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.: 14-Sep-2015 :. Search News

Containership Catches Fire at Port of Manila - INCIDENT PHOTOS
The Marshall Islands-flagged containership MV Cape Moreton caught fire while berthed at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) in the Philippines. Photos from the scene show thick smoke billowing from the cargo area as firefighters battled the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Posted On:14-Sep-2015


Universal Recognition of Seafarers' Identity: An Astute Development
The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a specialized Agency of the United Nations, established in 1919. It is a tripartite organization, in which representatives of governments, employers and workers take part with equal status. The Seafarers' Identity Convention was originally formed in 1958, but was later revised in 2003 (No. 185) as a result of the discussions held in the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Convention was modified to review the procedures and measures to prevent terrorism and also for the safety of crew, passengers and the ships. The Convention No. 185 was adopted expediently for the enhancement of security measures, after the September 2001 events.

The Convention became a treaty, when it was ratified by all its members and will also be binding on them. As of 2015, the Convention has been ratified by 15 states. The main aim behind revising the earlier convention was to incorporate the inter-operable biometric template, covering fingerprint data capture, template generation and bar code storage. The ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) form the specialized system for worldwide standardization. National bodies that are members of the ISO or IEC participate in the development of international standards through technical committees that are established by the respective organization to deal in the respective matters.

The main concern of modifying this Convention was to facilitate the transition and transfer of seafarers on foreign territory, which was also the key subject of this Convention. This can only be achieved through international cooperation and coordination.

The International Labor Organization and the International Maritime Organization have taken substantive measures for enhancing the maritime security globally and also to protect the ships, ports, sailors and seafarers from terrorist activities and other illicit activities. The efficient sea trade is a critical component of the world economy and so is its security.

Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention, 2003 (No. 185) is an International Labor Organization Convention, which was originally made in 1958, but was revised in 2003 and finally came into force on 9th February 2005. This provides for a seafarer identity document which is intended to enhance maritime security whilst facilitating shore leave and the professional movement of seafarers.

The Convention 185 is a modification of Convention 108 that was formed in 1958, as it facilitates the temporary admission of genuine seafarers to foreign territory for shore leave, transmit, transfer and repatriation. It additionally includes extensive innovations and introduces modern security features in the materials used in the new seafarersí identity document, its biometric features and for facilitating verification of the document. It shall be printed as numbers in the PDF417 bar code conforming to a standard to be developed.

There are certain minimum mandatory requirements for issuance processes and procedures, including quality control, national databases and permanent national focal points to provide information to border authorities and a system of international oversight to ensure that ratifying countries are complying with the requirements of the Convention.

The conference in which the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 was adopted also pointed out the difficulties that were being faced by the seafarers for leaving the shore in certain countries and had urged the Governing Body to request the Director-General to contact all member States and remind them of the importance of the speedy ratification and implementation of Convention No. 185 and to invite member States to promote decent work for seafarers. The conference also highlighted issues such as the granting of shore leave or access to shore-based welfare facilities, which (where they exist) are to be "available for the use of all seafarers, irrespective of nationality, race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion or social origin and irrespective of the flag State of the ship on which they are employed or engaged or work"

The reasons behind modifying the 108 Convention were as follows:

To support the Governments in strengthening the security measures against the terrorist activities and also to protect the Membersí economic interests in having their seafarers employed by shipowners.
To facilitate commercial shipping and also to regain the confidence in the international maritime industry.
Promote safety, security and basic rights of Seafarers in the conduct of their profession.
Improves and facilitates access control to ports and ships
Taking safety and security measures for the passengers and crew of the ship on the high seas and also to protect them from terrorist illicit attacks.
Minimizing administrative delays and also contributing to seafarer convenience and ship-owners' cost savings.
Introducing modern security features for the SID.
Requiring a record of each SID issued to be contained in a national database, with the related information being internationally accessible.
Requiring issuing Governments to have processes and procedures which are subject to international oversight and ensure the reliability of the identification of the holder of the SID while protecting the holder's dignity and privacy.
Enable them to pool and share their technology, expertise and resources, where appropriate.

All this can only be possible if there is sufficient international cooperation and also by enhancing the security measures.

The next generation ILO seafarers' ID uses a bar code technology to store biometric data and support the ILO's international interoperability requirements of the SID. The format of storing fingerprint in the biometric profile is in the PDF417 barcode format. The biometric system is used for increasing the strength of the binding between the SID and the seafarer who holds it.

The ILO Convention 185 has a certain set of preconditions that are to be satisfied before giving the license to the seafarers. It was assumed by the framers that while taking fingerprints the seafarers will not perceive fingerprint capture and verification to be an invasion of their privacy or an offence against their dignity. This was also very well laid down in Article 3 of the 185 Convention.

For enrolling the Biometric, an issuing agent is required to enter the personalization information into the enrollment system. A fingerprint should be captured from the index finger of each hand. In case the index finger is damaged and the fingerprint cannot be taken, then a fingerprint from another finger or thumb will be captured. The SID-issuing agent shall specify which fingers were enrolled at the time of biometric enrolment, and this information shall be recorded in the header of the biometric template to be stored on the SID bar code.

India also ratified this convention and became a part of it. This is a boon for the Indian Sailors as they can move freely in the international waters without any restriction. The identity card that is issued to them have all the features to be verified electronically and is recognised world wide.The hassle free movement in the international waters will also increase employment opportunities for the Seafarers. India has over 1.8 lakh seafarers, just around 7 per cent of the global share of sailors. The security issues that are presently faced by the seafarers will also be solved and taken care of.

Posted On:14-Sep-2015


Car Carrier Detained in Tacoma Over Fire Safety Violations
The U.S. Coast Guard has detained a Panamanian-flagged car carrier in the Port of Tacoma this week due to safety deficiencies including an inoperable fire detection system.

A Port State Control exam team boarded the 590-foot MV Pegasus Highway on Wednesday for a routine PSC inspection. While aboard, the Coast Guard discovered multiple violations of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.

The most severe deficiency involved a fire detection system that was found to be inoperable.

The vessel will be required to remain in port until the deficiencies are rectified.

"Through the Port State Control Program, the Coast Guard verifies that foreign vessels calling on U.S. ports meet applicable U.S. and International regulations to protect people, property, and the environment." said Cmdr. Matt Edwards, chief of prevention at Sector Puget Sound. "We will continue to work with the vesselís crew to ensure the deficiencies are corrected and the vessel is safe to resume trade."

Port State Control (PSC) inspections are regularly carried out include the inspection of fire protection, life saving, machinery, navigation, and pollution control systems as well as assesses the crew's ability to respond to onboard emergencies.

Posted On:14-Sep-2015


Arctic Shipping Lanes Open for First Time Since 2013
With the opening of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) through the Russian arctic earlier this month, the two major shipping routes through the Arctic are now both officially open for business.

The NSR, running entirely in arctic waters along the Russian coast, opened this year on September 3rd following the opening of the Northeast Passage on August 18th and the Northwest Passage, across Canada and Alaska, on September 1, according to the Global Ice Center (GIC) at Weathernews, a private weather service company headquartered in Japan.

This year marks the first time both passages have opened since 2013.

The Northeast Passage is expected to stay open until early October with the Northwest Passage closing by late September, making it possible for commercial vessels to enter the icy region, Weathernews says.

The company notes that ice in the Arctic Sea is melting at a fast pace and has already reached the third-lowest ice cover extent observed in the NSR. Ice started melting in early August, receding enough to open both passages.

In 2014, the Northeast Passage remained closed due to ice in the Vilkitsky Strait connecting the Kara and Laptev Seas. The Northwest Passage also remained closed last year due to lingering sea ice in the Barrow Strait.

Currently, sea ice in the Arctic has shrunken to about 4,600,000 square kilometers, the same as observed in 2012 and third smallest area since 2007, according to the GIC.

"The GIC expects ice to continue melting until mid-September when air temperatures will start to fall, and sea ice refreezes outward," the company said in statement to the media. "In the northwest passage where ice easily freezes over the many islands, closing is expected in the latter half of September, followed by the northeast side in October when coastal ice reappears, and closes the route."

Warm air and rising sea temperatures rising are considered major factors in this yearís melt, the GIC said.

Weathernews says that to help with better forecasting of ice conditions in the arctic, the company is preparing the launch of a new satellite in 2016, called WNISAT-1R, to improve the quality of data and analysis in the region.

Posted On:14-Sep-2015