Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/01/2016
1. The Worst of Times
The shipping industry is facing its worst crisis in living memory as years of rapid expansion fuelled by cheap debt have coincided with an economic slowdown in China. “We are now at the stage where people are struggling to remember an era when it was this difficult…expressions like ‘living memory’ start to apply,” said Jeremy Penn, the chief executive of the Baltic Exchange in London. The Baltic Exchange has set shipping rates for more than two-and-a-half centuries and the situation its members now face is grim. “Ship owners are facing the tough decision of whether to just drop anchor and hope it gets better,” added Mr Penn.
2. Mining Giant Presses On
Global miner Rio Tinto plans to increase iron ore production and shipments in 2016, defying a collapse in prices as it takes advantage of its position as the world’s lowest cost producer. The world no.2 iron ore producer reported an 11 percent rise in annual iron ore shipments on Tuesday, roughly in line with its guidance of 340 million tonnes, and said it expected to produce and ship 350 million tonnes in 2016, including its mine co-owners’ volumes. Rio’s strong output, low costs and sharp cuts in capital spending are expected to help it maintain or raise its dividend at least for the next 12 months, in stark contrast to its rivals.
3. Bulker Collides with Trawler
Fourteen crew members of a Cape Town fishing vessel had to scramble to safety following a suspected collision between their ship and a huge cargo ship in thick fog early on Tuesday. The 14 men were picked up from their life raft on Tuesday after their vessel, the Cape Town-based Lezandi, began to sink, according to the National Sea Rescue Institute. ER24 reported that paramedics treated the men for minor injuries and shock. It was later determined that the Lezandi may have collided with the bulk carrier "Sunrise Jade" in dense fog. "Sunrise Jade" was released to continue to the Port of Saldanha Bay and the ship was not damaged.
4. Looming Leaking Disaster
Local authorities in Quebec are warning of a looming environmental disaster if nothing is done to salvage a discarded bulk carrier. The "Kathryn Spirit" was abandoned by its Mexican owners four years ago near Montreal and the St Lawrence River. The Mexican firm has since declared bankruptcy and all pumping operations to keep the ship upright have come to a halt. The local mayor has warned rain and snow are accumulating in the hold of the ship, and with the pumping operations stopped, he is concerned the open hatch ship could begin to list and eventually capsize.
5. Spike in Hijackings Possible
With legal issues and a fall off in business dogging the maritime security sector, there are fears that as armed guards withdraw – then we may see a spike in merchant vessel hijackings in high risk areas during the coming year. Experts believe the practice of placing armed security on merchant vessels is still probably the best of many possible solutions to the challenge of ‘modern piracy.’ That doesn’t mean there aren’t some kinks to work out of the system. Looking ahead, we may see more and more shipping companies reluctant to place security on board in certain areas. and, that just might translate into more ship hijackings.
6. Yard Floats Out Cruise Giant
Meyer Turku Shipyard has celebrated the float out of the first ship being contracted and built totally under the ownership of the Meyer family of Germany. Mein Schiff 5 was floated out of the dry-dock during a snowy ceremony last Friday, January 15. Mein Schiff 5 is a sister ship of Mein Schiff 4, which was handed over to its owner TUI Cruises last spring. The float-out and transfer of the vessel from the dry dock to the outfitting pier marks a shift from the construction phase of the ship hull to the outfitting phase. Ferdinand Strohmeyer, Vice President Operations of TUI Cruises and Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku, were present.
7. Piraeus Hit by Strike
Bunkering at the port of Piraeus Wednesday is set to be hit by a 48-hour strike by the Panhellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO). Local players say the action by tug boat operators it likely to cause tightness and loading delays for the rest of the week. "Tug boats won’t be operating and as such the barges won’t be able to load," one local local source was quoted as saying. In response to the imminent action, price indications for key grade IFO380 had at one point jumped as much as $10.50 per metric tonne (pmt) in the Greek port, but Monday’s market was ultimately down just $0.50 pmt having been flat now for almost a week.
8. Collision off Port Entrance
The general cargo ship "La Joie" collided with freighter Ahti R at Port of Piraeus approach. The accident happened in bad weather and big swell, which probably caused problems with steering course of both vessel and collision. The both ships suffered damages of the bulls, but remained afloat and not reported any oil leaks. The cargo vessels were detained at anchorage off Port of Piraeus for repair works and further inspection for seaworthiness and safety. The local authorities started investigation for the root cause of the accident, as both ships were with pilot on board diverging without crossing routes.
9. Box Giant Suffers in Storm
UASC’s ultra large containership Al Zubara suffered damage and lost containers during a storm on its maiden voyage. The vessel was sailing with 12,600 containers on board in Southern Europe when it was hit by a storm, forcing the vessel to make an emergency call at Malaga in Spain. The ship had no damage on the hull but railings and cargo secure lines were broken. It was estimated that it has lost three containers and several others were damaged. The vessel resumed its voyage yesterday after the damaged containers were removed and the railings and secure lines were repaired at Malaga Port.
10. Fire Ravages Bulker
A fire broke out yesterday at the port of Venice on board 2007-built kamsarmax bulk carrier Star Maria. The vessel, owned by Star Bulk Carriers, was carrying coal to Venice-Marghera for the local power station managed by Italian energy company Enel. Local reports claim that the fire developed from cargo holds number 4 and 5 due to spontaneous combustion of the cargo. Coast Guard and Fire Department units were immediately deployed and the fire was extinguished a few hours later. The vessel, which had arrived from the Italian port of Brindisi, will remain in Venice until investigations are complete.
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