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Monday, December 22 2014 @ 09:10 PM EST



Panama Flagged Vessels - The Republic of Panama is the largest ship registry in the world, with more than 5,700 ships flying the Panamanian flag. A ship is said to be flying a flag of convenience if it is registered in a foreign country "for purposes of reducing operating costs or avoiding government regulations". The term has been used since the 1950s and refers to the flag a ship flies to indicate its country of registration. The country of registration determines the laws under which the ship is required to operate and that are to be applied in relevant admiralty cases. Today, more than half of the world’s merchant ships (measured by tonnage) are registered under so-called flags of convenience, more commonly referred to as "open registries". These Panamanian flagged ships often make the news in one way or the other when they get into some kind of a problem. Very often bad things happen to them - they sink, run aground, get hijacked by pirates, sequestered in port, or whatever. This entire setup is all great business for the tiny Republic of Panama which makes millions of dollars every year from the fees it charges ship owners.

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Corrupt Panamanian Officials Issue Bogus Licences To Mariners In Turkey

Panama Flagged VesselsA request for an audit from the Department of Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for fees charged by the Panamanian consulates located in Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey found endorsement certificates for mariner's licences that were blank (had not been filled in with the personal information of the individual), but they had been stamped and signed, said a government source. (more)

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Israel Captures Panamanian Flagged Vessel Carrying Iranian Weapons - Bound For Islamic Jihad and Hamas

Panama Flagged VesselsBy YAAKOV LAPPIN - Klos-C anchors at port in Red Sea city following IDF seizure on Wednesday; army begins inspection of onboard weapons cache.

Zarif mocks 'coincidence' that arms ship seizure coincided with 'AIPAC anti-Iran campaign'

Final inventory of Iran arms ship: 40 rockets, 180 mortars, 400,000 bullets

IAF strikes terror cell attempting to fire rockets from the Gaza Strip

Israel Navy ships brought a commercial vessel found carrying powerful Iranian rockets to Eilat Port on Saturday evening.

The IDF is to carry out a close inspection of the ship and study the weapons on board, which were destined for the Gaza Strip.

Three days after the navy raided the Klos-C in the Red Sea, some 150 km. from Port Sudan and 1,500 km. from Israel, the ship docked in Eilat. Two missile ships – the INS Hetz and INS Hanit – and naval commandos from the elite Flotilla 13 unit accompanied it.

The Klos-C had sailed under a Panamanian flag, but it pulled into the southern port with Israeli and Israel Navy flags flying from its masts instead.

The IDF will carefully unload crates containing dozens of Syrian-produced M-302 rockets and search the vessel for additional weapons.

On Friday evening, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon spoke with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and provided him with an update on the interception of the Iranian arms shipment.

The operation was “very successful, and the result of a long and combined intelligence effort, as well as the great skill of the IDF,” Ya’alon told his US counterpart. The interception provided additional proof of Iran’s program to fund and arm terrorist elements, he added.

Ya’alon and Hagel agreed to meet in Israel soon.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz met Saturday with the navy commandos who took part in the interdiction of the ship.

"All of the rockets that were found on the ship represents a security challenge for Israel and for its citizens, but for every bullet and rocket we have a return address," Gantz told the soldiers.

En route to Israel, the ship’s Turkish captain and 16 crew members of various nationalities told navy personnel their vessel had entered the Iranian port of Bander Abbas and loaded crates without knowing that rockets were inside.

They said they had then moved on to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, where cement sacks were loaded onto the vessel.

The cement sacks were used in an Iranian attempt to hide the crates containing the rockets, Israel said last week.

“The captain felt cheated; he didn’t know he was part of a conspiracy, part of an Iranian operation,” one security source said.

When the ship was intercepted, it was heading for Port Sudan, where the Islamic Republic’s Quds Force planned to take possession of the rockets and move them on land to Egypt and then into the Gaza Strip through smuggling tunnels, the IDF suspects.

According to Military Intelligence, Iran initially flew the rockets from Syria to an Iranian airfield months ago, before trucking them to Bander Abbas, where they were loaded onto Klos-C.

Islamic Jihad was an intended recipient of the rockets, and some may have been destined for Hamas.

The M-302 rockets have a range of between 90 and 190 kilometers, depending on the model type, and their arrival in Gaza would have boosted the ability of terrorist groups to attack southern and central Israel.

Last week, a security source said he could not rule out that the Iranians would “hold in-depth investigations [into the shipment’s discovery]. It’s not the first time this has been done to them,” he said.

“This will stop their activities for several months,” he added.

“Until you find the source of the leak, you have no confidence that the next shipment won’t share the same fate.”

But eventually, Iran would try to send weapons.

Editor's Comment: So, what will Panama's reaction be to this? Remember Panama recently seized a North Korean vessel that was passing through the Panama Canal, with Cuban weapons hidden under sacks of sugar. I know, this was a Panamanian "flag of convenience" which normally means less scrutiny - Panama gets paid off and in return they look the other way on a bunch of oversight, regulatory, documentation, and safety issues. It's "convenient" (cheaper) for ship owners to register their vessels under the Panamanian flag, and this sort of thing, where those vessels get themselves in some sort of trouble, happens all the time. What is the nationality of the captain and crew? Will they he held and charged with weapons smuggling - like Panama is doing to the North Korean captain and top ranking crew members? Is the ship's captain a Panamanian?

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Murder Ship exploiting loopholes to frustrate investigation

Panama Flagged VesselsTHE Japanese owners of the Sage Sagittarius - dubbed the "murder ship" - are exploiting a legal loophole to cut operating costs and avoid its national laws.

This "flags of convenience" system is now being blamed for complicating an Australian investigation into two deaths at sea which has blown out to almost 18 months.

Two Filipino ship workers were killed in Australian waters within weeks of one another while on the Sagittarius between late-August and early-September in 2012.

A Japanese safety superintendent was killed weeks later after falling into the ship's conveyor as the Sagittarius docked in Japan.

The Sagittarius is registered in the Central American nation of Panama. By having a flag nation of Panama, ship owners may escape regulations enforced by more developed countries.

Ships like the Sagittarius constantly visit ports near Mackay, Gladstone and Bundaberg in Queensland and Newcastle in New South Wales.

Under international law, the flag nation must investigate incidents involving its flagged ships.

It took until January 5 - three months after the third death aboard the ship - before a single Panamanian investigator inspected the Sagittarius.

By then, the man captaining the ship while two men were killed in Australia waters was long gone. He quit his post immediately after the second incident, while the Sagittarius was docked in Newcastle.

Up to 70% of cargo ships fly a flag of convenience, despite condemnation from the International Transport Workers Federation.

ITF Australia coordinator Dean Summers said the flags of convenience system was "absolutely" delaying Australian investigations.

"It provides for corruption, it is a complete de-regulation of the ship and everything to do with it," Mr Summers said.

"An incident on an Australian-flagged ship would be investigated by the Australian Marine Safety Authority and Australian Transport Safety Bureau using highly-trained seafarers who respond immediately."

Both the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales police have now given a brief of evidence to the NSW Coroner.

Naoya Miyasaka, a spokesman for Sage Sagittarius owners Hachiuma Steamship, denied the company used Panama to avoid regulations.

"The flag of registry has nothing to do with the high standards that are required of us and achieved on all our vessels," he said.

An AFP spokeswoman said it was a complex case involving state, national and international jurisdictions. The AFP would not comment on its work with its counterparts in Panama.

Comment has been sought from Panama's embassy in Singapore. (www.ballinaadvocate.com.au)

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USCG: Container Ship "Rich Forest" Remains Afloat, West of Guam, Salvage Effort Underway

Panama Flagged VesselsGuam - U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam continues response for a container ship taking on water 420 nautical miles west of Guam.

During the morning of January 20, 2014, Coast Guard Sector Guam received a report from the owner of the vessel RICH FOREST that it was taking on water approximately 420 nautical miles west of Guam.

The RICH FOREST is a 500-foot, Panama flagged, container ship with 24 Chinese nationals aboard. The vessel was loaded with timber en route China from Solomon Islands. The vessel reportedly was taking on water in the engine room and pumps were not able to keep up with the rate of flooding. The RICH FOREST experienced 13 foot seas and 20 to 30 knot winds.

Sector Guam contacted Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) vessels, diverted Coast Guard Cutters (CGC), and requested a Department of Defense aircraft to assist the distressed vessel. Four AMVER vessels (C. S. SUNSHINE, ANDROMEDA VOYAGER, CORONA JOYFUL, and ANTONIS I) agreed to divert with arrival times ranging from one to 14 hours.

CGC ASSATEAGUE launched from Guam with a 27 hour transit time and CGC SEQUOIA diverted from Saipan with 40 hours until arrival. A fixed wing aircraft from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan was identified to support the search and rescue mission.

During the afternoon of January 20, C.S. SUNSHINE (685-foot, Panama flagged, bulk carrier) arrived on-scene with the RICH FOREST. Shortly after the C.S. SUNSHINE’s arrival, the master of the RICH FOREST made the decision to abandon ship into the vessel’s two 24-man life rafts. C.S. SUNSHINE was able to safely keep station and embark all 24 crewmembers from the RICH FOREST life rafts. Onscene conditions were reported to be 13 foot seas with 20 to 30 knot winds, during the rescue. C.S. SUNSHINE planned to keep the rescued crew aboard until the ASSATEAGUE arrived in the area. Safety Broadcasts were made advising mariners of the adrift vessel.

On the afternoon of January 21, ASSATEAGUE joined the C.S. SUNSHINE and RICH FOREST. ASSATEAGUE was able to provide Sector Guam with an on-scene assessment of the current situation. ASSATEAGUE reported that the RICH FOREST remained afloat, despite the appearance of the stern riding lower than normal. Weather conditions subsided to five foot seas with an occasional eight to 10 foot and 15 knot winds.

Sector Guam discussed potential courses of action with the vessel owner, both the Masters of the C.S. SUNSHINE and RICH FOREST, and responding CGCs. The vessel owner is working to establish plans for the vessel’s salvage.

ASSATEAGUE will remain on-scene with the C.S. SUNSHINE until the SEQUOIA’s projected arrival on tomorrow morning. If weather conditions are conconducive for the safe transfer of personnel, the 24 survivors will be transported to the SEQUOIA.

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Cruise ship Bimini Superfast flunks safety tests

Panama Flagged VesselsMIAMI, July 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard said the 32,000-ton cruise ship, Bimini Superfast, had flunked safety tests and would remain in its Port Miami berth.

During safety tests, the crew could not hit the 30-minute limit for getting passengers off the ship in the event of an emergency.

Emergency power sources failed and the lifts that lower lifeboats into the water failed to work properly, said Janet Espino Young, the Coast Guard's chief of inspections.

The high-speed cruise ship is already four days behind schedule, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

The ship was expected to set sail last Friday to the Resorts World Bimini casino, the newspaper said.

The crew was able to demonstrate Saturday it could evacuate passengers in the required time, but other issues are keeping the ship in its berth for now, the Coast Guard said.

The ship was built in 2001 and has been in used around the Greek isles.

It was then certified as safe by authorities in Panama, which the company presumed was good enough to satisfy U.S. safety regulators, the Herald said.

That turned out not to be the case. The ship has been in U.S. waters for two weeks. But U.S. regulations are much more stringent than Panama's, Espino-Young said.

"Even if it is a 2- to 3-hour trip to Bimini, we need to make sure passengers are not put in high-stress, threatening situations," she said.

The company Friday went ahead with a christening event that included 600 guests.

"We will provide information about the SuperFast's inaugural sailing as soon as it becomes available," President Dana Leibovitz of Resorts World Miami said in a statement.

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Safety report critical of MV Tycoon crew

Panama Flagged VesselsA CATALOGUE of errors by a ship's captain and port master led to the crew of a cargo ship being forced to abandon the vessel as it was battered on rocks at Christmas Island, safety inspectors have concluded.

In January 2012, mooring lines on the 4000-tonne, Panama-registered MV Tycoon broke free, causing the ship to slam into cliffs and a crane pylon at Flying Fish Cove.

As the ship's engine room began to flood through a tear in the hull, the crew were forced to abandon ship, with the vessel then breaking up.

The island's only port was blocked by the wreck for months, forcing ships unloading cargo offshore to use barges.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau today released their final report into the wreck, which was highly critical of the ships' master for not telling the shore authorities a mooring line had come free.

The report also concluded he did not make proper use of the ship's main engine or mooring lines to keep the ship in position after the mooring line came free.

The ATSB also found no risk assessment had been done by successive port managers about how safe the inner moorings in Flying Fish Cove were, and they did not know the mooring line shackles were degraded.

The port has since replaced and upgraded its mooring equipment, and developed a safety handbook to be provided to the master of each ship.

"The ATSB advises port authorities to have procedures and contingency plans in place to deal with foreseeable emergencies,'' the report said.

"It is vital that there be effective maintenance and inspection regimes to ensure the good order of equipment and facilities.''

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1 dead, 15 rescued after E China freighter fire

Panama Flagged VesselsXinhua - One crew member has been confirmed dead, while another 15 rescued crew members have arrived in Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province, local marine authorities said Tuesday.

The Hua Shan, a Panama-registered freighter, caught fire off the coast of East China on Sunday evening. The Qingdao fire department put the fire out by 5 pm Monday.

The freighter was carrying 4,000 tonnes of coal to the Port of Rizhao in Shandong Province, and 16 crew members from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) were on board the vessel at the time of the accident.

The body of the deceased crew member was found on the freighter, according to the fire department of Qingdao Port.

The surviving crew members refused interviews with a Xinhua reporter.

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Panama-registered freighter catches fire off east China coast, 15 rescued

Panama Flagged VesselsQINGDAO (Xinhua) -- Fifteen of the 16 crewmen on a Panama-registered freighter that caught fire off east China coast have been rescued, according to local marine authorities late Sunday.

One person was still stranded on the freighter "HUA SHAN," said officials with the maritime safety administration of Shandong Province.

The crewmen are all from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. None of the 15 rescued was injured.

At 7:57 p.m. on Sunday, the Shandong maritime rescue center received a report that the engine room of the freighter was on fire in waters about 18 sea miles off Chaolian Island, which is about 31 kilometers from Qingdao city.

The center made contact with the owner of the freighter carrying 4,000 tonnes of coal after receiving the report.

Fifteen sailors boarded the lifeboat and were rescued by a passing ship, Qingdao maritime rescue center reported at 9:43 p.m..

Several vessels, including a tug boat, were rushing to the freighter.

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Gunmen seize Panama-flagged tanker in Ivory Coast

Panama Flagged VesselsABIDJAN (Reuters) - Gunman seized a Panama-flagged tanker as it prepared to unload fuel at Ivory Coast's port of Abidjan, port officials said in a statement on Monday. Port agents said the ship was hijacked shortly after midnight on Thursday. It is currently located off the coast of neighboring Ghana. "Several minutes later, (the ship's owner) informed the captaincy that its ship was under the control of armed individuals who had boarded," read the statement.
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EU and Illegal Fishing Boats Flying Panama Flag

Panama Flagged VesselsThe report of the European Commission (EC) is emphatic with Panama. Literally, and with examples, they indicate that Panama is not fulfilling its obligations with flagging ships in regards to the fight against illegal fishing.

This was revealed by the report of the Committee on Fisheries of the organism, published yesterday, which details the failures of eight countries (including Panama) who are warned that they are being considered as uncooperative with illegal fishing.

If Panama does not comply with the requirements in six months, the European Union (EU) threatens to punish the non-cooperative countries, by blocking exports.

The sanctions would include a ban on fish exports and other goods, such as fruits, which would be disastrous for Panama considering that Europe is the second largest market place for its exports.

A visit by the EC to Panama in 2010 concluded that local fishing authorities are unable to collect evidence of the individuals or companies associated with the fishing industry. Nor do they have the power to recover the fines imposed, in cases when the operators of the ships or the real beneficiaries are not based in Panama.

The head of the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama, Giovanni Lauri, said some boats had been classified as IUU, as illegal fishing boats are known internationally, which were presented as Panama flagged vessels, when in fact they were not. But, he did acknowledge that this situation had not been reported to several member countries of the European Union. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: This issue of illegal fishing boats flying the Panama flag has been in the press a couple of times this week.

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Foul Play Suspected Aboard Coal Ship, 2 Deaths in 2 Weeks

Panama Flagged VesselsA second crewman has died within two weeks of the first death aboard Panama-registered coal ship, the Sage Sagittarius. The 55-year-old chief engineer passed away while the vessel was docked at Newcastle Port in New South Wales. Despite efforts made by paramedics, the crewmember lost his life after suffering from cardiac arrest. Local reports claim he was also injured prior to this incident. The Australian Federal Police have already launched an investigation into the ship after the first crewmember disappeared. The Maritime Union of Australia suggested the first man met his death through foul play after he complained about poor pay and conditions on the ship.

The New South Wales Police Force released the following statement: "An investigation is underway into the circumstances surrounding the death of a crew-member on a ship which docked in Newcastle earlier today. About 8.15am (Friday 14 September 2012), personnel onboard the bulk cargo ship contacted ‘000’ to advise a 55-year-old man had suffered cardiac arrest. Paramedics attended a dock at Carrington and boarded the vessel, locating the male and treating the man, however he was later pronounced deceased. Officers attached to Newcastle Local Area Command attended and a crime scene was established. An investigation is underway and the ship’s crew-members are being interviewed by officers attached to Marine Area Command with assistance from Newcastle City. A report will be prepared for the Coroner into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death." (maritime-executive.com)

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ITF Calls For Full Cadet Death Investigation

Panama Flagged VesselsThe ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) is calling for the Panamanian and Mexican authorities to reveal the results of their investigations into the death of the young engineering cadet Dayra Wood Pino (age 22) aboard the Panamanian flagged products tanker El Valencia – and to answer questions about her death, why her family weren’t informed about it for several days, and why the ship was allowed to proceed for an incredible 17 days with her body onboard.

ITF Panama inspector Luis Fruto was the first person to raise questions about the case. He explains what happened: “The El Valencia was sailing from the Pacific coast of Panama to the Atlantic through the Panama Canal. It stopped between 27 July and 30 July due to steering problems, then anchored at Puerto de Cristobal (Panama) on 30 July and set sail for Ciudad del Carmen (Mexico) at 01.10 on 1 August 2012. The reason for the voyage is unclear; the Mexican authorities have told us the ship did not have a charter contract.

“The fatal accident happened on 4 August at latitude 19 16.7 N - longitude 083 46.8 W. At 04.00 the first officer, along with the cadet and oiler Dayra Wood (a graduate of the International Maritime University of Panama on her first voyage) went on watch. At 04.50, working alone, she made ready to transfer the bilge to the slop tanks in the engine room. At 05.00, she asked another cadet for help to get the emergency pump in place to discharge the bilge because the ship’s pump was faulty. We don’t understand how the PMA authorities gave this ship permission to sail when it had so many defects.

“According to the note issued by the captain, the first officer heard Dayra calling out his name in desperation. The note says thatwhen he saw her caught up in the mechanism, his immediate reaction was to stop the machine using the emergency button. He went to Dayra Wood and found her dead.

“At 05.35, Captain José Galloway went down to the engine room. At 06.10, he called Javier Garcia at the ULTRAMAR agency in Panama. At 06.20, he called Cesar Centella at the agency in Panama and the latter e-mailed him a death certificate and information on the steps he should take. At 08.45, the body was removed from the scene of the accident.

“All this happened on 4 August and we do not know why the company waited three days before officially informing the AMP (Panama Maritime Authority) on 7 August. It was only on 18 August that the PMA then informed the Mexican authorities, even though Dayra’s body was still on the ship, and being kept in the its refrigerator.

“The delays were unforgiveable. Having received no reply from either the AMP or the University, I contacted my fellow ITF inspector Enrique Lozano, who is based in Veracruz, Mexico. He was able to tell me that the ship had already left Ciudad del Carmen and was refuelling in Dos Bocas – still with the body onboard. Knowing that Dayra Wood’s family had now been notified of her death, we decided to expose what was going on. It was only then, after it had been reported on the television, that the AMP ordered the detention of the ship, on 20 August in Puerto de Veracruz, Mexico.

“Another two days passed because it was not clear whether it was the AMP or Mexico who had jurisdiction over the ship. Even then Dayra’s body was still not removed from the refrigerator and brought ashore. Nineteen days after the accident, on 23 August, I travelledwith the deceased’s brother to Veracruz (the plane tickets were paid for by the Panamanian Association of Merchant Navy Officers (Asociacion Panameña de Oficiales de Marina). We were met by Enrique Lozano, ITF inspector and member of the Orden de Capitanes de Mexico, and Captain Ysmael Garcia, general secretary of the same union, who extended his hospitality to us at his own cost.

“On 24 August, with the assistance of the ITF-affiliated union in Mexico, we gave a press conference to try and speed up the case and allow the deceased to be given a burial. The following day her body was finally taken for a post-mortem. On 27 August, we met the Veracruz harbour master who gave us his total cooperation, and the next day we returned to Panama.

“On 29 August, the remains of Dayra Wood were transferred to Panama. On 31 August, almost four weeks after her death, she was given a Christian burial.

“The investigation continues. It raises multiple questions. We have reason to believe that the certificates of some of the crew on the ship need examination, following rumours that some of them were bought. The AMP has withdrawn the ship’s certificates and the owners have reportedly tried to change the flag. Why didn’t the PMA notify the Mexican authoritiesimmediately? Why did the Mexican authorities not detain the ship when it putinto Ciudad del Carmen or Dos Bocas with a weeks-old body onboard? These are questions that must be answered in order to clarify the circumstances of Dayra Wood’s death.”

Databases list the owners of the El Valencia as Top Agents Ltd of Panama City. However, they are believed locally to be the Fernández brothers, who run the Astilleros Braswell shipyard in Panama.
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Funeral For Panamanian Mariner

Panama Flagged VesselsThe rigid discipline that characterizes the Panama International Maritime University succumbed yesterday afternoon, by frank shed tears during the funeral for the cadet Dayra Wood Pino, 22, who died at sea, aboard the Panamanian flagged vessel the Valencia, on August 4. Her friends, fellow students and teachers stopped to say goodbye to the Marine Engineering student, who died in circumstances that have not yet been clarified.

The funeral mass was held at the Virgen del Carmen church in the city of Colon, and her remains were buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery. Her coffin had a Honor Guard composed of classmates (2011) of the victim.

Alejandro Pino, 86 and Dayra's grandfather, asked the crew to be questioned and to explain how his granddaughter died. She stayed in the home of an uncle in Panama during her studies, and each time she returned to Colon she visited Mr. Alexander. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: According to the initial reports she was supposedly working in the engine room when she got caught up in the machinery and was killed. There was some controversy, because she died in Mexican waters and the ship's captain put her body in the ship's freezer, and delayed reporting her death for weeks.

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Attorney General Coordinating With Mexico For Return Of Dead Sailor's Remains

Panama Flagged VesselsPanama's Attorney General Jose Ayu Prado said this morning everything is ready for the return of the body of the Panamanian sailor Dayra Wood Pino, who was killed several weeks ago when she was on board the Panamanian flagged ship El Valencia, in Mexico. The case that has rocked the country seems to be advancing in recent days, after a Panamanian delegation traveled to Mexico to have a conversation with the Attorney General of that country in order to return her remains, and thus make further investigations of her death, and to give her a Christian burial. Ayu Prado said they are waiting for Mexico to cede jurisdiction, the reason for this is because the death occurred in Mexican waters. (Dia a Dia)

Related Article: Panamanian Mariner (Woman) Killed In Accident At Sea

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Panamanian Mariner (Woman) Killed In Accident At Sea

Panama Flagged VesselsAn accident that killed a trainee aboard the Panamanian-flagged ship 'Valencia' has become a great mystery. The victim is the 22 year old Panamanian Daira Karina Wood Pino. She died on 4 August and since then her body has been in the boat's freezer. The strangest thing is that her death was not reported to Mexican authorities until Monday, 20 August 2012.

Early reports from Veracruz, Mexico, indicate that the fifteen members of the ship's crew are making statements to clarify the event. According to Cambio Digital, an Internet publication, the authorities of Mexico and Panama ordered the ship to stop sailing.

She was taking oil samples in the engine room when she was mutilated by moving equipment. The ship's captain, Jose Galloway Molina, said the boat spent nine hours adrift while fellow crew members removed her body from the machinery. The ship, carrying oil, left the port of Balboa on August 1. It is unclear why he did not notify the authorities until two weeks later. They even went through nearby ports before arriving in Veracruz.

It is hoped her body will be sent to Panama by plane or in the same boat where the girl was killed while conducting her professional practice. Daira was the only woman in her class. (Estrella)

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Panamanian vessel sinks off Ilocos; 20 missing

Panama Flagged VesselsMANILA -- Authorities are now scouring the waters off Ilocos Norte province after a foreign cargo vessel with 20 crew members sank late Friday. Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Algier Ricafrente said that the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center reported that it received a distress call from the Panamian-flagged vessel, MV Oceanic Union. Ricafrente said the vessel was passing through the waters of the province when it encountered mechanical trouble. He said that the ship’s 20-man crew quickly took their life boats, indicating the vessel was already in a sinking condition, long before it radioed a distress call. Lieutenant Dennis Rapat, head of the PCG in Ilocos Norte, said that upon receiving the report, he ordered a search and rescue operations since Friday night. He said MV Oceanic Union was spotted about 170 nautical miles from Cape Bojedor. The vessel was heading to Subic Bay west of Manila from Shanghai when the incident happened. Based on the report received by PCG, the captain of MV Oceanic Union ordered his crewmen to abandon ship when he saw the vessel was already sinking after it developed mechanical trouble. Rapat said the whereabouts of the vessel's crew remained unknown. The PCG is now coordinating with other maritime agencies to retrieve the stricken seamen as soon as possible. It also appealed to residents near the coastal areas of Ilocos Norte to report to the PCG if they see the cargo vessel and any of its crewmen. Other ships passing through the area have been notified. (AP/PNA/Sunnex)

Editor's Comment: Panamanian newspapers are reporting that the 20 missing crewmen have been rescued, but I can't find it anywhere else, on the wires, or what have you.

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Two Panama Flagged Vessels Collide, One Sinks - 10 North Korean Sailors Missing

Panama Flagged VesselsBEIJING, OCT 29: Two cargo ships have collided off the coast of the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, causing one of the freighters to sink. The Panama-flagged freighter ‘Oriental Sunrise’ sank at 7.35 pm local time yesterday when it collided with another Panama-flagged vessel, a cargo ship identified as the ‘Hamburg Bridge’. Nine of the total 19 crew members aboard the sunk vessel were rescued, including three injured who were sent to hospital for treatment, a spokesman with the Shandong Maritime Safety Bureau said. All 19 were believed to be North Korean. One of the three injured died after an emergency operation failed to save his life and two others are still in serious condition, the spokesman said. A total of 13 ships have been dispatched to search for the 10 missing people. All the 19 crew members were believed to be nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said. (www.thehindubusinessline.com)
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24 Chinese sailors on board hijacked vessel rescued

Panama Flagged VesselsBeijing (PTI) Twenty-four Chinese crew aboard a Panama-flagged cargo ship, hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian sea, have been rescued. MV Full City was hijacked yesterday 450 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast by the pirates, but were forced to leave the vessel as they panicked seeing naval ship patrolling the area, Andrew Mwangura, Maritime Editor for Mombasa-based Somalia Report, said. "The pirates entered the MV Full City at midday on Thursday but the crew members confined themselves on seatbelt forcing the pirates to leave the ship after they reportedly saw naval ship which was patrolling the area," Mwangura was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency. The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels travelling annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
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Chinese media report cargo ship with 24 Chinese sailors hijacked by pirates in Arabian Sea

Panama Flagged Vessels(AP) BEIJING, China — Chinese state media say pirates have hijacked a cargo ship with 24 Chinese sailors in the Arabian Sea. The official Xinhua News Agency said in a brief report that the Panama-registered ship was hijacked by seven pirates Thursday morning. Pirates from Somalia, which has not had a functioning government in two decades, are active in the region. The state-run China News Service reported two Chinese navy ships were headed to the scene to aid in rescue efforts. Chinese naval squadrons are stationed in the region to escort commercial ships and make anti-piracy patrols with NATO nations, Russia and India. Confrontations with pirates have turned increasingly violent in recent months. Pirates typically command approximately $5 million to release a ship and crew.
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Surveyors to inspect fire damaged ship in Gisborne

Panama Flagged VesselsMarine surveyors were to inspect a crippled log ship in the port of Gisborne today after a fire raced through the bridge and caused serious damage on Tuesday night. The 170 metre, 28,000 tonne cargo ship, Lake Arafura, registered in Panama, had loaded about 10,000 tonnes of logs when a suspected electrical fault caused the fire. The crew and Gisborne firefighters brought the fire under control but part of the bridge was believed to have been seriously damaged by fire, smoke and water. Eastland Group, which runs the port, said the ship could not be repaired in Gisborne and the assessment today would determine if it could sail under its own power to another port for repairs, possibly Tauranga.

Eastland Group general manager logistics, Andrew Gaddum, said the ship had been moved to another berth to allow work at the port to continue but they wanted the ship gone as soon as possible because the port was exposed to changes in sea conditions and weather and there were not the idle berths available to have a ship alongside when it was not operational. "There is a potential we would have to move the vessel out of port under a tug bow if we had to for the safety of the port basically." He said the ship could possibly move under its own power in an emergency. He said the port did not want to have a disabled ship sitting alongside if it could not move because of the fire damage or because the bridge "was in a thousands pieces while they try and fix it." He said the ship's crew acted very quickly and brought the fire under control, restricting damage to one corner of the bridge. "When you have gone in there and fought a fire with water and smoke and all the rest of it, it is assessing what is actually working and what is not." He said it was a blessing the fire did not happen at sea. The ship was due to head for China after loading in Gisborne. (www.odt.co.nz)

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Hostage on Dubai ship seized by pirates dies

Panama Flagged Vessels By Carol Huang and Ramola Talwar Badam - MV Iceberg 1 is a Panama Flagged, Roll on Roll Off vessel with deadweight of 4500 tonnes. The vessel, with a crew of 24 and carrying a mixed cargo of general mechanical equipment, was bound for Jebel Ali in the UAE when hijacked. - DUBAI // Fathers of six Indian crewmen whose UAE-owned ship was hijacked last March say they will start a hunger strike outside the home of India's prime minister after months of appeals for government help failed. The six men plan to fly from as far as Kerala and Mumbai to New Delhi to plead for help in the release of the MV Iceberg I. The small ship, owned by the Dubai-based Azal Shipping, is one of the longest-held vessels off the coast of Somalia. One of its 24 crewman died in captivity of malnutrition last October. Speaking by phone from Mumbai, Mansing Mittal Mohite, whose 24-year-old son Ganesh is trapped on the vessel, said: "Until someone listens to us, we will not move from the prime minister's house. I would have never dreamt something like this would happen." Azal Shipping seems to have stopped negotiating, said Mr Mohite. Nor, he added, has it sent the salaries to the crewmen's families as is customary in the industry. "We want our children more than the money, but we have got nothing from the company," he said. "Someone must take responsibility."

Azal Shipping declined repeated requests to comment. The families have repeatedly petitioned top Indian authorities for help. They said they have pressured Azal Shipping to resume negotiations, but had not received replies. They sought an audience with the prime minister Manmohan Singh and sent letters to him and the Indian President Pratibha Patil as well as other officials. "We haven't got any response from the Indian government. Nobody is helping us. We are almost hopeless," said Sunita Tiwari, whose brother Dheeraj, 25, is on the MV Iceberg I.

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Somali pirates hijack ship using guns, grenades

Panama Flagged Vessels(AP) NAIROBI, Kenya -- Somali pirates hijacked a cargo vessel Monday after firing rocket propelled grenades and small arms at the ship, the European Union Naval Force said Monday. The pirates seized the MV Orna on Monday about 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of the island nation of the Seychelles, said Wing Cmdr. Paddy O'Kennedy. The ship was not registered with maritime authorities so the number and nationalities of crew are not known. O'Kennedy said at least four pirates boarded the vessel and the crew are cooperating and have not reported any damage. The MV Orna is a Panama-flagged, bulk cargo vessel owned by a company in the United Arab Emirates. Before the hijacking of the MV Orna, the pirates were holding 23 ships and 555 hostages, according to the EU Naval Force.
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Pirates hijack cargo ship in Indian Ocean, EU force says

Panama Flagged VesselsBy the CNN Wire Staff - (CNN) -- Pirates hijacked a cargo ship Monday in the Indian Ocean, the European Union Naval Force Somalia said Tuesday. At least four pirates, using two small boats and rocket-propelled grenades, boarded the MV Orna, a Panama-flagged merchant vessel owned by a United Arab Emirates company. The number of crew members on board is unknown, but they are said to be cooperating and no damage has been reported, according to the naval force. The attack happened about 400 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles. The European Union Naval Force Somalia is a multinational task force with the mission to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program and vessels of the African Union Mission in Somalia. The mission is "to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy," it said.
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Crew, passengers rescued after Panama-flagged vessel sinks off Yemen

Panama Flagged VesselsSOCOTRA, Nov. 18 (Saba) – Rescuers have saved the crew, security and passengers of a Panamanian cargo vessel after it sank off Yemen on Wednesday. The authorities in Socotra archipelago, Hadramout, received a report by the ferry's agent that the vessel, al Mustafa 1, capsized and those onboard needed help, director of Socotra Passport Authority Fuad Saad said, adding that a search and rescue team was immediately assigned to help them. The ten crew members including eight Yemenis, a Tanzanian and a Somali, two Yemeni coastguards whose duty was to safeguard it and three passengers from the archipelago were all rescued, said the director. The rescuers found them on floating timber and barrels after the ship drowned about 10 nautical miles off Socotra, he said. The Panama-flagged ship, carrying 750-ton cargo from Mukalla Port, was owned by a Saudi businessman and it drowned while en route to Socotra.
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Hunt for missing seamen after ship sinks off Japan

Panama Flagged Vessels (AFP) TOKYO — Rescuers were still hunting Friday for 20 missing seamen after a cargo ship sank off Japan's southern islands, leaving two people dead, Japan's coastguard said. The Panama-registered ship with 25 Chinese crew on board went missing about 340 kilometres (210 miles) south of Iriomote island in the Pacific Wednesday, a coastguard official said. Japanese coastguards resumed rescue operations Friday, dispatching one patrol boat and an airplane to the site and were joined by Taiwanese maritime authorities, the official said.

"Japanese and Taiwanese coastguards have so far rescued three crew members but two others were confirmed dead," he said. "We have continued our rescue work to search for the remaining 20 people." Television footage showed Japanese coastguards struggling to pull in one of the crew floating in high seas wearing a life vest. The 17,000-tonne Nasco Diamond left Indonesia for China on November 4 carrying 55,000 tonnes of nickel. It was not immediately clear what caused the ship to sink.

The area where the ship went missing is near a disputed island chain in the East China Sea where a Chinese fishing trawler collided with Japanese coastguard vessels in September, sparking a heated diplomatic dispute. Japan's arrest of the Chinese captain sparked a barrage of protests from Beijing that continued even after Tokyo released him, with ties between the two sides deteriorating to their lowest point in years.

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NTSB: Panama to investigate cruise ship fire

Panama Flagged VesselsSAN DIEGO—The investigation of the engine room fire that disabled the Carnival cruise ship Splendor will be conducted by the Panama Maritime Authority instead of the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB announced the change late Thursday, hours after initially issuing a statment that it would be handling the probe of the Panamanian-flagged vessel. The NTSB says that since most of the passengers were U.S. citizens, the U.S. Coast Guard requested to join the investigation and Panama agreed. The NTSB says its role now is to provide two experts to assist the Coast Guard with its involvement in Panama's investigation. The NTSB says all information on the investigation will be released by the Panama Maritime Authority. (AP)
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Two Panama-flagged ships sink off Taiwan in Super Typhoon Megi

Panama Flagged VesselsTaipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) Two Panama-registered cargo ships sank off Taiwan's west coast, leaving one crewman dead and three missing late Monday and early Tuesday as super typhoon Megi churned up huge waves in the Taiwan Strait, the Coast Guard reported. Xin Yi, a cement carrier scheduled to sail from China to Brunei, broke down off Hsinchu at around 10:30 p.m. Monday. As of Tuesday morning, 18 of the vessel's 22 crewmen had been rescued by Legend of the Seas -- a cruise ship near the scene -- the Coast Guard, Air Force and National Airborne Service Corps. A body was retrieved by one of the ships, the Coast Guard said, and three people were still missing. The crew included 17 Burmese, four Indonesians and one Taiwanese. The Taichung Harbor Bureau said the victim was Burmese.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, less than three hours after the first accident, another Panama-flagged freighter, Dili Star, sunk off Kaohsiung County, according to the Air Force's Chiayi Base and the Southern Coastal Patrol Office. The 12 crewmen abandoned the sinking ship by lifeboat and were rescued by helicopter. None was seriously injured, said the Air Force.

Typhoon Megi, which made landfall in the Philippines Monday, brought heavy rain and strong winds to Taiwan as its outer band crossed part of the island, the Central Weather Bureau reported.

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Pirate attacks off Tanzania

Panama Flagged VesselsA tanker has escaped a pirate hijack attempt near Mtwara in Tanzania's southern border with Mozambique. This incident occurred less than two weeks after Tanzanian soldiers intercepted Somali pirates during an attempt to hijack a drill ship in the Indian Ocean. Reports from the Tanzania Ports Authority said Somali pirates had attacked the Panama-registered 7,741 dwt Norbulk-managed tanker ‘Anuket Jade’, while she was en voyage to discharge at Mtwara, about 450 km south of Dar es Salaam. The pirates attacked the ship using guns before a Tanzanian naval patrol vessel rescued the ship and its 18 crew after the captain radioed for help. The pirates sped off in a small boat.

The European Union has challenged East African countries to work together and define a judicial mechanism to handle Somali pirates. The French Ambassador to Tanzania, Jacque Champagne de Labriolle, said the East African countries, which were increasingly becoming victims of the pirates, had no clear judicial system for piracy cases. The ambassador, who was speaking from an EU NAVFOR French destroyer, which was anchored at Dar es Salaam last Sunday, went further and urged international courts to think of taking on cases involving piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement’s (BSM) product tanker 'Ardmore Seafarer’s' crew foiled an Indian Ocean pirate attack. The 45,744 dwt tanker was heading for Dar Es Salaam when a small craft full of pirates came alongside about 600 miles south west of India, the company said. The crew members took refuge on board, where they remained for about 14 hours. The crew regained control when the pirates fled. The double hull, 2004-built ship has since resumed its voyage, BSM said. (Tanker Operator)

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Hijacked Japanese ship spotted at Somali pirate port

Panama Flagged Vessels(AFP) – TOKYO — A Japanese cargo ship hijacked in Kenyan waters at the weekend has been located anchored off a Somali port town regarded as a pirate stronghold, a Japanese media report said Wednesday. The whereabouts of the 20 Filipino crew of the Panama-flagged 14,000-ton Izumi were unclear, Kyodo News said citing a European military official. The merchant vessel had sent a distress signal early Sunday local time from waters off Kenya's port city of Mombasa, and crew on another ship in the area later reported that pirates had boarded the Izumi. The ship had been carrying steel products from Japan via Singapore towards Mombasa, said its Tokyo-based operator NYK-Hinode Line. Japan's transport minister Sumio Mabuchi on Tuesday said Tokyo was "nervously" watching developments while cooperating with the International Maritime Organization in dealing with the suspected pirate attack. Japan last year joined the United States, China and more than 20 other countries in the maritime operation against pirates who have attacked ships off the Horn of Africa, a key route leading to the Suez Canal. Tokyo has also dispatched two maritime surveillance aircraft and scores of military personnel to beef up its anti-piracy mission, although their operations are restricted by the country's pacifist constitution. Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has deployed two destroyers to escort ships in the pirate-infested gulf, and said last month that it had so far provided safe passage for more than 1,000 ships. The EU anti-piracy mission said recently that Somali pirates were holding 17 ships with 369 hostages.
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Pirates seize ship with crew of 20 off African coast

Panama Flagged VesselsBy the CNN Wire Staff - (CNN) -- Pirates have seized another ship off the coast of East Africa, authorities said Monday. The owners of the Panama-flagged MV Izumi reported Sunday that they had received a distress signal indicating the vessel was under attack, the European Union Naval Force Somalia said in a statement. A Danish warship made contact Monday with the Izumi's captain, who said that pirates were in charge of the ship, the statement said. The Izumi has a crew of 20 Filipinos, it said.
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