Fire crews fighting the blaze as the crew ran to escape (CTV News/YouTube)
A small Chinese-owned cargo ship caught fire while in a Taiwan shipyard for repairs creating some dramatic scenes as crewmembers ran for safety and one reportedly fell or jumped overboard into the harbor. After some dramatic moments, the crew and the shipyard workers were reported to all be uninjured and the fire was brought under control in about 30 minutes.
The ship is the Wan Lung, a 29-year-old ship that operates a coastal Chinese cargo service. The ship, which is currently registered in Cameroon, is approximately 300 dwt and 175 feet in length.
Not a lot of details are known about the ship but it has a checkered past having been listed in 2020 by the International Labour Organization as abandoned with ten crewmembers stranded aboard. The vessel then known as the Kumi Maru No. 3 was reported stuck on a sandbank and the crew had to walk ashore at low tide to get food. At the time, it had an expired registry from Sierra Leone. In 2021, the ITF reported contact with the crew had been lost and the ship’s whereabouts were unknown for at least 12 months.
The ship arrived at the Jong Shyn Shipbuilding yard in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on September 12 and the fire was reported to the City Fire Department around 4:00 p.m. yesterday, September 13. There was a crew of nine aboard with eight from Myanmar and one from China, as well as an undetermined number of shipyard workers on the vessel at the time of the fire.
Local reports are saying they suspect the fire might have been started while the crew was using an oxyacetylene torch to remove rust.
TV images caught images of one crewmember running along the deck possibly trying to fight the fire or find an escape route. A Coast Guard vessel docked in front of the ship began spraying water and was joined by a fireboat and the fire department crew fighting the fire from the dock.
Images showed one of the crewmembers sitting on the rail of the ship at the stern. Some reports are saying he fell into the harbor but was rescued uninjured. Some of the crew was able to make their way along with two shipyard workers to the gangway while others were trapped on the stern.
The fire was out by 4:30 p.m. but continued to smolder. The crews were unable to open the hatch fearing it would reignite the fire.
Russia may well need to seek younger ships to shift its oil as many vintage tankers from the so-called dark fleet are becoming easy red flag targets for inspectors around the world.
There are more than 700 ships operating today in what data analytics firm brands the opaque fleet, carrying Russian, Venezuelan or Iranian oil.
Among shared characteristics making them easy to spot for port state control inspectors are their age, generally above 17 years old, as well as their choice of flag, insurer, and latterly their classification society choice.
Among the underperforming ships listed by the Tokyo MOU for April, for instance, are ships classed by little-known class societies including Asia Shipping Certification Services from landlocked Mongolia, a nation that is also flagging more and more of the dark fleet. Other class societies popping up on detained vessel lists include Dalian-headquartered Union Bureau of Shipping, Belize-based Novel Classification Society, Overseas Marine Certification Services from Panama, and Yantai-based Universal Maritime Bureau.
Singapore, a vital transit point for the world’s tanker trades, has detained 33 ships for failing safety inspections so far this year, the same as for the whole of the decade through 2019, according to figures carried by Bloomberg citing data from the Tokyo MOU. April saw nine detentions, the most for any month since at least 2010.
Singapore’s maritime bodies have been spooked by the explosion a month ago today of an uninsured 1997-built aframax tanker called Pablo in nearby Malaysian waters with three crewmembers dying. Malaysian authorities remain unsure what to do with the wreck one month on.
Splash reported earlier this week on China also stepping up detentions of vintage tonnage moving Russian oil while across Europe port state control inspectors are on high alert too.
“Although insufficient documentation and safety lapses are typical for vessels operating in opaque markets carrying Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan crude, the increasing number of tankers detained in Asian ports could mark a potential shift in the attitude towards ageing vessel operating in the grey fleet,” Maersk Broker noted in its latest weekly tanker report.
“The simple fact is that a growing number of vessels that are transporting oil are insured, flagged, and classed with institutions and countries that do not provide anything like the same technical and regulatory oversight as we have come to expect whilst those providing the insurance cover lack the experience and quite possibly the financial capacity to deal with a major incident,” commented Mike Salthouse, a sanctions expert and head of external affairs at NorthStandard, a P&I club, in conversation with Splash last month.
German insurer Allianz released its annual ship casualty report this week in which it noted that vessels belonging to the dark fleet tend to be older ships, operating under flags of convenience with lower maintenance standards.
Reports indicate there were at least eight groundings, collisions or near misses involving tankers carrying sanctioned oil products in 2022 – the same number as in the previous three years, the Allianz report noted.
ITF inspector Assaf Hadar led an inspection last year that resulted in the detention of the Sierra Leone-flagged general cargo vessel Kassandra. It was detained for 23 days by Israel's Port State Control in Haifa after 46 structural, navigation, fire safety and crew welfare defects were discovered. Image: Babur Halulu
Jordanian officials have ordered an Egyptian-owned cargo ship to be detained at the port of Aqaba after the vessel grounded in the country’s marine reserve park. It is the second vessel in two months to cause damage to the reserve area with the Jordanian Maritime Authority reporting it is investigating the repeat occurrence of a vessel traveling outside the channel.
The Lotus, an 8,500 dwt general cargo ship was entering the port at 6:50 a.m. local time on Tuesday, September 13 when it grounded in the marine reserve. The preservation area, a prime location for tourists and divers, makes up about half the 16-mile coastline and lies near the entrance to Jordan’s only seaport.
The Jordanian Royal Navy assisted in removing the 356-foot vessel which is registered in Palau from the reef and escorted the ship to the dock in Aqaba for an inspection. The staff of the Jordanian Maritime Authority boarded the vessel to assess the situation. The head of the port authority told local media that they were “taking a measure to prevent the ship from traveling until the investigation is completed.”
The vessel was reported to be arriving empty with its AIS signal showing it was coming from Somalia. It was expected to load a cargo of potash at the fertilizer pier.
Noaman Al-Saifi, head of the Maritime Authority made an official statement reporting that they were sending divers to inspect the coral reef. “It's too early to talk about damages, if there are damages,” he was quoted as saying by state media. Later in the day, however, the state-owned Al-Mamlaka TV was reporting that there is substantial damage to the reef.
In August, Jordanian authorities detained another Egyptian-run vessel, the Flower of the Sea, accusing the cargo ship of having spilled 11 tons of fuel oil in the same area. Jordanian media reports that both vessels are operated by Sea Gate Management with the Flower of the Sea having a history of detentions and deficiencies in prior port state inspections.
The 10,500 dwt vessel, also registered in Palau, was reported to have contaminated a section of the marine reserve on August 14 with the spill later washing up on Jordanian beaches and spreading to the Egyptian side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The case was referred to Jordanian prosecutors later in August.
Inspectors from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), seafarers' unions and French port authorities will be targeting ships flagged to the Cook Islands, Palau, Sierra Leone, and Togo for safety, maintenance and seafarer welfare inspections in the coming eight weeks.
The operation will take place across the Mediterranean Sea. It follows new analysis showing the four flag of convenience registries were responsible for 33 cases of crew abandonment over the past three years. These affecting more than a hundred seafarers, leaving many without pay, food, water, or a way to get home.
The ITF also needed to recover more than US$5.5 million in unpaid wages for seafarers from companies using these four flags.
European Port State Control enforcement agencies issued 5,203 deficiencies or detentions during the same period.
'Substandard shipping in the Mediterranean Sea is driving down seafarers' wages and conditions, its endangering the lives of crew and risking our environment,' ITF Inspectorate Coordinator Steve Trowsdale said.
'These flags take money from shipowners to register ships that other countries wouldn't touch. Many are old vessels and are poorly maintained by their owners. Many of these ships are dangerous and should not be trading.'
'These are now the worst flags operating in the Mediterranean Sea,' said Seddik Berrama, general secretary of Algeria's transport union FNTT and ITF vice president for the Arab World region.
'The world's major Port State Control agency groupings have said these flags are not quality. They have said they are high- or very-high risk. That is unacceptable for crew safety just as it is unacceptable for those of us who rely on a clean sea, like our port communities here in Algeria.'
'Our goal is to expose the substandard shipping examples that we see regularly in our ports. If we are able to spread word of the abuses experienced by crew onboard, which are too often ignored by these flags, then we will send a strong message that substandard shipping is unacceptable.'
Up to 1,000 ships flagged to the Cook Islands, Palau, Sierra Leone, and Togo will be targeted for safety, maintenance and seafarer welfare inspections across the Mediterranean Sea in the coming eight weeks by an army of inspectors from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), seafarers’ unions and port authorities.
“Substandard shipping in the Mediterranean Sea is driving down seafarers’ wages and conditions, it’s endangering the lives of crew and risking our environment,” said ITF inspectorate coordinator Steve Trowsdale.
“These flags take money from shipowners to register ships that other countries wouldn’t touch. Many are old vessels and are poorly maintained by their owners. Many of these ships are dangerous and should not be trading,” he said.
The blitz comes off the back of new analysis showing the four flags of convenience registries together accounted for more than 100 crew abandoned in the last two years, with millions of dollars wages not paid to crew by the flags’ shipowners that the ITF then had to recover on seafarers’ behalf.
The ITF inspectors’ efforts will be bolstered in France by the country’s Port State Control agencies, which are organised regionally.
You would be hard-pressed to find a shipping register with as ignoble an
inspection record as that of Cameroon. And yet, as TradeWinds correspondent Adam
Corbett reports, nearly a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine touched off a
whirlwind of sanctions, ships are flocking to the registry and other
marginalised flags as a “dark fleet” grows to move Russia’s energy exports.
The growth of flags with unenviable inspection records to serve a shadow tanker
market is one of many yawning cracks that have emerged in shipping’s
international regulatory framework in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
It is a global structure that relies on the willingness of flag states and port
states to regulate and inspect. That has left a door open for ships to enter a
dangerous realm, as long as they trade where both flag and port state will look
the other way.
Trading giant Trafigura has estimated that some 600 ships are operating in the
dark fleet, including 400 crude tankers, according to Bloomberg.
Shipping’s safety record has improved on many fronts over the years, and
thankfully oil spills are a relatively rare event. But companies operating in
the dark trades are brazenly flouting the provisions of the international safety
regime, bulldozing through regulatory norms by turning off AIS transponders,
engaging in offshore ship-to-ship transfers and carrying out other deceptive
The fact vessels are flocking to registries that will hold them to a lower
standard to play this game is another concerning development in the growth of
the dark fleet serving Russia.
Gabon and Tanzania
Among those are Gabon, whose fleet barely registers in port-state-control data,
and Tanzania, which the US Coast Guard has labelled a high-risk flag.
In the case of Cameroon, the fleet under the country’s flag surged by 41.5% in
2022, as TradeWinds reports.
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding, a treaty organisation that tracks
port-state detentions, has the country listed at the very bottom of its black
list and has labelled it as the only “high risk” shipping flag. That was based
on data from 2019 to 2021, when 21.7% of 69 inspections resulted in a ship being
There is no indication that its record has got any better.
In fact, although the Paris MOU has yet to reveal its latest blacklist, a
TradeWinds review of its data shows the detention rate for 2022 only got worse,
with 26.6% of inspections of Cameroon-flagged vessels resulting in the ship
being held, lifting the three-year average that will decide whether it stays on
the black list to 23.7%.
90% of ships with deficiencies
A vessel flying Cameroon’s flag can barely make it through an inspection without
authorities finding a safety problem. After all, more than 90% of inspections
found at least one deficiency in 2022, the Paris MOU database shows.
Dark activities by Cameroon-flagged tankers in the South Atlantic increased from
seven events in 2021 to 315 in 2022, according to data analysis firm Windward.
Cameroon’s transport ministry did not immediately respond to TradeWinds’ request
for comment on the information.
Windward pointed to one ship as an example of the deceptive practices underway
The outfit reported that after switching to Cameroon’s flag in July, the
45,200-dwt product tanker Nobel (built 1997) engaged in a number of suspicious
activities, including loitering in locations with no commercial or economic
reason, location data manipulation and ship-to-ship transfers.
One of those transfers led Spanish authorities to bar Maersk Tankers’ 50,000-dwt
Maersk Magellan (built 2010) from unloading at the port of Tarragona, but
another ship appears to have carried a smuggled Russian cargo from the Nobel to
the Spanish port of Ferrol.
But worrying from a safety perspective is that during all of this activity, the
Nobel was under questionable oversight. (Its current owner — a
Seychelles-registered company with no other ships to its name — could not
be reached for this story.)
When the vessel was sold in July, it moved to the Cameroon registry from the
Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, which was also its classification society
at the time and is historically among the better-performing shipping flags.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is showing shipping companies that want to operate
outside of the international regulatory order will still find a home.
They may be welcomed with a flag of convenience that, with little regulatory
oversight, will also take ships on the fringes of the global safety regime.
"U.N. Blacklists Four More North Korean Freighters"
- Jia Feng (ex name Cheng Hong), a Palau-flagged bulker
- Kai Xiang, a Panama-flagged bulker
- East Glory (or East Glory 7), a Palau-flagged freighter
- Xin Sheng Hai, a Belize-flagged freighter
- Toyo Maru, a Palau-flagged freighter (formerly flagged in Fiji)
- Jie Shun, a Cambodian-flagged freighter
- Tong San 2, a North Korean-flagged freighter
- Hao Fan 6, a St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged bulker
- Petrel 8, a Comoros-flagged bulker
OCTOBER 11, 2017 /
"U.N. bans four ships over North Korea coal, U.S. delays four more"
U.N. Blacklists Four More North Korean Freighters 10/10/17（The Maritime Executive）
Following a request from the United States, the United Nations Security Council has added four more North Korean ships to the list of vessels that have been blacklisted in connection with sanctions on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The United States delayed a motion to put an additional set of vessels on the blacklist until after the council has more information.
The vessels now banned from all ports administered by U.N. member states include:
- Jie Shun, a Cambodian-flagged freighter
- Tong San 2, a North Korean-flagged freighter
- Hao Fan 6, a St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged bulker
- Petrel 8, a Comoros-flagged bulker
The blacklisting is related to the carriage of prohibited goods: Egyptian authorities accused the Jie Shun of gun-running after they found 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades concealed under a cargo of iron ore in her holds – an unusually large military consignment. The other vessels also allegedly engaged in carrying prohibited items, but the specifics have not been released.
According to Hugh Griffiths, who heads the U.N. committee for implementation of the North Korea sanctions regime, the blacklist is the first time "in U.N. history" that any of Pyongyang's vessels have been banned from every U.N. member state seaport. While the measure is historic, member states do not always comply with U.N. sanctions resolutions – notably Russia and China, which both have an active trade relationship with North Korea. However, in a sign that China’s attitude towards the North may be changing, its representatives to the U.N. Security Council agreed to the measure to blacklist the freighters – even though three of the vessels are Chinese-owned.
The vessels that the U.S. initially proposed to add to the sanctions list but ultimately left out were:
- Jia Feng (ex name Cheng Hong), a Palau-flagged bulker
- Kai Xiang, a Panama-flagged bulker
- East Glory (or East Glory 7), a Palau-flagged freighter
- Xin Sheng Hai, a Belize-flagged freighter
- Toyo Maru, a Palau-flagged freighter (formerly flagged in Fiji)
Last year, the U.N. Security Council blacklisted 31 North Korean ships under a different sanctions resolution, then de-listed five. The latest additions bring the number back up towards the original total.
Robin des Bois, Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich press release. Video below
At sea, a machine tool is transported with more care than a cow and a batch of computers with more caution than a flock of sheep.
The report (1) written by Robin des Bois in partnership with the NGOs Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich is more than damning. It is sharp. The 78 maritime livestock carriers approved by the European Union to export farm animals are floating, stinking straitjackets where livestock and crews are reduced to goods and slaves of globalisation.
The average age of these livestock carriers is 41 years, whereas in 2020 the average age of ships of all categories being scrapped was 29 years.
The livestock carrier owners buy at scrap prices cargo ships to be broken up. In Black Sea shipyards, they stack extra decks to massify the animal shipment and thus have a cheap, adulterated fleet at their disposal without having to invest in new ships specially designed to transport a cargo that is alive, fragile and completely disoriented by their transit at sea. The layering of decks changes the centre of gravity of the original ship, and the stability of these converts is precarious. The Queen Hind is a textbook case. Her sinking in the Romanian port of Midia is analysed in detail in the report.
The EU-approved livestock carriers are not compliant with the Marpol Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and are accustomed to oily waste discharges at sea. They are also air polluters.
43 livestock carriers fly the worst flags of convenience: Togo, Comoros, Palau, Tanzania and Sierra Leone. The others fly exotic flags such as Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Panama, Liberia, the Marshall Islands or Singapore. The only 2 with a European flag are registered in Luxembourg.
55 are inspected by ghost classification societies, some of which are based in Greece, Cyprus or Bulgaria thanks to the complacency of the European Union.
The 78 EU-approved livestock carriers total at least 411 detentions in ports around the world.
During the years 2019 and 2020, they accumulated 2,504 deficiencies in particular with regard to working and living conditions of the crew, fire safety, compliance with the Maritime Labour and Marpol Conventions. The living conditions of livestock inside ships are not among the criteria for deficiencies as defined by inspectors at the ports.
The report written by the NGO Robin des Bois in cooperation with its German and Swiss fellows reads like a truthful novel of maritime piracy, where, page after page, deadly fires, corpses at sea, zoonoses behind closed doors, flags of convenience, the lure of gain and accustoming to cruelty jostle together. The animals wade through their excrement, the litters are soaked, the indoor air is saturated with ammonia from urine, the drinking water is warm and unsafe. Up there, the hay on the sun deck is rotten due to rain and falls overboard during storms.
Only 5 of the EU-approved livestock carriers were built purposely for the transport of livestock. However, they cannot be considered safe and exemplary. The 11-year-old Bahijah experienced major engine failures. On board the Brahman Express 14 major deficiencies were identified in 2019 and 2020. The 7-year-old Gelbray Express, built in China, was detained in Australia and the United States in 2017 and 2018. The 19-year-old Ocean Drover was detained 3 times, notably in China, and suffered mechanical and ventilation failures that caused significant sheep and bovine mortalities.
This report should serve as an electroshock for the European Union’s DG for Health and Food Safety, which has the upper hand in this traffic of another age. In cooperation with the DG for Transport, prompt, strong and binding measures must be taken to send this dilapidated fleet for scrapping as soon as possible. It is also necessary to avoid these ships to rust at the quayside and to be used as migrant carriers in the Mediterranean Sea, which already happened in 2015 with the Ezadeen.
Today, at around noon, the Sarah M, an ex-reefer converted in 2014 at the age of 35 into a livestock carrier, moored in the French livestock port of Sète. Panama flag, cosmopolitan crew. Owned by Jounieh Bay Shipping SA registered in the Marshall Islands.
Le Sarah (devenu Sarah M) en Espagne, 2020 / The Sarah (turned into Sarah M) in Spain, 2020
Le Karim Allah en Espagne, 2020 / The Karim Allah in Spain, 2020
Le Fidelity en Espagne, 2018 / The Fidelity in Spain, 2018
Chargement à bord du F.M. Spiridon en Croatie, 2016 / Loading on board the F.M. Spiridon in Croatia, 2016
Chargement de vaches hongroises à bord du Karim Allah, Croatie, 2015 / Loading of Hungarian cows on board the Karim Allah, Croatia, 2015
Chargement à bord du Spiridon II en Espagne, 2018 / Loading on board the Spiridon II in Spain, 2018
A bord du F.M. Spiridon, Croatie, 2016 / On board the F.M. Spiridon, Croatia, 2016
A bord du F.M. Spiridon, Croatie, 2016 / On board the F.M. Spiridon, Croatia, 2016
English version of the report
78 EU-approved livestock carriers, Robin des Bois, Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich, June 2021 (pdf 166 pages, 14,2 Mo)
78 bétaillères maritimes agréées par l’Union Européenne, Robin des Bois, Animal Welfare Foundation et Tierschutzbund Zürich, juin 2021 (pdf 167 pages, 6,4 Mo)
Robin des Bois, Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich joint press release, June 17, 2021 (pdf in English).
Egypt seized general cargo ship Cambodia JIE SHUN General cargo vessel on arrival at Ain Sukhna port, Red Sea, on Aug 11, after Egyptian authorities were alerted by the US intelligence on possible shipment of North Korean arms on board of this ship. Customs found more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades of North Korean production, hidden under bins of iron ore. Much to Egypt embarrassment, it was revealed later, that ammunitions actually, were bought by Egypt itself, against the UN sanctions imposed on North Korean arms trade. Later Cambodia JIE SHUN General cargo vessel was taken to Al Adabiyah port, berthed there on Aug 27. No AIS records since Aug 27. On a photo Cambodia JIE SHUN General cargo vessel under previous name VELOX.
A ship ‘snapped in half’ and sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast while en route to Bulgaria. Now a shocking video has been shared showing the crew making an emergency mayday call as the bow breaks.
Reports vary – some say that up to four crew members died in the incident. Rescue workers reportedly saved at least six people and retrieved the bodies of two others.
The Russian state agency overseeing sea and river fleets says the vessel belonged to the Ukrainian company Arvin Shipping Ltd.
According to Deha 24 Arvin is a river-sea cargo vessel type, vulnerable to strong storms at sea, because its structural strength isn’t sufficient enough to be fully seaworthy – it was too long and narrow. Arvin couldn’t stand against strong wind and waves and either broke in two, or was overwhelmed, while being anchored at Bartin anchorage in an attempt to shelter from a storm.
Consequences of Class Status Change for Vessel Insurance 07/13/2005（LEXOLOGY）
Wikborg Rein | Norway
Changes in the class status of vessels can have serious consequences for insurance coverage. Under the Marine Insurance Plan 1996, vessel insurances automatically terminate when class is suspended (temporarily lost) or cancelled (permanently lost) during the insurance period. Similar provisions are found in other international insurance conditions (ie, the International Hull Clauses).
Section 3(14) of the plan states that a vessel's insurance "terminates in the event of a loss of class". Under Section 3(14), Subsection 3, loss of class occurs where the assured requests that the class be cancelled or "where the class is suspended or withdrawn". The provision is designed to protect insurers from increased risk stemming from ships that do not adhere to satisfactory standards for maintenance, operation and safety (known commonly as substandard ships).
There are two exceptions to the rule in Section 3(14). Firstly, the insurance cover will not terminate if the insurer explicitly gives its consent that the insurance may continue.(1) This provision prevents the assured from arguing that it had informed the insurer, which had then accepted tacitly. Secondly, if class was suspended due to a casualty - which is often the case - insurance is not terminated.(2)
Shipowners and banks should consider the rule in Section 3(14) in light of the fact that the International Association of Class Societies (IACS) and its members (including Det Norske Veritas and Lloyd's Register) have tightened their rules on suspension of class in recent years.
IACS introduced the Marine Safety Initiatives Programme 1995, which took effect as of January 1 1996. The express purpose was to restrict the operation of substandard ships. Under one of the rules quickly adopted by IACS members, class is automatically suspended if a recommendation is not performed within the time limit set by IACS or if a periodic survey is not performed in time.
These initiatives by IACS and its members were taken into consideration when Section 3(14) was drafted. During the drafting of the plan, there was a general agreement that strong sanctions were needed in the event of loss of class. This aim is reflected in Section 3(14) and other rules under the plan.
Therefore, suspension of class may have grave consequences for shipowners and their banks. However, the banks' interests may be protected if the banks have taken out mortgagees' interest insurance or sought to obtain protection of their interests (eg, by way of extended co-insurance, if available).
For further information please contact Mats E Sæther or Gaute Gjelsten or Trond Eilertsen at Wikborg, Rein & Co by telephone (+47 22 82 75 00) or by fax (+47 22 82 75 01) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
(1) Section 3(14), Subsection 2.
(2) Section 3(14), Subsection 3.
What is condition of class ? （MySea Times）
Rajeev JassalRajeev JassalMasterFollowSOLAS chapter II, regulation 3-1 requires that ship need to be constructed and maintained as per the requirements of a classification society.
This means that during construction of a ship, classification society makes sure that the
Design of the ship is as per the rules of the classification society
Ship is constructed as per the design
Ship's machinery (Mechanical as well as electrical) is as per the rules of the classification society
After successful verification of these elements a "Certificate of class" is issued to the ship.
"Certificate of class" only deals with ship structure and machinery of the ship. Now during its life, a ship may have issues with ship's hull and/or machinery.
A ship has collided with other ship which has resulted in a dent or hole on ship's side. To repair this ship need to sail for few days to arrive at nearest/economical dry dock.
A ship has had allision with a jetty while berthing resulting in a dent or hole on ship's side. To repair this ship need to sail for few days to arrive at nearest/economical dry dock.
A Ship engine Governor is not working and spares has a lead time and will only be available in around one month time
There are many more such examples and situations. In such cases, clearly ship is not complying with the rules of the classification society.
But if the classification society revokes the "Certificate of class", the ship would not be able to sail.
So instead, a class surveyor attends the ship and suggests and/or verifies the temporary arrangements. After the said temporaray arrangements are in place, he will allow the ship to sail for one voyage or for some time period.
Class does so by issuing a "Condition of class", Which means that to be able to retain the class, the said defect need to be renewed before the specified period.This way the "certificate of class" remains valid but with a condition.
When the defect is rectified, class surveyor will attend the vessel and verify that. After successful verification, he will delete the condition of class.
In case of repair of structural damage, such as to hull, class may require a class surveyor to monitor the repair.
In any case, if the condition of class is not removed before the said period, the certificate of class will become invalid and the ship will considered to be unseaworthy.
This is the M/V Arvin, a Russian-built ship sailing under a Palau flag registered under "Arvin Sg Ltd". She was anchored at the Black Sea port of Bartin (Turkey) and broke in half while anchored and sank Jan 17, 2021 during rough sea currents. Out of the 13 people on board; 6 were rescued, 4 were killed, 3 remained missing as of the time of the search operation. 11 of the souls on board were Ukrainian, and 2 were Russian.
The ship was built in 1975 in Czechoslovakia for the USSR as a dry goods transporter. The ship was designed for mainly for river and lake operations as a barge freighter. She was never designed for rough weather of any sort or the open ocean at all. Despite that fact, she continued to operate in the Black Sea, a region noted for its adverse weather and rough high currents after suffering from over 30 years of poor maintenance and neglect since being sold in 1992 from Russian ownership. These ships are essentially open topped bathtubs with no rigidity, and you can watch them twist and bend just from passing a ship’s wake if they’re unladen. It is not uncommon to see older ones at the end of their service life have several cracks at the deck edge, which will quickly propagate down the hullside if the ship is kept in service. A port state control inspection in Georgia in 2020 found extensive deficiencies on board the Arvin, including severe deck corrosion (softness) and ill-maintained (not functional) weathertight hatches. The Volgo-Balt series of ships were given a restriction on class and were not permitted to sail more than 100 miles from safe haven.
The entire merchant marine fleet in the Black Sea is known for the very poor condition of its ships and the inhumanely poor conditions for the sailors. Olga Ananina, the ITF inspector in Novorossiysk, remarked. “Today the bulkers operate under flag of Panama and under control of Orbital Ship Management. All ships are old and problematic. The wage debts, low wage levels not exceeding the ILO rates, lack of provisions, drinking water, working wear, or cleaning materials – all of these are normal for the rust buckets which sink every year claiming seafarers’ lives." The Seafarers’ Union of Russia strongly recommends to shy away from hiring on these ships as they pose a danger to navigational safety and seafarers lives.
From 1975-1992 before the ship was renamed to the M/V "Arvin", she was known as the VOLGO-BALT 189. The ship worked for the USSR and then White Sea & Onega. After the USSR decommissioned it, it was sold off and eventually became property of Palau as its final owner after being registered in Malta, Iran, and Cambodia over the next 30 years. Sister ships Volgo Balt 179 (built 1973) and Volgo Balt 214 (built 1978) also broke apart and sank in the years prior to the Arvin (Volgo Balt 189). There are many of these Volgo-Balt vessels, built during Soviet times, that is still in operation under different flags and in different trades across the world.
A screenshot of video showing the MV Arvin breaking in half, January 17, 2021.
Turkish maritime authorities have published some terrifying video showing a cargo ship breaking in half in a matter of minutes.
The incident took place January 17 when the Palau-flagged Arvin broke in half and sunk at a Black Sea anchorage off the Port of Bartin. The 1975-built ship was reported to be carrying 2,902 tons of urea.
Sadly, this incident did not end well. A day after the ship broke, six of the ship’s 12 crew members were still reported missing.
You can hear the captain making the MAYDAY call in the video below.
Arvin cargo ship, with 10 Ukrainians on board, sank near the port city of Bartyn, Turkey on Jan. 17. 2021.
Photo by SabriKeles/vesselfinder.com
The bodies of three sailors from the Arvin bulk carrier, which sank off the coast of Turkey on Sunday, have been discovered as of Jan. 18 morning, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said citing information provided by Turkey.
“According to Turkish authorities, as of 10:00 on January 18, six crewmembers have been rescued (five citizens of Ukraine and one citizen of Russia), and the bodies of three deceased sailors were found (their identification is ongoing),” the ministry said in a statement published on its website on Monday.
The rescued crewmembers have been hospitalized in the city of Bartin, and the search and rescue operation is continuing.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey and several consular workers have arrived in Bartin to provide the Ukrainians with consular assistance and coordinate collaboration with the relevant Turkish agencies. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and embassy to Turkey have taken the incident under special control.
The Ukrainian embassy to Turkey said later the Ukrainians rescued from the sunken vessel had been discharged from the hospital.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported earlier that the Arvin (IMO 8874316, sailing under the flag of Palau) sank near the coast of Turkey’s Bartin province on January 17. Tentative findings indicate that the wreck might have been caused by a heavy storm. The vessel had 12 crewmembers on board, among them ten Ukrainian citizens, it said. The Ukrainian company Arvin Shipping LTD has been named as the vessel’s owner.
The Russian Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport (Rosmorrechflot) has said there were two Russian citizens onboard the bulker.
Yes it looks real scabby. But how much thinning was there? Shit vid to determine how much actual corrosion damage there was. Since that’s a ‘wet’ hold and sea water is used for ballast you would expect lots of corrosion. I would think when this ship was built the thickness of the material is chosen for strength with a margin to cover the eventual loss of material due to corrosion, but maybe post war it was just about getting the ship on the water. Maybe those tanks are coated in newer ships to inhibit that corrosion but this ship was nearly 50yo. I’ve seen newer equipment where the ladders were rusted nearly away and maybe 20 years old.
While I am sure this wasn’t helping, I don’t know that it’s the ‘one’ cause leading to the sinking.
- Ship was at anchor causing extra stress on the bow, it’s age giving fatigue to the structure and materials. It looked like the first major give happened with the bow nosing down, possibly from the ‘pulling’ action of the anchor
-from what I read it may have been shipping in water due to faulty hatches and or seals leading to extra weight.
- also may have been overloaded beyond design specs. Old ship in a new world and trying to maximize its profitability. Ship didn’t capsize or nose down, it was physically sundered.
- lack of proper maintenance and repair weakening the structure.
- also from what is being commented the ship was not a ocean going vessel by design. Perhaps when new it was not an issue ( loaded less and 50 years of shipping fatigue in the distant future).
Damn shame those sailor lost their lives. But this won’t stop happening until the people at the top get held to account. Not fines but actual prison time. Because if they just get to pay money after people die due to their companies negligence it just hits the ‘profit margin’, doesn’t hit home.
I am all about capitalism. But lack of accountability from the top down is a cancer of any system. The owner of ships like these need to be held accountable. Captain...up to a point, soon as the saw the bow ‘left’ the ship an abandon order should have been given. But 7 minutes (reportedly) isn’t a lot of time. The proximity to a rough shore in rough weather would make rescue extremely dangerous.
オーストラリア海上保安庁 (The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA))はインドネシア船籍貨物船「MERATUS SANGATTA (IMO:9116797)」号に対して3ヶ月間、オーストラリアの全ての港に入港させない措置を取った。これは2013年7月から実施された改正航海条令 (the revised Navigation Act which came into effect in July 2013)に基づいた措置だ。
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a direction to Indonesian flagged multipurpose ship MV Meratus Sangatta (IMO 9116797) not to enter or use any port in Australia for three months.
The 1996-built, 3447 dwt general cargo ship has been detained three times since November 2012 and twice since November 2014. As a result it will not be allowed to re-enter Australian ports until April 6, 2015.
MV Meratus Sangatta was detained in Port Alma, Queensland on January 2 despite AMSA urging the ship’s operator, PT. Meratus Line, to improve its performance following the banning of another of its vessels, Territory Trader, in Cairns in November last year.
AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said a complaint was received in accordance with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) ahead of an inspection of the ship last week.
““The recent detention found numerous failings in compliance with the MLC, which place the welfare of seafarers at risk,” Kinley said. “The more serious of these deficiencies included not having enough food and potable water for the next voyage, defective and insufficient refrigerated storage to safely store fresh food, defective laundry, sanitary and cooking facilities, as well as expired Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEA).“
Kinley said ships operated by PT. Meratus Line would now be subject to inspections at every port call.
The vessel was required to rectify deficiencies identified during the inspection before it was released from detention from Port Alma.
The vessel is the third to be banned from Australian ports under the revised Navigation Act which came into effect in July 2013.
この船は国籍が中国からカンボジア籍に変わり問題を起こし、注目されたので船名と国籍をモンゴルに変えたようだ。カンボジア船籍だった時の船名が「 HAI WEI GONG 889(IMO: 8662452)」そしてモンゴル船籍INAI MERAH (IMO: 8662452)が出港停止命令を受けた時の管理会社が「Dandong Haiwei Tonggan Shipping Co Ltd」なので繋がりがあると推測して間違いないと思う。サブスタンダード船がサブシッピングに使われ、問題のある船が問題のある国籍に登録され、足が付いたら船名と国籍を変える典型的な例だと思う。
PETALING JAYA: A ship that illegally stripped shipwrecks off Penang island for scrap metal has been detained and impounded by the northern region Marine Department.
There was a mountain of rusty ship parts and salvage work was in progress when the agency’s officials boarded the ship, which is equipped with a crane, off Kendi Island.
The agency had been alerted about the illegal operation after The Star first discovered the salvaging there last week.
The Cambodian-registered vessel was caught red-handed dredging the Chosa Maru wreck, better known as the Japanese wreck among locals. The skipper and his nine-man crew, all Chinese nationals, have been arrested.
Aside from seizing the ship, the authorities impounded a workboat that accompanied Hai Wei Gong 889, a Chinese-made vessel that was commissioned in 2007.
“The ship does not have the documents for salvage work and was operating illegally in Malaysian waters,” a marine department official said.
The ship, workboat and its crew had been ordered to sail to Lumut, where the ship is now impounded.
“We are also investigating where the vessel had disposed the scrap metal after salvaging at least five shipwrecks off Penang, including the two Japanese World War II wrecks,” the official said.
At this point, he said, the authorities were investigating who the buyer of the scrap metal was.
“The department is also investigating how long the ship had operated in Malaysian waters illegally and whether it had looted other areas besides Penang.”
The official said the department was investigating if the vessel had plundered other ships, both commercial and military, off the east and west coast of Malaysia.
The Star reported yesterday that illegal salvagers had plundered scrap metal from at least five shipwrecks, including two Japanese World War II vessels, off Penang waters since early this year and their activities had gone undetected by the authorities.
The unscrupulous salvagers were believed to have “cleared up” at least two wrecks – the Japanese gunboat Chosa Maru, called Kapal Jepun by locals, which sunk in August 1943, and Japanese light cruiser Kuma that went down on January 1944 – and had taken away metal worth millions.
The other three wrecks that are being salvaged are Japanese warship Haguro, Kapal Taiwan and Kapal Simen, which are all located off Kendi Island.
UK-based trade union for maritime professionals Nautilus International has released details of a vessel detained in port, and which has been described as a ‘Mickey Mouse operation’.
Panamanian-registered bulk carrier Donald Duckling, owned by TMT Shipping of Taiwan, was detained by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in the Port of Tyne & Wear, after an inspection revealed a long list of serious deficiencies. Crew members are said to have had such poor food provisions onboard that they were forced to catch fish from the side of the vessel which they had to cook on deck using dunnage because galley equipment was out of order.
The 16-year-old ship had previously been detained for 121 days in Gibraltar, when 21 safety deficiencies were found by port state control officers, and in September an inspection in Las Palmas found 33 deficiencies onboard. The chief engineer had been dismissed after requesting spare parts to rectify problems identified in the port state control inspections.
Nautilus/International Transport Workers’ Federation inspector Tommy Molloy is helping the crew members, and said the vessel was one of the worst examples of substandard shipping that he has encountered.
Crew members had not been paid on time on a number of occasions, he added, and formal requests by two seafarers to be repatriated because of family illnesses had been ignored.
“The fact that the vessel has been detained for such periods of time and for the nature and scope of the deficiencies provides clear grounds, in line with their contracts of employment, for the crew to claim repatriation due to breach of contract,” said Mr Molloy.
“The vessel is clearly not seaworthy - which ought to be of grave concern to the charterers and cargo receivers. It is clear that the crew would have been placed into potential danger had the ship left port for the voyage,” he added.
The ship had arrived in Tyne Port to load a cargo of scrap metal bound for Korea. Mr Molloy has written to the shipowner requesting the payment of owed wages and the repatriation of some of the crew due to a breach of contract, in line with their contractual entitlement. He said the onboard contractual documentation for the Romanian and Filipino crew members was not in compliance with international Maritime Labour Convention requirements.
“We are aware that TMT has been having problems, but this does not excuse the outrageous treatment of the crew in this case,” said Mr Molloy. “The ship is called Donald Duckling, and it certainly is a shocking example of a Mickey Mouse operation that undermines operators who run to decent standards.”
It is not uncommon for cars to spend weeks on cargo ships en route to their destination - but sometimes the cars simply don’t make it.
That scenario played out on a ship that experienced rough seas on a chaotic ocean crossing from Japan to Russia by the Cambodian vessel, Astongate.
According to the description of the dramatic vision uploaded to YouTube, the ship was carrying 64 used cars to Vladivostok, but following a storm and enormous swells, only 12 made it to the end. Further investigation suggests the incident may have actually occurred in February 2012, according to The Maritime Bulletin.
The vessel is described as being a Roll-on, Roll-off (RO-RO) ship, which are commonly used for shipping cars. In most cases, however, the vehicles are secured in the hull of the ship, meaning they won't be exposed to the elements. In this instance, however, the cars were on the top-deck.
The video shows several cars falling over the edges of the ship, and it appears there are broken tie-down straps littered over the deck.
The person who paid for the cars to be carried on the top deck of the ship reportedly signed a document acknowledging the risks involved.
There have been other well-documented incidents involving RO-RO ships, including the sinking of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise in 1987.
And even cargo ships with the cars secured in the hull can experience significant problems at sea. For example, the Norwegian carrier MV Tricolor sank in the English Channel in 2002, taking 2800 cars with it. And in 2006, a ship with nearly 5000 Mazdas on board tipped onto its side in rough seas.
2012年1月のＰＳＣ処分船リストによると門司港でカンボジア船籍船「XIN RUI 6 (IMO: 88904604)」
が日本のＰＳＣから出港停止命令を受けた。理由の1つに「Cleanliness of engine room」があった。当然の事だと思うが日本のＰＳＣが
「Cleanliness of engine room」で出港停止命令の理由とするは稀である。不備のカテゴリは「Living and working conditions」となっている。
As the criminal investigation of the Sewol ferry sinking continues, police and prosecutors said they have made another arrest.
Authorities on Saturday arrested a man surnamed Yang who was responsible for the maintenance of all the emergency life rafts on the Sewol.
Officials say Yang only made cursory inspections of the rafts and declared to the Korea Register that they were safe to use.
Only one of the 46 rafts on the ill-fated ferry deployed when the ferry sank last month carrying hundreds of people.
The joint investigation team has so far detained 21 people including key crew members from the ship and officials from the ferry operator.
The prosecution on Saturday also summoned a 72-year-old actress who is suspected to have managed slush funds of the man alleged to be the actual owner of Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the sunken ferry.
Press Release: International Transport Workers' Federation
14 June 2013
ITF comment on Swanland sinking report
After fully studying the United Kingdom Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s (MAIB’s) report into the Swanland sinking, the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has issued the following statement.
The ITF condemns the lack of effective regulation and control in the international shipping industry that allowed this tragedy to occur.
The MAIB report reveals how cost cutting and negligence led to the sinking of the general cargo ship Swanland in theIrish Sea in November 2011, with the loss of six Russian seafarers.
As the MAIB notes, the Swanland is one of nearly 250 general cargo ships that have foundered in just over 10 years. In this period over 800 seafarers have perished in often ageing vessels. The Swanland was over 30 years old when the sinking occurred.
It is questionable whether such an old ship should have been trading at all; but as a minimum it needed regular maintenance and structural repairs. This report highlights the failures in its maintenance of the ship, and the fact that no structural reviews had taken place since 2009.
Even more alarming is the fact that Swanland Shipping Ltd changed the classification society of the ship from Lloyds Register to the International Naval Surveys Bureau in 2009 to reducetheir fees by 30 percent. The report highlights the fact that unscrupulous operators can make savings by cutting back on repairs and the rectification of deficiencies.
The report also reveals that the ship managers, Torbulk, did not make available to the chief officer the means toconduct the strength and stability checks on board the ship which are necessary prior to cargo loading. In addition the owners and managers of the ship seemed to be unaware of the risks of carrying high density cargoes and the importance of obtaining accurate information so that the ship could be safely loaded.
The MAIB further reveals that during the course of its investigation it became evident that many shipowners and managers are unaware of the importance of compliance with the International MaritimeSolid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC), and that they may believe it only applies to bulk carriers.
The ITF believes that this accident investigation report must now be the catalyst for urgent action – in particular for general cargo ship safety to be made a priority at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The fact that at the time of the accident the Swanland had been certified as being in compliance with all applicable statutory requirements makes a mockery of the existing regulatory framework, the ITF states.
National governments and the international shipping community can no longer stand on the sidelines as this terrible loss of life continues. The ITF is calling for:
· A wholesale review of general cargo ship safety by the IMO
· Stricterenforcement of all existing regulations
· Additional checks and safeguards to guard against the potential precarious safety of older general cargo ships
The MAIB report can be seen at www.maib.gov.uk/latest_news/swanland_publication.cfm
A cargo ship which sank off north Wales killing six crew had been subject to "money-saving" measures by the owner, an investigation has found.
Two of the Russian crew were airlifted to safety by an RAF helicopter co-piloted by the Duke of Cambridge as the Swanland sank off the Llyn peninsula.
One union official called the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report "shocking and damning".
Swanland operator Torbulk Ltd said it was studying the detail of the report.
The Grimsby-based company, which managed the ship for the owner, Swanland Shipping Ltd, Cemex, said: "We wish to extend our condolences to the family of those who died.
"It is a huge report and we are studying its detail. Until we have done that we will not be making any further comment."
The chief officer's body was recovered from the sea, and the bodies of five crew members have never been discovered.
The investigation by the MAIB said the Swanland, which sailed under a Cook Islands flag, had not been properly maintained and was severely weakened by corrosion in the two years between its intermediate survey and the accident in the Irish Sea.
It had been carrying nearly 3,000 tonnes of limestone when it experienced a "structural failure when heading directly into rough seas and gale force winds" en route to Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
The investigation identified that the major factors contributing to the structural failure included the way the cargo was loaded - putting pressure on the midships section - and a lack of repairs in recent years.
Other contributing factors included non-compliance with an international maritime code, a lack of effective safety management and the "financial pressures of operating this type of vessel in the current economic downturn".
'Reduced cost of repairs'
In its report, the MAIB said Swanland Shipping Ltd decided to change the vessel's classification society from Lloyd's Register (LR) to the International Naval Surveys Bureau (INSB) in 2009, reducing the fees paid by about 30%.
The report acknowledged the transfer as a "money-saving" initiative, and added: "In effect, significant long-term savings are possible through reduced cost of repairs and the rectification of deficiencies. This was certainly the case for Swanland."
The report also highlighted how Swanland's crew did not regularly conduct "abandon ship" drills.
The report added: "There is no justifiable reason why the safety record of general cargo vessels should be allowed to lag behind other vessel types, such as bulk carriers, without vigorous attempts being made to redress the balance.
"It is hoped that the loss of Swanland and her six crew will be a catalyst for the work already being undertaken by the International Maritime Organisation to tackle the global issue of general cargo ship safety."
The MAIB has issued a number of recommendations including highlighting the need for all vessels carrying solid bulk cargoes to comply with regulations.
An MAIB spokesperson said: "This was a tragic and avoidable accident that cost the lives of six crew.
"Worldwide, between 2002 and 2011, nearly 250 cargo vessels foundered causing the deaths of more than 800 seafarers - statistics that bring into sharp focus the need for action to be taken to improve the safety of general cargo vessels."
The bodies of ship master Yury Shmelev, 44, chief engineer Geeadiy Meshkov, 52, second engineer Mikhail Starchevoy, 60, Able Seaman Sergey Kharchenko, 51, and ship's cook Able Seaman Oleg Andriets, 49, remain lost at sea.
Second Officer Roman Savin, 27, and Able Seaman Vitaly Karpenko, 48, were airlifted to safety and Chief Officer Leonid Safonov, 50, was pronounced dead after his body was recovered from the sea shortly afterwards.
Following the report, Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "This shocking and damning report into the avoidable and tragic sinking of the Swanland in the Irish Sea should shame our own government and the international maritime industry into urgent action.
"The seafarers on board never stood a chance. Their lives were lost in the name of profit and greed."
The ship had been carrying 2730 tonnes of limestone loaded near Llanddulas Photo: Athena Picture Agency Limited
An investigation has found that cargo ship Swanland suffered a "catastrophic structural failure" before sinking off the coast of North Wales.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch have release their interim report revealing the ship suffered the structural failure on 27th November 2012, claiming the lives of six of its eight Russian crew. The ship took approximately 16 minutes to sink.
The wreck of the Swanland is now lying in a depth of water of approximately 80m, 12 nautical miles off the west coast of Wales.
An extensive air and sea search commenced immediately involving four lifeboats and several rescue helicopters.
At 0315, the first of the rescue helicopters arrived on the scene and spotted 2 survivors. The search for the six missing crew men continued among a large amount of floating debris. The seaborne search for the missing crewmen terminated at 1100 on 28th November.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch say technical investigations are now nearing completion and it is anticipated that a final investigation report will be published in 2013.
The Volgo-Balt 199 disaster once again focused industry’s attention on a problem of substandard shipping safety in general, and in Black sea in particular. River-sea type, general cargo vessel Volgo-Balt 199 sank in Black sea on Dec 4 last year, 9 crew died, and 4 survived the disaster. Vessel loaded with 3,300 tons of coal was en route from Mairupol, Ukraine, to Turkey, got caught in storm and broke in two, sinking in just minutes, some 20 miles off Turkish coast. On Jan 31 of the same year, another river-sea type vessel Vera sank during the storm on Eregli road, roughly in the same area where Volgo-Balt 199 sank. Vessel was en route from Rostov-on-Don to Izmir, Turkey, loaded with scrap, and anchored on Eregli road to outwait the storm. 4 crew were rescued, 7 died.
In June last year, ITF and affiliated unions published a brochure “Black sea of shame”, slating regional ship owners as irresponsible greedy flock, and the whole coastal shipping in Azov-Black sea area as extremely dangerous for the seafarers working on board of regional coasters.
On the wake of Volgo-Balt 199 disaster, ITF and affiliated unions, mainly SUR (Seafarer’s Union of Russia), are launching a news campaign aimed at what they call, “substandard shipping” in Azov-Black sea region. To comprehend the problem and the safety risks, one must scrupulously consider all known facts and statistics, avoiding emotions which prevail in media coverage of the Black sea disasters, and in Trade Union’s proclamations and allegations.
m/t Volgo-Balt 199 was vessel of river-sea type, widely spread in European waters. The owner of the vessel operates 5 other vessels, also coasters. The only criteria available for the assessment of the safety of those vessels, is the detention history. All 6 vessels, including the ill-fated Volgo-Balt 199, have a good history in this regard, after they were obtained by the owner in question. Before the present owner, their history wasn’t so good. Together with other information gathered after the disaster, including the Ukrainian Shipping Inspection statements, it may be presumed, that Volgo-Balt 199 was up to the required standards, or to put it short, as seaworthy, as the river-sea type vessel may be. The question is, what is seaworthiness of the river-sea type vessel, and why technically nonfaulty vessel sank in though strong, but still, regular for this region and this time of year storm?
The river-sea type was developed in former Soviet Union sometime back in the late 50-th, with the main idea of creating a vessel capable of navigating both inner waterways and the coastal seas. There are many projects of those vessels, they are widely built since the 60-th up to the present days, but whatever is project or year of built, the vessels still, are not seaworthy in a generally accepted meaning of seaworthiness. By Class requirements they’re restricted in navigation and can’t sail further than 50 nautical miles from a refuge, but in fact, such a restriction is a dissimulation. The vessels are too long, flat-bottomed and not strong enough in terms of structural strength.
The meaning of it is very simple – vessels are prone to capsizing even in fresh weather, if they become disabled and open the side to the waves, and prone to hull breaking in more or less strong storm, even if they’re under power and can keep against wind and sea. Vessel may be more than 50 miles off the coast, or less than 5 miles, it doesn’t actually matter. What matters is the sailing itself – river-sea type can’t sail into any storm, it’s mortally dangerous.
River-sea type in this respect, is similar to a soldier in battlefield, who’s moving around by short spurts from one shelter to another, during the short periods of fire cease. River-sea type has to sail from one port to another, from one area to another with enough places of refuge, during the periods of safe weather conditions, depending on favourable weather forecasts and captain’s knowledge and feeling of local weather. To be caught in storm is, if applied to river-sea type, an accident in itself, requiring an investigation, even if the vessel managed to survive. The long-term statistics show, that 2 out of each 100 river-sea type vessels sink due to unfavourable weather conditions.
“Substandard ship” term is widely spread and believed to be understandable without need for any further clarifications, but is it so? Some define substandard ships as “seaworthy but with conditions on board the ship which are clearly hazardous to safety or health”. Some define substandard ships in quite a different way:
“A substandard ship under our standing point is the one that falls under at least one of these criteria:
a. Poor Shipbuilding Quality
b. Poor Maintenance
c. Under qualified crew”
Generally, it is understood or accepted, that substandard vessels are the vessels mainly of coastal trade, aged and registered under FOC. As such, they’re believed to be risky for crews, cargoes and environment. Let’s look into the ITF brochure “Black sea of shame”. ITF and affiliated unions describe the Black sea coastal shipping as mainly substandard one, trying to prove their allegation by the following statistics:
“There are some 2,400 dry cargo vessels trading in the area, of between 2,000 – 12,000 dwt. Close to 1,000 vessels are of 2,000 – 4,000 dwt. Trade is dominated by the vessels over 20 years old, with some 800 vessels being over 30 years old, and only some 500 vessels are of 10 years old, or newer”.
ITF obviously considers the above figures to be so frightening, that there is no need for any other argumentation. For a superficial reader, for general public, yes, there is no need for anything else, such ages seem to be very frightening indeed. For an industry insider, the figures ITF is operating are hardly frightening or alarming. Just for one reason – if we check the world merchant fleet statistics, we’ll easily figure out, that some 62% of global fleet of dry cargo vessels of 2,000 – 12,000 dwt are 20 years old or older, the remaining 38% being 0-20 years old, and this proportion exactly correlates with Black sea figures. But there is another reason, too. There is no need in scrapping general cargo vessels of 2,000 – 12,000 dwt achieving10-15, or even 20 years, ages. They’re not state-of-the-art floating wonders of high-tech, and they don’t have to be such. They’re basically rather simple devices, which may be safely exploited for 20-30 years period, providing they’re properly maintained and operated. Coastal shipping doesn’t need modern vessels, it needs safe, sound and reasonably cheap vessels, easy to operate and maintain. In this respect, river-sea type has an advantage of sailing at least one third time of their lives in fresh water, which is much more merciful to the hull than sea water.
Most owners of the river-sea type vessels are small and middle-sized companies, struggling for survival in hostile business environment of Russia and Ukraine. They have to fight for the survival on the market outside their countries, and simultaneously, they have to fight the almighty bureaucracy and all-embracing corruption inside their countries. What’s worse, they are not sure of the future, especially middle and long termed. The rules of the game which is called “private business”, both in Russia and Ukraine, may change overnight, leaving the ship owners with little choice except either fleeting the country, or selling out everything and leaving shipping for good. One can hardly expect them to invest all capitals they have into modern vessels, let alone ordering newbuilds. Still, many of them manage to modernize their fleets, like for example, the company which owned ill-fated Volgo-Balt 199. Of course the pace of modernization is very low, but keeping in mind, that the States in question do everything they can to make the owners life short of unbearable, it’s a wonder how the owners manage to do what they do.
The river-sea type is risky in comparison with any other type of purely sea-going vessels. They are risky not because of age, but because of their basic conception. The vessels are a compromise between seaworthiness and an ability to navigate inner waterways, and technically speaking, the vessels are not satisfactory both to river and sea standards. But there is one advantage, which makes up for all other lacks and flaws. Economically the vessels are very effective, bringing profits to the whole number of other industries except shipping. A river-sea type vessel may reach towns which lay far inland, and carry goods at unrivalled cost and time. Volgo-Balt may sail to Ural, load cargo of steel from Perm steel mills, and deliver it directly to Italy or Algeria, to Rostock or to Birmingham, saving fortunes on transportation costs. On a return voyage vessel may deliver goods to Kazakhstan or Iran, again with great savings for shippers.
There is only one guaranteed way to make river-sea vessels as safe as any other sea-going vessels, it is banning them from sailing in high seas. But such a ban will have negative effect for many industries and economy in general, which will bear the burden of raised transportation costs. There is another, social aspect, too. Nearly all the companies which own and operate river-sea type vessels are considered by seamen community as “start-up” or “final stop” grounds. Young and ambitious start their ocean-going careers, turning from green rookies into professionals on board of coasters, which is especially true for the Ukrainian and Russian ratings. Aged ones find their final employment with not too educationally demanding coaster positions, which is especially true for officers, as the officers of river-sea type vessels, mostly, don’t have such profound education and knowledge of English, as officers of ocean-going vessels.
Statistically, river-sea type is barely more risky than any other type of the cargo vessels. Technically, it’s much more risky. The river-sea type risk is derivative of seamanship of the captain and the responsibility of the operator. In other words, ocean-going vessel may survive the mistakes made by operator or captain by sailing through storm, while river-sea vessel may not. There are ways of course, to make river-sea type vessels safer than they are now, by applying mostly, more strict regulations. For example, to prohibit the vessels to leave the port in bad weather or if forecast is promising storm, making it the responsibility of port administration, or PSC, and making the new regulation compulsory throughout all Europe. That alone will make river-sea type about as safe as any next type in coastal waters.
What is definitely not bound to make the river-sea type safer, is the new campaign the ITF and affiliated unions are trying to launch, using the Volgo-Balt 199 tragedy as a pretext. Their true concerns lay elsewhere, but not in the spheres of safe and socially responsible shipping. The SUR for example, bluntly declared, that the only way to make Black sea shipping safe, is to force the ship owners operating in the region to sign the ITF collective agreement with those trade unions in their States, which are affiliated with the ITF. The SUR as bluntly said, that there are no parties around capable of making Black sea shipping safer, except seamen and dock workers unions. It’s an alarming, worrisome claim, because the safety of the shipping is strictly professional matter to be attended to exclusively by authorized organizations, not by any self-proclaimed well-doers. And because, alas, the trade unions enjoy too much power nowadays.
Cyprus continues to demonstrate “very impressive” levels of performance in regards to its shipping sector, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
This evaluation is included in the ICS’s latest edition of its annual Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table, which assesses the quality of international states’ maritime operations.
“The very largest flag states,” remarked ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, “such as the Bahamas, Liberia and the Marshall Islands, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus and Greece, all continue to demonstrate very impressive levels of performance, as do all of the other large European and Asian flags.”
The Table offers positive performance indicators for Cyprus in 16 of the total 18 categories evaluated. These include attendance of International Maritime Organisation meetings, the completion of relevant industry reports, fleet age, ratification of relevant conventions, and port state control. The ICS found, in assessing the effective enforcement of international rules that Cyprus may improve on its compliance with USCG safety requirements and its Qualship 21 program.
Given the nature of the indicators that ICS uses, the organization notes however, whether or not a flag is missing one or two positive evaluations on the ICS Table may “not be especially important”. Amongst the 19 largest ships registers, covering more than 85% of the world fleet, none have more than three potential indicators of negative performance.
However, there are a number of smaller flag states that still have considerable work to do, and ICS continues to suggest that shipowners may wish carefully consider whether to use such flags. The largest of these is Tanzania, though Mongolia, Moldova, Cambodia and Sierra Leone are also conspicuous examples of sub-standard ship registers according to the ICS Table.
MWANZA, Tanzania – The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has warned ship owners about registering ships and flying the flags of Tanzania.
Other state flags on the list include states of Mongolia, Moldova, Cambodia and Sierra Leone.
The ICS says Tanzania does not comply with the United Nations’ labour standards and tops the list of states with sub-standard ship registers.
Last month, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) published its annual Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table.
Amongst the 19 largest ships registers, covering more than 85% of the world fleet, none have more than three potential indicators of negative performance.
However, there are a number of smaller flag states that still have considerable work to do, and ICS continues to suggest that ship owners may wish think very carefully about using such flags.
According to the ICS table the largest of these is Tanzania, but Mongolia, Moldova, Cambodia and Sierra Leone are also conspicuous examples of sub-standard ship registers.
When contacted last week David Mziray, Public Relations Manager, Tanzania’s Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA) said he was not aware of such development.
He told East African Business Week that red-flagging Tanzania might have been caused by the open registration that was being conducted in Zanzibar.
“So such ships do carry Tanzanian flags that’s why you see our country on the list of smaller flag states that do not comply,” he said.
According to the annual ICS flag state performance table published last week, these are examples of sub-standard ship registers, reported London’s Tanker Operator.
“One area on which we would like to see more progress is with respect to ratification of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention,” Peter Hinchliffe the ICS Secretary General said.
“But following the entry into force of the convention, it is now being enforced worldwide through Port State Control and the vast majority of international shipping companies are operating in compliance,” he said.
According to ICS largest flag states have very impressive levels of performance.
Mr Hinchliffe says the fact that a certain IMO Convention may not have been ratified by a flag state does not necessarily mean that its requirements are not being implemented in practice.
“One area on which we would like to see more progress by certain flag states, including some of those with otherwise better performance, is with respect to ratification of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention,” he said.