Well being guide: the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)

has published a new 17-page guide to help crew members cope with the stresses of modern-day

shipping operations. Psychological Wellbeing at Sea contains handy hints for enhancing wellbeing,

generating positive emotions and maintaining good relationships with others onboard. It also sets out ways of getting help in difficult situations.

Grounding probe: Nautilus has offered assistance to members onboard the P&O ferry Pride of Kent, after the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch launched a probe into the circumstances surrounding the vessel’s grounding last month while departing the port of Calais in high winds.

Cruise concern: the cruiseship sector may be running the risk of over-capacity with orders for new vessels at record levels, the financial services firm Morgan Stanley warned last month. Analyst Jamie Rollo said capacity is set to rise by 45% by 2025, and the industry may be over-optimistic in expecting demand to increase at the same rate.

Code update: updates to the 2015 edition of the Code of Safe Working Practices to Merchant Seafarers have been published. Amendment 2 includes new information on sunglasses and risk from sharps, solid carbon dioxide and safe access to small craft.

Dieppe deal: DFDS has been awarded a new five-year public service contract to operate the Newhaven-Dieppe cross-Channel ferry service.

Maersk reflags: German seafaring unions have expressed concern about potential job losses after Maersk Line followed its €3.7bn acquisition of the containership operator Hamburg Sud last month by confirming plans to switch some of the 47-vessel fleet from the German flag to the Danish and Singapore ship registers.

Collision charges: the master of the South Korean bunker tanker Myeongjin-15 was charged with accidental homicide last month after his ship collided with a fishing boat near the port of Incheon, causing 15 deaths. Prosecutors said the captain had failed to make a proper risk assessment and a rating had been accused of failure to keep a proper lookout.

Chittagong concern: the London P&I Club has issued an alert to ships visiting the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong, claiming that it has become ‘an international hot-spot for anchor dragging incidents’. It urged seafarers to be vigilant in the area, stressing the risks of congestion, strong prevailing currents and poor holding ground.

Danish attack: Denmark’s Seamen’s Union attacked European Union ministers for failing to stop social dumping. It said amendments to the directive on the posting of workers will fail to tackle the problems posed by the import of cheap labour.

Training downgrade: the French officers’ union FOMM-CGT has criticised the country’s prime minister for suggesting that the two smaller sites of the national officer training academy, ENSM, should be downgraded to save money.

Officer killed: an investigation was launched last month after a Filipino deck officer died as a result of being crushed by a closing hatch onboard the Dutch-flagged general cargo ship Lady Christina in the port of Rauma, Finland.

Compensation case: three Norwegian maritime unions have taken legal action against the shipping company GC Rieber and the crewing firm OSM seeking compensation for seafarers who, they argue, were unfairly dismissed. Terje Hernes, a lawyer for the NSOF officers’ union, said: ‘If the judgment goes in favour of GC Rieber, that they can shut down their own crewing company and lay everyone off in order to replace them with cheap foreign labour, then in reality Norwegian seafarers will be left unprotected.’

Asbestos alarm: French seafaring unions have urged the containership company CMA CGM to check all of its fleet for asbestos after the substance was discovered on nine of the company’s French-flagged vessels recently. The unions are also calling for extensive medical checks to be carried out on all seafarers who served on the ships where asbestos was found.

Positive call: negative images are scaring young people away from the maritime industry, a Danish conference heard. Delegates at the meeting called for more to be done to portray the positive sides of shipping, and for closer cooperation within the industry to recruit and retain a new generation of seafarers.

Acid deaths: Italian seafaring unions have criticised safety standards after an inquiry concluded that three officers died onboard the passenger ship San Salvino in November 2016 as a result of inhaling sulphuric acid while working on the vessel’s bilges in the port of Messina.

Piracy crew freed.

Thirty five seafarers and security guards from the Seaman Guard Ohio support vessel have been released.

The men had been held in India for over four years on charges of possessing illegal firearms. The Sierra Leone-registered ship was detained by the Indian authorities in October 2013 after it entered the country’s territorial waters for bunkering. Police accused the crew, including six British security guards, of carrying unregistered weapons and making an illicit money transfer for the bunkers, and they were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

The charges were initially quashed when the men argued successfully that the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes and their paperwork was in order. But the case went to another court and they were sentenced to five years in jail.

‘I am delighted that justice has finally prevailed and these men can return home to their families and put these dubious legal proceedings behind them,’ said general secretary Mark Dickinson. The International Transport Workers’ Federation funded the appeal on behalf of the crew. ITF seafarers’ section chair David Heindel commented: ‘At last there is some form of justice, even if it cannot restore to the men the time lost since their arrest in 2013.

‘Unfortunately, one glaring injustice remains: the scandal of Advan Fort getting off scot free, having washed its hands of its employees. They took the money, they sauntered off, pockets bulging. It is nothing short of shameful that our justice system allows them to get away with this. But as we have witnessed over and over, this is the flag of convenience system that has been created!’

The Mission to Seafarers, which provided extensive support to the ship’s crew throughout their ordeal, also welcomed the ruling. Ben Bailey, director of advocacy, commented: ‘The case of the Seaman Guard Ohio highlights once again the issue that millions of merchant seafarers often face when carrying out their everyday jobs. The criminalisation of seafarers remains a constant threat to those who are responsible for transporting over 90% of world trade.’

The Mission provided and administered a legal fund to fight the men’s case, and also paid for medical treatment for the Ukrainian master’s terminal illness in partnership with the ITF Seafarers’ Trust.

The Hong Kong Mariners’ Club

The Mariners’ Club in Hong Kong is a well-used, but ageing building, scheduled to be torn down in the coming few years and rebuilt to fit in with the modern skyscrapers that surround it. The new edifice will provide new generations of seafarers with a welcoming, perfectly located place to stay when signing on and off ships in Hong Kong.

ED:  Much welcomed news having been on the cards for 30+ years!  I stayed there several times when I first arrived in Hong Kong in 1992.  Noticeable was the similarity to a ship in that the crew did not have toilet facilities in their rooms, having to share communal facilities.  The officers rooms were not much better having a toilet and sink but having to share showers.

(With thanks to the Nautilus Telegraph:


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