Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/08/2015
1. Bunkers at Decade Low
Global bunker fuel prices have continued to nosedive as they closed in on the $200-per metric tonne (pmt) mark, falling in line with crude oil prices dipping below $40 per barrel and nearing 10-year low. The price of global benchmark Singapore 380 cst bunker fuel was assessed by Rueters at $209 per metric tonne (pmt) on Monday, a level last reached on 4 March 2005, with the Reuters data suggesting that bunker prices have touched a 10-year low. However data obtained by Seatrade Maritime News pointed to a lower price of $198 pmt reached on 31 December 2008, and the prices were largely at $200 pmt after Christmas that year.
2. Permanent Security Presence Needed
A permanent security presence is required in the Singapore Straits where pirates attacked six vessels on 21 and 22 August, says security firm Dryad Maritime. The six attacks last week bring the total number of similar reported incidents in the Singapore Strait to 75 this year, according to Dryad. In the last 10 weeks it said there had been 27 incidents within a 15nm radius of Pulau Nipah. “Although local VTIS have broadcast reports of incidents, there has been very little involvement from regional security forces. The response of deploying a patrol boat to the area after the event can be seen as too little, too late,” Dryad commented.
3. Italy India Spat Rolls On
A maritime tribunal rejected Italy’s request Monday that India drop charges against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in international waters. But the ruling by the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea also ordered India to cease criminal proceedings against the marines until the tribunal makes a final ruling. Rome objects to holding a trial in India, arguing that the case should be taken to arbitration under the international maritime law as the shooting occurred in international waters. The Indian government wants Indian courts to try the case and had arrested the two marines.
4. Oz Future Gas Giant
According to the Oxford Institute for Energy studies by 2018; Australia would become world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter (LNG). It is of cardinal importance to understand Australia’s global significance both towards strategic direction and growth through its LNG exports. In an article by the Submarine Institute of Australia; “Future Long Range Submarine Force Vital…” Australian LNG trade will climb more than $60 billion by 2020. Hence, in connection it is essential to analyze maritime security dimensions for Australia’s LNG exports. The market for Australian LNG is East Asia; Japan being the largest buyer.
5. Russia to Pay Up for Detention
An international arbitration court has ruled that Russia must compensate the Netherlands for seizing a ship used by the environmental organization Greenpeace in 2013. The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) said on August 24 that it had "found that the Netherlands is entitled to compensation with interest for material damage" to the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise and its crew. It said the amount of compensation to be paid by Russia will be decided at a later date. Russian authorities seized the ship in September 2013 during a protest against an offshore oil platform in Arctic waters.
6. Guard Trial Adjourned
Indian Principal District Judge N. Rajasekar on Monday adjourned hearing of the detained US ship case till September 14, when examination of witnesses will begin. Forty-three persons, including the ship crew, were produced before the court. The Judge framed charges against all the accused. While accused one to four were charged under the provisions of the Arms Act, 1956, and the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, 31 others coming next were charged under the Arms Act. Charges were framed under the Essential Commodities Act against eight other accused. The ship, ‘Seaman Guard Ohio,’ was detained on October 18, 2013.
7. Cruise Launch Fall
According to local media in Italy a tender boat from the Costa Mediterranea seems to have cut loose from its lines and is hanging from the ship’s port side. While the large Costa ship was calling at a port in Montenegro one of the ship’s own tender boats which can also be used as a lifeboat had some kind of malfunction. It seems a cable from one end of the boat had snapped. As a result the boat is hanging and being held up from only one side. Costa Crociere confirms that the Costa Mediterranea experienced a technical problem with one of the ship’s lifeboats earlier today during operations for lowering tenders, while anchored in Kotor.
8. North Korean Vessels Sold
The seizure and court ordered auctioning of two North Korean owned vessels in Durban came after the ships were not paying their mortgages. But given the lack of demand for small, aging bulk vessels the two ships did not do well at auction, selling for considerably less than their scrap value. “The veteran pair had been under arrest off the port for several months following bank foreclosures. Neither were expected to attract trading buyers given their age and the state of the market". Which brushes over one small detail – the crew of both vessels were North Korean – and they have been left to suffer various indignities through the process.
9. More Offshore Layoffs
Norway’s Solstad Offshore made another 300 workers redundant on Friday in a bid to help the company survive the weak demand for offshore support vessels. Around 150 of the dismissed workers will be from Scandinavia, mainly Norwegians, the company’s vice-president Sven Stakkestad told press. Around 75 Brazilian workers will lose their jobs, as will around the same number of Filipino seafarers. The Karmøy-based shipping company’s supply business in the North Sea and Brazil have been most heavily affected by depressed oil prices. The downsizing process will continue until the end of the year, Stakkestad said.
10. China Makes MLC Move
China’s top legislature started its bi-monthly session Monday to review a set of draft law amendments, including seafarer and maritime legislation. The session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee will continue reviewing draft amendments to the various criminal codes as well as the laws on air pollution control. Lawmakers will also decide whether to ratify the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC 2006). If they do, this will be another big step for the social and labour rights of seafarers to be secured.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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