Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 31/03/2016
1. UN Stokes Argentinian Claims
Argentina’s government is celebrating a decision by a UN commission to expand its maritime territory in the South Atlantic Ocean by 35% to include the disputed Falkland islands and beyond. The Argentine foreign ministry said its waters had increased by 1.7 million square km (0.66 million square miles) and the decision will be key in its dispute with Britain over the islands. Argentina lost a brief, bloody 1982 war with Britain after Argentinian troops seized the South Atlantic archipelago that Latin Americans call the Malvinas. The UN commission on the limits of the continental shelf sided with Argentina, ratifying territory at 200 to 350 miles.
2. Norwegian Cash Battle
Access to capital for cash-hungry Norwegian offshore shipowners is expected to tighten further as lower activity and falling profits continue in 2016, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association said in its yearly outlook report on Tuesday. Since mid-2014, the price of crude has tumbled 66 percent, leading oil firms to cut investments to preserve cash and hence rent fewer drilling rigs, supply vessels, seismic ships and other equipment used in the search for oil and gas. In 2016, only 15% of the firms questioned by the association consider the access to capital as good, compared to 25% of questioned firms last year and 50% in 2014.
3. Encouraging Human Rights at Sea
The maritime human rights charity Human Rights at Sea delivered the first in a series of new publications specifically focused on the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the maritime environment. The document titled: An Introduction & Commentary to the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business Human Rights & their Implementation in the Maritime Environment covers the background to the subject, the emerging need in the maritime environment, examples and case studies, as well as suggested self-help guidance for all maritime business enterprises and their senior management.
4. Happy Birthday Sailors Society
Maritime charity Sailors’ Society celebrated its 198th anniversary recently. The charity works globally to transform the lives of seafarers and their families through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty. Chief executive officer, Stuart Rivers, spoke about the charity’s work in 2015 and plans for future expansion. He said, “Every year is remarkable in some way, but this year has seen Sailors’ Society truly innovate the way in which it transforms the lives of seafarers and their families. Our port chaplains continue to be at the heart of our work, but we have new projects, ranging from apps to rebuilding seafaring communities.
5. Border Agency in Hot Water
A gun-running Filipino sea captain and person of interest in the deaths of two sailors was given a free pass by security agencies to ply Australian waters for eight months, with a Senate committee demanding to know why his presence failed to raise alarms. Officials with the nation’s border protection agency conceded yesterday that they did not believe the situation of the captain, Venancio Salas Jr, and the events aboard the so-called “ship of death” in 2012 warranted the issuing of a formal alert. Government, opposition and Greens senators said they were “gobsmacked” that no formal alert had been issued.
6. Tianjin Losses Stacking Up
Global reinsurance firm Swiss Re said today that its estimate for the insured property losses resulting from the Tianjin, China port explosions last summer could be as high as $3.5 billion, saying that significant uncertainty remains in the estimates, perhaps suggesting it could creep even higher. The Tianjin port blasts were the largest insurance and reinsurance loss related to a man-made disaster in 2015 and the loss estimates keep creeping upwards. Swiss Re had estimated the insurance industry would pay for at least $2 billion of the damages from the Tianjin port blasts back in December, but it has now increased the estimate significantly.
7. QE Passengers in Sickness Outbreak
Passengers of the cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth, that berthed in Hong Kong on Tuesday are recovering from an outbreak of norovirus, health officials said. A total of 150 passengers and crew fell victim to the virus that hit the ship earlier this month and five are still sick on board. Another 27 people are being kept in isolation as a precautionary measure. The victims who fell ill were aged between 17 and 95. According to the HK Department of Health, they are in stable condition and do not require hospital care. Others who fell ill have mostly recovered.
8. Time to Act on Firefighting
Ship owners will need to act now to ensure they comply with new firefighting rules brought into force on January 1, 2016 for all new buildings warns WSS. New amendments to the safety of life at sea convention (SOLAS), which are now in force have laid down extensive ground rules for firefighting on ships designed to carry containers on or above the weather deck and built on or after January 1, 2016. Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s (WSS) Unitor lance and X-flow water monitor have been specifically designed to meet all the requirements of the new SOLAS rules.
9. Baltic States Act on Emissions
Legislation cutting nitrogen oxides (NOx) from shipping in the Baltic and North Seas has moved a step closer with a decision by countries bordering the Baltic Sea to apply for tighter NOx limits in designated so-called ‘emission control areas’ (ECAs), the European association of environmental organizations Transport and Environment comments. The talks are part of the Annual Meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) held between nine Baltic coastal countries and the EU agreed on a Roadmap which includes a commitment to submit to IMO a proposal for a Baltic Sea NOx Emission Control Area (NECA) in parallel with the North Sea.
10. Owner in Dock for Rig Collision
Germany’s Maritime Carrier Shipping GmbH & CO. and US-based Moran Towing Corporation are being taken to court by Spartan Offshore Drilling. The US drilling company has filed a lawsuit with the Texas Southern District Court seeking compensation damages worth USD 7.8 million for an incident that dates back to 2014. Specifically, the cargoship "M/V Grey Fox" hit a moored drilling rig in Lousiana, the Spartan 303, while being maneuvered by Moran’s tugs. The tugs reportedly lost control of the ship which struck the rig, causing it to break free from its moorings and sustaining damages that required the rig to be dry-docked.
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