Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/01/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/01/2016


1. Jostling for Flag Supremacy

The Marshall Islands ship registry (RMI Registry) is confident it can overhaul Liberia this year to become the second largest flag in the world after Panama. The flag, administered by Virginia-headquartered International Registries, Inc (IRI), celebrated becoming the largest flag in Greece in November. For IRI, surpassing Liberia is a particularly sweet moment: the company quit managing the Liberian flag in 2000, moving to operate the Marshall Islands. Commented Bill Gallagher, president of IRI, “If growth patterns remain the same, it is anticipated that the RMI Registry will move from the third to the second largest worldwide.”



2. Quality Concerns for Insurers

As the depression in shipping continues into 2016, the quality of the global fleet is likely to come under pressure, a leading name in marine insurance warns in an interview. “We recognise that the current shipping market is challenging, and that shipowners have to be able to earn a return on their considerable investment in vessels,” says Ståle Hansen, president and ceo of P&I club Skuld. “Because of this,” he warns, “some may struggle to keep standards at the level they prefer. Looking ahead, the challenge will be exacerbated if the volume of world trade is insufficient to provide shipowners with adequate income.”




3. Oil Company Bus Attacked

Four armed men set a bus on fire on Tuesday carrying workers in Saudi Arabia’s oil-producing Eastern Province, state news agency SPA reported. State oil company Saudi Aramco said none of its employees had been injured but gave no further details. SPA said the men had stopped the bus in the district of Qatif, the home of prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed on Saturday with 46 other men. Nimr’s execution has angered Shi’ites across the Middle East and caused a major diplomatic row between mainly Shi’ite Iran and Saudi Arabia’s conservative Sunni monarchy.


4. RN Reveals New RIBS

The Royal Navy has signed a multi-million pound contract for 60 next generation Pacific 24 Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) by BAE Systems. The new boats are designed to be deployed from ship or shore for anti-piracy or drugs missions, or to perform rescue operations. Travelling at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour, the boats can put a huge physical strain on their driver and crew, and have required extensive design changes to compensate. The new fleet of RIBs are being fitted with shock absorbing seats to minimise the impact on crew members, and the change has the added benefit of allowing the boats to travel up to six-times further.



5. Ships Hit Hard by Rates

Cargo ships or vessels that carry coal and other dry bulk commodities have been hit hard as charter rates have crashed to abysmal levels. The earnings have been dented by the collective pressure of slowdown in China and excess fleet capacity added since 2014. As a result, owners are facing distress sales, emergency capital raisings and bankruptcy is staring at many ship owners. Cargo ship owners are complaining that the current charter fees cannot cover even the vessels’ operating costs let alone the financing part. It is bad news for private equity firms, which invested heavily in the sector.




6. Rotterdam Hit By Strike

Workers at the Port of Rotterdam’s container terminals Thursday started a 24 hour strike at 3:15 p.m. local time, the Rotterdam Port Authority announced. Workers are said to be hoping that the strike action will help achieve their demand for a guarantee of job security over the next nine years in the face of two new highly automated container terminals. About 800 workers are estimated to be involved in the strike, with seven docked container ships expected to be affected by the action, as well as a further three ships expected to arrive during the strike.




7. Bourbon Decision Takes the Biscuit

BOURBON has announced that its chief financial officer, Nicolas Malgrain, has had his mandate terminated, after a meeting of the board of directors on January 5. Mr Malgrain was appointed as executive vice-president and chief financial officer at Bourbon in November 2014 after joining the company as vice-president strategy in February 2014. In its third-quarter results last year, Bourbon reported falling rates and utilisation for its offshore vessel fleet, as the sector continues to suffer the consequences of a lower oil price. The company had 31 vessels in lay-up as of November.




8. Yacht Closes Airport

London City Airport was forced to close down its runway for the arrival of Sunseeker 131. The runway was only closed down temporarily to accommodate the much awaited arrival of the new Sunseeker 131, which is making her debut at the London Boat Show 2016 The journey along the Thames for Sunseeker International’s eagerly anticipated 131 Yacht launch at the London Boat Show was a major logistical exercise as London City Airport temporarily closed a runway to allow the 131 feet superyacht (40 metres) to pass through King George V Lock. The 131 Yacht will be the largest model ever to make its debut at the London Boat Show.




9. Industry Says Goodbye to Alert!

Just over 12 years ago The Nautical Institute launched its international human element bulletin, Alert! The first issue came out in October 2003, as seafarers were getting to grips with new technology and automation. It was becoming clear that more attention needed to be paid to human-centred design and human factors engineering as well as seafarer training. Since 2003, there has been a transformation in the industry’s understanding of the human element in ship design, construction, management and operation. Alert! has played its part in that sea change.




10. Largest Ever Evacuation Chute

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment says it has received type approval for its record setting 81-meter evacuation chute developed in response to the increasingly large rigs being introduced in the offshore industry. The new system was certified by Lloyd’s Register to operate at an unprecedented height of 81 meters (265.7 feet) above sea level, along with an impressive evacuation capacity of 146 people in just 10 minutes. The new system beats the previous record height of ‘only’ 64 meters (210 feet), which was also held by Viking.  Already, two 81-meter systems have been installed on the Noble Corporation’s jack-up rigs.




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


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S Jones
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