The Maritime Advocate online–Issue 524

Oil spill in polar waters


1. Brazilian Federal Court of Appeal rules on Spill by the Tanker Bahamas
2. Maritime Regulation
3. Shipping not Properly Prepared for Uncomfortable Bank Meetings
4. International Oil Spill News
5. Easter Story
6. People and Places

Broadly Boats News

Firetrench Directory

Update on FOB Network

The number of people joining FOB has risen to 2751.

You can see who is joining FOB by country and by occupation by using the search windows on the People page, the most popular page on the site, which does bear a passing resemblance to another well known and much more generalist networking site. We are pleased to report the support two new Sponsors, The Leviathan Facility at Lloyd’s and the firm of Fichte &Co in Dubai.

FOB offers a unmuddled approach to networking in the maritime, transport and risk areas, with small general subject groups. We moderate the site, but there have been very few cases where we have had to ask a member to give order. The FOB news page, together with the Maritime Advocate and its sister publication Bow Wave helps our members’ news to go viral. FOB is the network with maritime manners.

You can comment on the news, join a group, initiate discussions and post items designed to inform, educate or amuse your peers in the industry. New Groups have been set up for Aviation and Art.


Registration is gratis for individuals. Businesses can take out a page for a small supporting contribution and we welcome firms prepared to sponsor Group pages or advertise with us. This helps to keep FOB a going concern and puts a smile on the face of our programmers and accountants..

FOB is a project designed to adapt the new ways of using the internet for the sorts of people who read The Maritime Advocate.

You are welcome to join


1. Brazilian Federal Court of Appeal rules on Spill by the Tanker Bahamas

We are indebted to the newsletter of the Law Office Karl Kincaid in Rio de Janeiro for this case note:-

The vessel Bahamas was hired in 1998 to carry sulfuric acid to three companies established in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. On August 30, when the discharge of the dangerous product had already started and after the discharge to the first recipient had been completed, it was noticed that the ship was no longer operational. Port authorities got aboard the vessel and found out there was a serious leak of acid to Patos Lagoon, where the terminal is located.

In relation to the suit for civil liability against the parties potentially responsible for the accident, the first instance federal court decided among other aspects that:

a) The company recipient of the first part of the cargo was not deemed liable, due to the fact that the carriage contract had been successfully fulfilled and its cargo had been duly delivered, and therefore there was no chain of causation with the accident;

b) The shipowners were found liable, with the application of the theory of full risk, and the chain of causation between its activities and the damage occurred was also evidenced;

c) The second recipient of the cargo was equally found liable and the court understood that the full risk theory would apply to such company, and that there was a chain of causation between its business activity involving the product, as a production input, and the damages caused to the environment.

In the decision, the court ordered the companies to jointly pay immediately the sum of R$ 20,000,000.00 (twenty million reais), for such amount would not harm or impair the activities of the liable companies, but it would be sufficient to prevent the occurrence of new damages.

One of the companies receiving the cargo, dissatisfied with the judgment against it, filed an interlocutory appeal at the 4th Region Federal Court (TRF4), requesting suspension of the judgment until the decision becomes final, alleging it had no financial capacity to shoulder the payment.? (Interlocutory Appeal No. 0001947-23.2012.404.0000/RS)

In his decision, the rapporteur appellate judge understood that the appellant company did not bring any element capable of proving the allegation of lack of financial capacity to pay the indemnity. He also pointed out that the company’s financial results in 2009 were well above the amount of the award, reason why the appealed decision was maintained with the stipulation of immediate payment of the award, once the risk of irreparable damage for the company was absent.

Furthermore, it was pointed out that the companies were found jointly liable, so the payment of the award will have to be split among the three defendants.


2. Maritime Regulation

Anne Kappel has sent in this release on the latest views from the World Shipping Council, which are invariably sound:-

Washington, D.C. – USA – At the request of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, on 26th April, 2012, Chris Koch, President and CEO of The World Shipping Council (WSC) testified regarding some current environmental and safety regulatory initiatives in which the industry is engaged and over which the Committee has oversight responsibility.

During his discussion of ballast water treatment regulations, Mr. Koch noted the constructive coordination between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency in developing a uniform regulatory approach by the federal government, but expressed the industry’s frustration in having to “deal with this issue through the illogical and incoherent legal regime that currently addresses this issue – namely, two different federal agencies operating under two different federal statues, whose final conclusions, even if and when fully coordinated, can be second guessed by 50 States being given authority to add their own different standards to the federal Vessel General Permit (VGP) … This remains at best, wholly illogical and, at worst, a recipe for unnecessary and unproductive conflict.” He offered the industry’s appreciation for the passage of H.R. 2838, which addresses this problem and expressed the industry’s hope that the Senate will support the Committee’s efforts and approve Title VII of that bill this year.

Regarding vessel air emissions, Mr. Koch reviewed efforts to reduce NOx, SOx and particulate matter emissions from shipping through the North American Emission Control Area that will become effective on August 1st, and the International Maritime Organizations efforts to develop international measures that will reduce carbon emissions from ships. He went on to point out that the industry currently has a compelling incentive to reduce fuel consumption, and therefore carbon emissions, because “fuel is already by far the largest cost of liner operations.” The World Shipping Council estimates that at current prices, the liner shipping industry alone is probably spending roughly $50 billion a year on fuel for vessels serving the U.S. international trade.

Mr. Koch also discussed the issue of misdeclared container weights, which has been a safety concern of many maritime industry stakeholders for years, with shipping lines reporting that “in severe cases, the overweight or incorrectly declared weights reach 10% of the total cargo on board a vessel.” He explained that the WSC and other industry organizations have recommended that the IMO amend the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to establish a universal international regulatory requirement that all loaded export cargo containers be weighed before vessel loading, and that the actual container weights be made available to the vessel operator and used for vessel stowage planning. He said that the industry was “hopeful that [its] recommendation will be seriously considered at the IMO and that the U.S. Coast Guard will be a strong supporter of this initiative.“

The complete testimony of Chris Koch is available at:


3. Shipping not Properly Prepared for Uncomfortable Bank Meetings

Chris Hewer writes:-

International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens has warned that some shipping companies are not adequately prepared to conduct successful negotiations with their banks which are likely to occur with increasing frequency.

Paul Edwards, a Moore Stephens corporate finance director, says, “Shipping is experiencing tough times. An increasing number of companies are unable to repay or, in some cases, even service their debts. That could mean an uncomfortable meeting with the bank. But too many companies are not properly prepared for such an encounter.

“Businesses must be able to produce properly documented and timely financial information for their stakeholders, which should include a view of the future. In good times, when charter rates exceeded operating expenses, little attention needed to be paid to future cash flows and debt service. But today, it is essential to be able to anticipate, to the extent that it is possible, future cash flows and pinch points.

“It is essential to provide banks with detailed information in the event that it becomes clear that a company may default on the terms of a loan. It is better still if this can be done before any covenants are breached or payments missed. In these difficult times, the key is for businesses to help banks to help them, by anticipating defaults or breaches and presenting a solution, rather than waiting for the default. This cannot be achieved without a proper financial model.

“Clearly, a model is not a panacea for difficult trading conditions, but working with a bank to present its credit committee with a potential solution, rather than with a problem, is more likely to engender a positive attitude to any restructuring.”

Financial modelling is a key component of any renegotiation of facilities. A viable model, typically including integrated balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statement, can help to support a restructuring proposal, by demonstrating the impact of changes on future cash flow. Paul Edwards says, “Financial modelling doesn’t change the economic fundamentals of a business. But it is a tool with which to identify ways to manage the impact of a volatile market. A good quality financial model is also an invaluable, ongoing management tool. It can be used to make longer-term strategic decisions and to determine the nature and structure of future investments and the potential returns on investment.”


4. International Oil Spill News

John McMurtrie who is the editor of the weekly newsletter of the International Spill Response Community, has sent in the 30th April Edition of this admirably deep reflection of what is a very edgy industry. It is a mixture of news and deeper articles on specialist subjects and deserves the widest readership. The table of contents reflects the wide-ranging reach of the publication which is nine pages long and in pdf format:-

Smart ROV tools safeguard environment
Costa Concordia salvage contract awarded
Safemed Workshop generates awareness of the LRIT system
IPIECA: Oil & Gas industry and Rio+20
Russia: 2,200 ton spill in the Arctic
Nigeria: Total has another gas leak
USA: Gulf of Mexico news
Nigeria: Bodo oil spill size disputed
China: $269 M oil spill fine
Australia: Floating chemical stockpile
Kazakhstan: North Caspian response base
UK: Lord Browne – Fracking would only impact “tiny bits” of countryside
John Noble appointed as MD of Donjon UK
Cormack’s Column
Dr Merv Fingas – Penultimate article on remote sensing
Patent granted for new sub-sea containment system
Company News


5. Easter Story

Donald R. Yearwood has sent in this story:-

The Saturday before Easter, around midnight, an 18-year old decided to take his day small catamaran out on the Severn River. The boat capsized “in a gust of wind”. The following day, Easter Sunday, it was reported that a passing ship noticed the capsized boat in the Chesapeake Bay, enabling the rescue of the young man whose body temperature was reported in the 80’s. On thursday, 26th April, the following article appeared in the The Capital, the Annapolis newspaper. The author Capt. Randall W. Bourgeois is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, a senior Bay pilot and a bogie golfer on a good day:-

Headline: Bay rescue on Easter may have been a case of divine intervention

In the iconic words of radio legend Paul Harvey, I would like to present “the rest of the story” as to the rescue of a sailor from a capsized catamaran on Easter morning off of Annapolis.

For the record, I was the bay pilot who notified the U.S. Coast Guard and contrary to reports, I never saw or heard anything from the distressed vessel.

Since the event, I’ve been thinking about how very lucky Thomas Lundvall is. On Easter morning, I was piloting a 750-foot Greek bulk carrier up the bay with orders to berth on arrival (0730) in Baltimore, the normal routine. At 0430 we received information that the berthing procedure was unexpectedly delayed for an unknown period of time. To wait out the delay, we decided to anchor at Annapolis, 3 miles north of Thomas Point Light, which we did before sunrise at 5:30 a.m.

At 8 a.m., we began getting under way from the anchorage. The vessel was heading in a southwesterly direction. Checking for traffic (standard operating procedure), all I saw were two other vessels anchored to the south, a southbound sailboat at Thomas Point Light, another southbound yacht approaching the Bay Bridge (3 miles away), a fishing boat to the east trolling, and a benign unidentified target 1-plus miles to the west on my starboard side in shallow water.

Once under way, we began slowly making a significant course change to starboard, subsequently putting the unidentified target visibly into my consciousness. Being more than a mile away, it was not clearly discernible, even when looking through the binoculars. There was no definable shape and no apparent movement. It appeared to be only white floating debris with a splotch of red. Neither the vessel’s captain nor I had any clear idea of what it was but after more than 40 years piloting on the bay, my “gut” felt very uneasy about what we were looking at.

Not sure, I was hesitant to call the USCG on an Easter morning for what might be nothing more than a scenic ride on the bay. I almost didn’t. But in the end, better safe than sorry prevailed and I made the call. They responded quickly, assisted by other local safety assets. Within 30 to 40 minutes Lundvall was being plucked from the frigid bay water. Kudos to all who helped for a “job well done.” Thank you.

I’ve been re-playing the events over and over, sometimes thinking what would have happened if I had not made the call. I was very close to not doing so. Considering the sequence of events — the unexpected delay, anchoring where we did, laying in a direction that necessitated turning toward the target rather than away, sensing that something was wrong, being able to pinpoint the location, and then making the call — has made me ponder the coincidence of the timing, or Easter and its message of Resurrection.

Even though I admit to be “theologically confused,” I have reached that stage of life where I seem to reflect more on the meaning of life and the hereafter. The symmetry of rescue and resurrection on a beautiful Easter Sunday morning surely is thought provoking. In the end, was Lundvall just lucky because of the cosmic convergence of random events or was there some higher or “divine” intervention working on his behalf? I guess we’ll never really know.

The writer is a member of the Association of Maryland Pilots.


6. People and Places

Costa Crociere and the Costa Concordia Emergency Commissioner’s Office have announced that the tender for the removal of the ship from Giglio Island has been awarded to Titan Salvage in partnership with the Italian firm Micoperi. The work will begin in early May subject to final approval from the Italian authorities. The editors of the Maritime Advocate send warm congratulations to our esteemed sponsors.

More here:-


Malaysia’s Northport has appointed a new chief executive officer, Abi Sofian Abdul Hamid, 50.


G4S Risk Management, a provider of risk mitigation and secure support services, has appointed Martin Ewence OBE, as its new Head of Maritime Security, Risk Consulting. He is a former Commander in the Royal Navy, in which he served for 30 years. His last naval appointment was as Chief of Staff to the NATO Counter Piracy Squadron in the Somali Basin.


John Noble has been named as the Managing Director of Donjon UK

More here:-


School Exam Answers

What is a vibration?
A: There are good vibrations and bad vibrations. Good vibrations were discovered in the 1960s.

Q: What is the chemical formula for water?
A: h,i,j,k,l,m,n,o (h to o). [This was marked wrong.]

Q: To change centimeters to meters you _____?
A: take out centi.

Q: Where was the American Declaration of Independence signed?
A: At the bottom.

Q: Tapeworms are hermaphrodites. What is meant by the term “hermaphrodite”?
A: Lady Gaga.

Q: What do we call the science of classifying living things?
A: Racism.

Q: A star in the sky suddenly brightens to many times its original brightness and then fades gradually over the next several years. Hypothesize what happened in terms of a star’s life cycle.
A: It just had a hot flash and is probably going through menopause.

Q: Give a reason why people would want to live near power lines.
A: You get your electricity faster.

[Source: JumboJoke.Com]


Home Truths

Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

Totally take back all those times you didn’t want to nap when you were younger.

There is great need for a sarcasm font.

How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

It’s sometimes difficult deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

The first testicular guard, the “Cup,” was used in Hockey in 1874. The first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

[Source: Frazer Hunt]

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