Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/09/2015
1. Verdict in on Ultra Box Ships
Global shipping consultancy Drewry says a recent order from China COSCO for 11 ultra-large containerships (ULCVs) underscores the industry’s position that giant containerships are the way of the future. China COSCO last week confirmed the much anticipated $1.5 billion order for 11 19,000 TEU ships from four different Chinese yards. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2018. Drewry notes that the “arms race” for ULCVs of 18,000 TEU and above continues quickly, with nine carriers now, including COSCO, who either have ships of this size currently in their fleet of on order. More big players are expected to follow the trend.
2. Spate of Vessel Arrests
Three product tankers last week were arrested by ING Bank (ING) as the Dutch financial giant moved to collect outstanding OW Bunker debts. Two product tankers controlled by Indonesia’s Berlian Laju Tankers (BLT) were arrested in Singapore last Wednesday, records from the Supreme Court of Singapore showed, following action taken by local law firm Oon & Bazul LLP (Oon & Bazul). Separate records show the arrests of Celosia and Iris were made following instruction from ING who is claiming $198,465.40 and $213,793.84 respectively in costs relating to unpaid bunkers.
3. Illegal Fishing Reaches New High
A new report shows that foreign illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Somali waters by foreign fleets is reducing fish stocks, and has caused widespread resentment among Somali coastal communities, threatening renewed maritime insecurity.Entitled Securing Somali Fisheries, the report shows that foreign industrial IUU fishing vessels catch over 132,000 metric tons of fish each year, while the Somali artisanal fleet catches only 40,000 metric tons. The report is produced by Secure Fisheries, a program of the One Earth Future Foundation and developed as part of Oceans Beyond Piracy.
4. Greek Owners Fear Tax Hikes
A potential taxation overhaul of the shipping industry in Hellas, which could see the loss of particular tax benefits for ship owners, could lead to them relocating their offices to other countries, in a bid to retain their competitiveness. Capital controls imposed on Greek-based banks has been another reason of concern, leading many owners to register companies in Cyprus as well, in order to carry out basic bank transactions there. Under the latest bailout terms which Greece signed with its creditors, in order to stay afloat, it has pledged to look into the taxation benefits scheme it has set in place for the shipping industry, since the 1950’s.
5. Maritime Communications Deal
A deal helping increase maritime safety along the Somali coast was inked between Taiwan and U.S.-based Oceans Beyond Piracy Sept. 10 in Brussels. Under the pact, Taiwan pledges US$166,000 in assisting with the establishment of the Maritime Communications Initiative. Once up and running, MCI will launch five maritime communications and safety centers in the Somali cities of Berbera, Bosaso, Hobyo, Kismayo and Mogadishu. ROC Representative to the EU Tung Kyo-yu, who signed the memorandum on behalf of Taiwan, said the initiative helps ensure safety for local shipping traffic and promote enhanced port management practices.
6. West Africa Missing Opportunities
Two recent discussions have brought home the potential and missed opportunities of Africa’s maritime environment. A West African admiral said the continent doesn’t really know the sea. "Navies don’t do coups, so governments don’t pay them much attention," he said. And a military chief pointed out that even fishermen from his Atlantic island nation build their houses facing away from the sea. It is claimed the "colonial legacy" has forced countries to look inward and neglect their coastlines. This neglect is frequently called sea blindness. It has meant massive missed opportunities for a continent surrounded by sea.
7. Evergreen Building Boost
Evergreen Group has placed an order with Japanese shipbuilder Imabari for ten 2,800 TEU class B-type vessels. Planned to be delivered in the beginning of the first half of 2018, all the ships will be received by the first half of 2019. Evergreen plans to use the new vessels for its intra-Asia trade operations. "The vessels will also be equipped with various environmental protection devices and advanced technology to safeguard sustainable development of the marine environment." The 211m-long ships will have a design draft of 10m, and can load 13 rows of containers on deck.
8. Assessing Panama Canal Safety
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has commissioned a study into the manoeuvring feasibility of the new Panama Canal locks. The Federation has signed up Brazil-based Fundação Homem de Mar (FHM) to construct a mathematical model to analyse the manoeuvrability considerations for the safe transit of the locks. “Attention has been focused on the new locks, not just because of the canal’s importance as a maritime route, but also because its construction has been postponed several times. Recent tests raised serious concerns about the condition of the structure, with several cracks being detected in the new locks".
9. Bravery Award for Sea Rescue
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines bulker Tohmisan Maru has received the AFRAS AMBER Award at the AFRAS Annual Awards Ceremony for 2015 held in Washington D.C. on September 9. The AFRAS AMVER Award is presented by the Association for Rescue at Sea, Inc. (AFRAS), an organization made up of retired members of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. The award honors the merchant vessel that made the most remarkable rescue effort during the previous year. The Tohmisan Maru (called the C.S. Sunshine at the time) rescued 24 Chinese seafarers whose cargo ship was taking on water 700km west of Guam on January 20, 2014.
10. Diesel Smuggling Arrests
Venezuelan authorities have arrested seven people for allegedly attempting to smuggle diesel, an industry source and a law enforcement source said last Tuesday, as the government seeks to clamp down on contraband of its highly subsidized fuel. A tanker owned by state oil company PDVSA loaded 60,000 barrels of diesel fuel at the Cardon refinery despite having authorization to load only 10,000, according to a law enforcement official who asked not to be identified. Intelligence officers made the discovery in an inspection late last Monday night, it is believed the suspects intended to resell the fuel abroad.
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