Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 14/10/2014
1. Asia Piracy On Rise
The number of piracy and armed robbery cases against ships in Asia from January to September was at the highest level in at least eight years, an anti-piracy watchdog said Monday, October 13. There were 129 incidents reported during the period, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia said in a report. It was the highest number recorded by ReCAAP since its inception — it came into force in 2006 and was formally recognized as an international organization in January 2007. There has been an upward trend in the overall number of incidents, the report said.
2. Increase in Panama Canal Tonnage
The Panama Canal registered an increase in tonnage to 326.8m PC/UMS (Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System) tonnes during fiscal year 2014 ended 30 September . This figure represents a 2% increase compared to the 320.6m PC/UMS tonnes registered in FY2013 and the result was also higher than earlier forecasts. The Panama Canal’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. The increase was primarily driven by the bulk carrier segment which registered an 18.2% increase totalling 85.9m PC/UMS tonnes, compared to the 72.7m PC/UMS tonnes registered the year before.
3. Calls for Sea Traffic Screening
US Federal officials tightened screening measures at all airports this week, requiring agents to monitor arriving travelers for “general signs of illness.” Travelers from West African would get their temperatures checked and answer questionnaires. The Coast Guard, however, is not mandating screening for passengers and crew members arriving by sea. Instead, ships that docked at an Ebola hot spot in their past five port calls must answer a series of Ebola-related questions before entering a U.S. port. Critics ask whether this is sufficient to prevent the risk of Ebola entering the U.S. via seafarers?
4. Declining Bunker Price Boost
One of the positive “side effects” of the decline of oil prices has been the softening of the bunker market as well. Something for which shipowners are most grateful. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Charles R. Weber noted that “international benchmark crude oil prices have trended significantly lower since early summer as the return of substantive Libyan crude oil supply has coincided with weaker-than-expected worldwide demand. Brent crude ended the week at $89.91/bbl-a loss of 22% from the YTD high of $115/bbl observed during June. The CRW average of bunker prices at 6 key tanker bunkering ports has shown similar losses.
5. Knowledge Needed to Stop Ebola Spread
With the current outbreak of the Ebola virus (Viral Haemorrhagic Fever) showing no signs of slowing down, all operators of merchant shipping should be fully aware of their responsibilities and the precautions they need to be taking to limit the spread of the disease. As ocean vessels arrive at countries currently unaffected by the disease they will regularly be contacted by local authorities to confirm their health status. In the UK for example the Maritime & Coastguard Agency has notified the UK Ports & Pilotage Community that, supported by the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC), it will be contacting every vessel as it enters UK.
6. IMO Environment High Stakes Meeting
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is meeting for its 67th session from October 13 to 17, 2014, at IMO Headquarters in London. Items on the agenda include the review of environmental provisions in the draft Polar Code and associated draft MARPOL amendments to make the Code mandatory; the implementation of the Ballast Water Management convention; consideration of proposed amendments to MARPOL; consideration of the 2014 greenhouse gas study update and further work on the implementation of energy-efficiency regulations.
7. Churning Coal Cargoes Out
Australian coal miners are shrugging off a global glut of the fuel, exporting a record 158.5 million tonnes in the January-September period from the key mining state of Queensland, industry figures showed. Mining companies are still adding capacity and pushing out exports of both coking and thermal coal, even though an import tariff in China has raised worries about output overcapacity at a time when prices are near their lowest in five years. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of metallurgical coal and the second largest exporter of thermal coal. Experts say that volume is now replacing price, reflected in record export production.
8. Glimpses of North Sea Giant
Some new video posted to Youtube gives us a rare look at the massive Pieter Schelte, a unique catamaran-like vessel that will soon be used to remove decommissioned oil rigs in the North Sea. The footage was recently filmed during sea trials near the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard in Okpo, South Korea, where the ship is being built for the Swiss-based offshore pipe installation and subsea construction company, Allseas Group. Pieter Schelte is a single-lift platform installation and decommissioning vessel particularly suited for the removal of large steel jacket-based platforms in the North Sea.
9. Life Has Become A Gas
October 12 2014 marks an important milestone in the history of the LNG industry. Since the Methane Princess delivered the world’s first commercial LNG cargo to the UK’s Canvey Island regasification terminal on 12 October 1964, the sector has grown from this single trade between Algeria and the UK to over 400 trade routes involving 45 countries. Now a major part of the global energy industry, Wood Mackenzie believes LNG will remain one of the fastest growing commodities for the next five decades. Wood Mackenzie’s LNG research team has compiled a special infographic which maps out the first 50 years of the LNG industry.
10. Indians Still Want Armed Guard Action
Seafarers and private security guards from Advanfort’s Seaman Guard Ohio patrol vessel now face further detention and re-trial in India, after a last-minute appeal against the Indian High Court’s verdict to drop all charges. The 10 crew and 25 armed security personnel of UK, Estonian, Indian and Ukranian origin were set to return home this week. But they now face a further counter-appeal and retrial at the eleventh hour instigated by the Indian Security Forces. One of the crew states, "We have no idea why. Despite this injustice, our government will not get involved in the legal process.”
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