Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/04/2016
1. Greek Flag Being Lowered
Greek shipowners continue to flag the majority of their vessels in Greece and Liberia, but are increasingly favouring the Maltese flag instead of their own, according to figures from the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee (GSCC). Around 20% of Greek-owned vessels, totalling 809 ships (78.9m dwt), are registered in Greece. However, GSCC notes the Greek-flagged fleet has decreased by 30 vessels (1.5m dwt) over the past 12 months – the biggest loss of Greek-owned vessels posted by any registry in the study. Meanwhile, Malta saw a massive increase of 60 Greek-owned vessels (8.4m dwt) being flagged in the country.
2. Idled Fleet Edges Higher
The fleet of idled container ships is edging higher with more than 200 unemployed vessels above 3,000 20-foot-equivalent units, according to Alphaliner. The idled container ship capacity remains at an “alarmingly high” level of 1.48 million TEUs, equivalent to 7.4 percent of the global fleet, as demand shows no sign of picking up, the industry analyst said. Demand for charter ships, which is usually strengthening at this time of the year, has been faltering in the past weeks, “dashing hopes of seeing overcapacity decrease in the foreseeable future.” There were 325 jobless ships above 500 TEUs as of April 4, just three more than two weeks earlier.
3. Kidnaps on the Rise
Despite some piracy progress elsewhere, kidnap of crew for ransom rampant off the Niger Delta. “Wider concerns, from the effects of civil war and concerns over maritime terrorism to the impact of humanitarian crises such as maritime migration, continue to focus the minds of all with duty of care responsibilities for ships, crew and passengers, but these are manageable issues with proper planning and support. “Criminal enterprises are adaptable and flexible…the drop off in cargo theft and increase in kidnap activity in the Gulf of Guinea, could be one such example of this adaptability” says Dryad.
4. Bulker Arrested in Singapore
A 75,700 dwt Panama Bulk Carrier has been arrested in Singapore, according to the latest records from the Supreme Court of Singapore. The 2002-built "Vivian" was arrested on Wednesday April 13, 2106 at 11pm local time following action from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP. The circumstances leading to the arrest are currently unknown, but such action is common in instances of payment dispute. VesselsValue.com indicates the bulk carrier is controlled by China’s Far East Horizon and is worth $4.79 million.
5. Remembering the Titanic
It was on April 14, 1912, that the RMS Titanic, called the unsinkable ship, hit an iceberg and sunk shortly after midnight (April15) into the Atlantic. The tragedy claimed the lives of 1,517 people. The Titanic was nearly 900 feet long, and more than 100 feet in height. It was the world’s largest ship, and also the fastest ship.
On the night of April 14, the ship scraped an iceberg, tearing open six compartments. The ship’s design was only made to withstand four compartments of flooding. The loss changed the shipping industry, and suddenly safety came to the fore – with the birth of SOLAS.
6. Navios Changes Course on Loan
Navios Maritime Holdings and Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation have terminated a controversial loan agreement signed by the two companies in March. No borrowings had been made under the revolver. Under the loan agreement, Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation agreed to provide a revolving loan facility of up to $50m to Navios Maritime Holdings, a move that sparked litigation threats from investors, who felt the move to shore up dry bulk operations by taking $50m from a tanker sister firm would hit the valuation of the latter. Ten days ago a lawsuit was tabled by two investors against the loan move.
7. MOL Launches Safety Scheme
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced the launch of its biannual safety campaign to begin on April 15, targeting all MOL group-operated vessels. MOL views safe operation as a social commitment and gives it the highest priority in all of its business activities, As part of these efforts, President & CEO Ikeda, executives, and other personnel will conduct an extensive series of visits to MOL-operated vessels in Japan and overseas. During the visits, they will meet with seafarers who are responsible for safe operation on the front line and exchange information and opinions about safety-related ways to prevent incidents.
8. K Line Slashes Fleet
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Japan’s third-largest shipping company, plans to halve the fleet of its smaller bulk ships, a person with knowledge of the plan said. Kawasaki Kisen, which owns about 100 Panamax- and handymax-sized ships, plans to make the reduction by returning vessels to shipowners, the person said, declining to be identified as the information hasn’t been made public. The shipping company is willing to pay breakup fees to owners for handing back the vessels early, the person said. Kiyoshi Tokonami, a company spokesman, declined to comment.
9. Owners Want Eco Action
EU Transport and Environment Ministers are meeting in Amsterdam for an informal joint Council meeting. The agenda features a discussion on how Member States could make a positive and constructive contribution to achieve an international framework of CO2 reduction commitments. European shipowners have stated, “The shipping industry endorses the Paris agreement on climate change and we are committed to ambitious CO2 emission reductions across the world merchant fleet. With the shipping industry’s support, Member States of the IMO will be able to develop meaningful CO2 reduction commitment”
10. Tackling Box Weight Issues
John Butler, president and CEO of the World Shipping Council, yesterday spoke before the US House Committee on Transportation outlining the issues arising from the July 1 start of new SOLAS container weighing regulations. There has been some confusion about the nature of the problem that the revised SOLAS regulation is designed to address and the nature of the information that the shipper needs to provide to the carrier. For example, the World Shipping Council has fielded a number of questions that ask whether the shipper may comply by providing certification stating the container has not been loaded beyond the maximum capacity.
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