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Egypt’s Ministry of Interior confirms that it has foiled a plot to smuggle a large shipment of cannabis weighing 6 tons into the country through the Mediterranean Sea on board a ship.

The Ministry said in an official statement that the efforts of its security services are continuing to abort the schemes of dangerous elements seeking to import and smuggle narcotics into Egypt.

It pointed out that early investigations of the General Directorate for Drug Control confirmed the intention of a gang to smuggle a large amount of cannabis stored in Syria to Egypt.

The crew of the ship managed to set sail from the Syrian port of Lattakia for landing off the coast of Egypt, but Egypt’s maritime security prevented them from doing so.

The ministry added that in light of the information available about the movement of the smugglers, they moved to the south of Crete to avoid arrest by the Egyptian authorities.

The ministry said that the concerned bodies coordinated with Greek authorities and provided them with information on the movements of the ship to be seized.

The coordination resulted in the Greek authorities seizing the ship and the cargo and arresting its crew of six persons with Syrian nationality.

The search of the ship resulted in the seizure of a total of 6 tons of cannabis hidden inside secret stores. Source: Egypt Independent, 9 December, 2017

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man+found+dead+on+shipThe body of a man, presumed to be a stowaway from Africa, has been found in the cargo hold of a ship carrying bags of cocoa beans to the U.S.

The UK-flagged Sian C was being unloaded at Pier 84 on the Delaware River, Philadelphia, when the body was found on Monday. The vessel had docked last Thursday after a 5,000 mile voyage from the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire).

Authorities were called to recover the decomposing body, and customs officials are trying to identify the man. He was found with a backpack containing some provisions and a pair of boots.

The man may have died as a result of suffocation or been crushed by the bags of cocoa beans, reports local media.

The IMO conducted a regional seminar on stowaways in the Ivory Coast in March which was hosted by the Ministry of Transport of Côte d’Ivoire. Participants agreed that port facilities need to further strengthen their capacities for surveillance and access control in order to reduce the incidence of stowaways.

The 12 most frequent ports of embarkation for stowaways are the major ports of Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The International Group of P&I Clubs (Protection and Indemnity insurance) puts the annual cost of all stowaway cases worldwide at approximately $15.3 million (measured from February 2011 to February 2012). Source: www.maritime-executive.com

Image - Wikimedia.org

Image – Wikimedia.org

Colombian authorities detained a vessel operated by China’s largest shipping group for illegally transporting thousands of cannon shells, around 100 tons of gunpowder and other materials used to make explosives, the attorney general’s office said.

The Da Dan Xia, operated by Cosco Shipping Co, was headed for Cuba when it was stopped on Saturday in the northern port of Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast, after the materials were detected during an inspection. The cargo was listed in the records of the 28,451dwt ship as grain products. The captain of the Hong Kong-flagged vessel had been arrested, the attorney general’s office said. China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the ship was carrying ordinary military supplies to Cuba and was not in violation of any international obligations.

“It is completely normal military trade cooperation. At present, China is communicating with the parties on this matter,” Hua said.

A Cosco Shipping official in the firm’s Guangzhou head office said the ship was operated by the company but added she was unaware of the incident. Cargo documentation the captain presented did not match the load the ship was found to be carrying, Luis Gonzalez, national director of the Colombian attorney general’s office, told reporters.

“Around 100 tons of powder, 2.6 million detonators, 99 projectiles and around 3,000 cannon shells were found,” Gonzalez added.

Photographs from the prosecutor’s office showed wooden cases inside a shipping container with labels stating Chinese defense manufacturer China North Industries Group Corporation as the supplier. The company, known as Norinco, is China’s biggest arms maker. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The recipient was stated as importer Tecnoimport in the Cuban capital Havana. The Cuban company could not immediately be reached for comment. A man who identified himself as the Da Dan Xia’s first officer confirmed the ship had been detained in Colombia when Reuters called the vessel’s phone number on Wednesday. Source: Maritime Executive/Reuters

WindwardShipping activity across the world’s oceans is the lifeblood of the global economy, transporting billions of tons of goods annually and facilitating global commodity flows of oil, coal, grains and metals. Vessel activity is also of critical importance to Intelligence and Security agencies worldwide, as criminal and terrorist activity has become increasingly global and borderless.

And yet, the oceans remain one of the last ‘wild west’ frontiers, with limited visibility on what ships are actually doing once they leave port. AIS data, the most widely used data on ship activity worldwide, underlies decisions from Finance to Intelligence, but the data is unreliable and increasingly manipulated by the very ships it seeks to track.

And this trend is growing, fast, with little-understood and far-reaching implications worldwide.

AIS data, used routinely by decision makers across industries, is widely perceived as a reliable source of information on ship activity worldwide. Massive financial investments and critical operational decisions are based on this data.

New research from Windward reveals that AIS data has critical vulnerabilities when used to track ships, an ‘off label’ use of the system. The data is increasingly manipulated by ships that seek to conceal their identity, location or destination for economic gain or to sail under the security radar.

Manipulation practices are varied, according to Windward’s research, and range from Identity Fraud, to Obscuring Destinations, ‘Going Dark,’ Manipulating GPS, and ‘Spoofing’ AIS. Ships that manipulate AIS undermine not only their own data, but the entire maritime global picture — once some of the data is corrupt, all data is suspect.

If this kind of manipulation is occurring on ships, consider the impact of ‘cargoes/substances’ on board ‘ghost ships’. You can find the Windward Research paper “Analysis of the Magnitude and Implications of Growing Data Manipulation at Sea” as well as a poignant infographic on their website, by clicking the hyperlinks. Source: Windward.eu

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More than 20 crew members were rescued by helicopter from a cargo ship carrying coal that ran aground in rough seas off of South Africa’s Richards Bay port, maritime authorities said on Monday.

Tugboats were trying to pull the 230 metre-long ship named SMART off a sandbank, National Sea Rescue said in a statement, adding that “the structural integrity of the ship was compromised”.

The single-hull, 151,279 tonne ship is registered to Alpha Marine Corp and flies a Panamanian flag. It was supposed to deliver its cargo to the Fangcheng port in China, according to Thomson Reuters data.

No injuries have been reported. The Richards Bay port is on the Indian Ocean.

This is the second cargo ship to run aground off South Africa this month. The other was the 165 metre-long Kiani Satu, which hit ground off the southern coast. Source: Reuters

5_triple-eThe world’s largest cargo ship is leaving its shipyard this week to prepare for its July 15 maiden voyage, but much of its cargo space will be under-utilized as many ports don’t have the ability unload the 20-story-high container stacks the vessel can lug between Asia and Europe.

The ship, a $185-million, 1,300-foot long behemoth with a capacity of 18,000 containers, is a gamble for the vessel’s owner, Danish group A.P. Møller-Maersk A/S. Freight, which has been so battered by the recent global economic downturn that at one point it had hundreds of cargo ships sitting idle in Singapore. The ship is so big, it’s essentially leap-frogged over many ports’ ability to off-load it when it’s at full capacity.

“We will operate it as a smaller ship for the first few months while ports upgrade their cranes,” Lars Jensen, head of Maersk Line’s Asia-Europe operations, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The problem is that ports lack gantries — those giant square-shaped cranes that slide over loaded cargo ships and pick up or drop off loaded containers — that can accommodate a fully loaded Triple E. So before Maersk can utilize the ship’s full capacity at major ports, many of those ports have to invest in upgrading, a process that could take years.

Dow Jones says 16 ports on the ship’s route are certified to handle it, but “several” lack the adequate crane ability to handle it when it’s fully loaded. So for now, the ship will have to haul less, which eats into the company’s potential profit. It will embark on its first journey on July 15 from Busan, South Korea, to Europe, after a stop at Singapore. Source: Seanews.com and International Business Times

 

Prized location is not always practical. An Italian-flagged cargo ship crashed into a control tower at the Italian port of Genoa late Tuesday night, causing it to collapse. The 30,217 DWT Jolly Nero, a containership/ro-ro owned by Genoa-based Ignazio Messina & Co., slammed into the control tower at about 11 p.m. local time. Part of the 50-metre tower is said to have fallen into the water when it was hit by the Jolly Nero as the vessel was leaving the port for Sicily.

BBC reports that 3 people have been killed and others are injured. The report says that 10 people were in the tower at the time of the accident. According to Reuters, harbour officials confirmed on local television that 3 people were killed and 6 others injured. As many as 10 more may be missing, the report said. Two of the dead are believed to be harbour officials and the third was a pilot, local Primocanale quoted officials as saying. The Jolly Nero was under the control of two pilots and was leaving the port when the accident occurred. All that was left of the control tower was the exterior staircase, tilted on its side. The tower itself, which was located on the very edge of  the quay, was either in the water or in a heap of wreckage on the dock. The pictures below bear testimony of the tragedy. Source: gCaptain.com. Picture credits: Reuters and various.