Top Ten Maritime News Stories 14/08/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 14/08/2015


1. Disruptions from Explosion Announced

Temporary disruptions to port operations and vessel movements at Tianjin Port, China, after it was hit by a massive explosion, leaving 44 people dead and hundreds injured. The magnitude of the explosion was significant enough to send shockwaves several miles causing significant damage to property and disruption to port operations. According to port authorities, loading and discharging activities are unaffected at most terminals, except at Huisheng Terminal and TJ Port Pacific Int’l CT Co. located close to the site of the explosion site and which suffered relatively serious damages. Vessels calling Tianjin port should contact port authorities.




2. Somalis Sentenced to Life

Five Somali pirates must spend life in prison for waging a mistaken and dramatically unsuccessful attack on a U.S. Navy ship, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a judge erred when he sentenced the defendants to terms ranging from 30 to 42½ years. The court ordered life sentences, which are mandatory for piracy under federal law. The original judge had ruled that because nobody aboard the Navy ship was hurt, life terms were disproportionate to the crime and amounted to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.



3. COSCO Vessel Arrested

The COSCO Shipping Company Limited (COSCOL) heavy lift ship, M/V Xia Zhi Yuan 6, Wednesday was arrested in Singapore at 8:45pm local time, according to records from the Supreme Court of Singapore. The arrest follows an action by Singapore’s Wong Partnership LLP. Wong Partnership did not elaborate on the nature of the dispute, however such action is typical in instances of payment dispute such as those involving unpaid bunkers. The 38,000 dwt vessel was built in 2012 by Zhejiang Peninsula Ship Industry Co, China. Ship arrest activity in 2014 was down almost 50 percent over the previous two years.




4. Class Report on Port State

Classification society ClassNK has released its annual report on Port State Control. The ClassNK report also provides detailed analyses on PSC detentions by flag state, port state, ship type, ship size, and ship’s age as well as a summary of major amendments made to international conventions such as the SOLAS Convention. These amendments have further widened the scope of PSC inspections, a trend that will undoubtedly continue as the rules applied to ships increase and diversify.




5. Warehouse Owner Arrested

Chinese authorities have detained the owners of a hazardous- chemicals storage warehouse rocked by deadly explosions in Tianjin as authorities sought to discover the cause of the latest industrial accident to hit the country. The executives of Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co. are in police custody. All investigators have said publicly so far is that the giant explosions were started by a fire. Tianjin, home to the world’s 10th-largest container port, is a central part of the government’s push to develop the area around Beijing, 120 kilometers (75 miles) away. The blasts raise new questions about the speed of the buildout there.




6. Maersk Acts to Defend Market Share

A.P. Moller-Maersk plans to defend and potentially expand its leading position in container shipping, sending a signal to rivals that it will become a more aggressive player. The oil to shipping group’s results on Thursday showed that container shipping division Maersk Line, the company’s biggest business, gained market share in the second quarter. In the first quarter, it had lost share when analysts said it did not engage in a price war. “We want Maersk Line to grow at least with the market to defend its market-leading position. It is a signal to the industry that we aim to keep our position as industry leader.” Chief Executive Nils Andersen said.




7. Nigerian Ban Untested

None of the 102 tankers banned by Nigeria have attempted to enter the country’s territorial waters since the ban on July 15, according to shipping sources and Platts shiptracking software cFlow. One of the banned vessels — the "New Medal" VLCC — initially had the Bonny Terminal in Nigeria as its destination — seemingly making it the first ship on the list to attempt to test the ban, but information from cFlow now shows the tanker will instead be heading to the Republic of Congo. A Nigerian customs official said the tankers had been banned because of past "infractions and contravention" of the country’s laws.




8. Oil Siphon Vessel Identified

Authorities have identified the vessel that received the marine oil siphoned off in the robbery of Singaporean tanker MT Joaquim, said Maritime Vice-Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agen­­cy (MMEA) deputy director-general (operations) said the authorities were still tracking the ship that made off with the 3,500 metric tonnes of marine oil. “However, it is not in Malaysian waters,” he said, adding that authorities believed there was more than one vessel involved in the robbery and were working to track the other ships involved. The vessel has not been named, so as to allow the search to continue.



9. China Looks to Autonomous Craft

China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) has won unanimous approval from the country’s Acceptance Expert Group to move forward with its unmanned ship development project. The “Unmanned Multifunctional Maritime Ships Research and Development Project” started in 2012, and has been implemented and organized by the project management unit of Zhejiang MSA with Wuhan University of Technology as project undertaking unit. After 3 years, the project has completed the development and has won 4 national patents. The project focuses on developing non-stop networked sea supervision.



10. Latest Intelligence Picture

The recent hijacking of MT Joaquim in the Malacca Strait has provided yet another timely reminder of the current risks facing seafarers in Southeast Asia, particularly in and around the Malaysian Peninsula. Dryad Maritime provided an immediate incident alert for the hijacking and, in their analysis, highlighted potential contributing reasons behind the increase of fuel thefts in the area. Speaking of the trend, Senior Analyst Steve McKenzie explained: “The nature of these incidents within the Malacca Strait is very similar and mirrors those in the South China Sea which have been occurring at regular intervals during the same time frame.




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