Croatian police have concluded their investigations into the death of 19-year-old South African cadet Akhona Geveza, whose body was found in the sea off Rijeka on June 24 after she went overboard from the Safmarine containership Safmarine Kariba.
The Director of Police Administration for Primorsko-goranska region told Lloyd’s List that it had concluded a criminal investigation into the death and submitted a report to the State Attorney’s office in Rijeka. It will decide on what, if any, further action will be taken. However, he did not reveal the findings of the investigation or the content of the report. He confirmed that no police forces from any other countries were involved in the investigation.
Suspicions were aroused when it was revealed that Ms Geveza had made allegations of rape against the vessel’s Ukrainian chief officer. She was onboard the Safmarine vessel as part of a scheme enabling cadets of South Africa’s National Ports Authority Transnet to gain seagoing experience. The incident prompted further allegations by Transnet cadets of sexual harassment onboard vessels.
Transnet spokesman John Ddudlu said: “Transnet is currently reviewing the cadet maritime programme and, through its employee assistance programme, has appointed independent service providers to conduct one-on-one interviews with all the cadets who have gone through the programme. We will use their experiences to determine appropriate steps to be taken to prevent similar incidents in future. In addition, the conversations will assure cadets at sea that they have access to support should they experience any difficulties. The review is ongoing.”
SHIPTALK: A GLOSSARY OF SHIPPING AND MARITIME TERMS
DOUBLE BOTTOM – General term for all watertight spaces contained between the outside bottom plating, the tank top and the margin plate. The double bottoms are sub-divided into a number of separate tanks which may contain boiler feed water, drinking water, fuel oil, ballast, etc. They are now becoming common on all tankers.
HARBOUR MASTER (Port Captain) – A person usually having the experience of a certificated master mariner and having a good knowledge of the characteristics of the port and its whole area. He administers the entire shipping movements that take place in and within reach of his port.
HELMSMAN – An able-bodied seamen entrusted with the steering of a vessel.
INTERNATIONAL LOAD LINE CERTIFICATE – A certificate which gives details of a ship’s freeboard and states that the ship has been surveyed and the appropriate load lines marked on her sides. The certificate is issued by a classification society or coastal authority such as a coast guard.
LIGHT DISPLACEMENT TONNAGE – The weight of a ship’s hull, machinery, equipment and spares. This is often the basis on which ships are paid for when purchased for scrapping. The difference between the loaded displacement and light displacement is the ship’s deadweight.
LINER SERVICE – Vessels operating on fixed itineraries or regular schedules and established rates available to all shippers. The freight rates which are charged are based on the shipping company’s tariff or if the company is a member of a liner conference, the tariff of that conference. An agent once compared a Liner Service with a bus service travelling to regular stops at regular times and on a regular turnaround route.
NON-LINER SERVICE – A shipping service that does not operate to a fixed itinerary or regular schedule. Someone once compared a non-liner service to a taxi service, going here, going there, anywhere to pick up a farefreight, whereas a Liner Service is like a bus service travelling to regular stops at regular times and on a regular turnaround route.
OPEN REGISTRY – A term also described as "flag of convenience" or "flag of necessity" to denote registry in a country which offers favourable tax, regulatory, and other incentives to ship owners from other nations.
SEAWORTHINESS CERTIFICATE – A certificate issued by a classification society surveyor to allow a vessel to proceed after she has met with a mishap that may have affected its seaworthiness. It is frequently issued to enable a vessel to proceed, after temporary repairs have been effected, to another port where permanent repairs are then carried out.
WATCH – The day at sea is divided into six four-hour periods. Three groups of watchstanders are on duty for four hours and then off for eight, then back to duty. Seamen often work overtime during their off time.
Barriers To Women In Seafaring
We were pleased to see Sarah Breton take command of P&O Cruises’ 1982-built, 44,588 gt Artemis, the first appointment of a female master of one its cruise ships in the venerable company’s 173-year life.
We do wonder why a company, at this late date, would write a press release about it and why Lloyd’s List would deem it news, rather than another fine example of professionalism winning authority due to merit. But it is news because of the relative scarcity of female masters.
The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency has a record of 36 female masters. That group is drawn out of a pool of 25,000 seafarers in the UK. A woman taking up seafaring as a vocation has a slim chance of becoming a master under today’s conditions.
Peter Cardy, the head of the MCA, is exiting his post at the end of the month. A signal contribution during his tenure was to advocate a more inclusive maritime industry. Mr Cardy, in these pages, suggested that one obvious cure for the perpetual shortage of officers was to recruit women more effectively.
“As with other previously male domains,” he wrote, “to overcome the barriers requires senior role models not being the sole female on board, assurance of privacy and personal security, and clarity from the master and company about behaviour.”
That these factors are not guaranteed by owners may offer a clue to Britain’s shortage of women applicants despite the efforts of the government, the industry and the Merchant Navy Training Board.
Source: Lloyd’s List
WEEKLY PIRACY REPORT
(For Week Ending August 14, 2010)
1636 UTC: Posn: 04:05N – 006:45E, 2.5 nm off Bonny River fairway buoy, Nigeria.
Seven pirates armed with machine guns boarded a landing craft vessel underway. Master and C/O remained on the bridge and all the other crewmembers were instructed to lock themselves in a safe compartment. After a few hours when the crew came out of hiding they found the bridge unmanned. The pirates had kidnapped the Master and C/O to an unknown location. C/E informed the owners and managers. Agents reported the incident to the local authorities.
0330 LT: Posn: 01:19.4N – 104:14.7E, Pasir Gudang STS anchorage, Malaysia.
Unnoticed five pirates armed with pistols and knives boarded and entered the engine room of an anchored tanker. They tied up the duty motorman and stole some spares. Watch engineer found the motorman, untied him and informed the bridge who raised the alarm. Port control informed. Malaysia coast guard boarded the tanker for investigation.
2320 LT: Posn: 12:11.604N – 45:43.604E, Gulf of Aden.
A general cargo ship underway was warned by a warship that three skiffs were approaching from astern at 20-25 knots. Ship raised alarm, mustered crew, switched off navigational lights, made evasive manoeuvres. Security team onboard the vessel identified the skiffs at a distance of 2 nm astern using night vision glasses. The warship requested flares to be fired from the port and starboard sides to try and identify the position of the skiffs. The warship later searched the area but no skiffs were located. View
0330 LT: Posn: 29:41.7N – 048:40.1E, Umm Qasr anchorage, Iraq.
Two robbers in a fishing boat armed with AK47 and wearing masks boarded a container ship at anchor. They entered the bridge, took the C/O as hostage and went to the master’s cabin. They stole ship’s cash, and personal belongings of master, C/O, C/E and 2/O, locked them in a cabin and escaped. Coalition warship informed.
0400 LT: Posn: 29:42.0N – 048:40.3E, Umm Qasr anchorage, Iraq.
Two robbers armed with AK47 boarded a general cargo ship at anchor. They overcome the duty crew, shot and broke the master’s office locks. Robbers threatened to shoot the C/E if the Master did not hand over the cash box. They stole ship’s cash and crew personal belongings and escaped. No injuries to crew. Coalition warship informed.
Owners Of Hijacked Panama-Flagged Vessel Say No To Ransom
Egyptian company which owns a ship hijacked by Somali pirates this week denied that it would be willing to pay a ransom for the return of the vessel and its crew.
An official with the Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.
Pirates hijacked the Panama-flagged ship on Monday with 22 crew members on board from Egypt, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
In a phone conversation with the German Press Agency dpa, the official denied that the company, which operated the MV Suez cargo vessel, had had dealings with the pirates.
The Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the matter.
Reports earlier in the week had indicated the company was negotiating a ransom with the hijackers.
Last year, 34 Egyptian fishermen freed themselves after being held for four months at sea by their Somali captors. The seamen used the pirates’ own weapons against them, killing at least two and detaining four others.
Fears In India As Pirates Move Closer
An Indian report says that coastal security agencies are confirming that the Somali nationals caught recently near the Lakshadweep Islands were pirates and not fishermen, as they were claiming.
When the eight pirates were taken into custody in May this year they said they were fishermen who left the Somali coast in March for extennded fishing and became separated from their mother vessel. They ran out of fuel and food and were stranded when captured, they said. But according to Indian security specialists the men’s story carry the signs of piracy.
They said it was clear that Somali pirates, probably in reaction to increased naval activity close to Somalia, were gradually moving further afield even as far as the Mauritius and Seychelles coasts. “The area of operation has become quite big,” said one official.
There had been 13 incidents of piracy within 400 miles of Lakshadweep Island.
The security officials said the captured pirates were part of a larger group that had become separated from their mother ship and colleagues.
Meanwhile it is reported that four Indian Ocean island nations and the French territory of Reunion were planning to form a joint naval response in the face of increasing piracy in their respective regions. The European Union has been asked for help in funding the force which would be drawn from Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Reunion.
If the force is successfully formed it will become one of the few responses by an African or Indian Ocean island country against Somali-sourced piracy.
The four nations plan to help patrol and police the seas as a counter to any advancing piracy in their directions.
Meanwhile, Intertanko has reacted to the release of the pirates that were captured while attacking the Odfjell tanker BOW SAGA last week. The attack was abandoned after the arrival of the Spanish frigate VICTORIA which took the pirates into custody before later releasing them.
“Releasing the ‘Bow Saga’ pirates back to Somalia is a bitter blow to the shipping industry (and to its seafarers) in the global fight against piracy,” said Intertanko in a statement. “This undoubtedly will also disappoint those governments that have encouraged the detention and prosecution of pirates. INTERTANKO and its members remain committed to assist in every way possible in bringing to justice those caught in the act of piracy.”
Hope Rises As Scottish Engineer Invents Life Safer, Accident Detector
A life saving device that can warn skippers that their vessel is about to capsize has been developed by a Scottish engineer.
Up to 60 per cent of all cases of fishing vessels that are lost at sea are caused by boats being swamped and turning over, or foundering.
Capsize tragedies off the Scottish coast include the sinking of the Trident, in which seven fishermen died when their trawler went down in the Pentland Firth, and the Aquila last year, when three men died off the west coast.
But Ayrshire-based Ken Smith, who has been working on the project for five years, has now developed the SeaWise monitor that he hopes will prevent such catastrophic incidents.
Successful trials have already been carried on Scottish and Irish fishing boats and the device is being backed by the Sea Fish Industry Authority, the government agency which advises on safety improvements in a notoriously-dangerous industry. Studies have shown that the fatality rate among UK fishermen is 115 times higher than for the workforce as a whole. A teenage fisherman Daniel McNeil was killed last week off the Berwickshire coast when the Blythe-based vessel Homeland was in collision with a ferry.
The monitor is also being tested by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety in the United States so the device is expected to have a global impact beyond the fishing industry.
The device consists of a sensor box which constantly monitors the stability of a vessel and transmits the information to a screen placed in the vessel’s wheelhouse. If the sensor detects that stability is threatened, the crew are alerted by a red light and an audible warning.
The crew can then take action to prevent the vessel capsizing or alert emergency rescue services that their help might be required.
Smith, the director of engineering company Hook Marine, said he became involved in the project, which has been welcomed by fishermen’s organisations, because he was concerned that, unlike in other industries, the accident rate in the fishing industry was not coming down.
“Fishing is the most dangerous industry we have,” Smith said. “But while the accident rate in other industries has been declining in recent years, there has been no corresponding reduction in the UK fishing industry. As 60 per cent of losses are due to instability we think we can make inroads into that and make the industry much safer.”
Smith said there was a loophole in regulations policed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which stipulated that only vessels longer than 12 metres had to be tested for stability before being allowed to set out to sea. As most fishing vessels, including much of the Scottish fleet, were under this length, they escaped rigorous stability checksInventor throws lifeline to fishermenPremium Article !Your account has been frozen. For your available options click the below button.
“It is particularly concerning that the majority of accidents occur on small vessels where there is currently no legal requirement for stability assessment,” he said. “By using a simple and effective monitoring device, fishermen and other mariners can play a vital role in protecting the lives of both themselves and their crew.”
Vessels can capsize when they become top heavy, either by taking on excess water or excessive loads, and then encounter severe weather. Stability can also be affected gradually as a vessel gains weight over time by taking on heavy or badly-stored equipment or by timbers becoming saturated. Marine experts calculate that every ship gains at least one per cent extra in weight every year, which can eventually affect performance in poor weather and increase the risk of capsize.
“An early warning device can make all the difference,” Smith said. “When the crew are alerted that the vessel is at risk of capsizing they have more chance to prevent it from being completely swamped.” He added that the alert would also give crews extra time to ensure cargo is stored more securely, or to chip off any ice that might have formed on the outside structures of the vessel, both of which threaten vessel stability. Crews could also alert lifeboat search and rescue teams more promptly.
The device – which costs £2,480 but for which European grants of up to 40 per cent are available – has been developed with the financial help of the Seafish Authority and Scottish Enterprise, which both awarded Hook Marine grants for the project. Tom Rossiter, the research and development manager at Seafish said “It is great to see a UK company develop such innovative technology, especially for an issue as important as vessel safety. Seafish is proud to have played a part in the development of this product and we would encourage the industry to take advantage of the safety benefits it offers.”
Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Government’s fisheries minister said: ” The Scottish Government welcomes any emerging technology that helps reduce accidents at sea, and look forward with great interest to developments in the sector. ”
In one of Scotland’s worst fishing disasters, the Trident went down with its seven crew in 1974 off Caithness as it travelled back to Peterhead from a deep-sea fishing trip. The grieving families have claimed ever since that the design of the Trident made it unstable and prone to capsize. Earlier this year, a public inquiry into the sinking heard that the simple addition of ballast would have made the Trident more stable but the crew were unaware that the ship had any deficiencies.
Last year, the scallop dredger Aquila sank off near the island of Eigg, with the loss of three of its crew. The Aquila became snagged on the seabed while trawling and heeled over on its starboard side. After the accident, the vessel was salvaged and an analysis of its stability undertakenIt was found that since being initially launched, its weight had increased by a third and it was no longer stable.
However, the crew had no prior information that the stability of the Aquila had changed over time.