Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/01/2015
1. Legal Fears Stifling Transparency
DNVGL’s maritime CEO, Tor Svensen, believes that “legal fear” is stopping shipowners from sharing critical "lessons learned" from serious accidents. Svensen said that while he would not “specifically say” that lawyers are warning shipowners/operators against sharing lessons learned from casualties, he said: “We often have seen that legal aspects are used as arguments for not sharing information, since this could be incriminating during a later investigation of a casualty. “We have to change this and believe it is possible to create a system in which information could at least be exchanged anonymously. IMO and governments are the natural channels to address this topic for the sake of enhancing safety in shipping.”
2. Looking Back at 2014 Maritime Security
Last year the Gulf of Guinea saw an overall reduction in the number of incidents, but the year saw a marked increase in the number of attacks resulting in the kidnap of senior crew from vessels trading in the region. Fourteen vessels had crew taken captive last year, compared to eight vessels having crew kidnapped the previous year. The continued presence of large numbers of coalition forces, (BMP 4) measures and the provision of privately sourced armed security teams, has kept a lid on Somali pirates, while in Southeast Asia 2014 has seen another annual increase in the number of maritime crimes reported with a 21% increase in reported maritime crime across the region when compared to the figures for 2013.
3. Coastguard Seen As Essential Anti Piracy Tool
Effective training and mentoring for coastguards in southeast Asia is essential in order to have control over territorial waters and economic zones, maritime security company Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST) says. “This is not just about Somalia. Coastal nations in other piracy-prone areas such as west Africa and southeast Asia are being encouraged to police their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, and will benefit from mentoring in how to do so more effectively,” Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST, said in a statement. Coastguards need to be able to implement a “more sophisticated and layered application of maritime security”, MAST says.
4. Tanker Tonnage Used for Storage
In what could prove to be a headwind for tanker owners during 2015, shipbrokers are reporting the potential of higher tonnage supply trend. The reason being that more and more VLCCs which were reportedly headed for decommissioning have returned to the market, on rising demand for floating storage. This combined with expectations of higher newbuilding ordering activity this year, as rates are still on multi-year highs, could lead to yet another cycle of oversupply.
5. Singapore Legal Actions Slide
Singapore has seen a big slide in both the yearly number of Warrants of Arrest that were filed and the number of ships arrested, official data provided to Ship & Bunker by the Supreme Court of Singapore shows. In 2014 there were 60 ships arrested and 67 Warrants of Arrest filed, down from 85 and 110 in 2013 respectively. The activity was almost half of the 114 ship arrests and 133 Warrants of Arrest filed two years ago. The latest numbers come despite November reports of an increase in bunker tanker arrests at the port city following the collapse of OW Bunker, with Phillips66 International Trading reported to have seized six ships in one weekend alone.
6. BIMCO Explains New Bunker Clause
BIMCO has published a set of explanatory notes for its new standard bunker contract, the BIMCO Terms 2015. The notes are intended to help potential users get a clearer idea of the thinking behind the various clauses of the terms, it says. Made officially available to the industry in December 2014, the BIMCO Terms 2015 aim to help both bunker buyers and sellers manage risk and reduce disputes. "The objective of the BIMCO Terms 2015 is quite simple – to provide the industry with carefully thought through terms and conditions for the purchase and delivery of marine fuels that are fair to both parties and provide a comprehensive starting point for negotiations," said BIMCO.
7. COSCO Makes Massive Bunker Savings
China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO Group) achieved $400 million in fuel savings during 2014 compared to the previous year. Group Chairman Ma Zehua told Chinese media he attributed the savings to structural and operational changes made by the group, including its slow steaming practices. "In the past, we had 10 containerships heading to Europe, sailing at a fast speed and using up a lot of fuel," said Ma. "After adding more ships to the route and reducing the vessel speed, we have greatly cut down on the use of fuel and lowered our operating expenditure as well," he said. This month, COSCO Group announced it had secured a $1.75 billion loan facility to finance the building of 53 new vessels.
8. Sea Shepherd Secures Mega Donation
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has received an incredible "mega" donation at the annual Goed Geld Gala (Good Money Gala) in Amsterdam, enough they say to build their “ideal ship.” With the 8.3 million euro donation, Sea Shepherd CEO Alex Cornelissen says they “will now be able to have a custom-designed ship built, capable of achieving speeds that far exceed any of the vessels in our current fleet. After researching possible ship builders for the last two years, negotiations with Dutch ship builder Damen has resulted in a blueprint of our ideal ship.” Their ideal ship appears to be a modified Fast Crew Supplier. The new whaling wars could be set to heat up.
9. Bank Steps Up Bad Debt Efforts
HSH Nordbank AG, the world’s largest financier of ships, is stepping up efforts to unload billions in bad debt racked up during a seven-year glut in the global container fleet. The bank based in Hamburg is looking to seal a series of transactions in which maritime companies would take over vessels from defaulting debtors, Wolfgang Topp, head of HSH’s restructuring unit, said in a phone interview on Jan. 19. A dispute over ship and charter prices thwarted attempts last year to replicate a $300 million deal with Greek shipowner Navios Group in 2013. "I expect that we will speedily wrap up — one, two, three — transactions with a gross value of 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) this year,” they stated.
10. Snowmageddon Warning to Mariners
The U.S. Coast Guard is urging mariners from New York City up through New England to take precautions in preparation for Winter Storm Juno, expected to impact the Northeast late Monday through Wednesday. The Coast Guard is flying storm tracks today to warn mariners of the impending blizzard. Air Station Cape Cod is using HC-144a Ocean Sentry airplanes to circumvent the storm while radioing information to mariners below. The Coast Guard says it will continuously update conditions and issue marine broadcast warnings. As the storm moves up the coast, it is expected to bring snowfall of 1-3 feet or more to many parts of the Northeast through Tuesday evening, including New York City and Boston.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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