Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/04/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 13/04/2016


1. Liberia Waving its Flag

While Panama is in a flap over its papers, Liberia has been proudly stressing the relationship it has with Greek shipowners which dates back almost seventy years. Today, it is stronger than ever. According to the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee (GSCC), Liberia has cemented its position as the undisputed leading open registry of choice for Greek shipowners. In the year to end-March 2016, the gross tonnage of Greek-controlled ships in the Liberian Registry increased by 995,781 gt. Liberia, with 744 vessels aggregating 54.74m dwt. Second only to Greece itself in terms of the number of Greek-owned ships flying its flag.



2. Nigeria Claims Success

The Nigerian Navy says it has averted an attempt to hijack a Bahamas ship, MT Nordic Freedom, around Agbami Oil field off Brass, Rivers State. Navy spokesman, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, said yesterday that the Nigerian Navy Ship Okpabana successfully foiled the hijack after the crew alerted the naval ship which was on routine patrol of the area. Ezekobe said a patrol team carried out raids at Ugborodo Itsekiri area in Warri, Delta State, where an illegal refinery with large storage pits containing substance suspected to be crude oil was discovered.  They also found a large Benin Republic boat laden with 37 drums of diesel.




3. Guidance on Ship Recycling

The European Commission has published technical guidance for ship recycling facilities seeking approval under EU Ship Recycling Regulation. The document provides clarifications in accordance with the relevant Hong Kong Convention provisions and taking into account the relevant guidelines of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Standards (ILO) and of the Basel Convention. Under the regulation, ship recycling facilities that intend to be listed as EU-approved will need to ensure safe working conditions, pollution control including proper downstream waste management and enforcement of labour rights.


4. GoG Piracy Surge

The rates of maritime kidnaping, ransom and sabotage surged in the Gulf of Guinea in the first quarter of this year, according to new figures released by a maritime security company. The Gulf of Guinea continues to blight an otherwise cautiously optimistic analysis. From January to March, the region saw a surge of industrial sabotage ashore, and offshore, the activity of Pirate Action Groups (PAGs) operating with impunity in the face of overstretched Nigerian naval patrols has surged.  “14 commercial vessels were attacked off Rivers and Bayelsa States, with eight raids classified as ‘unsuccessful’ due to evasive manoeuvring or the crew’s evasion.




5. Alarms Need to be On

The importance of keeping a bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS) switched on was highlighted in the recent Safety Digest from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). In the report, there is a case where a coastal general cargo vessel ran aground partially because the officer of the watch fell asleep at his post and the BNWAS was turned off, against industry regulations. It struck a rocky island at 9 knots when the chief officer fell asleep on watch because of fatigue and the lack of any lookout. Another point highlighted by MAIB following the investigation was the small number of crew on board.



6. Mandatory Information Exchange

Mandatory requirements for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers have been adopted by the IMO, as part of a revised and modernized annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), which aims to harmonize procedures for ship’s arrival, stay and departure from port. The new standard relating to the obligation of public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information, within a period of three years after the adoption of the amendments, is among important changes in the revised Annex, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2018.



7. Remote Vision a Reality

Rolls-Royce’s Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) project has unveiled its vision for how remote and autonomous drone ships will become a reality. The project’s first year findings were presented at a conference at Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall last week. “Autonomous shipping is the future of the maritime industry. As disruptive as the smart phone, the smart ship will revolutionize the landscape of ship design and operations,” commented Mikael Makinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine, speaking at the conference.



8. Owners Welcome Migration Report

European shipowners welcome the own-initiative report of the European Parliament to be adopted this week on migration. The report outlines in detail how the EU should respond to the current migration challenge. Covering topics from human trafficking to asylum and EU external borders management, it also discusses the “search and rescue” operations at sea. “The seafarers have always played their part in coming to rescue of those in distress at sea. In the past year, even more so as the merchant ships have conducted large scale rescue operations in saving the lives of thousands of migrants and refugees”, said ECSA.




9. Norway to Slash Tax

Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen has said Norway’s corporate tax is too high and should be reduced as part of a wider package of measures designed to boost economic growth. Jensen told the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association annual conference that private ownership is "essential to a versatile Norwegian business environment. It is therefore important to both lower the corporate tax and reduce the wealth tax – especially for business owners…" In December, the Government issued a decree that lowered the corporate income tax rate by two percent to 25 percent. However, Jensen said corporate taxes are lower in competing states.




10. Eagle Takes a Dive

Supramax player Eagle Bulk Shipping, which trades in New York under the stock name EGLE, saw its share price nosedive 25.1% today, largely on the back of a very negative report on the Seeking Alpha site penned by J Mintzmyer, which talked about how Eagle Shipping’s “90% dilution will drive over 80% downside”.

Mintzmyer wrote that the recent gains for Eagle Shipping, which narrowly avoided bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago, are thanks to “misguided retail buying, spurred on by Internet pumps and day traders.” Mintzmyer’s ‘pump’ assertions were also voiced by a number of Twitter users.




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


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S Jones
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