Seacurus Daily Top Ten News Stories 09/10/2014
1. Tanker Freed, Cargo Gone, Crew Injured
Pirates that captured a Vietnamese oil tanker last week after it left Singapore have released the vessel, the company that owns the ship said on Thursday. Two of the tanker’s 18 crew have been injured and the pirates took part of its cargo of more than 5,000 tonnes of gas oil, said Nguyen Vu Diep, a manager at the Haiphong Sea Product Shipbuilding Co. "Officers from Vietnam’s coast guard approached the ship and are escorting it to Phu Quoc island as two crew members have been injured," said Diep. "One sailor was beaten and has a broken leg," Diep said. "The crew was attacked by more than 10 armed pirates."
2. Immigration Entry Tightening After Ebola
Brazil, Argentina and the United States have tightened port entry procedures for ships that have sailed from West Africa in a bid to control the potential spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Ebola has killed more than 3,400 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and its spread has become a global concern — with worries for trade, which could affect the airline and tourism industries together with seaborne activity. The virus is already threatening to disrupt logistics activity in West Africa and has already rattled commodities and mining markets as the region is a major source of raw materials such as iron ore as well as crude oil, bauxite and cocoa.
3. Piracy Incidents Set to Rise
Piracy incidents in Southeast Asia continue to rise, with the exception of around Indonesia, and the final few months of this year could see a spike in incidents, according to the UK’s Dryad Maritime. The risk specialists noted that in the third quarter there were five further hijackings of product tankers for cargo theft, four of these occurred in the vicinity of Singapore and are assessed by Dryad as being carried out by the same gang. Dryad judges that a different gang carried out the Andaman Sea incident in order to refuel their mother ship. This gang are operating with the intention of boarding vessels to steal cash and crew belongings.
4. Super Typhoon Lashes Pacific
Super Typhoon Vongfong is now the most intense storm recorded on planet earth in 2014 packing wind gusts up to 189 mph as it makes its way across the Western Pacific towards Japan. According to the latest update from Japan’s Meteorological Agency at 15:45 UTC, the center of Super Typhoon Vongfong was located in position N18°35′(18.6°), E130°35′(130.6°), approximately 600 miles south of Okinawa, and was heading WNW at 10km/h, (6 knots). Super Typhoon Vongfong had a minimum central pressure of 900 mb, according to the update. The storm is Earth’s most powerful tropical cyclone since November 2013.
5. Maersk Sees Growing Volumes Ahead
Despite growing global protectionism AP Moller – Maersk chief Nils S Andersen said they expect container shipping volumes to grow at 4.5% a year, however, shipowners to focus on market needs rather than speculating on newbuildings to improve returns. In his keynote speech to the Danish Maritime Forum Andersen said: “We at our company are predicting containerised volumes to grow at around 4.5% per year, so we are in something that by normal standards is a very, very attractive market. Given this scenario Andersen said his advice to the industry would be to, “Order a little less and look a little further into the future".
6. US Looking Ahead on Maritime Security
The United States on Thursday partially lifted a long-time ban on lethal weapon sales to Vietnam to help it improve maritime security, a historic move that comes nearly 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War. "The State Department has taken steps to allow for the future transfer of maritime security-related defense articles to Vietnam," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing. State Department officials told a separate briefing that the decision would ease a ban on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam that has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War, although only for maritime security purposes at this point.
7. Approval for Mega Alliance
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) approved the planned 2M vessel sharing agreement between Denmark’s Maersk Line and Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), the world’s two largest container shippers, Reuters reports. The U.S. approval will become effective on Saturday, October 11. Four out of five commissioners at the FMC voted not to ask for additional information on the impact of the 2M on exporters and ports. The alliance still needs to be cleared by European and Chinese regulators before it becomes operational. Maersk and MSC will pool 185 ships on transatlantic, saving close to USD 350 million annually.
8. Lower Demand Predicted
The global shipping industry will see lower demand in coming years, all other things being equal, than was previously expected due to fragile and uneven global recovery, according to BIMCO. According to the latest Update of the World Economic Outlook from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global investment has been weaker for some time now, limiting the prospects for higher growth going forward. “This has led to a lowering of 2015 expected growth more or less across the board. Moreover, the burden from the recent years of crisis still haunts primarily the advanced economies".
9. Box Recovery Based on Alliances
Drewry’s Container Annual Review & Forecast 2014/15 emphasises that the recovery of the container industry, when that happens – possibly by late 2016 or 2017 – is to be based around the formation of the new mega alliances and the continued reduction of unit costs, rather than the matching of supply and demand at the individual trade route level. A different recovery is taking shape, which is unlikely to be built on any improvement in freight rates. Drewry forecasts that freight rates will decline in 2015 by as much as 3-4% year-on-year. The focus is therefore more on costs than revenue at the moment.
10. Gas Ships Backing Up
Ships loaded with liquefied natural gas are lining up off the coast of Argentina (YPF:US) after the government overshot winter orders, with a lack of storage facilities forcing the nation to pay daily fees to each vessel. "The government signed contracts months ahead calculating how much gas the country would consume but this winter was benign so people consumed less and there’s no space to store the gas,” Sebastian Scheimberg, an energy analyst at Montamat & Asociados. “Argentina needs to urgently build a terminal to receive this LNG. You have to pay more in fines for the time the vessels wait.”
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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