Explosion on UAE-bound Indian oil tanker near Oman

Three sailors were injured on Tuesday in an explosion on an Indian crude oil tanker off the coast of Oman, the company said.

The Shipping Corporation of India says the tanker was en route to Fujairah when the explosion struck the MT Desh Vaibhav in the Gulf of Oman. The vessel started its journey in Sikka, India.

One crew member suffered burns in the blast and was airlifted by helicopter. The Omani navy and other ships responded to the fire.

Three crew members are being treated at an Omani hospital and are responding well to treatment, hospital sources said.

“Three sailors of this vessel were picked up from the sea by other vessels that were sailing past and now they are being treated here in Oman,” a ministry of health spokesman told the National.

In a stock disclosure filed by the shipping company, they said: “the fire has been extinguished and the ship is fully manned and operational”.

The Omani coastguard official said that the vessel has already left Omani waters and he believed it has been docked in the UAE’s Fujairah early Wednesday morning. The vessel started its journey in Sikka, India.

“As far as we are concerned, the vessel has been seaworthy just hours after the explosion and set sail towards the UAE. The Omani navy helped with the fire,” the coastguard said.

The identities of the nationals are unknown and a company spokesman declined to comment, as did Omani officials and the Indian embassy in Muscat.

 

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Ordeal of 57 Abandoned Ukrainian Seafarers Finally Over

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Being a seafarer is all but an easy task and the fate of 57 Ukrainian seafarers that managed to return home after being left high and dry for over a year at sea proves that.

The seafarers in question include 27 crew members of MV Mekong Spirit and MV Free Neptune, according to the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU), which has managed to repatriate the mariners with the help of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The seafarers of the Maltese-flagged containership Mekong Spirit were stuck in Greece after their ship was detained off the island of Crete on May 25, 2017 on suspicion of smuggling military goods to countries/regions under United Nations sanctions.

The ship was escorted to a NATO base where a cargo inspection performed by the relevant Greek authorities, found that the cargo was legal and industrial. Nevertheless, since January 2018, the seafarers were prohibited from leaving the territory of Greece.

Following a legal proceedings, on July 23 a court decision was issued, allowing 12 crew members to leave the territory of Greece, subject to compulsory monthly registration at the Consulate General of Greece in Ukraine. On July 28, 2018, the seafarers returned back home, MTWTU said.

“It was like an American action movie, when masked people climbed the ship and put us all on the deck face down,” recalls the Mekong Spirit oiler.

Another 5 Ukrainian crew members remain in Greece until the final decision on the case is taken by local justice.

One of the most notorious cases, widely covered by the world media, is that of MV Free Neptune, a Liberia-flagged bulker, and its seafarers, who were abandoned and unpaid for 32 months 4 miles offshore Oman.

The ship was owned by Greek shipowners Free Bulkers SA, which declared bankruptcy in 2016 and abandoned the bulk carrier with 22 Ukrainian seafarers on board.

“The wages were not paid, but they persuaded us that they were about to pay. Then they took the ship to Oman, and that’s it, we were caught in a mousetrap,” says the 3rd engineer of MV Free Neptune.

Due to poor living conditions, lack of food and medical supplies, the Ukrainian sailors resorted to a hunger strike at the end of 2016 to draw attention to their problems.

The ITF helped to purchase food, and the Ukrainian Consul in Saudi Arabia assisted with provision supply, MTWTU said.

In February 2017, seven seafarers returned home. In accordance with the MLC, 2006 Convention, the repatriation was organized by the Liberia Maritime Authority, the vessel’s flag state.

In 2018, through the ITF-led efforts a court authorized the remaining crew members to legally leave the ship and the seafarers managed to obtained a partial wage balance settlement.

Reported by World Maritime News

Chinese Rescue Diver to Receive IMO Exceptional Bravery At Sea Award.

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A Chinese rescue diver who led a series of dives to help rescue six crew members from a sunken cargo ship will receive the 2018 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery At Sea, the International Maritime Organization has announced.

The rescue started 27 November 2017 when the bulk carrier M/V Jin Ze Lun collided with another ship in Guangzhou Port, China, causing the bulk carrier to sink in the main channel to the port. Of the 14 crew on board, two were immediately rescued but 12 remained missing.

The award recipient, Mr. Zhong Haifeng, was a senior diver and deputy of the Engineering Team at Guangzhou Salvage and put in charge of the desperate search for survivors.

Facing strong currents, Haifeng organized a series dives resulting in the discovery of six missing crew members trapped inside an air pocket of a cabin. After their discovery, the team worked to replenish oxygen and talk to the trapped survivors to calm them. Haifeng even dove down to deliver scuba diving equipment for those trapped.

The following day, Haifeng made six dives to help teach survivors how to use the scuba gear before helping them to the surface. He is personally credited with rescuing three of the crew members over the course of just one hour.

Mr. Haifeng was nominated for the award by China.

A Panel of Judges agreed that Mr. Haifeng demonstrated “truly exceptional bravery and human spirit” during the rescue “by personally exerting tireless efforts under highly dangerous circumstances,” making it deserving of the IMO’s highest award for bravery at sea.The decision was endorsed by the IMO Council last week at its 120th session in London.

Of a total of 22 qualifying nominations for this year’s award, another three will receive Certificates of Commendation and eight will receive Letters of Commendation.

The awards will be presented during an IMO Awards ceremony to be held on 6 December 2018 at IMO Headquarters in London.

 

by gCaptain

China Accuses U.S. of Firing First Shot in Trade War

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China accused the United States on Thursday of “opening fire” on the world with tariffs set to take effect on Friday, warning that it will respond the moment that duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods kick in.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to further escalate the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies with tariffs on as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese goods if China retaliates, as the initial round of tariffs take effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Friday.

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

The dispute has roiled financial markets including stocks, currencies and the global trade of commodities from soybeans to coal in recent weeks. U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, lifted by technology shares, amid hopes that American trade tensions with Europe may ease after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would back a reduction of European car tariffs if Washington abandons its threatened higher car levies.

China has said it will not “fire the first shot” in a trade war with the United States, but its customs agency made clear on Thursday that Chinese tariffs on American goods would take effect immediately after U.S. duties on Chinese goods are put in place.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said that the proposed U.S. tariffs would hit many American and foreign companies operating in China and disrupt their supplies of components and assembly work.

“U.S. measures are essentially attacking global supply and value chains. To put it simply, the U.S. is opening fire on the entire world, including itself,” Gao said.

“China will not bow down in the face of threats and blackmail and will not falter from its determination to defend free trade and the multilateral system,” Gao added.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the agency had no immediate comment on the activation of its initial round of tariffs beyond a statement issued on June 15.

 

By Elias Glenn and David Lawder BEIJING/WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters)

India’s First US LNG Cargo Arrives on Board Meridian Spirit

 

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India has received its first LNG cargo from the United States, gas utility company GAIL said.

The Denmark-flagged Meridian Spirit carrying 120,000 tons of cargo docked at Dabhol on March 30, 2018. GAIL hired the ship in September 2017 to transport gas from the US.

The 165,500 cbm Meridian Spirit arrived after 25 days of voyage and docked for unloading.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said that the government was working towards making India a gas based economy. He added that the arrival of the first LNG cargo from the US was a significant milestone in the direction of realizing adequate availability of natural gas through imports from diversified sources.

GAIL is one of the early movers to contract US LNG and has 5.8 MMTPA of US LNG in its portfolio. GAIL shall be receiving around 90 cargoes per annum from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG terminals, according to the company.

The arrival of the LNG vessel coincides with the formation of Konkan LNG Private Limited, a subsidiary of GAIL.

The newly established company plans to invest INR 30 billion (around USD 461 million) in Dabhol LNG terminal in order to double the capacity of the facility to 10 million tons in the next three years, The Economic Times reported.

Source: World Maritime News