Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/03/2015
1. Cruiselines Poner Tunisia Moves
Costa Cruises said it is carefully monitoring the situation in Tunis after gunmen attacked the Bardo National Museum, killing at least 17 foreign tourists today. The line’s Costa Fascinosa cruise ship is currently berthed in the Tunisian capital as part of its scheduled seven-day cruise of the West Mediterranean. According to an Associated Press report, some of the Italians at the museum were believed to have been passengers aboard the Costa Fascinosa, Costa Cruises confirmed that some of its 3,161 passengers were visiting the capital on Wednesday and that a Bardo National Museum tour was on the itinerary, but said it couldn’t confirm that.
2. Huge Delays Threaten Dover
Ferry companies are warning of huge delays at Dover if the UK goes ahead with exit checks for passengers. Shipowners say queues could be five miles long at peak times when the measures enter force in three weeks, the Guardian reported. Checks are being imposed on tourists and lorry drivers as part of a pledge made in 2010. Ferry operators says immigration authorities have refused to allow them to tackle the queues by relaxing the rules on busy days. The UK Chamber of Shipping said a trial conducted in November showed that the exit checks will almost double the average check-in time for passengers.
3. Papering Over Management Cracks
Bureaucracy in shipping has been growing like an amoeba and threatens us all, afloat or ashore. “In practically every port I enter, the inspectors arrive”, complains a shipmaster to the International Maritime Organisation – “but they never look at my well-run ship, but spend all their time checking the paperwork!” People have been complaining about the administrative burden for many years, but the complaints reached a crescendo in the aftermath of last year’s IMO inquiry into its extent in a maritime world of regulation. Seafarers suggested the appointment of “administrative officers” to let the senior officers get on with their proper jobs.
4. Employing Japanese Seafarers
NYK is set to launch a new employment scheme for Japanese seafarers, which will begin either in April or October of next year. The new policy, "in which Japanese seafarers will be engaged to work only on vessels and not within NYK’s offices," would not result in a decrease of non-Japanese seafarer training, with foreigners comprising the majority of NYK’s crew members. In a company statement the group said there was an increased requirement for experienced seafarers with specialist knowledge. “Japanese seafarers have traditionally been well regarded the world over for their teamwork and skills".
5. Latest Somali Security Sit-Rep
On 10 March, two skiffs, containing a total of 7-8 people, approached a merchant vessel approximately 86 nm south-southeast of Al Mukalla, Yemen along the IRTC in the Gulf of Aden. Ladders were sighted on board one of the skiffs. An armed security team fired two warning shots towards the skiffs prompting them to stop . The approach lasted for a total of 20 minutes. On 7 March, weapons were sighted on board a blue and white skiff 23 nm off the Yemeni coast, approximately 94 nm northeast of this report. These two reports taken together increase the likelihood that at least one Pirate Action Group (PAG) is operative in the Gulf of Aden.
6. Greeks Tackle Organised Migrant Smuggling
Greek law enforcement authorities, with the support of Europol, have dismantled an organized criminal group suspected of facilitating the entry of irregular migrants – mainly Syrian nationals – into Greece from Turkey via maritime routes. The group also smuggled victims from Greece to other EU Member States through a range of methods, and was involved in the production and distribution of forged travel documents and their trading to other organized criminal groups. The criminal network operated in Greece and was formed of members from several countries including Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Romania.
7. Americas Cup Yacht Escapes Seizure
Defending America’s Cup champion Oracle Racing Inc. avoided the impoundment of one of its sailboats in a dispute with a sailor who claims he was wrongfully thrown off the team. The sailor had used maritime law to win a court order prohibiting the AC45-class racing catamaran from being moved while he sought pay for his termination. A federal magistrate judge in San Francisco vacated the order after a hearing Tuesday. Joseph Spooner, a New Zealander, started working in 2014 on a contract basis for Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA. Schooner and team got into a fight over salary and relocation expenses, resulting in his termination, http://goo.gl/IaqKim
8. Slow Steaming Opens the Market
Slow steaming by shipping companies has opened a gap in the market for rail transport, which although more expensive is seen as quicker and more reliable, JOC reports. "After the financial crisis, air freight became too expensive and shippers turned to the ocean," said Lothar Moehle, Air Freight Standardisation Director for DB Schenker, at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium. "But then the ships started slow steaming and extended even further the transit between Asia and Europe. Several commentators have suggested a fall in bunker prices may spur shipping companies to speed up on some routes.
9. Owners Still Keen on Bulk
Greek ship owners are still very keen to invest in dry bulk carriers, as 39% of them opt for this type of vessel, while an additional 28% is looking to invest in the tanker market. The three main shipping markets (dry bulk, tankers, containers) are accounting for 80% of the total preferences, while LNG/LPGs account for an additional 20% of the shipowners’ preferences. At the same time, banks are more inclined to finance the acquisition of tankers, a clear reflection of their view of the market’s prospects, as opposed to just 12% of banks which would finance dry bulk carriers.
10. Looking in New Ways at Propulsion
A new €7.5m technology research programme has been launched to develop propulsion products specifically for arctic conditions that could significantly improve costs and reliability for shipowners. Implemented with Wärtsilä and VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, the three-year Arctic Thruster Ecosystem (ArTEco) project will consist of developing state-of-the-art simulation and load determining methods for dynamic loading conditions; researching possibilities for dampening dynamic loads; researching the use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants in propulsion products; and researching new sensor technology.
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