Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/05/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/05/2016

1. French Strikes Hit Tankers
Nearly two dozen vessels were queued outside the French oil import terminal in Fos, southern France on Thursday, held up by a strike organised by the hardline CGT and FO unions over planned labour reforms. A spokeswoman for the port of Marseille told Reuters that yesterday 29 oil, LNG and chemicals vessels were waiting between the wharf and harbour on Wednesday. This morning, 21 vessels including 12 carrying oil, LNG or chemicals, were waiting. During normal busy operations, about 5 vessels would be waiting, the port authority said. CGT port workers and dockers joined the nationwide rolling strike on Thursday and Friday.
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2. Hanjin Woes Continue
A ship operated by Hanjin Shipping has been impounded by the owner due to unpaid charter fees. Hanjin said the bulk vessel was detained in South Africa and talks with the owner are underway. The vessel is a 82,158 DWT bulker called "Hanjin Paradip", which has been used to transport grain and minerals. But the company’s severe liquidity shortage has prevented it from paying the charter for months. The owner asked a South African court to impound the ship. Until Hanjin pays the back fees, there is little chance of the ship being allowed to sail. Other ship owners may also detain or impound ships operated by Hanjin.
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3. Navigating By Luck Not Skill
A cargo ship made its way down the Queensland coast and through the Great Barrier Reef without its crew knowing how to use the bulk carrier’s electronic navigation equipment. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority detained the Panama-flagged bulk carrier, the "African Alke", in Brisbane on Thursday. An AMSA spokesman said a port state control inspection found the 177-metre ship’s bridge watch-keeping officers were unable to show they could operate the vessel’s Electronic Chart Display and Information System. "The vessel was detained because the SMS had not identified a lack of on board familiarisation training".
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4. New Attacks Stoke Frenzy
A new militant attack on a Chevron oil facility in Nigeria’s Delta region helped stoke a buying frenzy that led to oil prices breaking $50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in seven months before sinking below that level later in the day. Brent climbed to $50.51 then retreated 15 cents at $49.74 per barrel; WTI reached $50.21 then fell eight cents to $49.48. The late-day declines are said to be due to investors worrying about the prospect of high prices encouraging more output and adding to a global glut that is just now showing signs of abating.
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5. Italian Marine Returns Home
The second of two Italian marines implicated in the shooting death of two Indian fishermen in 2012 has been permitted to return to his home country pending resolution of an arbitration case at a U.N. tribunal. The Supreme Court of India ruled Thursday that Secondo Capo Salvatore Girone could leave the country while the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) deliberates on the matter of whether Indian courts have jurisdiction over his case.  The Court required that Girone report to an Italian police station once monthly, and the Italian Ambassador will have to assure his return to India for trial.
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6. Latest Maritime Security Picture
Indonesia has been the focus of a number of lower level maritime security incidents in the past week. These have included assailants attempting to rob a vessel in Batam Anchorage and robber stealing ship property in Samarinda anchorage. In the first attack, six masked robbers in a skiff came alongside a tug boat anchored at Batam Anchorage. The duty crew saw the robbers and raised the alarm and the crew mustered, prompting the assailants to flee. Nothing was reported stolen. While during the robbery, a thief boarded a bulk carrier and stole ship’s properties at approximately, the theft went initially unnoticed.
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7. EU Gets into Guards Fight
The European Union has reiterated its support for the Estonian government’s efforts to find a bilateral solution with India to the issue of the Estonian ship security guards sentenced to five years in jail by an Indian court in January, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in her response to a question from Estonian MEP Urmas Paet, informs LETA/BNS. “The EU follows the situation of Estonian and British nationals, condemned to five years in prison by Tamil Nadu Court in close contact with Estonian and UK authorities, as it concerns the protection of EU citizens,” the high representative said.
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8. Tackling Seafarer Shortages
Given the worrying future figures in the BIMCO/ICS manpower study, attracting new blood into the industry is vital and properly structured training programmes for cadets to advance quickly through the ranks will help make a career at sea an attractive option for young people. “There is no avoiding the fact that the global fleet is increasing and more manpower is needed. However, we are demanding more from current seafarers rather than recruiting even more cadets into the market. And these cadets need training berths on our ships if they are to fulfil their true potential,” said Kuba Szymanski, secretary general of InterManager.
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9. Reports from Intertanko Gathering
Intertanko members held their annual gathering in Singapore this week, and the feedback is one of the owners being ‘Cautiously optimistic’ and wearing ‘slightly less of a smile but still a smile’. The tanker and gas forums at the end of the week updated members on Intertanko’s oil and gas tanker activities. This cautiously optimistic mood about the tanker markets is reflective of the fact of there being next to no period charters fixed for three to five years at the moment. This lack of fixing could rein in owners mulling ordering ships however.
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10. Aggressive Maersk Moves
Maersk Line’s aggressive growth strategy in the first three months of this year was a contributing factor in the 23% drop in average freight rates during the period. Maersk’s decision to pursue market share contributed to the decline in freight rates of early 2016. Brokers added: “In the year’s first quarter, when most competitors were trying to curb capacity growth, Maersk deployed off-schedule extra loaders on both Asia-Europe and transpacific routes.” First-quarter carrier results, Maersk’s volume growth was by far the highest, at 7%, while bottom of the table MOL, recorded a decline in volumes of 8.2% during the period.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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