Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/10/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/10/2015

1. Greek Owners in a Spin

As the Athens government contemplates increasing taxes on shipping and many of Greece’s shipowners actively explore options to leave their home base, revenues from shipping services, so important to the national coffers, are already in decline. July, the first month of capital controls, posted a remarkable and perhaps unsurprising drop in shipping earnings, as a significant number of shipping companies were forced to return revenues from chartering and ship transactions to foreign accounts in order to meet their international trading obligations.




2. Captain Drunk on Tonic

Danish authorities boarded the bulk cargo ship, M/V Tonic Sea, and arrested the master, who was deemed drunk. The ship was detained and is now anchored off Hirtshals, Denmark. The vessel and crew is now waiting a new master to take over the ship operations. The Polish master was found to have an alcohol reading of 1.34 when given a breathalyzer. The 44-year-old Pole was arrested and will face legal action and fines including a five-year suspension of his maritime license. The Tonic Sea is a 93,000-dwt ship owned by Germany’s NSC Holding and it was transporting cargo from Hamburg to Ust-Luga, Russia




3. Panama Canal Problems Found

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that the leak that occurred in the concrete sill between the lower and middle chamber of the Canal’s expanded Pacific Locks was the result of insufficient steel reinforcing. The information came from Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC), the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the Third Set of Locks.  GUPC wrote that the localized seepage was the result of insufficient steel reinforcement in the area which was subjected to stress from extreme condition testing. After careful examination of all the other sills remedial action will now be taken.




4. Piracy Evolution

According to a new report, the most acute piracy threat in the South China Sea is to small – medium size tankers, carrying refined oil cargoes such as gas/diesel oil or gasoline. But will the piracy (and pirates) switch to other cargo types? Just because pirate gangs in the South China Sea region are targeting refined oil cargoes at the moment, it doesn’t mean that they won’t target other types of cargo in the future, or turn to kidnapping seafarers from ships and holding them to ransom. To protect ships properly against piracy we need to start thinking ahead and placing a greater emphasis on taking a holistic approach to security risk management.



5. Ignoring Emissions Not an Option

Denmark is among those taking the lead, but the rest of the world must follow to ensure that ignoring the directive does not become an attractive option, says the Danish Shipowners’ Association. Not respecting the low-sulfur limits will be detrimental to both the climate and to the competitiveness of Danish ships. Since January 1, ships sailing in areas such as the North and Baltic Seas and the English Channel have been required to reduce their sulfur emissions by 90 percent, but the new requirements call for international enforcement to avoid the creation of economic incentives to cheat.



6. IMO on ReCAAP Visit

The IMO Sec Gen has visited the new premises of the Information Sharing Centre (ISC) of ReCAAP (the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia), which recently opened in Singapore’s information technology compound. Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of ReCAAP and its centre. The centre has made a significant contribution to the efforts of Asian counties to counter piracy and armed robbery in the region and has established a good model for other regions to establish similar mechanisms to share vital information on piracy incidents.



7. Market Decline Triggers Bankruptcies

Analysts are warning that a recent spate of bankruptcies in the dry bulk sector may continue as the market continues its decline, IHS Maritime reports.  "We highlight that continued decline of the dry bulk markets and negative cash flow could put more companies in jeopardy; hence, we prefer shipping companies with strong main owners and liquidity to sustain a prolonged downturn," said Oslo-based DNB Shipping in a research note. Cyprus-based Global Maritime Investments Cyprus Ltd. had announced that it would be liquidating its business due to the dry bulk downturn.  Earlier this week, Daiichi Chuo Kisen Kaisha also filed for bankruptcy.



8. Lay Ups on the Rise

Some 90,000 teu of cellular capacity was consigned to lay-up in the past two weeks, taking redundant tonnage to its highest level since March 2014. Significantly, the list of 208 ships, or some 673,000 teu, includes four containerships of 13,000 teu or over – two operated by MSC and one each by APL and UASC. The 13,892 teu APL Temasek has been at anchor since 10 August. Given the depressed state of the Asia-Europe trade the short-term prospects of its reactivation, along with the 13,102 teu MSC Margrit, UASC’s 13,100 teu Tayma and the 13,000 teu MSC Flavia, appear bleak.



9. Maersk Looks at Non Shipping People

The world’s largest container shipping company Maersk Line is increasingly looking for candidates who do not have their roots in the shipping industry, says the carrier’s Head of Human Resources, Michael Chivers. As part of the company’s new management plan launched three years ago, Maersk Line places increasing value on hiring external candidates to fill senior vacancies. These could be people from within the industry or outright competitors – though it is becoming increasingly frequent to see executives brought in from completely different industries, such as retail or IT. And this happens more and more often.




10. Giants Cooperate on Safety

Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk Line have agreed to cooperate in increasing the safety of dangerous goods. Maersk Line has showed its desire to implement a tracing system similar to Hapag-Lloyd’s watchdog program.  This watchdog together with the Hapag-Lloyd FIS (Freight Information System) is continuously examining cargo data to identify anything conspicuous. It has a database of more than 6,000 keywords that is constantly being added to and refined. Dangerous goods that are declared imprecisely, incorrectly or not at all have the potential to pose a major risk to crews, ships, the environment and other cargo on board.


Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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