Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/02/2016
1. Modern Express Heads Ashore
A stricken cargo ship is heading towards the French coast but there are hopes it can be towed to safety before it runs aground. The Panamanian-registered Modern Express began listing last Tuesday and all 22 crew members were airlifted off the vessel after a distress call. Efforts to tow it have failed, but another attempt will be made on Monday. If it fails, the ship will strike France’s Atlantic coast between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Bad weather hindered rescue efforts on Sunday, two days after a tow line to the 164-metre (538ft) vessel was broken in rough seas. The ship, which is carrying 3,600 tonnes of timber and digging machines.
2. Terrorist Hijack in Nigeria
Terrorists have reportedly hijacked a foreign tanker off Bakassi Pennisula in Nigeria. The group boarded the tanker from two fast boats and took control locking the crew in the mess room. The terrorists gave 31 days ultimatum for the local authorities to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra. The ship’s name and nationality was not released, but after hijacking the vessel headed to Nigerian delta in unknown direction. The terrorists threatened that they would blow up the vessel with the seamen onboard if their leader is not released. The ship was possibly hijacked January 29 and currently might be in Nigerian waters.
3. Tanker Robbed in Port
In the port of Kandla, India, the Croatian product tanker "Pomer" was boarded by six armed pirates. Thanks to timely action by her crew, the attackers were kept out on deck, where they made off with nuts and firefighting equipment. “The material damage, due to rapid and professional response of the crew, [was limited to] part of the deck fire-fighting equipment and the butterfly nuts on the lids of the tanks,” said Dragutin Pavletić, director of the ship’s operator, Uljanik Plovidba. No crew were injured in the twenty-minute incident, and the pirates fled after taking the deck fixtures. The apparent motive in the attack was robbery.
4. Lot of Arson About
Arson is being investigated as the cause of a cruise ship fire at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.’s shipyard in Nagasaki early Sunday, the third such incident to strike in January. According to local police and firefighters, a worker at the Koyagi plant of MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, found cardboard and insulation material ablaze aboard the 124,500-ton AIDA Prima, which is one of two ships it is building German cruise line AIDA Cruises. Firefighters said workers quickly put out the fire and no injuries were reported. Sunday’s incident follows an electrical wiring fire near a theater space on Jan. 11, and a cabin fire.
5. Warship Rescues Stricken Vessel
A Dutch warship has come to the rescue of a cargo ship drifting towards the coast in an ongoing rescue today. The stranded vessel "Verity", which is undergoing repairs to its engine at sea, broke down yesterday afternoon off the north Devon coast.. It was feared the boat was drifting towards Hartland Point and Appledore and Padstow lifeboats have been standing-by most of the day. A coastguard spokesman said: "The HNLMS DE RUYTER is currently towing the vessel to Lundy Island, where the vessel can anchor and shelter from the weather. "Bremen Fighter, a tug from Holyhead Harbour is also on its way.
6. Greek Tax Uproar
The Union of Greek Shipowners has responded to a European Commission decision on tax which alleged the Greek shipping taxation regime is in breach of EU state aid provisions. In particular, the EC cited the conditions set out in the current Community Guidelines on State Aid to Maritime Transport (SAG). The UGS said: “there is no effective distortion of competition in the maritime field in the EU and that any fundamental changes to the institutional and fiscal framework in which the Greek shipping community is presently operating". They claim interference will have unforeseeable detrimental consequences.
7. CMA CGM Makes Iranian Moves
France’s CMA CGM has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). The French government said that the agreement was signed during a visit by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to Paris this week. The agreement is intended to boost CMA CGM’s presence in Iran and will initially focus on sharing vessels and jointly operating services. "The gradual lifting of sanctions should greatly increase trade between Iran and the rest of the world. This agreement opens CMA CGM to new development prospects in this area," CMA CGM said in a statement.
8. Australians Continue Vessel Protests
Another protest against foreign crews is underway in Australia. Seafarers from the CSL Melbourne have refused to depart for Singapore as they fight changing cabotage laws. The crew are the second ship this year to fight back at likely redundancies, following on from the Portland. The seafarers of the bulker were pictured on deck in Newcastle wearing tshirts stating they had been “Sacked for being Australian”. The crew of the Canada Steamship Lines vessel will be replaced in Singapore with foreign seafarers. Canberra has awarded a special licence to allow the charterer of the Pacific Aluminium to use a foreign vessel on the route.
9. Cooperation Not Competition
Evolutionary biologists and sociologists tell us that individuals can better themselves with respect to other group members by competing, but that a group as a whole benefits by cooperation among its members. Considering that dry bulk rates have been a disaster for virtually all of the last few years with no respite in sight, it is worth examining what cooperative actions might help return the segment to prosperity. In particular very creative activities need to developed to eliminate the overall problem, overcapacity. With limited global growth and no light at the end of the tunnel, simply waiting will not work.
10. Shipping Emissions Need Curbing
The Paris climate agreement’s target of limiting global warming well below 2°C will be impossible without measures to curb shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions, MEPs claim. Including shipping CO2 in the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) or having the sector contribute to a climate compensation fund were the options on the table, they said. MEPs from four political groups – the conservatives (EPP), the socialists (S&D), the liberals (ALDE) and the left-wing GUE – said the revision of the EU ETS, currently underway, needs to include shipping emissions in the EU 2030 climate target and contribute to meeting the Paris limits.
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