Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/06/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 03/06/2016

1. US Releasing Cyber Guidelines
The US Coast Guard (USCG) is currently in the process of developing cyber strategy standards for port vulnerability assessments, which will begin to be implemented in summer 2016. Cyber security is a hot topic for the maritime domain where at present there is little to no regulation on how to prevent attacks. Most of the USCG strategy will be voluntary recommendations however when it comes to bulk liquid terminals they will be requirements as these are high risk assets, according to RADM Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy at the USCG, speaking at the International Port Security Conference in London.
2. Intertanko Discusses Vetting
A panel discussion themed ‘managing business relationships’ at this year’s Intertanko Summit in Singapore highlighted the common frustrations that owners and charterers face. Inevitably – with both owners and charterers on the panel – vetting and SIRE inspections were major talking points. One conclusion was that SIRE is a useful tool and one of an armoury of risk assessments that will be employed to assess a vessel’s suitability for hire. However, the more than 200 crew matrix requirements which owners have to comply with is a frustration but owners can better influence how SIRE moves ahead by banding together.
3. Shareholders Back Merger
The shareholders of Middle East container shipping group United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) back the company’s merger talks with German rival Hapag-Lloyd although there has not yet been a vote to approve a deal, UASC said on Thursday. UASC, which is owned by Gulf governments, said the merger talks were discussed at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) for shareholders on Thursday at the company’s office in Dubai.  “Shareholders’ representatives at the EGM were generally supportive of the ongoing discussions with Hapag-Lloyd and recognized the strategic value of a potential combination of both businesses".
4. New Spike In Nigerian Attacks
Piracy incidents off the Nigerian coastline in the first four months of this year are 21% higher than previous peak levels recorded in 2008, Control Risks’ Maritime Risk Analysis division announced today. Piracy and armed robbery at sea from January to April 2016 was one of the biggest threats to maritime operators in the region; the frequency of incidents 119% higher compared with the same period in 2015. Data from Control Risks also identified offshore Bayelsa state as the top location for piracy incidents in Nigeria with 56% of total incidents being recorded here between January and April 2016.
5. UK Tonnage Rises
Vessel tonnage registered in the UK rose by 8% during 2015 to reach 13.7m dwt, but the fleet owned by UK-registered companies shrunk by 18% over the year and totalled 13.5m dwt at the end of last year. The UK-managed fleet fell by 1% to 53.4m dwt and the parent-owned fleet rose by 3% to 31m dwt, according to data from the UK Chamber of Shipping. “The rise of 8% of UK-flagged tonnage, for the first time in four years, is a positive sign of the nascent recovery in confidence in the UK Ship Register, and follows the government’s commitment to undertake significant reform of the Register" said Guy Platten.
6. Tanker and Naval Ship Collide
An Argentine Navy patrol ship has been damaged after dragging anchor and colliding with a tanker in strong winds near the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base in Argentina. Local media reports that the incident occurred Tuesday night when the fisheries patrol ship ARA Esporta, anchored in the outer harbor of the naval base, began dragging anchor in high winds, eventually colliding with the Marshall Islands-flagged MT Saturn anchored nearby. Both vessels were damaged in the collision. Photos show significant damage to the port side of the patrol boat.
7. Furore Over Patrol Vessels
Britain’s shorelines are said to be dangerously exposed to migrants – yet two years ago police sold a patrol boat for less than a quarter of what it would be worth today. Kent Police spent £350,000 on buying and equipping the former Princess Alexandra III in 2006 but amid restructuring  in 2014, they sold it at auction for just £80,000. Today, amid warnings that Britain’s shorelines are vulnerable because a lack of boats to defend them, the current owner is offering to sell the boat back to Kent Police for £250,000. This comes after 18 migrants were saved from a sinking ship off the Kent coast at the weekend.
8. Owner Declared Bankrupt
Klaipeda County Court has declared the PC Lithuanian Shipping Company bankrupt. The process of liquidation has begun, the company said in a notice to creditors. The bankruptcy administrator is convening the meeting of the creditors of the insolvent company on 10 June 2016, the agenda being the sale process of the movable assets of the company, among other things. The creditors are to consider the sale of MV Raguva and MV Venta, along with payment of the maintenance costs of MV Venta.
9. Worst Month Yet In Med
Last week’s migrant death toll in the Mediterranean Sea is believed to be the biggest this year as 1,083 migrants are estimated to have died or gone missing in nine separate accidents, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The largest of nine accidents occurred on May 26, about 35 nautical miles north of Zuwara, Libya, in which around 500 migrants disappeared, including 40 children, IOM reports. Particularly dangerous is the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy. Since the beginning of 2014, the route has seen 27 percent of sea arrivals to Europe but accounts for 85% of deaths.
10. Coming Together of Owners
Tanker owner Euronav NV has established a joint venture with Diamond S Management LLC and Frontline Ltd focusing on chartering of Suezmax vessels. The joint venture will be named Suezmax Chartering and will have a large fleet of 43 Suezmaxes, including newbuildings, operated on the spot market. “A larger fleet will provide more flexibility and more options for cargo owners, reduce voyage related expenses through optimisation of voyages and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a direct consequence of using less fuel for cargo movements,” the companies said in a joint statement.

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