Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/01/2015
1. Malta Reports Strong Growth
Transport Malta, the Authority responsible for the Malta Ship Register, has reported a strong and positive performance for 2014. According to the latest statistics, Malta has now become the sixth largest ship register worldwide whilst further consolidating its position as the largest Register in Europe. In 2013, Malta ranked in the seventh place. In fact, as at end of the year, the Maltese Register of Shipping registered an increase of almost 6.5 million gross tonnage representing a growth rate of 12.5% over the previous year, which had also reported record figures. As at end of December 2014, the GRT under the Merchant Shipping Act was 57.9 million gross tons with over 2,500 merchant vessels fly the Maltese flag.
2. Libya Scare Has Owners Scurrying
Oil shipping firms face higher costs and the possible loss of insurance cover on Libyan voyages, caught in a struggle between the rival governments there and threatened by air attacks. John Dalby of maritime security firm MRM, said he had prepared evacuation plans for an unnamed oil company if the situation deteriorated further, adding that attacks on tankers were expected to continue, reducing the pool of ships willing to make runs to and from Libya. "We are likely to see more attrition between the rival governments and tankers are an easy target," he said. "This is expected to mean tanker owners will be even less keen on risking their tankers. Being targeted by air or sea is a real commercial and safety risk now."
3. Greek Owners Fearful of New Government
Several owners in Greece’s important shipping sector say they fear the new government led by radical-left party Syriza will levy higher taxes that the industry can’t afford. If the industry is unable to reach a compromise with the government, elected Sunday, some owners say they plan to limit their operations in Greece or move out of the country altogether.
Shipping is one of the few sectors in Greece that has successfully weathered a ravaging debt crisis which wiped out about a quarter of the economy over the past five years and impoverished much of the population. But many Greeks also perceive shipowners as a privileged group, protected by special tax laws, who some say haven’t contributed their fair share.
4. Safe Ship Breakers Slam Industry
Leading container shipping groups are under fire from a safe shipbreaking campaign group for continuing to send vessels to "sub-standard" beach demolition yards on the Indian sub-continent. NGO Shipbreaking Platform (NSP) claimed today that 641 out of 1,026 vessels demolished last year were sent to such beach-based facilities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The organisation, which reported 23 deaths and 66 severe injuries in shipbreaking accidents last year in South Asia, singled out German owner Ernst Komrowski as the "worst global dumper" with 14 vessels beached. Second on the list was Hanjin Shipping, with 11 vessels scrapped, followed by Mediterranean Shipping Company, with seven vessels.
5. China Looks to New River Rules
The Chinese Ministry of Transport has officially released a new regulation on the standardization of inland river vessels in order to tighten control of the inland shipping market and optimize the inland shipping fleet. The regulation will be effective from April 1, and will offer subsidies to encourage technology innovation on the newbuild of inland vessels and the scrapping of old vessels. It also demanded shipowners to file applications with authorities before conversion and construction of passenger vessels and hazardous cargo vessels, while shipowners are also demanded to register new capacity from newbuild and conversion project with authorities 15 days before the commencement of construction.
6. Ghana Navy Captures Pirate Suspects
The eight suspected pirates arrested by the Ghana Navy aboard vessel, MT Mariam, have been remanded into prison custody by the Adjabeng Magistrate Court in Accra. The Ghana Navy on Saturday, January 17, foiled a pirate attack on a Nigerian cargo vessel, MT Mariam, and captured all eight bandits. The pirates were armed but no one, including a nine-member crew aboard the vessel, was injured when the Ghana Navy crew aboard GNS BLIKA effected the arrest. The suspected pirates were on Tuesday charged with conspiracy to commit crime and piracy when they made their first appearance in court. They have been remanded into prison custody and the trial commences next month.
7. Leap in SouthEast Asian Piracy
A series of ships being hijacked for oil products cargo resulted in a 21% year-on-year (y/y) increase in maritime crime in Southeast Asia. The incidents in 2014 culminated in the fatal shooting of a Vietnamese seafarer from bitumen tanker VP Asphalt 2. Dryad Maritime figures show a total of 214 incidents compared to 177 in the previous year. Many of these incidents have taken place within 150nm off Singapore. Finally, in the South China Sea, there were 12 attempts at hijacking and theft of fuel cargoes from small local product tankers, although not all attempts succeeded. "A very real concern is the fact that criminal gangs are becoming more violent and, without arrest and prosecution", they added.
8. Nigerian Gunboat Sale Arrests
With the dust yet to settle over the sale of seven gunboats by a private security firm belonging to ex-Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemuplo, it has emerged that two British businessmen have been arrested on suspicion of bribing a Norwegian official alleged to have been involved in the controversial sale of the former naval vessels. The City of London Police’s Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit (OACU) said the two men were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of bribing a foreign public official to assist them in purchasing six ex-naval vessels. “The two men are believed to be involved in a business that specialises in International Risk management for the maritime industry".
9. Caribbean Drug Haul Found
Guyana authorities confiscates 192kg cocaine from navigation vessel. A vessel that arrived from Suriname had 193kg of cocaine hidden in it. The drugs were found on the 5, 700-dwt Deltadiep in the Demerara River. The operation involved the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU).
Head of CANU, James Singh, said: “A check of the vessel showed that this container had contraband inside; as such we offloaded the container, brought it to Georgetown where the examination was done.” The contraband was reportedly concealed in a flat rack. The vessel was due to load bauxite and head to Spain.
10. Lovely Cars, Lots of Damage
The first of the hundreds of cars which made up the cargo of the rescued car carrier Hoegh Osaka have started to be off-loaded. Four tugs towed the 51,000-tonne ship back into Southampton Port last Thursday after it had become stranded for a total of 19 days off the Hampshire coast. A spokesman for ship owners Hoegh Autoliners said that most of the cars had survived unscathed, while some had suffered dents and scratches. An excavator had shifted punching a hole in the hull causing 3,000 tonnes of water to flood some of the car decks. The spokesman said that the condition of cars in this area was not yet known although "a small number" were under water.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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