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Hot Port news from GAC

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Panama Canal, Panama
Jubail, Saudi Arabia
Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Canal welcomes largest vessel to date through new locks
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Panama Canal, Panama
The Panama Canal welcomed the largest vessel both in dimension and capacity to transit the Expanded Canal since it was inaugurated in June 2016. The 13,092 TEU Neopanamax containership COSCO Development, which measures 366 meters in length and 48.2 meters in beam, began its voyage in Asia, and will soon become the largest ship to arrive on the U.S. East Coast when it calls at several ports there….

…In the days since its inauguration, the Expanded Canal has seen its Neopanamax traffic steadily increase. Thus far, the Expanded Canal has transited more than 1,200 Neopanamax vessels-an average of 5.9 vessels per day, when a daily estimate of two and three transits was initially forecasted for the first year of operation. In addition, a total of 15 new liner services have shifted to take advantage of the new route.

Containerships represent approximately 43% of traffic through the new locks, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, which represent approximately 29.1 and 8.3 percent, respectively. Other segments such as bulk carriers, tankers and car carriers have also transited the new locks….

(For information about operations in the Panama Canal contact GAC-Wilford & McKay at gac-wilfordmckay.panama@gac.com)

Source: Extract from Panama Canal Authority (www.pancanal.com) Press Release dated 2 May 2017

Berthing/unberthing suspended
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Jubail, Saudi Arabia

All port berthing/unberthing operations at Jubail were suspended by the port authority at 0315 hours local time today (9 May) due to very poor visibility and bad weather.

For the latest status update or information about operations in Jubail contact GAC Saudi Arabia at jubail@gac.com

Dusty winds halt port operations
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Dammam port operations were closed from 07:30 hours local time today (9 May), due to dusty winds.

For the latest status update or information about operations in Dammam contact GAC Saudi Arabia at dammam@gac.com

Maritime piracy report sees first Somali hijackings after five-year lull
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Worldwide
Pirates and armed robbers attacked 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first quarter of 2017, slightly more than the same period last year, according to the latest ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy report….

…In total, 33 vessels were boarded and four fired upon in the first three months of 2017. Armed pirates hijacked two vessels, both off the coast of Somalia, where no merchant ship had been hijacked since May 2012. Four attempted incidents were also received….

Gulf of Guinea kidnappings
Of the 27 seafarers kidnapped worldwide for ransom between January and March 2017, 63% were in the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria is the main kidnap hotspot, with 17 crew taken in three separate incidents, up from 14 in the same period last year. All three vessels – a general cargo ship, a tanker and a bulk carrier – were attacked while underway 30-60 nautical miles off the Bayelsa coast. Three more ships were fired upon at up to 110 nautical miles from land, and many other attacks are believed to go unreported….

Growing violence around the Southern Philippines
Here, nine ships reported attacks in the first quarter of 2017 compared with just two in the same period last year. These include an armed attack on a general cargo vessel in which two crew were killed and five kidnapped for ransom. Kidnappers captured five more people in attacks on a fishing trawler and a tug.
According to IMB, militant activity may be behind the escalating violence in waters around the Southern Philippines. Armed groups use speedboats to target seafarers and fishermen in slow-moving, low vessels.
Areas such as the Sulu Sea and Sibutu Passage are particularly risky. IMB recommends that ships avoid these waters by transiting West of Kalimantan, if possible – and, as ever, follow the industry’s latest best practice measures, to protect against attacks.

First Somali hijackings after five-year lull
Somali pirates successfully hijacked a small bunkering tanker and a traditional dhow, both within their territorial waters. A total of 28 crew were taken hostage and subsequently released within a relatively short time. IMB suspects that these incidents were opportunistic, particularly as the hijacked vessels were not following the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4) recommendations….

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre supports the anti-piracy efforts of international navies by relaying all reports to the response agencies, as well as broadcasting alerts to ships via the INMARSAT Safety Net Service.

IMB’s latest piracy report gives detailed descriptions of all 43 attacks in 16 countries, and advice for mariners, including a list of particularly high-risk areas where extra caution and precautionary measures are vital….

(For information about operations worldwide, contact the respective GAC offices. Details at www.gac.com/gac-worldwide)

Source:  Extracts from ICC International Maritime Bureau (www.icc-ccs.org) media release dated 4 May 2017

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