Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/07/2015
1. Massive Offshore Layoffs
Paris-based offshore company Technip S.A. is the latest oil and gas company to announce layoffs as a way to combat a “challenging environment in oil and gas.” As part of its restructuring plan, Technip will lay off 6,000 of its 38,000 employees from its global workforce. The cuts will be implemented over the next 18 months, a Technip spokesperson said. The layoffs come as part of the company’s decision to “accelerate its cost reduction and efficiency efforts worldwide,” according to a statement released by the company. The restructuring plan is expected to save the company over $918 million – almost $775 million will be delivered in 2016 and the remainder in 2017.
2. Feeding Box Growth
Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine has booked 10 feeder container vessels at compatriot shipyard CSBC Corp and Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding. Taipei-listed Evergreen said it has approached CSBC to build five of the ships at a price of $185m to $195m in total. Imabari will construct the remaining five vessels at similar prices. The container carrier’s current orderbook includes 10 chartered vessels of 14,000 teu to be delivered in 2016-17, and 11 chartered ships of 18,000 teu for delivery between 2018-19. At present, Evergreen has a fleet of 205 ships with a combined carrying capacity of 974,762 teu.
3. Seafarers Abandoned and Starving
The crew of a ship chartered by Rio Tinto has come to the attention of the International Transport Federation with reports of underpayment and poor conditions while operating in Australian waters, indicating systemic problems with the ‘flag of convenience’ system. ITF national coordinator Dean Summers said the situation for the 21 member crew of the AOM Milena was dire, having received no wages since April, as well as running short on food supplies, and being forced to live and work in filthy conditions. “Not content to employ seafarers from poverty-riddled nations on wages that amount to just $2 per hour, the operator of this ship has not paid a single cent in wages".
4. Nigeria Needs to Find New Way
Advisors to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have recommended a root and branch overhaul of Africa’s biggest oil industry and increased borrowing to help pay off $20 billion of government arrears, a reform proposal document shows. A ‘transition committee’ set up by Buhari in April submitted 800 pages of policy recommendations to the president last month but the details were not made public. Among its recommendations were slashing the size of the civil service, overhauling the much-criticised state oil company and removing costly petrol and kerosene subsidies, according to an executive summary obtained by Reuters.
5. Owners Set to Find More Bunker Savings
There has been tremendous savings on bunker bills for shipowners for about nine months since October last year, when bunker prices started falling steadily in line with the weaker crude oil market. Over the course of this year, the price of benchmark grade Singapore 380 cst has stayed below $400 per metric tonne (pmt), with an average that is almost halved of what it was a year ago. To date, there have been few analysts reports and predictions pointing to a surge in oil prices in the near-term, though they have said that oil prices are unlikely to stay low over a prolonged period of time due mainly to the undying energy appetite for a growing global population.
6. Greece Needs to be Realistic
Greece shouldn’t look to its shipping industry to help raise the tax revenues it desperately needs to secure a bailout deal, an industry expert has warned. Both Greece’s government and its creditors have singled out the Greek shipping industry — which employs 200,000 people according to the National Bank of Greece – as an industry ripe for more taxation. Among the revenue-raising proposals are a higher tonnage tax, scrapping of special tax allowances and implementing a taxation framework for commercial shipping. Experts believe the chances of the Greek government getting more tax revenues out of the shipping industry are "absolutely nil" – as they will flag out and leave.
7. Royal Navy Gets Bunker Boost
The UK’s Royal Navy has seen a 31 percent reduction in fuel usage over the past four years, according to the Scottish National Party. The reduced figures between 2010 and 2014 purportedly signal a decline in navy activity rather than being the product of any specific fuel reduction program, according to MP Douglas Chapman, who was making a case for increased navy presence in Scottish waters due to a rise of Russian vessel activity in the area. In 2012, it was reported that the UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary was expecting four newbuild tankers to be delivered in 2016 to deliver fuel and fresh water to Royal Navy vessels..
8. Alliance Cancels Sailings
Members of the G6 Alliance are cancelling four Asia-Europe sailings in July and August in response to reduced market demand. APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Orient Overseas Container Line already dropped two Asia – Europe sailings in June. The new void sailings are detailed online and suggest that all may not be well amongst these giants as they wrestle with larger supply but a drop in demand.
9. Japanese Continue Piracy Fight
The Japanese government on Tuesday added another year to the Maritime Self-Defense Force mission to protect commercial vessels from pirate attacks off Somalia. The sixth extension of the operation, which began in 2009, is to help ensure the security of the important sea lane off East Africa under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy of making proactive contributions to maintaining international peace and stability. The mission will remain composed chiefly of two MSDF escort vessels and two P-3C patrol aircraft, involving about 600 personnel. Japan joined multinational anti-piracy operations led by the United States and Britain in December 2013.
10. Major Red Sea Rescue
Thirty-seven people were rescued from a Ro-Ro cargo ship in the Red Sea enroute to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. The 3,133 dwt Taba issued a distress call to the Safaga Naval base in Egypt after it started to sink. The Navy dispatched rescue teams to the area recovering the crew within a half-hour. they were taken Safaga Port where the vessel had began its voyage. According to Red Sea Ports Authority spokesman, Abdel-Rehim Mostafa, the ship was unstable due to its truck cargo being improperly balanced. The ship began to list heavily and subsequently sank. While there were no seriously injuries, nine passengers sustained minor injuries.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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