Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/03/2016
1. Flags Set for US Cull
Some very significant ship registries face the embarrassment of being struck off the United States’ approved list of flags. Bahamas, Barbados, China, Croatia, Curacao, Greece, Liberia, The Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain and Sweden are facing the axe from the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG’s) Qualship 21 list, according to preliminary information obtained by the republic of the Marshall Islands. There were 26 eligible flag States in 2015 of which 13 fell off the 2016 Qualship 21 preliminary list. While these results are preliminary, the final results will be presented in the USCG’s 2016 annual report.
2. Another Fine Mess
There are three main factors for the present crisis in some shipping segments according to Premuda’s president, Alcide Ezio Rosina: the emerging role of China in the shipbuilding industry, excess of credit from banks until 2008 and private equity’s liquidity hitting the market in the last few years. “From financial investors too much money flowed into shipping in a moment when profit margins and returns on investment were already low,” says the the head of the Italy-based shipping company, adding: “The huge amount of money available for shipowners obviously played a large part in the present tonnage oversupply situation.”
3. Piracy Risk Remains
Contrary to popular belief the risk of piratical attack has not lessened, rather instability in North Africa and the Middle East could lead to a resurgence according to maritime security company MAST. Citing their latest Risk Map, MAST says instability in Somalia and Yemen are a concern, as they border the Gulf of Aden. Also, the reduction of the High Risk Area (HRA) in the western Indian Ocean, traditionally a piracy hotspot, makes this area a potentially dangerous route for commercial vessels into Europe. Mediterranean trade routes are threatened by Libyan instability as is the Suez Canal by troubles in Egypt.
4. Owners Have Say on UNCLOS
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has represented the interests of shipowners at the opening session of a UN Preparatory Committee starting work on a new legal instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The establishment of the new UN Preparatory Committee, under the auspices of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, follows the decision of the United Nations General Assembly, in 2015, that UNCLOS should be expanded to include a new legally binding instrument on the conservation of marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
5. Fishy Business Response
In response to the ever-growing number of cold stacked platform supply vessels, diversified ship building and ship repair firm Damen has released new suggestions for repurposing PSVs (OSVs) for alternative uses, including “live fish carrying situations.” “Our design teams have come up with workable ideas across several industries. For example, we can convert a laid up PSV into a profitable container feeder or, for naval operations, a Logistics Support Vessel,” said Damen sales manager Remko Hottentot. “The possibilities are numerous. It will also be possible to transform a PSV into an accommodation and O&M vessel."
6. UK Issues New MLC Guidance
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has released a Marine Guidance Note, MGN 474 (M), stating superyacht crew on UK-flagged vessels that do not comply with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) must be provided with a Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA), in place of their crew agreements. Prior to this MGN, SEAs were only requirements for superyacht crew working on MLC-compliant vessels. Of equal if not more importance to management companies is that the MCA will no longer produce the documentation require for these agreements. The highlights the MCA’s desire for raised levels of professionalism.
7. Italian Marines Case for Discussion
The case of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in 2012 will be among the issues addressed at Wednesday’s EU-India summit in Brussels, ANSA sources said Tuesday. The meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker will also discuss the case of six British security guards and 14 Estonian nationals who have been handed jail terms by India for illegal possession of arms on a ship. The case has strained diplomatic relations between Rome and New Delhi.
8. RN Leads Piracy Patrols
Britain is to lead a joint maritime force in the Gulf to deter piracy, tackle terrorism and disrupt smuggling, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has announced. The Ministry of Defense (MOD) in London said that from April, Britain will lead the Combined Task Force (CTF150) which covers about 5.18 square km, including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. The MOD describes the area as a vital artery of world trade. Fallon said: "We are looking forward to leading this important joint force.This underlines our commitment to working with allies to fight Daesh (IS) and tackle terrorism across the region."
9. Abandoned Seafarer Ship Leaves
A ship that had become a permanent fixture at Shoreham Harbour has finally sailed after a five-month stay. The "United Ocean" was detained in November by Port State Control for a number of deformities, which were suitably resolved to allow the ship to be released on March 14. It sailed five days later. Before too long, the terminal that the United Ocean occupied will be home to a new ship, continuing the steady flow of import and export throughout Sussex via Shoreham. Julian Seaman, harbour master and director of marine operations at Shoreham Port, said: “Shoreham Port is pleased that the vessel has been released and has now sailed.”
10. Greek Owners Going Green
Wärtsilä has announced that Greece-based shipping fleet operator TMS Tankers Ltd (TMS Tankers) has placed an order for its bunker saving fixed pitch propellers (FPPs). The FFPs are said to give a 5 percent bunker saving, and will be placed on an order for four Aframax tankers under construction at the Hantong Ship Heavy Industry yard in China. The bunker savings come from company’s EnergoProFin solution, a propeller cap with fins that rotates together with the propeller. "Efficiency and quality are the basic reasons behind the success of Wärtsilä FPPs, especially when supplemented by the EnergoProFin," says the company.
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