2001 Maritime

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March 12, 2001

"First Officer" CockroftITF head buys a license
Nobody would ever imagine David Cockroft, general secretary of the ITF (International Transport Federation) as anything but a professional lazbor organizer.  
Now, though, the ITF says it has exposed a trade in qualifications by buying a First Officer’s Certificate and Sea Book issued by the Republic of Panama. These authorize Cockroft, to navigate a ship and deputize for its captain – despite his complete lack of marine training and skills.

Documents“Do you want someone like me, with no practical seafaring experience, steering a ship full of dangerous chemicals or radioactive materials off your coast, or plowing through the same sea lanes as oil supertankers and crowded passenger ferries,” ‘First Officer’ David Cockroft asked as he prepared to reveal his new qualifications. “That is what an under-policed system, that encourages bad operators to undercut good ones, allows. It is courting human and environmental disaster.”

Cockroft said: "The laugh is on Panama, whose controls are so lax that they hand out a vital document to the head of an organisation that for 53 years has challenged the abuses permitted by flags of convenience states such as theirs. It’s like awarding a good conduct medal to Attila the Hun.”
The Seafarers’ International Research Centre at the University of Wales is currently investigating the issue of fraudulent qualifications. Its preliminary findings revealed 12, 653 cases of forgery.

Britain sets alcohol limits for seafarers
New plans to introduce alcohol and drug testing and to set a blood/alcohol limit for all commercial and recreational mariners have been outlined by U.K. shipping minister, Keith Hill.

The proposed blood/alcohol limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, in line with the U.K. limit for road and rail. It will apply to all mariners and to all types of civil waterborne transport in U.K. waters, including foreign vessels when in U.K. waters.

[How high is the proposed U.K. limit? Under recent U.S. legislation, U.S. states are being required to set a similar 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the presumptive level of intoxication for driving, or lose a portion of their federal highway funding.Many states already set the 0.08% limit, but some still allow t a 0.10% BAC presumptive level.]

U.K. Shipping Minister Keith Hill said: "Our proposals demonstrate our commitment to setting strict standards on what is acceptable and to ensure that safety is not compromised.

"There will also be additional accompanying powers for the police to test suspects, again bringing alcohol legislation for shipping into line with road and rail.

"The Government applauds the fact that many reputable ship operators already have strict alcohol policies and some run "dry" ships. Our proposals will not affect those policies. However, we recognize that on long voyages a ship isn't just a place of work but it is also a home. Therefore, the proposed statutory limits will apply to off duty crew members only when they have a safety critical function in the event of an emergency."

These proposals strengthen current U.K. legislation by establishing limits and give the police the power to test suspects. The Merchant Shipping Act 1995, Section 58 only establishes the offense of mariners being 'under the influence of a drink or drug' which resulted in an act or omission endangering a vessel or person(s).

The police will be assisted by maritime officials who will be given powers to detain vessels until the police arrive and where required providing boarding facilities.

Chevron orders aframaxes
Chevron Shipping Co., LLC, has signed final agreements with Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Mitsui & Co. U.S.A. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., of Korea to acquire two new double hull crude oil tankers.

The Aframax, or medium-sized, tankers will be built in Samsung’s Koje Island yard. Delivery is expected during the first half of 2003. Financial details were not disclosed.

Discussions between Chevron and Samsung were under way when Mitsui joined the two companies late last year. Chevron had been seeking to increase its controlled tonnage in the Aframax market sector for trading flexibility and to hedge market rate volatility. Chevron has had a close relationship with both companies through the years.

Mitsui will take ownership of the vessels and Chevron will charter the vessels for 10 years with options to extend out to 15 years. This will bring the total number of ships built for Chevron by Samsung to seven and will bring the total number of Chevron vessels where Mitsui has had a significant financial interest to 17.

“I’m very pleased to further the longstanding relationship we have enjoyed with both Mitsui and Samsung,” said Tom Moore, president of Chevron Shipping Co. “We look forward to adding these two state-of-the-art tankers to our controlled trading fleet.

Nine companies interested in Hellenic Shipyards
Nine Greek and foreign companies have reportedly expressed interest in the privatization of Greece's Hellenic Shipyards, Skaramanga.

In the next 15 days, the Greek Government's advisers on the privatization -- Alpha Finance, Commercial Bank and KPMG -- will shortlist bidders and then ask for binding bids for the yardThe companies that expressed interest are:

1.Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN)
2.General Electric Company
3.Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG-Ferrostaal AG
4.Louis Cruise Lines Ltd
5.Mentor Technologies
6.Elefsina Industrial Companies SA
7.Pacific & Atlantic Corporation
8.Royal Schelde BV-Damen Shipyards Group BV
9.Vosper Thornycroft Ltd