Gaetán did not comment on whether there was negligence by the Paraguayan crew. However, colleagues of the seven sailors who were still missing demanded “more professionalism” from their Paraguayan counterparts.

Captain Juan Carlos Pucchi and SOMU (Maritime Workers Union) union leader Leonel Abregú said that the area where the accident took place “is highly transited and, therefore, highly trained professionals are required.”

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