Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/04/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/04/2016


1. EU Exit Rattling Shipping

If Britain votes to leave the European Union, the country’s shipping sector faces years of disruption as trade agreements get reworked and currency volatility leads to higher costs at a time when the industry is battling its worst global downturn. Shipping contributes some 10 billion pounds ($14.2 billion) annually to the UK economy and directly employs 240,000 people in multiple areas including maritime services such as ports, transportation, as well as ship broking and marine insurance. As worsening market conditions bite with a surplus of ships for hire, alarms are sounding over whether Britain will quit the EU in a June 23 referendum.




2. Terrorists Surface Again

Filipino terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is back in the shipping headlines, kidnapping crew in Southeast Asia. Kevin Doherty from Nexus Consulting provides readers with some background to the organisation. Since the late 1960s there has been an Islamic terrorist movement seeking independence of the Mindanao area of the Philippines. This movement started as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and lead to the creation of a number of splinter organisations. One of these splinter terrorist groups is the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), based in the in the Jolo Islands with a strong maritime presence in the Sulu and Celebes Seas.




3. P&O Oceana Fails on Health

P&O Cruises’ Oceana has failed a US health inspection after officials found dirty cooking utensils, food stored in hazardous conditions, and sick staff working in the kitchen. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading public health body in the US, found 48 violations on board the Southampton-based ship during an unannounced inspection on March 1, prompting them to give a hygiene score of 82 out of 100, four marks below the 86 required to pass. These violations included unwashed dishes and cooking utensils, insects found in food preparation areas, and kitchen staff working while ill.




4. Communications Distract Bridge Team

Recent maritime accidents have occurred because bridge crew were distracted by communications equipment, or were too reliant on navigation technology. It is clear from accident reports that deck officers must ensure they are not distracted, or too dependent on radar, ecdis and AIS information, to prevent groundings and collisions. These were the key messages from the latest UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch report. Over the last six months, it has reported on a number of accidents involving cargo vessels, tankers and passenger ships that have grounded or collided while the officer of the watch was distracted by technology.




5. Tug Company Readies Ransom

The company that owns the tugboat that was hijacked by the Abu Sayyaf terror group in the southern Philippines last month is ready to pay a ransom for the release of the 10 Indonesians who were taken hostage during the incident, a senior ministers said. “I was told about the decision yesterday,” Chief Security Minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan said. Luhut said the government was still adopting a “wait-and-see” approach and that it was monitoring the situation for further progress in the negotiations. “The ship’s owner has communicated directly with the hostage takers. But the government is still waiting for further progress in the situation.”



6. New Car Carrier Concept

Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), an award-winning pioneer in car carrier designs, has unveiled a new hull design for its next generation of car carriers to be built at local yard Minaminippon Shipbuilding for delivery next year. Dubbed FLEXIE, the ship design (pictured) features a rounded bow shape which MOL says will minimise wind resistance and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by about 2% compared to today’s car carriers.




7. MCA Awards Bunker Testing Contract

The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has drawn up a new contract to carry out bunker testing at major ports across Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the purpose of ensuring vessels’ compliance with the 0.10 percent sulfur cap for bunkers used within Europe’s Emissions Control Area (ECA). Under the contract, which runs until 2020, one testing company is said to be providing inspectors to conduct vessel visits, liaising with ship masters, and acquiring spot samples.  The MCA is responsible for implementing and enforcing the UK’s maritime safety and environmental policy, including its duties to comply with MARPOL.




8. Ship Visit Ends in Lawsuit

A ship supplier is suing two Greek shipping companies, alleging negligence caused him injuries. Israel Lopez filed a complaint last month against Navios Tankers Management Inc. and Donoussa Shipping Corp., both of Piraeus, Greece, alleging negligence in failing to exercise proper care when operating a crane causing injuries to others. According to the complaint, Lopez sustained multiple injuries to his body as a result of falling from a flatbed to the dock surface. The plaintiff alleges the defendants’ employees failed to carefully operate the crane and failed to ensure that Lopez was already clear of the area before hoisting an overhead load.




9. Heavy Oil Traffic

A traffic jam of nearly 30 large oil tankers has built up outside the Iraqi port of Basra due to loading delays, with some waiting up to three weeks and costing ship operators around $75,000 a day per vessel. Shippers and port sources said more delays are expected throughout April as the city’s facilities struggle to cope with Iraq’s soaring crude output. The problems at Basra, coupled with continuing storage tank shortages in China, have pushed supertanker rates from the Middle East to Asia to unseasonal highs as the delays disrupt future sailing schedules and charterers cover future tonnage requirements.




10. Panama Papers Making Owners Nervous

In the Panama Papers leak there are many names to come, including perhaps two thirds of the shipowners and two thirds of the charterers, as well as most of the world’s remaining politicians.  These include Greek shipowners worried about a possible communist take-over of their homeland, American shipowners seeking to avoid the crippling costs of Jones Act compliance, Hong Kong shipowners wanting to operate ‘shikumisen’ ships for Japanese principals, mainland Chinese shipowning entities seeking foreign finance for their ships. Owners have poured into the Panama flag and the Liberian flag  and the general public are about to wake up.




Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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