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ruben.maritime

The first web2.0 spanish blog about Maritime Affairs. El primer blog web2.0 español sobre el sector marítimo.

Madrid under pressure over Prestige

jueves, noviembre 30, 2006
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA 30 November – The Spanish government is under renewed pressure to launch an inspection of the wreck of the tanker Prestige, which has been leaking up to 50 litres of fuel oil a day since July. Following tests on samples of fuel oil, Madrid confirmed on 20 November that the new leaks were from the tanker’s stern end, which continues to hold 700-1,000 tonnes of fuel oil. However the Galician newspaper La Voz de Galicia claimed today that the government has been aware of the leaks since July when Spain’s Oceanographic Institute started testing fuel oil samples. The government says it will increase vigilance of the affected area but has ruled out an inspection of the stern end of the tanker as it claims the leaks will have minimal impact on the marine environment. During 2004, Spanish energy company Repsol YPF extracted 14,000 tonnes of fuel oil from the tanker – about 95% of fuel left in the ship following the sinking of the tanker in November 2002. The remaining fuel oil was allegedly not extracted because of technical difficulties in reaching the areas of the stern of the ship.

 

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Spain probes ferry collision

 MADRID 30 November – Spain’s merchant marine authority, La Dirección General de la Marina Mercante, has launched an enquiry into a collision between two ferries in which five passengers were injured. The incident occurred on 28 November 5n-miles from the port of Algeciras when the Morocco-registered, IMTC-operated 6,767-gt Atlas is reported to have collided with the stern of the Buquesbus-owned 5,517-gt Avemar Dos. After the collision the Avemar Dos was able to continue onward to Ceuta where the injured passengers suffering from bruises and fractures were taken to hospital.

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GL stays coy over DNV white knight approach

GERMANISCHER Lloyd has so far not replied to offers from Norwegian classification society Det Norske Veritas to act as white knight in the face of the takeover offer from Bureau Veritas, according to sources familiar with the situation, writes David Osler.

Via Javier de Juana (from Lloyd's Register, taken from Lloyd's List)

 

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Supertyphoon heads for Philippines

MANILA 29 November – The Philippine Coast Guard has today suspended local shipping operations in the Bicol region as typhoon Durian intensified into a "supertyphoon", (locally named Reming). The suspension resulted in the stranding of hundreds of passengers at Tabaco and Matnog ports and Calapan terminal in Mindoro. Official sources said more than 3,000 people have been stranded and hundreds of vehicles were kept on board as a result of the sailing suspension. A quay in Dingalan, Quezon, one of the provinces near Bicol directly hit by Durian, is said to have been ravaged yesterday because of strong waves slamming directly into the municipal port. PCG has barred ships of 1,000gt from sailing to prevent any more disasters. The weather bureau said Durian, with backing winds of 195km per hour and gusts of up to 225kph, is expected to hit Metro Manila tonight or on Friday morning. A spokesman from a disaster co-ordinating council said the body has activated emergency operations centres and instructed other agencies to be on alert. Durian is the third super typhoon and the 18th storm to hit the Philippines this year

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Panama Canal costs worry users

ACAPULCO 30 November – Praises were sung yesterday for the Panama Canal's now nationally approved plan to develop a third lock system to accommodate larger vessels, but shipping lines are still worried about the rising costs. C Thomas Burke, senior advisor to the president of 'K' Line - America told the Informa-sponsored Terminal Operators Conference that the Panama Canal Authority has done "a magnificent job in running the canal" and has made it a profitable business. But off the dais, he said that he is worried that the increased tolls to pay for the expansion could force ship operators to seek other routes, adding that it is unfair for the entire burden of cost to be heaped on the lines. "Everybody wants to have their cake and eat it too," as said by Rodolfo Sabonge, director of corporate planning and marketing for the ACP. He quickly added that rates will not be hiked to the point that alternative routes become more financially attractive.

 

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Fears rise over weakened dollar [Cruise & shipping]

NEW YORK 29 November – The US dollar is rebounding somewhat today in the wake of a sharp slide that raises questions about currency fallout for trade flows. Yesterday, the dollar hit a 20-month low against the euro and pound, at $1.321/euro and $1.948/pound – despite words of reassurance on the US economy from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernake. The dollar has come back to $1.316/euro today. For shipping, the dollar’s fall could spur more US container exports on the backhaul run, although this is expected to be overshadowed by lower growth inbound as the US economy cools. Meanwhile, there is less public concern in the euro zone over currency’s impact on exports than during the previous peak in late 2004. “While the euro is surging against the dollar and yen, its trade-weighted value against a basked of 23 trading partners hasn’t steepened as sharply,” explained the Wall Street Journal.

Currency implications could also hit the cruise sector, making dollar-denominated voyages more attractive to European passengers, while making dollar-denominated cruises to Europe next summer more attractive to North American passengers (versus euro-denominated hotel bookings). Cruise lines placing euro-denominated orders for vessels earning revenue in dollars will be negatively impacted to the extent orders are unhedged. And if the euro-dollar imbalance widens further, future cruise newbuilding orders for North American brands would be dampened.

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Nein danke, says GL

miércoles, noviembre 29, 2006
 HAMBURG 29 November – A takeover bid from Bureau Veritas, understood to be worth about euro500M ($657M), does not represent a fair offer, according to both the executive and supervisory board of Germanischer Lloyd. The 50 shareholders of the German class society have been advised to reject the proposal, but at the same time GL’s board admits that it has to offer alternatives to those who are willing to sell. “There could be one or two new investors coming in. Or one of the other shareholders might want to increase their share,” board member Rainer Schöndube told journalists in Hamburg today. Det Norske Veritas has already signalled interest, but Schöndube would not confirm any other names. Industry insiders believe that more than one third of GL’s long-standing shareholders are tempted to sell because the book values of their shares are only a fraction of BV’s offer. GL’s common stock is quoted at only euro10M. The society’s attraction for outside investors has grown since it gave up its charitable status two years ago. Restrictions on the use of profits have since been lifted.

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Norway awaits shipping lane approval

OSLO 29 November – Norway is planning to introduce a shipping separation lane scheme around its northern coastline as the flow of Russian oil and gas shipments to Europe and beyond increase. Russia in reported to support the introduction of a compulsory separation scheme that would run from the Russian border to the Lofoten Islands. All vessels carrying oil, gas or other dangerous cargoes would have to use the scheme, which would have separate north and south lanes 30n-miles offshore and with the lanes separated by a 3n-mile safety zone. The IMO is expected to approve these lanes at its meeting this weekend, after which they would come into force in June 2007.

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P&O clean-up after cleaner's dismissal

CALAIS 29 November – A French Chamber of Commerce strike, which caused a suspension of ferry services between the UK port of Dover and French port of Calais, has now ended. However Fairplay understands an onboard situation at SeaFrance has resulted in their services continuing to be suspended for an indefinite period. No further details on this incident are available other than that it has left P&O to start clearing the backlog of traffic alone. On the UK side of the channel, Kent police put “Operation Stack” into operation yesterday, queuing over 1,000 trucks on the inside lane of the M20 motorway. Several car drivers were stranded in their vehicles overnight. The UK’s Freight Transport Association said the strike would cost at least £2M ($3.9M) as well as causing huge inconvenience. There have been at least 20 strikes in Calais over the last 10 years costing more than 100 days disruption at a cost to the European transport industry of over £100M. “'Strikes and blockades by farmers, routiers, fishermen, port workers and all the rest impact not only on Calais but on Dover and in [the UK county of] Kent in general,” commented FTA's external affairs director Geoff Dossetter. “It is infuriating, expensive and stupid”. Industrial action was prompted by the dismissal of a Chamber cleaner.

 

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Trendwatch: Letter From ... MSC and Aker Yards France's Newest Productions

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor of Cruisecritic.com

Cruise Critic Editor Carolyn Spencer Brown was on hand in September at St. Nazaire's Aker Yards France with MSC Cruises to celebrate a day of major milestones that will reverberate for the line for years to come.

In a narrow and dingy warehouse, two train stations long and illuminated mainly by a tepid, milky light straining through dusty windows, a handful of people have assembled to watch a machine cut a piece of steel. This one piece of steel -- measuring 16 meters (53 feet) in length and a mere 15 millimeters (6/10 of an inch!) thick -- will, at the push of a button, be dunked into an oily bed of water. There it will be finely sliced by a flame like laser into pieces that will serve as the foundation for the 133,500-ton, 3,900-passenger MSC Fantasia.

The steps it takes to transform a cruise ship from the proverbial single plate of steel to the finished product is an intriuging journey for ship builders and cruise fans alike. Even if you're like me -- not terribly technically oriented -- there's a magic to it. It's hard to imagine in this greasy, run down place, filled with low slung piles of steel plates, that someday all of this will be part of MSC Fantasia. Being part of something like this already earns the ship a special place in my heart. But Fantaisa will also represent an innovative new ship for the fleet.

The vessel will have 17 decks (the equivalent of 23 floors in a land-locked building). Eighty percent of its cabins will be outsides -- an extremely high ratio -- and, get this: 95 percent of those will have balconies. It will have the fleet's first ever pool-with-sliding roof and will feature a brand new concept, the "Happy Island." A boutique ship within a big ship, Happy Island will be centered around 65 suites and will feature upscale amenities, such as a dedicated concierge, a private pool, elevator, lounge, and its very own galley.

With an 8.5 meter (27.8 ft.) draught (depth below water's surface of the lowest part of the vessel, usually the keel), the ship's size is no liability -- it can be maneuvered into relatively shallow waters (for comparison's sake, an ocean liner like Queen Mary 2 has the deepest draught at 32.6 ft. while a more traditional cruise ship like Carnival Liberty features a 28 ft. draught).

Standing here, it's hard to conceive that in 24 months, give or take a few, MSC Fantasia will set sail on its inaugural voyage.

The excitement felt here today at Aker Yards France, the storied shipyard whose contemporary creations range from Queen Mary 2 to Crystal Serenity, quickly moves beyond the fledgling Fantasia. This is a triple-hitter of a day for MSC because, not only did it lay the first slice of steel for its newest ship, but also placed the first panel in MSC Poesia (admittedly a more minor milestone), as well as capping off the afternoon with the day's splashiest event: the floating out of MSC Orchestra.

The "floating out" is one of the biggest, most moving and most visual of steps in the building process. It's the time when a ship is transformed from what's essentially a land construction project to an actual cruise ship. After all, how real is a ship that doesn't float?

MSC's Emergence

Founded in 1995, the Naples, Italy-based MSC is one of cruising's newer lines. A subsidiary of the prodigious Mediterranean Shipping Company, an operator of cargo ships, this line, like many others in Europe and in North America, began by buying and operating older ships. And like others, including Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean, as it grew it began to create and design its own vessels. Those vessels were constructed with the goal of reflecting both MSC's unique vibe -- in this case its Italian identity -- and also incorporating amenities that today are must-haves, such as private balconies, alternative restaurants and glorious spas.

A line better known in Europe -- particularly in Spain as well as in its native Italy -- MSC's effort to woo North Americans is of a more recent vintage. But like close rival Costa Cruises (which is now owned by the American Carnival Corp.), MSC is investing heavily in amassing one of the industry's most contemporary fleets through the addition of increasingly larger and more sophisticated vessels. In this era of rapid globalization, with North American lines courting passengers from Australia to Spain, the European lines are returning the serve, aiming for an equally lucrative slice of pie.

Neither lines like Carnival or Royal Caribbean -- or MSC or Costa -- have yet significantly and consistently created a worldly mix of passengers onboard. But the time is coming, and MSC intends to play a prominent role when it does.

New Ships! Big Ships! Splashy Ships!

"We are putting our foot on the accelerator," commented Pierfrancesco Vago, the cruise line's CEO, at a press conference at the shipyard, and he's really just stating the obvious. Since the debut of MSC with its old tubs MSC Monterey and MSC Rhapsody (the line describes these 36,500-ton, 1,076-passenger vessels, launched in 1982, as "unique in class and style, able to offer guests the comforts and intimate atmosphere found on exclusive yachts," but let's call a spade what most contemporary cruise travelers would call, well, a spade.

MSC Lirica, a 59,058-ton, 1,445-passenger vessel, was the first to emerge in April 2003; MSC Opera, just slightly larger and carrying 1,756 passengers, debuted in June 2004. Interestingly, though other -- and bigger -- new-builds have followed (most notably the line's 90,000-ton, 2,550-passenger MSC Musica), it is these two ships, which spend winters in the Caribbean, that are most heavily marketed to North Americans.

No question, the Musica-class of ships -- which will include the aforementioned Orchestra and Poesia -- is even more of a turning point for MSC, marking an era of growth (they're about 50 percent larger than Lirica and Opera) and featuring even more of the now-required amenities such as private balconies and alternate dining venues. The debut of MSC's first post-Panamax Fantasia series, so dubbed because the ship, along with sister Serenata, will be too wide to pass through the Panama Canal, marks an even larger evolutionary accomplishment.

What's next? A ship that vies for biggest-ever? Nah, Vago said. "We don't want the record. We want ships that can actually visit ports."

A Ship's Transformation

Just yesterday, MSC Orchestra, about half built, rested in its dry dock on a series of concrete blocks. It's been there since its keel -- the steel plates all welded together -- was laid in. The blocks that support ships like Orchestra fascinate me -- they look, when you stand on a platform peering down, too small to bear the impression of this 2,550-passenger ship. They're more powerful than they appear, however; each of the 200 - 300 concrete blocks that hold up most pre-floating new-builds run about six-feet high, and weigh one ton apiece. They're spaced every few meters or so.

We don't see that today. The actual process of floating out, in which the deep, dry cavern in which Orchestra sits is flooded with water from the Loire River until the ship supports itself on the surface, typically takes some 16 hours, and had already begun. What we get to see is the ship's movement out of the dock, led by tugs that pull Orchestra from every which way -- forward and aft, port and starboard -- into the Loire. Watching from an excursion boat some 300 feet away, it's certainly pleasing (and one would imagine quite reassuring to company executives onboard with us) to see Orchestra not only float but cruise -- albeit not under her own power. As such we are witnessing a transformation in which the ship becomes a "she" in cruise lingo rather than an "it." Even though Orchestra is still unfinished, the vessel has gone from mere construction project to a cruise ship.

Most visible are small details -- we can see the empty spot where tenders will one day hang. The machinery that clasps them to the vessel is in place as well. On accommodation decks, plastic covers window areas of those staterooms whose insides have already been slotted into place. The prefabricated cabins, like just about all in any new-build in any cruise shipyard in the world, are built offsite and trucked to the ship; in this case 90 percent of them are pre-made.

Plastic also protects at least some window spaces (glass is not yet installed) in public rooms. Indeed, the entire forward part of the ship is open to the elements; the only sign of life within being the workman's lights hanging from beams illuminating the ship's wide-open insides. The interior walls that divide a restaurant from a bar from a boutique, save for those serving as foundation pieces, aren't yet in place.

Windows are in place in the bridge (though we're assured that the multi-million dollar equipment used to navigate a modern cruise vessel has not yet been installed). And on one of the uppermost decks, through what ultimately will be floor to ceiling glass walls, we can see a big pool, not yet installed, lying on its side.

This is the state of a ship that's very much on track for its scheduled April 2007 launch seven months from now.

Ultimately, the tugs pull MSC Orchestra to its new home -- a real dock just on the other side of its dry dock. The ship won't be out there alone for long; the process of course continues with Poesia, which is just about ready for its keel laying. It'll occupy the dry dock next. And after that, Fantasia and after that Serenata and after that ... the process goes on and on.

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Regent Extends Dry-Dock, Cancels Two Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has canceled two sailings of its Seven Seas Voyager due to an unexpected extension of its regularly scheduled dry-dock.

Every two and a half years or so, cruise ships undergo routine maintenance that cannot be carried out at sea (technical work, safety certificate updates, etc.). In this case, the 46,000-ton, 700-passenger ship arrived at Freeport in the Bahamas on November 10 for dry-dock, scheduled to sail its next cruise on November 30.

However, according to a company statement, "during a regular inspection of the vessel's diesel electric motors by the manufacturer's attending technicians, some damage to the electrical connections was observed. Upon further review it was determined that both motors needed to be disassembled and repaired prior to the ship re-entering service." An extra 11 nights are required to complete the repairs; the parts and additional technical assistance are being flown in from Europe.

As a result, the November 30 four-night cruise and December 4 seven-night cruise onboard Seven Seas Voyager have been canceled. Guests on the affected sailings will receive a full refund of the fare paid, as well as a future cruise credit -- those booked on the four-night sailing will receive $500 toward a future cruise, while those booked on the weeklong cruise will receive $700.

The ship will resume service on December 11 with its regularly planned itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale

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NCL Takes Delivery of Norwegian Pearl

Norwegian Cruise Line officially owns Norwegian Pearl, the last new ship launch of 2006. The cruise line took delivery of the ship earlier today from Meyer Werft in the Dutch port of Eemshaven.

Continuing the line's signature Freestyle Cruising concept, the 93,000-ton, TK-passenger ship has 12 restaurants and 11 bars and lounges; there's also a rock climbing wall and an industry-first -- a bowling alley located in the ship's Bliss Ultra Lounge & Night Club.

What's next? Norwegian Pearl will set sail with 2,000 passengers for a mini-cruise from Rotterdam to Southhampton on December 2. From there, the ship will make its first trans-Atlantic crossing from Southhampton to Miami where she will be christened and named by godmother Rosie O'Donnell. The ship will then offer Southern and Western Caribbean itineraries before joining Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun in Alaska next summer.

 

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Anti-US Correa wins in Ecuador

QUITO 28 November – Rafael Correa, an ally of anti-US president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, has won the presidency of Ecuador, defeating ship owner and banana tycoon Alvaro Noboa, by a clear margin. According to early results, voters gave Correa 57% to 43% for his rival. A final count is expected in the next 48 hours. The election of the 43-year-old economist is another blow to Washington's influence in the region, where the left is consolidating following the victory of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua earlier this month. Ecuador is Latin America's 5th largest oil producer, and much of it exported to the US. It pulled out of OPEC in 1992, but Correa said he would consider rejoining the oil cartel. Correa opposes a free trade agreement with the US, which had been supported by the business sector, and pledged he would revise oil companies' contracts and taxes on foreign companies. He also said he would limit US military activities in the country. He warned that the Sucre, the country's original currency which was abandoned in 2000 for the US dollar, could be re-established.

 

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Chikara signs for trimaran order

BOULOGNE 28 November – Five European shipyards are said to be in talks regarding an order for a fleet of innovative high speed trimaran ro-ro vessels planned to operate from a hub at Boulogne, France. Speaking after a ceremony to mark the signing of a letter of intent with BGV France to buy the 10 vessels, Chikara Shipping chairman John Paul Airs declined to say who his backers were. However, he emphasised that bankers had made financial checks and “are satisfied the funds are there”. He further commented that it would be “premature and incorrect” to talk about prices when the details had not been finalised. Airs indicated that negotiations with shipyards would be completed “as soon as possible” and confirmed that Chikara has plans for services to start from Boulogne to Sheerness, UK, in summer 2008. Other services are planned to Drammen in Norway and Santander and Vigo in northern Spain. Marco Polo funding is being sought to support the business. The initial five newbuildings include two 140-m ro-paxes and three 160-m freight vessels, followed by two more ro-paxes, a freight ro-ro and two 210-m ro-ros for the Spanish route. Boulogne and the other ports will have to invest in new or converted berths.

 

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ABS sends Sember to Europe

 HOUSTON 28 November – US classification society American Bureau of Shipping has appointed William Sember, currently VP responsible for energy development, as head of ABS Europe. Sember replaces Christopher Wiernicki, who has been pulled back to Houston to take over as ABS president and chief operating officer. Sember will be based in London and has already held senior management positions including regional vice president of Western Europe, Middle East and Eastern Europe. He is credited with securing classification work for the growing number of LNG carriers and offshore exploration and production units worldwide, and was recently appointed vice chairman of the Centre for Marine CNG, the world’s first research and development corporation for large-scale transport of compressed natural gas.

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Polish workers prepare for strike

 WARSAW 28 November – Polish shipyard workers are preparing for strike action at state-owned or controlled yards in an effort to push the government to keep its promises over privatisation. Workers have called for a meeting with the prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski who, they claim, has failed to implement the government’s own shipyard restructure plan that was a flagship policy. Unions claim the shipyards are lacking direction and will suffer if no action is taken soon. “No real advancement” has been seen and “no actual privatisation talks” are being held, they say, adding that the industrial development agency ARP is failing to fulfil its obligations to the yards. However, observers in Poland allege that the unions themselves have not helped the process, blocking a bid for Gdansk shipyard from Aker several months ago.

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easyCruiseOne Gets Sleek New Look

martes, noviembre 28, 2006
easyCruise's new toned-down look, which debuted on the river-going easyCruiseTwo last July, has been extended fleetwide -- to its other ship, easyCruiseOne.

Where the easygroup's trademark "easyorange" once dominated the color scheme, the ship's exuberant dress has been relaxed a bit, and now features a preponderance of graphite gray and white, and tasteful touch of orange trim.

There have been onboard additions as well, including a new bar and restaurant, sauna and spa and beauty treatment room. Cabins have also been transformed: As a result of customer feedback, 60 windows have been added to standard accommodations.

After completing its French and Italian Riviera sailings at the end of October, easyCruiseOne is ready to go with new livery for its upcoming winter season in the Caribbean, beginning on Decemeber 8. Stops include, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, Nevis, Anguilla and St. Barts.

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DNV invites GL in for talks

lunes, noviembre 27, 2006
OSLO 27 November – Det Norske Veritas, the Norwegian classification society, has invited its German counterpart Germanischer Lloyd into talks over possible closer co-operation between the two societies. “We have contacted GL and invited them for a dialogue in the situation that has arisen following a bid [for GL] from Bureau Veritas,” said Tore Høifødt, senior vice-president and head of DNV corporate communications. “We have indicated an interest for closer co-operation; it is not a bid at this point,” he told Fairplay. Høifødt said the two societies examined possibilities for closer co-operation four years ago “and many findings [from that time] are still valid; we have a lot in common,” he continued. DNV has some concerns over the independence of classification societies if financial investors take a substantial stake in the sector, he added.

 

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Venice opens dedicated cruise terminal

VENICE 27 November – A dedicated cruise facility, Terminal 117, opened at the Italian port of Venice on Friday. Adjacent to the waterfront, the new building will improve the efficiency of passenger movement and luggage transfer. “Simplicity” is behind 117’s design, managing director Roberto Perocchio told Fairplay. As such, there will be no airport style carousels for luggage collection as Perocchio says it is quicker for luggage to be collected from colour co-ordinated sections of the terminal. “This is an old idea which has become new again,” he said, adding “carousels work for 200 passengers on a plane, but not for 2,000 on a cruise ship”. A joint project between Venice Port Authority and Venezia Passenger Terminal, it saw nearly euro2M ($2.6M) invested. Other developments in the port include the introduction of a people mover, which will operate between Tronchetto Island, the terminal and the city centre from next year. Work also starts this week on another cruise handling facility in the port, Isonzo terminal, scheduled to be finished by 2008.

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BIMCO Conference on Future Maritime Policy for the EU –the International Perspective The Industry View: BIMCO’s view on the Future Maritime Policy

 15 November 2006, Brussels. Speech by Mr. Knud Pontoppidan , from BIMCO

[BIMCO, established in Denmark in 1905, is the world's largest international shipping association, with approximately 2,400 members in 123 countries. The owner-members of BIMCO control a fleet of about 525 million DWT thereby representing 65% of the world's merchant fleet. BIMCO is accredited as an official observer at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Among its many activities, BIMCO provides practical information and assistance to the maritime community.]



Shipping is and has always been an important production factor. It has served as the basis for global trade, and it has contributed to the present wealth of the world. Also, Europe owes much of its wealth to the availability of safe and efficient shipping services. This is evidenced by the fact that major European cities and most financial centres are located at places that have easy access to the sea. Shipping has also connected Europe to the rest of the world and made international knowledge available to the European countries - and vice versa.

An example of this is that great European navigators, who travelled the oceans in past centuries, often did so in the path of other great seafarers from non-European countries. One of these was the Chinese Zheng He, who according to some researchers, charted the Americas years before the first Europeans did so, and whose charts in turn are believed to have assisted Christopher Columbus on his voyages.

This interconnectedness and sharing of knowledge should continue. The EU should not limit the development of its maritime policy by ignoring international knowledge and expertise. We therefore encourage the idea that a future maritime policy for the EU links to the international maritime heritage of the EU countries, and at the same time increases awareness of the importance of shipping, in a historical context as well as a foundation for the present wealth.

With this in mind we turn now to the first question in the Green Paper, “Should the EU have an integrated maritime policy?” That question must be answered with a resounding “yes”. BIMCO hopes that the development in the EU of an overarching holistic policy for the oceans will contribute to the development of better co-ordinated and detailed policies for the individual industries and stakeholders that mutually depend on the maritime environment.

We see 5 main goals in the Green Paper. Some we can identify with, others not so much.
Retaining Europe’s leadership in sustainable maritime development;
Maximising the quality of life in coastal regions;
Providing the tools to manage our relations with the oceans;
Maritime governance; and
Reclaiming Europe’s maritime heritage and reaffirming its maritime identity.

In BIMCO’s opinion, a sixth goal should be added to this list, namely “achieving the goals set out by the Future Maritime Policy through international regulations”.

This brings us to my first fundamental point. We believe that the future maritime policy will only have a truly worldwide dimension and encompass all vessels that call EU or transit EU waters if the maritime policy is grounded in international agreements and conventions such as those drafted by the IMO, UNICITRAL and ILO.

In this regard, we would like to point out that many of the ambitions set out by the Green Paper can be achieved through ratification and implementation of existing international instruments. We believe in international solutions. We believe in maintaining and ensuring viable international instruments.

And for that reason we believe that the EU should be careful not to tamper with long-held principles established in UNCLOS, such as the right of innocent passage. BIMCO was therefore also concerned to note the proposed notification requirement found in the recent LLMC directive. We would prefer efforts aimed at keeping UNCLOS intact as a global instrument governing the seas. At any rate, discussions about or related to UNLCOS should take place at the appropriate international level.

However, at the same time, while we praise the advantages of international conventions, we feel that it important also to recognise the disappointing fact that of the 56 IMO approved Conventions, the EU countries have on average ratified only 37. The very best result of an EU country is the ratification of 48 out of the 56 IMO conventions. The very worst result is 15.

A particularly poor ratification rate pertains to the international convention that controls the use of anti-fouling systems on ships -that is toxic paint. In colloquial language, it is called the AFS convention. As of October 2006, only seven EU countries had ratified the AFS convention. This is a surprising development. The EU countries have their own regulation that, to all intents and purposes, is a copy of the international AFS convention, and the argument at the time when the regulation was first put forward was that it would lead to a more speedy ratification of the AFS convention. This has not happened.

One may ask why EU countries are not ratifying IMO instruments. Why do the EU countries prevent a worldwide improvement of the marine environment, safety at sea and the health of seafarers? In this regard, we believe that EMSA could play a key role. EMSA should encourage and assist Member States in their implementation of international conventions. In part to actually ensure ratification, in part to ensure a harmonised application of the international rules among all EU countries.

Despite our strong preference for international solutions, we recognize that there may be some issues which international solutions cannot adequately address, and which the Commission and the EU countries have to address on a regional level. As such, BIMCO appreciates that regional considerations must often be included in a policy formulation process, whether in relation to environmental, social, commercial or recreational considerations. What must be observed, however, is that the maritime transport industry has to be able to operate smoothly in all regions. For this reason it is imperative that the international context of regional regulations that affect the shipping industry are always borne in mind, and that regional considerations resolved through legislation are promulgated via international channels and instruments.

Now I would like to share with you my second fundamental point, which is about Coastal States. BIMCO believes that the Future Maritime Policy should promote the concept of Quality Coastal State. Why a Quality Coastal State? -because the role of coastal States appears to have been ignored. Other stakeholders in the transport chain such as flag States have continuously contributed in the enforcement of international regulations, but coastal States have been overlooked. It is therefore time to turn our attention to the role of the coastal State. Coastal States should here be understood in a broad sense to also include port states.

The monitoring of performance of ships and flag states is not a novel activity, and a great many statistics, mainly based on compliance with IMO conventions, are available. However, coastal States and their ratification, implementation and compliance with the very same conventions do not seem to be included in the statistics.

Quality Coastal States deliver essential services to ships, such as waste reception facilities, places of refuge, innocent passage and aids to navigation. Unfortunately, there seems to be a general lack of such commitment by some coastal States. Today, many coastal States seem to think that they have only rights and no obligations. I would like to provide you with an example.

None of the EU Mediterranean states have confirmed to the IMO that they are in compliance with MARPOL Annex V with regard to reception facilities. This is despite the fact that Annex V has been in force in the very same countries since 1988. This means that the Mediterranean Sea is not yet a Special Area under MARPOL Annex V. But nevertheless, all ships calling EU ports must comply -in full- with Annex V. Here we see a clear opportunity for the Future Maritime Policy to make progress and develop measurable criteria for Quality Coastal States.

For the industry a qualify coastal state is one that:
Fulfils its international duties and obligations by ratifying and implementing internationally agreed conventions. Here I am thinking not only of the implementation into national law, but also of the day-to-day practices within the coastal waters, at the ports and, last but certainly not least, in the courts.
Follows the IMO Guidelines such as the IMO/ILO Guidelines on the fair treatment of seafarers.
Provides adequate waste reception facilities and arrangements to protect the local marine environment and resources.
Maintains its aids to navigation and provides vessel traffic services, where appropriate.
Provides ships in distress with a place of refuge rather than risking environmental disaster by denying it.
Ensures that all steps are taken to facilitate the safe passage of ships through its waters, including making transit pilotage available free of charge without hampering innocent passage where transit pilotage is deemed necessary in the interest of the state.
Gives incentives to quality ships calling at its ports and/or navigating within its waters.

The EU could contribute significantly to the safe and environmentally friendly maritime transport chain by helping member states become Quality Coastal States, and by measuring and benchmarking their progress.

I would now like to elaborate further on two of the characteristics of a Quality Coastal State -places of refuge and accident investigation.

When it comes to Emergency response and Places of Refuge, BIMCO emphasizes the need to establish a decisive independent body which, based upon a factual assessment of the situation, can determine the most appropriate line of action in response to emergency situations. When a ship in distress has need of a place of refuge, it is important that provisions are in place so that the authorities can assess and respond to such situations without delay. The reason is that time is often of the essence with respect to saving lives and protecting the marine environment. After the incident it is important to conduct a maritime accident investigation in an unbiased and objective manner. It is our belief that this can only be achieved if a clear segregation of safety investigations from criminal investigations is established. The recent directive proposal on accident investigation does not safeguard this segregation. It is a major concern to BIMCO.

The establishment of a European Marine Observation and Data Network, as suggested in the Green Paper, could have merit. A centralised collection and access to information may provide certain efficiencies that would be shared across the board. Many stakeholders - both public and private - agree that data is needed. BIMCO currently maintains databases and is involved in information-gathering on many essential maritime topics. We are prepared to assist by providing information that would be useful to real and meaningful efforts aimed at improving maritime safety, environmental protection and special planning.

My next and third fundamental point is about port development -or should I say the lack of port development. An introduction of Green Ports and Green Port Development into the Future Maritime Policy will include initiatives to avoid the current obstacles to port development in the EU. Efforts to collect case studies that describe port development and which take into account protection of the environment would contribute to the development of guidelines that, when followed, would allow for expansion of port capacity whilst protecting the marine environment. And expansion is needed, as the EU will run out of container port capacity in a few years unless something is done.

Here there are overlaps with the concept of “Quality Coastal States”. There would also be overlaps in the real world, as most coastal states are also Port States. Ports such as Rotterdam have taken some steps towards providing incentives to ships based on environmental criteria. However, we feel that a more comprehensive approach could be applied.

For example, to qualify as a “Green Port”, such ports would have to demonstrate:
That they have adequate waste reception facilities and arrangements to protect the local marine environment and resources;
That they have incentives for “Green Ships”, and
That they have implemented MARPOL requirements and other international convention requirements.

The EP and Council initiative to encourage the establishment of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) strategies amongst Member States may serve well in establishing more large ports in the EU in an environmentally friendly way. BIMCO looks forward to the evaluation of progress achieved with the ICZM initiative during 2006.

I would now like to provide you with some background as to why we prefer international rules and regulations -and what it means for shipping from a business perspective. We would like to encourage the EU to continue to support free trade and maintain an international level playing field, which is my forth key message. There are many ways that the EU can contribute to a competitive maritime industry.

One is to ensure that member states ratify and implement IMO, ILO and UNCITRAL instruments as a high priority. As a global industry, shipping benefits from harmonised international rules and regulations in order to facilitate the free flow of global trade. All shipping would otherwise suffer if subjected to a patchwork of disjointed regional or local regimes. An effective and competitive maritime sector remains an important production factor for European industry, supporting exports, imports, and economic growth. It also enhances employment opportunities for the European population. Steps to intervene and regulate international competition will often have detrimental effects on those who rely and depend on the access to cost-effective and safe transport. Healthy competition in an open market will result in increased efficiencies including, but not limited to, reduced transportation costs.

Hidden within the concept of a Common European Maritime Space, as suggested in the Green Paper, could be the creation of artificial regional competitive advantage schemes such as protectionist cabotage regulations. Such steps will not contribute to the overall competitiveness of European shore-based industries on the global market. Specific technical requirements or other non-tariff barriers driven by cabotage considerations will have similar detrimental effects. As an advocate of free trade, BIMCO cannot support initiatives that might result in closed markets or the establishment of trade barriers. Such moves would have an unfavourable effect on competition and result in higher transportation costs. Higher transportation costs would have negative effects on Europe’s competitiveness with regard to exports, and increase costs on imports of raw materials, components for manufacturing and consumer goods. None of this would help in the pursuit of the goals of the Lisbon Strategy. Furthermore, schemes which exclude certain vessels from carrying cargoes between member states may even be counterproductive to the thematic environmental objectives of the EU. Protected trade is often served by older, less efficient and less environmentally-friendly ships because in these protected trades there are no incentives to improve efficiency. This is a problem, because incentives are the driving forces towards achieving improved efficiencies in competitive trades.

Another serious aspect of a Common European Maritime Space that should be considered is the risk that the rest of the world might take similar action in other regions, with detrimental effects for all international shipping, including Europe’s. Already today, restrictions in relation to cabotage are a problem in some Member States. Therefore, the EU Member States that still impose cabotage regulations should open up trade possibilities for everybody. Perhaps to start with it should be based on reciprocity agreements that could be established with non-EU states until such a time as the efforts of the WTO have established true global free trade. It is important to stress, though, that when entering into reciprocity agreements, care must be taken with respect to the possible effects on the WTO trade negotiations and WTO agreements. I believe these concerns illustrate that the Commission should proceed in a careful manner when developing policy relating to the Common European Maritime Space.

For the same reason, the concept of Motorways of the sea could cause concern. BIMCO appreciates the efforts made to promote a shift of freight movements from Europe’s congested roads to the sea and inland waterways. On a per freight volume basis, marine movements of freight are more efficient both environmentally and economically. We suggest that the Commission’s efforts should focus on land/port infrastructure and not intervene in commercial shipping operation. It has been noticed that the majority of these projects are limited to regular services on EU-flagged ships. This raises concerns similar to those already mentioned relating to the introduction of cabotage and the subsequent potential distortion of competition.

The Green Paper is a comprehensive document, and time does not allow me to deal with all of its elements. But there are a few issues -in addition to those that I have already commented on- that deserve attention. The first one is ship recycling. The IMO is working on a legally-binding instrument on ship recycling -a new international convention. This is much needed by the industry. Today, the main issue relating to ship recycling is the absence of an instrument dealing specifically with ships. In this regulatory vacuum, attempts are being made to apply regulations that were not drafted to address our industry, and which therefore are incompatible with the reality of ship recycling. A future EU maritime policy should therefore ensure that the IMO initiative is actively supported and Member States should be encouraged to ratify it.It should also entail alignment with the IMO initiative, so that once the new legally-binding instrument on ship recycling enters into force, the current EU legislation is amended accordingly. Another way that the EU can help is through foreign aid in relation to the working conditions at recycling yards in the developing countries. EU foreign aid granted on the condition that the funds are used to improve working conditions and to enhance environmental protection at recycling yards in third countries will have a positive effect and alleviate some of these important concerns.

Another important issue that deserves special attention is maritime manpower. The BIMCO/ISF study on maritime manpower underlines the importance of recruitment, not least in the EU and other OECD countries with an aging work force. Initiatives to attract young men and women to the industry should be supported. The aim should be to make shipping more visible and to promote formal career and education paths. One of the major obstacles in attracting young people to a career path at sea is the absence of a career path that also leads back to shore.

One of the key environmental concerns of the day is air pollution. The forecasts in the green paper on air pollution from the shipping industry provide a great incentive to undertake new studies and initiatives in this regard. You will therefore be pleased to learn that BIMCO has dedicated significant resources to examine efficient and workable solutions to address concerns on air pollution. The shipping industry has continuously improved its environmental performance so that it is today the cleanest mode of transport of goods. Despite these achievements, the shipping industry remains committed to work towards minimizing the environmental impact of transport and is also committed to co-operate with the EU in the appropriate international fora. BIMCO believes that the best way to address concerns about air pollution from ships is through the development of lasting global solutions at the IMO, where the issue has already received significant attention, and where the global expertise is available. BIMCO has already identified several potential solutions. One solution could be to restrict the use of Heavy Fuel Oil to the high seas, so that ships would have to switch to distillate low sulphur fuel when approaching ports and Sulphur Emission Control Areas. Whatever solutions may be pursued, an impact assessments relating to such measures would be welcome and prudent.

To conclude, I would like to summarize with what we see as the key points to bear in mind as we move forward in developing a European Maritime Policy. We hope that the Commission will:
Agree to achieve the goals set out by the Future Maritime Policy through international regulations;
Develop the concept of the Quality Coastal State and the related roles and criteria to qualify;
Increase attention to port capacity challenges and the allocation of resources aimed at facilitating port expansion in an environmentally-friendly way;
Keep the flag of free trade flying high and avoid succumbing to protectionist forces;
Maintain appropriate stakeholder involvement in this process.

Let me close by saying that BIMCO appreciates the positive way in which the Commission is seeking to develop a holistic maritime policy for Europe.I hope that our contribution to this effort will be taken on board in the constructive way in which it is intended.

And I can assure you that our efforts to assist the Task Force and the Commission with this project will not end with today’s conference. We are with you to see this project through to its conclusion.

Etiquetas:

Preview: Maritime Safety Committee – 82nd session: 29 November - 8 December 2006

 New passenger ship safety standards set for adoption at IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee


A raft of new international standards for passenger ship safety will be considered for adoption when IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets in Istanbul, Turkey, for its 82nd session from 29 November to 8 December 2006.


Other important issues on the MSC agenda include the further development of goal-based standards and discussion of security and facilitation issues related to the carriage of containers by ships.


The MSC Vice-Chairman, Mr. Neil Ferrer of the Philippines, will take on the task of chairing the forthcoming MSC session, following the untimely death of Mr. Igor Ponomarev, Chairman of the MSC and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to IMO.


Revised passenger ship safety standards

The package of draft amendments to SOLAS, which were approved at the last MSC session in May, are the result of a comprehensive review of passenger ship safety initiated in 2000 with the aim of assessing whether the current regulations were adequate, in particular for the large passenger ships being built.


The work in developing the draft new and amended regulations has based its guiding philosophy on the dual premise that the regulatory framework should place more emphasis on the prevention of a casualty from occurring in the first place and that future passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability so that, in the event of a casualty, persons can stay safely on board as the ship proceeds to port.


The proposed amendments include new concepts such as the incorporation of criteria for the casualty threshold (the amount of damage a ship is able to withstand, according to the design basis, and still safely return to port) into SOLAS chapters II-1 and II-2. The amendments also provide regulatory flexibility so that ship designers can meet any safety challenges the future may bring. The draft amendments include:


· alternative designs and arrangements;

· safe areas and the essential systems to be maintained while a ship proceeds to port after a casualty, which will require redundancy of propulsion and other essential systems;

· on-board safety centres, from where safety systems can be controlled, operated and monitored;

· fixed fire detection and alarm systems, including requirements for fire detectors and manually operated call points to be capable of being remotely and individually identified;

· fire prevention, including amendments aimed at enhancing the fire safety of atriums, the means of escape in case of fire and ventilation systems; and

· time for orderly evacuation and abandonment, including requirements for the essential systems that must remain operational in case any one main vertical zone is unserviceable due to fire.


Fire regulations on balconies

The MSC will consider for adoption draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) to strengthen the fire protection arrangements in relation to cabin balconies on passenger vessels.


The amendments were developed in response to the fire aboard the cruise ship Star Princess, while on passage between Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica, in March of this year. The fire began on an external balcony and spread over several decks.


The proposed draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 are aimed at ensuring that existing regulations 4.4 (Primary deck coverings), 5.3.1.2 (Ceilings and linings), 5.3.2 (Use of combustible materials) and 6 (Smoke generation potential and toxicity) are also applied to cabin balconies on new passenger ships.


For existing passenger ships, relevant provisions would require that furniture on cabin balconies be of restricted fire risk unless fixed water-spraying systems, fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems are fitted and that partitions separating balconies be constructed of non-combustible materials, similar to the provisions for new passenger ships.


Prevention of accidents involving lifeboats

The MSC is expected to consider for adoption a draft amendment to SOLAS regulation III/19.3.3.4 concerning provisions for the launch of free-fall lifeboats during abandon-ship drills. The amendment will allow, during the abandon-ship drill, for the lifeboat to either be free-fall launched with only the required operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by means of the secondary means of launching without the operating crew on board, and then manoeuvred in the water by the operating crew. The aim is to prevent accidents with lifeboats occurring during abandon-ship drills.


Protective coatings

The MSC is expected to consider for adoption the Performance standard for protective coatings of dedicated seawater ballast tanks on all new ships and of double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers, which will then be made mandatory by way of amendments to SOLAS regulations II-1/3-2 and XII/6 concerning the application of the performance standard. It was agreed at the last MSC session that the performance standard should apply to ships for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 July 2008; or, in the absence of a building contract, the keels of which are laid on or after 1 January 2009, or the delivery of which is on or after 1 July 2012.

Other amendments

The MSC will also consider, with a view to adoption, other amendments:


· Proposed amendments to SOLAS chapter IV Radiocommunications to recognize future mobile satellite providers for the GMDSS, other than Inmarsat, in SOLAS.

Draft amendments to the FSS Code relating to fire extinguishers, specifically portable foam applicators; fixed foam fire-extinguishing systems; fixed-pressure water-spraying and water-mist fire-extinguishing systems.


· Draft amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance Code (LSA Code), including those related to life rafts, life boats and rescue boats, particularly in relation to stowage and release mechanisms.

Draft amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), relating to fire protection and fire extinction, including the fitting of a system for continuous monitoring of the concentration of flammable vapours on ships of 500 gross tonnage and over, and the revised chapters 17 Summary of minimum requirements, 18 List of products to which the code does not apply and 19 Index of Products Carried in Bulk.


· Draft amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), to update the references to SOLAS regulations and to add dimethyl ether and carbon dioxide to the list of products in chapter 19 Summary of minimum requirements.

Draft amendments to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 1994 (1994 HSC Code) and the 2000 HSC Code, to update them in line with relevant SOLAS amendments and, in the case of the 2000 HSC Code, to revise requirements relating to testing and calculations for buoyancy, stability and subdivision.

Draft amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, including amendments of a reference in Regulation 22 Scuppers, inlets and discharges and an amendment in Regulation 39 Minimum bow height and reserve buoyancy to define dl as “the draught at 85% of the least moulded depth, in metres”.
Draft amendments to the Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC) Code to update it in line with relevant amendments to SOLAS.

· Draft amendments to the Gas Carrier (GC) Code, to update it in line with certain fire safety requirements in SOLAS.

Draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)), including revisions to prototype tests for lifebuoys, lifejackets, immersion suits, anti-exposure suits and thermal protective aids, pyrotechnics – such as rocket parachute flares, hand flares and buoyant smoke signals, liferafts, lifeboats, rescue boats and fast rescue boats, launching and embarkation appliances, position-indicating lights for life-saving appliances and hydrostatic release units; and revisions to production and installation tests for survival craft, launching and stowage arrangements. Also revisions to Appendix 1 on Adult reference test device (RTD) design and construction.

Goal-based new ship construction standard

The MSC is expected to re-establish the Working Group on Goal-based Standards (GBS) for New Ship Construction to further progress the work on the issue.


The Committee is working on the basis of a prescriptive approach for GBS for provisions for hull construction for bulk carriers and oil tankers and a safety level approach for all other ship types.


With regard to hull construction of bulk carriers and oil tankers, the MSC has already agreed on a five-tier system, consisting of goals (Tier I), functional requirements (Tier II), verification of compliance criteria (Tier III), technical procedures and guidelines, classification rules and industry standards (Tier IV) and codes of practice and safety and quality systems for shipbuilding, ship operation, maintenance, training, manning, etc. (Tier V). Tier I goals and Tier II functional requirements have already been agreed in principle.


The reports of two correspondence groups will be considered by the Working Group, with progress expected during the session in relation to Tier III criteria for the verification of compliance, the establishment of an MSC Group of Experts to carry out such verification, the incorporation of the GBS into IMO instruments, the planned pilot project on verification of IACS’s Common Structural Rules in co-operation with IACS, and also the further development of GBS for all other ship types, including the determination of the current level of safety of ships.


Measures to enhance maritime security

Following decisions made during the last session of the Committee, the MSC is expected to start the consideration of issues relating to:


- security aspects of the operation of ships which do not fall within the scope of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code (including cargo ships less than 500 gross tonnage which travel on international routes); and


- security and facilitation issues related to the carriage of closed cargo transport units and of freight containers aboard ships.


In relation to the second issue, the Committee and the Facilitation Committee have agreed to establish a Joint MSC/FAL Working Group which, in its work, will take into account the SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade (the SAFE Framework of Standards) and the Authorized Economic Operator Guidelines, adopted by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in June 2005 and June 2006, respectively. The SAFE Framework of Standards was developed by WCO in response to a request from the 2002 SOLAS Conference which adopted SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code. Notwithstanding the existing provisions in the latter instruments, the Joint Working Group is expected, inter alia, to consider whether there is a need to develop any relevant amendments to the SOLAS and/or FAL Conventions concerning closed cargo transport units and freight containers, to enhance maritime security whilst at the same time facilitating the movement of cargo.

The MSC will also consider proposed draft amendments to the Revised recommendations on the safe transport of dangerous cargoes and related activities in port areas (MSC/Circ.675), to include provisions intended to address the security of the transport of dangerous goods by sea, and draft amendments to the IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for packing of cargo transport units (MSC/Circ.787) to broaden the scope of the guidelines to address the need for vigilance and the need for security procedures to be developed and followed by all concerned. The latter draft amendments, if approved by MSC, will be forwarded to ILO and the UNECE for their consideration and approval.

Long-Range Identification and Tracking – technical specifications and guidelines

The MSC will finalize the technical specifications of the components of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) System and will consider wider applications of LRIT to safety, especially search and rescue, as well as its implementation. Other important issues to be considered will include the role of performance review and audit of certain aspects of the LRIT system.


The MSC will be invited to consider, for approval, technical specifications and guidelines developed by the ad hoc Working Group on Engineering Aspects of LRIT. The Group has developed draft technical specifications for the International LRIT Data Exchange, the International LRIT Data Centre and for communication within the LRIT System network; draft protocols for the development testing of the LRIT System and for the testing of the integration into the system of new LRIT data centres; and draft guidance on setting up and maintaining the Data Distribution Plan.


The new regulation on LRIT, which is included in SOLAS chapter V on Safety of Navigation, was adopted at the last MSC session in May, along with performance standards. LRIT will be introduced as a mandatory requirement for the following ships on international voyages: passenger ships, including high-speed craft; cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards; and mobile offshore drilling units. The regulation is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2008 and will apply to ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008 with a phased-in implementation schedule for ships constructed before 31 December 2008. LRIT is intended to be operational with respect to the transmission of LRIT information by ships as from 31 December 2008.


Role of the human element

The Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on Human Element will meet during the session to consider human element issues, including the report of the Group of Independent Experts established by the Secretary-General to analyze the impact of the ISM Code and its effectiveness in the enhancement of safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment. It will also consider the report of the Inter-Industry Working Group (IIWG), established to study the reported incidents of explosions on chemical and product carriers; the need for guidelines for abandonment of ships alongside in port, under ISM Code provisions; and a submission on human element research into leadership qualities.

Implementation of the revised STCW Convention

The list of Parties deemed to be giving full and complete effect to the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, is expected to be updated when the Secretary-General submits his report on those countries whose reports of independent evaluations have been completed since the previous MSC meeting.

Other issues

The MSC will consider other issues arising from the reports of Sub-Committees and other bodies, including:
Consideration of a proposed draft revised resolution A.888(21) Criteria for the provision of mobile-satellite communication systems in the GMDSS, which sets out the procedure for approving mobile-satellite services for the GMDSS, including important aspects relating to the evaluation, recognition and oversight of future satellite providers.
Adoption of new and amended traffic separation schemes, including new and amended routeing measures other than traffic separation schemes, as well as new and amended ship reporting systems.
Adoption of revised performance standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS). The aim behind the revision is to ensure the operational reliability of such equipment, taking into account technological progress and experience gained. The proposed revised performance standards are more detailed than the current version and include references to newer equipment such as automatic identification systems. It is proposed that the new revised performance standards would apply to ECDIS equipment installed on or after [1 January 2009] (date to be agreed by the MSC).
Adoption of Performance Standards for shipborne Galileo Equipment Receiver valid for equipment installed on or after [1 January 2009] (date to be agreed by the MSC).
Adoption of Guidelines for the design and construction of offshore supply vessels.
Adoption of amendments to the Guidelines for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels (LHNS Guidelines).
Adoption of amendments to the Code of safe carriage of cargoes and persons by offshore supply vessels (OSV Code).
Adoption of amendments to the Code of safe practice for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers (BLU Code).



































Etiquetas:

A TRIBUTE TO IGOR

IMO Secretary General read during the Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Igor Ponomarev, IMO MSC Chairman, London, 24 November 2006.

They say that, for those who leave on the voyage with no return, those left behind tend to remember only their good side. He had only one side: that of a kind, good man whose delightful personality and genuine, wide and friendly smile effortlessly radiated the goodness of his soul, the warmth of his heart.

Alas, it was that same heart that betrayed him at the zenith of his life, when his creative talents, his cheerful persuasiveness, the example he was tirelessly setting by means of his words and deeds were earning him global recognition and the esteem that very few enjoy in life and even fewer deserve.

It was with these words that I added my tribute to a similar service to celebrate the life of Giuliano Patofatto a few years ago, soon after he had relinquished the reins of our Maritime Safety Committee – and it is with the same words that I have chosen to start my tribute to Igor Ponomarev, who only a few months ago had taken charge of the same Committee!

***

Affable

highly talented

professional

genuine

responsive

exceptional

special

diplomatic

great friend

supporter of the industry

charismatic

humorous

warm

witty

popular

irrepressible source of fun

a gem and a gentleman

committed

tireless

family man,

were some of the accolades attributed to Igor in the numerous messages expressing the senders’ disbelief, sadness, sorrow, anguish, compassion and grief at the devastating news of his unexpected, untimely, unjust and unfair passing 25 days ago.

***

A family man? He most certainly was!

It was a great pleasure, a joy to the eyes, to see him and his wife together: two beautiful young people, so much in love with each other, so happy in each other’s company.

Alas, the dream was not to last long. For, sometimes, even Gods become jealous of the happiness of mortals.

And so, at the end of the beautiful story – too beautiful to be true – the most beautiful city in the world became the resting place for its most beautiful son.

***

The love between his parents was too obvious for Alex to see at every single moment of their happy family life. So, when, at the age of 7, he, together with his peers at school, were asked to write about their parents, he had no difficulty in saying: “My parents met when they were students at University and instantly fell in love with each other – and I am the fruit of their love”!...

***

Igor had three great loves in his life: his family, shipping and St. Petersburg. And, while there could be no question that Alona and Alex were his No. 1 love, I am not sure which ranked No. 2 and 3: shipping or St. Petersburg. But I have no doubt as to how deep his love was for his native city.

Igor could not miss a single opportunity not to refer to St. Petersburg as “the most beautiful city in the world” - so much so that, in the very rare cases he would omit to do so, friends would ask whether there was something wrong with him.

Alona always knew she had to share him with shipping and St. Petersburg – and now St. Petersburg has him in her affectionate, loving arms!...

***

Humorous? He certainly was.

Once, he entered the office of the MSD Director where the most formidable naval architectural brains of the world (Koji Sekimizu, Alexander Petrov, Jack Westwood-Booth and Heike Hoppe) were agonizing to find out why a ship had sank.

The question: “Why did she sink – why did she?” was repeatedly asked, when Igor, with his inimitable smile and a refined veil of irony, offered the solution: “Why did she sink? It’s simple: because she took on water!...”

***

On another occasion, having been showered with compliments, from all over the House, on his election as chairman of the Maritime Safety Committee, he asked Tom Allan to give him the floor, only to say: “Distinguished delegates, I am moved and flattered by your kind and generous words about me and I only regret that my mother-in-law is not present here today to see what a lovely person her daughter married twenty years ago!...”

***

His first taste of the rigours of the MSC came in May and, in closing the session, I praised him for the way he had performed his duties, paying a special tribute to his determination and patience to achieve consensus in all of the Committee’s decisions, in his usual affable and efficient manner. He was due to chair the MSC’s forthcoming session in Istanbul next week – and, according to Alona, during the last two months, he was tormenting himself with how to make the Committee more efficient, what initiatives to introduce, what jokes to make to keep it alive.

His high standards of leadership, professionalism and technical knowledge, combined with a great sense of humour and integrity, synthesized an amalgam that will ensure a cherished memory for a long, long time. And it is this combination of talent and charisma, seen against his young age, that makes the loss more painful and the trauma deeper, unbearable…

***

With his passing, we are left all the poorer:
Russia has lost a very special man
St. Petersburg has lost her most beautiful son
IMO has lost a dedicated servant and the MSC its leader
Shipping has lost a beacon
I, and many others from all corners of the world, have lost a friend
Alona and Alex have lost everything but the hope of reuniting with him when the time comes...

***

In the meantime, who can ignore:

So much love…

So much happiness…

So much thirst for life…

and now

So much grief… so much anguish…

… and a sea of loneliness!...

In that loneliness of Alona, Alex and his friends, the words of the poet come to mind:

“A drum was heard, a funeral note,

… Slowly and sadly we laid him down,

From the field of his fame fresh and gory,

We carved a line and we raised a stone

And left him alone with his glory…”1

Igor was 41.

***

I wish to conclude by thanking Bishop Thoedoritos of Nazianzos for his kindness in hosting this Memorial Service in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, a most fitting place to honour Igor as it lies at the crossroads of Moscow Road and St. Petersburgh Place.
******************************




Etiquetas: ,

Tapias pounces on Navigasa

lunes, noviembre 20, 2006
LA CORUNA 17 November – Spanish operator Grupo Tapias has brought a 42.5% stake in Galician owner Naviera de Galicia (Navigasa) for an undisclosed sum. The move marks the launch of a €100M ($127.6M) four-year investment plan. Until now, Navigasa has operated in coastal trades but it is now planning to expand into the gas and chemicals sectors both along the Spanish coast and overseas. Navigasa has declined to provide details of its plan and would neither confirm nor deny that it is seeking to enter the LNG market. The company has also expressed an interest in purchasing shares in the state-owned Fene yard, run by Navantia. The shareholder shake-up at Navigasa marks the return of Grupo Tapias to maritime business. In March 2004, Tapias sold its petroleum and gas tanker owner Naviera F Tapias to Teekay Shipping for $810M. Navigasa currently has €23M orders for two multi-purpose cargo ships at Armón de Vigo yard in Galicia.

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Hurtigruten on road to recovery

jueves, noviembre 16, 2006
NARVIK 16 November – A marked improvement in interim results has encouraged the board of Hurtigruten Group, the Norwegian passenger shipping company, to forecast a halving of last year's loss in 2006 and plan for breakeven next year. The company operates a service between Bergen and Kirkenes along the west coast of Norway plus destination-orientated cruises. It posted a 3Q06 net profit of NK141.7M ($21.8M), double of the NK70.4M figure from the same period last year. In the full year of 2005, Hurtigruten suffered a net loss of NK94.8M. Hurtigruten, which was formed through the merger of local companies OVDS and TFDS, was able to increase yields at the same time as cutting operating expenses.

 

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Cruise News: Oceania Purchases Ships and RCI launches Sea-University

miércoles, noviembre 15, 2006
Christmas has come early for Oceania Cruises: The line announced today that it has secured the finances needed to purchase their three, 684-passenger ships -- Regatta, Insignia and Nautica -- which were previously operated under long-term lease agreements.

The line partnered with UBS Securities and Lehman Brothers to secure $400 million in loans and revolving credit to fund the acquisition of the ships from Cruiseinvest LLC.

What does this mean to cruisers? The benefits of ownership are mostly in-house (for example, the cruise line will now assume full management responsibility for the fleet) and won't affect the passenger experience. No changes will be made to current onboard operations from marine and technical business to hotel services.

What's important, however, is that Oceania is growing quickly and poised for expansion. Oceania began as a one-ship start-up in 2002, the brainchild of industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters, former heads of Renaissance Cruises and Crystal Cruises respectively. Insignia, Nautica and Regatta once sailed for Renaissance -- and the line plans to debut a fourth Renaissance redo, Marina, in 2007.

 RCI Sea University:
Following in the grand tradition of the popular Semester at Sea enterprise, Royal Caribbean subsidiary The Scholar Ship is primed to launch the next at-sea university.

The floating beacon of erudition will become home to 600 students from around the world when it embarks from Athens in September 2007 on a 16-week maiden voyage. Calls include Lisbon; Panama City; Guayaquil (Ecuador); Papeete and Suva (Fiji); Sydney; Shanghai; Okinawa and Kobe. (View a map of the planned route here.)

At this point, the actual vessel has not yet been selected -- but according to a spokesman for the program, more than 8,000 students from 175-plus countries have already requested an application for admission.

So what's on the syllabus? Unlike Semester at Sea, which offers a more traditional "liberal arts" curriculum (you know, your wide range of classes, arts, humanities, sciences, etc.), The Scholar Ship's program focuses more on creating citizens of the world (quite a lofty goal) and preparing its students to join the international workforce through a more experiential, onboard and off, approach; hands-on fields of study range from concentrations in Global Arts and Culture, to Conflict Studies to International Business and Communication.

Ports of call are essential to the curriculum, providing educational opportunities for students through a program of academic field studies (a visit to Bangalore to study the impact of outsourcing), shore excursions (snorkeling at Ningaloo Reef and dancing with bottle-nosed dolphins in Australia's Coral Coast) and independent travel. Back onboard the ship, students have the chance to dissect their experiences in the classroom setting.

The ship will offer most of the things you'd find at traditional land-based universities, including a bookstore, Internet "hot spots," a convenience store, a fitness center, an academic support center, laundry facilities, a 24-hour medical clinic, multiple dining facilities, rec rooms, a theater, etc.

Tuition, living costs and the voyage total about $20,000 per student for a standard two-person inside cabin with bathroom. Cabin upgrades will be available at an additional cost.

Interested in furthering your education while sailing around the world? Applications are being accepted through April 2007 for the semester beginning in September 2007!

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Star/NCL cite yield decline

martes, noviembre 14, 2006
KUALA LUMPUR/MIAMI 13 November – Star Cruises’ 3Q profits increased as a result of a ship sale, yard compensation and higher capacity, but yields fell and the pricing outlook remains challenging. The Star group, including Norwegian Cruise Line, recorded net income of $60.4M on revenues of $683.3M in 3Q06 versus net income of $33M on revenues of $575.3M in 3Q05. Results for the latest quarter included a gain of $16.7M from the sale of the Norwegian Crown, $7.3M in compensation from Lloyd Werft for the late delivery of the Pride of America (total compensation to eventually be paid is $37M), and a $3.5M currency translation gain. Capacity increased 17.7% for the group (30.1% for Star; 15.2% for NCL). But net yields fell 19.9% for the Star division on poor results from the SuperStar Libra in the Mediterranean, while yields fell 0.1% for NCL. Commenting on the forward outlook, Star said that bookings continue to be made “closer to the sailing date than last year” and that “through the first quarter of 2007, NCL continues to see downward pressure on pricing, especially in Hawaii and the Caribbean”. As a result, NCL estimates that net yields will decrease 1% in 4Q06.

Via Fairplay
 

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GL employees plan defence strategy

HAMBURG 13 November – A takeover offer for classification society Germanischer Lloyd by its larger French rival Bureau Veritas is likely to face strong opposition from GL’s employees’ council. Speaking soon after news of the bid had been confirmed, the council’s deputy chairman Ingo Klauke said his members regarded the move as “hostile”, adding that there was concern for jobs. The council is to meet later this week to put together a defence strategy. Klauke said he understands a decision on the offer, which is valued at about euro200M ($256M), has to be taken by 20 December. Hamburg-based GL is owned by about 50 shareholders, including ship owners, shipyards, equipment supply companies, banks and insurers. It employs about 3,200 and is expecting a rise in turnover this year to euro355M; the company is a leader in container ship classification and construction supervision, in which German owners are heavily involved. In September this year, GL had just over 6,000 ships under its class against 7,100 ships currently classed by BV. GL has also expanded in the Far East as shipbuilding activity has been transferred to Asia. In 2006, GL expects turnover generated in China to be larger than turnover in Germany for the first time. BV is owned by Wendel Investissement, which holds 99.5% of its shares. It has 23,000 employees and posted a turnover last year of euro1.64Bn.

Via Fairplay

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Germanischer Lloyd considers BV bid

 HAMBURG 10 November – French classification society Bureau Veritas has made a takeover offer for German rival Germanischer Lloyd, a GL spokesman confirmed today. “Our board is currently considering the offer,” the spokesman said. “The board will then make a decision on what recommendation should be made to shareholders.” Hamburg-based Germanischer Lloyd is owned by about 50 shareholders, including ship owners, shipyards, equipment supply companies, banks and insurers.

Via Fairplay.co.uk

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Star Cruises rights issue targets $200M

viernes, noviembre 10, 2006
SINGAPORE 10 November – Star Cruises is raising $200M in a rights issue to partly fund three newbuildings, the total contract value of which is $3Bn. The remaining amount will be raised through bank borrowings and internally generated cash. The rights issue, which is fully underwritten, will strengthen subsidiary NCL’s competitive position because it will pave the way for investing in “third generation” freestyle cruising ships, chairman Lim Kok Thay said today. The ships, which will have 4,200 passenger berths, will be built by Aker Yards France and will be delivered from 2009 to 2011. The Lim family and Resorts World have given an undertaking to take up their portion of the rights. The family is also negotiating to “sub-underwrite” the public portion of the rights. The respective portions have not been revealed. Star Cruises, which is headquartered in Malaysia, has teamed up with Group affiliate Genting International, which has bid for Sentosa Integrated Resort in Singapore. The group will leverage on Star's Asia and US network to generate “millions of potential tourists” annually.

Via Fairplay.co.uk

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Indian cruises look to the east

MUMBAI – Star Cruises India is anticipating a 50% growth in the domestic cruise market this season. In 2005-06 the venture welcomed 70,000 passengers; the new SuperStar Libra season begins in mid-October. According to Star Cruises India general manager Suresh Khatib, the company is planning to target its marketing campaign on second-tier cities – currently Star Cruises promotes its sailings in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore where per capita income is higher. In addition the company will explore new ports on the east coast from Chennai and Visakhapatnam. The fly-cruise sector is expected to grow by 15-20% over the 40,000 who joined the ship after a flight last year. Star Cruise has been operating a subsidiary in India for eight years, but only recently committed tonnage to that market.

 

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IMO SG Mitropoulos: mandate renewed

IMO Council has renewed Efthimios Mitropoulos’s mandate to serve as secretary-general of the UN agency for a further four years, concluding on 31 December 2011. Among items ahead, Mitropoulos picked out safety of life at sea as a priority, followed by goal-based standards, maritime security and environmental protection.

 

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New president named for Seabourn

martes, noviembre 07, 2006
07 Nov 2006, Carnival Corp has names Pamela Conover as president of its luxury brand Seabourn Cruise Line.
Conover has been acting president of Seabourn in the weeks following the death of former president Deborah Natansohn following a heart attack on October 22.

She has been with Carnival Corp for since 1994. She leaves her current position of senior vice president of shared services at Carnival Corporation to take over Seabourn.

In the previous role her market research and strategic analysis resulted in the order for two new ships for Seabourn.

Conover has a previous operating history with the Seabourn, having been president and chief operating officer of Cunard from 2001 when Cunard also ran Seabourn. The two brands were demerged in 2004.

Her time at Carnival also includes a stint with Costa. Before joining Carnival, she worked in corporate finance, specialising in the shipping sector.


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Cruising contributes $12bn to Europe plc

23 Oct 2006, Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman of the European Cruise Council, expects the European cruise market to grow by nearly 50% to 4.5m by 2010.

Foschi, who is chairman and CEO of Carnival Corp’s European brand Costa Cruises, was speaking at the Seatrade exhibition.
The European cruise market in 2005 leapt 13% to over 3.2m. It is responsible for 120,000 jobs in Europe, pumping $12 billion into the economy.
Foschi said: ‘The UK is still leading the way with over one million cruisers in 2005 but Germany, Italy and Spain are not far behind and all of them have shown a significant increase in passengers compared to 2004. Further strong growth is expected for Europe in 2006 and we are watching closely.'
He added that the Med is an increasingly popular destination for Europeans. Trends show that holidaymakers are seeking easy to reach areas that are off the beaten track including destinations such as the Black Sea and the Atlantic Islands. 1.9m Europeans - 60% of the total 3.2m total - visited the Med in 2005.




 

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Could Norwegian Pearl Have Caused Europe's Weekend Power Outage?

A massive power outage that began late Saturday and spread from northern Germany to Morocco is, according to European news reports, attributed to Norwegian Cruise Line's still-under-construction Norwegian Pearl.

Really! Turns out that -- in a move orchestrated by Meyer Werft, the ship's builder, and German utility company E.ON (NCL itself was not involved) -- a 380,000-volt power line was switched off to allow Norwegian Pearl to sail safely under the line as it traveled from the shipyard, in Papenburg, Germany, to its berth on the North Sea. The temporary shut-down was meant to be a safety precaution.

Alas, the loss of power there is thought to have overstretched other lines and created a domino-like weakness that knocked out power for up to 90 minutes, with effects that, beyond simply cutting off electricity to homes, also halted trains and trapped people in elevators. According to an Associated Press report, E.ON estimates that some 10 million folks were affected, including people in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Croatia and Morocco.

The power cut had no impact on Norwegian Pearl.

News reports mention that E.ON issued a statement, saying "such switch-offs have been undertaken repeatedly in the past without any problems. It is still unclear where and how the acute fault occurred half an hour after the switch-off. E.ON is working flat out to obtain a detailed analysis."

 

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Meyer Werft to launch Norwegian Pearl from NCL after E.ON Blackout

lunes, noviembre 06, 2006
PAPENBURG 06 November – Meyer Werft, the German cruise ship builder, is preparing for a second attempt to launch the newbuilding Norwegian Pearl this afternoon. A first attempt failed on Saturday due to power outages across many cities in Western Europe. About ten million people in Germany, France and other countries were affected by the blackout, according to official estimates. The 93,500-gt Norwegian Pearl needs to be moved from the yard at Papenburg down the River Ems to Emshaven for outfitting work. “We are in no rush,” a spokesman for Meyer Werft told German news agency dpa. Therefore the yard does not plan to seek compensation from electricity provider E.ON, which was responsible for the temporary shutdown. The foreship and machinery of the next newbuilding for Norwegian Cruise Lines, the Norwegian Gem, are already waiting to be assembled in Meyer’s building dock.

 

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APROBADO EL PROYECTO DE LEY GENERAL DE NAVEGACIÓN MARÍTIMA

viernes, noviembre 03, 2006
 Se actualiza el régimen jurídico del sector y se presta especial atención a la protección del medio ambiente.
El proyecto, que deroga las normas del Libro III del Código de Comercio de 1885, presta especial atención a la defensa de los intereses medioambientales y costeros, y desarrolla las previsiones de los distintos Convenios internacionales sobre Derecho marítimo.
Se regulan los contratos de utilización del buque, así como los contratos auxiliares de la navegación.
Se establece igualmente el contrato de construcción naval y se incorporan importantes innovaciones en el contrato de compraventa de buques.

El Consejo de Ministros ha aprobado la remisión a las Cortes Generales del Proyecto de Ley General de Navegación Marítima, después de ser valorado muy positivamente tanto por el Consejo General del Poder Judicial como por las organizaciones más representativas del sector afectado por la norma, para su remisión a las Cortes Generales.

En la elaboración de esta norma han colaborado activamente los sectores afectados (navieros, cámaras de comercio, transitarios (intermediarios o auxiliares de la actividad de transporte) y despachos especializados, entre otros. La base de la que se partió para alcanzar el texto final fue la propuesta de Anteproyecto de Ley elaborada por una sección especial constituida en el seno de la Comisión General de Codificación.

La nueva Ley General de Navegación Marítima consta de 541 artículos, en el que se integran tanto normas de Derecho público como de Derecho privado, que se proponen un triple objetivo:
Homogenizar el ordenamiento jurídico español con el Derecho Marítimo Internacional, adoptado, asimismo, por los países de la Unión Europea y la OCDE. Éste es un objetivo básico en un tráfico caracterizado por la transnacionalidad.
Proporcionar seguridad jurídica al sector, al garantizar una perfecta coordinación entre las normas españolas, europeas y Convenios Internacionales vigentes, tanto de Derecho Público como Privado. Todo ello facilitará la interpretación unívoca de esas normas por los tribunales.
Reflejar la realidad práctica actual del transporte marítimo, teniendo en cuenta las consecuencias económicas y de todo orden que puedan derivarse de las modificaciones introducidas.

De esta forma, el Proyecto da respuesta a la vocación de uniformidad del Derecho Marítimo y pretende poner fin a las contradicciones existentes en la actualidad entre los distintos Convenios Internacionales vigentes en España y la dispersa normativa que regulaba esta materia.

Las normas de Derecho público del Proyecto se encuentran en los títulos Preliminar y Primero, se inspiran fundamentalmente en la Convención de Derecho del Mar de las Naciones Unidas de 1982, y suponen la formulación, por primera vez, en la legislación española de una regulación básica muy completa y sistemática de policía administrativa; regulación que permitirá una mayor intervención de la Administración en la defensa de intereses medioambientales y costeros, debido a la especial relevancia cobrada por la seguridad de la navegación y la tutela del medio ambiente.

El Proyecto no se olvida de contemplar el tema de los polizones, cuyo régimen se remite a las normas generales de extranjería e inmigración, reforzando la responsabilidad de los capitanes de buque tanto para impedir su connivencia en su embarque, como para que se proporcione un trato digno a los polizones.

Vehículos de navegación

El Proyecto configura todo un estatuto jurídico del buque. Se mantiene la situación actual del doble registro, debido a sus distintas funcionalidades, del Registro de Buques y Empresas Navieras adscrito al Ministerio de Fomento y de la Sección de Buques del Registro de Bienes Muebles dependiente del Ministerio de Justicia.

Por primera vez se regula el contrato de construcción naval y se incorpora también importantes innovaciones en el contrato de compraventa de buques, al tiempo que se unifica la regulación de los privilegios marítimos, con remisión al Convenio de Ginebra de 1993.

Sujetos de la navegación

Los sujetos de la navegación están constituidos por el armador y el naviero, y se contempla junto a ellos el condominio naval y la dotación, con especial atención a la figura del capitán.

El Proyecto mantiene el concepto de naviero o empresa naviera contenido en la Ley de Puertos del Estado y de la Marina Mercante, a fin de asegurar la debida coordinación entre las disposiciones de esta futura Ley General de Navegación Marítima y la normativa vigente de apoyo estatal al transporte marítimo.

La nueva norma no incide en la regulación del Registro especial de buques y empresas navieras radicado en Canarias, por lo que ésta se mantiene sin modificación alguna.


Contratos de utilización del buque

Se regulan los contratos de utilización del buque (de arrendamiento, de fletamento, de pasaje y de remolque), los contratos auxiliares de la navegación, como son el novedoso contrato de gestión naval, el de consignación de buques, practicaje y manipulación portuaria. Esta regulación se basa en el respeto a la libertad de pactos de las partes y, al mismo tiempo, en la determinación clara de su régimen de responsabilidad.

Accidentes

La regulación de los accidentes de la navegación se efectúa mediante una remisión a los Convenios que regulan esta materia en los casos de abordaje, avería grave, salvamento, bienes naufragados o hundidos y responsabilidad civil por contaminación.

Respecto a la responsabilidad civil por contaminación, hay que destacar que la misma es suplementaria y adicional a la prevista en el Convenio Internacional sobre responsabilidad civil nacida de daños debidos a la contaminación por hidrocarburos, de 1992 (CLC), y en el Convenio Internacional sobre constitución de un fondo internacional de indemnización de daños debidos a contaminación por hidrocarburos, de 1992 (FUND), por lo que solamente regula los supuestos en que no sean directamente aplicables dichos Convenios.

El reconocimiento a los sujetos de la navegación de la posibilidad de limitar su responsabilidad se remite a los Convenios vigentes en España: Convenio de Londres de 1976 y Protocolo de 1996. También se colma la laguna existente en la actualidad en cuanto a normas procesales relativas al ejercicio del derecho a limitar la responsabilidad, mediante un procedimiento específico para ejercitarlo.

Asimismo, se garantiza la aplicación de la limitación con independencia del procedimiento judicial (civil, penal, contencioso-administrativo) utilizado para exigir la responsabilidad e, incluso, si ésta se exige en vía administrativa.

Se moderniza, finalmente, la regulación del contrato de seguro marítimo y las especialidades procesales que conllevarán las nuevas normas de la futura Ley, como el embargo preventivo de buques o la venta forzosa de los mismos.

Con la futura Ley se derogará el Libro III del Código de Comercio de 1885, cuyas normas habían quedado desfasadas hace ya bastantes años.

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AUTORIZACIÓN A SEPI PARA VENDER LOS ACTIVOS DE ASTILLEROS DE GIJÓN, SEVILLA Y SESTAO

Los adjudicatarios son Factorías Juliana, Astilleros de Sevilla, y Construcciones Navales del Norte, respectivamente.

El Consejo de Ministros ha autorizado a la Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI) a vender, a través de IZAR Construcciones Navales, S.A. en Liquidación, los activos del astillero de Gijón a Factorías Juliana, S.A.U.; los del astillero de Sevilla, a Astilleros de Sevilla, S.A., y los activos del astillero de Sestao, a Construcciones Navales del Norte, S.L.

Con esta venta se consigue el objetivo incluido en el Acuerdo Marco del 16 de diciembre de 2004 suscrito entre SEPI, IZAR y los sindicatos de mantener la continuidad industrial de los centros de IZAR en Sestao, Gijón y Sevilla, cumpliendo con el marco comunitario y respetando los derechos de los trabajadores.

En este sentido, y con la finalidad de reforzar las garantías laborales de los trabajadores transferidos con los activos ante una eventual crisis del proyecto industrial de los compradores, se ha suscrito un Acuerdo con la Federación Minerometalúrgica de CCOO y con la Federación MCA-UGT. Este Acuerdo contempla el compromiso de SEPI e IZAR durante un período de diez años para ofrecer puestos alternativos a los trabajadores eventualmente afectados, así como medidas paliativas y compensatorias en caso de no resultar posible la recolocación.

Antecedentes

En 2004 se resolvieron negativamente los expedientes incoados por la Comisión Europea en relación con determinadas ayudas no notificadas percibidas por IZAR entre los ejercicios 1998 y 2000, que fueron declaradas incompatibles e imponiendo a IZAR la obligación de su devolución. Estas decisiones implicaban un montante a devolver superior a 1.200 millones de euros. Las decisiones comunitarias agravaron la situación económica de IZAR, muy deteriorada ya como consecuencia de no haber visto cumplidas las expectativas del plan de creación de esta empresa en el año 2000.

Todas las medidas que posteriormente se han tomado en el proceso de resolución de la grave crisis en la que se encontraban los astilleros públicos cuentan con el acuerdo de la Comisión Europea y con la conformidad de los sindicatos. Esta conformidad quedó plasmada en el Acuerdo Marco de 16 de diciembre de 2004, cuyo objetivo fundamental era mantener la actividad industrial en todos los centros militares y civiles de IZAR.

Con ese objetivo, la actividad militar de IZAR se concentró en una nueva sociedad, Navantia, que también podrá realizar actividad civil complementaria en condiciones de mercado, limitada al 20 por 100 de la facturación total. Por su parte, los centros dedicados a la construcción civil siguieron integrados en IZAR y SEPI garantizó los derechos de los trabajadores y la ejecución de los contratos en curso. Una vez que IZAR entró en liquidación, tal como señalaba el Acuerdo Marco, SEPI ha llevado a cabo el proceso de venta de estos centros, con el objetivo de mantener su actividad de construcción naval civil.

Adjudicación

El Consejo de Administración de SEPI del pasado 18 de julio autorizó a la Comisión de Liquidación de IZAR a adjudicar los centros de Sestao, Gijón y Sevilla a las ofertas mejor valoradas por el asesor independiente del proceso de venta, de entre las ocho ofertas vinculantes válidas que se presentaron el 10 de febrero de 2006. Entre los primeros días de agosto y de septiembre se firmaron los correspondientes contratos privados de compraventa entre IZAR y Factoría Juliana, S.A.U., Astilleros de Sevilla, S.A. y Construcciones Navales del Norte, S.L., condicionados a la autorización hoy acordada.

El Consejo Consultivo de Privatización, en dictamen aprobado el 2 de octubre de 2006, concluyó que en los procesos para la enajenación de los activos de los centros de Gijón, Sevilla y Sestao, propiedad de IZAR Construcciones Navales en Liquidación, así como en la propuesta concreta de adjudicación, se han cumplidos los principios de publicidad, transparencia y libre concurrencia.

Previsiones

La empresa adjudicataria del centro de Sestao, Construcciones Navales del Norte, S.L. (CNN), está compuesta por Astilleros de Murueta, S.A., Inversora para el Desarrollo de Iniciativas Empresariales, S.L,; Marlon 25, S.L.; Iniciativas Navales del Norte, S.L. y Naviera del Nervión S.L., partícipes que combinan la experiencia en el sector de la construcción naval con la experiencia en otros sectores. CNN asume 340 trabajadores y pretende construir buques gaseros y dragas. Para adaptar la plantilla de Sestao a la oferta de Construcciones Navales del Norte se procederá a realizar un proceso de prejubilación en condiciones similares a las del compromiso de 16 de diciembre de 2004.

Astilleros de Sevilla, S.A. es una sociedad constituida por Astilleros de Huelva y Contenemar, S.A., socios del consorcio adjudicatario del centro de IZAR en Sevilla, que tiene previsto concentrar su actividad industrial en la construcción de buques de transporte regular de pasajeros y carga, además de otros buques de transporte especializado de productos. Para ello se apoyará en la totalidad de la plantilla existente en el centro de la capital andaluza.

Factorías Juliana, S.A.U. es la adjudicataria del centro de IZAR en Gijón, constituida al efecto por Factorías Vulcano, S.L. Su objetivo es mantener la actividad del astillero de Gijón especializándole en la construcción de barcos quimiqueros de tamaño medio, para lo que contará con la totalidad de la plantilla existente en la actualidad en el centro.

 

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