Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/03/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/03/2016

1. Surge of Iranian Oil
South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil surged 91 percent in February from a year earlier with the United States lifting sanctions on Tehran in January, customs data showed on Tuesday. Seoul brought in 1,064,337 tonnes of Iranian crude oil last month, or 269,020 barrels per day (bpd), almost two times higher than 557,174 tonnes imported a year earlier, the data showed. In the first two months of the year, the world’s fifth largest crude oil importer brought 1,923,560 tonnes, or 486,196 bpd, of crude from the Middle Eastern country, versus 830,800 tonnes in the same period in 2015, according to the data.
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2. Maersk Subsidiaries in Dock
Two Maersk subsidiaries have paid a $3.7 million fine for using false container weight invoices to bill U.S. military cargo, IHS Fairplay reported. U.S. investigators found Damco, a logistics and freight forwarding division of Maersk, falsified 563 weight tickets submitted by Farrell Lines, which operates U.S.-flagged ro-ro carriers through Maersk Line Ltd. The subsidiaries were under contract with the U.S. Transportation Command to move defense and other government cargo in and out of Afghanistan.
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3. When to Shift to Shore
Should seafarers ditch their career at sea early? According to a recent survey it was shown the average age these days that seafarers want to head ashore is just 31. Speaking at a forum event, P B Subbiah, director of HR at Pacific Basin Shipping, believed that crew should come ashore earlier. Kenny Rogers, head of Aurora Tankers, agreed. However, Head of vetting platform RightShip said: “It would be disastrous if we were turning over our seagoing staff at 31. We need to make the conditions onboard better.” While Lars Modin from V. Ships moving ashore too early would create too many “incompetent people” both ashore and at sea.
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4. Investigation into LA Spill
The initial investigation onboard MOL’s "Istra Ace" car carrier revealed faulty piping that may have allowed oil to leak from the starboard side of the ship, the US Coast Guard said in an update. The finding comes after an unknown quantity of oil was reported on Sunday to be coming from the Bahamas-flagged car carrier in the Cerritos channel near berth 212 and across the east basin to berth 192, in the Port of Los Angeles. A Coast Guard helicopter overflight and shoreline clean-up assessments occurred at first light Monday to help determine the extent of the oil spilled, the update said.
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5. Extension on Faro Claims
The owner-operator firms of sunken cargo ship El Faro have asked for a further extension to the legal proceedings with the families of the 33 crew members lost when the vessel went down. Tote Maritime Puerto Rico and Tote Services are asking the Jacksonville, Florida court for an extra 90 days from April to hold mediation talks with victims’ families. The company has already reached settlements with 14 families on wrongful death claims. El Faro went down on October 1 last year when it got caught in Hurricane Joaquin off of the Bahamas. It was en route from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it lost propulsion.
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6. The Talented Mrs Lyerla
A ship captain for Majestic Ventures, Majestic Dinner Cruises and Majestic Yacht Charters cruise lines has been arrested on charges of using a stolen identity for more than 20 years. Cynthia Lyerla, 52, of League City, allegedly used the identity of Christina White to obtain driver’s licenses, passports, mariner licenses and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) documentation allowing her to enter secure port areas. Without a mariner license and TSA documentation, Lyerla would not be allowed to captain the ships for the dinner cruise companies. Lyerla was charged in a four-count indictment and was taken into custody.
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7. Su By Name, Sue by Nature
Nobu Su, the embattled Taiwanese tycoon, is determined to take on some of the biggest names in the corporate world. Fresh from taking former Royal Bank of Scotland employees for fraud, he’s now after miner BHP Billiton, accusing the world’s largest diversified miner of manipulating iron ore prices for capesize vessels from time to time in the years following the financial crisis. The claim, which was filed in Singapore, suggests BHP Billiton’s very strong position on Australia-China trades effectively prevents fair competition from being maintained on this route. Su, argues that BHP allegedly abused its position to reap illegitimate profit. 
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8. Another Bumper Bunker Crop
Singapore has continued its recent run of setting new bunker sales records, with the latest preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) indicating February bunker sales for all products totalled 3,510,000 metric tonnes (mt), the best ever for a February. This beat the previous record for a February – 3,396,000 mt set in 2015. Last month saw 3,273 calls for bunkers, also a record number for a February, up from the previous record of 3,005 calls for bunkers in February 2015. As always, IFO380 was the most popular product for the month with sales of 2,635.100 mt, accounting for 75.1 percent of the February 2015 total.
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9. Ethylene Tanker Erupts in Flames
A 17,000 cu m ethylene carrier under constriction at Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering’s Qidong Fengshun Shipyard caught fire. The local fire department sent more than ten fire trucks and managed to put the fire out in two hours. According to local media, the ship was in the final stage of construction. An official at Sinopacific Offshore said the shipyard is still assessing the damages and declined to offer more information on the ship. Sinopacific Offshore received orders for four 17,000 cu m ethylene carriers from Odfjell Gas in October 2013. Deliveries were scheduled between October 2015 and May 2016.
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10. Indonesia Makes Maritime Monument
The Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries sank "FV Viking", a 1,322-gross ton foreign-flag vessel engaged in illegal fishing. This was the largest illegal fishing boat ever caught in Indonesian waters, but "FV Viking" was also wanted by Interpol and 13 countries including Norway. Indeed the Nigerian-flagged ship had changed its flag twelve times and its name thirteen times. Unlike other illegal fishing boats caught by the ministry and the Indonesian armed forces, the ship will not be demolished nor sunk entirely. Half of it will be kept intact and turned into a memorial. 
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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