Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/11/2015
1. Cruise Ship Bomb Scare
Sniffer dogs were called in and Melbourne’s Station Pier was evacuated after a possible bomb scare onboard a cruise ship. No suspicious object was found but sniffer dogs responded to a scent while patrolling at the pier, Melbourne’s main passenger shipping terminal. "We have evacuated two cruise ships while we are conducting a safety check and the bomb response squad is on the way," a Victoria Police spokeswoman said on Friday. The "Spirit of Tasmania" and a Dutch-registered cruise ship the "MS Noordam", are berthed at the pier and all passengers and crew have been removed along with staff at the pier.
2. Captain Downs Rum Grounds Ship
A Russian officer had drunk half a litre of rum before he drove a cargo ship aground at full speed in the Highlands, an official report into the incident has revealed. The report said that while the officer’s drinking was to blame for the incident, a failure to follow procedures on board also meant the accident could not have been prevented. The chief officer, who took over the watch around midnight, had earlier made a personal phone call which “made him anxious”, according to the report. Afterwards, he consumed 500ml of rum before taking control of the vessel on the night shift just a few hours later. He was eight times over the legal limit.
3. BIMCO Praises Migrant Rescues
BIMCO President Philippe Louis-Dreyfus chose to give public recognition to all seafarers who have been – and still are – involved in rescuing people in distress at sea. Mr Louis-Dreyfus awarded the BIMCO President’s Award to Columbia Shipmanagement Hamburg, for their “outstanding” work in rescue operations involving migrant boats in the Mediterranean. He asked Captain Horber from Columbia Shipmanagement to accept the award on behalf of their crews, but also on behalf of all seafarers who risk their lives in rescue operations.
4. Unsold Crude Headaches
Record high freight rates are creating more headaches for traders looking to house millions of barrels of unsold crude oil and who already face potential losses due to record high stocks. They have to decide on whether to use tankers for longer term storage until they can sell their cargoes, or dump them at even more discounted prices in order to keep wells running. This is expected to come at a bigger cost as rates for supertankers have soared – reaching their highest since 2008 at over $100,000 a day last month and currently around $70,000 a day.
5. Baltic Dry Slumps Again
The Baltic Dry Index, seen by many as a leading indicator of the state of the world economy, slumped 2.9pc to a record low of 504 today due, at least in part, to China’s economic malaise. The index measures shipping costs for commodities including iron ore, copper and steel. It has fallen as demand for these cargoes from China has slowed. The index, which is comprised of three-sub indexes that measure different sizes of merchant ships, is based on a daily survey of agents all over the world. It hit a peak level of 11,793 in May 2008 amid a surge in demand for commodities, but has been in steady decline since the financial crisis.
6. Chinese Set to Approve Merger
The Chinese Government is expected to approve the merger of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (China COSCO) and China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd. (CSCL) by January, the Wall Street Journal reports. Talks of a merger between state-owned companies were reported to be in advanced stages in October as the two companies worked toward bringing together the two containership businesses. Reports indicate that the two shipping giants are also looking to merge their tanker, dry bulk, and port operations. It’s been a complicated matter, with one of the priorities being to avoid any layoffs from the merger overlaps.
7. Moody Response to NOL Sale
In response to recent news that Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. is in acquisition talks with Maersk Group and CMA CGM SA, Moody’s Investors Service has warned A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S not to pursue any acquisition, Bloomberg reports. "Maersk Line could possibly derive some synergies from an acquisition, but Maersk Line is one of the few profitable companies in the sector and it could dilute margins initially," Marie Fischer-Sabatié, a senior vice president at Moody’s, told BloombergBusiness. "Real consolidation could be positive…but it would likely take more than just one or two mergers to materially improve the overall market conditions".
8. Remote Control and Monitoring
ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has unveiled a new Integrated Operations Center which allows ship owners to take greater control of their fleet from shore. From the center, situated in Billingstad in Norway, its expert engineers can connect to any vessel anywhere in the world which is fitted with ABB technology. Sensors and software onboard the ship send equipment and performance data via satellite link which allows ship owners, in collaboration with ABB’s experts, to perform remote troubleshooting and make informed judgements about the ship’s performance and maintenance plan.
9. Rash of Newbuilds Scares Market
Up to 200 MR Tanker newbuilding deliveries in 2015 could pressure market, but ship owner sees demand offsetting this rise in tonnage supply. Product tanker markets were experiencing varying degrees of demand at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but it’s the supply outlook that can change things around and make them more challenging. According to a recent market outlook provided by ship owner d’Amico International Shipping (DIS), a tanker market specialist, the orderbook for MR tankers that are scheduled for delivery this year is at its highest since the high delivery years of 2008-2010.
10. Liberian Boss in London
The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, has appointed Kostas Ladas as general manager of its London office. Kostas Ladas joins LISCR from London-based ship and insurance broker and agent Victoria Steamship Co Ltd, where he was vessel operations manager. Prior to that, he spent over 25 years with Coscon/Cosco (UK) Ltd in London, where he held a variety of executive roles, including Chartering & Shipbroking deputy general manager, commercial manager and company legal adviser.
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