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HOT Port news from GAC

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Your daily news service from ports around the world.

In this HOT PORT NEWS, read about:

  • Worldwide – March sees rise in Somali piracy
  • Singapore, Singapore – Soil investigation off St John’s Island
  • Chile, Coquimbo – New operator of multi-user terminal
  • Panama, Panama Canal – Panama Canal operations over Easter period

DATE: April 05, 2012  -COUNTRY: Worldwide –  March sees rise in Somali piracy -More vessels were hijacked by Somali pirates in March than in any other month since late 2010.

While there was an overall decline in worldwide pirate activity, figures gathered by risk mitigation company AKE show a notable rise in incidents off the Horn of Africa.

Eight vessels including two large merchant ships were hijacked, the highest number in a single month since December 2010.

According to AKE piracy analyst Rory Lamrock activity is also likely to remain high in April.

“Pirate syndicates will be emboldened by the latest hijackings, spurring them on to conduct more attacks over the coming weeks. Weather conditions are also forecast to be relatively calm in April, which will make it easier for pirates launch skiffs and gain access to the deck of a targeted vessel.”

Four of the vessels taken in March are now being used as ‘motherships’. These are not immediately released for a ransom, but instead are deployed to help pirates capture larger vessels. Captive crew members are often forced to work on motherships against their will.

“The fact that the pirates have seized so many new motherships suggests they may be preparing for a new wave of hijackings directed at larger commercial vessels. The shipping industry should exercise particular caution in places such as the Gulf of Aden and wider Arabian Sea for the time being.”

The current average settlement for a captured commercial vessel is around US$4.8 million.

Ships face an average detention period of around 180 days although this can range to well over 300 days for some of the less fortunate seamen who are held on board. At least 300 crew members are currently being held.

Elsewhere in the world, attacks dropped off West Africa, but a serious attempt launched from a mothership around 100 nautical miles from the coast highlighted the expanding offshore threat posed by maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea region.

AKE expects attacks to increase in frequency off the coasts of Nigeria and Benin over the coming months. Incidents could take place at distances greater than 120 nautical miles from the shore.

Fewer attacks were recorded in Asian waters in March, although the drop is likely to be caused by under reporting, rather than an actual reduction in pirate activity.

One attack was officially recorded in Latin America.

(For information about operations worldwide contact the respective GAC offices. Details may be found in the Contacts section of www.gac.com)

Source: AKE Intelligence (www.akegroup.com) news release dated 5 April 2012

DATE: April 05, 2012 – COUNTRY: Singapore – PORT: Singapore – Soil investigation off St John’s Island

Soil investigation works will be carried out off St John’s Island from 9 April to 31 May 2012.

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine Notice No.41 of 2012, the works will be conducted between 0800 and 2000 hours daily – including Sundays & Public Holidays – off Cooper Channel and its vicinity, at the following marine borehole co-ordinates (WGS 84 Datum):

  • 1) 1° 13.421’N / 103° 50.762’E
  • 2) 1° 13.360’N / 103° 50.799’E
  • 3) 1° 13.367’N / 103 °50.891’E

Soil investigation works will be carried out by means of borehole drilling using jack-up barge. The jack-up barge, with tug boats in attendance, will have a circular safety working zone of 30 meters radius centered at the barge.

Tugboats will be used for shifting the barge from one borehole location to another. The shifting of the barge will be carried out during daylight hours only.

A safety boat will be deployed in the vicinity of the working area to warn other craft of the project work.

Craft involved in the works will exhibit the appropriate local and international day and night signals.

When in the vicinity of the working area, mariners are reminded to: (a) Keep well clear and not to enter the safety zone of the barges; (b) Maintain a proper lookout; (c) Proceed at a safe speed and navigate with caution; (d) Maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 68 (West Control); and (e) Communicate with West Control on VHF Channel 68 for assistance, if required.

For information about operations in Singapore contact GAC Singapore at singapore@gac.com

DATE: April 05, 2012  -COUNTRY: Chile – PORT: Coquimbo – New operator of multi-user terminal

Coquimbo Port Authority has awarded the concession to operate the multi-user terminal to local port opersator Neltume.

Neltume took over as operator on 1 April. Work on a news berthing area, a new passenger terminal, 6, 000 square metres storage facility and improvements to existing facilities are expected to take approximately 30 months to complete.

The terminal has been renamed to “TPC” Terminal Puerto Coquimbo.

For information about operations in Chile contact GAC-Ultramar Network at gac-ultramarnetwork.chile@gac.com

DATE: April 05, 2012  -CO UNTRY: Panama  – PORT: Panama Canal Panama Canal operations over Easter period

The Easter Holidays will have an effect on services related to Panama Canal transits, including Cash for Masters, ship spares supplies and crew services.

GAC-Wilford & McKay will be working with a skeleton staff over the Easter holiday period (Friday 6 April to Monday 9 April).

As local banks and armoured truck service will be closed on 5 & 6 April, it will not be possible to arrange Cash for Masters until 9 April.

For ship spares, little coverage is expected by airlines and courier companies during the holidays.

Immigration office may not attend some OK TO BOARD VISA. A penalty may have to be paid for last-minute crew changes.

For information about operations in Panama contact GAC=Wilford & McKay at gac-wilfordmckay.panama@gac.comThe Easter Holidays will have an effect on services related to Panama Canal transits, including Cash for Masters, ship spares supplies and crew services.

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