Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/07/2015
1. Owners Set to Jump Ships
Greek shipping companies are mulling a move to Cyprus as uncertainty over the future of their offshore tax status in Greece hangs in the balance, the director general of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber has said. Thomas Kazakos told press that Greek companies had been enquiring with maritime service providers about tax and administration issues in Cyprus. “Bearing in mind the developments in Greece, it is a normal consequence that some ship owners will look into … having a second base in Cyprus, as apart from the national, social, and religious connection, there is also the shipping relationship we have had for years,” Kazakos told the Cyprus News Agency.
2. Fears of Dropping Security Standards
With a pricing war underway since rates for private maritime security companies (PMSCs) have hit rock bottom many firms are cutting corners in a dangerous way, warns the co-founder of an independent security brokerage. Emma Mitchell of ASKET reports that market pricing for security services is at an all time low. Mitchell warns the cutthroat nature of the PMSC business means the industry may only just be paying enough to ensure it is compliant and credible. “Some security companies are employing sub-standard contractors or illegally sharing weapons to allow them to maintain margin,” Mitchell reports. Her company has rejected three PMSCs even with ISO28007.
3. Sea Sunday Praise for Seafarers
In a message for “Sea Sunday,” which will be observed on July 12, the Pontifical Council for Migrants pays special tribute to “the great humanitarian effort made by the crews of merchant vessels that without hesitation, sometimes risking their own life, have engaged in many rescue operations saving thousands of migrants lives.” The statement notes that the maritime profession involves hardships and risks that are not often appreciated until disaster strikes. In addition to long voyages and restricted living spaces, the statement calls attention to the threats of piracy and the restrictions that sailors face in many ports even when they have shore leave.
4. NATO Looks at Security Challenges
More than 160 NATO and partner nation military and civilian leaders are gathering in London for the NATO Maritime Commanders’ Meeting (MARCOMET) to discuss current and future maritime security challenges. The theme for SEA SENSE 2015 is NATO’s Future Maritime Posture – Readiness and Responsiveness for a New Era. 28 NATO and partner Heads of Navy will be joined by numerous international delegations, distinguished speakers and guests. Participants will discuss a number of key areas, including the establishment of the maritime element of the planned Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and reformed NATO Response Force, Baltic and Black Sea and Med issues.
5. Tanker in Theft Trouble
A d’Amico tanker has become embroiled in an oil theft probe. Police in Germany have arrested the Celio Di Milano, a 2003-built, 41,000 dwt product tanker. The ship is carrying 24,332 barrels of oil from Ghana’s Saltpond Offshore oil field for charterer General Shipping & Trading Services (GSTS), which local news sources in Ghana claim was obtained illegally. GSTS denied the charges, its CEO telling local media the claims were “a personal vendetta” from the ceo of the Saltpond Producing Company Limited (SOPCL). The ship has been at anchor in German waters for close to a month as legal proceedings get underway.
6. Fleet Spirals into Debt Detention
The vessel "Romuva", owned by Lietuvos Juru Laivininkyste (Lithuanian Shipping Company), has been arrested and stopped from leaving an Italian port due to debt. This is after two more ships of the company, Raguva and Voruta, suffered a similar fate. The Lithuanian ship Raguva, with over 20 crewmembers, was detained in Senegal’s capital Dakar. "Although our ships are in good working order and can do the job, yet they are delayed due to debts," said Valerijus Adamonis, Interim Head of Lietuvos Juru Laivininkyste. The vessels were detained because of debts for services and fuel. "We have paid wages to our employees" he added.
7. ITF Speaks on IMO Appointment
Commenting on the election of Lim Ki-Tack as the next president of the IMO (International Maritime Organization), Paddy Crumlin, president of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), said: “We congratulate Lim Ki-Tack on his election, and offer our best wishes to the outgoing secretary-general, Koji Sekimizu. “The job of secretary-general is a profoundly important one, and we are glad that Mr Lim will bring to it his personal experience of the Port of Busan and the working lives of those who work there – as evidenced by the respect in which he is held by its trade unionists. He concluded: “Mr Lim’s experience of safety issues will also be important".
8. Illness Affecting Charterparties
The outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea once again highlights the need for clauses tied to contagious diseases in charterparty agreements, law firm Clyde & Co has warned. In a commentary released on 2 July, Clyde & Co stress "Whether the outbreak will have legal implications on a charterparty will very much depend on the wording of the charterparty in question; standard form charterparties are unlikely to include wording dealing with outbreaks of infectious/contagious disease". Adding, "Shipowners are obliged to follow charterers’ legitimate orders unless to do so would expose the crew to unacceptable risk".
9. HK Enacts Tough Eco Law
An anti-pollution law under which all ocean-going vessels must be powered by low-sulphur fuel while berthing in Hong Kong took effect yesterday, accompanied by calls to look ahead to the next step – pressuring other regional ports to follow suit. The city now makes it compulsory for berthing ocean-bound vessels to use fuel with sulphur content no higher than 0.5 per cent, lower than the international cap of 3.5 per cent. In return, shipowners save half of their berthing fees through government subsidies. The move is expected to cut emissions of sulphur and respirable suspended particles of 10 microns or less by 12 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
10. 55 Years of Somali Rule
Somalis have marked 55 years of self-rule. This, while the East African nation is facing a great number of challenges including terrorism and a massive refugee crisis. Somali leaders are, however, optimistic that the country is on the right path to recovery. The celebrations mark the 55 years of self-rule after it attained Independence from the two colonial powers– namely Britain and Italy. The annual event is celebrated on the first of July each year. The years have not been good to the East African nation, seeing it descend into violent chaos, be named the pirate hotbed of the world and recognised as the most corrupt nation on the planet.
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