J.M William Turner – The Shipwreck, 1805, London - Tate Britain

Shipwrecks and other disasters at sea were frequently painted during the Romance period.

Costa Concordia Salvage Operation

It is expected to be the biggest salvage operation ever attempted. As of September 2013 the salvage has cost over $800 million.

The Bulk Carrier Double Fortune

The Panama flagged bulk carrier Double Fortune was built in 2010. Gross tonnage and deadweight are 50617 t and 95790 t respectively.

Manoeuvring Container Operations

Containerisation and multimodal transport: the development of door-to-door transport.

Fire Onboard Vessel

Fire on board ship is one of the most dangerous risks for vessels and cargos. Electrical equipments, flammable liquid on board, engines and boilers often cause it.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Moore Stephens Says Offshore Maritime Sector Could Be Hit By New UK Tax Charge

January 25, 2015.
International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says companies in the offshore maritime sector could be among those hit by a 25 percent Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) charge under draft UK legislation scheduled to enter force in April 2015.Under the draft legislation published by the UK government in December 2014, the new DPT could potentially apply to many UK companies transacting with overseas connected parties.

Moore Stephens tax partner Sue Bill says, “The legislation as currently drafted is very wide-ranging and can apply wherever a UK company has entered into arrangements with connected parties involving enterprises or transactions with ‘insufficient economic substance’. For example, this could apply where a UK company leases equipment from an overseas-connected company located in a low-tax jurisdiction, where the lessor’s staff do not carry on any significant activities and where it is reasonable to assume that the transaction or transactions were defined to secure a reduction in the UK company’s corporation tax
liability.

“Companies caught by the rules will be subject to a 25 percent tax charge. This will not usually apply to tonnage tax companies, because
any transactions with related parties are unlikely to reduce the company’s tax liability as this is based on the net tonnage of vessels owned or chartered in to the company. However, the new rules could potentially affect many other companies, including those operating in the offshore sector.“Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has said that further consideration needs to be given in certain circumstances to the interaction of these new rules with the cap on bareboat charter payments made to an associate by a company working on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). It is therefore not yet clear whether these rules will be modified for companies working on the UKCS.”

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping, offshore maritime and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world’s leading accounting and consulting associations, with 667 offices of independent member firms in 105 countries, employing 27,081 people and generating revenues in 2013 of $2.7 billion.

Source: http://www.marineinsight.com.

BIMCO Launches Vetting System To Drive Global Improvement At Dry Bulk Terminals

January 25, 2015.
BIMCO is now calling on shipping companies to participate in its new vetting system designed to gather information on the quality of the facilities and service at dry bulk terminals – and use it to drive improvement at terminals around the world.

To gather the information, seafarers must complete a quick survey each time they leave a terminal – this can be submitted online or saved offline to send later. The identity of the ship or company sending the survey will be kept confidential by BIMCO.

Once BIMCO has enough survey data, it will create and publish information on the quality of the following facilities and services at the given terminals:


  • handling of loading/unloading
  • mooring and berthing arrangements
  • information exchange between the terminal and the ship
  • quality and availability of equipment and other relevant services.

Terminals will be given a star rating providing a quick overview of its performance based on the five categories mentioned above. BIMCO will also publish detailed reports which ships can use as guidance for planning future use of terminals around the world. For example, shipping companies will be able to find out if there is a trend for ship damage or surges at particular terminals.

Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO said:

“With the launch of this vetting scheme, we want to provide shipping companies with some valuable information about dry bulk terminals that they can use for better planning and efficiency.

“Even better, sharing the feedback of the equipment and services of terminals will highlight which ones are performing the best – or the least – which we expect to help drive improvement where the need is clear.

“The more data we receive the better results we will get – so we’re calling on shipping companies to spend 5 minutes taking the survey when they leave terminals – so they can benefit from the resulting data.”

The survey is available online and to download for offline use, or can be mailed out upon request. All information is protected by BIMCO – shipping companies can contact us for assistance using marine@bimco.org. Ship and shipping company names will remain confidential and will not be used in any reporting.

Source: http://www.marineinsight.com

US Judge to Rule on Deepwater Horizon Penalty

January 25, 2015.
The final phase of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial began on Tuesday, January 20th which will see New Orleans District judge determine the amount of the fine that oil giant BP should pay.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster unleashed 3.19 million bbl. of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to a recent ruling by US District Judge Carl Barbier, New Orleans. However, the court found that BP was not grossly negligent in its source control efforts.

In line with the ruling, this is one million less from the claimed discharge of 4.19 million bbl. by the US government.

According to BP’s estimates the amount totals in 2.45 million.

The determination of the discharged oil amount is critical as it will serve as the basis for calculation of the fine.

The recent ruling has the projected fine reduced for around USD 4 billion reaching up to USD 13.7 billion for violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) if an oil spill has been caused by gross negligence penalties can reach up to USD 4,300.

BP said that during the penalty proceedings, the court is required to consider the application of eight statutory factors, including the violator’s efforts to minimize or mitigate the effects of the spill.

“BP believes that considering all the statutory penalty factors together weighs in favor of a penalty at the lower end of the statutory range,” the company said.
According to Kara Lankford, Ocean Conservancy’s Interim Director of the Gulf Restoration Program it is time for BP to make it right in the Gulf.

“As the penalty phase of the BP trial begins and we move closer to a resolution of the largest environmental disaster in the U.S., we hope that BP will be held accountable for the maximum Clean Water Act fines. For a successful resolution of this case, we must ensure that funding is made available to monitor the Gulf ecosystem and to restore the offshore environment where the oil disaster began,”  she added.
Should BP be ordered to pay the maximum penalty, it would be the largest fine levied by the government for an environmental disaster.

However, environmentalists believe it is still insufficient to cover the human and ecological loss.

Last year, energy company BP was found guilty of gross negligence and willful misconduct for its role in the spill that cost eleven people their lives.

BP had already paid USD 4.5-billion criminal settlement with the Justice Department in 2012 in other proceedings.

Source: http://worldmaritimenews.com

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Chinese arbitration rules updated to reflect best practices in international arbitration, says CIETAC

January 22, 2015. 

China's oldest arbitration centre has updated its rules for 2015 in order to "adapt to the newest developments in international arbitration practice" while at the same time accounting for agreements that make reference to the breakaway Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions.

The 2015 Chinese International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) rules came into effect on 1 January 2015. They introduce an emergency arbitration procedure, in line with that offered by other international arbitration centres; along with new rules on single arbitration for multiple contracts, 'joinder' of third parties to an existing arbitration and consolidation.

     CIETAC was established in 1956 in Beijing. It has other mainland Chinese regional sub-commissions in Chongqing and Tianjin, and opened a branch in Hong Kong in 2012. Its updated rules include a new chapter of special provisions for Hong Kong arbitration, including a different fee scale and express statement that the law applicable to CIETAC Hong Kong proceedings is the arbitration law of Hong Kong unless the parties agree otherwise. CIETAC has also established a new arbitration court in Beijing to take over case administration from its secretariat.
    
      "CIETAC has incorporated existing international arbitration practices into its new rules, for example, a transcript of the arbitration hearing," said arbitration expert Helena Chen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "The new rules also echo the recent amendments by major international arbitration institutions to their rules including the consolidation of arbitration proceedings, emergency arbitrators, an arbitration concerning disputes arising out of multiple contracts, and others. These amendments facilitate compatibility of CIETAC's practice with internationally accepted arbitration practice."

    "The new rules also address CIETAC's internal structure by creating an 'arbitration court'. However, such restructure is more an internal adjustment within CIETAC and will not have a big impact on parties to arbitration," she said.

     CIETAC introduced provisions for consolidating multiple arbitrations in its 2012 update to its rules. However, these did not allow additional parties to join existing arbitrations. The 2015 rules now permit 'joinder' of an additional party, even over another party's objection, where it can be established that the agreement governing the arbitration also binds that party. CIETAC has also updated its consolidation rules to allow consolidation in certain circumstances even where a party objects.

     The new rules also permit a party to apply to CIETAC for emergency arbitration, in line with recent international trends. The new rules will most likely apply in Hong Kong, where emergency arbitration is legal, as only courts are entitled to grant interim relief under mainland Chinese arbitration law. If CIETAC grants an emergency application, it will be required to appoint an emergency arbitrator within one day of receipt of the application and requisite fees. The emergency arbitrator will be required to issue an order within 15 days of appointment, unless CIETAC grants an extension of time.

     The former Shanghai and Shenzhen (South China) offices, or sub-commissions, declared their independence from CIETAC after it updated its rules in 2012. Following the split, CIETAC issued a declaration that the sub-commissions were no longer entitled to hear cases containing CIETAC Shanghai or CIETAC Shenzhen arbitration clauses. Both Shanghai, which is now known as the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC), and Shenzhen, now the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA), have said that they will continue to accept these cases.The updated CIETAC rules contain provisions to "restructure" its Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions as branches of the main CIETAC body that operate under CIETAC rules. The new rules state that cases where parties have agreed to refer disputes to CIETAC South China/Shenzhen will be heard by the Shenzhen sub-commission, and that cases where parties have agreed to refer disputes to CIETAC Shanghai will be heard by the Shanghai sub-commission. CIETAC Beijing will administer cases "where the sub-commission/arbitration centre agreed upon by the parties does not exist or its authorisation has been terminated", according to the updated rules.

     However, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court (Shanghai IPC) recently held that SHIAC had jurisdiction to hear cases containing a CIETAC Shanghai arbitration clause "as an independent arbitral institute". The judge found that SHIAC had been "established through a formal procedure and legitimately registered" with the local municipal government. The Guangdong Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court (Shenzhen IPC) issued a similar decision in a case involving SCIA one week later, although its ruling has not yet been made public. In September 2013, the national Supreme People's Court (SPC) ordered that jurisdictional disputes in all cases involving CIETAC Shanghai or South China had to be referred to it first.Arbitration expert Helena Chen said that there would be more court orders in line with the IPC's reasoning in the Shanghai and South China cases, as a number of jurisdictional disputes had been referred to the courts in line with the SPC's September 2013 ruling."CIETAC's announcement on the reorganisation of its South China and Shanghai sub-commissions came right before the release of the IPC's orders," she said. "In terms of timing, there are some doubts whether this was really a coincidence."

Source: http://www.out-law.com

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

UPDATE: ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE NAIROBI INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE REMOVAL OF WRECKS


January 13, 2015. The Circular published on 21 October 2014 informed Members that the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (“WRC”) enters into force on 14 April 2015.

Article 12 of the WRC provides that “the registered owner of a ship of 300 gross tonnage and above and flying the flag of a State Party shall be required to maintain insurance or other financial security, such as a guarantee of a bank or similar institution, to cover liability under this Convention in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime, but in all cases not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with article 6(1)(b) of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended”. It is also a requirement to obtain a certificate from a WRC State Party attesting to such insurance. All International Group Clubs have agreed to issue Blue Cards so that Members may apply for a WRC certificate.

Certificates must be obtained from the State in which a ship is flagged, providing the State is party to the Convention. Ships flagged in countries that are not parties will need to obtain a certificate from a relevant authority in a State Party.

The Association understands that, following consultation with the International Group, the following four WRC States’ maritime authorities have on the date of publication of this circular agreed in principle to facilitate the smooth entry into force of the Convention and assist shipowners by issuing certificates to ships flagged in countries that are not party to the Convention, subject to any conditions the relevant authority may apply.

While web links have been provided below to the websites of the relevant authorities, only Germany has published specific information about applications for WRC Certificates. Members should therefore be aware that these authorities may not yet have finalised their internal procedures.  

United Kingdom - The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency will prioritise CLC, Bunker and Athens Convention certificate renewal applications followed by new WRC certificate applications submitted by UK registered vessels; then existing MCA customers and vessels calling at UK ports; and then vessels flagged in third countries, subject to the MCA’s capacity to process applications. The Agency has advised that due to expected large volumes of applications there may be delays in processing WRC certificates.

Germany - BSH (Germany’s certificate issuing authority) has advised the International Group that they will give priority to certificates required by German flagged ships, ships calling at German Ports and ships operated by German companies. In addition they will prioritise CLC, Bunker and Athens Convention renewal certificates. WRC certificate applications can be submitted at any time between the date of this circular and the convention’s entry into force date of 14 April. The BSH expect a large number of applications and there may be some delay in issuing certificates.

Denmark - The Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) will give priority to certificates required by Danish flagged ships, ships from the Faeroe Islands, ships calling at Danish Ports and ships operated by Danish companies. Other applications will be prioritised according to DMA’s criteria for processing certificates and operational demands. DMA is likely to process certificates for CLC, Bunker and Athens certificates before processing WRC certificate applications. A dedicated email address for electronic applications has not yet been posted on the DMA website, but it is likely to follow the format in place for CLC, Bunkers and Athens.

Marshall Islands – International Registries, Inc. will give priority to certificate applications from Marshall Islands flagged ships. The International Group is aware that the Panama Ship Registry is in negotiation with the Marshall Islands with a view to issuing WRC certificates for Panamanian flagged ships. The club advises owners with ships flagged in Panama to seek further guidance from their contacts in the Panama Ship Register before seeking to obtain certificates from other States.

The current contracting States to the WRC on the date of publication of this circular are:

Contracting States                                                    Entry into force date

Bulgaria* (accession) 18 February 2012                     14 April 2015

Congo (accession) 19 May 2014                                 14 April 2015

Denmark* (ratification) 14 April 2014                        14 April 2015

Germany (ratification) 20 June 2013                           14 April 2015

India (accession) 23 March 2011                                 14 April 2015

Iran (accession) 19 April 2011                                     14 April 2015

Malaysia (accession) 28 November 2013                    14 April 2015

Marshall Islands* 27 October 2014                             14 April 2015

Morocco (accession) 13 June 2013                              14 April 2015

Nigeria (accession) 23 July 2009                                 14 April 2015

Palau (accession) 29 September 2011                          14 April 2015

UK* (accession) 30 November 2012                           14 April 2015

*denotes that the State Party has, pursuant to Article 3.2 of the Convention, extended the application of the Convention to wrecks located within its territory, including the territorial sea.

 All clubs in the International Group have issued similar circulars.

Source:http://www.skuld.com

Monday, 12 January 2015

Ships face lower sulphur fuel requirements in emission control areas from 1 January 2015

January 12, 2015.

Ships trading in designated emission control areas will have to use on board fuel oil with a sulphur content of no more than 0.10% from 1 January 2015, against the limit of 1.00% in effect up until 31 December 2014.

The stricter rules come into effect under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution form ships (MARPOL) Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships), specifically under regulation 14, which covers emissions of Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and particulate matter from ships. These requirements were adopted in October 2008 by consensus and entered into force in July 2010.

The emission control areas established under MARPOL Annex VI for SOx are: the Baltic Sea area; the North Sea area; the North American area (covering designated coastal areas off the United States and Canada); and the United States Caribbean Sea area (around Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands).

Outside the emission control areas, the current limit for sulphur content of fuel oil is 3.50%, falling to 0.50% m/m on and after 1 January 2020. The 2020 date is subject to a review, to be completed by 2018, as to the availability of the required fuel oil. Depending on the outcome of the review, this date could be deferred to 1 January 2025.

Ships may also meet the SOx requirements by using gas as a fuel or an approved equivalent method, for example, exhaust gas cleaning systems or “scrubbers”.

Source: http://www.imo.org

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Cruise ship passenger drill requirements come into force on 1 January 2015

January 7, 2015.

New requirements for musters of newly embarked passengers prior to or immediately upon departure come into force on 1 January 2015.

Further SOLAS amendments entering into force address enclosed-space entry and rescue drills and the code for recognized organizations.

Passenger muster 
The amended regulation III/19 in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea was adopted in 2013 in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident, to ensure that passengers undergo safety drills, including mustering at the lifeboat stations, before the ship departs or immediately on departure.

Previously, the requirement was for the muster of passengers to take place within 24 hours of their embarkation.

Enclosed-space entry and rescue drills
An amendment to SOLAS regulation III/19, on emergency training and drills, makes mandatory the carrying out of enclosed-space entry and rescue drills, which will require crew members with enclosed-space entry or rescue responsibilities to participate in an enclosed-space entry and rescue drill at least once every two months.

The International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC Code), the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU Code) and the Code of Safety for Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC Code) have been similarly amended.

The aim of the amendments is to try and reduce the fatalities which might occur if crew enter enclosed spaces without adequate training or protection.

Code for Recognized Organizations 
The Code for recognized organizations (RO Code) becomes mandatory, on 1 January 2015, under SOLAS, MARPOL and the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966.

Administrations (flag States) may delegate certain responsibilities for surveying and certification of ships to “recognized organizations” (often the classification societies), which can act on behalf of the flag State. The RO Code provides flag States with standards mechanisms for the oversight, assessment and authorization of recognized organizations (ROs) and clarifies the responsibilities of such organizations.​

Source: http://www.imo.org

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Car transporter Hoegh Osaka runs aground at Bramble Bank in Solent

January 6, 2015.

Concern is mounting for a giant ship which was at the centre of a major rescue drama last night after running aground in the Solent.

The car transporter the Hoegh Osaka was on its way to Germany when it ran on to the Brambles Bank, at the entrance to Southampton Water and began listing 45 degrees. And air and sea rescue operation saved 25 crew from the ship but today there are concerns that it may become unstable due to high tides.

Emergency services are monitoring the 51,000 ton ship which is stuck in the mud but there are concerns that at high tide at about 10.30am the ship could move.
A coastguard spokesman said the incident was a “unusual situation and a difficult one to predict.”

Last night a Solent Coastguard helicopter based in Lee-on-the-Solent was involved in the incident, as was the Rescue 169 rescue helicopter based at RAF Chivenor. Lifeboats from Calshot, Cowes and Yarmouth and two Southampton VTS pilots were also on board the ship. The Calshot D Class inshore Lifeboat Willet rescued a casualty from the bow of the ship and another from the water after he had jumped from the ship.The crew of the Calshot RNLI Lifeboat handed the casualties over to the Yarmouth RNLI crew on their All Weather Lifeboat, Severn Class Volunteer Spirit.

A Yarmouth RNLI crew member was winched by helicopter from the All Weather Lifeboat onto the Hough Osaka to help pull up casualties who were trapped aboard the troubled vessel.
A helicopter airlifted most of 25 crew members to safety from the180m vessel after it ran aground at 9.20pm near East Cowes. South Central Ambulance Service assessed 22 members and say they took three men to Queen Alexandra Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Other crew were airlifted to HMS Daedalus at Stubbington and put up over night.

Originally the captain, third mate and a VTS Pilot were left on board but have since been air lifted by Lee on Solent Coastguard. The owners Hoegh Autoliners say the vessel is “stable” and not taking in water and no pollution has been caused. Witnesses report seeing the helicopter hovering above the huge vessel – which is registered in Singapore - and seeing torchlights flashing around on board.

A statement released by vessel owners said: “Hoegh Autoliners primary concern has been for the crew on board and it has confirmed that one crew member has been airlifted to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth with non-lifethreatneing injuries. “The remaining crew has have been taken to HMS Daedalus at Stubbington by helicopter and will be accommodated locally overnight.

“However a small number of senior officers remain onboard.”The statement added the vessel was not taking in water and is in a stable condition and added: “A salvage master has been appointed and Hoegh Autoliners are fully cooperating with the authorities at this time to ensure the vessel remains safe.”

Hoegh Autoliners has appointed salvage specialists Svitzer who are sending teams to the site. They will assess the vessel to ensure it is in a safe condition and there is no spillage or pollution. They are due to liaise with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are on standby to assist with the operation. A statement from the RNLI said: "Just before 9.30pm this evening, Solent Coastguard requested the help of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

"A large cargo ship had grounded on the Brambles bank in the entrance of the Southampton Waters.
"Currently four RNLI Lifeboats from Calshot, Cowes and Yarmouth are in attendance alongside the Solent Coastguard Helicopter, Southampton Patrol and four tug boats, two from Esso and two from Southampton Docks.

"The ship’s crew are being rescued from the water and from onboard the stricken vessel, which is at a list of 45 degrees."

The police helicopter also helped in the operation and has been taking thermal images of the ship, pictured on its side below, to help in the investigation.Rescue services say she ran aground on a rising tide, which is now falling and will not be high again until about 10am this morning.

Red Funnel ferries has put speed restrictions in place while the operation is ongoing. National Maritime Operations Centre commander for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Steve Carson said the ship had started to list again during the rescue operation. He said: "All persons have been evacuated and some crew members had minor injuries and are now in hospital."The majority of the crew members were airlifted off but all members have now been taken off after the vessel started to list again."He added plans for salvage were under way and would not comment on how the ship ran aground."Indeed the investigation will follow and the authorities have been informed at this time. I will not speculate on the circumstances," he said. "The salvage operations have commences, not the removal of the vessel but the plans for its removal. We will have to wait until daylight to fully assess. The owners have appointed salvage operators and did so quite swiftly."

Source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk

Monday, 5 January 2015

Six Feared Dead After Merchant Ships Collide Off Italy

January 5, 2015.

A ship leaves the Marina di Ravenna harbor, Italy. Two people drowned and four were missing at sea and feared dead after a Turkish cargo ship collided with a merchant vessel in choppy seas near the northern Adriatic port of Marina di Ravenna, Italian officials said.

A Turkish ship with 11 crew members sank after the collision with a vessel carrying a Belize flag in poor visibility a mile from the Italian Adriatic port of Ravenna, a coastguard official said.

The mayor of Ravenna Fabrizio Matteucci said on Italian state television that the dead and missing were all Turkish men from the ship Gokbel which sank after the collision with the Belize-flagged Lady Aziza at around 0800 GMT.

“There are two victims and four missing,” he said, adding that he had received the latest information from the coastguard leading the rescue operation, which was hampered by “prohibitive” sea conditions and fog.

The names of the dead and missing have not been released.

Earlier on Sunday the coastguard said one person was dead and two missing, and they were trying to save four people they had located in the sea.

Five members of the Turkish ship have been rescued and are in good condition and there were no casualties among the crew of the other ship, Matteucci said.

Source: http://www.marineinsight.com
             http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Norman Atlantic ferry: Fire hampers search for victims

January 4, 2015.

Fierce heat from slow-burning blazes is still keeping rescue crews and investigators from searching the hold and vehicle decks of the Norman Atlantic ferry.

Parts of the vessel are still burning nearly a week after it caught fire while sailing from Greece to Italy. Investigators recovered a "black box" recorder after the ferry arrived in the Italian port of Brindisi on Friday. It is not clear what caused the blaze, which killed at least 11 people.

Up to 19 are said to still be missing. It took rescuers more than two days to extract 477 survivors from the burning ferry, mostly by helicopter. The Italian prosecutor leading the investigation into the cause of the fire, Giuseppe Volpe, has said he fears that the bodies of would-be illegal migrants could be found in the hold.

Smouldering

Port Captain Mario Valente said on Saturday that temperatures were still "very high" inside the car deck. Smoke still poured from the smouldering vessel. "There is a continuing slow combustion, but a bit less than yesterday," Reuters quoted Capt Valente as saying. "It will be a few days before all the fire outbreaks are completely extinguished." He said investigators needed "a bit more time" before they could get down into the hold. The Norman Atlantic was listing visibly as it was tugged into Brindisi's port on Friday. Fire officials said cars and trucks were still slowly burning inside.

Greek authorities have said that up to 19 people are missing. Mr Volpe said on Friday that about 10 to 15 people were unaccounted for, having earlier said dozens might be missing. The captain, owner and operator of the ship as well as three crew members are reported to have been placed under investigation by an Italian court. Earlier in the week, two Albanian seamen were killed on a tugboat towing the ferry after they were struck by a connecting cable.

The ferry was sailing from Patras in Greece to the Italian city of Ancona when it caught fire on Sunday. Passengers described being trapped between the the burning heat of the fire below deck and freezing rain and huge waves. Survivors said people had fought for spaces in lifeboats and helicopter baskets, and complained that the crew seemed overwhelmed by events.

Source: http://www.bbc.com