Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/03/2016
1. Maritime Action on Migrants
David Cameron has pressed EU leaders for more international patrol ships to start turning back boats of refugees as soon as they set off on perilous journeys across the Mediterranean from Libya. The prime minister pushed for a tougher deterrent strategy, similar to the controversial Australian approach of turning away boats containing migrants, as he argued it is essential to destroy the people smugglers’ business model. Tens of thousands of refugees are picked up in the Mediterranean by rescue boats every year and taken to European countries, but thousands have died during the passage, particularly from north Africa to Italy.
2. Asian Attacks Rise
The number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the seas of Asia has increased from 187 to 200, or 7 per cent, from 2014 to 2015, according to an annual report by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC). The report also revealed that the number of incidents has been rising since a 2012 low of 133. However, the ReCAAP ISC governing council noted in a meeting held in Singapore from March 15 to 17 that the overall situation in Asia was headed for improvement with the efforts of regional enforcement agencies.
3. Gloomy Outlook Ahead
Moody’s has switched its outlook on the global shipping sector to negative as it expects supply growth to outpace demand growth in 2016 by more than 2%, suppressing freight rates, particularly in the dry bulk and containership segments. The outlook for the tanker segment remains stable as low crude oil prices will continue to boost demand for tankers. “Even though the tanker segment continues to perform strongly, we expect the supply-demand gap for the industry overall to exceed 2% in 2016, and possibly into 2017, as large new vessel deliveries coincide with subdued demand for dry bulk and container ships,” says Moody’s Senior VP.
4. ReCAAP and Singapore Partnership
Marking the 10th Governing Council meeting of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has reaffirmed its support, highlighting the "instrumental role" the organisation has played in addressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. The MPA, host to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), notes that ReCAAP’s membership has risen from 14 contracting parties in 2006 to 20 this year, a development that the MPA says is a testament to the organisation’s persisting relevance and importance in the region’s efforts in anti-piracy.
5. Tackling Wildlife Smuggling
The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (“SSI”) – a pioneering coalition of companies from across the global shipping industry – has today signed a Declaration to tackle global wildlife trafficking routes. The Declaration was unveiled by The Duke of Cambridge, President of United for Wildlife, and is the culmination of 12 months of work to develop a plan, led by the transport sector, to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking routes. The signing of the Declaration is in line with one of the key pillars of the SSI’s Vision for a more sustainable shipping industry, which states that shipping must earn a reputation for being a trusted and responsible partner.
6. Cruise Market Attracts Managers
The growing cruise market, particularly in Asia, points to a good time for companies to tap on its positive prospects. A new joint venture, Hanseatic Cruise Services in Singapore, has been formed by the partnership of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) and Optimum Ship Management. The new Hanseatic Cruise Services will provide “comprehensive, world class passenger vessel management services to third-party clients around the world”, BSM and Optimum Ship Management said. Norbert Aschmann, ceo of BSM, commented: “BSM is delighted to re-enter the passenger vessel management arena in partnership with Optimum.”
7. MOL Makes Big Savings
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has announced that, in cooperation with Tokyo Keiki Inc. (Tokyo Kenichi), a performance test of its Advanced Control for Ecology (ACE) autopilot route control function onboard a vessel in service has demonstrated energy savings of approximately 1.5 percent, compared to a similar vessel with a conventional control system. The demonstration test is said to have utilised data collected from Fleet Monitor, an internet-based ship-to-shore vessel operation monitoring system developed by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., used to integrate information in vessel operation management.
8. Disney Door Despatches Digit
A lawsuit against Disney Cruise Line alleges that a passenger’s thumb was cut off during a Caribbean cruise when a cabin door slammed shut on it. The suit, filed in Orlando federal court, claims that passenger Marco Fidel Castro suffered the amputation of his thumb on or about April 26. Castro, a citizen and resident of Columbia, and his family were allegedly getting ready for the captain’s dinner on the second night of the cruise when the incident happened. “He was near the hallway door with his thumb on the door frame and his wife was holding the door open with her foot,” Castro’s attorney Jordan Wagner said.
9. Greek Owners Buying Spree
Greek shippers accounted for some 30 percent of used vessel acquisitions around the world in terms of capacity last month, according to data compiled by Golden Destiny shipbrokers. Greek shipping firms invested $316.4 million euros in 20 used ships with a total capacity of 2.02 million deadweight tons (dwt) in February. In January, Greek shippers had purchased 12 used ships. There was a total of 111 used ship transactions last month, meaning the Greek purchases accounted for 18 percent of global activity. The combined value of the ships sold around the world in February came to $1.87 billion and their capacity amounted to 6.6 million dwt.
10. Italian Flag in Peril
Italy is seriously risking seeing all its merchant fleet going abroad. The alarm comes from Italian shipowners association Confitarma on news that Trieste-based senator Roberto Cociancich is trying to insert some substantial modifications to the international register and tonnage tax regime through a pair of amendments in the European Law 2015 currently under discussion in the Italian Parliament. These modifications, in case they are approved, will limit the application of fiscal benefits granted from the international register only to the vessels embarking with 100% Italian or EU personnel.
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