Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/10/2015
1. Port State Elephant in the Room
Blackmail and corruption in Port State Control is like "an elephant in the room" according to Greek shipowner Nicky Pappadakis, "no-one wants to talk about it”. The vice chairman of Intercargo was commenting on one of the major concerns raised during the international shipowners’ association agm gathering in Athens. Intercargo chairman, John Platsidakis said "It’s a fact of life" and the problem so great shipping’s Roundtable wrote to all MoUs a year ago concerning blackmail in some ports.” As a result a of this intervention a mechanism is being set-up so blackmail can be reported to the MoU involved.
2. Box Giant Scales Back IPO
Hapag-Lloyd AG, Germany’s biggest shipping line, scaled back its initial public offering by 40 percent after an emissions-testing scandal at Volkswagen AG and the slowdown of the Chinese economy sparked volatility on global stock markets. The Hamburg-based container carrier now plans to raise $300 million in the IPO, instead of the $500 million target it announced last month, Hapag-Lloyd said in a statement published on its website. It will sell as many 15.7 million shares, setting a price range of 23 euros ($26.32) to 29 euros per stock. The company plans to start trading at the Frankfurt and Hamburg exchanges on Oct. 30.
3. US Healthcare Concern for Owners
The Japan P&I Club recently issued a notice to shipowners giving an analysis of why U.S. health care is so expensive. The high cost of U.S. healthcare is not new, but with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) now coming into its third year there could now be an elephant in the room making it more pertinent than ever before. The MLC extends the duty of care that shipowners are required to provide sick or injured seafarers. In the past, seafarers working for less vigilant owners might find themselves treated on board but then replaced at the next port and subsequently left to manage their problems without support.
4. Owners Rally Against Tax Demands
The Greek shipping fleet has since become the biggest in the world, with almost 4,000 ships representing 19% of global shipping capacity. It contributes more than 7% towards the struggling economy, but the country’s creditors say it can do more. The industry currently pays no tax on international earnings brought into the country under rules incorporated into Greece’s constitution in 1967. But since July, when the government proposed to increase shipping taxes and to end other privileges due to pressure from the EU and other international creditors, ship owners have been threatening to move their businesses abroad.
5. Ferry Owner Must Pay
A Philippine court has ordered the owners of a passenger ferry that capsized as it sailed into a typhoon seven years ago to pay about 242 million pesos ($5.47 million) to the families of dozens of passengers who perished. The Manila Regional Trial Court found Sulpicio Lines Inc., which operated the MV Princess of the Stars, negligent for sailing the vessel through the path of the storm on its way to Cebu City. The ferry capsized as it was battered by huge waves and fierce winds on June 21, 2008, off the central Philippine island of Sibuyan. Only 56 of around 900 passengers and crew survived.
6. We Have Been Inspecting You
118 inspectors working for the ITF have gathered in Panama City, Panama this week for the ITF worldwide inspectors’ seminar (WWIS). The entire inspectorate network is brought together every three years to develop new skills and plan for the delivery of ITF objectives. Inspectors are union officials working in ports all over the world on issues related to the ITF flags of convenience campaign. Their role is to ensure seafarers have decent pay, working conditions and living conditions by carrying out inspections on ships calling in their ports. They also assist with actions to protect seafarers’ rights.
7. Software Making Monitoring Work
The European Commission’s Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) rules to collect emissions data officially entered into force on July 1, 2015. MRV Regulation 2015/757 is a first step towards cutting CO2 emissions and requires operators of ships exceeding 5,000 gross tons to monitor and report their carbon emissions on all voyages to, from and between E.U. ports from 2018. When MRV reports start being publically made available for scrutiny, it will also bring a certain amount of transparency, and it will be possible to draw comparisons between vessels on their environmental impact and to a certain extent on operational efficiency.
8. Lawyers Swoop On El Faro Case
A $100 million wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the owner and captain of the sunken cargo ship El Faro is likely just the beginning of a long legal process that will involve multiple parties and lead to insurance settlements. The family of El Faro crew member Lonnie Jordan filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Duval County Court in Gainesville, Florida, The Associated Press reported. It is the first legal action taken against the ship’s owner, Tote Maritime, and its captain, Michael Davidson of Windham, who died along with the other 32 merchant mariners who were overtaken by Hurricane Joaquin following a reported engine failure.
9. Insurers Rattled by Training
IUMI has made a heartfelt attempt to gain the sympathy – or at least the understanding – of shipowners and operators when he addressed the recent Asian Marine Engineering Conference held this week in Singapore. Admitting that he felt he was “entering the lions’ den”, Mr Stonehouse in his analysis of the causes and sources of marine equipment failure made no bones about the fact that he felt his industry was currently covering the failures of machinery caused in large part by the negligence and incompetence of crews. He added that underwriters have funded all the engines on newbuildings with payouts.
10. Countries Being Left Behind
Shipping mergers are leaving an increasing number of countries serviced by too few suppliers to ensure a competitive market, the U.N. trade and economic thinktank UNCTAD said. Globally, there is now an average of 15.7 companies offering regular container shipping services to each country, a number that has declined steadily from 22.1 in 2004, UNCTAD said in its annual Review of Maritime Transport. The three biggest firms — Maersk Line A/S, Mediterranean Shipping Company, and CMA CGM S.A. — have 35 percent of the world market, the top 20 firms controlled 83 percent of container shipping capacity globally.
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