May’s Top Stories: South China Sea Dispute; Japanese Tanker Explosion

A Vietnamese boat capsized in the disputed waters of South China Sea after colliding with a Chinese vessel amid on-going maritime territorial disputes between the two countries. The incident took place 17nm from a $1bn Chinese oil rig off the Paracel islands. Ship-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from May 2014.


ship news

Vietnamese boat capsizes after collision with Chinese vessel

A Vietnamese boat capsized in the disputed waters of South China Sea after colliding with a Chinese vessel amid on-going maritime territorial disputes between the two countries.

The incident took place 17nm from a $1bn Chinese oil rig off the Paracel islands.

Vietnam coastguard commander Nguyen Quang Dam was quoted by Reuters as saying that the Chinese boat rammed and sank the Vietnamese fishing vessel; however, nearby Vietnamese ships rescued the ten fishermen on-board.

Fincantieri to build €2.1bn new ships for MSC Cruises

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Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri was awarded a €2.1bn contract to build two new cruise ships for MSC Cruises, an Italian-Swiss cruise line.

The new prototype ship named Seaside is claimed to be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri.

Each ship will cost €700m and the amount will be funded with support from insurance and financial company SACE.

South Korea to dismantle coastguard over Sewol ferry disaster

SewolSouth Korea President Park Geun-hye said that the country's coastguard will be disbanded following its failure to carry out search and rescue operations for the Sewol ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Park was quoted by Reuters as saying in a televised address: "I apologise to the nation for the pain and suffering that everyone felt, as the president who should have been responsible for the safety and lives of the people."

"Had there been an immediate and proactive rescue operation after the accident, we would have been able to reduce the casualties."

UK launches first national strategy for maritime security

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The UK Government launched its first national strategy for maritime security (NSMS), in a demonstration of the country's approach to delivering maritime security at home and abroad.

The strategy set out how the UK will organise and deploy its national capabilities to detect, assess and manage maritime security challenges. It also aims to connect the government with industry and international partners, to build an effective approach to maritime security risks faced by seafarers.

UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Guy Platten said that piracy may not be making as many headlines this year, but it is still a major threat to the safety of seafarers in many parts of the world, particularly in West Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea, where reducing the risks must be a priority.

Greenpeace vessel blocks Statoil's drilling in Norwegian Arctic

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The Greenpeace ship Esperanza travelled to the Arctic to stop Norwegian oil firm Statoil from drilling the world's northern-most well.

Esperanza arrived on Thursday, ahead of Statoil's Transocean Spitsbergen rig, which was heading to the site.

The Norwegian authorities had previously removed seven Greenpeace protesters who had boarded the oil rig on 27 May, while another eight protestors left voluntarily.

Tuco Marine Group develops new ProZero series of boats

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Tuco Marine Group launched a new ProZero series of fast rescue boats (FRBs), daughter crafts and workboats for the professional market.

A total of 16 low-weight boat models were designed and developed especially for use in critical and challenging working conditions at sea.

The length of the boats in the series range between 6.5m and 16m and are 2.8m to 4.3m wide.

IMO approves new maritime regulations polar navigation

ArkThe Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) said that the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) maritime safety committee (MSC) approved new regulations for navigation in Arctic waters.

The new Polar Code regulations aim to enhance the safety of navigation in polar areas and will be implemented later this year.

The Polar Code covers the entire palette of navigation in polar areas, including ship design and construction, crew training and navigation, and improved coordination of search and rescue operations.

Australian Government selects European firms for new icebreaker

AurThe Federal Government of Australia shortlisted two European companies to build the new icebreaker for Australian Antarctic Division.

The new ship will replace the Aurora Australis, which was built in Newcastle in New South Wales.

The new icebreaker was earlier shelved by the previous government due to failure in securing funds; however, the new government has assumed financially responsiblity of setting aside the funds.

Oil tanker explosion off Japanese coast leaves captain missing

An explosion on Syoho Shipping's Shoko Maru oil tanker off the south-west coast of Japan left four of the eight crew members severely injured and one missing.

Japan coast guard spokesman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying that the incident occurred at 9:20am near the Himeji Port.

The 998t oil tanker exploded close to the coast of the Hyogo prefecture after it had unloaded its cargo at a port nearby.

Four British sailors missing after yacht capsizes in mid-Atlantic

Four Britons went missing after their yacht, Cheeki Rafiki, capsized in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Contact with the four sailors was lost in the early hours of 16 May, when they were diverting to the Azores on their way to UK from Antigua Sailing Week in the Caribbean.

The sailors were reportedly delivering the vessel after participating in the world's largest regatta.