Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/01/2015
1. IMO to Tackle Admin Burden
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has published a report containing the main findings and conclusions of the public consultation undertaken by the IMO on the reduction of administrative burdens in maritime regulations. 60% of those involved in the online consultation named ‘Have Your Say,’ which ran from May to October 2013, were ship masters, senior officers and ships’ crews. A major – and perhaps surprising – finding has been that the majority of administrative requirements addressed in the consultation process were not perceived as being burdensome by any of the respondents. The tendency to “smother everything we do with paper” is also a result of a blame orientated and litigious culture.
2. Low Oil Driving Owners Profits
The low oil price environment which is currently in play, is providing for a major boon for ship owners, especially tanker owners, who unlike their counterparts are not only benefiting from low bunker prices, i.e. much lower operating expenses, but also from a rising freight rate market, on the back of higher demand from non-oil producing countries. In its latest weekly report shipbroker Intermodal hailed “in Oil we trust! The Barrel price has declined by almost a third in comparison to the 2014 January and has being on the downhill since early last summer. As the world starts to witness the difference at the pump, US investors and countries with a high production cost are starting to feel the heat”, it noted.
3. Union Attacks Government for Lack of Recruitment
Nautilus International, the trade union and professional organisation for maritime professionals at sea and ashore, has launched an attack on government support for the training of UK seafarers which it says needs to be dramatically increased if the nation is to avoid a serious maritime skills shortage within the next decade. The union is calling for the UK to take full advantage of the European Union state aid guidelines to ensure that shipowners receive more help with the costs of training British seafarers. Nautilus also says shipowners should redouble their efforts to recruit and train British seafarers.
4. Somali Piracy Awaiting Spark
Amid the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) concern over rising fuel theft and global ship hijackings. The organisation has also reasserted its concerns that while progress has been made against Somali pirate attacks it believes that "a single successful hijacking of a merchant vessel will rekindle the Somali pirates’ appetite to resume its piracy efforts." As with many other voices, they are concerned that the root causes of piracy ashore have not been tackled, and so any re-emergence of the pirates could see another spiral into chaos in the region.
5. Shipowners P&I Announces New CEO
Following a Board meeting on 15th January, the Shipowners’ P&I Club has announced the appointment of Simon Swallow as Chief Executive, in succession to Charles Hume, with effect from 9th March. Chairman, Philip Orme, said: “I am delighted that the Board has appointed Simon Swallow a Chief Executive. Simon is very well known in the market, having been with the Club for over 23 years. As Commercial Director in recent years he has led the business development of the Club and I have no doubt that he will build on that success as Chief Executive.” Simon Swallow said: “I am honoured to have been chosen by the Board to succeed Charles as Chief Executive, and I am very grateful for the support of all the staff".
6. Efficiency Drives Still Vital
Ship efficiency remains just as relevant and important in a bearish oil market as it does when shipowners have to pay over US$600 for a tonne of Heavy Fuel Oil. “With crude oil prices at their lowest since April 2009, the temptation is to put your foot on the gas and speed up a bit but this is not the way forward. When oil prices are low shipowners can benefit more fully from energy-saving technologies,” said Hakan Ozcan, the Chief Financial Officer of Ecoships, the technical ship management arm of Newport Shipping Group. “Admittedly bunker fuel will continue to be the largest single operational cost for shipowners, but with fuel prices continuing to drop, profit and loss accounts will improve".
7. Hapag-Lloyd Ready to Embrace Reporting Regs
Hapag-Lloyd is preparing to become the world’s first MRV-Ready certified shipowner, working with classification society DNV GL on a verification programme that will prove their readiness with incoming EU emission monitoring regulations for their entire own-managed fleet. MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification) are the incoming European Union (EU) regulations designed to progressively integrate maritime emissions into the EU’s policy for reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions that are currently being finalised. Initiated as a joint project between Hapag-Lloyd and DNV GL, the first stage of the verification shows Hapag-Lloyd is well on the way to compliance with MRV.
8. Liberia Signs Up to Wreck Convention
Liberia acceded to the Nairobi International Wreck Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007, on January 8, 2015, and thus becomes the largest flag state party to the convention. The Nairobi Convention covers shipwrecks that could have a potential adverse effect on the safety of lives and property at sea, as well as the marine environment. When it enters into force on April 14, 2015, it will fill a gap in the existing international legal framework by providing the first set of uniform international rules aimed at ensuring the prompt and effective removal of wrecks. Liberia has agreed to extend the scope of the convention to its territory, including its territorial sea.
9. Hay Carrying Vessel Catches Fire
A cargo of hay caught fire Wednesday morning aboard a vessel off the coast of Iskenderun, Turkey. According to reports, all 23 crewmembers of the MV Retaj A were evacuated safely after the fire broke out. The flames were eventually put out by firefighters and with the help of some rain, reports say, although as you can the vessel was severely damaged by the fire. This comes at a time when the number of vessel casualties appears to be rocketing – almost daily there are new reports of some sinking, grounding, fire or disaster. It could be that 2015 is the year in which shipping needs to take a deep hard look at what it does, how and why.
10. Tug Sinks Up Yangtze
More than 20 people are missing after a tug boat sank in the Yangtze River in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province on Thursday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday quoting local authorities. Seven or eight foreigners working on the boat, including citizens of Singapore and Japan, were among the missing, it said. A French citizen may also be among the missing. The tug was on a trial voyage when the accident happened on Thursday afternoon, Xinhua said. Three people had been rescued and a search and rescue mission is underway.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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