Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/07/2015
1. IMO Getting Better at Regulation
At the IMO Council meeting held last week, agreement was reached about a draft resolution establishing that international shipping regulation must be sharper. With the new resolution, the IMO stresses the need for better regulation and fewer administrative burdens for the benefit of seafarers, shipowners and administrations alike. Already when new regulations are being worded, it must be considered which requirements are imposed on both the seafarers on board the ships and the shipowners’ shore-based offices. Unnecessary administrative difficulties must be weeded out before the regulations are written and adopted by the IMO. Seems like a win-win for all.
2. Capital Controls Effecting Owners
Capital controls introduced by the Greek government could have a ripple effect on Greek shipowners leaving their ships stranded in port as they are unable to buy fuel. The estimate relates to up to a fifth of the country’s fleet, which have been prevented from doing business outside the country due to the capital control implemented as the country had run out of Euros. “There is a problem in the industry because many companies cannot buy any oil,” a source at the Zouros Shipping Company in Piraeus told the UK newspapers. “Many ships are locked in harbours – maybe as many as 20pc – and are not allowed to make payments outside the country because of capital controls.”
3. Somali Pirates Hates Navies
In an informal survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and Oceans Beyond Piracy of 66 Somali inmates convicted of piracy, economic strife was their primary reason for engaging in maritime crimes. One prisoner said that he went to sea to hijack ships because his family was poor, but other inmates offered they actually left piracy on the high seas once they had enough money to retire. Some prisoners mentioned that illegal fishing had taken the only work they knew and that if it persists piracy may continue because it is many Somalis only option. The presence of the international naval forces was a primary deterent, while others hated armed guards.
4. Asian Maritime Crime Continues
New figures show that Southeast Asia continues to dominate maritime crime incidents globally, with 120 reports of piracy and maritime crime instances occurring in the region since January 1, 2015, an increase of 22 percent compared to the first six months of 2014, according to figures from U.K. maritime intelligence and operations company Dryad Maritime. Of these reported incidents, 12 were vessel hijackings – an increase of three compared to the same period last year. Dryad notes that the arrest of two sets of hijackers this year will likely result in a slowdown in the numbers of small product tankers being hijacked in the region, but it fully expects a return of attempted hijacks.
5. Maersk Mega 1.1Billion Deal
Maersk Line signed a new building contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The order is for 9 (nine) vessels with a capacity of 14,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) each. The agreement includes an option for up to 8 (eight) additional vessels. The vessels will have a length of 353 meters, the company said in its press release. The contract has a value of USD 1.1 billion. It was signed by Mr. Sam H. Ka, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of HHI and Mr. Søren Toft, COO of Maersk Line, at a ceremony at Maersk Line’s headquarters in Copenhagen. This is the third new-building order in Maersk Line’s investment programme announced in September 2014.
6. Non-Doms Tax Woes
Jeremy Penn, chief executive of the Baltic Exchange, has criticised the abolition of non-domiciled tax status mooted in the UK’s annual budget for 2015. “I am today abolishing permanent non-dom tax status. From now on they will pay the same tax as everyone else,” UK chancellor George Osbourne said. As a result, anyone resident in the UK for more than 15 of the past 20 years will now pay full British taxes on all worldwide income and gains from April 2017. The move, Osbourne said, is “subject to consultation”. “Withdrawal of tax arrangements for non-domiciled persons with over 16 years of residence would have a disastrous effect,” Penn said.
7. Aussie Navy Sniffs our Drugs
In its sixth successful haul in eight weeks, Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle seized 139kg of heroin, with an estimated street value of around $AUD 41 million ($USD 30.4m), off the East coast of Africa. Under the support of the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the latest haul brings the Australian Navy’s total seizures in the Middle East region to an estimated street value of $AUD 2.3 billion ($USD 1.7bn) since February 2014. The latest haul was recovered during a routine verification boarding on July 3 when Newcastle intercepted a dhow using two rigid hull boats and discovered the narcotics hidden on board.
8. Newbuilding Activity Grounded
Newbuilding ordering activity appears to be grounded for the moment, as it seems as though the global turmoil brought about by recent events in Europe “has provided the final blow to an already withering new-building market. Activity this week was reported at an absolute minimum, with only two tanker orders appearing, both of which where likely in the works long before they came to light. The main factor is Greek owners who have halted any such aspiration (which where already barely passing as a viable option at the moment) while financiers have seemingly halted their backing of any such large projects until the air clears and they now where they stand.
9. Shipping Executive Commits Suicide
According to a media report, Wang Yuewen, general manager of Chongqing Chuanjiang Shipping, a company operating a cargo shipping business on Yangtze River, committed suicide by jumping off a building on July 4. His wife Ren Zhonghui, vice general manager of the company, is also suspected to have jumped into Yangtze River after leaving a suicide note at home and gone missing since. Chongqing Chuanjiang Shipping was established by Wang Yuewen and Ren Zhonghui in 1997 and is one of the leading container shipping companies on the Yangtze River in terms of shipping capacity. The company operates a fleet of 66 feeder cargo vessels – debts issues are suspected. http://goo.gl/f8u5oE
10. Somalia Fighting for Ocean Resources
Somalia, which has mainland Africa’s longest coastline, plans to pursue its case in a maritime dispute with Kenya at the International Court of Justice next week, Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Maareeye said. The Horn of African nation is trying to capitalize on its natural resources as it seeks to rebuild an economy decimated by almost 25 years of clan warfare and an Islamist militant insurgency. The government’s plan to develop the fishing industry and explore the oil and gas potential off the country’s more than 3,000-kilometer (1,864-mile) shoreline has been held back by a dispute with Kenya over the maritime boundary separating the neighboring countries.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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