Seacurus Daily Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/11/2014
1. Crew Refuses to Leave Ship
The tanker Tandara Spirit is sat and anchor in Melbourne, Australia, as the angry crew refuse to sail the vessel to Singapore as requested by the company they work for. They’ve hung a banner from the ship: “Viva Sanctions: Demise of Aussie Jobs”. Foreign labor is stealing Aussie jobs, they say, and it has implications for national fuel security, human safety and protection of the environment. The 18 crew members have been staging a sit-in for the past 18 days after being ordered to sail to Singapore, where they would be made redundant. Tandara Spirit is one of just five Australian-crewed petrol tankers left.
2. Ten Year Sentence for Company Boss
South Korea’s Gwangju District Court sentenced the head of the company that operated the sunken Sewol ferry, Kim Han-Sik, to 10 years of prison Thursday for involuntary manslaughter that resulted in the deaths of over 300 people. Kim Han-Sik, CEO of Chonghaejin Marine Co, was also found guilty of violating the law on safe maritime navigation, embezzling company funds and taking bribe from subcontractors. Aside to Han-Sik, four other company officials were sentenced to three to six years in prison on similar charges, with two more employees getting suspended prison sentences, according to AP.
3. New Canal Construction Set to Begin
Construction of Nicaragua’s $50 billion Interoceanic Grand Canal, expected to rival the Panama Canal, will begin Dec. 22 after feasibility studies have been approved. The route suggested for the 172-mile (278-km) canal, which would be longer, deeper and wider than the Panama Canal, was approved in July. Construction will be led by Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd (HKND Group). Opponents of the plan are concerned about the canal’s effect on Lake Nicaragua, an important fresh water source for the country, as well as the impact on poorer communities.
4. Bunker Firm Did Not Approve Line of Credit
OW Bunker A/S Chairman Niels Henrik Jensen said the board had not approved a large line of credit responsible for a large loss at one of its Singapore subsidiaries and had been "extremely surprised" to learn of another large hedging loss elsewhere. OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy on November 7 after the announcement of the two losses. "It remains unclear to the board how this could happen and the board is looking very much forward to an in-depth investigation into the course of events," said Jensen. A line of credit of around $125 million was reportedly extended to Tankoil Marine Services by OW Bunker’s Singaporean subsidiary.
5. Norwegians Lead Way With Scrubbers
Norwegian shipowners count for half of the world’s scrubber-equipped fleet, according to Clarkson. Meanwhile, "other" European owners make up 41 percent of the scrubber fleet. According to a report, 92 vessels, three quarters of which are less than 10 years old, have so far been reported to have sulfur oxide (SOx) scrubbers installed, which makes up 0.1 percent of the world’s fleet. Another 37 ships on order will have scrubbers installed in the future, equaling roughly 0.7 percent of the word’s orderbook. Shipowners have been scrambling to ensure compliance with upcoming Emission Control Area (ECA) regulations.
6. US Navy Ships Collide In Gulf of Aden
Two US Naval supply ships have collided in the Gulf of Aden at the beginning of a replenishment operation. USNS Amelia Earhart and USNS Walter S. Diehl crashed into one another with only minor damage caused to each vessel, according to the US Navy. No crew members were injured in the incident and the ships are now continuing with their assigned missions in the Gulf. The US Navy said that it would conduct an investigation into the cause of the collision. Nato, US and the European Union all have missions in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean to prevent Somali piracy halting humanitarian aid and maritime trade.
7. Shipping Lines Sign Up to Shared Vision
International shipping coalition Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) has announced that all of its members have signed up to a set of shared commitments "to set a clear benchmark for sustainable practices." Each member has agreed to four commitments, namely to publicly report on sustainability, maintain a sustainability strategy linked to its core business, set clear reduction targets for environmental issues that are most material to their activities, and aim to deliver a positive impact on people and society. SSI brings together global players in the shipping industry with a view to tying sustainability issues to commercial growth.
8. Russian Firms Face Insurance Woes
Russian companies face billions of dollars in extra insurance costs as Western sanctions prompt foreign insurance firms to start pulling out, worried that any business they undertake is at risk from future measures and an increasingly sick economy. Russian President Vladimir Putin came under heavy criticism at a G20 summit last weekend, where Western leaders accused him of continuing to destabilize Ukraine in violation of a September peace agreement. Existing sanctions, along with an oil price tumble, have brought Russia to the brink of recession. The rouble is down some 30 percent over the year and lending costs are soaring for all.
9. Shipping Alliances Need Policing
The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) says that shipping industry needs a global authority to keep Vessel Sharing Alliances (VSA) in check, as they are a risky development for the free market for transportation of goods over sea. According to the ESC, the global market will be in the hands of four major players, warning that this will not be good for the clients of the carriers, the shippers, and the consumers in terms of price and quality of service, if competition authorities do not impose strict conditions on the operation of the alliances. The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), has also acknowledged the potential competition threat.
10. Massive Heroin Seizure Off East Africa
An Australian Navy warship patrolling Indian Ocean waters seized heroin worth $158 million (100.55 million pounds) near east Africa this week, a navy official said on Thursday, one of the region’s biggest heroin hauls in recent years. East Africa has become a key export route for Afghan heroin destined for Europe but regional maritime forces, short of funds and anti-trafficking expertise, have struggled to stem the flow of narcotics through their territorial waters. Crew from "HMAS Toowoomba" boarded a dhow in international waters and confiscated 388 kg of heroin in hessian bags after an intelligence tip-off.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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