Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/01/2016
1. Mercator Backs from Bulk
Mercator Lines (Singapore) (MLS) is exiting dry bulk. The Singapore-listed arm of the Indian owner outlined plans to divest itself from dry bulk in a release today. The news follows on from Friday’s announcement of a mass resignation of non-executive board directors at the Singaporean company. MLS has debts of more than $165m and has been racking up significant losses in recent years – $125m for fiscal 2015 alone. “The Bulk Carriers business has been the worst affected by the downturn in the shipping cycle, with the Baltic Dry Freight having collapsed …and not showing any signs of early revival in future,” the company said in a statement.
2. Tanker Specialist Folds
Artic tanker specialist Primorsk International Shipping (Prisco) has become the latest line to fold. The company has filed a voluntary petition for reorganisation under Chapter 11 in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Prisco has been in negotiations with some Norwegian bondholders over a debt-for-equity swap for the past 12 months. The bondholders refused to accept Prisco’s terms and demanded repayment of $262.2m in loans. A Prisco bank account in London was seized last week by the lenders, leading to the Chapter 11 filing. Prisco’s fleet expansion kicked off 18 months before Lehman Brothers collapsed. http://goo.gl/ueU9Rn
3. CMA CGM Eyes Chinese Yards
Brokers report that the world’s third largest containerline, CMA CGM, is in China looking to order a series of 20,000 teu ships. The French line is holding discussions with a number of shipyards as well as a leasing company. CMA CGM has in the past used Chinese leasing companies to expand its fleet. There have been no new containership orders anywhere in the world so far in 2016, but brokers anticipate an announcement from CMA CGM soon. CMA CGM will likely complete its acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), the Singapore owner of containerline APL, by the second hand of this year.
4. Market Vessel Values Plunge
The market value of a five-year-old capesize vessel has hit its lowest level in over 24 years, according to data from VesselsValue.com (VV). VV estimates a five-year-old vessel is worth just $23.87m today, less than half of what the cape would have been worth in May 2014, when its market value would have been around $50.65m (see graph 1 below). Toby Mumford, VV’s valuation analyst, says the market is currently seeing the worst drop in dry bulk values since 2008 with each deal concluded at a price significantly lower than the last.
5. Problems of Crude Cover
Japanese buyers of Iranian crude will have to keep using special sovereign shipping insurance to import oil for the foreseeable future, despite the lifting of sanctions against Tehran, industry and government sources said on Monday. Shippers face uncertainty over whether they can get coverage from U.S. insurers after sanctions were lifted and it means the Japanese government may have to get parliamentary approval to extend the scheme beyond March. Tokyo stepped in to help its oil importers after Western sanctions imposed over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme curbed the ability of private insurers to provide tanker cover.
6. New Recycling Measures
Shipping companies are being strongly encouraged to use new ‘Transitional Measures for Shipowners Selling Ships for Recycling’ launched by a wide coalition of international shipping industry organisations. The purpose of the new ‘Transitional Measures’ – developed by an inter-industry working group led by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – is to help shipowners ensure to the greatest extent possible that their end of life ships will be recycled at facilities that are compliant with the standards enshrined in the IMO Hong Kong Convention, in advance of the global regime entering into legal force.
7. RN Ventures Way Down South
A Royal Navy ship has ventured further south than any in 80 years, as sailors used a fisheries inspection mission to pay homage to Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. "HMS Protector" paid the first official visit to the East Antarctic and became the first Navy vessel to sail below 77 degrees latitude since before the Second World War. The 5,000 tonne ice patrol vessel and her crew of 88 stopped off while policing fishing vessels in the Ross Sea region to protect the region’s delicate ecosystem.
8. Sea Space Landing Fail
The much vaunted SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landed on a ship over the weekend, but unfortunately then exploded. Sunday morning Falcon 9 launched from the Vandenberg to deliver the Jason-3 satellite into orbit, about 830 miles above the Earth. The primary mission of the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California went as planned, propelling into orbit a $180 million US-French satellite called Jason-3 to study sea level rise. The mishap marks the third such landing failure at sea since the privately funded company began space launches in 2008.
9. Upside Down Ladder Tragedy
A seafarer who fell overboard from a cargo ship and drowned off the West Australian coast was using a ladder that was rigged upside down, the nation’s transport safety authority says. The second mate drowned in rough conditions after falling off a rope ladder suspended from the side of cargo ship "Hyundai Dangjin" at Cape Lambert last year. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation found the ladder, that the second mate used to climb down the side of the ship to check the draught, did not provide a flat surface to stand on because it was upside down. Several attempts were made to rescue the man, but sadly he died. http://goo.gl/xvQWzD
10. New Rules for Container Safety
Classification society ClassNK (Chairman and President: Noboru Ueda) has announced the release of its new structural design support system PrimeShip-HULL for Container Carriers to correspond with its latest rule amendments. To promote container carrier safety, ClassNK released amendments to its Rules and Guidance for the Survey and Construction of Steel Ships on 25 December 2015. The amendments, based on findings from ClassNK’s investigation into a large container carrier casualty, include updates to independent longitudinal strength requirements and reflect the new IACS Unified Requirements (UR) S11A and S34.
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