Top Ten Maritime News Stories 12/10/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 12/10/2015
1. Shell Letters of Comfort
Ship owners exporting Nigerian oil would have to sign a “Letter of Comfort” (LOC) to guarantee it is not stolen, according to Royal Dutch Shell. Having banned more than 100 tankers from Nigeria’s waters, the ban has been lifted but ship owners now have to sign a Letter of Comfort to “Guarantee to Indemnify” against any illicit use of their vessel. This led some owners to reject pending bookings. According to a statement by Shell, the company is putting its reputation on the table warrantying the cargo is not stolen and this should remove any concern ship owners have around bad title down the oil chain.
2. Crew Foils Pirate Attack
The quick-thinking crew of a Philippine cargo ship thwarted a possible a hijacking or robbery at sea on saturday in the country’s volatile southern region by locking themselves in their quarters, the coast guard said. About eight men on two motorized outriggers boarded the MV Cecilia off Davao del Sur province, but the crew quickly locked all the vessel’s hatches and windows, said Commodore Joselito dela Cruz, a coast guard district commander on the main southern island of Mindanao. He said the suspected pirates left empty-handed before a coast guard vessel arrived at the site, near Balut Island.
3. Investigation Reveals Ransom Paid
An investigation by international news network Aljazeera has revealed for the first time how a ransom was paid for Italian-South African hostage Bruno Pelizzari and his South African girlfriend, Debbie Calitz, who were captured by Somali pirates in 2010. The film by Aljazeera Media Network’s investigative journalism directorate, which was screened for the first time in London yesterday, revealed that after the South African government refused to help Pelizzari’s family negotiate with the Somali pirates, the Italian Intelligence Service (AISE) paid a ransom of more than $500 000 (R6.6 million) for the couple.
4. Ports Want Love Too
Our innate ability to overtly promote ourselves as an industry means that we are failing to get the message out about the significance and the excitement of ports. We need some fresh thinking, writes Carly Fields. While London Gateway and its operator DP World’s have been mercilessly churning away to get inches of column print on its UK hub. There’s many a naysayer that needs convincing of the need for the terminal, hence the determined mission to get the news and the message out there. But regardless, it’s the broader perspective and capturing the public imagination is notoriously difficult but it is important.
5. More Container Consolidation Beckons
Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou is advocating for more consolidation in the containership segment as low freight rates and overcapacity continue to plague carrier lines.  "We are getting the expected benefits from vessel-sharing agreements, but more can come from consolidation," Skou said, though he maintained that Maersk Line was not looking to merge or make a significant acquisition anytime soon.  Meanwhile, rates have reportedly fallen so low that fuel costs are barely covered, and are purportedly hovering around $300 per container on the Europe-East Asia route, even as carriers say the long-term breakeven rate is $1300 per container.
6. Cruise Passenger Falls Off Isle of Wight
A passenger has reportedly fallen overboard from a cruise ship off the Isle of Wight. The man is understood to have fallen into the water from the Ventura as it was returning to Southampton, Hampshire, from a two-week trip to the Mediterranean. A Coastguard helicopter and RNLI lifeboats have been involved in the search of an area with a 25 nautical mile radius south of St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight. The P&O ship, which can carry up to 3,200 passengers, retraced its route across the area to assist in the search.
7. Bulker Arrested for Payment Dispute
A Greek bulk carrier, "Maria", has been arrested in Singapore, according to records from the Supreme Court of Singapore. The arrest took place on Friday October 9, 2015 at 2:0am local time following action by local law firm Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP. assess the value of the 2010-built 57,100 dwt vessel at $13.96 million. The exact reasons for the arrest are currently unknown, but such action is typical in instances of payment dispute. Maria is the second bulk carrier to be arrested in Singapore this month. Last week the Supramax bulk carrier "Alexandrit", was arrested following action taken by local law firm.
8. Canal Considers Legal Action
The Panama Canal is considering legal action after recently discovered cracks in the concrete of one of the interior chambers threatened to delay the opening of the widened canal even further, Shipping Watch reports.  "The designer has not delivered the necessary quality," said the canal’s chief administrator, Jorge Quijano.
"We hope, and still believe, that the expanded canal will be ready to open in April." The canal was originally slated to re-open in October 2014, but various setbacks pushed the date to April 2016, and Quijano has also staunchly maintained the 2016 date.  Repairs are expected to take three months.
9. Ship That Really Moo-ves
We may consider that vessel speeds are only important in the supply chain when containers are considered, but for live animal exports speed can be equally significant. News has emerged that the world’s fastest live export livestock ship will reportedly be built in Croatia as part an $80 million contract with Kuwait-based Livestock Transport and Trading Co. KSC. The ship will give hitherto unimagined levels of speed, but also comfort and safety for the animals.
10. Floating Armoury in the Dock
The Sri Lankan Navy has announced that the investigation report of the Avant Garde arms ship will be handed over to the Ministry of Defense on Monday.  The Sri Lanka Navy jointly with the Coast Guard is examining the Avant Garde vessel that has brought unauthorized firearms from Sudan to the Galle Harbor.
The vessel belonging to the private maritime security firm Avant Garde has reached the Galle Harbor on October 05th after leaving the main Sudanese Harbor on September 10th with a haul of weapons and firearms.  The vessel has failed to disclose credible information on its cargo, the Navy said.


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