Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/03/2015
1. Tanker Hijacked off Indonesia
A product tanker was hijacked off Pulau Repong, Indonesia, by armed pirates, reported anti-piracy watchdog International Maritime Bureau (IMB). "Singa Berlian" was under way around 37 nm south of Pulau Repong when it was boarded by seven masked men armed with guns and long knives on 9 March at 21:08 h local time. The armed men held the crew hostage and took control of the ship. The 1993-built, 1,940 dwt tanker’s communication and navigational equipment were later damaged by the pirates and the vessel’s marine fuel oil cargo was transferred to another ship. The pirates then left the vessel, leaving a crew member injured.
2. Ship Launches Brave Rescue
A Greek chemical tanker rescued the crew of a Japanese fishing vessel that was on fire 670 km northwest of Dampier off the Australian coast on 14 March. The 24 Indonesia and Japanese crew stayed overnight at Port Hedland’s Seafarer’s Centre and were repatriated home on 16 March. "The launch went out Sunday evening [15 March] to pick them up from anchorage," a Seafarers’ Centre spokesperson told IHS Maritime. "A few had rope burns. Otherwise, everyone was good." The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) co-ordinated the rescue. AMSA search and rescue issued a broadcast to ships in the area to assist and sent five aircraft.
3. EU Launches New Migrant Team
The EU has launched a Joint Operational Team (JOT) Mare to tackle the organised criminal groups who are facilitating the journeys of migrants by ship across the Mediterranean Sea to the EU. Hosted at Europol headquarters in The Hague, JOT Mare will combine Europol’s intelligence resources and the EU Member States’ capabilities to carry out coordinated and intelligence-driven actions against the facilitators. Intelligence shows that organised criminal groups are actively facilitating the transport of these irregular migrants across the Mediterranean and more than 3,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean en route to Europe in 2014.
4. Asian Cruise Boom
The Asia cruise industry is experiencing dramatic double-digit growth of cruise ships, passengers and ports in the region, according new data released today by the Cruise Lines International Association, the largest association serving the global cruise industry. “It is exciting that, for the first time, we know the true size of Asian source markets and have been able to extend our understanding of Asia’s cruise industry growth and potential,” said Adam M. Goldstein, Global Chairman, CLIA. “2015 will be a record-breaking year in Asia with more travelers cruising the region than ever before.
5. RiskMap Plots Maritime Problems
Control Risks has published a new RiskMap report plotting global trends over the coming year. RiskMap highlights the most significant underlying trends in global risk and security and provides a detailed view from the markets that will matter most in 2015. ‘West Africa will remain a piracy hotspot in 2015 led by Nigeria where maritime operators are bracing for the fallout from the contested general elections. Much will also depend on how the future administration manages the Niger delta’s former rebels.’ ‘The terrorist threat will continue to evolve tactically and geographically", they state.
6. Pushing for Asian Navy Patrols
The commander of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet called on Southeast Asian nations to form a combined maritime force to patrol areas of the South China Sea where territorial tensions flare with China. Countries could streamline cooperation on maritime security while respecting sovereignty and coastal space, as in the case of counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, Vice Admiral Robert Thomas said Tuesday at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in Malaysia. The U.S. has reassured allies in the region it will back them against China’s assertions to about four-fifths of the sea.
7. Meeting to Address West African Issues
Maritime security chiefs from the West African sub-region are meeting in Accra to share ideas and harmonise strategies to deal with rising piracy and other criminal activities along the Gulf of Guinea. The West African sub-region has suffered several attacks by pirates and other gangs of criminals in recent times, from Angola to Nigeria and in Togo, Benin and Ghana. Speaking at the opening of the Second Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa Conference and International Defence Exhibition, 2015, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, described crimes at sea as having assumed alarming proportions and posing a huge threat.
8. MOL Launches Safety Conference Programme
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced that the company has held MOL Safety Conference 2015 programs in four places worldwide. Each conference opened with powerful messages from MOL President Koichi Muto: “Our company formulated the midterm management plan STEER FOR 2020 in April 2014, and set a goal of seeking for long-term stable profits, which do not rely on market conditions. Safe operation is essential to gain trust from customers and to achieve the target. We have continuously achieved ‘Four Zeroes’ (zero serious marine incidents, zero oil pollution, zero fatal accidents, and zero cargo damage) over about two years.
9. World’s Largest Classification Society
Japan’s ClassNK has retained its position as the world’s largest classification society with over 366m dwt of registered vessel tonnage, representing some 21% of the world’s entire classed fleet. Despite a global decline in new orders, the number of newbuildings joining ClassNK continues to grow, with the society welcoming newbuildings totalling over 16m gross tonnes to its register in 2014, or more than 25% of all newly built tonnage last year. “Shipowners and operators around the world select their classification society on the basis of the services delivered,” said Noboru Ueda, chairman and president of ClassNK.
10. Downward Commodities, Upward Dollar Rise
Ship owners keen to capitalize on deepening discounts from shipbuilders, but also to book a spot in the tanker market’s upward cycle, have started to make ways in the global market over the course of the past few days. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking noted that “with commodity prices still on the downward slide and the U.S. Dollar gaining in strength, it seemed to be the right opportunity for ship-builders to offer some further discounts, as they try to gain some traction amongst potential buyers”. Activity continues to remain relatively subdued while there is little optimism to push for further new ordering now. http://goo.gl/oSx20E
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