Seacurus Top Ten Daily News Stories 14/08/2014
1. Epicentre of Nigerian Piracy
There is no sign of the Gulf of Guinea piracy problem abating, and experts believe they have identified the epicentre of pirate activities. Last month saw four piracy incidents in the region, including one hijacking, two confirmed or suspected kidnaps and one suspicious approach, according security consultant Bergen Risk Solutions (BRS). Analysis of vessels released off Ondo state, Nigeria, indicate that all activities have been conducted off the town of Aiyetoro, located half-way between Lagos and Escravos. “This area now appears to have solidified as the primary disembarkation location of the hijacking gangs,” BRS added.
2. Ebola Checks on Arriving Vessels
All ships coming into South African ports from West Africa are being quarantined as fear mounts of the deadly Ebola virus. There were reports yesterday that a container ship coming into the northern KwaZulu-Natal port of Richards Bay had been quarantined because of a suspected case of Ebola on board. This was denied by port and health officials. The current outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has killed 1013 people, making it the worst outbreak since Ebola was discovered four decades ago. The Hammonia Pacificum was to have docked in Richards Bay on Saturday night but moored outside the port and a quarantine flag was hoisted.
3. Multiple Mississippi Collision
The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a multiple vessel collision on the Mississippi River near Gretna, early Wednesday. According to reports the Maltese-flagged vessel "Flag Gangos" lost power and steering near mile marker 97.4 on the Lower Mississippi River. The Flag Gangos collided with the Liberian-flagged vessel Pamisos and the barge Web 235, both moored at the International Matex Tank Terminals conducting transfer operations. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident, it is now understood navigation in the river section has re-opened.
4. Shipping’s Key Indicators
New data on three of the key indicators followed by BIMCO’s shipping market analyst sheds light on near-term and future market developments. According to BIMCO, China’s industrial production (IP) grew by 9% in July over the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics in China. In Japan, the quarter-on-quarter annualised growth rate came in at -6.8% for Q2-2014. The fall wiped out the +6.1% gain in Q1. While in the United States, crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.5 million barrels a day (bpd) in July, the highest level since April 1987, according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA). http://goo.gl/VMf9Zx
5. Flag Happy to be Grey
The St Kitts and Nevis International Ship Registry (SKANReg) has moved up to Paris MoU’s grey list ahead of schedule as the flag looks to improve its standing in the industry. The elevation from the Paris MoU performance black list comes after three years of improved inspection results, with 24 detentions from 307 inspections in 2011-2013. In 2012 SKANReg set itself the target of making the grey list within two years, and aims to make the white list within a further two years. In the long term the flag hopes to rank within the top 20 by gross tonnage within a decade.
6. Bankrupt Fleet Left to Rust
The plight of the fleet of the bankrupt Vinashinlines remains unclear as the shipping line filed for bankruptcy at the start of the year. The fleet, which has dropped from a high of ten ships to just four, is now sitting idle at ports in Vietnam, rusting away. Vinashinlines has repeatedly sent documents to the Hanoi Court and the Ministry of Transport, requesting to give permission to resume the sale of the ships. However, under current laws, Vinashinlines must not sell any assets, the court will handle an auction instead. “The certificates on the ships’ safety will expire. If so, we can only sell the ships as scrap iron, not as ships in good condition".
7. Development of Security Code in Spotlight
Every initiative has positive and negative sides. This applies equally to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Whilst it may be true that the ISPS Code introduced a new burden by way of the volume of paperwork it generates, its benefits outweigh the burdens. The reasons for this are as follows: Violence against vessels will remain so long as maritime transport exists. Apart from piracy and armed robbery, we now have the threat of maritime terrorism, which poses real danger to the industry. It was the 10th anniversary of the ISPS Code last month (July 2014), so it is timely to reflect on its intangible benefits. http://goo.gl/gedkm1
8. Weather Patterns Shaping Shipping
There has been considerable discussion recently about the return of El Niño in the next few months. According to the latest analysis from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, there is a 65% chance of a weak to moderate El Niño emerging during the fall and early winter seasons of 2014 in the Northern Hemisphere. El Niño is a naturally occurring environmental process in which the waters of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific become untypically warm, and this process has a unique and prominent impact on global weather and trade routes. El Niño will bring winds and rains which may force vessels to alter their usual trading patterns.
9. Massive Migrant Influx Intercepted
Spanish emergency services picked up 470 immigrants travelling in dozens of rafts across the Strait of Gibraltar on Tuesday and 227 from the same stretch of water the day before, a spokesman for the Maritime Safety Agency said. More than 75,000 have tried to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa, landing in Italy, Greece, Spain and Malta, the UNHCR agency says, with about 800 people dying in the attempt. On Tuesday, some 49 boats carrying mostly men, but also 68 women and 15 under-18s, made the journey from North Africa to the south of Spain, Spanish authorities said. It was not clear whether the boats were in difficulty.
10. Reefer Box Market Hots Up
Reefer capacity on the containership fleet is expected to increase by 22 percent over the next five years, at the expense of a declining specialized reefer fleet, according to Drewry’s latest Reefer Shipping Market Annual Review & Forecast. Reefer box capacity is expected to grow from 1.6 million 40ft slots in 2013 to 1.9 million slots in 2018. However, this fleet growth is not expected to adversely impact vessel utilization levels thanks to strong cargo growth. Reefer container volumes are forecast to rise by 20.5 million tonnes over this period, 16.5 million tonnes by organic growth and 4 million tonnes.
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