Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/04/2016
1. Seafarer Separation Gets Serious
Separation from family and friends might cause seafarers to feel isolated, but this is not the only form of isolation they can encounter. Another comes from the very technology designed to reduce it. Better digital communication technology can compound isolation problems at sea by reducing social interaction on board. Rather than chat, play games or watch videos with other crew members, it is now all too easy for seafarers to retreat to their cabins with their mobile devices. North P&I Club claims executive Robert Robinson talks about the club’s recent concerns on potential downsides of greater connectivity at sea.
2. BIMCO Calls for Bunker Reporting
In advance of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Marine Environment Protection Committee 69th session (MEPC 69), BIMCO has announced that its priority items for the meeting include the approval of a mandatory data collection system for bunkers, and for the concerns related to the implementation of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention to be addressed. BIMCO says that for IMO’s plan to reduce shipping emissions to be effective, the process must begin with a data collection system before a system for determining how much CO2 the shipping industry may emit can be approved.
3. Oil Makes Sharp Drop
Oil markets this morning were down sharply during early Asian trading hours after the continent woke to discover Sunday’s meeting of oil producers in Doha had failed to reach any deal on oil output. Brent was down around 5 percent and slipped under $41 a barrel, and WTI was down around 5.5 percent nearing $38 a barrel, before both benchmarks recovered slightly. Bunker buyers should expect their quotes to head in a similar direction today, but be mindful that markets have shown a willingness to swing on the slightest rumour. Analysts states, "prices could touch $30 a barrel within days."
4. Car Carrier Runs Aground
A South Korean car carrier ran aground in stormy conditions on Sunday off Busan. The south of the country was battered with dire weather and the small 2,736 dwt Ocean Tango ran into trouble around the Yeong-gu area of the city. Bunker fuel has leaked with local reports suggesting fuel tanks have ruptured. The 30-year old ship is owned by local company, Duwon Shipping and was carrying around 100 tons of fuel when the accident happened. Local authorities have attempted to contain the spill although the cleanup has been hampered by the weather conditions.
5. IUMI Speaks on Piracy
IUMI recently published a position paper which looks at one of the world’s oldest and most resilient activities – piracy. History has shown that suppression of piracy is the most that can be expected, so the realistic course of action is to ensure that piracy is kept under pressure and remains manageable. For insurers, piracy is a peril expected to be covered. Insurers would agree with the shipping industry associations that shipping companies should continue to use the guidance contained in BMP4, and be diligent in their voluntary reporting of piracy incidents, sighting of potential pirates, and any suspicious activity.
6. Nigeria War Risk Rise
Due to increased piracy attacks in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Protection and Indemnity insurers, a maritime insurance association, has raised the rate of war-risk insurance for Nigeria. Local media have reported Nigeria’s classification among high-risk countries in doing international maritime business by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. The association had directed that vessels sailing into Nigeria would pay double to engage Filipino seafarers. The Acting President, Nigerian Ship Owners Association, Aminu Umar laments the negative implications of pirate attacks on the maritime sector and the war risk rise.
7. New Piracy Task Force
Worried by the increasing incidences of kidnapping, hijacking, hostage taking and attacks on merchant ships on Nigerian waterways the Nigerian Navy has set up a maritime task team to nip the menace in the bud. The Chief of Naval Transformation, Rear Admiral Henry Babalola, told journalists that since January 14, 2016, there has been an increase of criminal activities on Nigerian waterways. To this end, the Chief of Naval Staff has set up a task team to stop the criminals from having access to legitimate shippers and businesses on Nigerian waterways. The task team, is named Operation "Tsar Teku" will involve four ships.
8. Bulk Market Flatlining
In sobering news for the dry bulk market seabourne iron ore imports are set to be flat in the coming years according to research from NYK. Yasumi Kudo, chairman of the Japanese Shipowners’ Association, speaking at Sea Japan 2016, presented figures that global iron import shipments had peaked in 2015 at just under 1.4bn tonnes. Sea Japan is organised by UBM. The research from NYK, of which Kudo is also chairman, projected that global seabourne iron ore imports would remain almost flat at just under 1.4bn tonnes through 2016 – 2024. “Iron ore isn’t going to grow in the future,” he said.
9. New Methanol Tankers Emerge
The first three of seven MRs designed to operated on Methanol are to be delivered this month. The MRs were ordered by a grouping, which included Waterfront Shipping Company (WFS), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Westfal-Larsen Management (WL), and Marinvest/Skagerack Invest (Marinvest). They are fitted with the first MAN B&W ME-LGI 2-stroke dual fuel engines that can run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil, or gas oil. This technology will significantly reduce emissions while giving shipowners a viable, efficient and convenient fuel alternative, the companies said.
10. Detained Vessel Faces Scrapping
Mexican authorities have moved to confiscate the blacklisted North Korean vessel "Mu Du Bong", which has been detained in the port of Tuxpan since the summer of 2014. The Mexican Ministry of Communications and Ports and the Captain of the Port of Tuxpan said in an official statement Thursday that the government would take possession of the ship as an abandoned vessel, in lieu of dock fees and other expenses related to its maintenance. The vessel’s operator, the sanctioned firm Ocean Maritime Management, had reportedly refused to pay for the cost of the ship’s detention, and had left her unmanned.
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