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Force is the issue

SAMI has stressed the importance of UK becoming involved in efforts to counter Somali piracy The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) has stressed the importance and significance of the UK government and parliament becoming involved in efforts to counter Somali piracy.This comes following the release of the latest House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report on 'Piracy off the coast of Somalia' which states it is unacceptable that the Indian Ocean has become so dangerous for commercial shipping, while supporting the UK government decision to permit private armed guards to defend British flagged ships.The fact that, as yet, no vessel has been taken by pirates when guarded by armed teams speaks volumes, said SAMI.However, according to SAMI founder Peter Cook: "The bold decision to allow vessels to use armed guards was just the start. Now the authorities must set about the task of ensuring the systems and rules for the use of force which they employ are appropriate and adequate."The report recognises that the UK government's guidance on the use of force, particularly lethal force, is limited and there is little to assist a ship's master in making a judgement on when force can be used. There remains ...

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Lawmakers urge UK to consider trying Somali pirates

UK to host international conference on Somalia next month The British government should consider bringing Somali pirates to Britain for trial, lawmakers said on Thursday, accusing the government of not doing enough to tackle a problem that cost $135 million in ransoms last year alone.Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee also called on the government -- which recently announced it will permit British merchant ships sailing off Somalia to carry armed guards -- to state clearly when these guards may legally open fire."We conclude that for too long there has been a noticeable gap between the (British) government's rhetoric and its action," the influential committee said in a report on Somali piracy.Britain will host an international conference on Feb. 23 to try to agree on measures to tackle instability and piracy in the east African country, described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a "failed state that directly threatens British interests."Pirates operating from the Somali coast have raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in ransoms from hijacking ships and currently hold up to 10 ships and 200 hostages .The lawmakers said that despite nine U.N. Security Council resolutions and three multinational naval operations, counter-piracy policy had had limited impact."The number of ...

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Clarify Use Of Armed Guards On UK Ships

Rules of engagement for armed guards must be clarified Rules of engagement for armed guards on UK-flagged ships against Somali pirates must be clarified, the Government is to be told.The call comes after private shipping companies were authorised to use armed guards for self-protection following continued pirate attacks on vessels in the Indian Ocean.The influential parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee welcomed the decision last year to allow armed guards on British vessels but a new report said guidance on the use of "lethal force" is very limited, leaving ship captains in a difficult position.The committee of MPs also concluded that the solutions to combating Somali pirates lie on land, with a need for better support for Somalian civil society organisations and local projects.Some fishermen have said they turned to piracy after central government control collapsed in the country.And in response to criticism from former captives Paul and Rachel Chandler about the Foreign Office's support for their family during their 13-month captivity, the committee said the Government should review its communication and other procedures when Britons are kidnapped abroad.Although NATO and other countries patrol vast tracts of international waters by ship and air - including long-endurance US drones - attacks and ...

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13 Foreign Ships Under Detention in the UK

During November 2011 The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced today that 13 foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during November 2011 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection. Latest monthly figures show that there were six new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during November 2011 and seven vessels remained under detention from previous months.The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months was 3.17% this is slightly up from Octobers twelve month rate. Out of the detained vessels six were registered with a flag states listed on the Paris MOU white list, four were registered with a flag states on the grey list one was registered with a flag state on the black list and two were unregistered.1.In response to one of the recommendations of Lord Donaldsons Inquiry into the prevention of pollution from merchant shipping and in compliance with the EU Directive on Port State Control (95/21/EC as amended), the Maritime and Coastguard agency (MCA) publishes full details of the foreign flagged vessels detained in UK ports each month.2. Inspections of foreign flagged ships in UK ports are undertaken by surveyors from the Maritime and Coastguard ...

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UK urged to test bunkers for sulphur

New study says available test evidence is insufficient to estimate compliance levels across the ECAs An interim report by the UK-based Seafarers International Research Centre has recommended that the country's Maritime and Coastguard Agency should test bunkers for sulphur content and not just rely, as at present, on documentary evidence.The report, Pollution Controls: the Case of the Governance of Ship Emissions is of a continuing study examines the effectiveness of international regulations on ships' sulphur emissions, based on observation of ship inspections in the UK and Sweden and on interviews with regulators, inspectors and industry stakeholders.The study finds: "There is currently a 'culture of compliance' in the industry, with the proportion of ship detentions as a percentage of Paris MoU inspections falling from 9% in 2001 to just 3% in 2010." It also says that only fragmentary lab-test evidence of compliance levels is available.It says that, in the first quarter of 2011, 18% of samples, collected in Western Europe and the Baltic and sent to one large commercial lab testing agency, proved to have non-compliant sulphur levels. Most of these samples were only marginally off-spec, and there were considerable local differences, with only 7% of Rotterdam samples being off-spec. Test ...

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New UK anti-piracy armed guard guidance

New guidance has been released by the UK Government Following the announcement that British merchant ships will be able to arm themselves against the piracy threat - new guidance has been released by the UK Government.The UK Chamber of Shipping has welcomed the news.Head of security and defence, Gavin Simmonds said: "Shipping minister Mike Penning has been the force behind this cross-departmental policy change on armed guards for ships which strikes a good and practical balance - we welcome this outcome."There is continued pressure for military and other complementary solutions to the piracy crisis and we need to be clear that arming our ships is only a small part of the wider solution."The new guidance includes the factors ship owners should take into account when conducting a risk assessment before a voyage and advice on choosing a private security company (PSC).Companies wishing to use armed guards will need to submit a detailed counter piracy plan to the Department of Transport, according to the guidance.Also, any PSC employed will need prior authorisation from the Home Office for possession of prohibited firearms.This new guidance will be kept under review to ensure that it continues to meet anti-piracy efforts both nationally and globally.Source: ...

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ABB to promote ‘cold ironing’ in UK

Technology for cutting all airborne emissions ABB Marine and Cranes reports that it is working to promote the environmental and commercial benefits of the use of shore-to-ship high voltage electrical connection technology in the UK market.Also known as 'cold ironing' and 'alternative marine power', ABB describes the technology as "essentially the port operator providing a connection to the local electricity network for the vessel. This allows the vessel to shut down its diesel engines thereby cutting all airborne emissions (CO2 plus other emissions such as NOx, SOx and particulates). In addition to the significant benefit to the environment, a reduction in noise pollution and vibration is realised which has a positive effect on local communities."According to ABB, there has been a common concern in the industry around the matter of global standards, something that has recently been addressed by the publication of the IEC 'publicly available standard' (IEC/ISO/IEEE 60092-510) which aims to ensure global compatibility for connections, communication and protection.Stuart Melling, account manager for ABB Marine and Crane business unit says: "This development removes some of the uncertainty a port and vessel operator would have around investing in this technology. The environmental benefits are clear, most of our customers accept ...

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Cable sees salvation in London s Gateway port despite shipping crisis

Analysts question wisdom of London super-port built by Middle Eastern oil magnates The Middle Eastern oil magnates behind a new 1.5bn container port under construction at Thurrock on the River Thames have been hailed as saviours by the business secretary, Vince Cable.He said: "The opening of London Gateway in just two years' time will transform the UK's maritime port infrastructure. It will help Britain to maintain its competitiveness, drive productivity, and crucially strengthen our links with Asia and beyond. The importance of this project cannot be overestimated."But behind the scenes, some industry experts are questioning the wisdom of this grandiose scheme at a time when rival facilities are springing up all over northern Europe and the shipping industry has been tipped into crisis.DP World, partly owned by a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, has promised to create Britain's "first 21st-century major deep-sea container port" as well as Europe's largest logistics park.But Felixstowe's container port on the Suffolk coast has just opened two major new berths while Rotterdam, Antwerp and others are also busy building huge amounts of extra cargo-handling capacity. Meanwhile, the big container ship operators expected to use this capacity are squealing with financial pain and cutting back services.AP Moller-Maersk, ...

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Tanker Owners Prosecuted For Pollution In Solent

The fine and costs amount to a total of 95,000 At a hearing today at Southampton Magistrates Court, the owners of a tanker were found guilty under UK maritime pollution legislation. The fine and costs amounted to a total of 95,000. Overnight on the 10th and 11th January 2011, yellow waxy balls of an unknown material washed ashore on the beaches of East and West Wittering. Samples were collected by the Environment Agency for analysis.The Maritime and Coastguard Agency received information of problems onboard a Panamanian registered tanker called Pretty Time. The vessel was boarded and inspected by MCA Port State Control Inspectors on the 25th January 2011. The inspection showed there had been problems in the handling of a previous cargo of Palm Oil. Small yellow waxy balls of material were seen scattered about the deck.Samples of the cargoes were taken and sent for testing by the Environment Agency. Also taken were copies of the ship's logs and documentation.A backtrack analysis showed that the Palm Oil that washed up on the beaches of the Solent on the 10/11th January 2011 originated from the Outer Nab Anchorage at a time when the Pretty Time logs showed tank cleaning was in ...

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Arming ships against piracy should be the exception despite welcome new government guidance

Nautilus is seeking more talks with the UK government re armed guards onboard Nautilus is seeking more talks with the UK government following the Prime Minister's announcement that the use of armed guards is to be permitted on British ships.Guidance published by the government today (Tuesday 6 December) covers the factors ship owners should include in a risk assessment and advice on selecting a private security company, as well as the process for gaining authorisation for the carriage of armed guards.The Union has given a cautious welcome to the announcement - welcoming the recognition that seafarers deserve greater protection against piracy, but expressing concern at some of the implications arising from the use of firearms on merchant ships.General secretary Mark Dickinson commented: 'While we are pleased that the UK has legalised the use of armed guards, we do not believe this in any way reduces the necessity for a strong naval force in the area.'We also believe it is essential that action is taken to ensure that private security teams used at sea are properly vetted and accredited, and that their training, experience and competence are at acceptable levels.'It is also of critical importance that clear procedures are in place ...

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