Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/01/2016
1. Maersk Sees Light Ahead
Container volumes have picked up this year after the market suffered from sluggish growth and overcapacity in 2015, according to the chief executive officer of A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S. “At the beginning of this year, things look a little bit better,” Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in an interview. “We do expect the Asia to Europe business to develop better this year.” Maersk’s container line, the world’s largest, suffered last year from a toxic cocktail of too many vessels just as global trade sagged. While the industry still needs to address overcapacity, the demand side looks better, Andersen said.
2. Evergreen Founder Dies
One of the most famous names in Asian shipping, Chang Yung-fa, died this morning, aged 88. The founder of Evergreen Group built up Asia’s largest containerline as well as airline Eva Air. Chang lived and breathed shipping all his life, refusing to step back from the empire he had built up since the 1960s. Born in 1927, the son of a seafarer, Chang began his maritime career at the age of 14, working for Japanese line Miname Nippon Steamship’s office in the city of Keelung in northern Taiwan. Taiwan at the time was under Japanese control. Chang would remain very close to Japan throughout his life, showering yards there with massive orders.
3. Nigerian Government Scammed
The Nigerian government has been swindled out of $16m by a foreign shipping investor. Transport minister Rotimi Amaechi detailed yesterday how an unnamed foreign investor had been given $16m for vessels under the nation’s Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) and had then fled the country. The CVFF was created by the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 to promote local fleet growth. Amaechi said that the $16m lost was one of a number of failed maritime funding efforts during the previous government administration and he was reluctant to hand out further cash despite local owners clamouring for the funds. http://goo.gl/Alrje4
4. Panama Eyes Ballast Move
Panama has announced that it has begun the process of accession for both the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention and Hong Kong Convention, which aims to ensure the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, Seatrade Maritime News reports. It is reported that Ministry of Foreign Relations will submit approval of the two conventions to the Cabinet Council, after which it will be presented to Panama National Assembly for final approval, a process that is expected to take two to three months before the law is enacted. Panama is said to have been approached by shipowners from Japan about the move.
5. Baltic Ace Cut and Shifted
On December 5, 2012, the car carrier "Baltic Ace" sank in the North Sea with more than 1,400 cars on board after a colliding with a containership near the entrance of the main shipping channel leading to port of Rotterdam, claiming the lives of 11 crew members. The ship came to rest at a depth of just 35 meters, posing a threat both to the environment and navigation in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. For the salvage, the Dutch Government hired maritime services provider Royal Boskalis Westminster and its partner Mammoet Salvage, who were given the deadline of December 31, 2015 for the complete removal of the wreck. http://goo.gl/WtS956
6. Regional Piracy Responsibility
All Asean maritime security agencies are duty-bound to look after security not only of their nations’ territorial waters but also the whole region. This view was shared by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar and Thailand’s Royal Navy Region Two commander Phonchai Pinthong following a courtesy call by Pinthong on Ahmad Puzi, here, today. In a media statement issued by MMEA in conjunction with the meeting, both were of the view that information sharing between neighbouring nations could strengthen their respective security.
7. Eagle Bulk Lender Action
Eagle Bulk Shipping has signed a forbearance and standstill agreement with its lenders that will hold off any action after the NASDAQ-listed owner missed a scheduled loan repayment on January 15. The agreement gives Eagle Bulk until February 2 to resolve the matter with its banks. The company says it is in discussions with shareholders and lenders to find alternative financing in the interim. Eagle Bulk was unable to make the quarterly repayment after being found to be in breach of a loan facility from ABN AMRO Capital USA and a consortium of other lenders.
8. Europe Welcomes Trade Agreements
European shipowners welcome the European Parliament’s INTA Committee recommendations to the European Commission on the ongoing negotiations of the Trade in Services Agreement between some of the world’s leading economies. In it MEPs acknowledge the crucial role shipping plays as the lynchpin of global trade and call for improved access to third-countries. MEPs also ask the parties to address and remove current restrictions on maritime transport services and to strive for reciprocity. EU companies are very often hindered in accessing certain market segments abroad, which in the EU, in contrast, are open to foreign companies.
9. GMT Exits Stage Left
Hong Kong headquartered conglomerate GMT Shipping & Logistics Group has made an exit from shipowning. GMT took delivery of its first ship, the 56,800 dwt GMT Phoenix in 2012, built at Zhejiang Zhenghe Shipbuilding. The same vessel is now sold to unspecified Chinese interests. Brokers report that the Bosco Ngan-chaired firm fetched $ 7.9m for the supramax. GMT is a diverse outfit and is involved in shipmanagement, port agency and chartering and liner services and has had regular specialist liner services transporting conventional and steel cargoes from the Baltic and Black Sea to West Africa.
10. Heading Home for Repairs
The luxury cruise ship "Le Boreal" was loaded onto the deck of the COSCO Heavy Transport ship "HLV Kang Sheng Kou" in Punta Arenas, Chile this week about two months after the ship was hit by a major fire in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. All 347 passengers and crew were evacuated safely after the fire broke out in the engine room of the ship while underway near the Falkland Islands. Although the order to abandon ship was initially passed off as precautionary by ship owner Ponant, British forces, who assisted in the rescue, later described the incident as a “complex” search and rescue operation carried out in difficult conditions. http://goo.gl/cjpGuP
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