Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/10/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/10/2015


1. Carbon Trading for Shipping

A research arm of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Transport Forum has called for global, enforceable regulations for the maritime industry to reduce carbon emissions by half over the next 35 years and entirely by 2080. The ITF, said the IMO should impose the standards across the maritime industry and set up a series of requirements that would include a carbon tax. It recommended the IMO submit regular reports on the industry’s progress toward meeting the goals.


2. Worlds Most Advanced Floating Lab

The British government has announced that it is set to build a polar research ship that will be one of the world’s most advanced floating labs. The $300 million vessel, able to break through ice and despatch robotic submarines, is to be built at the Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead on the Mersey river. The government said the ship will maintain Britain’s position firmly at the forefront of climate and ocean research. The decision, announced by Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, follows a 12 month competitive tender. The contract will create 400 jobs and the vessel is to be ready for operation by 2019.



3. Calmness if Cold Comfort

The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has praised what it called the "professional and calm response" of the crew on board the ill-fated MOL Comfort. The 8,000 teu post-Panamax container ship broke up and sank about 200 nm off the coast of Yemen following an incident on 17 June 2013 after departing Singapore on its westbound rotation of ports (Jeddah, Suez, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Southampton, and Le Harve) on 11 June. All 26 crew members of the Bahamas-flagged ship, owned by Mitsui OSK Lines, were safely evacuated. Damage to the vessel’s bottom shell plating was suspected.



4. Special Anti Piracy Squad Formed

The Royal Malaysian Navy has set up a special squad code-named the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to combat piracy. The 14-man squad comprises two teams, namely the sharpshooters and a strike force, based in Johor, Malaysia. "For the time being, the teams are stationed in southern Johor waters as it is a hotspot for pirates," said Rear Admiral Mior Rosdi Mior Mohd Jaafar, assistant chief of staff exercise operations in the Anti-Sea Robbery Cooperation Working Group held in Malaysia on 6 October 2015. The team can respond within 15 minutes upon receiving a report, deploying helicopters and an assault vessel.



5. Mystery Cruise Death Deepens

The mystery behind the missing businessman on Singapore-bound cruise ship Super Star Gemini has deepened with his family claiming Raj Kumar Agarwal did not have the keys to his room with him. The ship authorities, however, had earlier said Agarwal most probably went overboard from the balcony of Room 8082 though his family claimed he could not have entered the room as he did not have the key.  Alleging foul play by the crew members, the family has written to Star Cruises, "We believe your crew has retained him for some reason not known to us. He mentioned he had a fight with your crew members the same day".



6. Oil Slips Further below $50

Crude futures reversed from last weeks spike when OPEC data showed an increase in production of 109,000 barrels per day. ICE contracts for November fell 5% settling under $50.00 per barrel. NYMEX front month contracts softened $2.53 per barrel settling at $47.10 per barrel. Thin trading in the U.S due to the Columbus day holiday gave support to todays prices and we can expect market direction to be driven by this weeks EIA data. Bunkers were softer today across the board and we urge owners/operators to take advantage of the lower prices as there is still a lot of political speculation that could shoot prices right back up.



7. Cruise Ships Slash WiFi Costs

Anyone looking to castaway and disconnect from the technologies of modern life will be in for a surprise on their next cruise trip. The largest cruise company in the world, Carnival Corporation, has announced a game-changing WiFi pricing structure and enhanced service on board its ships.  Its lowest fee will now come in at £3.26 ($5) a day. On the old pricing structure of 40p a minute, logging on all day would have cost nearly £300. What’s more, connection speeds are now 10 times faster. The new WiFi system, expected to reach 40 per cent of fleet by the end of 2015, is set to deliver passengers an affordable, fast internet.



8. Sister Ship Under Scrutiny

Safety officials are questioning the master of the ro-ro vessel El Yunque for clues that may help the investigation into the sinking of its sister ship, El Faro. El Faro is presumed to have been lost, along with its 33 crew members, in the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin. In an interview that lasted "for hours", the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) vice-chairman, Bella Dinh-Zarr, told reporters El Yunque’s master confirmed that the two ships, described as "nearly identical", had passed within visual sight of each other before El Faro’s last communication with TOTE Maritime safety personnel in Jacksonville, Florida.



9. Whisky Based Fuel for Shipping

Scotland-based Celtic Renewables Ltd. says it has developed a commercial-scale method for producing biofuel from a whiskey fermentation by-product, which is currently being trialled for use in the shipping industry. "In the production of whisky less than ten percent of what comes out in the distillery is actually the primary product. The bulk of the remainder are these unwanted residues – pot ale and barley," said the company. They convert the residual good material into biobutanol, which is an advanced biofuel which is an exact replacement for petrol or diesel."



10. Arctic Cruises Suggest Polar Code Problems

Silversea Cruises recently announced that it will convert its elite cruise ship Silver Cloud into an ice-class ship during an extensive refurbishment scheduled to start in August 2017. As an expedition ship, the Silver Cloud will then spend much of its time in Polar waters carrying a guest compliment of 200 people. More people are wishing to explore icy environments, and so it will be necessary to re-evaluate search and rescue (SAR) operations in Polar waters. A working group which includes both a maritime and aeronautical perspective has identified a need for more detailed guidance for SAR organizations.



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


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S Jones
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