Asylum seekers from ‘people smuggling’ boat held as Peter Dutton blames surveillance failure

By Kristy Sexton-McGrath, Brendan Mounter and staff

Updated

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Video: Officials continue search for people after abandoned vessel found in Daintree river area (ABC News)

A search is continuing for two missing crew members who abandoned what Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has called a people smuggling boat in the Daintree River area in far north Queensland.

Fisherman in the region reported seeing several people abandon the boat and flee into the rainforest near Cape Kimberley, which is a known crocodile habitat, on Sunday morning.

The ABC understands 17 people were on board the vessel — believed to be from Vietnam — and two, including the captain, are still missing.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said officers were assisting with the operational side of what was a federal matter.

“I understand that 15 people have been now detained on behalf of the Australian Border Force and they will be assessed by the Australian Border Force and dealt with in accordance with Australian law,” he said.

Mr Dutton said the boat’s arrival was the result of a surveillance failure.

“I want to confirm for you today that Australia, we believe, has received the first vessel, the first people smuggling venture in over 1,400 days,” Mr Dutton said.

“Clearly there’s been a failing when surveillance has not worked as it should in identifying this vessel or allowing this vessel to get as close to the coast as it has,” he said.

“But it’s a reminder that the people smugglers have not gone out of business,” he said.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officials, Queensland police and the State Emergency Service (SES) are continuing the search for the crew members still missing and said human safety was their top priority.

Police are searching cars and caravans at the Daintree River ferry to make sure no-one was stowed away.

‘Non-citizens located’

Earlier, an ABF spokesperson said it was investigating what it believed to be an illegal fishing vessel that ran aground north of Port Douglas.

“The ABF has a contingent of officers on-site and is grateful for the support being provided by Queensland Police Service,” the spokesperson said.

“We can confirm that a number of potential unlawful non-citizens have been located.

“The ABF and Department of Home Affairs will undertake the necessary border processes to establish circumstances around the arrival.

“As investigations into this matter are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Mr Dutton said the suspected asylum seekers would be deported.

“The threat of people smugglers hasn’t gone away and the arrival of this boat should be a very clear and timely message that people smugglers will put people onto boats, to take money from innocent, men women and children,” he said.

“We have been very clear that we won’t allow people who arrive illegally into our country to settle in this country. People will be deported from our country at the first available opportunity.”

SES acting local area director Peter Rinaudo said his crews worked until after midnight searching for those missing in the known crocodile habitat.

Mr Rinaudo said while details were scarce, police had requested 10 SES crews for a land search today.

“Crews will be briefed on the ground, but we will have crews searching through the mangroves today and two boat crews searching near the mouth of the Daintree River,” he said.

“It’ll be a hard slog, it’s still quite warm in there and it’ll be tough conditions for the guys.

“I hope the people, however many there are, get located — it’s not a nice area for them to be in.

“Obviously our main goal is to make sure our volunteers who have given up a day’s paid work get home safe.”

Boat sank on Sunday

Port Douglas Marine Rescue president Ross Wood said a concerned fisherman called him about 7:00am on Sunday after seeing the boat abandoned in the Daintree.

“The boat was taking on water. Later in the day, about midday, we were called to try and stop the boat from sinking but we couldn’t get there in time,” he said.

“It had sunk by the time we got out there — it was low tide so it wasn’t fully under water, but at high tide we’d suspect it would be submerged.

“It was in a state of disrepair with a lot of diesel drums on it.”

Mr Wood said they looked around for people but had not seen any.

“My suspicion is the people had left the boat long before the morning,” he said.

“It was just near the mouth of the Daintree, so 100 metres from shore or so.

“You have to wonder how a boat like this would get so far without being detected.”

Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said it was too soon to know the motives of the people who were travelling on the boat.

“It’s under investigation … the true motivation of what these people are up to will become apparent as the days go by,” he said.

“We’ll wait and see what the facts are … and how it got there and the journey that it took.”

‘No risk if they don’t go in the water’

Tour operator David White has been taking people up the Daintree River for 20 years and said there was little risk to those missing, unless they unknowingly waded into crocodile habitat.

“At the mouth of the river there’s beaches on both sides and there’s rainforest and mangroves,” he said.

“There are crocodiles in the river but not hundreds of them, just one or two.

“There is no risk if they don’t go in the water.

“But if they aren’t familiar with the area, if they go in the water behind the beach where the river is or to stand on the edge of the deep water where it’s murky, there is a risk [of a crocodile attack].

“It would be very hard going if they go through the rainforest. I hope they are found safe and well.”

Topics: immigration, community-and-society, federal—state-issues, government-and-politics, law-crime-and-justice, daintree-4873, cairns-4870, brisbane-4000, qld, Australia

Allianz Safety and Shipping Review 2018 – Cyber, Climate Risks and Human Error Threaten Shipping’s Safety Progress

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(http://www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Shipping is the lifeblood of the global economy, transporting 90% of global trade. Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) recently released its annual report, Safety & Shipping Review 2018. The report highlights cyber, climate risks and human error as the main factors threatening shipping’s safety progress during the 12 months prior to December 31, 2017 (full report can be downloaded at the bottom of this article).

Highlights from this year’s findings, which analyzes reported shipping losses over 100 gross tons, include:

  • Shippers continue to grapple with balancing the benefits and risks of increasing automation on board. The NotPaetya cyber-attack caused cargo delays and congestion at nearly 80 ports, further underlying the growth of cyber risk.
  • Changing climate conditions bring new route risks, particularly in the Arctic and North Atlantic Waters – over 1,000 icebergs drifted into North Atlantic shipping lanes last year.
  • 94 large ships lost worldwide in 2017, down by more than a third over 10 years. Bad weather involved in 1 in 4 losses.
  • Accident hotspot – South China and South East Asian waters lost 30 ships.

Large shipping losses have declined 38% over the past decade, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s (AGCS) Safety & Shipping Review 2018, with this downward trend continuing in 2017. Recent events such as the collision of the oil tanker “Sanchi” and the impact of the NotPetya malware on harbor logistics underscore both the traditional and emerging risk challenges faced by the shipping sector.

There were 94 total losses reported around the shipping world in 2017, down 4% year-on-year (98) – the second lowest in 10 years after 2014. Bad weather, such as typhoons in Asia and hurricanes in the U.S., contributed to the loss of more than 20 vessels, according to the annual review, which analyzes reported shipping losses over 100 gross tons (GT).

“The decline in frequency and severity of total losses over the past year continues the positive trend of the past decade. Insurance claims have been relatively benign, reflecting improved ship design and the positive effects of risk management policy and safety regulation over time,” says Baptiste Ossena, Global Leader Hull & Marine, AGCS. “However, as the use of new technologies on board vessels grows, we expect to see changes in the maritime loss environment in the future.”

New risk exposures for the shipping sector include:

  • Ever-larger container ships pose fire containment and salvage issues.
  • Changing climate conditions bring new route risks, particularly in the Arctic and North Atlantic waters.
  • Environmental scrutiny is growing as the industry seeks to cut emissions, which brings new technical risks coupled with the threat of machinery damage.
  • Shippers continue to grapple with balancing the benefits and risks of increasing automation on board. The NotPetya cyber-attack caused cargo delays and congestion at nearly 80 ports, further underlying the growth of cyber risk.

“New” Bermuda Triangle, Dangerous Seas, and Friday 13th

Nearly one third of shipping losses in 2017 (30) occurred in the South China, Indochina, Indonesia and Philippines maritime region, up 25% annually, driven by activity in Vietnamese waters. This area has been the major global loss hotspot for the past decade, leading some media commentators to label it the “new Bermuda Triangle.” The major loss factors are actually weather – in November 2017, Typhoon Damrey caused six losses, busy seas and lower safety standards on some domestic routes.

Outside of Asia, the East Mediterranean and Black Sea region is the second major loss hotspot (17) followed by the British Isles (8).There was  a 29% annual increase in reported shipping incidents in Arctic Circle waters (71), according to AGCS analysis.

Cargo vessels (53) accounted for more than half of all vessels lost globally in 2017. Fishing and passenger vessel losses are down year-on-year. Bulk carriers accounted for five of the 10 largest reported total losses by GT. The most common cause of global losses remains foundering (sinking), with 61 sinkings in 2017. Wrecked/stranded ranks second (13), followed by machinery damage/failure (8).

Analysis shows Friday is the most dangerous day at sea – 175  of 1,129 total losses reported have occurred on this day over the past decade. Friday the 13th really can be unlucky – three ships were lost on this day in 2012 including the Costa Concordia, the largest-ever marine insurance loss.

Human Error: Still a big issue. Data can help.

Despite decades of safety improvements, the shipping industry has no room for complacency. Fatal accidents such as the “Sanchi” oil tanker collision in January 2018 and the loss of the “El Faro” in Hurricane Joaquin in late 2015 persist, and human behavior is often a factor. It is estimated that 75% to 96% of shipping accidents involve human error. It is also behind 75% of 15,000 marine liability insurance industry claims analyzed by AGCS – costing $1.6bn.

“Crews are under increasing pressure as shipping supply chains are streamlined for greater efficiency. While vessels once spent weeks in port, turn-around times for a cargo ship are now measured in days; such tight schedules can have a detrimental effect on safety culture and decision-making,” stated Andrew Kinsey, Sr. Marine Risk Consultant, AGCS. “There is always the need to strike the right balance between safety and commercial pressures. We need to look at behavior modification and how to get personnel to move away from normalizing risk.”

Moving forward, better use of data and analytics could help as the shipping industry produces a significant amount of data, but could utilize it better to produce real-time findings and alerts. New insights from crew behavior and near-misses can identify trends as predictive analysis may be the difference between a safe voyage and a disaster.

Behavioral and cultural risk need addressing. Technology can help

Despitehuge improvements in maritime safety, fatal accidents at sea persist. Human error continues to be a major driver of incidents and captains and crews are under increasing commercial pressure as supply chains are streamlined. Tight schedules can have a detrimental effect on safety culture and decision-making leading to the“normalization of risk”. Better use of data and analytics can help to address this. The shipping industry has learned from losses in the past but predictive analysis is important for the future. New insights from crew behavior and near-misses can help identify human error trends. Sensor technology can also enhance risk management. For example, hull stress monitoring sensors could be linked to ship navigation in bad weather, feeding real-time information on structural integrity. However, over-reliance on technology on board must be avoided. Continual training is imperative to ensure the right balance is achieved between technology and human intervention.

Industry’s struggle with container ship fires continues

Major fires oncontainer vessels are one of the most significant safety issues. The blaze on the ultra-large container ship (ULCS) Maersk Honam in March 2018 is one of a number of incidents in recent years. Issues driving container ship fire exposures include the adequacy of firefighting capabilities as vessels become larger, misdeclaration of cargo, salvage challenges and time taken to access a port of refuge. ULCS provide economies of scale but the industry needs to ensure risk management standards are up to speed, as larger container ships are on their way.

Record-breaking hurricane season brings supply chain and yacht problems:

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (HIM) and other severe weather events in 2017, such as Typhoons Damrey and Hato, show traditional maritime risks should not be overlooked. AGCS analysis shows bad weather directly contributed to at least 21 total losses in 2017 and this could yet increase further (see page 9). Fuel market, cargo, cruise ship and port operations were also disrupted, leading to natural catastrophes being ranked the top risk by shipping experts in the Allianz Risk Barometer 2018. Shippers need to consider scenarios where multiple locations are impacted when drawing up contingency plans.

Shippers get serious about cyber threat as penalties increase

Cyber incidents like the global NotPetya malware event have served as a wake-up call for the shipping sector. Many operators previously thought themselves isolated from this threat.  At the same time, new European Union laws such as the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS), which requires large ports and maritime transport services to report any cyber incidents and brings financial penalties, will exacerbate the fall-out from any future failure – malicious or accidental.

Other key risk topics include:

Autonomous shipping and drones:  Legal, safety and cyber security issues are likely to limit widespread growth of crewless ships, for now. Human error risk will still be present in decision-making algorithms and onshore monitoring bases. Drones and submersibles, however, have the potential to make a significant contribution to shipping safety and risk management. Future use could include pollution assessment, cargo tank inspections, monitoring pirates and assessment of the condition of a ship’s hull in a grounding incident.

Climate change: Climate change is impacting ice hazards for shipping, freeing up new trade routes in some areas, while increasing the risk of ice in others – over 1,000 icebergs drifted into North Atlantic shipping lanes last year, creating potential collision hazards. Cargo volumes on the Northern Sea Route reached a record high in 2017.

Emission Levels: Estimates suggest that the shipping sector’s emissions levels are as high as Germany’s, prompting a recent pledge to reduce all emissions by 50% in the long-term, alongside existing commitments to reduce sulphur oxide emissions by 2020. As the industry looks to technical solutions to achieve these aims, there could be accompanying risk issues with engines and bunkering of biofuels, as well as operator training.

For more details, in depth analysis and more infographics, click on below image to download full report

 

Source: Allianz Insurance

Those who’ve come across the seas: New names unveiled on the Welcome Wall. — Australian National Maritime Museum

This Sunday, 25 September 2016, saw 882 new names unveiled on our migrant Welcome Wall in honour of all those who have migrated from around the world by sea or air to live in Australia. The museum unveils new names on the Welcome Wall twice a year. 2016 marks the 17th year of unveiling ceremonies, bringing […]

via Those who’ve come across the seas: New names unveiled on the Welcome Wall. — Australian National Maritime Museum

Taiwan asks Google to blur images from disputed island

Taiwan has asked Google to blur satellite images of what appear to be new military installations on a disputed island in the South China Sea.

Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba, is part of the Spratly Island chain, embroiled in increasingly tense South China Sea territorial disputes.

Although it is controlled by Taiwan, the island is also claimed by mainland China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Four new structures have appeared since Google Earth’s last satellite images.

The images showed four three-pronged structures in a semi-circle next to an upgraded airstrip and near a sizeable new port.

What is the South China Sea dispute?

Rival countries have wrangled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries, but tension has steadily increased in recent years.

Its islets and waters are claimed in part or in whole by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

China has backed its expansive claims with island-building and naval patrols, while the US, which has also sailed through the disputed waters, says it opposes restrictions on freedom of navigation and unlawful sovereignty claims by all sides.

The frictions have sparked concern that the area is becoming a flashpoint with possible global consequences.

Why is the South China Sea contentious?

Taiwan Defence Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said on Wednesday that “under the pre-condition of protecting military secrets and security, we have requested Google blur images of important military facilities”.

The country’s Coast Guard Administration also confirmed to the BBC that it was in talks with Google, which they said may not have been aware it was a military zone.

The Coast Guard said it believed other countries would have similar issues with images of such restricted zones.

Google has said that it is reviewing the request.

“We take security concerns very seriously, and are always willing to discuss them with public agencies and officials,” Google spokesman Taj Meadows told the BBC.

It has not blurred imagery in response to similar requests in the past. Much of this imagery comes from third party providers, which means that it is likely to be available through a number of other commercial routes.

The increasing militarisation of the South China Sea, where China is rapidly building islands to buttress its territorial claims has stoked tension in the region.

An international tribunal recently ruled against China’s claims, backing a case brought by the Philippines.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled Taiping was classified as a “rock” rather than an “island” and therefore not entitled to a 200 nautical mile exclusion zone.The verdict was rejected by both Beijing and Taipei.

 

Boat carrying 600 migrants capsize off Egypt coast

Source: CNN

A boat carrying 600 migrants has capsized off the Egyptian coast near Kafr al-Sheikh, the Egyptian military said Wednesday.

Around 150 people have been rescued and authorities have retrieved at least 29 bodies so far, the country’s state media reported.

The boat was on its way to Italy, the news agency MENA reported, attributing the information to the military.

But migrants are leaving African countries in large numbers for Europe, often in rickety boats on perilous voyages that regularly turn fatal.

On Tuesday, the Egyptian military arrested 68 people on a boat trying to make its way to Europe. They were captured off the coast of Matrouh.

Last week, the country’s navy thwarted two attempts by people trying to cross from Egypt to Europe. More than 400 would-be migrants from various nationalities were arrested in that operation.

Hanjin Shipping’s Parent Steps In to Help Unload Stranded Cargo — Fortune

Hanjin Shipping’s parent firm plans to raise 100 billion won ($90.46 million) to fund the unloading of billions of dollars worth of cargo aboard vessels stranded around the world in the wake of its court receivership filing last week. Hanjin Group, the parent of Hanjin Shipping, will raise 60 billion won while Hanjin Group chairman…

via Hanjin Shipping’s Parent Steps In to Help Unload Stranded Cargo — Fortune

That Heartbreaking Photo of Alan Kurdi Was Taken a Year Ago. It Still Matters — TIME

A year has passed since Alan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian refugee, drowned on a Turkish beach. His family had fled war, looking for peaceful and better lives in the West. Their dreams were crushed when the boat carrying them from Turkey to Greece capsized in the early hours of Sept. 2, 2015. The gut-wrenching photograph…

via That Heartbreaking Photo of Alan Kurdi Was Taken a Year Ago. It Still Matters — TIME