Above Board

Maritime news from the seven seas


As of Jan 18, 2017, seafarers working onboard ships will have a way of being financially compensated should they suffer a long-term illness or disability in the line of work. Amendments to the Maritime Labor Convention Code (MLC,2006) will require documentation to be carried on vessels that clearly state the financial security system is in place to compensate seafarers and their families should abandonment, death or long-term disability occur.

Deadly Disasters and Other Incidents

A Sunday afternoon boat tour to see the whales in Favorite Channel near Juneau, Alaska, turned dangerous when the 35-foot Big Red whale watching vessel began taking on water. Luckily, several nearby vessels and Coast Guard Sector Juneau were able to swiftly respond. Their combined efforts successfully rescued 16 passengers and two crew members, with just one minor injury reported. The crew were hailed for their quick decision to get life vests on everyone on board.

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A New York ferry crashed into the Paulus Hook dock on the Hudson River, injuring 17 of the 57 people on board. The Peter R. Weiss vessel, which reportedly was travelling fast when the accident happened, incurred no damage.

A routine pilot transfer was anything but in the UK Port of Milford Haven, when the St. Davids pilot vessel hit the LNG carrier Lijmiliya hard. Three of the five crew on board the pilot boat were injured and sent to hospital. The St. Davids sustained major damage, but no pollution occurred during the incident.

A starboard engine failure aboard the Boston Harbor Cruises vessel Regency resulted in the ship careening into three other company vessels, including another cruise vessel, the Codzilla passenger speed boat and a water taxi. Thankfully, there were no injuries. The Codzilla and Regency vessels will have to undergo repairs.

In Bermuda, at King’s Wharf in Dockyard, a lifeboat drill aboard the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship turned deadly after the craft fell into the water, as a result of a broken tether. There were four crew on board the lifeboat at the time; one died as a result of his injuries; the three others ended up in the hospital.

Piracy Pulse

In Nigeria, four pirates brandishing long knives took a duty pumpman hostage after boarding a product tanker that was berthed. The robbers were able to steal some of the cargo, filling their getaway vessel before letting their hostage go and escaping.

In Indonesia, another hostage-taking incident, this time with a group of six knife-wielding bandits, resulted in the stealing of ship’s spares and some crew personal effects. The Oiler of the berthed product tanker was subsequently released before the thieves made off with their loot.

In The Congo, at Pointe Noire Outer Anchorage, two would-be thieves were thwarted in their attempt to take items from the bosun’s store after they were able to get aboard an anchored bulk carrier. The alarm was raised and piracy watch crew members were able to head the robbers off. Afterward, it was found that nothing had been taken.

Odds and Ends

A new Jones Act Division of Enforcement (JADE) office was recently opened through the US Customs and Border Protection agency in New Orleans. Its prime directive is reportedly to be an industry resource that can provide answers to questions about what is and isn’t allowed under the Act. Education and outreach is also part of the plan.

An 1803 shipwreck has been found in Lake Ontario. The Washington, reportedly one of the Great Lakes’ oldest wrecks, was discovered by a team of experts using an ROV. The 53-foot sloop encountered a wicked storm on its way from Kingston to Niagara when it foundered and sank on October 6. Everyone aboard perished in the tragedy.

The first month of Neopanamax business at the Panama Canal saw 55 vessels transit the new locks. Containerships dominated the numbers at 29, followed by a total of 22 LPG tankers, two LNG carriers and two carriers.


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