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Philippines – Nickel Ore Cargoes

 

The Club has received industry reports of cargo liquefaction occurring on a bulk carrier which had loaded a cargo of nickel ore at Suriago, Philippines. According to these reports, the crew were evacuated after the ship lost stability but one seafarer is said to have lost his life during the abandon ship operation.

Members will be aware of the dangers associated with the carriage of cargoes that can liquefy as outlined in previous Club Circulars, News Alerts and Stop Loss articles. As the rainy season in the Philippines runs from June until November, the current conditions present increased challenges for Members loading nickel ore cargoes in the next few months. Members are responsible for ensuring full compliance with the IMSBC Code and must take any measures necessary to ensure the safe carriage of nickel ore cargoes. The Club’s Circular containing detailed information on the Safe Carriage of Nickel Ore Cargoes can be accessed by clicking here.

Members who plan to fix or charter a ship to load Nickel Ore and the Philippines, or are ordered to load nickel ore under an existing fixture, are reminded that they must notify the Managers at the earliest opportunity and comply with the Mandatory Notification Requirements, otherwise they risk prejudicing Club cover. A copy of the Club’s Circular with details of the Mandatory Notification Requirements can be accessed by clicking here.

22 Jul 2015

Iran Sanctions – Limited Sanctions Relief until 14 January 2016

 

Members will be aware of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 that opens the way for the restoration of trade activities with Iran (click here for the News Alert of 15 July 2015).

The current sanctions against Iran, contained in EU Regulation 267/2012 (as amended), remain in effect whilst arrangements are made for implementation of the JCPOA. Members should note that the EU has, in the meantime, passed Council Decision 2015/1148 of 14 July 2015 (click here for a copy) to further extend the suspension of sanctions measures relating to certain trades under the Geneva Joint Plan of Action until 14 January 2016. The Club’s News Alert of 21 January 2014 (click here) sets out details of the suspended measures and the News Alert of 29 January 2014 (click here) gives an update on the P&I cover available.

As such, the current thresholds on transfers of funds that require notification or prior authorisation remain unchanged and HM Treasury’s guidance on this (click here) remains valid.

17 Jul 2015

China – Ship Routing and Reporting at Xiamen Port, Fujian Province

 

Members calling at Xiamen Port in Fujian Province, China, should note that the Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Limited, Xiamen, has recently issued a detailed Circular on the Ship Routing and Reporting System being implemented by the China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) since 1 July 2015.

In essence, the MSA’s Announcement dated 29 April 2015 on Ship Routing and Reporting concerns:-

  1. Vessels over 50,000 DWT or with a draft exceeding 12.5m to use the deep-water route to enter and depart Xiamen Port; and,

  2. Requirements for foreign ships to report various details to Xiamen VTS at various specified reporting lines/points, including detailed vessel information, calling/destination ports, draft, and any defects and limitations.

A copy of the Correspondent’s Circular, which includes a translation of the MSA’s Announcement containing details/charts of the deep-water route as well as the reporting lines and information required, can be found by clicking here.

16 Jul 2015

Iran Sanctions – The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the diplomatic agreement signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between the E3/EU+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, opens the way for the restoration of trade activities with Iran by lifting the trade, energy, insurance and banking embargoes that have been incrementally imposed by the EU and US since 2009.

Full details of the way in which implementation of the JCPOA will be managed in the EU and US is yet to emerge, but it is clearly intended that all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme will be lifted, subject to the terms of the JCPOA.

It is difficult, at this early stage in the process, to anticipate the timescale by which the current legislation in the EU and US will be repealed or rolled back. It is, however, clear that the prohibition on the provision of insurance or reinsurance to Iran or the Government of Iran, an Iranian legal person, entity or body, or a natural person or a legal person, entity or body acting on their behalf or at their direction will eventually be lifted, and the current prohibition in respect of the transport of oil, petrochemical and gas products will also be lifted in due course.

The JCPOA provides that adoption will occur 90 days after the JCPOA is endorsed by the UN Security Council or at an earlier date by mutual consent of all JCPOA participants, at which point the JCPOA comes into effect. The EU and its Member States will adopt an EU Regulation, taking effect on the date of implementation, terminating all provisions of the EU Regulation implementing all nuclear-related economic and financial EU sanctions.

For the time being and until further notice, the current sanctions remain in effect and Members should continue to exercise due diligence in their dealings with potentially Iran-related cargoes and entities.

15 Jul 2015

Cyber Fraud – Payments of Agent’s Fees to Fraudulent Accounts

Over the past year, the Club has become aware of an increasing number of instances of cyber fraud involving Members.  The vehicle for the fraud in each of those instances was the interception of the ship’s agent’s emails and/or the hacking of the ship’s agent’s email account resulting in a request to send expected funds (e.g. anticipated disbursement accounts or cash for the Master) to a new bank account. 

The fraudulent emails on most occasions originated from the agent’s own email address (if their server had been hacked) or an email address extremely similar to the agent’s genuine email address and provided bank account details with only subtle differences from the agent’s genuine bank account. Since Members do not have any control over the security of an agent’s email accounts, as a precaution it is suggested that an additional check be implemented for any requests to make payments to new bank accounts (either where the agent has not been paid by Members previously or because the account details are different to an account that has received funds previously).  In particular, the Club suggests that the check includes independent verification of the bank details provided with a known contact by telephone or through a fresh email (rather than responding to the email requesting the change in bank account details which may itself be fraudulent).  Whilst this will inevitably increase the amount of administration associated with payments for Members, it offers protection against the loss of potentially significant sums.
 

01 Jul 2015

China – Vessel Pollution Response

Members should note that the PRC Ministry of Transport recently published revised Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Emergency Prevention and Handling of Marine Pollution Caused by Vessels (the “revised Regulations”), which became effective on 12 May 2015. The revised Regulations have the effect of removing the requirement on SPROs to be approved by the China MSA, and introduce instead a new supervision and examination procedure by the local MSAs. Under the revised Regulations, SPROs are also required to publish their capabilities, resources and service area for access by the public. Please click here for the Club’s recent Circular on this issue for further information.

For an up to date list of list of approved SPROs, Consortia and Agents, please click here.

16 Jun 2015

Yemen - Port Closure/Steps to be taken in Yemeni Waters

 

Members may be aware that recent conflict in Yemen resulted in port operations being suspended in Aden and, further, that Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs then confirmed formally that navigation in Yemen's territorial waters was banned unless permission had first been obtained from the Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition forces. Additionally, the U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo targeting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels. The Club have now received an update from the Aden Correspondent, GAC, as follows:

QUOTE
 
There has not been any major changes in the situation in Yemen however as we have been getting so many enquiries wish to state the below.
Aden port is still closed and below are the other ports in Yemen
 
1)      Hodeidah port.
2)      Saleef port.
3)      Mokha port.
4)      Ras Isa port (loading port for crude oil).
 
These ports are working normally although there is high security levels at these ports and all vessels need to be cleared by the Saudi coalition prior to entering any of the Yemeni ports.  It is still a war zone and there is nothing further we can advise other than to be very cautious while going to any port in Yemen.
 
The information entry to Yemeni water:
 
Please be informed that any vessel calling Yemeni ports should be getting on entry permission from Ministry of Transport by the ships agent or receivers, before the vessel’s arrival to Bab Al-Mandab.
                                               
There is an official authorization from the legitimate Yemeni Government to the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition to stop all ships calling at the Yemeni ports for the compulsory inspection before entry.
 
Currently the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition have arrested some vessels at Bab Al Mandab for compulsory inspection to get the entry permission to the Yemeni ports. Therefore the ships will be allowed for call and to enter to the Yemeni territorial waters only after being inspected by the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition.
 
Any vessel coming to the Yemeni ports should be calling to the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition by VHF on channel 16 for the arrival registration before 3 miles of arrival to the Bab Al Mandab to get approval to enter Yemeni territorial waters and thereafter they will advise the ship's master about the anchor position until getting the final approval to enter after inspection.
 
They do not conduct investigation with the crew; but all contact will be with the ship's master or Chief Officer about the cargo and documents and The Master should advise them that he is awaiting permission number and further instructions.
 
Once the vessel is allowed to enter Yemeni ports, she will be required to call once again to the port control by VHF on channel 14 or 16 for the arrival registration and thereafter he will be advised the anchor position until berthing prospects confirmed by the Harbor master.
 
UNQUOTE
 
Members are recommended to take note of the above should they be calling Yemen.
 

10 Jun 2015

International Group - Annual Review - 2014/15

 

The International Group Annual Review 2014/15 was published recently and can be accessed by clicking here. The Review covers many of the key activities undertaken by the Group during the last P&I policy year and includes summaries of the work carried out by a number of its Sub-Committees and Working Groups on a range of issues, including the review of large casualties, places of refuge and the Maritime Labour Convention, which may be of interest to Members.

27 Apr 2015

Sudan Sanctions – US amends General Licence

 

Members will be aware of the ongoing US and EU sanctions against Sudan. Members should therefore note that on 18 February 2015, the US Authorities/Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an amended general licence allowing the exportation and provision to Sudan of certain hardware, software and services incidental to personal communications.  As a consequence, Members may see exports of hardware such as smartphones, satellite phones, residential consumer satellite terminal and receiver equipment, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment being shipped to Sudan, probably in containers.  A copy of the licence can be accessed here.

Members are reminded that, despite this particular limited relaxation of sanctions against Sudan by the US, there are still both US and EU sanctions in place against Sudan. 

The EU sanctions focus mainly on a trade embargo on arms and related material (ie. military ammunition, weapons and goods) and a few targeted individuals (click here for the current EU sanctions).

However, the US maintains much broader trade and financial sanctions on Sudanese goods, persons and entities including wide prohibitions on the assistance/facilitation that can be given by a US person/entity. OFAC’s overview of the US Regulations with regard to Sudan sanctions can be accessed by clicking here. 

27 Feb 2015

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