Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/12/2014
1. Ferry Death Toll Confirmed
The death toll from a ferry fire in the Adriatic rose to 10 on Monday as the search for survivors went on into the night in seas off Albania. It was unclear how many people had been on board and whether any were still missing, but the Italian navy kept up its search, with almost 40 people still officially unaccounted for. As the search went on, survivors recounted the terrifying moments that the Norman Atlantic became engulfed by thick smoke in rough seas, forcing many into the chilly waters below. Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said that 427 people had been winched to safety by helicopter over the course of a 24-hour rescue.
2. Death Ferry Defects Found
The Norman Atlantic was found to have serious safety flaws during an inspection just 10 days ago. The ferry was examined by Port State control earlier this month and found to have faulty fire doors, too few life rafts and poor emergency lighting. The vessel, which was operated by Greek shipping company Anek Lines, was also criticized for its plans for how to handle passengers in the event of an emergency – raising serious questions over whether the tragedy could have been prevented. Details of the Norman Atlantic’s ‘grave failings’ in regard to fire safety were published on Greek and Italian websites.
3. Crew Found Not to be Qualified
The ‘Captain’ and ‘chief engineer’ of a capsized Cambodian ship found to be Bangladeshi labourers. According to news outlets, they had little knowledge of navigation and vessels, yet they were the captain and chief engineer of a ship. And the consequence is the loss of three lives and the ship. They were taken to Tokyo after being rescued from northern Japan coast where their ship — Cambodia-registered “Ming Guang” — capsized with scrap metals on its way to South Korea early Thursday. Mostofa Kamal, the “captain”, was a labourer in Mongla port. Meanwhile, the “chief engineer” was a labourer of the same port.
4. Iran to Rescue Again
Iran’s Navy on Monday foiled pirate attacks on an Iranian oil tanker in Bab-el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, Tehran-based news agency Mehrnews reported. The news outlet said that the oil tanker was attacked by eight vessels. The tanker, however, was rescued. The attack came at a time when Iran was engaged in large-scale military drills that started on December 25, according to Mehrnews. According to the Fars News Agency, Iran has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden against pirate attacks since November 2008, when Somali pirates hijacked MV Delight — an Iranian cargo ship — close to Yemen.
5. Predictions for the Year Ahead
According to experts we can expect ships to get bigger in 2015 even as overcapacity persists, and this will also have implications for port congestion too. Freight rate volatility shows no sign of changing on the major trade lanes. Looking ahead they expect some improvement in overcapacity, we will see more consolidation and congestion, backlogs and bottlenecking. Though there is little sign that freight-rate volatility will change on the major trade lanes in 2015 with no indication as yet that lines will change their marketing or sales ploys. It is also claimed that we will see more "mega ships", and it is thought these will speed up.
6. Freight Rate Innovations Needed
Container shipping lines will need to be resourceful to support freight rates in 2015 with vessel supply set to remain significantly higher than demand, according to HSBC’s latest ‘Transport Indicators’ report. The bank predicts that Asia’s major lines will return to profit in 2015. However, this will be driven by lower costs rather than rising freight rates. “We forecast that global containerized trade will continue to rebound or maintain a steady growth witnessed in the last several quarters going into 2015,” said the report. “We expect divergence in performance among lines,” said the report.
7. Another OW Related Arrest
An OW-Bunker-related ship arrest order has been issued in the U.S. for a Chinese-owned containership, with the bunkers in question were sold after the fuel supplier filed for bankruptcy. The order was given by a judge in Washington on behalf of Cyprus-headquartered Bunker Holdings Ltd. for the 5,550 TEU YM Success owned by Yang Ming Marine Transport. According to a filing the fuel was purchased through Singapore-based OW Bunker Far East, which was then delivered to YM Success at Nadhodka, Russia. Bunker Holdings is allegedly owed $1.89 million.
8. Delivery of Latest Record Breaker
China Shipping (Group) Company and Hyundai Heavy Industries co-held a new vessel naming and delivery ceremony in Ulsan, Korea on December 19, to celebrate the formal entry into operation of the second 19,100 TEU container ship, CSCL Pacific Ocean. After its delivery, CSCL Pacific Ocean will sail out immediately and, together with CSCL Globe, join the Far East—Europe route. CSCL Pacific Ocean and CSCL Globe are the largest container ships currently in operation, the first two in a series of five same-sized ships ordered by CSCL in May 2013. However, these giants will not hold the title of the largest container ships in the world for long.
9. Bribery Case Brought
A Singapore court filed bribery charges on Tuesday against a former executive at Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd, one of Asia’s largest defence and engineering groups. See Leong Teck, a former president of the company’s marine unit ST Marine, is the fourth former employee of the company to be charged with corruption this month. He was president of the from Dec. 1997 to Feb. 2008, ST Engineering said in a statement. See was allegedly involved in bribing agents for Hyundai Engineering and Construction Ltd and Myanma Five Star Line between 2004 and 2007 to win ship repair contracts.
10. Another Political Casualty of Ferry Loss
South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye accepted the resignation of Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Lee Ju-young. Minister Lee was appointed on 6 March, almost a month before the Sewol disaster occurred. The Sewol capsized during a routine Incheon-Jeju trip on 16 April, leaving 304 of 476 passengers either dead or missing. Lee submitted his resignation right after the disaster to take responsibility and repeatedly expressed his intention to resign. However, President Park decided to keep him in office because of concerns over an administrative vacuum. The minister’s resignation has now finally been accepted.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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