Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/12/2015
1. China Buys OK’d
China Merchants has received approval from China’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council for its proposed acquisition of Sinotrans and CSC Holdings. China Merchants wants to reorganise the two companies into its wholly owned subsidiaries, but China Merchants is still reserving the right not to consolidate the companies if it chooses. The merger aims to create economies of scale and synergies between the companies in logistics, energy and dry bulk shipping, property development, ports and marine and offshore engineering, a filing said.
2. Pirates Flock to Branding
The Islamic State isn’t just the world’s premier jihadist organization. Like Coca Cola or Nike, it’s also one of the world’s most recognized brands. Its name alone evokes both extreme sadism and a terrifying sense of reach — a fear that radical acolytes lurk in all corners of the planet, many of them plotting spectacular violence. That brand is ripe for exploitation. That’s why criminal gangs in the Philippines, where Islamic insurgency smolders on remote tropical isles, are now tapping the fearsome power of the Islamic State’s name. Several commanders of Abu Sayyaf — a notorious pirate gang in the Philippines — have sworn loyalty to the Islamic State.
3. Lost Crew Found
Thorco Shipping has today issued a release saying that local search and rescue teams over Christmas recovered three lifeless bodies relatively close to the wreckage of Thorco Cloud in the Singapore Strait. One of them has been officially identified as one of the six missing crewmembers from Thorco Cloud. The chemical tanker Stolt Commitment and multipurpose general cargo vessel Thorco Cloud collided in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait on December 16 with the latter sinking. DNA samples and personal records have been forwarded to the authorities to affirm the identity of the other two recovered.
4. Crew Rescued From Sinking Ship
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a dozen people from a sinking ship off the coast of Cuba. On Saturday, the Coast Guard Seventh District command center in Miami received notice that the 120-foot coastal freighter, Granam ST Anne, out of Haiti, was taking on water while in Cuban territorial seas, the Coast Guard said. Two helicopters, one from the Bahamas and the other from Puerto Rico, were deployed to intercept the crew and take them to safety. When Coast Guard helicopters arrived, the crew members had already abandoned the freighter and were floating on a life raft. All 12 people were hoisted onto one of the two helicopters and transferred to Great Inagua, Bahamas. http://goo.gl/W2WGu8
5. Ship Rescuers in the Spotlight
In Greece, Max Hardberger posed as an interested buyer, in Haiti as a port official, in Trinidad, a shipper. He has plied guards with booze and distracted them with prostitutes; spooked port police officers with witch doctors and duped night watchmen into leaving their posts. His goal: to get on board a vessel he is trying to retrieve and race toward the 12-mile line where the high seas begin and local jurisdiction ends. Mr. Hardberger is among a handful of maritime “repo men” who handle the toughest of grab-and-dash jobs in foreign harbors, usually on behalf of banks, insurers or shipowners. These are a last-resort solution to a common predicament.
6. Seafarer Sent Back Home
A seafarer who had a narrow escape after falling overboard from a ship berthed at Britain’s biggest container port has been flown home to be with his family for Christmas and New Year. The Filipino man was supported by seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) after the accident in Harwich Harbour. The man was working on a vessel at the Port of Felixstowe when he had the accident, falling into the water. Colleagues working nearby were able to throw him a lifebuoy and with their help he was able to reach the pilot ladder located on the quayside wall. He was then taken to Ipswich Hospital, where he received medical attention and was kept in for observation overnight.
7. Incentivising Shipowners on Recycling
Against the background of the perceived slow take–up of the Hong Kong Convention on recycling, the EU has engaged consultants to conduct a study which attempts to find a financial instrument which would incentivise ship owners to recycle their ships in an environmentally friendly way. Several options have been proposed and examined ranging across guarantees, escrow, insurance, port levies, licencing, or a hybrid of these. Members of the IUMI Political Forum have attended three meetings where the various EU proposals were reviewed and the stakeholders asked to comment. The original idea which directly affected insurers was to create a fund for recycling,
8. Bunker Demand Has to Rise
Demand for marine bunker fuels has only one way to go and that is upwards, said OPEC in its latest annual outlook. According to the Organizations World Oil Outlook for 2015, “in 2013, a total of 4.1 mboe/d were consumed in the marine bunkers sector, up from 2.3 mboe/d in 1990. Steady demand growth has been observed for the period up to 2007. However, since 2008 demand has grown only marginally as a result of the global economic situation and the higher oil prices in the period to 2014. Demand in developing countries surpassed that of the OECD in 2009 and in 2013 totalled 2.2 mboe/d, 0.4 mboe/d higher than in the OECD.
9. US Port on the Bounce
Buoyed by a steady flow of import traffic, the Port of Oakland has rebounded from a disastrous start to 2015 tied to a devastating labour slowdown and looks to grow further as it accepts larger tankers full of imports. After import cargo declined about 38 percent over the first two months of 2015 (which coincided with the height of the labor dispute) compared with the same first two months of 2014, the port complex steadily improved its import activity. Imports now are up 0.4 percent, measured over the first 11 months of 2015 compared with the same period for 2014.
10. New Success for Security Firm
Tundra Maritime Defense Services (MDS), the maritime division of Tundra Group, announced that it has been awarded full certification and accreditation for the recently issued ISO 28007-1:2015 (Guidelines for Private Maritime Security Companies), following an audit conducted by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA). Certification to the new 28007-1:2015 Standard demonstrates to the international community that Tundra MDS can legally, safely and effectively guard seafarers, their vessels and cargo. The Marshall Islands (MI) Maritime Administrator issued an update recently requiring PMSCs to be certified to at least the ISO PAS 28007:2012 standard.
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