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Armed guards to protect UK ships

Ships sailing under a British flag will be able to carry armed guards - PM announced Ships sailing under a British flag will be able to carry armed guards to protect them from pirates, the prime minister has announced.David Cameron says he wants to combat the risks to shipping off the coast of Somalia, where 49 of the world's 53 hijackings last year took place.Under the plans, the home secretary would be given the power to license armed guards for ships.No ship carrying armed security has yet been hijacked, the government claims.Up to 200 vessels flying the red ensign - the British merchant navy flag - regularly sail close to Somalia. Officials estimate that about 100 of those would immediately apply for permission to have armed guards.Under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea every ship is subject to the jurisdiction of the country whose flag it carries.It is thought many British-registered ships already carry armed guards because they feel they have no alternative.However, licensing ships to carry armed guards could still fall foul of laws in other countries. Egypt recently announced that armed guards would not be permitted on ships sailing through the Suez canal.Shoot ...

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British police to launch Seychelles pirate hunting base

Britain to boost its fight against Somali piracy Britain is to boost its fight against Somali piracy by creating a new intelligence cell with the job of tracking the multi-million dollar money flows generated by buccaneering "kingpins".Ministers plan to despatch officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency to staff a new Indian Ocean unit dedicated to hunting pirate financiers, who provide start-up cash for gangs in return for the lion's share of ransom proceeds.A financier who offers as little $10,000 to equip a gang with skiffs, fuel and guns can easily expect a return of 10 or 20 times his money in the event of a successful hijacking.But while such profits are now believed to run into tens of millions of dollars a year, relatively little is known about exactly where the cash ends up, beyond a widespread acknowledgement that it makes the gangs ever more powerful, and may also line the pockets of Somalia's al-Shabaab Islamist movement."Pirate financiers are the kingpins of piracy," said Henry Bellingham, Foreign Office minister for Africa, who will announce details of the new centre in a speech to the Chamber of Shipping in London on Wednesday. "Effectively targeting them will have a huge ...

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UK outlines robust measures to tackle piracy

Government announces funding of counter-piracy projects Speaking at the British Chamber of Shipping, Foreign Office Minister, Henry Bellingham, outlined the UK's ongoing commitment to tackle piracy off the coast of East Africa, including UK support for several of the UN's projects to tackle piracy - including work in Somalia designed to prevent people from turning to piracy in the first place.Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham said: "This government is 100% behind a more robust response to piracy. I am pleased to announce that a UK funded maritime intelligence and information coordination centre will be set up in Seychelles. The FCO and Serious Organised Crime Agency are carrying out urgent work with the Government of the Seychelles to take this forward."The new intelligence centre will coordinate the tracking of financial flows and enforcement operations and will help collate the evidence needed to issue international arrest warrants and prosecute pirates. Pirate financiers are the kingpins of piracy and targeting them effectively will have a huge impact on the ability of pirates to terrorise the high seas."Mr Bellingham continued: "We have always been clear that the problem of piracy cannot be solved at sea when the causes of piracy lie on land. We ...

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UK probe into sulphur cap impact

House of Commons Transport Select Committee will hold an inquiry The UK's House of Commons Transport Select Committee has announced it will hold an inquiry into the impact of regulations limiting sulphur emissions from ships.The organisation bringing together the shipping, ports and maritime business services sectors, Maritime UK, says the move is in repsonse to its lobbying on the issue. The news or an inquiry follows a meeting between the select committee and senior Maritime UK members earlier this year, where committee chairman Louise Ellman MP heard of the detrimental impact the IMO's sulphur regulations, and the EU sulphur directive, will have on the maritime services sector.The maximum permitted sulphur content in fuel burnt within IMO-designated Emissions Control Areas was reduced to 1% from 1 July last year but there will be a further reduction to 0, 1% from 1 January 2015 which is widely seen as problematic as it probably mean a large-scale switch-over to distillate fuel which already much expensive than heavy fuel oil bunkers. It is generally believed that the cost of distillate will increase significantly as the refineries struggle to meet demand.In a submission to the Committee, Maritime UK says: "The main effect of the revised ...

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UK boosts economy and creates 1,500 jobs with new new deep water berths

1 billion investment program to create 1,500 jobs At the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk, a 1 billion investment program to create 1,500 jobs has seen the opening of two new deep-water shipping terminals, making it the only berth in the UK capable of handling the biggest containerships on order.The terminals are said to be equipped with seven of the largest container cranes in the world, able to manage ships with containers stowed 24-wide, The Press Association reports. The opening of the berths is only one stage in the investment program, though. The expansion of the port could rack up an additional 20 billion to what has already been invested with rail terminal construction.The expansion is not only a boost to the economy and creating jobs, but it is also enhancing UK's supply chain infrastructure at one of its biggest ports. The cutting-edge technology will be able to provide better customer service, as well as reducing carbon emissions, according to Dredging Today.The Felixstowe port currently deals approximately 40% of the UK's container cargo, with over 60 billion in trade passing through the port annually. The new terminals and cranes will enable that number to increase by 20 billion a year.BBC ...

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Six foreign ships under detention in the UK during August 2011

After failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced that 6 foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during August 2011 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.Latest monthly figures show that there were 3 new detentions of foreign flagged ships in UK ports during August 2011 and 3 vessels remained under detention from previous months. The overall rate of detentions compared with inspections carried out over the last twelve months was 3.11% this is slightly down from Julys twelve month rate.Out of the detained vessels 1 was registered with a flag state listed on the Paris MOU white list, 1 was registered with a flag state on the grey list 2 were registered with flag states on the black list and 2 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 MCA. Where ...

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Pollution disaster fears as rescue tugs are ditched

Four tugs were put in place as a result of the oil spill from the tanker Braer Britain is abandoning its first line of defence against oil tanker pollution disasters, four ocean-going tugs stationed around the coastline to help vessels in distress.The four tugs, put in place as a result of the calamitous oil spill from the tanker Braer, which ran aground in Shetland in 1993, are to come out of service in a fortnight as part of the Government's public spending cuts.The move, which will save 8m a year - vastly less than the cost of dealing with any major oil spill - goes against the clear recommendations of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and is being described by concerned MPs as "inviting disaster" and "crazy".The Government hopes that commercial tug operators will fill the gap when needed, but there is great concern that while this may happen in the Channel and the Southwest Approaches, it will be impossible in Scotland's Northern and Western Isles - which are both the most environmentally sensitive waters around Britain and the most dangerous to shipping.The four tugs, or emergency towing vessels (ETVs), have been stationed since 1995, at public expense, in four ...

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Philippine and British governments support SaveOurSeafarers

SOS campaign aims to raise public awareness on the deleterious effects of piracy Seafarers' organisations, shipping companies together with business leaders and the biggest ever grouping of shipping industry associations, which have joined forces to campaign against Somali piracy, have received a welcome boost from the British and Philippine Governments confirming their support for the global SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign.In the Philippines, the Filipino Labour and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said in a public statement that the world's number one source of world-class seafarers is morally bound to support global action to ensure the welfare and protection of seafarers. Baldoz lauded the SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign for its "unrelenting" efforts to raise public awareness on the deleterious effects of piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean."We are always mindful of the policy of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III for enhanced overseas foreign workers protection," she said. Foremost of this is to push for global call to stamp out piracy in the high seas, which is now affecting global maritime commerce," she added.Source: Seatrade Asia

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UK faces legal challenge over emergency cover scrapping

Britian decided to scrap emergency towing vessel cover around the coastline Britian's decision to scrap emergency towing vessel cover around the coastline is now almost certain to face legal challenge, with opponents of the idea set to argue in the High Court that such a step would breach both international treaty obligations and domestic law.The government initially unveiled the move in October 2010, as part of the biggest round of public sector cuts seen in Britain for almost 90 years. Ending ETV cover is designed to save 32m ($51.5m) over four years, as a contribution towards an 81bn overall reduction in state spending.However, reaction within UK shipping has been almost unanimously hostile, with many doubtful that reliance on free-market salvage operators is an adequate substitute for having four tugs provided by JP Knight on call 24 hours.They point out that the present system was introduced in light of past experience, on the recommendation of Lord Donaldson's report into the 1993 Braer disaster, and that one repetition of such an incident could dwarf any savings made by ending it.Seafarer union Nautilus International today confirmed that it and one other party, which it declined to name, were now talking to maritime law ...

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