Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/12/2014
Merry Christmas to you all, hope you have a happy holiday and a prosperous New Year. Thank you for your continued support, interest and encouragement.
1. New EU Employment Rights
The European Union (EU) Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers has agreed that seafarers in the EU should be given the same employment protection rights as onshore workers, ITF said in its press release. Rights to information and consultation, works councils and rights involved in cases of employer insolvency, collective redundancies and transfer of undertakings will now be extended to seafarers, who had previously been excluded from these EU Directives. A statement from the EU said: "This will not only improve their living and working conditions, it will also level the playing field in Europe’s maritime sector."
2. Tanker Storage Options Mulled
Global oil traders are likely to store crude in tankers next year, as a widening contango makes large-scale storage at sea profitable for the first time since the financial crisis more than five years ago, industry sources said. Oil prices have plunged nearly 50 per cent since June due to a global supply glut, but the economics for storing crude at sea have mostly remained unfavourable. However, with Brent for prompt delivery dropping sharply versus later contracts in the past week, traders are increasingly requesting to lease vessels for storage. As day rates drop, owners will be compelled to lock in deals to allow charterers to store crude for months.
3. Gunmen Grab Navy Boat
Gunmen suspected to be pirates have allegedly attacked and killed three soldiers of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield in the Nembe axis of Bayelsa, maritime workers in the area have said. The pirates reportedly hijacked a military gunboat after killing the soldiers on board. The military however said it was too early to confirm the deaths of the soldiers. The soldiers were escorting material to Brass terminal owned by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, when the gunmen opened fire on them. Maritime workers, said the soldiers were sailing from Port Harcourt to Brass, Bayelsa State, when they were ambushed by pirates. http://goo.gl/FgjVuZ
4. Cruise Ship Passenger Mutiny
Cruise ship passengers departing from Southampton were forced to circle the English Channel due to bad weather. More than 2,000 passengers were stuck on board the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship after it spent four days doing circles in the English Channel because the vessel was unable to dock at Amsterdam. According to the UK’s Daily Echo, passengers staged a “mutiny” in protest over the decision to turn back to Southampton early, and stormed the reception desk chanting “We want the captain!” Cunard, who operates the ship, offered passengers compensation of an on-board spending credit as a goodwill gesture.
5. Big Box Plans Ahead
Taiwan’s container line Evergreen Marine is planning to charter six 18,000 teu containerships in a bid to reduce unit operating costs. The company’s board of directors have approved the plan and believed that the use of larger sized boxships will enhance the line’s operating performance and help to meet stringent requirements for environmental protection by lowering fuel use and emissions. Evergreen has yet to select the shipowners to provide the 18,000 teu containerships. “These newly chartered ships will be part of Evergreen’s long-term fleet renewal program and, as such will be replacing existing vessels on charter", they said.
6. Wreck Removal Announcement
The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (“WRC”) enters into force on 14 April 2015. Pursuant to Article 12 of the WRC which provides “the registered owner of a ship of 300 gross tonnage and above and flying the flag of a State Party shall be required to maintain insurance or other financial security. It is also a requirement to obtain a certificate from a WRC State Party attesting to such insurance. All International Group Clubs have agreed to issue Blue Cards so that Members may apply for a WRC certificate. Four WRC States’ maritime authorities have agreed in principle to facilitate the smooth entry into force of WRC.
7. Losses Forecast on Newbuild Cancellations
Shenzhen-listed Sainty Marine is forecast to slip to full-year losses of up to CNY37.1M ($5.9M) for 2014 from profits of CNY123.5M in 2013 on cancelled newbuilding orders. Sainty Marine had cancelled the newbuilding orders signed with Germany’s Corbita Maritime Investment for four Ultramaxes as the shipowner failed to make the newbuilding payment. In October, the company predicted that it would remain in the black for 2014, even though it would post year-on-year slump in profits. Among the four newbuildings, two are completed and the others are under construction and scheduled to be completed soon, it added.
8. Rush to Close Deals for 2014
As 2014 draws to a close, shipowners are aiming to complete any pending deals in both newbuild and the sale and purchase markets. According to shipbroker Clarkson Hellas states that “clients of Pacific Carriers Limited are reported to have ordered a second 37,300 DWT Bulker at Shimanami Shipbuilding in Japan. It is also understood that clients of ID Shipping have ordered a 38,000 DWT Bulker from Imabari Shipbuilding.” Clarkson Hellas further stated that “a number of orders to report in tankers, starting with three firm (plus two option) 158,500 DWT Suezmax from clients led by Tulshyan Group (Singapore) at Shanghai Waigaoqiao". http://goo.gl/Mzxzij
9. Seafarer Mistreatment Hits Home
The suffering of abandoned seafarers has hit home to Canadians at this special time of year. This comes after the "Fritz", a container ship, was abandoned on the St Lawrence Seaway. The vessel experienced engine difficulties and was left stranded for several weeks in the River while its 19-member Romanian crew, unable to repair the ship, awaited orders from its owners.” Despite taking on supplies they ran out of food and had taken to fishing off the side of the ship. The Fritz story is testimony to The Mission to Seafarers and the generosity of Canadians who responded to these visiting strangers.
10. Rush for Scrubbers as Fuel Runs Low
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) has announced that it will be installing scrubbers on 13 of its cruise ships for sulfur compliance due to the "limited" availability of low-sulfur fuel. "The decision to install advanced emissions purification (AEP) systems instead of switching to a fuel with a lower sulfur content will ensure that RCL’s ships can be compliant everywhere they sail, as availability of lower-sulfur fuels is limited," said the company. The systems will remove 97 per cent of sulfur dioxide emissions, said RCL. The decision … will ensure that RCL’s ships can be compliant everywhere they sail.
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