Seacurus Bulletin 27/06/2014
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION AND SEAFARER NEWS
Lawyers for bankrupt Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd have insisted the dry bulk shipper is not being undervalued during the closing of a trial pitting the company against angry shareholders who wanted better treatment in the restructuring. The four-day trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan posed the question of how to value a shipping company. The answer will determine what is left for Genco shareholders after its lenders and other creditors are repaid. It was argued the shipper was worth between $1.36 billion and $1.44 billion based on the market value of its ships and other assets. Whereas shareholders put the value at $1.91 billion.
In three weeks, the Costa Concordia wreck will be towed to Genoa for demolition and recycling. At the end of the Conferenza dei Servizi meeting held in Rome, Costa Crociere reaffirmed the motivations for the choice of the transportation of the Concordia wreck in Genoa for its dismantling and recycling, stating Genoa is the only Italian port in which demolition and recycling activities can start immediately and count on the best possible technologies and environmental safety standards. Michael Thamm, Costa Crociere CEO, said, “Our company wants to honor a precise commitment to remove the wreck as soon as possible, in total safety".
Looking through Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) financial results in recent years it does beg the question as to where the company, and many other large to mid-sized container lines for that matter, are headed in the long term. NOL’s financial numbers over the last few years do not make particularly comfortable reading. In the first quarter of 2014 NOL lost $98m, and in the previous quarter it was $137m in the red. Its 2013 full year loss of $76m would have been much worse had it not been for a $200m one time gain from the sale of its headquarters building in Singapore, and in 2012 it lost $412m.
Weird and Wonderful
Looking to convince Chinese tourists that a ship can be a holiday destination and not just a way to get there, the world’s leading cruise lines are spending billions of dollars on flashy new vessels and quirky on-board services. Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd are trying to pique interest with China-centric attractions such as a menu inspired by an ex-president. They are also tapping a national penchant for education with classes ranging from foreign languages to silver service. Drawing cruise lines to China is the prospect of $11.5 billion in sales come 2018 compared with $6.8 billion last year, according to researcher Euromonitor.
A major conference has heard that the UK commercial shipping industry faces a shortfall of 5,000 staff over the next few years. More than 100 delegates at the Shipping and Maritime Industries event at the new Port Academy Liverpool were told everyone in the sector must do more to promote maritime careers to young people. The conference was being held as part of the International Festival for Business 2014 and was co-organised by the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association UK and saw presentations from the Engineering Development Trust, Seavision and Seafarers UK.
Leading classification society Lloyd’s Register appointed Nick Brown as Marine Chief Operating Officer (COO) and split the EMEA area into two operating regions. The appointment of Nick Brown, previously Director Business Development & Innovation, as Marine Chief Operating Officer reflects the growth in Lloyd’s Register’s Marine Business – both in scale and breadth of services. Reporting to Marine Director Tom Boardley, Nick will be responsible for LR’s four global operating regions – Asia, Americas, Northern Europe and Southern Europe, the society said in a press release.
PIRACY AND MARITIME SECURITY NEWS
Iran’s navy has reportedly foiled a pirate attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea, off the coast of Somalia. The ship came under attack on Thursday morning after armed assailants on board eight boats approached the tanker. The 30th Fleet of the Iranian Navy was patrolling the area, and rushed to assist the vessel upon its distress call. Navy crewmen managed to stop the attack on the tanker after getting engaged in a gun fight, subsequently forcing the pirates to retreat. No injuries were reported among the crews of the Iranian ships. The Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008.
According to the EU, the very different type of pirate activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, calls for swift and immediate EU action. “We hope that the extent of the problem will be fully understood by Member States. Geopolitical realities of East and West Africa are worlds apart. This in turn means that the EU’s approach needs to be tailored to regional specificities.” The European Shipowners Association is of the opinion that a first step towards eradicating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is the setup of a safe and reliable reporting mechanism, as it is today still impossible to quantify attacks.
The late Nelson Mandela once said: “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.” At the EU-Africa summit in Brussels last month, European leaders urged their African counterparts to facilitate that dream by shouldering more of the security burden in their countries, both onshore and offshore. The summit coincided with reports of renewed piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden; ongoing attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, and explosions and mass arrests in Kenya, all serving to underline the scale of that challenge.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Tuesday Europe must take responsibility for rescuing boat migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa by making a "significant investment" in the region’s border control agency, Frontex. "A Europe that tells the Calabrian fisherman that he must use a certain technique to catch tuna but then turns its back when there are dead bodies in the sea cannot call itself civilized," Renzi said in parliament. Italy’s navy and coast guard have been patrolling the waters between Africa and the Italian island of Sicily since October, when 366 people drowned after their boat capsized just a mile from shore.
Greek coastguards said they had discovered a record two-ton haul of heroin and arrested 11 crew from a Togo-flagged tanker that they suspected had brought it into the country. Officers working with U.S Drug Enforcement Administration seized 987 kg of the drug on Sunday, the coastguard said without going into details on where it was found. The tanker called Noor One was suspected of bringing in both loads, the force said in a statement. The vessel had sailed through Oman and Pakistan before it was seized off the port of Elefsina near Athens on Sunday, the coastguard added. The arrested crew appeared before a prosecutor on Monday.
A recommendation of BMP4, and currently the most common piracy deterrent used, razor wire on a ship’s perimeter is a controversial choice. For the owner it poses a serious conundrum; the need to protect the ship and crew from possible pirate attacks alongside the very real fear of crew suffering a serious injury or infection from handling both new and rusty razor wire. Injury and infection are alarming side effects to any job but add to this the difficult conditions at sea; the weather, the remoteness and the lack of medical facilities and it becomes clear that the use of razor wire poses a huge threat to the wellbeing of crew on-board.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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