Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/03/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/03/2015


1. Double Malacca Piracy Trouble

Two separate piracy incidents on Saturday have led the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) to issue a warning to masters transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. In one incident, the Luxembourg-registered container ship "MSC Vancouver" was boarded while underway approximately nine nautical miles northeast of Pulau Karimun Besar. Seven pirates armed with knives and tools boarded the ship and robbed the second engineer of a gold watch and chain. A few hours earlier, four men boarded the Marshall Islands-registered bulk carrier "Capetan Giorgis".



2. EU Looking to Out Source Migrant Controls

The EU is considering plans to outsource its patrols of the Mediterranean to countries such as Egypt and Tunisia in order to try to reduce the high numbers of desperate illegal migrants risking their lives to reach European shores. Under the proposals tabled confidentially by the Italian government, the EU would cut deals with North African countries to fund and train their navies in search-and-rescue missions for the tens of thousands of people being trafficked from Libya to Italy. Once rescued, the migrants would be taken to the ports of the country saving them or sent back to their countries of origin.




3. IMO Gathers Stowaways Data

According to latest IMO statistics, during 2014 61 stowaways incidents reported involving 120 stowaways. Cape Town and Lagos were the most common ports of embankment. Africa answers for 81% of the total amount of cases and the most common type of known stowaway nationalities were Nigerian, Ghana and Tanzanian. According to the Club’s statistics, the average cost for a stowaway case is USD 38,500 although the costs for one case can escalate to several hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the legal and practical difficulties to repatriate the stowaway involving, inter alia, teams of security personnel.




4. Somali Pirates Shifting Location

According to Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar, somali pirates are "shifting their location" towards India, but the country is watchful to deal with such threats. "Today’s threats are not traditional. Somali pirates, after being neutralized by various countries’ navies, are shifting their locations towards India. Because their (shipping) lanes are heavily guarded, they have moved 30-40 nautical miles, although they still are 450 nautical miles away from India," he said. "They may not be next to India but … We are watchful and careful," Parrikar said at an international conference on "India & the Indian Ocean".




5. Singapore Calls for Strengthened Piracy Efforts

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has called for strengthened efforts and cooperation in battling maritime piracy, in addition to reaffirming its own commitment to the cause. The announcement follows a recent ReCAAP report which showed a 22 percent increase in the number of incidents between 2013 and 2014. "Singapore stands ready to cooperate with the littoral states to strengthen the coordination among the enforcement agencies," said MPA Chief Executive Andrew Tan.  The MPA also said that it is looking at boosting and repositioning the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) as a key source of data.



6. Vessel Arrest Claims Answered

In response to media queries on the two separate incidents of merchant vessels managed by Singapore companies detained in Indonesia, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA Singapore) spokesperson said: "Recent media reports quoting the involvement of four Singapore-registered vessels and four Singaporeans in the two incidents are inaccurate. In particular, we wish to clarify at this juncture, that only two of the four vessels are Singapore-registered. Of the persons reportedly detained, only one is Singaporean, a marine surveyor, in the incident first reported on 5 March.




7. Drunken Master Fined and Criticised

A ship master who was five times over legal alcohol limit when he planned to set sail has been fined $3000. Parmod Kumar, the master of the "African Harrier", pleaded guilty in Court to attempting to operate the ship while over the limit. The vessel was due to leave when the pilot told Maritime NZ he was concerned Kumar was under the influence. A Maritime NZ staff member asked police to test Kumar and found he had a breath alcohol level of 1229 micrograms per litre – almost five times the legal limit of 250mg/l. He’s the first person to be prosecuted under laws requiring seafarers not to exceed alcohol limits when performing their duties.



8. Bankers like Tankers…but Greeks Don’t

Bankers like tankers, but Greek shipowners favour bulkers. In a clear reflection of their view of the shipping market banks are more inclined to finance the acquisition of tankers, as opposed to bulk carriers.  At the same time, Greek shipowners, renowned for reading the market, are still very keen to invest in dry bulk carriers, according to a survey by a leading Piraeus finance and business consultant. A recent survey of 150 Greek shipping companies, both listed and private, and 50 Greek and foreign banks found just 12% of the banks would finance dry bulk carriers. Among Greek shipping companies 39% of them opt for bulkers.




9. Owners Dismayed by Worldscale Change

Shipowners have not reacted warmly to an announcement by the Worldscale Association (Worldscale) that it plans to review Emissions Control Area (ECA) fixed rate differentials for 2015, Platts reports. Currently, fixed rate differentials for the European ECA are $48.35 per mile, while those for the North American ECA are $65.31 per mile. Calculations suggest this differential, which is the premium for using 0.10 percent sulfur ECA fuel compared to IFO380, should work out to just over $35 per mile. According to the report, charterers have commonly paid shipowners based on the Worldscale rate differentials for both laden and ballast legs.



10. Anonymous Blogger Irks Shipping Group

Noble Group is launching legal action against Iceberg Research as the anonymous blogger publishes it third report into the commodities and shipping group, questioning debt levels and linking it to the collapse of OW Bunker. Iceberg Research’s third report issued at the weekend focuses on debt levels and corporate governance. It also make allegations linking Noble’s short-lived foray into the Singapore bunker market to the bankruptcy of OW Bunker in November last year. Meanwhile Noble said it would be taking legal action against the individual it says is behind the reports.





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