Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/02/2016
1. Giant New Name
Shipping has a new acronym. COSCOCS is the abbreviated name for the brand new China Cosco Shipping Corporation – the world’s largest shipping line. Xu Lirong, the chairman of the Cosco/China Shipping said that mergers are vital to withstand the downturn in the industry. “Our two firms had similar operations, we did not have many advantages in the various sectors we operate in and could not count on economies of scale…The merger is crucial to the development of both companies,” he added. The merged company has 830 owned vessels, twice as many as AP Moller Maersk and Mitsui OSK Lines combined.
2. Fear of Maritime Terror Strike
Retired U.S. Admiral James Stavridis has stated the next attack by Islamic State militants may be directed to a navy ship or a cruise ship. The military.com website quotes the distinguished retired naval commander saying: "We have an organization that has demonstrated they are highly innovative and I don’t rule out a Cole-like event," referring to the 2000 event when an al-Qaida group rammed a boat filled with explosives into the U.S. destroyer U.S. S. Cole. The commander said: "I’m surprised [Islamic State militants] have not as yet moved into the maritime world and gone after cruise ships, which I think are a logical and lucrative targets".
3. Cadets to Blame for Piracy
The chairman of the Nigeria Shipowners Association, Captain Niyi Labinjo, told Nigerian media that the piracy situation in the Gulf of Guinea is fueled in part by unemployed maritime cadets who have not gained the onboard practical training required to complete their education. Onboard training is required for the program at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), he said, and that without an opportunity to finish it, cadets were left frustrated and without work. “Cadets of MAN who graduated six to 15 years ago have no jobs. So what do you want to do with the new people you are training? You are going to make them hijackers, sea pirates".
4. Iran Tankers are Covered
As Iran prepared to return to the global crude market, insurance cover for the tankers lifting the oil was seen as an impediment to ramping up exports quickly. Those concerns appear to be easing with the help of a U.S. company. Two oil tankers able to load a million barrels each of crude appeared to load Iranian cargoes this month and head for Constantza in Romania, according to Bloomberg. Joe Hughes, chairman of the New York-based American Club said the two vessels are “entered in the club at present”, meaning they are normally insured by his organization. The ships are among the first to go to Europe since sanctions were eased.
5. Cruise Ship Asylum Centre
A luxury cruise ship which spent decades crossing the sun-drenched waters of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean could be en route for Sweden’s chilly Baltic coast to be converted into an asylum centre. Sweden’s Migration Agency is close to signing a deal with charter company US Shipmanagers to bring the 1,790-passenger Ocean Gala to Sweden, planning to berth it in Harnosand, a small port 270 miles north of Stockholm. “I am extremely pleased. This means that we are prepared, so that we’re not going to end up in a situation where we can’t offer a roof over people’s heads,” said the chief at Sweden’s Migration Agency.
6. 900 Migrants Rescued from Sea
About 900 migrants have been rescued near the Greek island of Lesbos, the EU border agency Frontex has said. They were taken aboard a Bulgarian ship on patrol between Lesbos’s port of Mytilene and the Turkish coast. Frontex said it was picking up all the migrants it encountered at sea because bad weather made the crossing more dangerous during the winter. More than 1m people arrived in the EU in 2015, making it Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Frontex announced Thursday’s rescue in a tweet, posting a photo of some of the migrants who later disembarked from the Bulgarian ship at Mytilene.
7. Off Duty Officer Texted Captain
Before the freighter El Faro sank, the captain was warned by a text message from his vacationing second mate that a storm looming offshore was forecast to become a hurricane, according to testimony Thursday. Second Mate Charles Baird testified before a U.S. Coast Guard panel investigating the ship’s sinking last October. Baird said he was at home when he saw news of the storm on television and texted El Faro Capt. Michael Davidson to make sure he was aware of it. "He came back to me and said yes, and thank you," Baird said. "When I saw it had developed into a Category 1 hurricane, I texted him again.
8. Idled Box Fleet Shrinks
The fleet of idled container ships above 500 TEUs is continuing to decline with 20 vessels finding work in the past two weeks, according to Alphaliner. There were 306 unemployed vessels with a total capacity of 1.19million TEUs, or 6 percent of the global fleet. The idle fleet has been shrinking gradually since late December, as carriers are suspending their void sailing programmes. The rising number of ships being sold for demolition and delays in delivery of several new vessels is also keeping "unemployment" low.
9. Adrift Cruise Ship Case Dismissed
A U.S. District Court Judge has dismissed claims against parties involved in a weather related accident on the Mobile River in 2013, when the "Carnival Triumph" broke free from its moorings at BAE Systems and drifted uncontrolled into a berthed ship owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The accident also killed John Buster Johnson, a BAE Systems employee who was reportedly blown into the river by 40-50 mph straight-line winds and drowned in in the incident. Afterward, Carnival filed suit against BAE Systems and other defendants, claiming “inadequate and defective” mooring systems failed to secure the 893-foot ship. http://goo.gl/irQtfh
10. Crewmember Leaps Overboard
A crew member has reportedly jumped overboard from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship in the early hours of Tuesday morning, February 16. The crew member has been identified as 55-year-old Dominic Santiago Gubertino from the Philippines. The crew member jumped overboard at 6:40 AM and was seen on CCTV footage. The "Norwegian Sun" was just 50 minutes away from an arrival at Puerto Chacabuco, Aysén Province in Chile but ship officers didn’t know the crew member was missing until later. Chilean authorities were notified after the ship had arrived at port. A search was launched but sadly the missing crew member was not found. http://goo.gl/zQ8v44
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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