Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/03/2016
1. Suez Canal Releases Figures
With tales of its demise in the face of cheap bunkers resonating around the industry, the Suez Canal traffic data reported that 298 ships traverse the Suez Canal with a total cargo load of 18.4m tonnes from 26 February to 3 March 2016. An average of 42.6 ships traversed the canal per day, with an average cargo load of 2.63m tonnes. The average cargo load per ship was 61,700 tonnes during the week. In July 2015, the month prior to the inauguration of the Suez Canal, an average of 47 ships traversed the canal daily, with an average cargo load of 2.758m tonnes per day. So there is a small drop, but is it significant? Time will tell.
2. Farstad Called on Fake Redundancies
A union has accused a North Sea firm of making "fake redundancies" to hire cheaper foreign workers. Representatives from Nautilus International said they were outraged after it emerged shipping company Farstad was releasing 45 UK officers and ratings and replacing them with workers from Asia. Personnel at the Norwegian firm admitted in an email that it intends to replace the crews, which work on ships operating in British waters, with Asian workers to "lower costs". Farstad told union representatives the move would avoid having to withdraw any vessels. Nautilus said the decision by Farstad was "disgusting".
3. Seafarers Killed by Fire
Two Indian sailors were killed and three others injured when an Omani ship Al Sadaa caught fire off the Yemeni shore, India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Monday. The injured people have been admitted to a hospital in Salalah, Oman. The name of the vessel does not appear in the Equasis register of ships. No details of how the fire started have been given. There has been a spate of shipboard fires of late – and it is to be hoped that efforts to avoid and respond to fires may be considered onboard other vessels, and that lessons can be learned.
4. Britain Despatches Migrant Ship
A British ship is being dispatched to join the fight against people smuggling. Thousands of desperate migrants pay smugglers to help them undertake the life-threatening journey across the Aegean sea separating Turkey and Greece every day. More than 116,000 people have arrived across the Aegean already this year, after many fled their homes in war-torn countries such as Syria. Several thousand people have drowned on the journey since the start of the crisis. The deployment of "RFA Mounts Bay" is a bid “to stop the smugglers and send out a clear message to migrants they will be "turned back”.
5. Engine Test Scandal Grows
The growing scandal of false engine testing, which has already snared MAN Diesel & Turbo, has hit shipping’s other largest engine manufacturer. Wärtsilä Corporation announced today that following a global internal audit, deviations in certain fuel consumption measurement tests were detected at Wärtsilä’s delivery centre in Trieste in Italy. The deviations are on average 1% of fuel consumption. Of all Wärtsilä engine deliveries a total of 2% may have been affected. Wärtsilä’s main rival MAN paid a fine over its misleading fuel consumption claims five years ago, in a case that reignited last October with IM Skaugen pursuing the case.
6. Chinese Firms Go for Big Bulk
Chinese state-backed firms have moved to both shore up local yards and further cement their hold on Brazil-China iron ore trades. Three Chinese companies have ordered a total of thirty 400,000 dwt valemaxes for delivery from 2018. The 12m dwt of new tonnage will likely be deployed on Brazil-China trades. China Merchants has given four valemax orders each to Shanghai Waigaoaqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) and Behai Shipbuilding and another pair to CIC Jiangsu, while China Cosco Shipping Corporation has ordered 10 at SWS, and ICBC Leasing has given six contracts to Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and four to Behai.
7. Sails Can Help Older Vessels
Wind power technology can help older, less-efficient ships to operate competitively with newer, more efficient ships; that is just one of the findings in a new study published by the energy institute at the University College London (UCL) and environmental think-tank the Carbon War Room. The study was published in the Journal of Marine Policy and found that, depending on ship design and weather patterns, wind technologies can deliver savings on bunkers between ten and 60 percent. The report says that wind technologies could be especially beneficial for vessels operating in the windy North Pacific, North Sea, and Southern Ocean. http://goo.gl/G8bEFH
8. European Vote on Port Regs
The European Parliament is set to take a decision on the implementation of the European Union’s (EU’s) new port regulations after a decider vote is cast on it. The EU port regulations emphasise common rules and a common authority to monitor and assume authority of the UK’s port industry with a view to consolidate the sector into one unit. The UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) and the British Ports Association (BPA) are rallying their disagreement against the EU’s new Port Services Regulation which was revealed following a survey undertaken by the independent pollster ComRes.
9. Tanker in Malacca Collision
The Aframax crude oil tanker "Mare Tirrenum" has collided with coastal freighter "Ayu Lestari" in Malacca Strait. The both vessels were proceeding on crossing courses in good weather and visibility. It has been claimed the collision was caused by violation of the ColReg. After the accident, the coastal vessel Ayu Lestari capsized and sank. Local authorities, the tanker and local fishermen started immediately search and rescue operation for the missing crew. A search and rescue operation was under way for two crew who could not be immediately found.
10. Special Coins for Seafarers
The London Mint Office has created a set of coins to commemorate Merchant Navy seamen and the Battle of Atlantic. The specially designed set of coins has been donated to HQS Wellington which serves as a floating museum, and to the livery hall of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, where they will be on permanent display. As well as telling the story of the Battle of Atlantic through the words of the Merchant Navy Poem, ‘For All Seafarers’, by John Edward Masefield, each coin is made from silver recovered from the wreck of merchant vessel the "SS Gairsoppa" which was sunk during the battle by a German U-Boat.
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