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Issue 205 may/jun 2010

Search for outstanding Filipino seafarers

Los artículos en español aparecen en las páginas 6y7 Статьи на русском языке приводятся на стр. 6 и 7

ITF website for crews translated page 3 Eyes over the oceans pages 4-5 Steps to take when abandoned page 6

UK registered charity no: 212432 Scottish charity register no: SC039211

The Sea is published by The Mission to Seafarers

Editor: Gillian Ennis News: David Hughes It is distributed free of charge to seafarers through chaplains and seafarers’ centres. However, if you want to be sure of getting it regularly, send us £3.50 or $5 for post and packing and we will mail it to you for a year (six issues). It is available from: Kathy Baldwin The Sea, The Mission to Seafarers, St Michael Paternoster Royal, College Hill, London EC4R 2RL. Tel: +44 20 7248 5202 Fax: +44 20 7248 4761 Email: Website:

A RAFT of new ship designs and technologies to increase fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions are coming off the drawing board, including Det Norske Veritas’s Quantum containership concept, pictured above. One of its features is the aircraft carrier-style overhang shape to increase container capacity. See story on P3

Increased naval presence sends pirates further out to sea

Hijackings continue despite tough action T

HE number of hijackings by Somali pirates increased slightly in the first quarter of this year despite a more active approach by the world’s navies operating off the Horn of Africa. In the now very heavily patrolled Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and Arabian Sea the number of attacks dropped from 41 to 17, although the number of ships seized went down by only one, to four vessels, according to International Maritime Bureau (IMB) figures. Informed sources told The Sea that the vessels hijacked within these areas had not been sailing within the patrolled areas or with naval escorts. The increased naval presence in the Gulf of Aden and close-by areas appears, however, to have sent the pirates even further out into the Indian Ocean. One attack, on the bulk carrier Melina 1, took place over 1,000 miles out and closer to the Indian than the Somali coast. That attack was thwarted by the intervention of the Indian navy, but of 19 attacks in the Indian Ocean six resulted in successful hijackings. By early April, 12 ships and 253 seafarers were being held off the Somali coast.

Broadly speaking, as ransoms were paid and ships released others were taken in their place. In April, calmer conditions following the end of the

route to Mogadishu, which was attacked off the Somali coast some 60 miles south of Haradere. According to the EU Naval Force (EU Navfor)

THE Iranian dhow, which the pirates left without water, food or fuel, alongside the Spanish warship Navarra. (Photo: EU Navfor) monsoon appeared to spark a resurgence of pirate activity. Three more vessels had been hijacked by the middle of the month, although one, a dhow, was released within days. But while ships continue to be hijacked at much the same rate as last year, the pirates have not had it all their own way as the navies have taken an increasingly active and robust line. In some cases, too, merchant ships have successfully repulsed even very determined attacks. One example was the UAE-owned Panamaflag cargo ship Almezaan, en

the attack was successfully repulsed and the pirates broke off their attack. All the crew were reported to be well. In the case of the 36,318 dwt Turkish bulker Yasin C, which was attacked 250 miles east of Mombasa in early April, it appears the 25-strong Turkish crew thwarted the pirates by locking themselves in the machinery space and stopping the engine. The pirates caused major damage to the accommodation and the bridge was burnt out before they abandoned the vessel after two days on board. In March, the EU Navfor

Spanish warship Navarra rescued the crew of an Iranian dhow who had been left without food, water or sufficient fuel to return to shore. The men told their rescuers that pirates had boarded the vessel and kept them tied up for two days without food or water. When the pirates left they looted the vessel and also took the crew’s possessions. The warship provided the crew with sufficient food, water and fuel to ensure that that they could make it back to the nearest harbour. A few weeks earlier, in what is probably a first, a French fishing vessel collided with a pirate mother ship, sinking her. The incident happened after the Torre Giulia was attacked in early March and two other fishing vessels, the Trevignon and Talenduic, went to her rescue. EU Navfor says that the pirate mother ship collided with one of the fishing vessels and sank. The fishing vessel immediately stopped to rescue the pirates in the water. Only four pirates were found initially but a search and rescue operation, including a Spanish maritime patrol aircraft, located the remaining two pirates who were taken on board the Torre Giulia. Continued on P2

A SEARCH is on in the Philippines for “outstanding Filipino seafarers”, as a way of paying tribute to the men and women who work in the country’s maritime sector to mark the International Maritime Organisation’s Year of the Seafarer. It has been launched by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment to acknowledge seafarers’ contribution to the growth of the maritime industry and of the Philippine economy in general. In an official circular, labour and employment secretary Marianito Roque said that the award would be for Filipino seafarers in the domestic trades and the international merchant fleet. A search committee will oversee and manage the selection process for the award. Members include the administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the president of the Association of Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines, and the chairman of the Joint Manning Group.

Boost for MLC 2006 as Spain signs up IMPLEMENTATION of the International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) has received a boost with Spain becoming the seventh country and the first in the European Union to ratify it. Spain joins a group of signatories that together account for over the 33 per cent of the world fleet which is required to bring it into force. However, the MLC 2006, which consolidates international conventions on employment standards and welfare at sea, also requires the backing of 30 countries. With Spain having taken the lead, it is hoped that all 27 EU member states will sign up to it by the end of this year. It will come into force one year after reaching the required number of ratifications.

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ITF aims to put pressure on governments to address Somalia problem

Unions launch a petition for more action on piracy U NION representatives meeting in Berlin in March voted to launch a new campaign to persuade all governments to commit the resources necessary to end the increasing problem of Somalia-based piracy. Seafarers’ delegates authorised the International Transport Workers’ Fed eration (ITF) to organise a campaign that will, it is hoped, deliver half a million signatures to governments by World Maritime Day on September 23. The petition will call on nations to dedicate significant resources and work to

find real solutions to the growing piracy problem. It will also call for immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families, and for work within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people. ITF maritime co-ordinator Stephen Cotton said the vote by unions would enable a worldwide campaign to put pressure on all governments to close the gap in their antipiracy efforts. “At the end of last year we warned that a point had been reached where the af-

fected area had become too dangerous to enter, except in exceptional circumstances. We also highlighted the scandalous negligence of countries making billions from ships they are doing nothing to protect. There has been no improvement since then,” he said. “The reality is that seafarers are risking their lives transporting the world’s goods through areas that are daily growing more dangerous. That situation is not going to change without dramatic efforts to address the problems of Somalia and its people and grasp the

nettle of confronting and prosecuting piracy.” The Berlin meeting also agreed to support the use, where appropriate, of armed military personnel on ships, in addition to the commitment by flag states of naval vessels. H o w e v e r, t h e I T F r emained “firmly opposed” to the arming of seafarers. It was also “gravely concerned” by attempts to prevent the payment of ransoms and considered that it was the duty of shipowners and flag states to take all necessary measures to swiftly reunite seafarers with their families when they were held hostage.

Maersk Alabama seafarers lobby on safety A YEAR after the US flag containership Maersk Alabama was at the centre of a dramatic pirate attack off the Somali coast, many of the crew remain critical of the vessel’s master. Although the pirates managed to get on board and to capture the master, Richard Phillips, the rest of the crew initially took refuge in a secure room and then captured the leader of the four-strong pirate gang in a fight back. The crew then attempted to swap the master for the pirate they had caught, but the pirates reneged on the deal once their leader had been released and they left in the ship’s lifeboat, taking Captain Phillips with them. Four days later, Captain Phillips was freed after US special forces shot dead three of the pirates, and he was hailed by the US government as a hero. Shortly afterwards, how-

ever, steward Richard Hicks filed a lawsuit against his employer, Waterman Steamship Corporation, and Maersk Line

out when it was attacked. It appears many of the 20-strong crew blame the master for the incident because he sailed

CREW from the Maersk Alabama at a press conference in Mombasa following the attack. Photo: Reuters for knowingly sending him closer to Somalia than the into pirate-infested waters. At recommended limit. the time organisations such Sixteen crew members as the International Maritime have formed themselves into Bureau were advising ships to a group known as the Alakeep at least 600 miles off the bama Shipmates, which is Somali coast but the Maersk lobbying the US and other Alabama was about 380 miles governments to improve the

More hijackings despite navy action Continued from P1 After the incident EU Navfor issued a statement saying its units had been involved in concerted operations to interdict and disrupt pirate groups before they had the opportunity to attack vessels in the Indian Ocean. Six groups of pirates had been

intercepted, mother ships and skiffs destroyed and over 40 pirates taken into custody. Throughout March, EU Navfor continued operations in conjunction with the Seychelles Coastguard, capturing more suspects and destroying pirate craft.

IMB director Potengal Mukundan told The Sea that the navies should be commended for their actions and he particularly welcomed the targeting of pirate mother ships. But he added: “We do need more warships, especially in the Indian Ocean.”

safety of ships sailing off the Horn of Africa. Just before the anniversary of the incident, Captain Phillips published a book about it: A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea. In response, the Alabama Shipmates issued a statement strongly urging the US government, foreign governments, shipping companies and the maritime unions to work together to protect mariners at sea and bring those currently being held in Somalia safely home to their families. “While the Alabama Shipmates are disappointed with Richard Phillips’s actions in the days preceding the attack, as well as his actions over the past year, their primary concern has been, and remains, ensuring the safe passage of merchant vessels off the coast of Somalia.”

Piracy course launched TRAINING provider Seagull has launched a new computer-based package on piracy. Norwegian-based Seagull says it offers guidance on how to reduce the possibility of pirates or armed robbers getting on board the vessel, how to manage a situation where pirates or armed robbers gain access to a vessel, and provides an

understanding of how to react should pirates actually seize control of a ship. Course department manager Erik Frette said Seagull had drawn on the IMO recommendations and also on advice from Intertanko, the IMB, the Maritime Security Centre and P&I clubs when putting the course together.

Optimistic view of recovery not shared by all OVERALL confidence in the shipping industry has risen to its highest level for 15 months, according to the latest shipping confidence survey by shipping accountants Moore Stephens. Its survey revealed that owners, managers and charterers were all more confident of making a major investment over the next 12 months, while there was a noticeable rise in the numbers of respondents expecting to see an increase in freight rates in the tanker and containership sectors. Unfortunately this optimistic view is not shared by many other shipping insiders. Liner shipping is an “an industry

balanced on a knife edge,” according to Maersk Line’s director of business performance for Asia Pacific, Hennie van Schoor, speaking in Singapore in March. While many analysts have been pointing to signs of recovery in the liner business, he said it appeared that recent increased volumes had been due to restocking rather than being the result of a sustainable increase in consumer demand. He warned that the industry could still be looking for a genuine recovery and fretting over massive excess capacity in a year’s time. At the same conference, Divay Goel, director and head of

Asia operations for Drewry Maritime Services, said the dry bulk sector had held up surprisingly well due to Chinese demand, but warned that a massive amount of new tonnage was set to enter the market. Singapore Shipping Association president, Mr SS Teo, put talk of a recovery into context, saying that “despite tentative signs of recovery and a marginal increase in cargo throughput, international shipping is not really out of its doldrums yet”. He warned that the threat of overcapacity arising from new buildings coming on line over the next two years would serve to dampen freight levels.

Meanwhile, French-based shipbroker Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) reported in its annual review that, thanks to cancellations and delayed deliveries, the world fleet increased by “only” 7 per cent last year, while seaborne trade declined 3 per cent. However, BRS said the dry market still had to absorb close to 40 per cent of the existing fleet over the next three years, and for large bulkers it was 65 per cent. “Faced with an economic recovery that most experts qualify as ‘soft’, these ships will long weigh on the market and its return to equilibrium,” the broker concluded.

Hong Kong promises action after deaths THE Hong Kong government has promised to act to enforce safety standards after an official enquiry into the deaths of three seafarers on the Hong Kong-flag, 4,926 dwt tanker An Tai Jiang found the vessel was basically substandard, and said that such a ship should not have been tolerated in the Hong Kong Ship Register. Two engineers died in a machinery-space fire, probably because they did not know how to use the emergency evacuation breathing devices, although the report also says no attempt was made to rescue them before the space was flooded with CO2. Panicking crew members launched a lifeboat without the master’s authority, and when trying to get back on board a man was lost after being swept off the Jacob’s ladder. The scathing Hong Kong Maritime Department report listed a catalogue of deficiencies, including a lack of leadership, poor training, inadequate maintenance and falsified records. It concluded that its shipping division should consider “enhancing its measures to identify substandard ships more effectively”.

EU considers move to English A MOVE towards establishing English as the “working language” in all communication between ship and port was brought a step closer recently when the motion was approved by the European Parliament’s transport committee, despite strong opposition from some French and Spanish members. The committee was considering a draft European Union directive on ship reporting formalities in the European Union. The motion was put forward by Belgian Euro MP Dirk Sterckx, who admitted that obstacles still needed to be overcome.

Bridge team failure A REPORT into the grounding of the UK-flag containership Maersk Kendal in the Singapore Strait in September by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has led to moves to improve bridge resource management (BRM) training.

The MAIB investigation identified a failure of bridge teamwork, which included a lack of comprehensive passage planning, poor position monitoring and ineffective interaction, underpinned by complacency. The ship’s owner, AP Moller-Maersk, will make examination of voice data recorder data part of future navigational audits and ensure that all of its bridge team officers undergo BRM training. The International Chamber of Shipping has distributed a circular to its membership highlighting the lessons learned and strongly supporting the need for appropriate navigating officers to attend bridge team management training courses.

‘Party in the park’ in Manila THE International Committee on Seafarers Welfare is to hold a “party in the park” for seafarers in Manila on Saturday June 26 as part of its programme to promote seafarers’ welfare in celebration of, and in support for, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) designated Year of the Seafarer. The event will be in Luneta Park, a place familiar to many seafarers who gather there to look for work, on the day following the conclusion of the IMO diplomatic conference convened to finalise amendments to the IMO convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. There will be music, food, entertainment and competitions for seafarers and their families, and the party will be attended by the IMO secretary general, his staff and delegates from the conference. Local government officials and representatives of the Filipino shipping community will also take part in the event.

Oil spills hit all time low THE International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) reports that last year was the first since it started collecting data on tanker oil spills in the 1970s that it recorded no tanker pollution incidents involving more than 700 tonnes. ITOPF says that between 2000 and 2009 there were on average only three such spills a year against eight in the 1990s and nine in the 1980s. Back in the 1970s there were on average 25 major tanker related oil spills a year.

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MOL crews praised for rescue TWO woodchip carriers owned by Japanese shipping group Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), the Hokuetsu Delight and Crystal Pioneer, rescued all 64 crew and trainees from the 57-metre sail training ship Concordia when it capsized in strong winds about 300 miles southeast of Rio de Janeiro in the South Atlantic in February. The crew and trainees had to spend some 36 hours in liferafts until the two MOL vessels arrived at the scene. Those rescued included Canadian high school and university students. MOL issued a statement praising the crews of the two vessels. “Despite high winds, choppy seas, and limited pre-dawn visibility, the two woodchip carriers searched for and located the shipwreck survivors. The task was all the more difficult considering that the huge wood chip carriers are easily affected by winds and difficult to manoeuvre,” it said. “However, the highly skilled officers and crew members completed the rescue operations without any secondary injuries or damage.”

ITF seafarers’ site now in four languages IMO set to THE International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is launching its website for seafarers in three new languages - Chinese, Spanish and Russian from May 1 this year. English-speaking seafarers have already benefited from the website, which was launched 18 months ago. Among the facilities it provides is the ability for seafarers to look up a ship to check before joining if it has an ITF agreement, and when it was last inspected. It also has a discussion forum for seafarers to make contact and chat about the issues that concern them, and introductions to key issues that affect crew. Factsheets cover topics such as piracy and abandonment, and make it easy to stay informed. In addition, it offers seafarers advice on their rights, pay and conditions, contact details for ITF trade unions and inspectors and weekly industry news stories. “We’ve had some fantastic feedback from seafarers who have visited the site,” said ITF maritime co-ordinator Stephen Cotton.

agree safer lifeboat standards

“This year, with the launch of the language versions of the site, and ongoing development of the content, the

website will continue to go from strength to strength.” The website can be found at

Raft of environmentally friendly project vessels unveiled

IMO stalls on CO2 but new designs offer greener future T HE March meeting of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) made little headway against entrenched positions on greenhouse gases (GHGs), and in particular on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. An IMO statement conceded that “more work needs to be done” before it completed its consideration of the proposed mandatory application of technical and operational measures designed to regulate and reduce emissions of GHGs from international shipping. Faced with major disagreements between opposing groups of countries, the MEPC decided to set up a working group “to build on the significant progress that had been made during the meeting,” which will report back to the MEPC’s next session in September. While regulators have made little progress, technical innovation is surging ahead with a raft of new ship designs and technologies that hold the promise of substantial increases in fuel economy and reductions in CO2 emissions. Among several newly unveiled “project vessels”, Nor-

wegian classification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has published details of its new Quantum container ship concept. DNV says it is based on both technical and market research and is designed to

design increases its container capacity. Among many innovations, the need for ballast water is minimised and LNG is introduced as part of the ship’s fuel. Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL)

STENA’S large P-MAXair model, Stena Airmax transport more cargo while has also revealed another using less fuel and with a re- concept ship, the third in duced environmental impact. its series of next-generation DNV president Tor Svensen vessels, which it says will be says that, for the future of the technically practical in the shipping industry in general near future and will cut CO2 and the containership seg- emissions by 30 per cent by ment in particular, uncertain- increasing fuel efficiency. The ties will remain a challenge latest design, the ISHIN-III, is while flexibility will be a key for an environment-friendly, to success. very large iron ore carrier that, The proposed new con- MOL says, will play a key role tainership concept has a de- in future resource transport. sign speed of 21 knots, but MOL is also looking at a varican operate efficiently at ant of the ISHIN-III, the Wind speeds between less than Challenger Project, which 10 knots and more than 22 uses wind power to reduce knots. A beam of 42.5 metres emissions by 50 per cent. gives it good stability while In yet another initiative, its novel 49 metre widedeck Swedish shipping group Stena

rolled out a large vessel model as part of a Swedish krona 50m (US$6.9m) research project into the “air cushion” concept, intended to reduce fuel consumption and emissions of large tankers. According to Stena Bulk president and chief executive officer Ulf Ryde, the results of the tests carried out have been very promising. “Depending on the type of ship and speed, we expect energy savings of 20-30 per cent. This will now be verified in tests with the newly built prototype Stena Airmax,” he said. Stena Teknik has collaborated with Chalmers University of Technology and SSPA in Gothenburg in the development project and the construction of the P-MAXair model. The electric-powered Stena Airmax will be tested in the Gullmars Fjord on Sweden’s west coast in the next few months. The air cushion concept involves reducing the area of the hull surface that is in contact with the water, thus slowing down the ship. The design does this by using a cavity filled with air in the bottom of the hull. This means that the water is in contact with air instead of steel plate, thus reducing friction.

New edition of International Safety Management guide published A NEW edition of the ICS/ISF Guidelines on the Application of the IMO International Safety Management (ISM) Code has been published by Marisec Publications. The guidelines have been fully updated to take account of the latest

amendments and guidance agreed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and experience gained since the code became fully mandatory in 2002. The expanded new edition, which replaces the 1996 edition, also includes additional guidance on risk manage-

ment, safety culture and environmental management. It is accompanied by a CD version of the text with a “search” function and also includes various reference documents and a model plan for ship energy efficiency management to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

THE International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is set to approve draft guidelines to ensure release mechanisms for lifeboats are replaced with those complying with new, stricter safety standards when its Maritime Safety Committee meets in May. In February, IMO’s subcommittee on ship design and equipment agreed measures to reduce the number of accidents involving lifeboats, particularly those which have occurred during drills or inspections. The move follows guidelines issued last June on the fitting and use of fall preventer devices during drills, and is a further response to the large number of injuries, many fatal, sustained by seafarers since covered lifeboats and on-load release hooks were made mandatory in 1986. Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) will require lifeboat on-load release mechanisms not complying with new requirements to be replaced no later than the next scheduled dry-docking of the ship following entry into force of the SOLAS amendments. But governments and shipowners are to be “strongly urged” to follow the guidelines straightaway.

Pay surge for Indian officers SENIOR Indian officers on foreign-flag vessels have seen their wages almost doubled between 2004 and 2009. A report for India’s Foreign Owners’ and Ship Managers’ Association found the fastest rise occurred in 2008. Even in 2009 wages continued to rise despite the global economic crisis and the laying up of many ships, but the rate of increase slowed. Senior officer pay grew on average 16.5 per cent during the period. Junior officers’ pay rose less sharply at 14 per cent, while cadets’ pay rose by only 5 per cent.

Detained crew to get damages THE French Navy’s detention of some members of the crew of a vessel arrested on suspicion of drug running in 2002 and their transfer to France was illegal under international

law, the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed on appeal. France must pay nine former crew members of the 3,395 gt Cambodian-flag cargo ship Winner €5,000 (US$6,736) damages each and €10,000 collectively to cover their costs. In 2008 the court ruled that Cambodia’s permission granted to France to board the vessel did not give the country the right to arrest the crew and take them to France. The Greek master, the Cypriot chief engineer and two Chilean crew members were sentenced in 2005 by a French court to up to 20 years jail for drug smuggling, but the court accepted that seven other Ukrainian and Romanian seafarers were being held hostage by the smuggling gang.

Collision masters bailed THE Ukrainian and Chinese masters and two Hong Kong pilots jailed for negligence leading to 18 deaths when the offshore supply vessel Neftegaz-67 and panamax bulk carrier Yao Hai collided in 2008 have been freed on appeal. Neftegaz-67 master Yuriy Kulemesin has been allowed to return to the Ukraine until an appeal against his three years and two months sentence is heard, probably in January next year. The Yao Hai’s master, Liu Bo, and pilots Tang Dock-wah and Bruce Chun were also freed on bail in separate hearings. The judge who granted bail indicated that all four might be acquitted or have their sentences signicantly reduced.

Methanol kills three Russians THREE Russian seafarers who smuggled alcohol on to the “dry” MarshallIslands-flag 37,600 dwt product tanker Arionas in March died of methanol poisoning, according to French authorities, who had initially suspected food poisoning. The ship was on passage from Cyprus to Rotterdam when the men became ill and the master diverted to Le Havre. The three appear to have purchased the illicit alcohol ashore and taken it on board without the master’s knowledge and against company policy. Just a small glass of the adulterated liquid would have been fatal.

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Managers’ group speaks out about discrimination against seafarers INTERMANAGER, the association which represents shipmanagers, has raised concerns about a “discriminatory attitude” towards seafarers during cases of criminalisation. Addressing delegates at an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) environmental meeting in London, InterManager’s secretary general elect, Mr Kuba Szymanski, demanded to know why a seafarer should be treated differently and penalised for acts that had nothing to do with criminal negligence.

“InterManager believes these practices have an extremely damaging and dangerous effect on the shipping industry,” he said. He pointed out that the criminalisation of seafarers directly contrasted with IMO’s call to shipowners, managers and flag states to do more to encourage young people to consider a career at sea, and to work harder to retain existing seafarers. “To suppose that professional seafarers can be detained without trial is a disproportion-

ate response not justified in maritime law and totally at odds with such responses in all other professions, where an unintentional incident is treated as such and does not lead to criminal sanctions. “Seafarers continue to be penalised for acts that have nothing to do with criminal negligence.” He said that InterManager appealed to IMO delegates to raise the issue in their own countries. “Seafarers are not guilty unless proven so.”

MOU encourages joint initiatives THE criminalisation of seafarers was also an area covered by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed recently by InterManager and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which encourages the two organisations to work together in a number of areas including maritime safety and training. The MOU “identifies a significant overlap in the goals and objectives of the two organisations” in the field of shipping’s human element. It also recognises the potential

benefits of greater co-operation in areas such as criminalisation and the fair treatment of seafarers; the promotion of social communication on board ships; meeting the aspirations of young seafarers; promotion of a safety culture on board ships; ensuring that manning agencies meet the requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention; improving the image and reality of the industry; simplification of the documentation required to be carried by ships; crew/ officer training, attraction and retention; and improving

accommodation standards. ITF seafarers’ section secretary Jon Whitlow said the MOU reflected the two organisations’ focus on the care of seafarers and their belief that, with better liaison and co-operation, they could minimise unnecessary duplication of effort, improve efficiency and enhance their impact. “We have already seen what can be achieved when the industry unites on issues such as criminalisation and piracy, and we hope to build on those lessons.”

Photo competition: still time for you to enter ENTRIES are starting to arrive for The Mission to Seafarers’ life@sea photographic competition, but there’s still time for you to take part. The aim is to show something of seafarers’ lives, so your picture could be of work or leisure activities on board, arriving in port, going ashore, or different sea and weather conditions. There really is no end to the variety of what constitutes a life at sea and so all entries will be considered. They should be emailed as an attachment and can be in black and

white or colour and should be no bigger than 2MB in size. Entries must arrive by Thursday September 30 and should be sent to: and must include your name, address, email and details of the photograph, including where it was taken and what title you have given it. Make sure you enter “life@ sea competition” in the email’s subject field. One overall winner will win a top-ofthe-range digital SLR camera and ten runners up will each receive a

AIS has the capacity to put ships under constant surveillance and is opening up all kinds of possibilities. Michael Grey hopes practical and experienced mariners will have a say in the new developments


OW do you feel about being under constant surveillance from a shore-based authority? It seems a far cry from the days, not that long ago, when a ship at sea was pretty well on its own. It has happened rather faster than anyone thought, largely because of the facility of the Automated Identification System (AIS) with which all but the smallest ships are equipped, so that a shore monitoring service can now identify the ships within its radar reach. Coastal states are now equipping themselves with AIS monitoring stations, and many have let it be known that they regard this surveillance as a crucial element in their marine safety and anti-pollution agenda. They will use this newfound means of identification to regulate shipping in offshore traffic separation zones, where these are in place, provide navigational warnings and closely monitor ships which might,

because of their cargo or some other issue, represent a greater than normal level of risk. They will also be able to intervene where a ship might be seen standing into danger, heading for a known shoal, or failing to react properly in a collision situation. Of course the effectiveness of this intervention might depend upon whether the watchkeeper is actually awake; shouting down a VHF line might be insufficient to rouse a deeply sleeping and exhausted officer slumped in a comfortable chair! Something of the considerable possibilities of AIS were emphasised recently at the 17th Conference of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities in Cape Town. Although it was first conceived as a means of reducing the risk of collision between two ships, possibly in poor visibility, by enabling one to identify another, a whole host of possibilities now seem to be centred on this

useful device. It is seen as an integral part of the move to “e-navigation”, a useful electronic addition to the means of identifying a visual aid to navigation, such as a buoy or beacon, on ships’ electronic charts. It is not beyond the capability of clever electronic systems to represent “virtual” navigation marks on an electronic chart display, with obvious possibilities for pilotage where there are no visual references, or navigation marks where the conditions do not permit conventional buoys or beacons, such as in areas of thick ice. AIS could be an important element in the “promotion” of a vessel traffic service (VTS) into a vessel traffic “management” service (VTMS) that operates more proactively in the advising and perhaps even the instruction of ships it is watching. Positive identification of ships in port approaches has already enabled authorities to provide what can only be described as “remote pilot-

age”, although this remains somewhat contentious. Actually being able to identify ships enables a much more intelligent analysis of traffic to be undertaken by authorities wishing, for instance, to gauge the effectiveness of buoys and seamarks, or dredged channels. It is possible to “sort” deep draught ships and determine the risks of grounding and to examine the needs of special categories of vessel and the value of routeing information, when ship identity, rather than mere radar recording of tracks, is available. And the fact that an identified ship is under shore surveillance enables a lot of other interests to have a better handle on the movement of that ship, from the cargo interests to port agents, customs authorities and all the people who would welcome information about its progress. It has been suggested that if customs can be assured that a ship has remained within European waters, on an intra-European voy-

BY using a number of “microsatellites” that orbit the earth, ExactEarth says a global coverage of all ships will be possible, with their names, positions, course and speed available from a data centre. (Image: ExactEarth Ltd)

age, it might be possible to dispense with much of the paperwork and help promote short sea shipping.

AIS is clearly a useful tool in the hands of the security services and law enforcement, which might give

some early indication of suspicious behaviour, and it will empower search and rescue services.

How far out to sea will such oversight extend? The average coverage from a coast station is about 50 miles, but there are already satellite systems which claim to pick up AIS transponder signals and which can provide coverage over wide areas of the ocean. In Cape Town, a Canadian company, ExactEarth Ltd, claimed that by using a number of “microsatellites” in polar orbit, a global coverage of all ships will be possible, with their names, positions, course and speed available from a data centre to “authorised maritime clients”. Advantages range from the obvious facility for search and rescue and the intelligence gathering of security agencies, to the effi-

ciencies that can result from more precise scheduling as managers try to match traffic to port capabilities at any one time. Somebody, of course, will have to pay for this space-age monitoring hardware. It is one thing to have this capability for identifying ships, but another matter entirely to use it sensibly and well, and not overload those afloat. A shoreside VTS or VTMS operator might provide advice and information to a ship, but it is quite a step to contemplate such an operator assuming the powers of an air traffic controller, who takes a great deal of the responsibility for the safe conduct of an aircraft in his airspace. With such responsibility, it must be realised, comes liability, which presently rests with the master of the ship. We have come a long way in a short time, and we are still adjusting to these new facilities. Hopefully, practical and experienced mariners will have some say in how they are developed.


VIEW from MSC Hailey by second officer Sudeep Chandran: one of the early entries received by The Mission to Seafarers in its life@sea photographic competition. Mission to Seafarers’ SIM card complete with

top-up. The judging panel’s decision is final.

Philippine Coast Guard given new powers THE Philippine Coast Guard has been given tougher new powers to detain and stop unsafe vessels putting to sea. This follows the signing of a new law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that transfers control of the Coast Guard from the Defence Department to the Department of Transportation and Communications and gives it increased powers to enforce

Eyes over the oceans

maritime safety. Numerous serious casualties, with heavy loss of life over the years, are widely seen as having exposed inadequacies in the country’s maritime administration and especially co-ordination of search and rescue operations. Previously, maritime-related safety issues were split between the Coast Guard and the Maritime Indus-

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try Authority, but this caused confusion during search and rescue operations. Coast Guard head Wilfredo Tamayo says his agency now has “the authority to enforce regulations on maritime safety standards within Philippines territorial waters. “Under the law the Coast Guard can now detain, stop, or prevent from sailing or leaving port all ships or vessels that are non-compliant with safety standards, rules and regulations, or the so-called substandard vessels.” However, while it now has the powers to enforce safety regulations, some observers say it does not have the resources to do that effectively in the waters around the country’s many islands. Based on the experience of the past two decades, tackling the safety and overcrowding issues surrounding the domestic passenger ship sector is likely to remain a difficult challenge for the agency.

Seeking ways to support seafarers better Canon Huw Mosford of The Mission to Seafarers talks to Ben Bailey about his new role


HE services of The Mission to Seafarers are available to any seafarer, regardless of nationality, faith or circumstance, says the society’s new director of chaplaincy, the Revd Canon Huw Mosford. Over the coming months he will be visiting as many ports as he can to spread this message. “Some seafarers believe that our centres are places for men and women of a certain rank or faith and that’s just not the case,” says Huw. “Our chaplains are in port for everyone and are ready to assist in whatever way they can. Our centres offer a relaxing environment and I would encourage all the world’s seafarers to drop in to the centre should there be one in port and they have the time. The Mission to Seafarers is their organisation so come and be a part of us!” Canon Mosford was born in the small Welsh town of Penllergaer outside Swansea and grew up in a traditional family environment with his homemaker mother and brother and sister. Huw’s grandfather was in the Royal Navy and his father regularly spent many months at sea working as

an engineer with the Union Castle line. “I remember very well the sadness of saying goodbye to my father as he went off to sea,” says Huw. “As a young boy, I wondered when he would come home and missed him terribly. I can perfectly understand the sadness many seafarers’ families experience today as they say goodbye to loved ones.” While growing up, Huw and his family regularly attended the local parish church, where he played an active role. It was, he says, the beginning of a calling to work in ministry that just wouldn’t go away. “I didn’t have a Damascus-road experience in becoming a Christian, just a gradual realisation that there is a God and that I should become a priest,” says Huw. “It’s very fashionable nowadays for young people to get out and see the world before choosing their career path. In many ways I didn’t need to do that, because I already knew what I should become. I had wonderful support from my family and from the Church and I am delighted that everything has turned out as it has.” After leaving school, Huw studied

HUW Mosford, the Mission’s new director of chaplaincy theology at the University of Wales, Lampeter, and then went to King’s College London for further study. He was ordained in 1979, became a priest in 1980 and started life as a parish priest in Wales before being offered an exciting opportunity. “In 1982 I was appointed assistant priest to St Luke’s Church in Kingston, Jamaica. It was a huge change for me to leave Wales, but it was a wonderful opportunity. There was an enormous warmth of welcome in Jamaica and everyone was sincere in their determination

to support the church. We would regularly have 700 people at the three-hour-long services and if you didn’t arrive in time then you would have to stand for the full length of the service.” Despite not actually working in the port, Huw would often walk down to the harbour to chat to the fishermen, many of whom were in his congregation. “Because of my father’s work I have a strong affinity with the sea and a deep appreciation and respect for all who work on it. It was a good experience to spend time with the fishermen, hearing about their lives and taking an interest in their work. Of course, these fishermen would come home at the end of the day to their families, but I had a chance to see how they worked and could help them if they had any problems.” On returning to Wales, Huw worked for the Church in Wales as its world mission officer. As such he played an active role in the many missionary agencies which the Anglican Communion operates, including The Mission to Seafarers. “Sitting on the Welsh Council of the Mission gave me an insight into the work the society does in supporting the world’s seafarers,” says Huw. “I remember that my father would always speak highly of the Mission’s work and now I was able

to see how the organisation put its faith into action.” Huw had the opportunity to visit the Mission’s seafarers’ centres in Wales which, he says, gave him a better understanding of the society’s work. “There is something beautiful about the quiet but warm welcome that chaplains and staff give to seafarers with whom they come into contact. A friendly face in a centre can be all that a seafarer thousands of miles away from home needs to make him feel at ease. The dedication that our teams across the world have, coupled with their local knowledge about how to make a seafarer’s stay in port enjoyable, can be invaluable.” Huw says that one particular visit to the Mission’s centre in Swansea really helped him to understand just how vital a centre is. “A Russian seafarer came to visit and said that he had not eaten for six days. The ship he was working on had run out of food. The staff in Swansea quickly rallied round him and provided him with something hot to eat, a place where he could shower and a set of clean clothes. They then set about working to get him repatriated to his home country. The services they offered met the exact need of the seafarer concerned and that experience left a deep impression on me as it is

something which I know all of our centre staff are passionate about: caring for the shipping industry’s most important asset, the people who crew the ships, and providing a tailored response to meet their needs.” Since taking office in January, Huw has been busy travelling the world meeting seafarers and visiting the Mission’s centres and port authorities to ensure that the service the society is providing is exactly what seafarers are asking for. “It’s very important for me as director of chaplaincy not to stay in my office in London,” says Huw. “If the society is to remain effective in the 21st century, then I need to be meeting people and listening to what they have to say. The Mission to Seafarers offers a unique service to seafarers and I want to make sure that the chaplains and staff who greet them are properly trained to deal with every possible situation that they may face.” So how does Huw see his role as director of chaplaincy? “Firstly, my job is to be there for the chaplains in all of our 230 ports, to make sure that they are supported in their job. A port can be a very isolating experience for a chaplain who spends his time travelling about visiting ships. I want them to know that I am here to support them. “Secondly, I am the society’s

direct link with the Anglican Church. That doesn’t mean that I am preaching all the time, far from it! I actively seek the support of the Church across the world so that it is able to support seafarers coming to centres within its provinces. Locally based chaplains and churches have important knowledge about their areas and it’s vital that this relevant information reaches seafarers. “Finally,” says Huw, “my job is to work with the other executives at The Mission to Seafarers to ensure that we as a society are providing seafarers with the services they want in the ports where they are most needed. The shipping industry is continually assessing its shipping patterns and so we must assess how we work if we are to provide seafarers with an effective service.” This can only be done, he says, if seafarers tell chaplains what they want from organisations like The Mission to Seafarers. “We are always looking out for new ways to support seafarers, from cheaper telephone calls via the roaming SIM card to more telephone lines in our centres. Everything we offer is because seafarers want it, and I would encourage all seafarers who use our centres to get in touch and tell us what they need because only then can we continue to support them in their difficult and demanding jobs.”

6 the sea may/jun 10


Abandoned crews LAST year the shipping boom ended. After more than fifteen years of unprecedented prosperity, shipowners have had to face the realities of the global economic downturn. They have responded by reducing operations, cutting costs, and even mothballing their ships. To some unscrupulous shipowners facing insolvency, simply walking away from their ship and their responsibilities to its crew is a calculated financial option. When seafarers are caught in such circumstances, it is literally an unbelievable experience. They do not want to believe that the owners have abandoned them on a ship in a foreign port without

food, water, wages or the means to return home. Ships are rarely abandoned without some warnings. Signs of trouble include minimising preventative maintenance on board, missing pay days, reducing crew food rations, and delaying payments for ship’s supplies. Shipowners may try to buy time by getting crew to agree to postpone their payday until a new charter or other deal is arranged for the ship. It is always in just a few days that never arrive. Cutting costs on maintenance can result in port state control authorities detaining a vessel for being in an unseaworthy condition. A

shipowner in such a situation, after calculating repair costs and other obligations, may simply walk away from the vessel leaving the seafarers to fend for themselves. National and international laws, maritime insurance, and contractual obligations exist to prevent such situations, but these provisions often provide inadequate protection. It is difficult to enforce a shipowner’s contractual obligations when the shipowner has disappeared or has no assets in the jurisdiction where the ship is abandoned. Protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance covers repatriation expenses, but not unpaid wages, and

it would not be available to an owner who had failed to pay for the insurance. Flag state, port state, and in some cases, home state law, also provide for repatriating abandoned seafarers, but not for paying their unpaid wages. Port chaplains and unions can sometimes arrange for repatriation using charitable funds, but again, such funds usually do not cover unpaid wages. Seafarers are reluctant to leave their ship without having been paid their wages, believing that their vessel itself could be auctioned by a court to pay them. Under maritime law, a ship can be arrested and sold to pay its debts. But arresting a ship may not offer a viable option if the ship is not worth much or the litigation

Tripulaciones abandonadas EL año pasado finalizó el boom del sector naviero. Después de más de quince años de una prosperidad sin precedentes, los armadores han tenido que enfrentarse a la realidad de la crisis económica mundial. Como respuesta han reducido las operaciones y los costes, e incluso han puesto sus barcos en reserva. Para algunos armadores sin escrúpulos que sufrían falta de solvencia, simplemente abandonar su barco y desentenderse de sus responsabilidades hacia la tripulación fue una decisión económica que tomaron deliberadamente. Cuando los marineros se ven atrapados en una situación así viven una experiencia realmente increíble. No quieren creer que los armadores los han abandonado en un barco, en un puerto extranjero, sin comida, sin agua, sin salarios y sin medios para volver a casa. Los barcos casi nunca se abandonan sin señales previas de advertencia. Entre las señales que indican

que algo anda mal están la reducción del mantenimiento preventivo a bordo, el impago de los salarios algunos días, la reducción de las raciones de comida de la tripulación y el retraso de los pagos para los suministros del barco. Puede que los armadores intenten ganar tiempo convenciendo a la tripulación de posponer el día de paga hasta que se logre un nuevo alquiler o cualquier otra solución para el barco. El problema es que esa paga nunca llega. La reducción de costes de mantenimiento puede dar como resultado que las autoridades portuarias retengan el barco por no tener las condiciones adecuadas para navegar. En tal situación, un armador, después de calcular los costes de la reparación y de otras obligaciones, puede decidir que lo más fácil es abandonar el barco y dejar que los marineros se las arreglen ellos solos. Para evitar este tipo de situaciones existen leyes nacionales internacionales,

seguros marítimos y obligaciones contractuales, pero a menudo estas disposiciones no ofrecen suficiente protección. Es difícil hacer que un armador cumpla sus obligaciones contractuales si ha desaparecido o no tiene activos en la jurisdicción en la que se ha abandonado el barco. Los seguros de protección e indemnización (P&I) cubren los gastos de repatriación, pero no los salarios sin pagar, y no estaría disponible de todos modos para un armador que no ha cumplido con los pagos de la póliza. El país de abanderamiento, el del puerto y, en algunos casos, la legislación del país de origen, también ofrecen ayuda a los marine ros abandonados, pero no el pago de sus salarios. Los capellanes de puerto y los sindicatos a veces pueden organizar la repatriación a través de fondos benéficos pero, de nuevo, esos fondos por lo general no cubren los salarios impagados. Los marineros son reacios a abandonar el barco sin

Брошенные экипажи ПРОШЕДШИЙ год стал завершающим для бурного подъема судоходства. После более чем пятнадцати лет небывалого процветания, перед владельцами судов предстала реальность глобального экономического спада. Ответной мерой стало сокращение объема операций, урезание расходов, и даже консервация судов. Для некоторых беспринципных судовладельцев, находящихся на грани банкротства, просто бросить корабль и уйти от ответственности перед экипажем является обдуманным финансовым выбором. Для моряков, оказавшихся в подобной ситуации — это что-то совершенно невероятное. Они не хотят верить, что владельцы просто бросили их на произвол судьбы в иностранном порту, без еды, воды, жалования и средств для возвращения на родину. Суда очень редко бывают брошены без каких-либо настораживающих знаков. Признаками надвигающихся проблем могут служить: минимизация профилактических работ по техническому обслуживанию судна, несвоевременная выплата жалованья, уменьшение рациона питания экипажа и задержки с оплатой корабельных запасов. Владельцы судна могут пытаться выиграть время, добиваясь согласия экипажа на отсрочку выплаты жалованья до тех пор, пока не организован новый чартер или какаялибо еще сделка по кораблю. Это всегда всего лишь на несколько дней, которые так никогда и не наступают. Урезание расходов на техническое обслуживание может привести к тому, что органы контроля государства порта арестуют судно по причине нахождения в состоянии непригодности к морским плаваниям.

Владелец судна в такой ситуации, после подсчета затрат на ремонт и выполнение других обязательств, может просто бросить судно, оставив моряков на произвол судьбы. Для предотвращения подобных ситуаций существуют национальные и международные законы, морское страхование и контрактные обязательства, однако все эти меры зачастую предоставляют недостаточную защиту. Очень трудно истребовать исполнения контрактных обязательств владельцев судна, если эти владельцы исчезли или у них не имеется активов в той юрисдикции, в которой было брошено судно. Страховка гражданской ответственности судовладельцев (Protection and indemnity - P&I) покрывает расходы на репатриацию, но не покрывает невыплаченное жалованье, и не будет доступна для владельцев, не оплативших эту страховку. Законы государства флага, государства порта и в некоторых случаях собственного государства моряков также предусматривают репатриацию брошенных моряков, но не выплату их жалованья. Капелланы порта и профсоюзы иногда могут организовать репатриацию при помощи благотворительных фондов, но опять же, эти средства обычно не покрывают невыплаченное жалованье. Моряки неохотно покидают свои корабли не дождавшись выплаты жалованья, будучи уверенными, что их судно может быть выставлено на судебный аукцион для того, чтобы заплатить им. В соответствии с морским законом судно может быть арестовано и продано для выплаты его долгов. Но арест судна может оказаться нецелесообразным решением, если стоимость судна невелика или судебные издержки превысят сумму,

haber recibido sus salarios y creen que la nave podría ser subastada por un tribunal a fin de recaudar fondos para el pago de los salarios. Según el derecho marítimo, un barco se puede retener y vender para pagar sus deudas. Pero puede que esa no sea una opción adecuada si el valor del barco no es muy alto o si es probable que los gastos judiciales superen la cantidad que se recuperaría con la venta. Además, el proceso de la detención y subasta de un barco puede llevar mucho tiempo en algunas jurisdicciones. Se vislumbra una solución internacional y efectiva al problema de los abandonos de barcos. Un grupo de expertos de la Organización Mundial del Trabajo y la Organización Marítima Internacional ha preparado unos requisitos obligatorios para que los armadores mantengan la responsabilidad económica de pagar los salarios y la repatriación de la tripulación. Los requisitos se incluirán

вырученную от продажи. В дополнение, арест и выставление судна на аукцион в некоторых юрисдикциях может занять очень длительное время. Эффективное международное решение проблемы брошенных судов уже на горизонте. Экспертная группа Международной организации труда/ Международной морской организации подготовила обязательные требования для судовладельцев сохранять подтверждение финансовых обязательств по выплате жалованья экипажу и репатриации. Требования будут содержаться в поправках к Конвенции морской занятости (Maritime Labour Convention) 2006 года после того, как она вступит в силу. Моряки должны обращать внимание на признаки возможного банкротства судовладельцев, такие как невыплата жалованья. Они могут пытаться защитить свои собственные права, предпринимая следующие шаги:  Обратиться за помощью к капеллану порта. Капелланы могут помочь с обеспечением едой, другими предметами первой необходимости и репатриацией.  Обратиться за юридической консультацией по вопросам возможной защиты прав на получение жалованья и репатриацию, принимая во внимание судебные издержки, необходимое время, оптимальную юрисдикцию для рассмотрения дела и гонорары юристов.  Если другой кредитор арестовал судно, заручитесь юридической поддержкой для передачи требований моряков в суд. Если судно продано на судебном аукционе, оно продается без всех ранее предъявленных к нему претензий.  После того, как обеспечена защита ваших законных интересов, отправляйтесь домой. Лучше найти другую работу, чем страдать на брошенном судне.

expenses would exceed the amount recovered by the sale. In addition, arresting and auctioning a ship can take a very long time in some jurisdictions. An effective international solution to the abandonment problem is on the horizon. An International Labour Organisation/International Maritime Organisation expert group has prepared mandatory requirements for shipowners to maintain proof of financial responsibility to pay crew wages and repatriation. The requirements will be contained in amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 once it comes into force. Seafarers should watch for signs of a shipowner’s possible insolvency, such as not getting paid wages. They can try

to protect their own rights by taking these steps:  Contact a port chaplain for assistance. Chaplains can help provide food, other necessities, and repatriation.  Obtain legal advice on possible legal remedies to protect rights to wages and repatriation, taking into account litigation expenses, amount of time required, optimal jurisdiction for a case, and legal fees.  If another creditor has arrested the ship, obtain legal representation to file seafarers’ claims with the court. When a ship is sold by judicial auction, it is sold free of all prior claims against it.  Once your legal interests are protected, go home. It is better to try to find a new job than to suffer on an abandoned ship.

en enmiendas del Convenio sobre el trabajo marítimo de 2006 una vez que entre en vigor. Los marineros deben permanecer atentos a las indicaciones de posibles problemas de solvencia del armador, como el impago de los salarios. Pueden tratar de proteger sus propios derechos mediante las siguientes medidas:  Ponerse en contacto con un capellán de puerto para solicitar ayuda. Los capellanes pueden ayudar a facilitar alimentos y atender otras necesidades, así como ayudar con la repatriación.  Obtener asesoría jurídica sobre los posibles recursos legales para proteger los

derechos relacionados con los salarios y la repatriación, teniendo en cuenta las costas, la cantidad de tiempo necesario, la jurisdicción ideal para un proceso jurídico y los gastos judiciales.  Si otro acreedor ha detenido el barco se debe buscar un abogado para presentar las demandas de los marineros ante el tribunal. Cuando un barco se vende por actuación judicial, se vende libre de todas las demandas que se hubiesen presentado en su contra.  Una vez que sus intereses jurídicos estén protegidos, váyase a casa. Es mejor tratar de encontrar un nuevo trabajo que sufrir en un barco abandonado.

may/jun 10 the sea 7


Love before tradition DO you remember hearing someone sing the following words? “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find, catch me a catch… make me a perfect match.” It is from Fiddler on the Roof, the Broadway musical which opened in 1964. For many, if not for the majority of you reading this column, that show will seem like something from the Beatles era of musical history, but it’s a good story. It is set over a 100 years ago in Tsarist Russia, just before the great revolution, and centres on Tevye, his wife Golda and the matchmaker who is to meet with mum and dad and match three of their five daughters to prospective husbands. But times are changing, the old traditions are crumbling and the girls want to choose their own husbands. The eldest daughter is supposed to marry some wealthy guy but she falls in

love with a poor tailor. At the beginning, her father is not having any of it, but in the end he reluctantly gives his blessing to their marriage. How many of you fathers at sea can recall giving in to your daughter’s wishes? Many, I would suspect. Then along comes the second daughter and a repeat performance, but in her case she just goes off to marry a soldier who is in Siberia of all places. I mean no disrespect to Siberia, but Yalta is surely more romantic. The third daughter has fallen in love with a Gentile and that is unforgivable so her father refuses to give her away in marriage. The couple elope and it is decreed that her name is not to be brought up in conversation in the family home ever again. Fiddler on the Roof is a story about a good man whose traditions became more important to him than the com-

mandment to love and forgive as God loves and forgives. Tradition over love was the bone of contention. We can, without too much thought, easily skim through our Bibles and see the scribes and Pharisees in a bad light. But they were good people, dedicated Jews like Tevye, keeping the religious tradition – grace before and after meals and they were always at worship on Friday night. They turned eastward in prayer three times a day and washed their hands as a sign of piety. And today we, of whatever creed, need to follow the commandment of love and mercy so that we can avoid the conflicts of religion which can end up with the loss of innocent lives. Religion can so easily be a source of conflict rather than of harmony. From the Crusades of the past, to Northern Ireland, the Middle East and beyond, we have seen the commandment

of tradition take over from the commandment of love. Within the Christian faith itself we have seen conflicts such as whether evolution and Genesis are incompatible, whether the earth is round or flat, about the ordination of women, and much more. Some religious traditions will probably change in the coming years, but some will remain unchanged, causing those who do not conform to them to be rejected and unloved. Thank God then that he never withdraws his love for us, even when we do not live up to his expectations. St Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God, neither height, nor depth, nor principalities, nor power: nothing. Traditions are traditions and of course they have their place, but they surely must not replace the commandment of love.

El amor por encima de la tradición ¿RECUERDAN oír a alguien cantar: «Casamentera me quiero casar…»? Es de El violinista en el tejado, un musical de Broadway que se estrenó en 1964. Para muchos de los lectores de esta columna, si no para la mayoría, ese espectáculo es algo así como de la era de los Beatles en la historia de los musicales, pero es una buena historia. La trama se desarrolla en la Rusia zarista de principios del siglo pasado, justo antes de la gran revolución, y se centra en Teyve, su mujer Golda y la casamentera que se reuniría con papá y mamá para buscarle marido a tres de las cinco hijas. Pero los tiempos están cambiando, las viejas tradiciones están desapareciendo y las chicas quieren elegir a sus maridos ellas mismas. Los planes son que la hija mayor se case con un hombre rico, pero se enamora de un sastre pobre. Al principio, su padre no lo acepta pero al final, de mala gana, da su visto bueno al matrimonio. ¿Cuántos de ustedes, padres en el mar, recuerdan haber cedido ante los deseos de sus hijas? Me imagino que muchos. Después viene la segunda hija y se repite la misma historia, solo que ella se casa con un soldado que está Siberia, nada menos. No quiero menospreciar a Siberia, pero sin duda Yalta es un lugar más romántico. La tercera hija se enamora de un hombre que no es judío y para su padre eso es imperdonable, así se que se niega a darla en matrimonio. La pareja se fuga para casarse y desde entonces se prohíbe para siempre pronunciar el nombre de la hija en el hogar familiar. El violinista en el tejado es la historia de un buen hombre para

quien las tradiciones eran más importantes que el mandamiento de amar y perdonar como Dios ama y perdona. El tema de la tradición por encima del amor era el objeto de la polémica. Sin pensarlo mucho, podemos hojear nuestras Biblias y ver a los escribas y a los fariseos de forma negativa. Pero se trataba de buenas personas, de judíos devotos como Teyve que trataban de mantener la tradición religiosa, como bendecir la mesa antes y después de las comidas y siempre rindiendo culto los viernes por la noche. Oraban mirando hacia oriente tres veces al día y se lavaban las manos como símbolo de devoción. Hoy en día nosotros,

sin importar nuestro credo, debemos obedecer el mandamiento del amor y la compasión para evitar los conflictos religiosos que pueden acabar con la pérdida de vidas inocentes. Es tan fácil que la religión se convierta en una fuente de conflicto y no de armonía. En las Cruzadas, en el pasado, en Irlanda del Norte, en Oriente Medio y otros lugares hemos visto cómo el mandamiento de la tradición se coloca por encima del mandamiento del amor. Dentro de la misma fe cristiana hemos visto conflictos relacionados, por ejemplo, con la evolución y el Génesis, con el hecho de si la Tierra es redonda o cuadrada, con la ordenación de las mujeres como

sacerdotes y muchos otros asuntos. Muchas tradiciones religiosas probablemente cambien en los años venideros pero algunas permanecerán inalterables, lo que provocará el rechazo de aquellos que nos las sigan. Debemos agradecer a Dios porque Él nunca nos rechaza, incluso cuando no hacemos lo que espera de nosotros. San Pablo dice en su carta a los romanos que nada nos puede separar del amor de Dios, ni lo alto, ni lo profundo, ni principados, ni potestades: nada. Las tradiciones son tradiciones y por supuesto que ocupan un lugar importante, pero indudablemente no deben ponerse por encima del mandamiento del amor.

Любовь перед лицом традиций ДОВОДИЛОСЬ ли вам слыхать такую песенку: «Милая сваха, жениха мне найди. Ты познакомь, ты отыщи… Милая сваха, пусть в списках твоих найдется мне лучший жених»? Это песенка из бродвейского мюзикла «Скрипач на крыше», премьера которого состоялась в 1964 году. Для многих, если не большинства читателей моей колонки, это шоу кажется чем-то из битловской эры в истории музыки, тем не менее, это поучительная история. Действие происходит в царской России на заре прошлого века, незадолго до начала великой революции. Главными героями выступают Тевье, его

жена Голда и сваха, которая должна встретиться с отцом и матерью и найти женихов для трех из пяти их дочерей. Но времена меняются, старые обычаи рушатся, и девушки хотят сами выбрать своих женихов Старшей дочери предлагают выйти замуж за зажиточного человека, но она влюбляется в бедного портного. Вначале отец ничего не хочет и слышать об этом, но, в конце концов, скрепя сердце дает благословение на их брак. Многие ли из вас – отцов, находящихся в море – уступали желаниям своих дочерей? Я думаю, многие. Затем наступает

очередь второй дочери, и история повторяется вновь. Но она собирается выйти замуж за солдата, находящегося не гденибудь, а в Сибири. Я не имею ничего против Сибири, но Ялта, несомненно, была бы более романтична, чем Сибирь. Третья дочь влюбляется в гоя (не еврея), что совершенно непростительно, и отец отказывается отдать ее замуж. Девушка сбегает с возлюбленным и ее имя навсегда запрещено произносить в родном доме. «Скрипач на крыше» – это рассказ о хорошем человеке, для которого обычаи более важны, чем заповедь любить и прощать, как любит и прощает Господь. Борьба

между обычаями и любовью стала яблоком раздора. Мы можем, не слишком задумываясь, пролистать наши Библии и увидеть книжников и фарисеев в превратном свете. Однако они были хорошими людьми, убежденными иудеями, так же, как и Тевье, сохраняющими религиозные традиции – произносящими молитву до и после вкушения пищи и всегда отправляющими богослужение по вечерам пятницы. Они обращались на восток, произнося молитву три раза в день, и омывали руки в знак благочестия. И сегодня, какого бы мы ни были вероисповедания, мы должны следовать

завету любви и милосердия, с тем, чтобы избежать религиозных конфликтов, которые могут привести к потере невинных жизней. Религия очень легко может стать источником не гармонии, а конфликта. На примере крестовых походов в Северную Ирландию, Ближний Восток и за их пределы в далеком прошлом мы видим, как заповедь соблюдения традиций побеждает заповедь любви. В самой христианской вере мы видим такие конфликты, как противоречия между эволюцией и Книгой Бытия, споры по вопросам является ли Земля круглой или квадратной, можно ли посвящать женщин в духовный сан и

множеству других. Некоторые религиозные традиции в будущем, скорее всего, претерпят изменения, но некоторые останутся неизменными, становясь причиной того, что люди, не соблюдающие их, будут отвергнуты и нелюбимы. Слава Господу, что его любовь никогда не покидает нас, даже если мы не оправдываем его ожиданий. Святой Павел говорит нам в его Послании к Римлянам, что ничто не может отлучить нас от любви Господа, ни высота, ни глубина, ни чины, ни власть – ничто. Обычаи обычаями, они, конечно же, важны, но, безусловно, они не должны стать заменой заветов любви.

If you have any questions about your rights as a seafarer, or if you want more information or help, you can contact: Douglas B Stevenson, Center for Seafarers’ Rights, 241 Water Street, New York, NY 10032, USA. Tel: +1212 349 9090 Fax: +1212 349 8342

Email: or

Canon Ken Peters, The Mission to Seafarers, St Michael Paternoster Royal, College Hill, London EC4R 2RL, UK. Tel: +44 20 7248 5202 Fax: +44 20 7248 4761 Email:

8 the sea may/jun 10

Overweight seafarers lose their jobs

THE Shen Neng 1 aground on a sandbank near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: Reuters)

Master and first officer of Shen Neng 1 charged with criminal offences

Fatigue a factor in Great Barrier Reef grounding T HE Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) preliminary report into the grounding in early April of the Chinese-flag bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 on the Great Barrier Reef says her chief mate may have had as little as two and a half hours sleep in the 37 hours before the grounding. While initial fears of a serious bunker spill were not realised, with only about four tonnes leaking out, the ship appears to have caused considerable physical damage to the coral when it drove hard on to the Douglas Shoals, east of Great Keppel Island, at full sea speed. The ship was later refloated and towed to a safe anchorage. The ship’s master, Wang Jichang, and the mate, Wang Xuegang, have both been

charged with criminal offences. The most serious have been laid against the mate, who was on watch at the time of the grounding. He faces a maximum of three years jail and a A$220,000 (US$205,000) fine. The master faces a fine of A$55,000. Both men were given bail, but the mate must stay in Australia until the case is heard. Queensland state premier Anna Bligh has been quoted as saying the ship’s owner, Shenzhen Energy Group, could face fines of up to A$1m (US$920,000). According to the ATSB, the bulker’s master approved a short cut through the reef and the second mate changed the courses on the chart but not the GPS waypoints. The mate took over at 1600 after a short sleep of only 30 minutes and

after working almost non-stop since the ship had berthed in Gladstone the previous morning. He was advised of the course change and GPS omission. The ATSB says the fatigued officer missed plotting the position at 1630 and when he went to put the position on the chart at 1700 he realised Shen Neng 1 was already running aground. The incident has attracted considerable attention. This is partly because Australian public opinion is highly sensitive to any environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef Park. Also the grounding follows public anger last year at pollution caused by some 230 tonnes of oil which leaked from the containership Pacific Adventurer when some of its deck-cargo containers

New guide will help prepare for mandatory ECDIS IN a move to prepare bridge watchkeepers for the phase-in of the mandatory use of ECDIS (electronic chart display and information system) from July 2012, the Nautical Institute (NI) has published what could become a standard text on the use of electronic charts. The NI says ECDIS and Positioning by Andy Norris is intended to help paper charttaught officers to make ECDIS work for them. The NI used the March launch of the book not only to promote its publication, but also to raise unresolved issues surrounding the adoption of compulsory ECDIS. Mark Bull of the marine liability insurer, the London P&I Club, said ECDIS was without doubt a fantastic step forward in marine navigation. But he warned: “The provision alone will not solve the current ills and navigational incidents. It will allow the good to improve but regrettably will not make an ounce of difference to those who are already operating below the minimum standard.”

The NI stressed that the use of ECDIS was a total change from using paper charts, and the transition from paper charts to electronic posed a challenge for the industry, particularly for those who had no current experience of electronic charts. Important bridge procedures were, it said, significantly affected, and these required careful analysis and consideration if ECDIS-assisted groundings were to be avoided. Nick Nash, a serving master from Princess Cruises, voiced the NI’s longstanding contention that current IMO-prescribed ECDIS training was inadequate. “Mariners need to have in-depth training on this new equipment and to fully understand its limitations. Dr Norris’s book goes a long way to help achieve this. It is a well timed, needed and useful book which fully supports the institute’s view that the IMO model course 1.27 is too shallow – particularly as some training establishments have squeezed the 40-hour course into three days.”

fell overboard during Cyclone Hamish, gashing the hull and breaching a fuel tank. A few days after the incident, Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, said that it was “outrageous” that the 1993-built 70,181 dwt ship was seven and a half miles off course. However, the ship’s liability insurer, the London Club, told The Sea that the vessel was just three miles off course. Australia is unlikely to be impressed that the ship was taking a short cut. Local fishermen say large vessels sometimes cut corners when transiting the marine park. The incident has also had diplomatic repercussions, with the Chinese government calling for “just treatment” for the two accused officers, both of whom are Chinese nationals.

Warning issued about electronic chart problem SHIPS relying on official electronic navigational charts (ENCs) are at risk of running onto shoals because small areas of shallow water may not be displayed properly. T h e U K ’s H y d r o graphic Office (UKHO) has warned that ECDIS may not display some isolated shoal depths when operating in “base or standard display” mode, a fault ECDIS manufacturer Transas describes as “quite serious”. In its official warning, the UKHO says route planning and monitoring alarms for these shoal depths may not always be activated. “To ensure safe navigation and to confirm that a planned route is clear of such dangers, mariners should visually inspect the planned route and any deviations from it, using ECDIS configured to display “all data”. The automated voyage planning check function should not be solely relied upon.” The UKHO says that the International Hy-

drographic Organisation (IHO) is leading technical action to resolve the problem. Transas has amplified the UKHO warning, saying that some official ENCs depict isolated shoals as spot soundings instead of isolated dangers, as required by the IHO S-57 standard. These soundings are not shown on an ECDIS screen when utilising the base or standard display modes. To have these soundings shown, the ECDIS display should be switched to “custom” mode and the “spot soundings” layer should be switched on. The Sea understands the problem came to light when a maritime delegation visiting the UKHO expressed concern when they saw an area that they were familiar with displayed in ECDIS. The ECDIS was loaded with ENC data that was being reviewed prior to issue. In that data, a significant shoal was not shown, nor was any anti-grounding alarm activated in the ECDIS.

THE Norwegian Centre for Maritime Medicine (NCMM) withdrew the health certificates of more than 500 overweight seafarers last year, according to the International Maritime Medical Association (IMMA), which represents health professionals throughout the shipping industry. It said seafarers’ health had to be made a priority to tackle a “rising tide of obesity”. IMMA president Michael van Hall pointed out that the sea was a very dangerous place and only truly fit ablebodied seamen should be allowed on board. “It seems that the general epidemic of obesity in Western countries has hit the maritime sector too. It is the job of the shipowner or manager to make sure that sailors are fed a nutritious, non-fattening diet and have good exercise programmes available on board.” According to NCMM head Alf Magne Horneland, the majority of fitness failures were the result of crew being over the maximum body-mass index of 35, with other common problems being bad hearing, failing sight, various lifestyle-related diseases, and mental disorders.

HAL crews sue over expenses FORMER Holland America Line (HAL) crew members are suing the cruiseship company in the US courts over allegations that the company improperly deducted their airfares and repatriation expenses from their pay. Three different cases have been brought by separate groups of Filipino and Indonesian seafarers, but they make similar allegations and each could involve up to 100 individuals and US$5m in claims. HAL’s policy on repatriation costs has been a matter of dispute for some years, but a case has yet to be successfully pursued through the US courts against the Carnival Cruises subsidiary.

Inmarsat messages ‘hacked’ AMATEUR radio hackers can receive and decode potentially sensitive messages sent to ships through Inmarsat C systems, according to a Lloyd’s List report. The shipping newspaper said

it had seen examples of intercepted messages, including specific routing instructions, loading and discharge information from charterers – including cargo volumes and ports of call – and communications with a national naval force. Business consultant and amateur shipping and radio enthusiast Erik Suliman said anyone could easily buy the technology to pick up the signals and then send the data to software to decode it. “There are several internet sites offering Inmarsat C decoding software which promise the ability to fully reconstruct all Inmarsat C messages sent to ships by a preselected land earth station within the ocean region of a hacker.” An Inmarsat spokesman told Lloyd’s List that the company was aware of the situation, but that hackers could not find the position of a ship through intercepted messages.

Pollution crew may soon go home PORTUGUESE shipowner Cimpship and Spanish shipmanager Ership were indicted by a US federal grand jury and charged in April with conspiring to violate US environmental laws. However, seven seafarers who have been prohibited from leaving the US since August last year were not indicted and reports suggest they may soon be free to leave the country. The charges relate to the Cimpship-owned, Portuguese-flag, 38,830 dwt bulk carrier Niebla, which had been trading to various ports along the US Gulf Coast. It is alleged that from March 2008 to August 2009, Niebla crew members, on behalf of the owner and manager, failed to maintain an oil record book as required by federal law. If convicted, the companies each face a fine of up to US$500,000 for each of the 18 counts charged in the indictment.

Overhaul of GMDSS under way A MAJOR overhaul of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) has started at the International Maritime Organisation to bring the 20-yearold system up to date. Issues to be addressed in the review have been broken down into four areas – the functional requirements for a new system, current regulation, availability of technology, and equipment performance.

The Sea, May/June 2010  

The Sea is our bi-monthly maritime newspaper, published for seafarers. It contains the latest news and insights from the shipping industry a...

The Sea, May/June 2010  

The Sea is our bi-monthly maritime newspaper, published for seafarers. It contains the latest news and insights from the shipping industry a...