Maritime Cook Islands Annual Review
Over the last 12 months, Maritime Cook Islands (MCI) has continued to grow its business despite the ongoing depressed environment in which the shipping industry finds itself.
Since last September, MCI’s number of registered vessels has grown from 448 to 526, a total percentage increase of 17%.
The number of SOLAS ships has risen from 165 to 202, and the number of vessels permanently registered to MCI has grown to 160.
Tankers and yachts have seen the sharpest increases, with tanker tonnage up from 47,000 tonnes to almost 219,000 tonnes (more than 360%). Commercial and private yachts have been registering an average of one per week, for a current total of 266. The main growth areas for yacht registers have been in Singapore and the EU.
“We are naturally very pleased that owners, both repeat and new customers, across a broad spectrum, have looked in force to Maritime Cook Islands as their registry of choice,” said Glenn Armstrong, Managing Director at MCI. “We have added vessels in almost every class, and we expect this trend to continue as we move towards the end of 2015 and into 2016. We are especially proud of our achievements in the tanker and yacht sectors, and we have also seen strong growth in cargo vessels and other types.”
Deputy Registrar Focus
Victoria Getman Kimonos, our lady in Cyprus
1) How did you meet MCI?
I met MCI’s CEO, Glenn Armstrong, through our mutual colleague and friend Mr Cem, from Klas Shipping in Turkey. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Mr Cem for the introduction and to thank Glenn for the chance to join MCI’s global family of DRs.
2) What developments have come since you linked up with MCI?
When I came aboard with MCI, I was able to learn about the electronic registry, particularly CIORE, MCI’s bespoke database. The system and platform is frankly revolutionary. It has so many vital functions and aspects of information, it really helps me deliver extra service value to shipowners and managers.
3) How do you characterise and describe MCI to your clients?
In shipping, perhaps more than in most other businesses, time is literally money. I tend to focus on MCI’s status as an open registry with strong IMO links and a very speedy process – mainly because that process is 100% digitised. This means any DR, such as myself, can log on and perform all the work required to register or certify a ship in their time zone and in their own office (no loss of time for couriers, etc). MCI’s attitude to business is also very friendly and their approach fosters a network akin to family. The hugely experienced MCI staff is tireless in client care, and always ready to assist owners and operators in diverse technical matters as well as in the registration process.
4) Do you think MCI has a natural target audience where you are based?
For sure! MCI has a natural audience in our area and its trustworthy reputation is growing. I am seeing owners who have registered one vessel with MCI then come back to me asking to do the same with their newly acquired vessels.
5) What does MCI need to do to make itself even more appealing to owners?
In my view, MCI should simply continue to focus and build upon what they are doing now: expeditious and professional monitoring of vessel inspections, swift rectification of any observed deficiencies, and ongoing strong commitment to client relations and care.
6) Where do you see your relationship with MCI in five years’ time?
I see myself fully ensconced in the MCI family, working alongside a prosperous, fast-growing, reputable, reliable flag state.
Up, Up and Record!
‘Wheelhouse this is Fly-bridge, hey, Curt, we’ve got a pair of whales – they’re two miles out at zero-four-zero degrees!’
On the handheld uhf radio I called to Curt from the topdeck, fly-bridge of RV Whale Song under the flag of the Maritime Cook Islands, where Carrie and I were on watch looking for humpback whales for filming with our visiting production crew.
Sea Dog TV International, a local Perth film and production company brought 5 crew, 27 cameras and a tonne of enthusiasm aboard RV Whale Song for 4 weeks of filming in August 2014. The aim of the mission was to capture integral moments in the lives of humpback whales during their winter breeding season.
Humpback whales make impressive annual migrations from summer, polar feeding regions to tropical, winter breeding locations. In Western Australia, humpback whales in Breeding Stock D spend the austral summer feeding in the Antarctic and then with decreasing daylight and decreasing water temperature, they begin their annual migration to mate and calve in the tropics, particularly in the ancient Kimberley region. Humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to the Cook Islands during the austral winter too, these whales belonging to Breeding Stock F. Warm, calm tropical waters, where new born calves learn the tricks of being a humpback whale, are the ideal location as these neonates are born with only a thin blubber layer.
As we approached the pair laying at the surface, we could see they were positioned very close to one another and every couple of minutes one whale rolled over, thus exposing the 5 metre long pectoral fins which were waved and flopped on the water surface in behaviours noted as a pectoral fin wave and a pectoral fin slap. While noting the pairs’ behaviours, Carrie and I were slightly concerned that the other animal might accidently take the brunt of the slap, but with each roll and wave and slap, remarkably and deftly the whale whacked the water and not it’s companion. Despite looking mildly “out-of-control”, this was clearly not the case! Both whales were onto it!
One of the main aims of the film crew and the focus for the film Birthplace of the Giants, of which we were commencing filming, was to satellite tag a pregnant humpback whale and attempt to follow her journey through the birthing process. Assessing each pod of whales for the presence a pregnant animal was step number one and then assessing their behaviour and suitability for filming came next. Determining that the current pod was two adult humpback whales with no pregnant whale present, Curt felt it was time to engage some of the abundant technology available in this shoot. ‘We have to use the quad-copter with these whales, they are fantastic – I’ll get the gear ready!’
As we drifted on the calm Kimberley sea, this pair of humpback whales circled around our good ship RV Whale Song. They swam at the stern and then dived underneath amidships and then around to the bow. We found ourselves running up and down the decks to see where they would surface next! Built especially to be quiet, RV Whale Song was commissioned in 2000, with state-of-the-art sound-silencing equipment making the vessel suitable for towing a military-grade listening array to detect sperm whales acoustically. Sadly the owner of the vessel passed away and the sperm whale project was not conducted since his family sold the ship to a businessman, whom used the vessel to travel the world in comfort and style. Uniquely, one of our crew read about Whale Song in a US boat magazine, catching our eye with the unusual co-incidence of having the same name as two of our own vessels! With the adventures of the businessman complete, Curt and I continued our purchase of this ABS ice-class vessel, with the fortunate facility of vendor-finance.
Filming in the Kimberley was a unique chance to use state-of-the-art technology such as satellite tags, quad-copters and night-vision cameras to document and understand how humpback whales use the Kimberley and in particular, the state government-designated Camden Sound Marine Park from our ideal research platform, RV Whale Song.
As the quad-copter lifted up from the deck on the first flight of this film shoot and Curt flew it above the humpback whale pair we were anxious to see the images that the attached GoPro would capture. Our nervous curiosity was quickly satisfied. With a flight-time of 12 to 13 minutes, we had the unit back on deck in no time at all and the editor checked the film. As we crowded around the screen huge smiles broke out, this was really going to work! Right before us we could experience the pectoral fin-slapping of the playful whale and the other animal close beside and there was Whale Song in the beautiful Kimberley, all captured from above, in a refreshingly new perspective!
‘That’s it, we have the opening scene for this film!’ Jonathan, the editor, exclaimed.
To watch the associated video, ‘Birthplace of the Giants’:
This article was written by the owners of Whale Song, Curt and Micha Jenner.
Pacific Regional Reception Facilities get green light
The Cook Islands has been a part of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) initiative to develop a Regional Reception Facilities Plan (RRFP) since 2008.
The RRFP was tabled, and subsequently endorsed, at the 12th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Noumea Convention last September. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority assisted SPREP in preparing documentation for submission to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee’s (MEPC) 68th Meeting.
The Cook Islands introduced MEPC 68/11/1 to MEPC 68, saying, “Most Pacific island countries and territories have different capacity to provide ships’ waste reception facilities at their ports. Many of those in place are inadequate to meet the needs of ships using these ports. Recognising this situation, MEPC 63 adopted amendments to MARPOL to allow Small Island Developing States to satisfy ships’ waste reception facilities regulations through regional arrangements when, because of those States’ unique circumstances, such arrangements are the only practical means to satisfy these requirements.”
MEPC 68/11/1, co-sponsored by Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, presented a draft Regional Reception Facilities Plan for the small island developing states in the Pacific Region, developed in accordance with MEPC Resolution 221(63)
The secretariat circulated MEPC 68/11/1 to all IMO Member States – closing out the corrective action. The plan is expected to come into effect in May 2016.
First renderings of Echo Yachts’ newbuilds released
Australian superyacht builder Echo Yachts reports that work on its two newbuild projects is on schedule and progressing well. For the first time the yard is now able to release official renderings of both projects.
The vessels are to be flagged on the Maritime Cook Islands registry.
Under construction at the company’s Henderson facility is an 84m Trimaran superyacht, due in 2017, and a 46m catamaran support vessel, due in the first quarter of 2016. Both projects are for the same owner.
46m Shadow Vessel
The 46m shadow vessel is a catamaran design that will be used as a support vessel for the 84m superyacht on its completion. Built in fibreglass with cutting edge vacuum infusion processes and high tech laminates, the vessel has been designed by LOMOcean in New Zealand to house a fleet of 11 watercraft including a 12m catamaran. An impressive strength to weight ratio will see the yacht able to efficiently cruise in a wide range of environments.
A large amount of design and engineering work was invested into the project prior to build work commencing to ensure a construction process that is extremely efficient without any compromise on quality. Focusing on R&D and harnessing innovation is a core goal of the yard, and the 46m project is a clear demonstration of the beneficial effects of this programme.
84m Trimaran Superyacht
The 84m trimaran superyacht will be the latest in a long line of superyachts built for her owner and is the culmination of his many years’ experience. Designed by Sam Sorgiovanni, the yacht will not only be the biggest superyacht ever built in Australia, but also the largest tri-hulled superyacht ever built anywhere. Huge interior volumes will ensure ample living space on board for 12 guests.
These two new projects mark the start of a long term market presence and strategy for the yard, which particularly specialises in large, custom projects. On completion of the 46m in the first quarter of 2016, Echo Yachts will have an 80m+ build slot available and are seeking inquiries for new build projects.
Yard management are confident that this opportunity represents an attractive prospect for owners looking to take advantage of both an attractive exchange rate on the Australian dollar and Echo Yacht’s offering of a high-quality, no-fuss build.
With the yard able to build any hull form in aluminium, steel, composite, or a combination of these materials, it is more than qualified to meet the demands of any custom project. In addition to the strength and skill sets of the yard team, the Australian reputation for innovative high-quality construction makes Echo Yachts a particularly appealing option, especially for those based in nearby Asia-Pacific where yacht ownership continues to rise in popularity.
The yard welcomes all enquiries, and looks forward to continuing to build its market presence in 2015 and beyond.
Senior management and shareholders of Echo Yachts.
(left to right): Mark Stothard, Jurien van Rongen and Nick Gardiner.
This article first appeared, in a slightly different form, distributed by Echo Yachts.
MCI Deputy Registrars Conference 2016
The next annual meeting of Maritime Cook Islands’ international deputy registrars will be held in April 2016 on Rarotonga in The Cook Islands.
The conference, following the last annual meeting (in Athens) will see almost all deputy registrars gather, alongside MCI executive staff members and advisors, to discuss the activities and achievements of the previous year and to anticipate a further year of the registry’s global growth.
Topics in hand will be:
MCI’s brand new online and I.T. platform, to further streamline processes and operations and make it even easier for owners and operators to utilise MCI’s full suite of services.
Quality management systems and scope for any further enrichment.
Compliance issues – how is the registry’s track record? Is there room for procedural improvement?
Marketing and growth – sectors, class of vessel, regional and national hubs. This year the registry saw impressive growth in most sectors, with tankers and yachts strongest.
MCI’s network of deputy registrars covers the maritime world, with three new registrars added in Italy, Croatia/Montenegro and Hong Kong in the last 18 months.
STCW audit – November 2015
In November this year, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will carry out an audit on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
The audit will be conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for STCW compliance.
Seminar on Cook Islands Law in Singapore – November 2015
This November, Maritime Cook Islands (MCI) will be hosting a by-invitation seminar and networking reception in Singapore for senior lawyers and financing executives.
The event will be led by Anthony Manarangi, former solicitor-general of The Cook Islands, where he was responsible for drafting legislation in all areas, criminal and civil litigation, advising the Government of the Cook Islands on financial centre activity and transactions, and negotiated on civil aviation bilateral agreements and maritime transport. Now in private practice, Mr Manarangi’s clients include the World Bank, AusAID and the governments of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Niue and The Cook Islands.
The conference will focus on Cook Islands law on the validity and enforceability of bank securities.
MCI’s number of registered vessels in Singapore has seen a steady rise over the last few years, with 80 new vessels coming into the registry since 2012. The majority of new vessels have been commercial and private yachts, as conditions and opportunity for local and overseas owners finds traction in Singapore’s robust economic state and amid its transparent legal framework.