Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/10/2015
1. Renewed Calls for 100% Scanning
Politicians in Washington D.C. have renewed calls for scanning of all containers entering the US as fears grow of a dirty bomb being smuggled into the country by terrorists. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met to discuss recent thwarted attempts to smuggle radioactive material into the US. “When people ask me what keeps me up at night? A dirty bomb at the Port of Los Angeles,” Representative Janice Hahn said. “Since 9/11, our nation has strengthened aviation security but our ports have not received the same scrutiny.” Only 3% of cargo is currently scanned.
2. Engine Rooms Consigned to History
French LNG containment specialist GTT, along with French containerline CMA CGM and classification society DNV GL have released a feasibility study for a new mega boxship dubbed the Piston Engine Room Free Efficient Containership (PERFECt), which could get rid of engine rooms all together. The concept vessel is LNG-fuelled, powered by a combined gas and steam turbine, and is electrically driven. Exploring this novel configuration resulted in the partners identifying and analyzing a propulsion concept that has the potential to offer a more efficient, more flexible and greener box ship design than current 20,000 teu container vessels.
3. Charter Rates on Slide
Charter hire rates for container vessels continue to drop this week, with the New ConTex dropping 9 points (or more than 2%) to 391 points following a broker panel. Last week the market barometer, which is published by the Hamurg Shipbrokers’ Association (VHSS), fell by 3%, weighed down especially by heavy losses for large gearless tonnage. According to Alphaliner service, the number of idle container ships of 3,000-5,099 teu on 19 October, had risen by about 30% to 50 units within a fortnight. This includes liner-controlled vessels without service assignment and charter-free tramp vessels plus vessels in repair or under arrest.
4. Nigerian Pirates Awaken
The recent kidnapping of four crew members from a cargo ship off the Niger Delta marks the return of attacks in West Africa and illustrates the uncertainty surrounding maritime security in the region, according to maritime security firm Dryad Maritime. Dryad reports that the incident occurred on Monday, October 19th when armed pirates attacked and boarded an unidentified refrigerated cargo ship underway off the Niger Delta. “This is the first incident reported at sea off the Niger Delta in five months and has taken place 100 NM further west than the spate of kidnappings which took place earlier this year,” Dryad says in its analysis.
5. Stowaways and Runaways Scare Aussies
Some swim out to a container ship and clamber aboard; others spend weeks in a dark cargo hold. A few slip away when the ship has docked, heading to big cities where they can melt into the crowd. The federal government may have "stopped the boats" but stowaways, ship deserters and illegal seaport arrivals from cruise, cargo and other ships continue to test its tough border regime. Figures show in the five years to June, 458 stowaways, ship deserters and illegal seaport arrivals were known to have come to Australia. They either hid themselves on a ship, slipped away from the vessel or arrived at a seaport but were not cleared for entry.
6. Laidup Box Ships Peak
The withdrawal of services during the winter slack season will, in the next few weeks, propel laid-up cellular capacity past the million-teu watershed to its highest level since the financial crisis began, brokers said this week. Its latest data shows 263 idled containerships, totalling 934,700 teu and representing 4.7% of the total global fleet. This includes 23 ships of 7,500 teu or more.And the list includes one Maersk Line Triple- E 18,000 teu vessel, which the Danish carrier will anchor for at least six weeks as a consequence of the 2M alliance’s blanked sailings programme between Asia and Europe.
7. New Tool for Port Risks
Danish maritime security company Risk Intelligence today launched a platform dedicated to analysing and advising on ports risks. PortRisk will offer clients real-time, around-the-clock intelligence, risk assessment, and general security data on 103 ports in medium- and high-risk areas across 67 countries. The company will also provide clients with intelligence on city and inland travel threats for embarking and disembarking crew members, and country threat information. Company managing director and CEO Hans Tino Hansen, said: "Customers told us they were seeing an increasingly complex risk picture emerging in many ports".
8. Shipping Included in Climate Talks
International shipping and aviation emissions have been included into the Paris agreement draft during the five-day climate talks held in Bonn, Germany. Earlier environmental groups Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment had revealed that the draft of the Paris climate agreement to be signed in December, excluded the aviation and shipping sectors from targeted CO2 emissions cuts. The groups had claimed that that the sectors are not covered by national targets in the Paris agreement. "The Paris Agreement must send a clear signal, not a passing reference, to the UN bodies regulating these emissions, ICAO and IMO".
9. Getting Smarter on Legislation
Smarter, better and complimentary legislation. That’s what European shipowners want from politicians and regulators, according to Thomas Rehder, chairman of the powerful European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). Rehder says that 2016 will be a vital moment for shipping in Europe. “We shall try to go up very much with the European Commission for Transportation for the maritime year that we will have next year. That means that we are trying to provide contributions to the maritime strategy for the short sea shipping market, but also for the employment, for the pressing issue of making shipping more competitive".
10. New Research Focus for ABB
Power and automation technology firm ABB has revealed plans to open a new laboratory in Helsinki, Finland, boosting its efforts to increase research and development in the marine sector. The new facility will support research in marine technologies including automation, remote control systems, propulsion, integrated operations and waste heat recovery systems. The research centre will have more than 30 ABB engineers, who will work on the Integrated Operations concept linking the shore operation to the situations onboard. This laboratory all of their marine systems can be tested and developed in the same place.
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