Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/04/2016
1. Asian Piracy Response Vital
Indonesia’s handling of a recent spate of hijackings of coal-laden tugboats and the kidnap of their crews could determine whether the country’s already serious problem with piracy spirals into a situation akin to that seen off the coast of East Africa in recent years, according to a maritime security expert. The hijack of towing vessel "TB Henry" and capture of its four crewmembers off the southern coast of the Philippines by suspected members of the Islamic extremist network Abu Sayaff was the third such act of piracy in the Sulu Sea in the space of two weeks. The militants are demanding US$1.1 million to free the Indonesians.
2. Multiple Nigerian Attacks
On Friday, the ICC’s IMB Piracy Reporting Center listed multiple attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea, including the kidnapping of two crewmembers. All incidents occurred in the vicinity of the Niger Delta. On April 20, 100 nm off of Brass, Nigeria, pirates boarded an offshore supply vessel and kidnapped two individuals. The remaining crew retreated safely to the ship’s citadel. On April 19, seven armed pirates approached a tanker underway and attempted to board. The Maritime Trade Information Sharing Center – Gulf of Guinea reported a similar, unsuccessful attack on another vessel 30 nm away on the same day.
3. South Korean Giants In the Balance
The fate of South Korea’s two largest container carriers -Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. – that are sailing through rough waters hinges on whether they are able to strike a deal with ship owners to bring down chartering payments that are known to be five times higher than the current market rate. Unless the two debt-ridden shipping companies reduce their spending on chartering fees, it would be difficult for the debt-ridden companies to put business back in order. A majority of the vessels operated by Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine have been chartered for long-term since mid-to-late 2000.
4. London Boasts of Billions
Maritime London has welcomed the findings of research which show that the UK is the world’s leading maritime business services hub. According to the report, UK based companies offering marine insurance, shipbroking, legal services and education contribute £4.4bn to the economy and employ over 10,000 people. An estimated 80-85% of its business comes from outside the UK. The UK’s Global Maritime Professional Services: Contribution and Trends report, finds the UK has a 35% share of global marine insurance premiums; 26% of global shipbroking revenue and that 25% of the world’s maritime legal partners are based in the UK.
5. Fire Ravages Bulker
Seven fire brigade branches were called into action on Friday after a ship caught fire at the Gryfia Marine Ship Repair Yard in Szczecin, north western Poland. The fire aboard the "Green Klipper" at the Gryfia Marine Ship Repair Yard in Szczecin. Firefighters wearing oxygen masks took several hours to bring the situation under control on the Green Klipper. Visibility was poor for those battling the flames. At present it is not clear what caused the fire to break out, although it has been confirmed that no one was injured. The vessel was due to leave the yard following repairs.
6. Mapping Maritime Pollution
Researchers at UCL Energy Institute have used industry data to estimate emissions from five different ship types and display this in a new interactive map that plots 250 million data points to show the movements of the world’s commercial shipping fleet over the course of the year 2012. The interactive shipping map has been developed by UCL EI and London-based data visualisation and digital journalism studio Kiln, and was funded by the European Climate Foundation. It is based on hundreds of millions of individually recorded ship positions; plotting all of these at once shows the extraordinary extent of modern shipping’s reach.
7. Somali Raid Hints At Problems
A daring but ultimately unsuccessful raid by al-Shabab fighters off the coast of Somalia last month has led authorities to change the way they respond to such threats. The militants of al-Shabab, a group trying to unseat the internationally supported government, hijacked fishing boats near the piracy hub of Harardhere and used them to ferry hundreds of fighters in an attack on March 14 that targeted the relatively stable region of Puntland in northeast Somalia. The fighters made a surprise, coordinated landing in two areas along the coast. "No one suspected they were going to use stolen boats,” admitted the Puntland Maritime Police Forces.
8. App for Indian Seafarers
A smartphone app to redress the woes of the Indian seafarers was launched jointly by Goan seafarers association of India (GSAI) and Bharatiya navik sena union (BNSU). GSAI president, Dixon Vaz said, "The App will resolve various difficulties that seafarers face and provide them vital assistance round the clock." Elaborating on issues faced by seafarers, Vaz said, "Across the world, a seafarers’ house is available at every port of call, which has internet and communication facilities. But not in Goa. Now with support from BNSU, we are requesting expertise of retired seamen to manage such a home.
9. Dryad Wins Queens Award
Dryad Maritime has been rewarded for its outstanding achievement in contributing to UK business innovation with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The award is the highest business accolade a UK company can receive and is recognised globally. Dryad Maritime received the award in recognition for their outstanding achievement in the innovation category for their work developing intelligence-led systems that improve the safety of seafarers. Innovations include a bespoke geo-spatial tracking system named ‘Moneypenny’, which monitors the positions of client vessels, pirates and friendly forces as well as risk exclusion zones.
10. Baltic Gets Buoyant
Shipping companies are seeing better earnings prospects with transportation of steel and grains picking up, leading to buoyancy in the benchmark Baltic Dry Index (BDI). The BDI, bellwether of the global dry bulk market, has posted a substantial increase of 276 points since March 18. On Wednesday, the index closed at 671 points. For Indian shipping companies, it means better demand and good earnings. In all, 60 bulk vessels owned by Indian companies will see brisk business in the coming days. Anil Sharma, CEO, Essar Shipping, said the BDI is expected to rally till May-end with the start of the grain season in South America.
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