Global daily news 04.01.2012
***Korean vessel washed ashore
N. Anand
452 words
1 January 2012
The Hindu
THINDU
English
(c) 2012 Kasturi & Sons Ltd

CHENNAI,NEW DELHI A Korean vessel m.v. OSM Arena has been washed ashore due to strong winds caused by Cyclone Thane, according to K. Sreekumar, International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) inspector, Chennai, and Madras Port Trust Employees Union, assistant secretary.

As a precautionary measure, Chennai Port officials asked the shipping lines and feeder operators to move about nine vessels to high seas on Wednesday night to avoid damage to the wharf and the vessels, following which container movement was suspended in the harbour for the last 48 hours. Besides, Chennai, Ennore and Kattupalli ports had raised storm warning flag signal number ‘9'.

Talking to The Hindu , Mr. Sreekumar said that the Korean flag vessel, which has been on the outer anchorage of the harbour since February 3, 2010, drifted towards to the INS Adyar (Napier bridge side) and was just 500 metres away from the shore. More information could not be ascertained as there were no complaints from the sailors.

OSM Arena with 14 sailors has been stranded in the high seas, pending disposal of commercial dispute by the Calcutta High Court.

Following the intervention of Madras High Court, the existing crew of 18 from Korea and Myanmar were replaced with 14 Myanmar sailors and they are taken care of by the vessel owners.

“To deal with the high winds, engines have to be kept in running condition. In this case, the crew were not able to rejuvenate the engine in time and this led to the grounding. The crew have been using the generator for cooking and lighting purposes as they have little work to do. When they tried to rejuvenate the engine, they lifted the anchors. In the process, one broke away and the other drifted,” said Purnendu Misra, Principal Officer-cum-Joint DG (Tech), Mercantile Marine Department (MMD).

As the vessel was well within the port's limit, ChPT should pull it out and it has the wherewithal to do it. Coast Guard would take care of the pollution aspects, he said.

Atulay Misra, chairman, ChPT said “the vessel is at minus 12 draft and what we need is minus 8 draft. It is not in a dangerous area. The anchorage is down and winch is not working. Unless we repair the winch, the vessel cannot be lifted and anchored. Efforts are on to set right it at the earliest.”

Following the weakening of Cyclone Thane, the storm warning flags were removed at Chennai and Ennore ports and evacuation of import containers began at 4 p.m. Directions were issued for berthing of vessels.

Currently, the first container terminal had about 3,500 export containers and 1,050 import containers.

 

 

 

***Corrections and clarifications
103 words
9 December 2011

The Hindu

THINDU
English
(c) 2011 Kasturi & Sons Ltd

OPINION >>The fifth paragraph of the report, “Chinese-owned ships evade inspection” (December 8, 2011), quoted Mr. Ratnam as saying that the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) established contact with the owners of the ships, leading to a query from a reader on who Mr. Ratnam was. The fact that B.V. Ratnam was an inspector at the ITF was inadvertently edited out.

 

 

FROM ADP NEWS (BULGARIA):

 

 

***ITF supports tax on ship fuel
129 words
8 December 2011

ADPnews Shipping

ADPSH
English
© 2011 AII Data Processing Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

(SeeNews) – Dec 8, 2011 - London-based International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) has thrown its weight behind a proposal to tax ship fuel and emissions as a means to fund efforts to reduce pollution, Journal of Commerce said on Wednesday.

The ITF suggested that money raised from such a tax could be used to form a green climate fund which would help developing countries combat poverty and climate change. According to the London-based body, taxes should be applied to ships regardless of their registry.

In addition, the federation issued a statement slamming the failure of the United Nations, holding a climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, to achieve agreement on ways to cut emissions linked to climate change.

 
 
 
FROM THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE (USA):
 
 
 
***Labor Federation Backs Global Tax on Ship Fuel
JOSEPH BONNEY, SENIOR EDITOR
167 words
7 December 2011
Journal of Commerce Online
JOCO
Journal of Commerce - Print and Online
CTGJOC
English
(c) 2011 Commonwealth Business Media. All rights reserved.

The International Transport Workers Federation said it supports proposed taxes on bunker fuel and vessel emissions as a way to pay for air pollution reduction efforts.

The ITF said money raised from the taxes would support a "green climate" fund to "assist developing countries to fight poverty and climate change. The ITF said the taxes should apply to equally to ships, regardless of registry.

The London-based ITF issued a statement lamenting the failure so far of a United Nations climate-change conference in Durban, South Africa, to agree on ways to reduce emissions linked to climate change.

"Negotiations are at a complete standstill – despite us being in a situation where emissions are still rising, the forecasts are becoming increasingly grave, and extraordinary weather conditions are destroying jobs, homes and peoples' lives," said Alana Dave, ITF climate change coordinator.

 
 
 
 
 
 
FROM THAI NEWS SERVICE, ALSO PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY:
 
 
 
***Philippines: Rookie seafarers monthly pay now pegged at US$ 1,709
399 words
20 December 2011
Thai News Service
THAINS
English
(c) 2011 Thai News Service

Section: General News - Filipinos looking to make their living through seamanship now have more reason to pursue a seagoing career as the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in London said that basic pay for able bodied (AB) seamen is now pegged at US$ 1,709 monthly.

ITF maritime coordinator Steve Cotton said that this was the benchmark or standard for AB seafarers serving on board vessels covered by an ITF total crew cost (TCC) agreement.

He also said that the monthly pay for an AB seafarer on a TCC vessel will increaser by two per cent to US$ 1,709 effective Jan. 1, 2012, and then by 2.5 percent to US$ 1,752 in 2013 and by three percent to US$ 1,805 in 2014.

The benchmark applies not just to those under TCC agreements, but also stands as an example that is widely taken notice of throughout shipping, so we are glad to set out this progressive improvement in what seafarers earn," Cotton said.

The Philippines manning industry earlier announced that it was projecting to deploy a record 400,000 seafarers worldwide by the end of this year despite the financial crisis in Europe .

Roughly half of these are ABs or rookie seamen.

In a statement, Eduardo U. Manese, Joint Manning Group (JMG) chairman, said the projected seafarers deployment would have an expected foreign currency remittance of about US$ 4 billion to the Philippine economy.

JMG, which is the umbrella organization of the country's crew management and overseas shipping industry, has vowed to strongly support and work together with the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) and its line agencies in preserving the sector's achievement as the top supplier of seafarers to the world's merchant marine fleet.

The Department of Labor and Employment has been working closely with us to address pressing issues concerning the ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention and the Seafarers' Identification Document, and the anti-piracy program to help our seafarers combat piracy in the high seas, Manese said.

Manese said that despite the financial crisis affecting European economies, demand for Filipino seafarers to operate commercial ships of various flags had hardly diminished.

In 2010, the Philippines deployed 347,000 shipboard personnel, a 5.06 percent growth over 2009, figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed. - PNA

 
 
 
 
FROM THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST:
 
 
***Two lose appeal over ship collision
Keith Wallis
576 words
15 December 2011
scmp.com
SCMCOM
English
(c) 2011 scmp.com. All rights reserved.

The Ukrainian captain and a local pilot involved in one of Hong Kong's worst maritime disasters had their appeals against conviction for endangering life at sea dismissed yesterday by the Court of Appeal. Two others - a mainland ship captain and a second local pilot - had their convictions quashed.

Yuriy Kulemesin and Tang Dock-wah were bailed to appear on December 21, when appeals against their sentences will be heard.

Appeal court vice-president Mr Justice Frank Stock gave no indication whether the original sentences would remain or be changed. Kulemesin, who was in charge of the oil rig supply ship Neftegaz-67 when it was hit by the dry-cargo ship Yao Hai near the Brothers islands on March 22, 2008, was jailed for three years and two months at the trial of all four in January last year. Tang, who was the senior pilot on board the Yao Hai, was sentenced to three years in jail.

Eighteen of the 25 crew on board the 2,723 gross tonne supply ship died after the vessel sank when it was holed below the waterline by the 36,544 tonne Yao Hai. It was the largest loss of life in Hong Kong waters since 1971, when 88 people were killed when the Hong Kong-Macau ferry Fat Shan sank during a typhoon.

Explaining the rejection of the men's appeals against conviction, Mr Justice Michael Lunn said neither had kept a proper look-out to prevent a collision between their ships.

In a 211-page judgment, the court said: "Given the failure of the Neftegaz-67 to take any steps whatsoever, save when it was too late, to avoid the course of the Yao Hai ... one has to wonder whether the account given by the first applicant [Kulemesin] as to what he saw and did was a true account, and whether he was keeping a look (sic) at all."

Lunn, with Stock and Mr Justice Darryl Saw, also rejected the argument put forward by Kulemesin's defence that he thought the area was open water rather than a narrow channel in which different navigation rules apply.

Lunn said the trial judge, Madam Justice Susana D'Almada Remedios, was entitled to find Kulemesin's belief that it was not a narrow channel "unreasonable, and that he had not taken reasonable precautions". This was despite the Marine Department never designating the area as a narrow channel.

Turning to Tang, Lunn said the pilot "did not respond effectively and timeously, by the use of sound or light signals or alterations of course, to the unexpected failure of the Neftegaz-67 to change course. The risk of collision was obvious. The collision avoidance action taken by the third applicant [Tang] on the Yao Hai was indeed `too little, too late'".

The appeal court judges ruled that the mainland captain of the Yao Hai, Liu Bo, and second pilot Bruce Chun Wah-tak, who were both jailed for two years and four months, were not criminally culpable and quashed their convictions.

Ting Kam-yuen, head of the Hong Kong campaign office for the International Transport Workers' Federation, would not comment on the judgments after leaving yesterday's hearing, but said he would inform his Ukrainian counterparts of the decision. He said there were lengthy civil liability cases pending after the criminal case was over.

 
 
 
 
FROM TANKER OPERATOR (UK):
 
 
 

***ITF supports bunker levy and shipping emissions tax
(Dec  9  2011)

The ITF is supporting the call for a commitment to find new sources of funding for a ‘green climate fund’ that will assist developing countries to fight poverty and climate change.

This includes introducing a levy on vessels’ bunker fuel and a possible shipping emissions tax, both of which the ITF believes should be ‘flag blind’ – that is, apply equally to all users.

Speaking from COP 17 in Durban, ITF climate change co-ordinator Alana Dave reporting on the conference earlier this week said: “Negotiations are at a complete standstill – despite us being in a situation where emissions are still rising, the forecasts are becoming increasingly grave, and extraordinary weather conditions are destroying jobs, homes and peoples’ lives.

“It seems as if narrow economic interests and pressure from multinationals, not least in the fossil fuel industry, are being allowed to override attempts to reach a binding agreement to protect our climate and the future of our planet.

“Despite the enormous potential for change represented by this conference, and at a time when the International Energy Agency’s chief economist is warning that we only have five years left to make radical changes to avoid dangerous climate change, this event is looking more and more like one more wasted opportunity," she concluded.

Asbjorn Wahl, ITF climate change working group chairman, explained: “There is an urgent need for a new global agreement that is fair, ambitious and binding. We need a much more ambitious agenda and we need it immediately. We need to plan a transition to a climate-resilient, low-carbon economy. Restructuring our economies and ambitious mitigation action are vital if we want to leave our children a sustainable world and a chance for social and development goals to be achieved”.

The ITF took an active part of the ‘People’s Space’ movement at the conference, which brought together social movements, NGOs and trade unions from around the world.

It also organised a two day workshop on the ‘reduce-shift-improve’ framework, which is designed to reduce emissions from different transport modes and world regions.

 

 

 

FROM TRADEWINDS NEWSPAPER:

 

 

***Wage row erupts on Russian gas carrier
Adam Corbett London
223 words
16 December 2011

Tradewinds

TRADEW
42
English
(c) 2011 TradeWinds

A wage row has erupted on the Russian-controlled, gas carrier Enigmagas (built 1981), which is currently anchored in the Kersch Straight. Crew on the Panamanian-flag vessel have contacted the local International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) representative in a bid to settle the wage dispute with the ship's owner.

The 4,000-dwt vessel has been anchored at its current site for close to three months and the crew are claiming outstanding wages of up to four months. The men are understood to be running low on provisions and food and are demanding supplies. There are currently 11 Russian crew on board the 30-year-old ship.

According to local reports, the crew has already been involved in a fight over control of the ship in what appears to have been an attempt to repossess the vessel..

The registered owner is Venus Star Trading but the beneficial owner is understood to be Russia's Nadezhda Trade. The owner is reportidly keen to repossess the ship and load cargo. The ship is currently in ballast..

No comment was available from the ITF before TradeWinds's press time.

The vessel appears to be mainly trading within Russian waters. Its last port-state-control (PSC) inspection under the Tokyo MOU was listed in 2006.

 

 

FROM EUR-LEX (LUXEMBOURG):

 

 

***E2009C0397; EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 397/09/COL of 14 October 2009 amending, for the 72nd time, the procedural and substantive rules in the field of State aid by introducing a new chapter on State aid to ship management companies OJ L 318, 1.12.2011, p. 51–55
3016 words
8 December 2011
EUR-Lex
CELEXE
Eur-Lex - All
CTGCLX
English
EUR-Lex (c) European Communities 2011

EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision

No 397/09/COL

of 14 October 2009

amending, for the 72nd time, the procedural and substantive rules in the field of State aid by introducing a new chapter on State aid to ship management companies

THE EFTA SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY [1],

HAVING REGARD to the Agreement on the European Economic Area [2], in particular to Articles 61 to 63 and Protocol 26 thereof,

HAVING REGARD to the Agreement between the EFTA States on the Establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice [3], in particular to Article 24 and Article 5(2)(b) thereof,

WHEREAS under Article 24 of the Surveillance and Court Agreement, the Authority shall give effect to the provisions of the EEA Agreement concerning State aid,

WHEREAS under Article 5(2)(b) of the Surveillance and Court Agreement, the Authority shall issue notices or guidelines on matters dealt with in the EEA Agreement, if that Agreement or the Surveillance and Court Agreement expressly so provides or if the Authority considers it necessary,

RECALLING the Procedural and Substantive Rules in the Field of State Aid adopted on 19 January 1994 by the Authority [4],

WHEREAS, on 10 June 2009, the Commission of the European Communities (hereinafter EC Commission) adopted a Communication providing guidance on State aid to ship management companies [5],

WHEREAS this Communication is also of relevance for the European Economic Area,

WHEREAS uniform application of the EEA State aid rules is to be ensured throughout the European Economic Area,

WHEREAS, according to point II under the heading "GENERAL" at the end of Annex XV to the EEA Agreement, the Authority, after consultation with the Commission, is to adopt acts corresponding to those adopted by the European Commission,

HAVING consulted the European Commission,

HAVING consulted the EFTA States by way of a letter dated 31 August 2009 (Event Nos 526393, 526395 and 526367),

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

The State Aid Guidelines shall be amended by introducing a new chapter on guidance on State aid to ship management companies. The new chapter is contained in the Annex to this Decision.

Article 2

Only the English version is authentic.

Done at Brussels, 14 October 2009.

For the EFTA Surveillance Authority

Per Sanderud

President

Kristján Andri Stefánsson

College Member

[1] Hereinafter referred to as the Authority.

[2] Hereinafter referred to as the EEA Agreement.

[3] Hereinafter referred to as the Surveillance and Court Agreement.

[4] Guidelines on the application and interpretation of Articles 61 and 62 of the EEA Agreement and Article 1 of Protocol 3 to the Surveillance and Court Agreement, adopted and issued by the Authority on 19 January 1994, published in the Official Journal of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as OJ) L 231, 3.9.1994, p. 1, and EEA Supplement No 32 of 3.9.1994, p. 1. Hereinafter referred to as the State Aid Guidelines. The updated version of the State Aid Guidelines is published on the Authority’s website: http://www.eftasurv.int/state-aid/legal-framework/state-aid-guidelines/ [http://www.eftasurv.int/state-aid/legal-framework/state-aid-guidelines/]

[5] OJ C 132, 11.6.2009, p. 6.

--------------------------------------------------

ANNEX

GUIDANCE ON STATE AID TO SHIP MANAGEMENT COMPANIES

1. Scope

This Chapter deals with the eligibility of crew and technical managers of ships for the reduction of corporate tax or the application of the tonnage tax under Section 3.1 of the Chapter on State Aid to maritime transport [1] (hereinafter "the Maritime Guidelines"). It does not deal with State aid to commercial managers of ships. This Chapter applies to crew and technical management irrespectively of whether they are individually provided or jointly provided to the same ship.

2. Introduction

2.1. General context

The Maritime Guidelines provide for the possibility that ship management companies qualify for the tonnage tax or other tax arrangements for shipping companies (Section 3.1). However, eligibility is limited to the joint provision of both technical and crew management for a same vessel ("full management"), while those activities are not eligible to the tonnage tax or other tax arrangements when provided individually.

The Maritime Guidelines stipulate that the EFTA Surveillance Authority (hereinafter the "Authority") will examine the effects of the Maritime Guidelines on ship management after three years [2]. This Chapter sets out the results of that fresh assessment and draws conclusions on the eligibility of ship management companies for State aid.

2.2. Ship management

Ship management companies are entities providing different services to ship owners, such as technical survey, crew recruiting and training, crew management and vessel operation. There are three main categories of ship management services: crew management, technical management and commercial management.

Crew management consists, in particular, in dealing with all the matters relating to crew, such as selecting and engaging suitably qualified seafarers, issuing payrolls, ensuring the appropriateness of the manning level of ships, checking the certifications of seafarers, providing for seafarers’ accident and disability insurance coverage, taking care of travel and visa arrangements, handling medical claims, assessing the performance of the seafarers and, in some cases, training them. Crew management represents by far the largest part of the ship management industry worldwide.

Technical management consists in ensuring the seaworthiness of the vessel and its full compliance with technical, safety and security requirements. In particular, the technical manager is responsible for making decisions on the repair and maintenance of a ship. Technical management represents a significant part of the ship management industry, although much smaller than crew management.

Commercial management consists in promoting and ensuring the sale of ships’ capacity, by means of chartering the ships, taking bookings for cargo or passengers, ensuring marketing and appointing agents. Commercial management represents a very small part of the ship management industry. To date the Authority does not have complete information about commercial management at its disposal. Commercial management is therefore not addressed by this Chapter.

Like any maritime activity, ship management is a global business by nature. In the absence of international law regulating third party ship management, the standards in this field have been settled within the framework of private law agreements [3].

In the EEA, ship management is mainly carried out in Cyprus. There are, however, ship management companies in the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. Outside the EEA, the management companies are mainly established in Hong Kong, Singapore, India, United Arab Emirates and the USA.

2.3. Review of the eligibility conditions for ship management companies

Since the adoption of the Maritime Guidelines in March 2004, several maritime countries have entered the EEA, amongst them Cyprus, which features the largest ship management industry in the world.

The accession of Cyprus and its preliminary work for complying with the Maritime Guidelines, as well as a study realised by a consortium for the administration of that EEA State [4], allowed for a more complete understanding of this activity and of its evolution. More awareness has been acquired in particular in respect of the link between technical and crew management on the one hand, and shipping on the other, as well as the possibility that crew and/or technical managers can help achieving the objectives of the Maritime Guidelines.

3. Assessment of eligibility of ship management companies

Unlike other maritime-related services, ship management is a standard core activity of maritime carriers, normally provided in-house. Ship management is one of the most characteristic activities of ship operators. Nowadays, however, it is outsourced to third party ship management companies in some cases. It is because of this link between ship management and shipping that third party management companies are professional operators with the same background as ship owners, although segmented according to their specialisation, operating in their same business environment. Ship owners are the only customers of ship management companies.

Against this background the Authority considers that outsourcing of ship management should not be fiscally penalised with respect to in-house ship management, provided that the ship management companies meet the same requirements as are applicable to ship owners and that the provision of the aid to the former contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the Maritime Guidelines in the same way as the provision of aid to ship owners.

In particular, the Authority considers that, precisely because of their specialisation and the nature of their core business, ship management companies may substantially contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Maritime Guidelines, in particular the achievement of an "efficient, secure and environment friendly maritime transport" and of the "consolidation of the maritime cluster established in the EEA States" [5].

4. Extension to ship management companies of eligibility to State aid

On the basis of what has been explained in Section 3 above, the Authority will authorise under Article 61(3)(c) of the EEA Agreement, tax relief for ship management companies, as referred to in Section 3.1 of the Maritime Guidelines, with respect to joint or separate crew and technical management of ships, provided that the conditions set out in Sections 5 and 6 of this Chapter are fulfilled.

5. Conditions for eligibility applicable to both technical and crew managers

In order to qualify for aid, ship management companies should present a clear link with the EEA and its economy, in line with Section 3.1 of the Maritime Guidelines. Moreover, they should contribute to the objectives of the Maritime Guidelines, such as those laid down in Section 2.2 of the said Guidelines. Technical and crew managers are eligible to State aid, provided that the ships they manage comply with all the requirements set out in Sections 5.1 to 5.4 of this Chapter. Eligible activities must be entirely carried out from the territory of the EEA.

5.1. Contribution to the economy and employment within the EEA

The economic link with the EEA is proven by the fact that ship management is carried out in the territory of one or more EEA States and that mainly EEA nationals are employed in land-based activities or on ships.

5.2. Economic link between the managed ships and the EEA

Ship management companies may benefit from State aid with respect to ships entirely managed from the territory of the EEA, irrespective of whether management is provided in-house or whether it is partially or totally outsourced to one or more ship management companies.

However, since ship management companies do not have full control of their customers, the above requirement is deemed to be fulfilled if at least two thirds of the tonnage of the managed ships is managed from the territory of the EEA. Tonnage in excess of that percentage which is not entirely managed from the EEA is not eligible [6].

5.3. Compliance with international and Community standards

Ship management companies are eligible if all the ships and crews they manage comply with international standards and Community law requirements are fulfilled, in particular those relating to security, safety, training and certification of seafarers, environmental performance and onboard working conditions.

5.4. Flag-share requirement (flag link)

The flag-share requirement, as laid down in the eighth paragraph of Section 3.1 of the Maritime Guidelines applies to ship management companies. The share of EEA flags to be considered as the benchmark is that of the day on which this Chapter is adopted. For new companies the benchmark is to be calculated one year after the date on which they started activity.

6. Additional requirements for crew managers

6.1. Training of seafarers

Crew managers are eligible for State aid as long as all seafarers working onboard managed ships are educated, trained and hold a certificate of competency in accordance with the Convention of the International Maritime Organisation on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW), and have successfully completed training for personal safety on board ship. Moreover, crew managers are eligible if they fulfil the STCW and Community law requirements regarding responsibilities of companies.

6.2. Social conditions

In order to be eligible for State aid, crew managers must ensure that on all managed ships the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, of the International Labour Organisation ("MLC") [7], are fully implemented by the seafarer’s employer, be it the ship owner or the ship management companies. The ship management companies must ensure, in particular, that the provisions of the MLC concerning the seafarer’s employment agreement [8], ship’s loss or foundering [9] medical care [10], ship owner’s liability including payment of wages in case of accident or sickness [11], and repatriation [12] are properly applied.

Crew managers must also ensure that the international standards regarding hours of work and hours of rest provided for by MLC are fully complied with.

Finally, in order to be eligible, crew managers must also provide financial security to assure compensation in the event of the death or long-term disability of seafarers due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard.

7. Calculation of tax

Also in the case of ship management companies the Authority will apply the principle contained in the Maritime Guidelines, according to which, in order to avoid distortion, it will only authorise schemes giving rise to a homogeneous tax load across the EEA States for the same activity or the same tonnage. This means that total exemption or equivalent schemes will not be authorised [13].

The tax to be used for ship management companies can obviously not be the same as that applied to ship owners since, with respect to a given ship, the turnover of the ship management companies is much lower than that of the ship owner. According to the study mentioned in Section 2.3, as well as to notifications received in the past, the tax base to be applied to ship management companies should be approximately 25 % (in terms of tonnage or notional profits) of that which would apply to the ship owner for the same ship or tonnage. The Authority therefore, requires that a percentage of no less than 25 % is applied under ship management tonnage tax schemes [14].

If ship management companies engage in activities which are not eligible for State aid under the present Chapter, they must keep separate accounts for those activities.

In case ship management companies subcontract part of their activity to third parties, the latter are not eligible to State aid.

8. Application and review

The Authority will apply the guidance provided in this Chapter from the date of adoption.

State aid to ship management companies will be included in the general revision of the Maritime Guidelines such as foreseen in Section 13 of the latter.

[1] Available on the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s website: http://www.eftasurv.int/state-aid/legal-framework/state-aid-guidelines/ [http://www.eftasurv.int/state-aid/legal-framework/state-aid-guidelines/]

[2] See footnote 20 of the Maritime Guidelines.

[3] An example is the BIMCO’s Standard Ship Management Agreement "Shipman 98" which is frequently used in relations between ship management companies and ship owners.

[4] Study on ship management in Cyprus and in the European Union of 31 May 2008, carried out for the Cypriot government by a consortium under the direction of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.

[5] Section 2.2 of the Maritime Guidelines.

[6] While the fact of not complying with the 2/3 rule does not affect the eligibility of the ship management company as such.

[7] It should be recalled that the European social partners adopted an agreement taking up the relevant part of the maritime Labour Convention 2006 which has been integrated into Community law by Council Directive 2009/13/EC of 16 February 2009 implementing the Agreement concluded by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and amending Directive 1999/63/EC (OJ L 124, 20.5.2009, p. 30). Directive 2009/13/EC is in the process of being incorporated into the EEA Agreement.

[8] Regulation 2.1 and Standard A2.1 (Seafarer’s employment agreement) of Title 2 of MLC.

[9] Ibid. Regulation 2.6 and Standard A2.6 (Seafarer compensation for the ship’s loss or foundering) of Title 2.

[10] Ibid. Regulation 4.1 and Standard A4.1 (Medical care onboard ship and ashore. Shipowners’ liability); Regulation 4.3 and A4.3 (Health and safety protection and accident prevention); Regulation 4.4 (Access to shore-based welfare facilities) of Title 4.

[11] Ibid. Regulation 4.2 and Standard A4.2 (Shipowners’ liability) of Title 4.

[12] Ibid. Regulation 2.5 and Standard A2.5 (Repatriation) of Title 2.

[13] The Authority takes this opportunity within the present chapter of its Guidelines to emphasise that the mechanism used to calculate the tax to be paid by both ship management companies and ship owners is irrelevant as such; in particular, it is irrelevant whether or not a system based on notional profit is applied.

[14] The ship owner, if eligible, remains liable for the whole tonnage tax.

--------------------------------------------------

11.40.10.10

External relations

Bilateral agreements with non-member countries

European countries

Member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

State aids

English

of document: 14/10/2009

of effect: 14/10/2009; Entry into force Date of document

end of validity: 99/99/9999

recruitment

State aid

carriage of passengers

control of State aid

maritime transport

provision of services

continuing vocational training

carriage of goods

EFTA

EFTA Surveillance Authority

decision without addressee

European Economic Area

E1994A1231(01)

-A24

E1994A1231(01)

-A05P2PTB)

21994A0103(01)

-A63

21994A0103(01)

-A61

21994A0103(01)

-A62

E1994C0004

21994A0103(27)

52009XC0611(01)

Consultation Commission

E1994C0004

Addition

Chapter

from 14/10/2009

OJ L 318, 1.12.2011, p. 51–55 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

CELEXJO20111201

20111212

Office for Official Publications of the European Communities

Document CELEXE0020111215e7c8000oc

 

 

FROM LLOYD'S LIST:

 

Seafarer dies off Falmouth

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Seafarer dies off Falmouth

Two others still in hospital

A SEAFARER on board an Isle of Man-flag combination tanker has died, and two others remain in hospital, after a heavy weather incident around 30 miles off Falmouth today.

Pritchard Gordon Tankers, operater of 2004-built, 12,222 dwt Annie PG, said that two crew members sustained injuries when struck by a wave while on deck, and a third was injured on attempting to assist.

All three were taken to hospital by helicopter rescue. But despite receiving medical attention on board the vessel and helicopter, one of the men did not survive.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues and friends and we would like to express our heartfelt condolences at this most difficult of times,” the company said in a statement.

The other two injured crewmembers are now in hospital and are both reported to be in a stable condition.

Annie PG is now proceeding to Falmouth where it is due to arrive later this evening.

 

 

***Gifts to the givers

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Seafarers’ centres provide vital support for the itinerant workforce.

ICSW awards express recognition and gratitude to those who provide welfare facilities for seafarers around the world

TO GENEVA, just before Christmas, where the International Labour Organisation was hosting the 2011 International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards on behalf of the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare.

It was an appropriate venue, as the ILO, it will be recalled, has the Maritime Labour Convention (in which there are specific welfare provisions) working its way through the process of ratification, and a preparatory meeting was under way. The awards were conveniently bolted on to the end of the first day of this meeting, in the grand setting of the Governing Body Room.

We are all awash with awards these days, but this event was rather special, as a means of expressing both recognition and gratitude to those very many people who, generally unsung and unremarked, provide welfare facilities to the itinerant workforce that drives ships around the world.

Everyone who reads this newspaper knows the importance of maritime trade, but sometimes our dependence on those whose work keeps the thousands of ships running is overlooked. I know people who actually work in the industry who regard seafarers almost in the abstract, or as a commodity, like paint or luboil, whose costs they somehow grudge.

Those people who turn out to visit ships in port, or drive minibuses to take these essential workers to the shops from some distant berth, or provide all manner of practical help to strangers in need, have a rather different take on the role of the seafarer — and they deserve everyone’s gratitude.

Today, our ships have never been so efficient, or productive, or sophisticated, but their very efficiency, as they rush around, brings with them greater needs for welfare provision, often delivered in new and very different ways, as we consider the very limited time ships are alongside or in port limits.

And just as maritime technology advances, so the practical delivery of welfare services must change to meet the new requirements of seafarers. Just as society changes in our furiously interconnected world, where communications have become all-important, so the needs of seafarers, who are exactly like us ashore in this respect, will reflect these changes.

The cheap telephone calls home that welfare centres provided and the telephone cards that facilitated this are giving way to wireless internet connections, as communication technology becomes both affordable and expected by ships’ crews.

But what does not change, from one generation of ships and seafarers to another, is an appreciation of kindness and generosity, shown to them from welcoming people in port. No seafarer, who has experienced the kindly efforts of welfare services in foreign ports, given to them so freely in so many different ways, will deny it is so very worthwhile. It is something that marks these givers as very special people, whose humanity shines like the lighthouses around the world’s sealanes themselves.

So the ICSW event, sponsored this year by V.Ships and The ITF Seafarers’ Trust, recognised the considerable contribution of these welfare providers. Like the floating populations of those they serve, they are often ignored or taken for granted, and the awards might, in some small way, help to bring these agencies to the wider maritime world and the general public.

It is also hoped such public recognition might assist in the improvement of welfare services globally, especially at a time when funds are tight. And it is also significant that in three of the categories of award, it is the views of seafarers themselves that count. The customer, as it is said, is always right!

Five nominees — BP Shipping, Kuwait Oil Tanker Co. Mediterranean Shipping Company, Teekay Shipping and Wilhelmsen Ship Management — were shortlisted for the Shipping Company of the Year, with the prize, sponsored by Intermanager, being awarded to Wilhelmsen.

The Teekay-sponsored Port of the Year award went to Antwerp, with Kandla, Marseilles Fos, Miami, and Singapore being shortlisted. The ISF-sponsored Seafarers’ Centre of the Year was selected as the Hamburg Duckdalben International Seamen’s Club, with special mention to the shortlisted seafarers’ clubs at Chennai, Fremantle, Kandla, Fort Lauderdale and Oakland.

The Welfare Personality of the Year, nominated by colleagues or organisations who have witnessed the deep dedication of these people, produced joint winners of Rev Peter Ellis, who recently retired after many years in ministering to seafarers in Hong Kong, and Mrs Paddy Percival, who has done amazing welfare work in the Port of Durban.

There were very honourable mentions for Graham Archer from Australia, Father Giacomo Martino of Italy and Hans Winkhofer of Hong Kong.

There was also a special judges’ award for outstanding services to seafarers’ welfare to Dr Suresh Narain Idnani, President of the International Maritime Health Association, who has spent a lifetime promoting seafarers’ health, in both Asia and worldwide.

Seafarers’ welfare is still sometimes seen by many owners, port authorities and administrations as an “optional extra”, and the job of the ICSW and its 40 members is to correct this misapprehension.

It is a worthwhile organisation, which works with virtually anyone who believes that seafarers’ welfare helps to keep ships’crews healthy, efficient and safe. And why would you not?

 

 

Torm gets a delisting warning from Nasdaq

  • Wednesday 04 January 2012, 11:18
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Torm has reported serious losses in recent quarters.

Troubled Danish tanker company’s shares have closed below $1 per share for 30 consecutive days

TORM could be delisted from Nasdaq in the US if its share prices fail to improve before the end of June, an event that could be yet another serious blow to the cash-strapped Danish tanker owner.

The company said it was warned by Nasdaq that bids for its American Depository Shares had closed below $1 per share, the minimum requirement for continued listing, for 30 consecutive sessions. The warning is not expected to affect its listing on Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen.

Bids for Torm’s ADS will need to close at no less than $1 for 10 straight sessions before June 26 to keep the shares from being delisted. However, the company may be eligible for additional time by applying to transfer its ADS to the Nasdaq Capital Market and satisfying certain other requirements, according the exchange’s rules.

“Torm will monitor the bid price and will consider the available options to resolve the deficiency,” the company said.

Torm, one of the largest tanker owners globally, has been plagued by industry-wide oversupply and faced serious losses in recent quarters. Lacking sufficient funds, it was forced to defer loan repayments to three Nordic banks and to cancel an order for a medium-range product tanker in late 2011.

Last November, Torm also shelved its planned $100m rights issues as it sought to propose another issue of $300m, and an emergency shareholder meeting was postponed in hope of garnering more support for the new plan later.

 

 

Court delays SeaFrance decision for another week

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It is not clear whether using redundancy payments to fund the workers’ bid would infringe European rules on state aid.

French government backs SeaFrance workers’ buy-out bid

A PARIS commercial court has again postponed a decision on the future of French state-owned Dover-Calais ferry operator SeaFrance until January 9.

The administrator, set to make a ruling today yesterday today, gave SeaFrance a further reprieve after the French government offered financial support for a workers’ co-operative seeking to take over the lossmaking ferry company.

The proposal, outlined in a meeting of Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, could reallocate SeaFrance staff redundancy payments into financial support for the SCOP bid for the company, whose four vessels suspended services seven weeks ago.

Rival Dover Strait operator P&O Ferries said it would make a “legal challenge” to any thing it considered state aid, “including converted redudancy payments or a top up on behalf of local governments”.

SeaFrance employs around 800 workers around Calais, and a loss of so many jobs would be a blow in President Sarkozy’s re-election campaign this year.

SCOP, comprising SeaFrance staff and unions, is the only remaining bidder for the company after its original bid was rejected by the court on November 16.

In that same ruling, the Paris commercial court also rejected a €5m ($6.5m) joint bid by rival ferry operators DFDS and Louis Dreyfus, although that consortium declined to table an improved offer.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the SCOP bid is still €50m below the minimum acceptable to the administrator, although local councils in the Calais region have offered an estimated €10m towards the rescue plan.

The offer followed Mr Sarkozy’s New Year’s address, which set out a government programme to retain jobs across several industries, including the auto sector which will benefit from a new scrapping scheme to remove old cars from French roads.

It is not clear whether using redundancy payments to fund the SCOP bid would infringe European Commission rules on state aid.

In late October last year, the commission in Brussels rejected a €100m funding proposal by state-owned French railway operator SNCF to bail out its loss-making ferry arm. Competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said that the loan aid that France proposed was “incompatible” with European rules.

 

 

Jason needs Eitzen share price miracle to survive

Rebadged Camillo Eitzen is ‘underwater’, says Figenschou

CAMILLO Eitzen successor company Jason Shipping needs to see the share price of Eitzen Chemical quadruple if it is to cover its debts, according to a senior executive centrally involved in restructuring efforts.

Aage Figenschou, who takes over as chief executive of Jason at the start of next month, declined to give odds on its survival, and admitted that his rebadged company was “underwater”.

Jason Shipping is the new name for long-established holding company Camillo Eitzen, which retains a 34% stake in Eitzen Chemical. Eitzen Chemical claims on its website to operate some 80 vessels. Oslo-listed Jason also owns a 3% stake inn Eitzen Maritime Services after a debt-for-equity swap depleted its holding down from 60%.

An interim balance sheet presented to an extraordinary general meeting of Camillo Eitzen last month reveals net liabilities of NKr306.8m ($51.8m), and Ernst & Young signed off the accounts on the basis of significant doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Much of the money is owed to Nordic bank Nordea.

In an frank interview, Mr Figenschou also confirmed speculation that Dubai-based entrepreneur Freddy Bidhwa is interested in buying back what is left of Seven Seas Shipchandlers , which he sold to Eitzen Maritime Services for $115m in 2008.

Seven Seas commanded a high price thanks to its contract to support US military operations in Iraq, which is presumably worth less now the occupation has ended. The way is now open for Mr Bidhwa to win back control of the company for considerably less than the sale price, provided he can square bondholders with the proposal.

“In order for us to cover our debt and for there to be even $1 of equity, Eitzen Chemical shares would have to be in the area of NKr0.50-NKr0.60 per share, and they were at NKr0.15-NKr0.16, at least when I left for New Year. So you can say that we are underwater,” Mr Figenschou said.

“When you ask me what is the future, the future is to manage the assets we have to the benefit of the stakeholders, primarily the banks rather than the shareholders. We have to focus on reducing losses for the banks. Do I think there will be a lot left over for the shareholders? Realistically speaking, no.”

Asked how soon a rise in the share price was needed, he said: “Today. We are accruing interest on the debt, so that NKr0.60 just goes up, and it is a question of how long we will be able to do that.”

The EGM was told that a share issue is technically possible. But Mr Figenschou warned: “That means we would be inviting people, for all practical purposes, to buy Eitzen Chemical shares at NKr0.50-NKr0.60 a share. As I said to shareholders, why would anybody do that if they can buy the same shares on the stock exchange for NKr0.15?”

The other alternative is for the banks to convert debt to equity, which would leave them controlling more than 90% of Jason, which in turn would likely mean a delisting.

“If I were to go out and say, ‘we are going to raise a lot of money and make investments’ and so on, Nordea would think I had lost my mind. Look at the figures. I think it is stupid for chief executives to come in and make a lot of statements that everybody knows are totally unrealistic,” Mr Figenschou said.

Asked if the chances of survival were better than 50/50, Mr Figenschou said: “I am not in the betting business. I am not going to give you odds.”

Seven Sea Shipchandlers is now part of Eitzen Maritime Services, and Mr Bidhwa has wanted to buy it back for some time, Mr Figenschou said.

“Bondholders now own 95% of EMS, so I think you have to ask them. I would not be part of that process and I am not on the board.

“Mr Bidhwa has shown interest. As long as Jason held 60% [of EMS] there was no basis for realistic terms. If he can get some deal with the bondholders, good for him.”

 

 

***Concern mounts over crew on detained cargoship Dyckburg

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A previous crew was repatriated from Belfast in August, but only after having gone unpaid for several months.

Trade union Nautilus and the International Transport Workers’ Federation raised fears about outstanding wages and rights to be repatriated

UKRAINIAN crew members onboard the Antigua & Barbuda-registered general cargoship Dyckburg are the latest to feel the impact of shipowners running into trouble.

Seafarers’ trade union Nautilus and the International Transport Workers’ Federation raised concerns about the crew members on board the 5,010 dwt ship regarding outstanding wages and rights to be repatriated.

The vessel has been in Liverpool since early September, when it arrived under tow with engine trouble and was detained by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency with multiple deficiencies. A previous crew was repatriated from Belfast in August, but only after having gone unpaid for several months. They were finally paid the wages that were due plus compensation for breach of contract, repatriated and replaced by the present crew.

Union inspector Tommy Molloy found evidence that the present crew had been threatened by the crewing agent Marine Pro Service in Odessa.

In October following warnings from the ITF that the ship would be arrested for non-payment of wages, some money was forthcoming, but by early December wage arrears had built up again.

According to Nautilus this was causing problems for the crew and their families and the ITF again warned that it would take action to recover outstanding wages and other related costs.

One month’s outstanding wages were paid but an email to the ship from the Ukrainian crewing agent warned that the seafarers would be blacklisted and deducted tax if they persisted with their claims. The ITF has referred the matter to the Ukrainian ambassador in the UK.

Mr Molloy told Lloyd’s List that seven of the vessel’s 10 crew members were repatriated on Monday with assistance from the ITF. Three senior officers, master, chief officer and chief engineer chose to remain with the vessel, retaining faith that the employer will repatriate them as their contracts have ended. “We hope they are not disappointed,” said Mr Molloy.

The ITF is pursuing arrest of the vessel for non-payment of crew wages, repatriation costs and legal fees.

According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence the ship is operated by German company Werse Bereederungs, which went into liquidation in mid-November. It is reported to be owned by Hanship Bereederungs. Neither owner nor crewing agent responded to Lloyd’s List’s requests for comments.

 

 

***What’s taking so long with Maritime Labour Convention?

  • Wednesday 07 December 2011, 12:06

18 states, with two more pending, have signed the convention, but the tonnage requirement for ratification has already been met.

SINGAPORE is the first, and so far only, Asian nation to sign up to the Maritime Labour Convention (2006), which sets out the minimum standards on working conditions for seafarers worldwide.

Ratification of the MLC (2006) requires at least 30 members with a total share of world gross tonnage of ships of 33% to ratify the convention before it comes into force 12 months later. The requirement is higher than for International Labour Organization conventions because, in the words of the ILO, “the enforcement and compliance system established under the convention needs widespread international co-operation in order to be effective.”

So far, 18 states, with two more pending, have ratified, but these states have already met the tonnage requirement, comprising 54% of the world’s fleet in terms of gross tonnage. That’s because the four largest ship registers — the Marshall Islands, Panama, Liberia and the Bahamas — had ratified it by 2009. Arthur Bowring, head of the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association and chairman of the ISF Labour Affairs Committee, projects that ratification will come soon in 2012. Still, as he mentioned at a manning and crewing conference in the Manila last month, “I would have expected the Philippines to have ratified by now.”

What’s holding the Philippines, or, for that matter, flag states anywhere in the globe? The MLC can be regarded as “fourth pillar” to global maritime regulation, following Solas, Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping and Marpol. It consolidates 68 maritime labour instruments of the ILO into one concise body. While it is difficult to imagine any government publicly resisting ratification, reluctance to sign may signify the difficulty of ensuring a mechanism of compliance under national law.

Two of the early supporters of the convention, the United States and the United Kingdom, have not yet ratified. Both insist that regulations have to be in place on a national level to ensure compliance. Earlier this year, for example, the US representative to the ILO argued that it was necessary to ensure national compliance and examination of national laws, regulations and practice had to come first. As for the UK, many of the necessary regulations are already in place, and ratification has been expected throughout 2011, but no action has been taken.

Nevertheless, ratification in the Philippines looks to be on the way. Various groups in the Philippines have urged the government of President Benigno Aquino to speed up the ratification of the MLC. The Philippines Maritime Industry Tripartite Council, a body composed of labour, management and government partners of the Philippines maritime industry — including the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment — has endorsed ratification.

The International Transport Federation points out that the MLC aims at enforcing minimum standards, and that ratification is important at a time when serious issues such as piracy and seafarer criminalisation have depressed seafarer morale worldwide. The ITF seafarers section secretary Jon Whitlow said recently that the MLC promised to “raise the bar and hopefully eliminate some unacceptable practices, but it is not a panacea”, to the problems facing seafarers today. Mr Whitlow said that he hoped the minimum standard established under the MLC would be enforced.

 

 

FROM FAIRPLAY DAILY NEWS:

 

Seafarer dies in UK storm

 
A crewman on the product tanker Annie PG has been killed admist severe weather off the UK and two others have been hospitalised, operator Pritchard Gordon Tankers confirmed today.

The incident occurred when the 12,222dwt vessel was 48km off Falmouth. According to a statement from Pritchard Gordon: “Two crewmembers sustained injuries when struck by a wave whilst on deck, and a third was injured on attempting to assist.

“All three were taken to hospital by helicopter rescue. Despite receiving medical attention onboard the vessel and helicopter, one of the men did not survive. The other two injured crewmembers are now in hospital and are both reported to be in stable condition,” said the tanker operator.

Pritchard Gordon added that the Annie PG remains in “fully seaworthy condition” and is due to arrive in Falmouth tonight.

As previously reported by Fairplay, today’s severe weather has shut UK port operations in Felixstowe, Milford Haven and Dover.

 

 

 

FROM THE SINGAPORE BUSINESS TIMES:

 

It's never been a safer time to fly than now

(NEW YORK) Boarding an airplane has never been safer in the US, but there are still some corners of the world where flying is risky, including Russia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia.

The past 10 years have been the best in the country's aviation history with 153 fatalities.

That's two deaths for every 100 million passengers on commercial flights, according to an Associated Press analysis of government accident data.

The improvement is remarkable. Just a decade earlier, at the time the safest, passengers were 10 times as likely to die when flying on an American plane.

The risk of death was even greater during the start of the jet age, with 1,696 people dying - 133 out of every 100 million passengers - from 1962 to 1971. The figures exclude acts of terrorism.

Sitting in a pressurised, aluminium tube 11 kilometres above the ground may never seem like the most- natural thing. But consider this: You are more likely to die driving to the airport than flying across the US.

There are more than 30,000 motor-vehicle deaths each year, a mortality rate eight times greater than that in planes.

'I wouldn't say air crashes of passenger airliners are a thing of the past. They're simply a whole lot more rare than they used to be,' says Todd Curtis, a former safety engineer with Boeing and director of the Airsafe.com Foundation.

The improvements came even as the US airline industry went through a miserable financial period, losing US$54.5 billion in the past decade. Just to stay afloat, airlines eliminated meals and added fees for checked luggage.

But safety remained a priority. No advertisement of tropical beaches can supplant the image of charred metal scattered across a field.

Russia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia have particularly high rates of deadly crashes. Russia had several fatal crashes in the past year, including one that killed several prominent hockey players. Africa only accounts for 3 per cent of world air traffic but had 14 per cent of fatal crashes.

Still, 2011 was a good year to fly. It had the second-fewest number of fatalities worldwide, according to the Flight Safety Foundation, with 507 people dying in crashes.

Seven out of 28 planes in fatal crashes were on airlines already prohibited from flying into European Union countries because of known safety problems. (There were fewer fatalities in 2004 - 323 - but there were also fewer people flying then.) There are a number of reasons for the improvements.

The industry has learned from the past. New planes and engines are designed with prior mistakes in mind.

Investigations of accidents have led to changes in procedures to ensure the same missteps don't occur again.

Better sharing of information. New databases allow pilots, airlines, plane manufactures, and regulators to track incidents and near misses. Computers pick up subtle trends.

For instance, a particular runway might have a higher rate of aborted landings when there is fog. Regulators noticing this could improve lighting and add more time between landings.

Safety audits by outside firms. The International Air Transport Association, an industry trade group, started an audit programme in 2003.

Airlines prove to the industry and each other that they have proper maintenance and safety procedures. It's also a way for airlines to seek lower insurance premiums, which have also dropped over the past 10 years.

An experienced workforce. Air traffic controllers, pilots, and maintenance crews - particularly in North America and Europe - have been on the job for decades.

Their experience is crucial when split-second decisions are made and for instilling a culture of safety in younger employees.

Former US Airways captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger - who spent three decades as an airline pilot - was praised for his skill after safely ditching a plane in the Hudson River in 2009. Both engines died because of a bird strike but all 155 passengers and crew survived.

Luck. Safety experts discount the effect of chance. However, it takes just one big accident - especially now with mega-jets such as the Airbus A380, which is able to carry up to 853 passengers - to ruin an otherwise good period for safety.

In fact, all fatal crashes in the US in the past decade occurred on regional airlines, which are separate companies flying smaller planes under brands such as United Express, American Eagle, and Delta Connection.

The most recent deadly crash involving a larger airline was American Airlines Flight 587 in 2001. It crashed moments after taking off from New York, killing 265 people.

A poor economy might also have improved safety. Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, says that during a boom period, airlines tend to quickly grow. That, he says, can mean weaker standards for safety and for pilots.

'We tend to see people being pushed forward perhaps a little too early, before they're ready,' Mr Voss says. 'There's not as much time for captains to create new captains by tapping a guy on the shoulder and telling him when he's out of line.' - AP

 

FROM THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE (USA):

 

 

Teamsters Launch Pipeline Strike

The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
Union, construction industry group at odds over retirement plans

The Teamsters union is preparing to strike companies represented by the Pipe Line Contractors Association in a dispute over retirement plans.

The union Tuesday said more than 200 workers had walked off job sites to protest proposals that would replace traditional pensions with 401(k) retirement plans.

The Teamster contract with the PCLA, which represents more than 70 companies that build and maintain gas and oil pipelines, expired Dec. 31, 2011.

The strike, which the union said was under way in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, could involve more than 700 workers nationwide, the Teamsters union said.

 

LA, Long Beach Ports End Dirty Truck Fees

The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
Ports become first in nation to have fleet comprised totally of 2007 or newer trucks

The Los Angeles-Long Beach’s penalty for the operation of older trucks expired Sunday, as the ports became the first in the nation to have a fleet comprised totally of 2007 or newer trucks.

Emissions studies show the trucking fleet serving the ports registered a 92 percent reduction in sulfur oxides, 89 percent reduction in diesel particulate matter and a 77 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides compared to 2005, according to the Port of Los Angeles.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach introduced the fee of $35 per 20-foot equivalent unit three years ago as part of their clean-truck programs. Under the initiative, the use of drayage trucks that do not meet the federal Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards for 2007 model-year trucks were phased out.

All 11,000 drayage trucks operating in Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor are now 2007 or newer clean-diesel trucks, or trucks that operate with clean alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas, the ports said.

The clean-truck fee was charged directly to importers and exporters who contracted with motor carriers that operated non-compliant trucks.

Many importers and exporters over the past three years negotiated contracts with motor carriers that include a surcharge designed to compensate the truckers for their investments in new trucks. New, compliant trucks cost about $100,000 each.

The Harbor Trucking Association, which represents motor carriers serving the two ports, reminded cargo interests Tuesday that the surcharges contained in their contracts with trucking companies will remain in effect. The group noted that its members collectively invested about $750 million of private capital over the past three years in the purchase of new trucks.

“While we are pleased to see the ports’ tariff-based fee on dirty trucks eliminated, this does not absolve our financial investment in our clean equipment and our need to use a surcharge to help pay off the equipment,” said HTA President Fred Johring.

 

 

FROM IFW:

 

US reduces truckers' working week by 12 hours

Government expects new 70-hour maximum to save lives

The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revised the hours-of-service for commercial truck drivers, reducing the maximum number of hours of weekly driving time by 12 hours.

 Previously, truck drivers could work up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new rule limits a driver’s working week to 70 hours.

The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit, but truck drivers cannot drive for more than  eight hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes.

The FMCSA also requires truck drivers who maximise their weekly work hours to take at least two nights of rest between 1am and 5am.

This rest requirement is part of the “34-hour restart” provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

 US hauliers that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three or more hours could be fined US$11,000 per offence, and drivers face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each violation.

 The new rule, based on the latest research in driver fatigue, was established to make sure truck drivers get enough rest to operate safely on the road. 

 US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said: “Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked. This will help prevent fatigue-related truck crashes and save lives.”