Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/02/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/02/2016


1. Tanker Confirmed as Hijacked

The chemical tanker Leon Dias was attacked by pirates and hijacked in Gulf of Guinea on 90 nautical miles South off Edumanom National Park in Nigeria, but not yet clear if the accident was terrorist attack by militants in support of Indigenous People of Biafra, or just a standard piracy hijacking.  The vessel was attacked by two boats with over 10 armed men, who took control changing the course to Cotonou, Benin.  The five crew on board were kidnapped and taken as hostages, as chief officer was wounded with serious injury during the piracy attack. The ship is owned and managed by Greek company Leon Shipping and Trading.


2. Call for UK Flag Reform

The UK Chamber of Shipping (CoS), president Tom Boardley called for “real, tangible reform” of the UK Ship Register. “We need a Ship Register that we can be proud of,” he said. “We need standards to be maintained but levels of customer service to improve substantially. We need an MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) that actively courts business.” By joining the UK flag there would be knock-on benefits in greater employment of UK seafarers and use of UK-based maritime services, added Boardley, who is also EVP of Lloyd’s Register.



3. BP Cuts More Jobs

BP says it will make 3,000 staff and contractors redundant from its Downstream segment by the end of 2017, in addition to the 4,000 staff that will be lost from its Upstream division this year. The oil major announced the Upstream cuts in January, which include 600 jobs from its operations in the North Sea, equivalent to 20% of BP’s headcount in the region. Its total number of Upstream employees worldwide is expected to fall below 20,000 by the end of this year. But the staff reductions will hit BP’s bottom line.



4. Maersk on the Move

As part of Maersk Line’s massive restructuring it is switching its Asia headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong. Its two Asia regions, Asia Pacific and North Asia, have become one. Last November, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container carrier, outlined huge spending cuts including slashing its global headcount by at least 4,000 and nixing 240,000 teu of newbuild options. Lars Mikael Jensen, who has headed up Maersk Line’s Asia Pacific operations from Singapore since 2014, returns to Copenhagen to take up a management position within the operations department.



5. Seafarer Strike Averted

Industrial action onboard Eimskip vessels has been postponed until February 15 after the Icelandic shipping line came to a “collective agreement” with senior officers over salary increases. About 100 masters and engineer officers had threatened to stop work from 00:00hrs this morning, which would have halted cargo discharge from five Eimskip ships and two Samskip ships, according to Icelandic press reports. The country is heavily dependent on imports, particularly for fresh food and vegetables, leading to fears that the officers’ strike could cause a food shortage in Iceland.



6. Norway Helps Offshore Owners

Owners of ships serving the oil industry will be exempt from paying license fees for 2016 on vessels that have been mothballed, Norway’s industry minister said in a statement on Tuesday. The price of crude oil has plunged 70 percent since mid-2014, leading to cutbacks in oil industry investments and lower demand for supply ships, anchor handlers and construction vessels. The fee per ship registered in Norway is about 35,000 Norwegian crowns ($4,000) per year, and the industry’s overall savings are expected to amount to around 2.3 million crowns for the year, Industry Minister Monica Maeland said.



7. Zim Begins Restructuring

The Israeli shipping company ZIM started organizational restructuring, attempting to strengthen positions and competitiveness in profitable trade areas and market segments, where the company has advantage. The shipping operator will transform the regional branches to create three business units that will report directly to the head of the company. The Pacific Unit will be responsible for transport between Asia and North and Central America, Intra-Asia Unit will profvide intra-operation in Asia and Middle East, while Cross Suez-Atlantic Unit will provide transportation between Asia and the Mediterranean, plus an intra-European group.


8. Cop Joins Missing Disney Girl Search

A former top police officer from Scotland Yard has joined the investigation into the disappearance of Disney cruise ship worker Rebecca Coriam. The Liverpool student went missing while employed as a youth activity worker on board the Disney Wonder as the vessel sailed into Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico, in March 2011.

After nine months, the investigating Bahamas police department declared the 24-year-old’s disappearance as “not suspicious”. Disney insist Rebecca, who studied childhood studies, psychology and philosophy at Liverpool Hope University , was swept overboard.  But Rebecca’s family think she may have been killed.



9. Cruise Line Posts Massive Earnings

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today reported adjusted earnings for 2015 worth USD 4.83 per share – up 42% over 2014. According to RCL the earnings are expected to further increase to USD 5.90-USD 6.10 in 2016. “Our core brands are firing on all cylinders, our new ships are performing exceptionally well and our costs are well controlled.  This is driving 40%+ earnings growth in two consecutive years,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. “These very gratifying results combined with a strong start to Wave position us well on our path toward Double-Double.”


10. Agreement on Arctic Routes

ABS and China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) have signed an agreement to cooperate on trans-Arctic voyages through the Northeast passage. The agreement includes development of specialised ice-class vessel types able to navigate the arctic sea route, under a cooperative initiative on Arctic Shipping Technology Development. Use of the Northern Sea Route, which has become navigable for shipping between July and November thanks to climate change and melting sea ice, allows a reduction of nearly 4,000 miles of voyage distance between Asian and European ports.





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