Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/02/2015
1. Thai Tankers Being Targeted
In what is becoming a depressing and all too commonplace occurrence yet another Thai flagged tanker has been reported as being hijacked. The “Phubai Pattra 1″ was reported by welfare sources as having been attacked, though details at this stage are still sketchy and the hijack does not appear to have yet made it into the maritime press.
If confirmed, and as expected the cargo is stolen and the vessel released this will make it a rather worrying number of Thai vessels which have befallen the exact same fate. This would suggest that somewhere there are failings within the security processes and regimes – are the Thai flag State responding to this epidemic affecting their seafarers and crews? http://goo.gl/qnlubb
2. Super Rich and Their Yachts at Risk
Luxury yachts and other shipping in the Mediterranean could come under attack from heavily armed Isis fighters using speedboats to conduct attacks from the Libyan coast, a former Royal Navy admiral warned this weekend. Rear Admiral Chris Parry said he feared the “super-rich” could be singled out as part of a piracy campaign that would threaten shipping from Gibraltar to Greece. “Yachting, any leisure activity, is going to be under threat,” he said. “If I were the likes of the super-rich I would be getting a bit concerned about my physical security.” Isis pirates would pose a greater danger than the Somalis who have attacked shipping in the Indian Ocean because they are better armed.
3. Migrants do not Have to Die
On February 11, 300 migrants drowned at sea. Their flimsy rafts supplied by greedy smugglers fell apart in eight-foot waves. As the Italian Coast Guard dispatched ships from Lampedusa, the merchant ship monitoring the distressed dinghies couldn’t safely board passengers due to Force Seven wind and waves. Once help arrived, the open boats offered little protection from the elements, and 29 people died from hypothermia on the way to shore. Despite the news of the disaster, smugglers continue to launch thousands more desperate migrants from war-torn Libya, making millions. MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), has spoken out at said that it does not have to be this way.
4. Fight Terrorists, Destroy Piracy
As the phenomenon of piracy is usually dependent on the existence of sanctuaries in failed (or failing) states, counter-insurgency can represent an effective way to confront it. Insurgencies and piracy represent two distinct security issues, but a combined approach can be part of the solution to both. While the insurgency-terrorism nexus has been thoroughly explored in the last years, the relationship of piracy with these two phenomena is still not well understood. A direct link between transnational terrorist networks and piracy hotbeds has been highlighted earlier this year. He quotes Al-Qaeda’s who identified the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, Bab al-Mandib and the Gibraltar Strait as targets.
5. Tanker Attacks on Rise
The number of pirate attacks on Iranian oil tankers in 2014 has risen compared to 2013, an official at Iran’s National Iranian Tanker Company said, warning that pirates are shifting to the African waters. Akbar Jebel Ameli said the cases of pirate attacks on the Iranian oil tankers in 2014 has jumped by 15 percent in comparison to 2013. The official, however, noted that none of the Iranian oil tankers were damaged in the 10 pirate attacks in 2014, because of the timely presence of the country’s naval fleet. Jebel Ameli described the Bab el-Mandeb strait as the world’s most dangerous place for vessels by recording the highest number of attacks, with 33 percent of the worldwide cases since 2008.
6. Nigerian Cadets Kicked out of Class
Hundreds of Nigerian youths presently studying various maritime courses in The Philippines have been sent out of their classrooms following their alleged inability to pay their tuition fees and other sundry payments for their upkeep. The Nigerian cadets are studying various courses in the Asian country tertiary institutions that would enable them become seafarers which are presently in high demand across the globe. The cadets are on scholarship to study Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences in selected universities in the Asian country. It seems the funding of the cadets ran into trouble waters as a result of late release of funds due to "bureaucratic bottlenecks".
7. Greek Shipowners Delay Orders
Greek shipowners ordered fewer new vessels in 2014 compared to 2013. Last year, 230 new vessels were ordered, significantly less than the 348 ordered in 2013, showing a 34% year-on-year drop. The share of ships ordered by Greeks from global orders dropped to 10% in 2014, compared to 12% in 2013. The total capacity for ships ordered was 24.1 million deadweight tons (dwt) for which Greek shipowners invested 8.41 billion euros. Dry bulkers and tankers constituted the majority of the orders placed by Greek shipowners. There were orders for 97 dry bulk carriers (against 149 orders in 2013) worth 1.9 billion euros and with a capacity of 10.4 million dwt, while 76 tankers were ordered, compared to 108 in 2013. http://goo.gl/rw34jO
8. Equity Boost Welcomed into German Market
The arrival of equity funds into the German shipping industry during the global financial crisis has brought scepticism and prejudice from both sides, but the development has shown a different side, says the new president of the German Shipowners Association, Alfred Hartmann, who points to several healthy partnerships. “I believe it’s been possible in recent years for scepticism and prejudice to be successfully overcome on both sides. I can now see a whole series of sound projects on the market, and I am confident that others will come along as well,” says Alfred Hartmann. Hartmann, the owner of Hartmann Group, took over on January 1st, 2015, as the new president of the German Shipowners Association VDR.
9. Offshore Sector Feels the Squeeze
Due to falling oil prices, companies in the offshore maritime sector need to press the "cost-cutting" button to mitigate any risk of financial distress, warned industry players. Dedicated ship managers could be an option for vessel owners looking to make savings in servicing offshore supply needs. As a consequence of the recent cost-cutting spree of the oil and gas majors, the industries they work for have also felt the effects. This may be a boone for ship managers who will seek to manage fleets and look to promise cost savings for owners.
10. Bangladesh Ferry Deaths After Collision
At least 66 people died when a passenger ferry carrying more than 150 passengers and crew capsized after colliding with a trawler on a river in central Bangladesh on Sunday, police said. Rescuers managed to save at least 50 passengers and were still searching for more survivors, regional police official Harun-ur Rashid told Reuters on Monday. Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, suffers regular ferry disasters, with deaths sometimes running into the hundreds. More than half of the 66 bodies retrieved so far from the river Padma were women and children, Harun said. Police have seized the trawler and arrested the captain and his two crew, he said.
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