Seacurus Daily News 18/07/2014
Large Box Ships Out of Favour
Ship ordering for giant container vessels has ground nearly to a halt just as European traffic demand has turned up. The orderbook has dropped to beneath 20% of fleet capacity, compared to nearly 50% several years back. According to Platou’s numbers, only three containerships were ordered in June, all below 3,000 teu. Through the first half, 74 ships were ordered, including 33 vessels above 10,000 teu, accounting for more than two-thirds of the 620,000 teu capacity. The present pace is well below that of recent years. New orders amounted to 247 vessels of 1.97m teu in 2013, and 240 vessels of 1.9 million teu in 2012.
Zim Restructures Its Debts
Israeli box line ZIM has completed its $3bn restructuring, which includes the write-off of $1.4bn in debts, after 18 months of negotiations. The final part of the deal went through on 16 July when Israel Corporation injected a $200m equity investment into the line. Of ZIM’s total $3.4bn debt, $1.4bn has been converted into a 68% ownership stake. Israel Corp transferred a large number of its shares to creditors, but still holds a "golden share," the terms of which were agreed earlier this week, but not made public. Israel Corp’s $200m investment and $50m receivables financing facility earned them a 32% holding in the company.
Wolves of Wall Street Circle Operator
Wall Street is rife with rumours that diversified Greek operator NewLead Holdings may be on the fringe of losing its listing. Renewed uncertainty about the future of the owner’s Nasdaq-quoted shares follows a trading halt that officials implemented prior to the opening bell Thursday morning. In a cryptic statement the exchange said the suspension would be lifted when a request for “additional information” was satisfied. Some accused management of orchestrating a ‘pump-and-dump’ scheme but others believe the suspension relates to confusion surrounding inconsistencies in recent regulatory filings or something else that is far less nefarious.
Wage Progress for Abandoned Crew
A labour dispute that saw a cargo ship with 18 seafarers and their captain stuck in Canada for two weeks without food and water has been partially resolved. A union said eight of the Romanian seafarers and their Russian captain have been given three months’ worth of wages that were owed them. Seafarers’ International Union of Canada added they will be flying home, while the others will stay to handle cargo the crew wouldn’t deliver during their strike that began Friday. The Union said the cargo — 18,000 tonnes of steel pipes and coils — is "the only leverage" the crew had after it was "abandoned" by the ship’s owner, German firm Intersee.
Ambitious Trade Plans Praised
EU and US negotiators are meeting to discuss the sixth Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Negotiators from both sides are debating an ambitious agenda that should remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors, and also tackle non-customs related trade barriers, such as differences in technical regulations, standards and approval procedures. The TTIP negotiations look at opening markets for services, investment, and public procurement. Shipowners have welcomed the talks and hopes for an ambitious agreement in which maritime transport and its specificities will be duly taken into account.
Asia Seen as Land of Opportunity
Ship services V.Group will expand in Asia a great deal in the coming years, the company’s president and group ceo has said. Clive Richardson said, “From the point of view of revenue growth in a particular geography, our biggest opportunity would be through our Asian office network.” Richardson also discussed what new services V.Group is likely to offer soon, plus he had his own take on private equity in shipping. It seems clear that Asia is on the radar of all ambitious companies with a desire for growth.
Chemical Spill Causes Chaos
A dropped container being unloaded at Laem Chabang smashed into a tank of a Hong Kong flagged chemical tanker yesterday morning resulting in a dangerous noxious leak that saw 139 people treated for fumes. Areas near the eastern seaport were evacuated while the ship, which was traveling from Jakarta, was moved 10 km away from the port before the chemicals were cleaned up. The chemicals, identified as butyl acrylates, are used for polymer manufacturing and in industrial production.
Force to Tackle Asian Piracy
The Indonesian government is set to open a new Marine Corps’ headquarters on Setokok Island in Batam, Riau Islands province, according to a top Navy official. The Navy has already started to operate some facilities at the headquarters, as it looks to secure the Malacca and Singapore straits from piracy and other marine security disturbances frequently committed in the area. The headquarters has been developed within the last year to strengthen security in the border region that has high conflict potential. As an initial step, a total of 600 marine personnel will be deployed at the headquarters.
Fire Investigation Report Issued
The MAIB’s investigation of an accommodation fire on a United Kingdom registered general cargo ship on passage from Gibraltar to Belfast has been released. The fire, which started after a crewmember fell asleep in bed while holding a lit cigarette, caused an electrical failure of the ship’s steering gear, and resulted in heat, smoke and water damage to the majority of the accommodation spaces. One crew member was injured and the ship was subsequently towed to Cadiz for repair. The key safety issues identified were: Crew were ill-prepared, sub-standard fire-fighting techniques, drill records falsified, Safety management failings. http://goo.gl/fRFb9O
Rescued Woman Slams Satellite Comms
A U.S. woman rescued with her family from a Pacific Ocean sailboat after her infant daughter became ill has filed suit against her satellite phone company for cutting off service, a move she said led the family to seek an emergency rescue and ultimately to scuttle their boat. The complaint filed in San Diego Superior Court alleges that "Whenever Communications LLC" deactivated the satellite phone’s SIM card even though the family’s $240 a month bill had been paid in full. When their child grew ill the family used the satellite phone to call a doctor. But the company deactivated the phone in the interim, preventing them from getting a return call.
Making ISPS Fit for Purpose
The ISPS Code was initially met with some scepticism from the end users. However, the Code is now an accepted part of shipping. Obviously, the Code can be modified for the better, by catering more for the threat of piracy and stowaways that are much more real threats than terrorism. IMO has listed some of the remaining challenges: Lack of national legislation/guidelines on ISPS code implementation, addressing all maritime security threats, appropriate risk assessments methodology, dissemination of good practices on port facility security, who audits the auditor, ships encountering difficulties after calling at a high-risk port.
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