Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/03/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/03/2015


1. Oil Drops Again

Oil slid to the lowest intraday price in six years amid speculation that record crude inventories in the U.S. may begin to strain the country’s storage capacity. Futures fell as much as $1.27 to $43.57 a barrel in New York, the lowest level since March 2009, declining for a fifth day. The International Energy Agency boosted estimates for U.S. oil production in 2015 as drill rig cutbacks fail to slow output and said tanks are at risk of becoming full. A gauge of global commodities prices may drop 20 percent over six months, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.


2. Shipping Suffers Financial Flashbacks

The industry is suffering a flashback to what happened around the time of the global financial crisis. In the run-up to the crisis China’s appetite for raw materials seemed insatiable and shipping rates soared: the BDI peaked in May 2008 at 11,793, more than 20 times its current value. That prompted a frenzy of orders for new ships. But by the time these vessels started arriving, a couple of years later, they were launching into a global slump, so rates plummeted. In 2013, just as the scrapping of old ships and a scarcity of new launches were restoring a semblance of order, Chinese coal imports surged, and the BDI began to recover.



3. Armed Security Concerns Grow

One of the more controversial growth sectors in shipping has been the private security business, in particular, the use of armed guards. In the lawless waters in the Indian Ocean off Somalia armed guards became a choice for many to defend their ship and crew a few years ago, helped by a steady supply of security contractors from the then stabilising Iraq looking for a new business opportunity. Security contractors need to find new markets to which their attention turned to West Africa and Southeast Asia. These are a very different kettle of fish, and the gung ho nature of some companies could prove costly for clients.


4. Africa Sees New Security Co-ordination Centre

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has inaugurated the multinational maritime coordination centre (MMCC) for a maritime zone known as Pilot Zone E. Based in Cotonou, Benin, this marks an important step in the implementation of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS). It is solid proof of member states’ commitment to solving the critical issue of maritime piracy, along with other illicit activities at sea. Pilot Zone E is considered the most dangerous maritime zone in West Africa, and stronger protection efforts are needed in this area, which encompasses Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.



5. Singapore Sees Bunker Records Broken

Singapore last month recorded its highest ever February bunker sales total, which following a strong sales performance last month has helped the world’s biggest bunkering port by volume make its best ever start to a year with a combined sales volume of over 7 million metric tonnes (mt) for the first time on record.

The latest official data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) shows sales for all products in February 2015 totalled 3,396,000 metric tonnes (mt), a 3.6 percent increase on the volume sold in the period last year, which built on a 3.4 percent improvement in year-on-year sales for January 2015.



6. Suez Canal Widening Starts

The Egyptian government has embarked on an ambitious construction project of the New Suez Canal using local funding.  The new canal will expand from 60km to 95km, in addition to deepening and widening of the Great Bitter Lakes by-passes and Ballah by-pass, with a total length of 37 km. The total length of the project is going to be 72 km. The construction that was launched in 2014, was supposed to be completed in three years, but the President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi instructed that the project be completed in one year. He echoed this recently (February 2015) while addressing the media in Cairo.


7. Guards Being Let Down

Security firm Advanfort and the crew of its vessel "Seaman Guard Ohio", who remain stranded in India 17 months after this ship was arrested, disagree over the company’s level of support for the 35 men. Charges against the crew were quashed in July last year, but the crew have no access to their travel documents, a situation maritime charities have called "unlawful". Asked what reasons their accommodation costs have been denied, Advanfort acting president Ahmed Farajallah stated that the company does not have a "meaningful" response at this time, adding that the question should be answered by the insurers.



8. Time to End P&I Feb20 Scramble

It may be time to look at scrapping the industry’s annual scramble for P&I insurance, suggests Jim Mulrenan  The 20 February date is a hangover from the days of wooden hulls, linked to the time when the ice would clear enough to sail. How would it be if everyone went for an annual dental check-up on the same day, male office workers all shopped for a new suit at the same time, or motor insurance policies had a common renewal date. This recipe for chaos is what happens in the world of protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance every year – and some think it is time for a rethink.




9. BIMCO on Ship Efficiency

BIMCO has launched a guide to support shipowners and operators in improving their environmental performance and the efficiency of their ships.  BIMCO’s ‘Guide to Maritime Environmental & Efficiency Management’, developed in partnership with Fathom, and supported by ClassNK, is aimed at providing a resource to facilitate compliance with environmental regulations and to assist owners and operators in the development of an environmental and efficiency management system. The organisation’s marine committee, were fundamental in shaping the structure and content of the guide.




10. Become a Nightrider for Seafarers

The Mission to Seafarers is seeking cyclists to support its work in caring for the world’s 1.5 million seafarers. The charity has secured spaces at Nightrider, a unique 60 km or 100 km nighttime cycling event. “Taking in over 50 of London’s famous landmarks, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, Nightrider is a truly extraordinary way to explore the capital,” the charity says. The ride takes place on Saturday June 6. Each rider will be required to raise a minimum sponsorship of £175. The Missions to Seafarers offers emergency assistance, practical support and a friendly welcome to crews in ports around the world.




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


Best regards,

S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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