The Cargo Letter

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Air & Ocean Freight Forwarder - Customs Broker News
26 January 2000

Good Wednesday Morning from our Observation Deck...... overlooking the officially designated "Cargo City" area and....... Runway 25-Right, at Los Angeles International Airport, voted ``Best Cargo Airport in North America.'' Quite sadly, we have new Pirate news & a great deal of loss at sea.

Contribute your knowledge, stories & company information ........ by e-mail to The Cargo Letter. We strive to bring you useful information which is timely & topical. Be sure to visit our web site.

Michael S. McDaniel, Editor & Publisher, Countryman & McDaniel, forwarder/broker attorneys at LAX.

INDEX to The Cargo Letter:

OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News
   1. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs
   2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page 
OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News
   3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs
OUR "C" Section:  FF World Ocean News
   4. FF World Ocean Briefs
   5. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches
      * Back By Popular Demand
OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace
   6. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"
OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World
   7. Port Truckers Ruled Independent
      * All U.S. Ports Look On
   8. Pirate Attacks Up 40% For 1999
      * Reuters Continues The Watch

OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News

1. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs

2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page

OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News

3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs

OUR "C" Section: FF World Ocean News

4. FF World Ocean Briefs

5. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches

Visit our new Vessel Casualties & Pirate Activity Database. This is only a partial list of of casualties for the month in that most dangerous place ....... out there.

The Maltese bulk carrier M/V SEMENA (13,457 gross), in ballast, grounded off Tuapse, while waiting to load, in lat 44 20.1N, long 38 31.4E, Jan 22. Still aground Jan 25. No apparent damage. (Wed. Jan. 26 2000)

The Panamanian research vessel M/V TEKNIK PUTRA (1,009 gross) grounded on Thursday Island, in lat 10 34.28S, long 142 14.9E, Jan 24. Refloated with tug assistance same day. Anchored at Cape York. No apparent damage. (Tues. Jan. 25 2000)

The Liberian bulk carrier M/V DECURION (34,839 gross), from Argentina with rice, was in collision with the Panamanian container vessel M/V MSC GIOVANNA ( 27,103 gross) off Cape Town Jan 21. Decurion holed & down by stern, however, proceeded to Cape Town under own power. MSC Giovanna sustained minor damage & proceeded for Durban. (Mon. Jan. 24 2000)

The Taiwan M/V YU TAI NO. 6 (2,981 gross) sank in lat 24 57N, long 120 30E, Jan 20. 1 crew member rescued safely. 1 sighted in water. Search continuing. (Sat. Jan. 22 2000)

The Brazilian tanker M/T LONDRINA (27,063 gross), with cargo fuel oil, reported drifting 80 miles northwest of Barbados Jan 19. Taken in tow by tug S mit Curacao bound Barbados, where ETA Jan 20. (Fri. Jan. 21 2000)

A crankcase explosion on 20 Jan. in the main engine of 6,600-TEU M/V Sovereign Maersk resulted in the complete loss of propulsive power and the abandonment of a voyage from Hong Kong to Long Beach. The vessel, which is in the largest class of containerships afloat, was taken in tow and is expected to reach Kobe on 26 Jan., where it will discharge all its cargo. The Sovereign Maersk is the first of Maersk Sea-Land's 9 ultra-large "S-class" containerships. It was named by M/V Queen of Denmark in 1997 has been featured frequently in the line's publicity. The explosion injured the ship's 1st engineer, though not seriously. The engine room had to be flooded with CO-2 gas to extinguish the fire. Cause of the explosion wasn't immediately known. The Sovereign Maersk's engine was of a type installed in other containerships, including Maersk's 6, slightly smaller, K-type containerships, said Jesper Kjaedegaard, Sr. V.P. of A.P. Moller. Kjaedegaard also pointed to the advantage of his organization's size in responding to a problem like this. It was fortunate that a powerful A.P. Moller tug was on hand to take the Sovereign Maersk in tow, avoiding the need to discuss salvage, and that the 3,600-TEU M/V Sea-Land Initiative could be diverted to Kobe to load the Sovereign Maersk's boxes for Long Beach. (Thurs. Jan. 20 2000)

The Greek M/V TORM BROOKLYN (13,688 gross) was reported disabled 800 miles southeast of Bermuda Jan 15. Tug proceeding. ETA Jan 19. (Thurs. Jan. 20 2000)

The Norwegian M/V ALUTRANS (1,555 gross), Ghent for Rausand with aluminum slag, grounded at Gurskoya Jan 16. Subsequently arrived Molde Jan 17 with a severe list and taking water. (Wed. Jan. 19 2000)

The Indian tanker M/T RICHA (6,681 gross), with lubricating oil, was disabled by an engine-room fire in abt lat 19 47N, long 87 30E, Jan 15. In lat 19 40N, long 87 28.7E, Jan 17 and requires towage. (Tues. Jan. 18 2000)

Antugua & Barbuda vessel M/V MEMEL, (2,997 tons gross, built 1999) had fire in engine-room in lat 44 46.7N long 08 56W Jan 15. Main engine inoperable. Being towed to Corunna by salvage tug Ibaizabal Uno. (Mon. Jan. 17 2000)

The Faroe Islands refrigerated M/V HALGAFELLI (1,957 gt) grounded north of Anda Light in the Vesteraalen Islands. Crew rescued & brought to Sortland. Vessel refloated herself early today, drifted against Andoya Island with large list & sank. (Thurs. Jan. 13 2000)

Syrian M/V LADY HADIL (481 gt) grounded on Irwas Island, near Tartous 1230, Dec 27, due heavy storms. No refloating attempts made to date. (Wed. Jan. 12 2000)

Honduran M/V MATTHEOS (2,417 gt), loaded with 2,500 tons of iron, sank today after taking on water while docked at Kalamata port. Crew safely rescued. (Tues. Jan. 11 2000)

Singapore bulker M/V J. MARION SKY (23,277 gt, built 1991) was in collision with the 1999-built Antigua & Barbuda M/V INDUSTRIAL CENTURY (4,246 gt, built 1999) in lat 20 08N, long 83 32W, in clear weather on Jan 7. The handymax vessel, carrying a cargo of alumina hydrate and sand, sank nine minutes after the collision and 19 of the ship's 21 Philippine crew were rescued. The master of the ship & another crewmember have not been found, and the search for them has been abandoned. The survivors were picked up by the badly damaged Industrial Century's sister ship M/V Industrial Beacon, which was in the area at the time of the incident. The Century is heading for Curacao for repairs. The cause of the collision is unknown. (Mon. Jan. 10 2000)

The Bahamas passenger vessel M/V ISLAND BREEZE (31,793 gross), Casablanca for Tenerife with passengers, had boiler problems after sailing Funchal on Jan 5 & put back to Funchal Jan 6. Some passengers returning to UK, some remain on board. (Sat. Jan. 8 2000)

The Norwegian ferry M/V BARONEN (172 gross), Bergen for Olen with passengers, struck an unidentified object near the Ruanane Light, off Flesland, Jan 5. Moored Flesland same day. Sustained damage to bow section & taking water. Reported in danger of sinking. (Fri. Jan. 7 2000)

The Russian M/V DVINA (2,426 gross), Brightlingsea for River Humber with timber, grounded while outbound from Brightlingsea Jan 1. Refloated Jan 5 and proceeded. No pollution. May have sustained rudder damage. (Thurs. Jan. 6 2000)

The Panama M/V WOO YANG GLORY (2,415 gross), Kwangyang for Nagoya with steel, grounded off Mutsure Island Jan 3. Refloated with tug assistance Jan 4 and towed to Wakamatsu for inspection. Expected to have sustained bottom damage. (Wed. Jan. 5 2000)

The Cyprus bulk carrier M/V AIS MAMAS (10,273 gross), West Africa for India with logs, had water ingress into Hold No.1 off Cape Columbine Jan 1. All crew abandoned vessel & safely rescued. Tug Red Toucan proceeding, ETA Jan 3. Will tow to Saldanha Bay. (Tues. Jan. 4 2000)

The Ukrainian cargo ship M/V Tiksi (2,300 gross), flying a Cambodian flag, sank early 2 Jan. in the Black Sea and 1 crew member drowned, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry reported. The other 11 crew members were rescued from life boats about 8 miles from the Russian shore near the resort of Dzhugba, a duty officer in Moscow said. They were taken to shore on a tugboat. The vessel was sailing between Nikolayev, Ukraine & Poti, Georgia when it went down. The ministry said that the cause of the sinking was unknown, but it may have been stormy weather. No other details were available. (Sun. Jan. 2, 2000)

Seventeen people, including 2 young children, were rescued after abandoning the Syrian-flagged cargo vessel M/V Seven Seas in distress off Cyprus on 31 Dec. The survivors, described as 12 Syrians & 5 Romanians, were winched to safety by British royal air force and Cypriot police helicopters some 33 miles southeast of the East Mediterranean island. Most were crew of the vessel, which was laden with a cargo of steel on its way from Ukraine to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. When rescue teams arrived about an hour after the first distress signal was issued the survivors were found on two rafts. A helicopter search failed to locate the ship. Police said they were still investigating what triggered the distress call. "We assume it is on the sea bed by now," a rescue official told Reuters. The survivors included 2 young children. Whole families living in ships is not uncommon and many merchant ships now have such facilities. The distress signal was 1st picked up via satellite by British forces stationed in Cyprus. (Fri. Dec. 31 1999)

Spanish ro-ro vessel M/V ARROYOFRIO DOS ( 8,126 gross tons, built 1985) experienced steering problems off Ushant on Dec 27. Will proceed to Brest with tug assistance. (Thurs. Dec. 30 1999)

The Russian-flagged tanker M/T Volganeft 248 broke in two & its bows sank on 29 Dec. near the mouth of the Bosphorus, among the world's busiest shipping routes, spilling oil onto Istanbul's residential coastline. Turkish coast guards rescued 12 of the 17 man crew of the vessel which ran aground in strong winds overnight, after securing the stern of the vessel with cables to the shore. Five other crew members who initially chose to stay on board were taken ashore later. The ship, carrying 4,300 tons of heavy fuel oil, had passed through the Bosphorus strait when it went down. There was no disruption to traffic. Russia's Ministry for Emergencies said the vessel was of a type that normally plies the Volga-Don canal to pick up loads from the Volga's refineries. Thick layers of sludge washed into a nearby residential district, coating roads & sidewalk cafes. Bulldozers scraped up the spillage while shopkeepers donned rubber boots and grabbed shovels to pitch in. A strong wing halted work to prevent more oil from spilling into the sea. Istanbul municipality decided to impose a US$36,380 fine on the tanker's owner for pollution. (Wed. Dec. 29 1999)

M/T Erika Follow Up ......... as finger-pointing in the Erika sinking has continued, with an angry rebuff coming from the Maltese authorities following criticism of their shipping register, which had the tanker on its books. Responding to comments made by the French ambassador to Malta, Lino Vassallo from the country's maritime authority said: "It would be better if statements from people who are not technically authoritative on the subject were not made because they give the wrong impression and a distorted picture. I understand the reaction of the French people when faced with the disaster on their coast, and the tendency is for people to start pointing fingers. But when it comes down to reality, we did everything we had to do." The comments came as France switched the focus of its blame to Italian classification society Rina for failing to handle the ship properly and the EU stepped up its pressure on the Maltese and Cypriot flags to improve their standards before they joined the European Union.

Doubts were apparently raised over the thickness, and thus the strength, of longitudinal structures around the number 2 ballast tanks by a Rina surveyor. Although he was unable to make thickness measurements, he recommended that a further check be made in January this year, by which time the tanker had sunk. The classification society has begun its own examination of the cause of the sinking and said: "It is proper to expand the range of the inquiry in this important matter as it is unacceptable to express hasty and unfounded opinions about responsibilities at this stage. The investigation is underway and there is no evidence that the sinking of the ship may be linked to errors or omissions by Rina." In the meantime, the lawyer acting for the ship's master has said that Capt. Mathur had spotted rusting in one of the tanker's ballast tanks in Nov. and had reported this to its owner, Tevere Shipping, as well as to Rina. The classification society denies receiving any such report.

More on The Loss of M/T Erika ........ from our friend Barry Parker. Great photos.
See Also

Incident Report For M/V Lassia ........ salvage efforts info, pictures & commentary regarding the bulk carrier "Lassia" sagging incident last month.

NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shi ppers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. It's dangerous out there.

OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace

6. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"

Here are our suggested world wide web sites of the week for your business, your information & your amusement ...............

IATA Y2K Rollover Website ........ new material sine the "magic day."

THE Certified #1 Most Complete Shopping Site ....... includes transport industry shopping. No kidding.

U.S. FDA Food Safety

Int'l Center For Trade & Sustainable Development Calendar

Commentary On INCOTERMS 2000 ........ from our great friend Peter Jones, the chief legal counsel for FIATA.

Int'l Chamber of Commerce Bookstore ............. get the new Incoterms, effective 1 Jan. 2000.

World Trade Organization Meeting Schedule ........ if you'd had this in Seattle last month, you would have known to leave town!

Win The "Name The Irish Ferry Contest" ........ free trips for life! Hurry, ends this month.

Green Shipping Hamburg Conference ............ Int'l Conference on Incentives for Environmentally Sound Maritime Transport , 16 - 17 Feb.

Int'l Ship Suppliers Assn. ........... Dr. Jossi Sheffi, director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun a new e-commerce company

Argosoft Software .......... new program allows shipping companies to track jobs from an initial job estimate to the actual billing of the client with speed & simplicity. Argosoft is claimed as a great improvement over existing software programs for this task.

Emons Transportation ........ the new website.

ABF Freight System ........ as several new E-Commerce tools, including Shipment Planner, which offers shipment management and tracking via a simple calendar interface, & Dynamic Rerouting, which allows in-transit shipments to be rerouted via ABF's Internet site.

American Freightways features are color-coded service maps & through-rates between U.S. & Canadian points.

eFruit International ...........hosts an online vertical marketplace where buyers & sellers of fruit juice and fresh fruit meet to do business.

The America's Cup ........ special coverage of the world's most prestigious yacht race, from The Weather Channel.

MGN Shipbuilding Online Conference

Railroad Stocks Special Report ............ from the Wall Street Journal.

"Untreated Water & The Traveling Sailor" ........ new article.

"Traveling Off The Beaten Path? Get a Hepatitis Vaccine" ......... new article.

Teamsters On Strike At Overnite Transportation ......... their side told. See our full story of this conflict in Part 1, above

National Shipbuilding Research & Documentation Center ...... has just released two page turners. If you're in the business, you'll be interested.
1.] NSRP Ship Structure Application Protocol. Report #0429
2.] NSRP Piping Application Protocol. Report #0424

George Bush Intercontinental Airport ...... Houston

Tall Ship Friends

Aberdeen Boat Club

Topica ...... where you go to sign up for Internet discussions groups. An increddible range.

Doing Business Online Seminar ........... March 23 & 24, 2000, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Int'l in San Francisco. A nationally recognized faculty of legal & business professionals will provide invaluable information for all lawyers & corporate managers involved in developing businesses on the web.

Thousands of Free Photos & Screen Savers .......... for our readers.

The Hamster Dance ........ annoy everyone in your entire office with a single website, if you have sound. Cut to the chase!

OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World

7. Port Truckers Ruled Independent

LAX - 19 Jan. 2000 -- A blue-ribbon panel of specially appointed retired judges has ruled that over 1,000 truck drivers who operate out of the Los Angeles & Long Beach harbors are correctly classified as independent contractors.

In this most recent challenge to the manner in which hundreds of harbor-based trucking companies throughout the U.S. do business, this panel rejected the claim that the truck drivers were employees, and in doing so, set back the continuing efforts of various unions to organize harbor truckers, independent truck owners & drivers who haul containers out of the Los Angeles & Long Beach harbors.

This action was filed as a class action on behalf of all truckers who contracted with Interstate Consolidation Services & Intermodal Container Services since July 1992.

The case of IRWIN ALBILLO & LUIS MONTOYA Vs. INTERMODAL CONTAINER SERVICE, INC., (L.A. Superior Court Case No. BC 174508) was tried as a class action in Aug. & Sept. 1999 before Retired U.S. District Court Judge Eugene Lynch, Retired Calif. Court of Appeal Chief Justice Arleigh M. Woods & Retired L.A. Superior Court Judge Keith Wisot.

These judges, in a unique procedure authorized by the Calif. Constitution, were specially appointed by the L.A. Superior Court & the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board to try the action.

The key issues put before the Court: (1) whether the class members were correctly classified as independent contractors or whether they were actually employees; (2) whether the class members were converted to employees because they agreed by contract to purchase worker's compensation insurance as a prerequisite for contracting with Intermodal; (3) whether Intermodal's requirement that the class members purchase certain insurance through them or on their own violated federal transportation regulations (49 C.F.R. 376.12), Calif. insurance law or the Unfair Business Practices Act; and (4) whether the retention of insurance monies collected over & above the cost of insurance as an administrative fee constituted an unfair business practice or fraud.

The three judge panel unanimously found in favor of Intermodal on each issue. "The nation's entire transportation industry has been following this case and waiting for this decision," explained Intermodal's lead attorney Robert Millman. "Every major port, from Seattle to New York, will be impacted by it."

The courts have shown a willingness to confer employee status on workers not classified as employees by the companies they work with (as in Microsoft v. Vizcaino). However, the Intermodal decision affirms that the manner in which harbor trucking companies conduct business using independent truckers is both legal & fair, and in conformity with federal & state law.

It also represents the latest in a string of setbacks to unions who have attempted to organize the harbor drivers. "It represents a win for the trucking industry and the truck drivers, who have the ability to, and in fact do, earn more for themselves and their families working as independent busines smen than they would as employees," added Keith Jacoby, lead trial lawyer in the action.

Originally filed in July 1997, this case was one of 33 class actions filed by the plaintiff's attorney against other intermodal trucking companies. It was the 1st of those cases to be tried, but certainly not the 1st such look at the port trucker issue by California courts.

A similar, non-class action Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit attempting to outlaw the independent contractor status of port truckers was defeated prior to the significant expense of a trial in 1996 by the LAX logistics law firm of Countryman & McDaniel, publishers of The Cargo Letter.

8. Pirate Attacks Up 40% For 1999

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 (Reuters) Pirate attacks worldwide surged 40% in 1999 as economic and political troubles in Indonesia spurred a dramatic increase in incidents in Southeast Asia.

The Int'l Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in its annual report on 24 Jan. that the number of actual & attempted pirate raids increased to 285 last year from 202 in 1998.

But the number of seafarers killed fell to 3 last year from 78 in 1998. "This could be due to greater efforts by governments to combat piracy," the report said, citing the recent sentencing to death of 13 pirates in China.

Indonesia accounted for 113 of the attacks, almost double its 1998 total of 60 and the lion's share of worldwide raids.

"We believe it was due to the economic situation & political instability," Noel Choong, regional manager of the IMB's Piracy Reporting Center in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, told Reuters.

He was referring to upheavals in Indonesia after the resignation of former President Suharto in 1998.


There was also a dramatic increase in the number of attacks in the Singapore Strait, which separates Singapore island from Indonesia's Riau Archipelago & links the Strait of Malacca with the South China Sea. There were 13 compared with just 1 in 1998.

But Choong said the frequency of attacks in that area dropped sharply after the Singapore Coast Guard and the Indonesian Marine Police stepped up patrols, and no incidents were reported in the final three months of 1999.

"It is a very clear indication that with cooperation, authorities can reduce piracy or eradicate it altogether," Choong said.

The IMB has asked Indonesia to mount more patrols in its waters. "There may be a decline in attacks if the Indonesian authorities are serious about eradicating piracy in their region," Choong said.

Seven countries or regions accounted for more than 2/3 of the attacks -- Indonesia (113), Bangladesh (23), Malaysia (18), India (14), Singapore Strait (13), Somalia (11) & Nigeria (11).

Attacks dropped from 15 to 6 in the Philippines & from 10 to 2 in Ecuador.

Most of the attacks -- 217 of 285 - involved pirates boarding ships. There was a decrease in the number of hijackings to 8 from 17.

There were also fewer assaults on crews, but many more incidents of crews taken hostage. Knives rather than guns were the most common weapon.


The IMB cited government efforts to combat piracy as a possible explanation for the dramatic decline in the number of crew killed last year.

"In the last year, both India & China have arrested alleged ship hijackers and China recently sentenced to death 13 of the hijackers of M/V Cheung Son, one of the country's most brutal recent cases of piracy involving the murder of 23 Chinese seamen," it said.

Last month, a court in China's southern province of Guangdong sentenced the 13 men, all Chinese except for one Indonesian, to death for clubbing the seamen to death & throwing their bodies overboard tied to weights.

The pirates had posed as Chinese paramilitary police and hijacked the 10,373 GRT bulk carrier M/V Cheung Son in Nov. 1998.

Visit our new Vessel Casualties & Pirate Activity Database.

Written from wire stories, the Associated Press, Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources. [an error occurred while processing this directive]