Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/02/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/02/2016


1. Captain Wanted to Change Course

The former captain of the ill-fated El Faro cargo ship that sank in October 2015 due to the Hurricane Joaquin, Michael Davidson, asked TOTE for a permission to change the ship’s course during the voyage, a coast guard probe heard on Tuesday. The focus of a ten-day public Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the loss of the United States-flagged steam ship El Faro, and its 33 crewmembers saw Philip Morrell, vice president of Marine Operations for TOTE Services, questioned by a seven member panel. The panel asked Morrell about the captain’s email sent to TOTE with the captain asking if he should change the ship’s course.




2. Tugs Tackle Runaway Ship

In the Port of Valencia, Spain on Tuesday, force generated by strong winds parted the stern lines of the Liberian-flagged container vessel HH Johanna from her berth and sent her drifting towards the adjacent, moored container ship Cosco Europe.  A bystander’s photos show the 70,000 dwt "Johanna" drifting closer to the Europe and making contact at the bow. Harbor tugs are visible mobilizing to prevent the two from making further contact. Four tugs worked quickly to respond to the incident and brought the HH Johanna back to dock, preventing any significant damage. Two tugs worked for six hours each and two more for one hour to.



3. UN Aid Ship Held

A UN-chartered ship carrying food for Yemen was held in a Saudi port after the Riyadh-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels said it found undeclared communications equipment aboard. The MV Mainport Cedar was travelling from Djibouti to an approved stop at Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeida when it "was diverted by coalition forces" to Jazan in southwest Saudi Arabia, the UN World Food Programme said.The vessel were carrying four declared containers of humanitarian aid, but coalition inspectors also found "military communications equipment" elsewhere in the ship, coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told AFP.




4. Latest Security Update

The latest Maritime security update from PVI features news that Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte has said the government is planning to rebuild its navy to protect the country’s territorial waters and marine resources, as well as to ward off illegal foreign fishing. He did not specify the specific measures to be taken to bolster the capacity of the navy. While the Sri Lankan Navy forces arrested 12 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line. The Indonesian Navy killed a pirate in raid on illegal fishing boat, while in West Africa pirates hijacked a merchant vessel.



5. Communications Breakdowns

Breakdowns in communications between members of a bridge team are still major contributing factors to ship collisions and other incidents. It is down to shipowners, managers and operators to ensure their bridge crew work as a team and in collaboration with pilots, port authorities and masters of surrounding ships to minimise the risk. Training on simulators is an important method of teaching teamwork and communications, but still too few owners invest in this. Miscommunication was highlighted as a key contributor in insurance claims by the UK P&I Club.



6. Distressed Owners Sell Sell Sell

In a market which has been hit by the downturn of freight rates so hard, as has been the case with the dry bulk shipping segment, it’s only natural that ship prices have been falling, as there are more and more “distressed” sales in the market. According to the latest weekly report from shipbroker Intermodal, “the sharp fall in dry bulk rates that has been taking place since the end of last year and has left owners facing historical low rates for a substantial period of time, has now everyone wondering; how long can it last and what are those developments that could expedite the recovery”.



7. Weighing Concerns Rattling Ports

Shippers, freight forwarders and other links in the local logistics chain are hoping to head off another potential roadblock in containerized goods movement through Port Metro Vancouver (PMV). “If we don’t get it right,” said Bonnie Gee, Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia (CSBC) vice-president, “there is the potential for delays in moving containers and definitely things coming in by rail.” The “it” referenced by Gee is compliance with IMO container weight regulations scheduled to come into effect on July 1. Mistakes or falsely declared container weights can upset cargo balance and reduce a ship’s seaworthiness.



8. Farstad Slashes Costs

In response to the difficult offshore market Farstad Shipping is seeking to reduce administrative costs at its head office in Ålesund. Farstad Shipping chief executive Karl-Johan Bakken said: “The current market situation is challenging. In order to strengthen the company’s competitiveness, we are working continuously to keep costs at the right level.” As part of a broad cost reduction process since 2014 Farstad Shipping has implemented a number of cost-saving measures both onshore and offshore. The company’s branch office in Aberdeen has been closed, and there have been redundancies and layoffs among seafarers.



9. COSCO Looks to Future

The shipping industry is experiencing its worst downturn since the 2008 financial crisis, making mergers key to riding out this tough period, the chairman of China Cosco Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS) said on Thursday. Xu Lirong was speaking at an event to launch COSCOCS, which was formed by a government-driven merger of former domestic rivals China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company [COSCO.UL] and China Shipping Group [CNSHI.UL] that has created one of the world’s largest shipowners.  Maritime consultancy Drewry forecasts that the global container shipping industry will make a combined loss of $5 billion this year.




10. UK Ports Ready for Weighing

DP World’s two UK container terminals at London Gateway and Southampton are to offer shippers container weighing services – to overcome what it said could be “a significant logistics barrier for UK exports”. From 1 July an amendment to the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations will require the named shipper on a bill of lading to provide the VGM [verified gross mass] of a container prior to it being loaded onto a ship. DP World said that after “extensive consultations” with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) it would implement “scalable solutions to weigh containers shortly after arrival in the port and provide the VGM”.



Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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