‘CRUCIAL maritime sector must be protected after Brexit!’ – Industry boss warns Government

THE UK GOVERNMENT needs to make sure the “crucial” maritime sector is protected from possible Brexit negative effects.

Maritime UK chairman David Dingle said the group is going to push the Government to ensure the sector is protected after Brexit.

The group brings together UK shipping ports, and the marine and shipping industry to promote the sector’s activities.

He said: “We are a crucial component of British success after Brexit and that’s really the message we want to drive home.

“It’s really really important that we as an industry give clear messages to the Government as to what we expect.”

The British maritime industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs globally.

It also contributes around £22.2billion to the UK GDP.

Mr Dingle said: “The maritime sector – be it shipping or off-shore sector, be it the professional maritime services in this country, our ports or our contribution to maritime tourism – is the engine of UK trade.”

After the 2016 EU referendum, sector representatives have expressed their concern over possible effects Brexit could have on the industry.

Guy Platten, chief executive officer for the UK Chamber of Shipping, said he was particularly worried about lengthy customs checks.

He said: “It can take up to an hour for a truck now, multiply that by 8,000 a day and you can see what happens.

“It is going to be an absolute disaster for the ports and for our sector as well.”

Royal 16 Crew Member Escapes Abu Sayyaf

A Vietnamese crewmember kidnapped from the bulk carrier Royal 16 last November has escaped and been rescued by military forces in the Philippines.

Do Trung Hieu, along with five others, was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf terrorists after the 5,610dwt Vietnamese bulk carrier was boarded by 10 armed men off Sibago Island in the Philippines. The abductees included the master, the deck officers, the bosun and an A/B.

Hieu, 33, is the second seafarer to be rescued without ransom being paid. Hoang Vo, 22, escaped from his captors in June. The bodies of another two of the crew were found decapitated in July, and one other was reportedly killed by gunfire, leaving the whereabouts of one seafarer unknown.

“The rescue was a result of the maximized conduct of intelligence operations and the successful airstrike mission launched by our troops on the ground,” said task force group commander Col. Juvymax Uy. “Do Trung Hieu was rescued by troops as the bandits were forced to leave their stronghold, which was being targeted and overrun by our operating troops.”

The Philippines military says that 18 hostages remain in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in the southern region of the country, 14 of whom are foreigners.

Abu Sayyaf formed in the 1990s with money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. The militants have divided into factions with one, that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, battling security forces since May in Marawi, the largely Catholic nation’s leading Islamic city.

Last week, the Philippines military killed Salvador Muktadil, an infamous Abu Sayyaf leader linked to several high-profile abductions, but the militants continue to occupy parts of the southern city despite an on-going U.S.-backed military offensive. As of Sunday, 583 militants, 129 soldiers and 45 civilians have been killed, and dozens are believed to be held hostage. Nearly 400,000 people have been displaced.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire southern region of the nation under military rule. The U.S. and Australia have been providing intelligence help, and Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore have vowed to intensify efforts to stop the spread of terrorists across regional borders.

HMS Queen Elizabeth: Carrier arrives in Portsmouth

The UK’s new £3bn aircraft carrier has docked in its home port.

HMS Queen Elizabeth entered Portsmouth Harbour for the first time at about 07:10 BST following extensive preparations at the naval base.

The 65,000-tonne ship has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Rosyth dockyard in Fife, where it was built, in June.

The 900ft (280m) long carrier cannot currently deploy planes but flying trials are due to begin next year.

Live: New aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in home port

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Spectators gathered on the shoreline to watch the ship’s arrival and a no-fly zone has been put in place to prevent the flying of drones around the harbour.

Road closures are in place in Old Portsmouth, Southsea seafront and parts of the city centre.

Isle of Wight, Gosport and cross-channel ferry services also have altered timetables.

Preparations for the arrival of the future flagship of the fleet, and its 700 crew, saw more than 20,000 items ranging from a human skull to sea mines dredged upfrom Portsmouth Harbour.

 The Ministry of Defence said specialist dredging vessels had removed 3.2m cubic metres of sediment – the equivalent to 1,280 Olympic swimming pools – during the dredging operation carried out to deepen the harbour mouth to enable the Queen Elizabeth to reach Portsmouth naval base.

Speaking on board before the journey in to Portsmouth, Capt Jerry Kyd said he felt a “huge amount of pride” ahead of the vessel berthing in its home port.

“It sends the right signals to our allies and indeed potentially to our enemies that we mean business.

“The armed forces are fundamentally an insurance policy for the country and you can’t just, at the flick of a switch, decide that you need these capabilities.”

The ship has been undergoing sea trials off the Scottish coast and sailed with the USS George HW Bush and her carrier strike group, during Exercise Saxon Warrior earlier this month.

F-35B Lightning fighter jets are due to make their first trial flights from the carrier’s deck next year with 120 aircrew currently training in the US.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Analysis: Jonathan Beale BBC News correspondent

HMS Queen Elizabeth is still far from being a fully functioning aircraft carrier. But she now looks and feels less of a giant construction project and more like a warship. For the last seven weeks she’s been undergoing sea trials.

They’ve tested everything from the propulsion system to the sewage processing plant. The ships five galleys have been churning out more than 3,000 meals a day for the 700 crew and additional contractors on board.

According to the Captain, Jerry Kyd the tests have gone “really well” for what he admits is a “prototype”. But even he suggests that they’ll need more manpower when she’s fully operational. The slightly larger US Nimitz class carriers have a crew of more than 4,000.

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first deployment is still a long way off. Though helicopters have been landing on her massive deck- the size of three football pitches – it will be another year before the new F35s will begin flight trials. And HMS Queen Elizabeth won’t be fully operational until 2023.

Sage Sagittarius inquest: ‘death ship’ crewmen were victims of foul play, coroner finds

A Filipino chef and an engineer who died in quick succession on a bulk freighter dubbed the “death ship” both met with foul play, a coroner has found.

The coroner also said the evidence “strongly suggests” the ship’s captain, Venancio Salas Jr, either “caused or authorised” the disappearance of the chef or withheld information from the inquest. The coroner noted that she had come to this conclusion despite the fact Salas had cooperated with the inquest by giving evidence on three separate occasions.

Experienced sailor and head chef Cesar Llanto, 42, disappeared from the ship in unusual circumstances in late August 2012, while it sailed along international waters off the Queensland coast.

Two weeks later, when the ship was in Newcastle harbour, engineer Hector Collado, 55, was found dead on board.

The deaths were both considered suspicious but the crew was largely reluctant to provide information to the Australian authorities.

No charges were laid and an 11-day inquest was held in New South Wales.

The inquest heard the ship’s captain was selling guns to the crew and the culture on board was marked by bullying, harassment, silencing and “blacklisting”.

On Wednesday, the deputy state coroner, Sharon Freund, found Llanto had died either after being thrown overboard or killed on the ship and his body then later disposed of “by a person or persons unknown”.

Two weeks later, Collado was struck over the head by a weapon, again by person or persons unknown, and was either then thrown or fell over the handrail outside the ship’s storeroom on the second deck.

A third man, Kosaku Monji, 37, was crushed to death in a conveyer belt in October 2012, while the ship was docked at the Japanese port of Kudamatsu. The coroner’s court had no jurisdiction to make findings on the death of Monji, as it occurred in a Japanese port, but noted that the Japanese coast guard had deemed his death an accident with no suspicious circumstances.

There were tensions on board the shipbefore the deaths, the inquest heard.
It heard that a mess officer, Jessie Martinez, was the subject of bullying and intimidation because of his homosexuality and junior status on the vessel.

But when Llanto joined the ship, the bullying eased. The crew believed Llanto was related to Martinez, and there was evidence that Llanto had acted as the man’s “big brother figure”.

Martinez was assaulted three times by the ship’s captain, the inquest heard, and fellow crew members had told him to complain to the union and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority once the ship was in mobile phone range. Another crew member was preparing to make the complaint on Martinez’s behalf.

The inquest heard Salas became aware of the plot to report him before Llanto’s death.

Audio recordings from the ship’s voyage data recorder (VDR) system were also deliberately deleted on the day of Llanto’s disappearance, the coroner found.

“This fact, in combination with other evidence, suggests strongly to me that Captain Salas caused or authorised the disappearance of Mr Llanto, or that he had knowledge about the circumstances of his disappearance beyond that to which he acknowledged at the inquest,” the coroner wrote.

The disappearance of Llanto caused a climate of fear on board the vessel, the inquest heard.

The second victim, Collado, had expressed fears for his safety. Collado was a potential witness to the circumstances behind the Llanto death, the inquest heard, and Salas had a “particular interest” in speaking with him about changing his statement, the coroner said.

Freund found the two deaths were likely linked. She found there was no direct evidence as to who caused the death of Collado.

“However, it would be an extraordinary coincidence if the [persons] who caused Mr Llanto’s death were not also responsible for Mr Collado’s death,” she wrote.

Sage Sagittarius carried a Panamanian flag, which is a “flag of convenience” allowing the ship owner to operate principally under the regulatory framework of the flagged nation.

Outside the court on Wednesday, Dean Summers, the national co-ordinator for the International Transport Workers’ Federation, said the flag-of-convenience system made workers vulnerable.

The coroner said the inquest highlighted the very significant practical impediments created by a disappearance or a death on board a foreign-flagged vessel.

The AFP and New South Wales police used their best endeavours to investigate the disappearance and deaths, she said.

But their challenges included interviewing members of the crew – all Filipino nationals and most needed an interpreter – who apparently felt intimidated or scared about what had happened.

Her recommendations included considering the establishment of a permanent standing group, with members from at least the AFP, NSW police, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Such a group would liaise, contact and assist with any investigation of the death or suspicious death on board, or disappearance from, an international vessel in or bound for Australian waters.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/31/sage-sagittarius-inquest-death-ship-crewmen-were-victims-of-foul-play-coroner-finds

Manchester Arena attack: 22 dead and 59 hurt

Twenty-two people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in a suspected suicide attack at Manchester Arena.

The blast happened at 22:35 BST on Monday at the end of a concert by the US singer Ariana Grande.

Greater Manchester Police said the lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated.

Relatives are using social media to hunt for missing loved ones.

Police have set up an emergency telephone number in response to the attack. It is: 0161 856 9400.

Sixty ambulances attended the incident and those wounded are now being treated at six hospitals around the city.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was “the most horrific incident” Greater Manchester had ever faced.

He said the “fast-moving investigation” was now working to establish whether the attacker “was acting alone or as part of a network”.

Eyewitnesses described seeing metal nuts and bolts among the debris, and spoke about the fear and confusion that gripped those caught up in the events.

Andy Holey, who had gone to the arena to pick up his wife and daughter, said: “An explosion went off and it threw me about 30ft from one set of doors to the other set of doors.

“When I got up I saw bodies lying on the ground. My first thought was to go into the arena to try to find my family.

“I managed to find them eventually and they’re OK.”

Emma Johnson said she and her husband were at the arena to pick up her children, aged 15 and 17.

“We were stood at the top of the stairs and the glass exploded – it was near to where they were selling the merchandise,” she told BBC Radio Manchester.

“The whole building shook. There was a blast and then a flash of fire afterwards. There were bodies everywhere.”

The explosion occurred shortly after Ariana Grande left the stage at the arena – the city’s largest indoor venue with a concert capacity of around 21,000.

Grande – a 23-year-old American TV teen actress-turned-singer – has a strong following among teenage girls and children.

She tweeted: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was “a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable”.

The prime minister is to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee at around 09:00.

Political parties have suspended general election campaigning.

Manchester explosion
Image copyrightPETER BYRNE
Image captionArmed officers rushed to the scene on Monday night
Manchester explosionImage copyrightPETER BYRNE
Image captionParamedics treated dozens of walking wounded, including some with shrapnel injuries
Young concert-goersImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionShocked concert-goers returned to the arena on Tuesday morning to lay flowers

The blast occurred close to the entrance to Victoria train and tram station. The station has been closed and all trains cancelled.

Police also carried out a precautionary controlled explosion in the Cathedral Garden area of the city at about 01:32. The force later confirmed it was not a dangerous item.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the city would “pull together”, adding: “That’s what we are. That’s what we do. They won’t win.”

Search Team Finds Human Bones in Sewol’s Cabins

On Wednesday morning, a search team recovered two fragments of what is believed to be human bone from within the wreck of the ferry Sewol.

According to South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the team found the remains during a search of passenger cabins towards the stern on the fourth deck – an area where students had been berthed on the Sewol’s final voyage. A ministry official told media that the National Forensic Service examined the remains on site, and they are “presumed to be from humans.” The bones have been sent for DNA analysis to confirm their origin, a process that may take up to a month to complete.

An earlier announcement of the recovery of bones from the Sewol created a minor controversy when forensic scientists determined that the find was actually the remains of an animal. Still, the search has been productive: the ministry’s tally shows that to date, the teams have recovered nearly 1,200 personal items and over 750 fragments of bone (though the two bones recovered Wednesday are the first from the wreck itself that are believed to be of human origin). In addition, a dive team recently found what is believed to be a piece of bone from a human shin at the site of the sinking.

Over 300 passengers and crew were lost in the Sewol’s sinking, and nine bodies remain missing. The victims’ families successfully petitioned the South Korean government to raise the wreck in one piece, allowing investigators to search for the last missing bodies and to examine the wreck for any further evidence related to the disaster. It was the deepest lift of a complete hull ever carried out.

Separately, Kim Chang-joon, the chairman of a recently formed investigative committee that is overseeing the search, told CBS Nocutnews that his team recovered an electronic chart plotter from the Sewol’s wheelhouse. He said that as it is not waterproof and has been immersed in salt water for three years, it is uncertain whether it will be of use to the investigation. A data recovery firm will work on recovering any information that might still be held in the device’s memory.

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/search-team-finds-human-bones-in-sewols-cabins

Pirates Attack Tanker Near Somali Coast

On Saturday, a product tanker was attacked at 05.7 N 048.9 E, just six nm off the coast of Somalia’s Mudug region. The attack was 30 nm northeast of Hobyo, a small port town that was once the home base of pirate leader “Afweyne’s” criminal enterprise.

According to the IMB and the UKMTO, six to ten armed pirates in a launch approached the underway tanker and opened fire. The master transmitted a distress signal and began evasive maneuvers, but the skiff continued to pursue and harass the vessel for another two hours. The pirates eventually departed and the crew and vessel are confirmed safe. One crewmember was injured during the chase.

The reports did not identify the vessel, but EUNAVFOR reports that it received a distress call at about the same time from the UAE-owned product tanker Costina. The Spanish Navy vessel ESPS Galicia was about 14 nm away, and she changed course and launched a Sea King helicopter to respond. EUNAVFOR said that the pirates fled as the Galicia approached.

Galicia’s boarding team found that the Costina’s superstructure had bullet holes from the attack, but the ship was still in suitable condition to continue to her next port of call.

EUNAVFOR boarding team member treats an injured crewmember

Boarding team departs (EUNAVFOR)

The Costina’s AIS signal was last picked up off Yemen on April 19, broadcasting Mogadishu as her destination. The reports did not discuss whether there were private maritime security contractors on board.

Somali pirates have recently shown an ability to mount hijacking expeditions far out into the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and inshore traffic might be an easier target. EU NAVFOR spokesperson Commander Jacqui Sherriff said that “this attack again highlights the need for vigilance and adherence to the self-protection measures as laid down in Best Management Practices (BMP)4. It is crucial that Somali pirates are denied opportunities to attack vessels.”

The 1984-built Costina is flagged in Sierra Leone, and has not had a PSC inspection recorded in Equasis since 2007.

Food shortages may be contributing to resurgence of piracy

In remarks at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti on Sunday, head of U.S. Africa Command Gen. Thomas Waldhauser suggested that drought and food shortages in Somalia may be a contributing factor in the recent pirate attacks in the region.

“Some of the vessels that have been taken under hijacking have had some food and some oil on them. Moreover, these particular ships have been very small in statute [sic] and really a lucrative target for pirates,” Waldhauser said. He stopped short of suggesting that the recent uptick in attacks constitutes a “trend,” but he said that U.S. forces will “continue to watch.”

The U.N. began warning of a catastrophic famine in February – “a famine on a scale we cannot imagine, if we don’t act right know,” according to U.N. humanitarian coordinator Peter de Clercq. de Clerq said that his agency had already received anecdotal evidence of deaths in Somaliland as a result of the drought.

The last round of famine in Somalia killed an estimated 260,000 people, and de Clerq said that this time could be worse. “We are seeing growing similarities to the conditions that led to the famine in 2011 though, as numbers are showing, a much larger percentage of the country is at risk this time around,” de Clerq said.

The potential impact of the drought extends across the region: the U.N. World Food Program suggests that about 20 million people in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia may be vulnerable to starvation within the next six months.

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