Top Ten Maritime News Stories 26/05/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 26/05/2016

1. Panama Set to Boom
A century after transforming global markets, the Panama Canal is about to redraw world trade once again. Nine years of construction work, at a cost of more than $5 billion, have equipped the canal with a third set of locks and deeper navigation channels, crucial improvements that will double the isthmus’s capacity for carrying cargo between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. When the new locks slide open to receive traffic for the first time in late June, the reverberations will be felt from Asian gas terminals to Great Plains farms and ports from Miami to Long Beach to Santiago.
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2. Big Buy Out Cleared
CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container shipping firm, is to go ahead with its planned acquisition of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) after receiving regulatory clearance from China, the French group said. CMA CGM received on Wednesday confirmation of the deal’s approval by the anti-monopoly Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), it said in a statement. “With regulatory approvals now received from MOFCOM and the European Commission on its proposed voluntary general cash offer for NOL as announced on 7 December 2015 (Offer), CMA CGM expects to announce the Offer by June 2, 2016.
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3. Creditors Agree Deal
Creditors of struggling South Korean shipper Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd have agreed to a 680 billion won ($570.27 million) debt-for-equity swap, lead creditor bank Korea Development Bank said. Container lines, which transport everything from bananas to iPhones, are struggling with the confluence of a glut of ships, a faltering global economy and weaker consumer demand. Hyundai Merchant Marine had debts of about 5.2 trillion Korean won as of the quarter ending in March, according to a company filing. Squeezed by what is widely considered the worst downturn ever for the industry.
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4. NORTH Looks to Greece
North P&I Club confirmed in Athens last week that Greek shipowners are of ‘paramount importance’ to the continuing financial strength of the 131 million GT, ‘A’ rated mutual. Speaking at a pre-Posidonia reception for Greek members after the directors’ board and committee meetings, joint managing director Paul Jennings announced that Dimitris Marinos of Seastar had been appointed to the board. He joins fellow Hellenic directors George Procopiou of Dynacom, Lou Kollakis of Chartworld and Spyros Polemis of Seacrest and Fairsea.
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5. Italy Recovers Migrant Bodies
The Italian navy says it has recovered seven bodies from an overturned migrant ship off the coast of Libya. A further 500 migrants who were on board were rescued safely. A statement from the Italian navy Wednesday said the Bettica patrol ship was responding to a migrant ship in distress when the vessel flipped, sending migrants into the sea. Crews tossed life jackets to the people in the sea. The rescue operation was continuing.
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6. Diabetes the Seafaring Timebomb
Dr Marcus Brauer, a General Practitioner from one of UK P&I Club’s PEME approved clinics in South Africa, provides valuable medical insight into one of the industry’s most concerning medical issues. “Diabetes affects 382 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 592 million by 2035. The early detection and effective early management of diabetes is one of the most satisfying parts of our work as PEME doctors, as we are able to not only preserve and maintain the health of the seafarer, but we are also able to assist them in understanding and managing their condition.
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7. IMO Key Safety Changes
The IMO Maritime Safety Committee held its 96th session between May 11 and May 20 and adopted a number of key regulatory changes including regulations designed to improve the safety of rescue craft. MSC adopted amendments to SOLAS regulations III/3 and III/20 to make mandatory the new requirements for the maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear. The package of provisions, with an expected entry into force date of January 1, 2020, aims to prevent accidents with survival craft and addresses longstanding issues.
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8. Owner Blast Sulphur Rules
Shipowners and bunker suppliers have voiced concern at the vast scale of extra costs involved in complying with upcoming more stringent sulfur regulations, and called for more clarity on what the impact would be on prices of imported consumer goods. “While the total costs of 2015 [ECA zone] requirements were around $500 million, the 2020 requirements could add an annual total cost in the order of $5 billion to $30 billion for the container shipping industry,” Senior Business Development Manager at Maersk Oil Trading Dea Forchhammer said, citing OECD figures released last week.
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9. New Era of Giant Bulkers
Another phase of the giant ships era is approaching. Chinese shipowners placed orders recently for 30 huge ‘valemax’ ore carriers. These vessels, with a 400,000 deadweight tonnes capacity, are the largest carrying dry bulk commodities. When the ships are delivered in 2018 and 2019, a smooth introduction into the China iron ore imports trade is likely, contrasting with the experience of their predecessors. The new tonnage will join an existing fleet of 34 similar valemax VLOCs (very large ore carriers) built in the past few years, operated by shipowners in several countries. Originally the class was named ‘chinamax’.
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10. Tanker Owners on FlipSide
Tanker owners hauling the world’s crude were among the few big winners from an oil-price crash that started in mid-2014. Now for the flip side. The slump was caused by most enduring oil glut in a generation, flooding shipping companies with more cargoes than they could handle and driving down fuel costs that are the industry’s biggest expense. Rates got so high that owners embarked on the biggest fleet expansion spree in half a decade. Now, just as that wave of new orders swells the fleet, the glut of crude that lifted rates in the first place is starting to dissipate.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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