Top Ten Maritime News Stories 26/02/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 26/02/2015


1. Maersk Hands Bonus to Shareholders

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk will hand shareholders a $6.6 billion windfall in dividends this year after it sells its 20 percent stake in Denmark’s biggest bank Danske. Analysts had expected Maersk to announce the divestment of some assets on Wednesday as part of its strategy of focusing on its core shipping and oil divisions – but the Danske Bank stake had not been among the anticipated sales. Maersk – the world’s largest container shipping company – said it would sell 15 percent to its controlling shareholder, the Moller family foundation, saying the deal ensured Danske remained in Danish hands and had a long-term major investor.




2. New SOLAS Design Changes

The Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved amendments to SOLAS and other international documents at its second session (SDC2) held on February 16-20, 2015 at IMO Headquarters in London.  The Sub-Committee approved the amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 related to intact stability, information on stability provided to masters, determination of Subdivision Index «А» and calculation of survival factor si for passenger ships and cargo ships, requirements on double bottoms in passenger ships and cargo ships other than tankers, as well as water tightness of ships, structure and testing of watertight doors on passenger ships.




3. South Korean Safety Changes

South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has assigned 22 safety inspection officers at the headquarters of the ministry and regional offices of maritime affairs as a follow-up measure after the Sewol disaster. The ministry said, "The newly appointed 22 safety inspection officers have more than 15-20 years of work experience in the related fields. They will be in charge of guidance and supervision of safety inspection on ships, shipping companies, and operators." The 22 officers will be provided with job trainings in the next five weeks and will begin their work from 1 April. The ministry added, "Monitoring and inspection on private operators and their ships will be strengthened thanks to the new officers".



4. Fresh P&I Warning on Armed Guards

Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre Gulf of Guinea (MTISC-GoG) recently advised vessels transiting or going to any Nigerian ports not to have any form of security guards, armed or unarmed, onboard. Gard P&I Club has stressed this matter to members, stating that they are advised to note the enhanced risk of vessel detention when entering Nigerian waters with foreign security guards onboard and keep in close contact with the vessel’s agent or Gard’s local correspondent to obtain the most up to date and reliable information available at any given time.



5. Piracy Trial Finally Moves Forward

After almost a year’s hiatus, the Indian trial against the 120 Somali pirates is likely to resume as the state has agreed to provide funds to arrange the deposition of 18 foreign witnesses via videoconferencing.  The pirates have been charged with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in addition to attempted murder, unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy, hijacking a ship and carrying weapons under IPC. They have also been booked for waging war against the nation and under various sections of the Arms Act.  The trial has been dogged by the non-availability of foreign national witnesses, so the remaining 18 witnesses from 6 different countries will now be able to depose via video.




6. EU Moves to Shipping Competitiveness

European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc has big plans for strengthening the competiveness of the EU shipping industry – which employs over 220,00 seafarers – explaining that she and her team are "particularly active on four fronts: administrative simplification, improving the environmental performance of the sector, giving financial support to infrastructure and innovative logistics services, and promoting the seafarer profession". The Slovenian commissioner says, "today, vessels sailing between EU ports encounter a significant number of complex procedures. On 1 June 2015, a directive on so-called reporting formalities will come into force.



7. European Owners Look to Asian Investment

The European shipping sector is increasingly hopeful that Asian capital providers will come to their rescue, as 80% of executives surveyed place greater importance on the region, HSH Nordbank has said. "The Asian shipping industry compared to the European is in a better situation," Christian Nieswandt, global head of shipping for domestic clients/global liner and container finance at HSH Nordbank, told IHS Maritime. According to the bank’s survey ‘Shipping goes to Asia 2015’ released today, which surveyed 500 executives from its global client base, European shipowners are substantially more upbeat about the market prospects in Asia, even more than those in Asia.



8. Big Data Analysis Key for Shipping

Real-time reporting and data analysis are key tools to understanding and improving complex operating environments of today’s companies where the overall effects of any individual action can be very difficult to identify without a proper tool set at hand. Identifying and continuously improving best practices are also best served by the same process which then allows shipowners and operators to see what’s happening underneath all the noise — to find what otherwise would be lost in the variance of the data. In order to make operational improvements a systematic approach is needed to cover key areas which must be studied, analyzed, changed and constantly monitored in order to meet the desired outcome.



9. Deepwater Horizon Fraudulent Claims

A US citizen was arrested yesterday for allegedly making a fraudulent claim on the fund set up to compensate victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division. The 45-year-old was arrested in connection with an indictment returned last week and unsealed following his arrest. The indictment by a grand jury in the District of Columbia charges the claimant with one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. According to allegations the submitted a claim for compensation in the amount of USD 2.3 million to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).



10. The Future of Shipping and Seafaring

Oscar Levander has caused something of a stir across the world’s press over the last 12 months by predicting a brave new world in which unmanned cargo vessels, controlled remotely from shore, will one day ship the world’s seaborne trade more safely and effectively than ever before. The ky to this development will be the use of smart data to drive increasing automation. The oX bridge concept include windows which provide "augmented reality displays" of a ship’s surroundings, highlighting potential hazards such as zones around rigs, the presence of sea ice or service vessels outside the line of sight of bridge personnel. Meanwhile, smart work stations, will recognise individuals when they walk onto the bridge.




Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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