Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/02/2016
1. Piracy Exercise Gets Real
It was supposed to be a U.S.-led naval training manoeuvre off the coast of West Africa when real-life drama intervened, with pirates taking over an oil tanker and turning the exercise into a rescue mission. Navies from the United States, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria tracked the hijacked tanker through waters off five countries before Nigerian naval forces stormed aboard on Feb. 20 amid a shootout that killed one of the pirates. It was the first big success in international maritime co-operation in the pirate-ridden Gulf of Guinea, the commodore in charge of U.S. operations in Africa and Europe told The Associated Press.
2. Fears of New Migrant Route
The European Union fears Mediterranean migrant smuggling gangs are reviving a route from Egypt, officials told Reuters, putting thousands of people to sea in recents months as they face problems in Libya and Turkey. "It’s an increasing issue," an EU official said of increased activity after a quiet year among smugglers around Alexandria that has raised particular concerns in Europe about Islamist militants from Sinai using the route to reach Greece or Italy. Departures from Egypt were a tiny part of the million people who arrived in Europe by sea last year; more than 80 percent came from Turkey to Greece, and from Libya. http://goo.gl/xE2klT
3. Ghost Ship Demise
The abandoned cruise ship Ocean Dream capsized and sank at Laem Chabang road on about a nautical mile off Laem Chabang breakwater. The cruise ship tilted and rested with portside the bottom, as half of the hull remained above the water. The local authorities are monitoring the ship’s wreck for oil leaks and water pollution, which might result in big environmental and economical disaster. During the accident on board of the vessel there were no people, so no report for injuries. The authorities are investigating the root cause of the accident and will open a lawsuit for the costs of wreck removal to the shipowner.
4. Seafarers Seize Vessel
Qingdao Maritime Court has announced that it will auction general cargo ship Dong Sung on March 18, at the request of crews who have contract disputes with Qingdao Shunhe Ship Management, a subsidiary of Qingdao Zhenghe Shipping. The court ruled to auction two Zhenghe Shipping vessels previously, Zheng He 12 in January and Fu Shan Wan in December, at the request of unpaid crew at the company. Zhenghe Shipping is currently in the middle of a financial crisis. The company’s subsidiary shipyard, Zhenghe Shipbuilding, suspended operations in September 2015 and is currently looking for investors to restructure the yard.
5. Philippine Ferry Trouble
A passenger ferry with 70 people on board including its crew capsized and sank off Quezon province in Southern Luzon due to heavy waves resulting in the death of three women, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).The PCG said the ferry MV Lady Ann sank while on its way from the port of Salome sa Bata port to the town of Alabat, both in Quezon when the tragedy occurred late Friday afternoon. While at sea, heavy waves battered the ferry causing it to capsize and sink off the town of Gumaca, also in Quezon, according to the PCG. PCG sent a boat which rescued the remaining 63 passengers including children, and 2 crew. http://goo.gl/la2QTB
6. Bulker Grounded in Canal
The Capesize bulk carrier New Katerina is still aground in Suez Canal, hampering traffic in both directions. After underwater inspection it was estimated that vessel suffered 12 meter breach during grounding and collision with Canal embankment. The Capesize bulk carrier New Katerina started getting water ingress in fore part and several ballast tanks and compartments are flooded. The ship developed a heavy forward trim, which additionally disturb refloating. The salvage operations are under way, but refloating might cause problem for seaworthiness of the bulk carrier. There were no injured people, but some oil spilled into the canal.
7. Singapore Bids for Baltic
Singapore Exchange Ltd. said it’s seeking to buy Baltic Exchange Ltd., the 272-year-old London-based provider of information on global shipping costs. SGX has made a non-binding bid for the Baltic, Southeast Asia’s biggest bourse operator said in a statement Friday after Reuters reported that talks were taking place. Discussions are preliminary, SGX said. The Baltic Exchange confirmed in an e-mail that it has received multiple approaches and is now in talks with several firms. Reuters earlier said the Baltic Exchange had held talks with London Metal Exchange, CME Group Inc., Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and Platts.
8. Monitoring and Managing
Monitoring operations and managing cost are more important than ever given the extreme financial challenges facing the global shipping industry. Lower revenues, more regulations, tighter operating budgets, and ever increasing requirements from customers have become daily concerns for ship owners and operators. While ensuring reliable operations and containing costs is not a new issue for the shipping industry, the current economic climate makes it essential for survival. Managing fleet performance at this level has historically been a challenge for the shipping industry but two new benchmarking analytics are set to change that. http://goo.gl/XR0yqa
9. Anthem Runs Back to Port
The Anthem of the Seas was bashed about by 30-foot waves during a hurricane-like storm just weeks ago, forcing the luxury cruise to turn back along with 4,500 passengers. But the Royal Caribbean ship has been struck yet again – this time by a storm at the same time as an outbreak of norovirus, which causes extreme vomiting and diarrhoea. Royal Caribbean tweeted the ship will be returning to port: “immediately to avoid a severe storm and provide guests with a comfortable journey back home”. The cruise ship was battered by storms last month along with its 4,500 passengers
10. Vessel Grounds and Smashes Bank
The container carrier Tina grounded at the approach of Kiel Canal near Kiel Holtenau, Germany. The vessel rammed breakwater bank by starboard and stuck hardly. The container ship Tina was unable to refloat by own power and requested assistance from the local authorities. At the scene of the accident were dispatched two tugs, which towed the vessel to safe depth, where the container carrier Tina was anchored for underwater survey and inspection. The authorities estimated the ship suffered no serious hull damages and allowed the vessel to resume the voyage and proceeding through Kiel Canal.
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