Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/03/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/03/2016


1. P&I Clubs React to Reinsure

The International Group of P&I Clubs has announced that it has reached a compromise with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control for the provision of reinsurance for shipowners for liabilities involving Iranian interests, and has gained approval for an interim "fall-back" reinsurance coverage program for its members.  Reinsurance for Iranian seaborne trade has been a persistent issue for the sale of the nation’s oil on the world market. Since the United States and Europe lifted nuclear sanctions on Tehran earlier this year, trade volumes have increased – but oil has lagged behind.



2. Sad Lloyd’s List Loss

It is with great sadness that Lloyd’s List has announced the death of former editor and Asia editor-in-chief Tom Leander, who died at the weekend. He was 61. Leander joined Lloyd’s List from the Economist Group in 2009, initially working in the London office before returning to his adopted home of Hong Kong to lead the development of Lloyd’s List’s Asia coverage. A larger-than-life character in all senses, Leander was the driving force behind much of Lloyd’s List’s content for almost a decade. An accomplished journalist, Leander was regarded as a writer’s writer, one of the highest accolades in the craft.



3. Riven with Conflicts and Tension

Conflicts and tensions in the Middle East, Far East and North and sub-Saharan Africa pose a real threat to the maritime environment and some of the world’s most important shipping lanes, maritime security company MAST has warned. Concern over the decision to reduce the High Risk Area (HRA) in the western Indian Ocean, conflicts in Yemen and Libya and tensions around the Spratly Islands should be viewed as serious threats to the shipping industry and global trade, MAST believe. Despite the reduction of the HRA in the western Indian Ocean, the retained capability of Somali coastal communities to launch pirate attacks, is a concern.



4. Support for Shot Seafarer

The Mission to Seafarers Manila has extended support to a Filipino seafarer after he was shot during a pirate attack onboard an oil tanker. Second mate Edwin Acasio and the crew of Leon Diaz were transiting the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria when they were boarded and held hostage by pirates.

Acasio was shot and seriously injured during the attack, and sent to intensive care treatment at a hospital in Benin. The Mission to Seafarers, working in partnership with the Philippine Independent Church (IFI), provided help and advice to the crew members and their families.




5. Salvors Look at Grounded Bulker

A salvage expert will examine a damaged ship that ran aground early Monday in Columbia River near Cathlamet before the US Coast Guard decides what to do next. The 623-foot bulk carrier "Sparna" went aground at 12:16 a.m. Monday, in a narrow part of the Columbia at the mouth of the Elochoman River. The ship reportedly hit a submerged object and took on water, said Petty Officer First Class Levi Read, a Coast Guard spokesman. Read said he didn’t know what the ship hit but by Monday afternoon, the ship, which had been listing to port, had been refloated. The vessel’s fuel tanks were not damaged.



6. IRISL Creates Companies

Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) has managed to create two companies in Europe in joint collaboration with foreign companies, says Mohammad Saeidi  IRISL managing director. He didn’t provide the details of establishment of the two Iran-Europe shipping companies, but said that the companies have already started cooperation schemes with their European partners. Saeidi emphasized that the same cooperation schemes are expected to facilitate the shipping services between Iran and Europe.   He also said that Iran plans to establish several new shipping lines within the next six months.




7. Await Pilot with Confidence

If your ship is arriving at a strange port, how should the master consider the forthcoming relationship with the pilot? It is an important question, in that the ship will be at its most vulnerable, no matter what port she is approaching. Every experienced shipmaster has heard cautionary tales about pilots that frightened their customers half to death with their over-exuberant ship-handling and just as there are more, or less competent, masters, so it might be suggested that there is the same sort of graduation in the world of pilotage. Slowly a recognised, universal standard is being rolled out.




8. Nicaragua Canal Taking Shape

The construction on the fuel terminal and a ship wharf within the USD 50-billion Nicaragua canal project is set to start in August, Bloomberg reports citing the project contractor HKND Group. According to HKND Group Vice President KW Pang, the construction is part of building a port facility for importing machinery needed for “major works” such as dredging and financing would come from debt and equity sales and a potential IPO, Bloomberg writes. As disclosed, the financing is not dependent on the economic situation in China and would see financial backing from numerous international investors. The canal should be operational by 2020.




9. Magic Pipe Case Overturned

On March 14, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction against Matthaios Fafalios, the chief engineer of the "Trident Navigator", who was wrongfully charged and convicted in December 2014 of “failing to maintain an oil record book aboard a foreign-flagged merchant sea vessel.” At the close of the government’s evidence, Fafalios, a Greek seafarer, moved for judgment of acquittal as the government failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the “master or other person in charge” of the vessel and therefore he was not legally required under the Coast Guard’s regulations to maintain the oil record book.




10. Dry Bulk Set to Sink

The asset values of dry bulk vessels could potentially sink further amid the battered market, which continues to be badly in need of more scrapping activities to clear the severe oversupply of vessel tonnage. The recent financial results season has seen several companies apply huge impairment charges on vessel assets as they try to “reset their cost level to a lower base”. Data reveals that 15-year-old capesizes are valued at just $7m as at 11 March 2016, slipping further from $11m in 2015 and $21m in 2014. A five-year-old capesize is seen valued at $24m in present times, compared to $33m in 2015 and $47m in 2014.



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