Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/11/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/11/2015

1. Channel Ferry Terror Threat

Cross-Channel ferries have been identified as facing an increased risk of terrorist attack in the wake of the atrocities in Paris. British Ministers have highlighted passenger ferries as a weak link in Britain’s defence against Islamist terrorists, amid fears they could hijack a ferry in the Channel and commit slaughter before security forces could reach it. Prof Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham has called for the introduction of sea marshals – armed officers – to be introduced on ferries, as well as on trains, to protect passengers in the event of a terrorist attack.



2. World Maritime Day 2016 Theme

The IMO Council has endorsed a proposal by Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu to adopt "Shipping: indispensable to the world" as the World Maritime Day theme for 2016. Sekimizu said the theme would provide an opportunity to focus on the critical link between shipping and global society and to raise awareness of the relevance of the role of IMO as the global regulatory body for international shipping.  “The importance of shipping to support and sustain today’s global society gives IMO’s work a significance that reaches far beyond the industry itself,” Sekimizu said.



3. Greek Owners Mull Tax Options

Piraeus is rife with rumours a number of the community’s most prominent members are activating “Plan B” and are in the process of moving their operations, and homes, from Greece. This in turn has had a ripple effect on the Greek cluster as a whole as concern grows over what the Syriza government has in store for the maritime industry in the months to come. In recent days there has been unease within the ship owning community with some of the cluster’s traditional pillars expressing major concerns over the names of those said to be in the process of moving. The lesser names are unsettled about ‘the big boys’ looking elsewhere.


4. Honouring Seafaring Bravery

The IMO has honoured seafarers for their impressive and courageous acts in challenging conditions at sea.  The main award (the Bravery Award) was presented to Aviation Survival Technician Christopher Leon (from the U.S.) for his professional and courageous acts in a demanding operation, saving four competition rowers in distress at sea with their boat in a hurricane. Three rowers, along with Colin Parker from New Zealand, had been taking part in part in the Great Pacific Race in June 2014 when their four-man boat Britannia 4 began sinking in severe conditions.



5. Terrorists Eye Suez Canal

ISIL’s next high profile objective could be the newly expanded Suez Canal. The icon of global trade and modernity, is the kind of symbolic target ISIL will seek to strike. In 2013 a Chinese cargo ship transiting through the channel cutting across the desert (length 193 km, max width 345 m) was hit by rocket-propelled grenades. A plot to plant bombs around it was also foiled. Security measures have been tightened but the complex nature of maritime trade and of the transit process itself (waiting times at anchor, slow speeds) mean that many weak points can be exploited.



6. CMA CGM Profits Plunge

French container ship operator CMA CGM SA said Friday that its net profit plummeted 73% in the third quarter from a year ago as revenue suffered from declining shipping rates. The world’s third-largest container shipping line by capacity, CMA CGM said it earned $57 million in quarter ending Sept. 30 on revenue of $3.98 billion, which was down 9% from the same period in 2014. The privately-held company’s earnings before interest and taxes fell 44% to $140 million, despite cutting operating expenses by 8%.  The results come as the fragmented global shipping industry is struggling with falling returns due to excess capacity.



7. Ship Pollution and Humans

New data presented by researchers at Lund University and others in the journal Oceanologia shows that the air along coasts are full of hazardous nanoparticles from ships, posing a greater threat to human health than previously thought. According to the research, almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions, while the rest is deemed to be mainly from cars but also biomass combustion, industries and natural particles from the sea. “Nanoparticles can be hazardous to our health as they, because of their small size, can penetrate deeper into the lungs than larger particles", Lund University said in their statement.



8. Ship Capsize Kills Crew

Chinese coastal freighter Hua Chun 19 sank in the early hours of November 19, and authorities told local media that casualties included two dead and four missing. Five crewmembers were rescued by China Rescue and Salvage and search efforts are ongoing. The survivors showed signs of hypothermia and were taken to a hospital for recovery. Authorities say that the chances of finding additional crewmembers alive are slim. Hua Chun 19 was carrying 4,000 tons of steel products from Qingdao to Guangdong Province. Early reports indicate that a cargo shift may have affected vessel stability, leading to a severe list and rapid capsizing.


9. Ship Management Revenue Jumps

Cyprus’s revenue from ship management increased 9.3 per cent in the first half of 2015 to €464m compared to the second half of 2014 as Cyprus became more attractive to Greek shipping professionals, the Central Bank (CBC) said. “Germany remains the most important country in terms of revenue, despite a reduction in its share,” the CBC said in a statement on its website on Thursday. “Vietnam, Russia, and the Marshall Islands also demonstrate a similar trend, but to a lesser extent, while Singapore has increased its share. Greece on the other hand appears to be gaining a significant share in the list of revenue contributing countries”.


10. Offshore Vessels Lay Idle

The number of Norwegian offshore vessels idled with nothing to do has gone from zero to 100 in just a year. And the woes are far from over, the industry’s top lobbyist said. “The worst is still to come,” Sturla Henriksen, chief executive officer of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, said in an interview in Oslo on Friday. “2016 and 2017 will be very demanding years.” With Brent crude slumping below $45 a barrel from $115 1 1/2-years ago, Norway’s offshore fleet, the world’s second biggest after the U.S., is being hit by a drought of new contracts and a plunge in rates as oil explorers slash investments and put off drilling.



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


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S Jones
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