Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/03/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/03/2016

1. Tanker Handed Back
Panama-flagged oil tanker "MT Maximus" has been returned to its owners, Super Maritime Nigeria Limited (Super Maritime Nigeria), by the Nigerian Navy after the vessel was hijacked last month in the Gulf of Guinea off Abijan, Ivory Coast with the intention of stealing the 4,700 tonnes of diesel fuel that was on board, local media reports. The alleged pirates are reported to have boarded the vessel on February 11, after which they took the ship’s crew captive and renamed the vessel MT Elvis-5, having intended to sell the ship’s fuel on the black market.
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2. Former Pirate Chief Sentenced
A Belgian court has sentenced a former Somali pirate kingpin to 20 years in prison over the 2009 hijacking of a Belgian ship off the coast of Somali. Mohamed Abdi Hassan, also known as Afwayne, announced his retirement from piracy in January 2013 to advocate against piracy, but his past dealings caught up to him later that year when he was lured into Belgium and arrested by authorities upon his arrival. Hassan was convicted of crimes related to the hijacking of the Belgian ship Pompeii in 2009 and sentenced Monday to 20 years by the Bruges Criminal Court in northwest Belgium. He is expected to appeal the sentence.
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3. Shippers Worry About Weighing
Box shipping e-marketplace INTTRA, which is rolling an electronic system to submit verified weights of containers, says the new regulation is “very challenging”. From 1 July this year the IMO has mandated under an amendment to the SOLAS Convention that shippers provide a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for all ocean containers before they are loaded aboard the vessel for the purposes of the stowage plan. “It is a very challenging regulatory change,” Jim Whalen, president Asia for INTTRA, told a briefing in Singapore on Tuesday. “INTTRA has had a significant role of raising awareness about this regulatory change.”
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4. Buyers Want Sustainable Scrapping
Dr Anil Sharma, president and CEO of GMS, the world’s largest cash buyer of ships, states that demand for responsible ship recycling seems to now exceed supply, particularly in South Asia where most of the world’s ship recycling takes place. As these yards see growth for their services based on good health, safety and environmental practices, other yards compete for poorer quality ships at high prices. This has forced other, non-compliant yards to consider HKC compliance and ISO and OSHSAS certification to boost their businesses. Making good CSR and sustainable ship recycling is a fundamental demand from owners.
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5. Cruise Vision of the Future
AIDA Cruises has received its first new generation ship from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki during a formal ceremony. After the ceremony the "AIDAprima" set sail from the Nagasaki Shipyard heading to Hamburg, Germany. The AIDAprima is the world’s first cruise ship equipped with the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS), Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s proprietary technology that enhances fuel efficiency. The system forms small air bubbles which cover the bottom of the vessel and reduce friction between the hull and seawater when sailing. MALS reduces carbon dioxide and fuel consumption by approximately seven percent.
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6. Chinese Fleet Set to Grow
Many new large tankers, bulk carriers and container ships will be delivered to shipowners in China during 2016. These vessels will greatly augment the fleet of China-owned ships, contributing to further robust growth after last year’s sharply accelerating upwards trend. Accompanying this fleet capacity expansion is organisational reform. Plans to reorganise Chinese state-owned shipowning companies, announced last year, prescribe consolidation into bigger enterprises designed to improve efficiency and profitability. It is a massive upheaval. This article examines recent changes and what these imply for future progress.
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7. New Shipowners Umbrella Organisation
The Nigerian Ship owners Association (NISA) and ship owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) had formed a body known as “Shipowners Forum” under the chairmanship of Mrs Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi. The government had requested shipowners in Nigeria present a common front in their engagement with government.
“The ministerial challenge was followed up with a meeting of shipowners where the resolution to float the Shipowners Forum was reached,’’ the News agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the statement as saying. Two bodies (NISA and SOAN) recently convened a meeting to resolve to come under one united umbrella.
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8. Collision off Istanbul
The general cargo ships Platres and Tahsin collided off Istanbul, Turkey near Bosphorus Strait. The collision happened during maneuvering for berthing by vessel Platres at the outer anchorage in Marmara sea. The both ships collided with slow speed, but suffered sufficient damages of the hulls, breaches and several broken railings. Fortunately the two cargo ships remained afloat and there was no oil spill. The general cargo ship Tahsin suffered more damages and remained at the anchorage after collision, but will be repaired and inspected before return in operations. The local authorities started investigation for the root cause of the accident. 
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9. Crewman Falls into Hold
A man is in a critical condition after falling about 20 metres into the hold of a boat in Westport, New Zealand last night. The man, reported to be in his 40s, fell from a truck into the boat at the wharf while the vessel was alongside. It’s believed he fell on to ice, and suffered head and hip injuries. He was flown to a local Hospital by tRescue Helicopter. Workplace safety authorities are investigating. There has been a spate of incidents of people falling into holds of vessels – and it seems that action is needed to remind people of the trip, slip and fall hazards that ships pose.
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10. China Looks to Own Maritime Courts
China’s Supreme Court is setting up its own international maritime "judicial centre" to handle territorial disputes. The top court gave few details in its announcement, but said the centre would help China become a "maritime power". Beijing is locked in disputes with its neighbours over claims in the resource-rich South China Sea, with tensions raised in recent months over China’s aggressive land reclamation. It has also squared off with Japan over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands. The announcement of the new centre came is allegedly about resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty, maritime rights and other core interests.  
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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