Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/05/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/05/2016

1. Urgent New Piracy Action

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will meet on Thursday to discuss joint maritime security patrols in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas after a spate of kidnappings. Joint patrols could involve ships from the three navies patrolling together and crossing into each other’s territorial waters. The Indonesian National Shipowners Association has recommended that crews should maintain a double watch (bow and stern) when travelling through high risk areas, reports Channel News Asia. “Secondly, they must move in a convoy, don’t travel alone." Many vessels are also now employing armed security guards.



2. Nigerian Pirates on Rise

Throughout 2015, 54 pirate attacks were reported in the Gulf of Guinea, which was actually a slight decrease on the 67 recorded in 2014, according to an annual report by maritime security monitoring group Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) released on Tuesday. But the attacks had deadly results—23 people were killed by pirates in the region in 2015. In comparison, records of attacks in the Western Indian Ocean region—which covers activity by Somali pirates—show only 16 attacks and no deaths in 2015. As well as the human cost, piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea cost governments and industries an estimated $720 million.



3. Big Blue in the Black

A.P. Moller-Maersk returned to profit at its main container shipping business in the first quarter, putting the cash rich company in a strong position as the struggling industry consolidates. The group’s shares were up by 5.6 percent on Wednesday after Maersk Line confounded expectations of a loss as the container shipping business grapples with a downturn brought on by overcapacity. Rates for shipping containers transporting anything from flat-screen TVs to sportswear have been at a loss-making level for more than a year, denting profits and opening the highly fragmented sector to consolidation in an effort to cut costs and build scale.


4. Owners Wrestle with Salvage

At the Comité Maritime International (CMI) Conference, in New York, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will be pressing to ensure that the proposed revision of the York Antwerp Rules of General Average delivers a clear improvement on the present system and does not touch on fundamental principles. ICS Legal Director, Kiran Khosla explained: “We want to avoid a repeat of the situation when the rules on General Average were last revised twelve years ago by CMI but without the support of ICS, with the result that most contracts of carriage still incorporate the 1994 version because the 2004 revision is considered unsatisfactory.”



5. Technology Increases Problems

Ecdis may reduce the number of ship groundings if used correctly, but can increase the risk of ship collisions. Ecdis is seen as an aid to navigation for the increasing number of vessels that are using these systems and electronic navigational charts (ENCs). But it can also be seen as a liability on the bridge – if navigators are not operating these systems properly and not keeping good situational awareness. There are examples of ecdis-assisted groundings, where accident investigators have concluded that officers were not using these devices correctly. Human error is the main reason cited by investigators for ship accidents.


6. Hanjin Rejigging Charters

The chief executive of Hanjin Shipping, Tai Soo Suk, has written to owners of the ships it has on charter – and apparently to container terminal operators – pleading for help with rates. A letter to a shipowner from the cash-strapped South Korean carrier was seen yesterday by a shipbroker source. It says: “Upon careful analysis of the business outlook and financial projections with the assistance of outside experts, our management has come to the conclusion that our own efforts alone may fall short of fully resolving the liquidity issues that we are facing.” The move emulates its compatriot, Hyundai Merchant Marine.



7. Mystery Tanker on Beach

Social media in West Africa is trying to piece together what happened to the product tanker "Tamaya 1", which drifted ashore today near Robertsport on the northern Liberian coast. Nobody was onboard when the ship hit sandy beach this morning. The vessel’s last AIS signal was from 12 days ago, near Dakar.

With piracy in the region high at the moment, speculation is mounting that the crew of the 1,441-dwt  vessel have been taken hostage. The 1980-built ship is managed by Sodatra out of Dakar. Its classification has been withdrawn as it was overdue for a survey, leading speculatation the ship had simply been abandoned.



8. Al Qaeda Threatening Shipping

Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch remains a powerful force and poses a growing risk to merchant ships in vital waterways nearby despite efforts by Yemeni government forces and their allies to push back the group, a top officer in an international naval force said. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed on Saturday it had withdrawn from the southern Yemeni port of Mukalla – a week after Yemeni government and Emirati soldiers seized the city that was used by the Islamist militants to amass a fortune. ”AQAP has taken advantage of that chaos and moved into the void. In doing so they have gotten stronger,” said naval forces.



9. London Investing in Shipping

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has invested £250,000 upgrading its ship’s bridge simulator, adding a full tug bridge simulator in a move that is set to enable a boost in port trade and helps terminals verify their expansion plans. The Thames is the UK’s busiest waterway, handling over 45 million tonnes of cargo a year. For over a decade the bridge simulator has been an essential tool for training the PLA pilots who guide ships to and from their berths on the Thames. The PLA recently announced plans to recruit twelve new pilots this year to help facilitate increased traffic on the Thames and the simulators will play an integral role.



10. Sell and Lease Back

Ningbo Marine has announced that it has reached a sale and leaseback agreement with Zhejiang Energy Financial Leasing Company to secure RMB100m ($15.4m) financing. Under the agreement, Ningbo Marine will sell its 47,593dwt bulk carrier Ming Zhou 55 to Zhejiang Energy Financial Leasing and lease it back for a period of 36 months. Ningbo Marine said the company is facing financial pressures amid a slump in the bulk shipping market, and the sale and leaseback deal has lowered the company’s financing cost and risk.



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


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S Jones
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