Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/10/2015
1. Tackling Modern Slavery in Shipping
The UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“the Act”), which came into force on 31 July 2015, addresses the rise of new forms of slavery. These include imposing, as from October 2015, an obligation on companies with a turnover of over £36m to disclose what they are doing (or indeed not doing) to eradicate slavery within their supply chains. Shipowners with links to the UK may, therefore, need to review their anti-slavery and anti-trafficking policies and may be particularly affected as an industry, because in some circumstances the legislation provides for the forfeiture of vessels that have been used (or were intended to be used) for trafficking.
2. SE Asian Piracy Spikes Again
Dryad Maritime says piracy incidents in Southeast Asia were up 38% in the first nine months of the year with gangs operating with “apparent impunity”. The maritime intelligence company said there had been a “stark rise” in attacks in Southeast Asia with 194 incidents in the first nine months of 2015 compared to 140 a year earlier. “The apparent impunity of maritime gangs operating in the region has led Dryad to call upon the three nations surrounding the Singapore Strait, in particular, to provide a permanent security presence to deter criminals and protect maritime trade,” Dryad stated.
3. Owners Likely to Continue HRA Security
With the incoming reduction in size of the piracy HRA in the Indian Ocean, some costs are now expected to drop. However, most will continue to take the same precautions. Matthew Pickin, Counterparty Risk Analyst at Infospectrum, said the revision of the BMP4 is expected to have a “positive effect on the costs for some of the large operators.” However, he also said that many of “low profile ship operators will likely proceed as normal, with or without the necessary precautions.” Even with the revision, attacks are still expected, the area that is redrawn is still a considerable area. No one thinks the threat has completely gone away.
4. Bank Agrees Deal After Shipping Woes
HSH Nordbank has agreed a restructuring deal with the European Commission that will allow the German regional lender to offload billions of euros in troubled assets onto its government owners and avoid being shut down, saving around 2,500 jobs. The bank’s owners, which bailed out HSH in the financial crisis, will have two years to privatise the shipping lender, pending the final EU decision in the first half of 2016. The bank was left with a legacy ship portfolio and the burden of paying fees for the 10 billion euros (7 billion pounds) in guarantees provided by the two state governments in 2009 continued to weigh on HSH.
5. Crane Collapses and Kills Workers
A crane collapsed on Saturday at a ship at the Longshan Shipyard, ship repair yard in Zhoushan. China. The crane operator was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead, two other men sustained serious injuries, while a fourth jumped into the sea to escape from the falling crane and still not been found.
A search for the missing man is continuing, while an investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing. Local sources claim that the crane was overloaded when it collapsed. Most of the cranes on site are pedestal mounted luffing jib models.
6. Shipbuilders Rally Round Jones Act
The U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair industry has responded to what it believes are "unfounded claims" purporting a causal link between the Jones Act and the loss of the cargo container ship El Faro in Hurricane Joaquin earlier this month. In the wake of this tragedy, critics have attempted to blame the loss of the ship on the Jones Act requirement that ships operating between two U.S. ports be U.S. built — claiming that if operators could purchase less costly foreign ships they would replace their vessels more often and avoid similar tragedies. Shipbuilders’ Council of America (SCA) says the claims defy common sense.
7. UASC Welcomes Eco Ship
United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) hosted an event in Hamburg recently to celebrate one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly ultra-large containerships, the M.V. Al Muraykh, delivered in August 2015, with its banking partners. The event was held to acknowledge UASC’s financing partners who have collectively contributed to backing UASC’s newbuilding program, comprising eleven 15,000 and six 18,800 TEU ships. Basil Al-Zaid, CFO of UASC, said: “In a capital intensive industry like container shipping, it is critical to invest in the most efficient assets to keep pace with market growth and maintain competitive unit costs.
8. China Flashing Warning Lights
The next time the United States sends warships by China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China, officers aboard will have to decide how, if at all, they will engage with a pair of giant lighthouses that Beijing lit up there this month. Chinese officials say the lighthouses on Cuarteron Reef and Johnson South Reef in the disputed Spratly islands will help maritime search and rescue, navigational security and disaster relief. Experts, diplomats and foreign naval officers say, however, the lighthouses represent a shrewd move to help buttress China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
9. Philippines Wants Real Shipping Boom
The Philippine maritime industry regulator is encouraging investment in new tonnage to modernize the industry, though ship owners are saying the incentives on offer are “minimal” and must be “sweetened.” The Maritime Industry Authority’s (MARINA) Circular No. 2015-04 dated Sept. 7, the incentives will apply to those who will invest in an International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) classed brand new or newly-constructed ships. Those who will qualify will be given “protection of investment” and “route protection.” Owners remained unimpressed and said the incentives need to be upwardly revised.
10. Crewman Falls to Death
The Filipino third officer of the small Japanese general cargo vessel Asian Infinity fell to his death late on the night of October 16 at Soma port on the west coast of Honshu, Japan. The Filipino seafarer, whose name was not released, was checking holds after the ship had finished offloading when he fell into the hold. He was rushed to hospital with severe head injuries and was declared dead two hours later. The registered operator of the Panama-flagged ship, according to Equasis, is Unitra Maritime.
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