Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/05/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/05/2016

1. Owners Threaten EU
Shipowners might ditch European flags thanks to Brussels insistence on uncompetitive rules, the president of the Union of Greek Shipowners has warned. Theodoros Veniamis, warned that “misguided policies” of the European Commission could cause “a flight, not only of the Greek-owned fleet, but also of the wider European fleet, outside the European Union with relocation to more welcoming international shipping centers”. Greek owners have been in a long running fight with the European Commission over the nation’s tonnage tax regime.
2. Another Korean Giant Struggles
With all attention on how long Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) can stave off bankruptcy, evidence of South Korean compatriot Hanjin Shipping’s equally severe cash crisis has emerged. A prospectus from containership owner Seaspan Corporation yesterday reveals that Hanjin is significantly behind in its charter hire payments. It says: “Hanjin charters three of our 10,000 teu vessels and four of GCI’s [an affiliate] 10,000 teu vessels under 10-year charter contracts with options to extend. Hanjin currently is making monthly payments under its charters with us". But it states they have a total of approximately $11.6m past due.

3. IT Managers of Shipping Speak Out
The Association of Maritime Managers in Information Technology and Communications (AMMITEC) has published cyber security awareness guidance. The Greece-based association created a team of IT and communications professionals to produce the Maritime Cyber Security Awareness document. This provides general information and knowledge on cyber security to shipowners, operators and managers. The online document raises awareness of the safety, security and commercial risks for shipping companies. It highlights the risk of electronic navigation and radar bridge systems to cyber attacks.
4. Nigerian President Calls for Collaboration
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday called for greater international collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and other stakeholders in tackling maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea. He made the call at an International Maritime Conference organised to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy in Lagos. Buhari, said the challenges of maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea had gone beyond what Nigeria alone could deal with. "The situation has gone beyond our capability to handle. It, therefore, calls for greater international collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and other international maritime stakeholders.”
5. Cargo Rates Spike Beckons
Insurance rates for cargo will likely see a short-term spike in the wake of global regulations that require verification of the weight of all containers prior to loading them onto ships. The International Union of Marine Insurance, has expressed concern about the impact of the new regulation, an amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s SOLAS convention. The amendment will take effect July 1. According to the IUMI, possible issues include increases in risk exposure because of supply-chain disruptions, the refusal of unweighed containers, and delays for time-sensitive or perishable cargo.
6. Owners Reward Top Staff
Between them they’ve lost billions, and yet senior management at China’s top two lines have decided to reward themselves with massive pay increases, in the latest embarrassing setback to hit gaff prone Cosco and China Shipping. Cosco Holdings and China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL), two of the listed subsidiaries of China Cosco Shipping Corporation (Coscocs), the new shipping conglomerate made up of Cosco Group and China Shipping Group, have substantially increased the salaries of their management, despite suffering huge losses, financial reports show.
7. Forced Labour in Polish Shipyards
An investigation by Vice has shone light on the employment of North Korean workers in “forced labour” conditions at the Crist and Nauta shipyards in Poland, with their wages funding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) regime. “Laborers are rarely allowed to leave work sites or to come into contact with locals throughout their periods of forced labor. Access to media is denied, communication with family members in North Korea is limited, and ideological indoctrination lessons are more pervasive than those conducted in the DPRK,” the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea said in a report.
8. Communication at Sea Still Needs Action
MLC2006 advises that ship operators should give crews “reasonable access to ship-to-shore telephone communications, and email and Internet facilities, where available, with any charges for the use of these services being reasonable in amount”. But just how closely are operators following these guidelines? 58% of said they had access to crew communications always or most of the time — this is up 2% on 2014’s results. However, 35% only have access sometimes. 7% have never had access while on-board. That equates to 103,000 global seafarers who have no way of contacting loved ones — up 25,000 since 2014.
9. Carnival Fined for Sulphur Offences
The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Carnival PLC $A15,000 ($F23,033) after one of its P&O Cruises ships, the Pacific Jewel, reportedly breached new low sulphur fuel regulations in Sydney Harbour. A fuel sample taken by the ship’s crew and provided to EPA officers while the ship was berthed at the White Bay Cruise Terminal on February 26, 2016 had a sulphur level of 0.293 per cent, nearly three times the 0.1 per cent sulphur limit, EPA said. Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, has disagreed with the NSW EPA’s penalty notice.
10. Time to Develop Data Standards
It would be smart for shipping if data fields and exchanges were standardised. But with the great diversity of the industry and ineptitude of regulators, there is little chance that a worldwide data exchange standard will ever be agreed. There are also too many competitive advantages for IT platform and software suppliers to gain from preventing any agreement to be made. However, this does not stop the solution providers from calling for standards. Software developers, solution providers and platform hosts are all calling for a standardised method of sharing data. That would really make for smarter shipping.

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


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S Jones
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