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Hot Port News from GAC

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GAC-newYour daily news service from ports around the world.

In this HOT PORT NEWS, read about:
* Worldwide – Piracy at sea falls to lowest level in 7 years: IMB
* United States, all ports – Agreement reached to end government shutdown
* United States, Freeport, Texas – Return to basic operations
* Brazil, all ports – Daylight Saving in Brazil

DATE: October 17, 2013
COUNTRY: Worldwide
Piracy at sea falls to lowest level in 7 years: IMB

The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB)
has revealed that piracy on the world’s seas is at its lowest third-quarter
level since 2006, but warns of the threat of continuing violent attacks off
the East and West coasts of Africa.

The latest IMB Piracy Report, published today, shows 188 piracy incidents
in the first nine months of 2013, down from 233 for the same period last
year. Hostage-taking has also fallen markedly, with 266 people taken
hostage this year, compared with 458 in the first three quarters of 2012.

In the first nine months of 2013, IMB’s global figures show pirates
hijacked 10 vessels, fired at 17, and boarded 140. A further 21 attacks
were thwarted. In total 266 crew were taken hostage and 34 kidnapped. One
seafarer was killed, twenty were injured, and one is reported missing.

IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan urged caution: “Although the number of
attacks is down overall, the threat of attacks remains, particularly in the
waters off Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea. It is vital that ship masters
continue to be vigilant as they transit these waters.”

Attacks in seas around Somalia continued to fall dramatically, with just 10
incidents attributed to Somali pirates this year, down from 70 in the same
nine months of 2012. IMB attributes this improvement to the actions of
naval forces engaged in anti-piracy operations, security teams on board
vessels, ships complying with the industry’s best management practices, and
the stabilizing influence of the Central Government of Somalia.

“The vital role of the navies off the coast of Somalia should not be
underestimated. Their presence ensures that pirates do not operate with the
impunity they did before, ” said Captain Mukundan.

As monsoons subside in NW Indian Ocean the weather will become more
conducive for small pirate skiffs to operate again.

As of 30 September 2013, suspected Somali pirates held two vessels for
ransom with 15 crewmembers on board. In addition, 49 kidnapped crewmembers
are held on land, 37 of whom have been held for over two years.

With fewer attacks off Somalia, attention has moved to the Gulf of Guinea,
a hotspot for violent piracy and ship hijacking for many years. The region
recorded more than 40 piracy attacks in the first three quarters of 2013,
with 132 crew taken hostage and seven vessels hijacked – six tankers and an
offshore supply vessel. The Gulf of Guinea accounted for all crew
kidnappings worldwide, 32 of them off Nigeria, and two off Togo.

Nigeria, the main source of piracy in the region, accounted for 29 piracy
incidents, including two hijackings, 11 ships boarded, 13 vessels fired
upon and three attempted attacks. Pirates, often heavily armed and violent,
are targeting vessels and their crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages,
ports and surrounding waters. In many cases, they ransack the vessels and
steal the cargo, usually gas oil.

Co-ordinated patrols by Benin and Nigerian Authorities have helped reduce
attacks in parts of the Gulf of Guinea. However, IMB warns that pirates
move around the region if left unchecked, citing the hijacking of a tanker
off Port Gentil, Gabon in July 2013, by suspected Nigerian pirates.

Elsewhere in the world, one area of rising armed robbery attacks is
Indonesia. Here, IMB recorded 68 low-level attacks to vessels, nearly all
at anchor. Robbers boarding the vessels were usually armed with knives or
machetes. Detailing the most attacked anchorages in its piracy report. IMB
calls for increased patrols, and warns ships to stay alert in these waters.

(For information about operations worldwide contact the respective GAC
office. Details may be found at http://gac.com/gacen/worldwide.aspx)

Source: International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau
(www.icc-ccs.org) news briefing dated 17 October 2013

DATE: October 17, 2013
COUNTRY: United States
PORT: all ports
Agreement reached to end government shutdown

Federal Government employees in the USA are returning to work today
(October 17) after a last-minute agreement was reached for a short-term
increase in the debt limit last night.

The agreement extends U.S. borrowing authority until February 7 and enables
the funding of government agencies until January 15, ending a partial
showdown that began on October 1.

During the 15-day government shutdown, imports to the USA were experiencing
delays for shipments that haD to comply with government organizations such
as FDA (Food and Drug Administration), DOT (Department of Transportation),
APHIS (Animal & Plant Health Inspections Services), USDA, (United States
Department of Agriculture) and the Lacy Act which deals with the
importation of lumber and wood products. TIB (Temporary Import Under Bond)
entries also experiences delays due to the need to be reviewed by an import
specialist before release.

Some delays may be experienced in the coming days as government agencies
return to work and clear the backlog from the two-week shutdown.

For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at usa@gac.com

DATE: October 17, 2013
COUNTRY: United States
PORT: Freeport, Texas
Return to basic operations

The Intracoastal Waterway intersection of the Freeport ship channel fluid
bottom sediment has dissipated, effective immediately there are no
additional requirements for deep draft vessels.

We are returning to basic operating procedures at project depth of 42′
fresh water draft.

(For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at

Source: Brazos Pilots Association Notice to Freeport users dated 16 October

DATE: October 17, 2013
PORT: all ports
Daylight Saving in Brazil

Daylight Saving will come into effect at all Brazilian southeastern and
southern states from 00:00 hours on 20 October until 00:00 hours on 16
February 2014.

Clocks will be advanced in one hour, turning our local time GMT minus two
(-2) during this period.

The following Brazilian States as well as Federal District, will be

* Rio Grande do Sul (location of Rio Grande and Port Alegre ports);

* Santa Catarina  (Navegantes, Sao Francisco do Sul, Imbituba, Itajaí
ports, Porto Belo and Florianopolis anchorages);

* Parana (Paranagua and Antonina ports);

* Sao Paulo (Santos complex and Sao Sebastiao ports);

* Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro and Sepetiba ports, Buzios and Angra dos
Reis anchorages);

* Espírito Santo (Ponta Ubu, Vitoria, Praia Mole, Tubarao and Portocel

* Minas Gerais, Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Federal District
(no ports).

For information about operations in Brazil contact GAC Brazil at

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