Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/12/2015
1. Holiday Collisions and Groundings
On Christmas Eve, the container vessel "Wan Hai 506" went aground off of Hong Kong. She was refloated but could not continue with her voyage due to damage, and was taken to drydock at Shekou for repairs. The 506 was on her way to Osaka at the time of the incident, and as of Monday she was at anchor off Shenzhen. MOL had the 506’s containers offloaded for pickup by another vessel prior to drydock. The company did not provide further information to media regarding the incident. The day before, on the Dutch port town of IJmuiden on the Noordzee canal, the 10,000 dwt general cargo ship "Victoriaborg" made contact with the canal’s lock doors, causing minor damage.
2. Filipino Students Anger Chinese
China expressed anger on Monday after a group of Filipino protesters landed on a disputed Philippine-held island in the disputed South China Sea. About 50 protesters with the group Kalayaan ATIN ITO, most of them students, reached Thitu island in the Spratly archipelago on Saturday in a stand against what they say is Beijing’s creeping invasion of the Philippine exclusive economic zone, said Eugenio Bito-onon, the island’s mayor. “We encourage the highest leadership of the country to inform the people correctly without sugar coating the truth about Chinese invasion of our Exclusive Economic Zone,” the group said in a Facebook post.
3. Painful Year Ahead
Shipping companies that transport commodities such as coal, iron ore and grain face a painful year ahead, with only the strongest expected to weather a deepening crisis caused by tepid demand and a surplus of vessels for hire. The predicament facing firms that ship commodities in large unpackaged amounts – known as dry bulk – is partly the result of slower coal and iron ore demand from leading global importer China in the second half of 2015. The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index – which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities – plunged to an all-time low this month.
4. Spike of Aussie Ship Arrests
There has been an “unprecedented” spike in the number of ships arrested in Australian ports over the past six months because of commercial disputes. In less than six months since July 1, there have been 23 ships arrested — compared with an average of 10 ships a year for the previous three years. Last week, a Panama-registered bulk carrier was arrested off the Port of Newcastle as part of a dispute over payment for shipping fuel, or “bunker” fuel. The Federal Court can arrest any ship in Australian waters if a claim is lodged against the ship’s owner or operator, for example for a debt, or because of damage done to another ship, or unpaid wages to the crew.
5. Cruise Ship Runs Aground
A cruise ship has suffered damaged after running aground in a marine preserve off Panama’s Pacific coast. Windstar Cruises confirms that its 9,975 grt cruise ship Star Pride ran aground at about 6:15 a.m. on December 22nd while coming into anchor at Isla de Coiba, Panama for a shore excursion. The company said that the ship suffered damage to its hull, rendering the vessel unable to sail. It is understood the engine room is flooded with several inches of water. All passengers were transferred to another Windstar vessel and taken to Costa Rica. Coiba is the largest in a group of 38 islands that make up Coiba National Park, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Looking at the Risk Horizon
2015 has seen concerns regarding the impact of terrorist actions, weather-related losses and the continued presence of maritime crime. The year has been dominated by terrorist acts. France, Tunisia, USA, Mali, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria and many others. Far too many to list and far too much associated tragedy. We have seen cruise ship passengers and holidaymakers killed at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and on the beach in Sousse, and concerns about the impact of terrorism and civil war on their safe, global operation in ports and on transits. The year passed has been one of turmoil, and it is likely this will shape 2016 and beyond.
7. Crew Kidnapped by Pirates
Two crew of a cargo ship, abducted by a gang of robbers in the Meghna River of Bangladesh, were rescued by law enforcement officers after a night in captivity. The rescued sailors are included the master of cargo ship ‘Bhagyakul’, and another crewmember. The local police stated that a gang of robbers swooped on the coal carrying cargo ship as it travelled towards Chittagong from Dhaka. Police quoted victims’ families as saying that the gang later demanded a ransom for their release. Police claimed that the pirates released the crewmen when they realised that a rescue mission had been launched.
8. Container Weighing Debate
The implications of the verification of the gross mass of containers — a relatively modest change to rules that in essence reiterates the existing responsibility of shippers to declare gross mass accurately — are reverberating through the container supply chain. This requirement will become mandatory on 1 July 2016 and will apply globally. After that date, it will be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container onto a ship if the ocean carrier and terminal operator do not have a VGM. Recognising the pivotal nature of the port interface, they now have a joint responsibility not to load a container on board a ship if the VGM is not available.
9. Greek Pride at Lloyd’s List
Thirteen Greeks are on Lloyd’s Top 100 List of most influential personalities in the competitive shipping industry. John Angelicoussis is at number 5 of the list, with his shipping group being “a leader in scale and operational ability.” Angeliki Frangou of the Navios Group is at number 16, followed by George Economou of Cardiff Marine/TMS Group/DryShips at number 17. George Prokopiou of Dynacom/Dynagas is next at 18. Peter G. Livanos of GasLog is at number 21, while Petros Pappas of Star Bulk figures at 31. Nikolas Tsakos of Tsakos Energy Navigation is at number 45. With many more outside the top 50.
10. Shipyard Workers Vote for Peace
Unionized workers of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have voted in favor of a tentative agreement reached last week, Yonhap News Agency reports. Over 15,000 votes were cast by the workers on Monday, 58 percent of which supported the wage agreement. HHI and its workers agreed to freeze the base pay of yard employees and distribute a 100 percent bonus increase, plus an additional USD 1,283 (KRW 1.5 million). Due to the decline in newbuilding orders and a downturn in the offshore oil and gas industry, HHI took drastic cost cutting measures aimed at restructuring the group and returning back to profit.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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