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Police in Singapore have arrested ten people suspected of illegal bunker fuel sales.

Officers from the Police Coast Guard made the arrests on August 4 during a joint operation with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Six were crew members of a Singapore-flagged tugboat and the other were crew members of a foreign-flagged tug.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the crew members of the Singapore tug sold Marine Gas Oil to the foreign-registered tug without their company’s knowledge. The tugs and almost $6000 (SGD $8,000) in cash were seized as evidence.

The crew members of the Singapore-flagged tug were charged with crimes carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison plus a fine. The other crew members face up to five years in prison.

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An agreement at international level to resume grain shipments from Ukraine but warns they should only take place if the safety and security of the vessels, their crew and cargo, can be guaranteed.

This means that there are concrete assurances at berths and anchorages in Ukrainian ports, that vessels, crew and cargo safety and security can be preserved and that shipping in the area is free from attack. The creation of a mine-free sea corridor protected by naval escort is essential.

The safety of our seafarers is crucial which is why bulk carrier crews must be afforded every respect under international conventions when being questioned by authorities.

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The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued a statement that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.

Under several of the non-mutual insurances, including the Charterers’ Terms and Conditions, there are provisions that in the event that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has determined an outbreak of a Communicable Disease to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, no coverage will be provided under this insurance for any loss, damage, liability, cost or expense directly arising from any transmission or alleged transmission of the Declared Communicable Disease.

The exclusions do not apply to infections prior to 23rd July.

WHO’s Director General also added that under the International Health Regulations, he is required to consider five elements in deciding whether an outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern:

The information provided by countries – which in this case shows that this virus has spread rapidly to many countries that have not seen it before;

  1. The three criteria for declaring a public health emergency of international concern, which have been met;
  2. The advice of the Emergency Committee, which has not reached consensus;
  3. Scientific principles, evidence and other relevant information – which are currently insufficient and leave us with many unknowns;
  4. The risk to human health, international spread, and the potential for interference with international traffic.

    WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region where it assesses the risk as high.

    There is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment.

    So, in short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations

    Accordingly, WHO has made a set of recommendations for four groups of countries:

    1. Those that have not yet reported a case of monkeypox, or have not reported a case for more than 21 days;
    2. Those with recently imported cases of monkeypox and that are experiencing human-to-human transmission. This includes recommendations:
    • To implement a coordinated response to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups;
    • To engage and protect affected communities;
    • To intensify surveillance and public health measures;
    • To strengthen clinical management and infection prevention and control in hospitals and clinics;
    • To accelerate research into the use of vaccines, therapeutics and other tools;
    • And recommendations on international travel.
    1. The third group of countries is those with transmission of monkeypox between animals and humans;
    2. The fourth is countries with manufacturing capacity for diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.

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The key issues that should be well understood and observed in order to reduce exposure to ingress, and wetting damage claims.

Hatch cover maintenance and operation requires a thorough understanding of basic principles together with type specific issues and requirements. Experience and claims show hatch cover problems still remain one of the predominant causes for claims and accidents on board vessels.

The  hatch cover claims are generally associated with wetting damage, it should not be overlooked that incorrect maintenance or operation may involve loss of life and limb or pollution. Moreover, claims for wet damaged cargo, pollution or accidents and injuries will always have an adverse impact on the owner’s business model.”

To avoid hatch, cover related claims, operators should consider setting up dedicated training and familiarization programmes related to occupational safety, operation and inspection. Relevant and type specific hatch cover checklists should also be made and their use implemented.