Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/06/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/06/2016

1. Piracy Hostage Speculation
Philippine and Malaysian police have yet to confirm speculation running rife in Southeast Asia that another four Malaysian seafarers have been taken hostage by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf. Various reports suggest four crew were abducted off the coast of Sabah this morning. Police forces in both countries have said they are looking into the matter and refuse to confirm the latest capture, the group having been especially active in recent months. A number of Malaysian seafarers have been taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf this year. New Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to make a harsh crackdown on the group.
2. Huge Seafarer Shortfall
Britain faces a "huge shortfall" in the number of young people taking jobs at sea, a new report warns. Seafarers UK said the vast majority of young people never consider a career in the maritime industry. The UK maritime industry directly contributes at least £11 billion a year to the economy, and supports more than 113,000 jobs. Seafarers UK blames a lack of careers advice at school with only 2% saying they were ever given any information about maritime jobs. About 97% of ships’ officers are male, though at Plymouth University about 10% of students on the Navigation and Maritime Science course are female.
3. Rock Crash Finger Pointing
A cruise ship with hundreds of people on board crashed into rocks off the coast of Scotland due to poor practice from the captain and crew, a report has found. The Bahamas-registered "MV Hamburg" hit rocks near Tobermory on the Isle of Mull on May 11 last year, leaving the vessel, carrying 297 passengers and 164 crew, badly damaged and causing a black out. The ship’s captain was last year prosecuted over the incident for the failure of a passage plan and failing to report an accident contrary to the Merchant Shipping Regulations 2012. He pleaded guilty and was fined.
4. Baltic Slips On Demand
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, slipped Thursday as demand for capesize vessels fell. The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was down 6 points, or 0.99 percent, at 598 points.
The capesize index fell 24 points, or 2.4 percent, to 976 points. Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $232 at $6,938. The panamax index was flat at 545 points.
5. Attack off Benin Assessed
According to reports from PVI, a mother vessel flanked by two black skiffs chased an oil tanker 61 nm south of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea at 1640 hrs local time. The tanker was forced to make evasive manoeuvres at high speed and use its water jet to deter the suspicious vessels, causing the assailants to abort the approach after 20 minutes. The intentions of the perpetrators remain unclear, although the report comes amid a series of kidnappings at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. The fact the perpetrators were reluctant to abort the approach, forcing the oil tanker to make evasive manoeuvres, indicates criminal intent.
6. Could You Handle PR Glare
If your ship sinks, can you answer the questions the public wants answered? Are you and your team prepared should the unthinkable happen? Could a perfect media storm happen on your watch? These were the questions posed to an audience of shipowners, brokers and other key members of the shipping community by Lars Rhodin, Managing Director of The Swedish Club at its 144th AGM. The theme of this year’s Club AGM – ‘What can be done when the damage is done? Can you make a bad case better?’ – was aimed at reminding members and guests that loss prevention doesn’t stop when there is an incident.
7. Class Acts On MLC
ABS has been selected by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) as a Recognized Organization (RO) for maritime labor inspection. “We are very pleased to be the first foreign Recognized Organization authorized by MLIT for maritime labor inspection in Japan,” says Akira Akiyama, ABS Vice President of Japan, Pacific Division. “As an RO, we will be able to offer an even wider range of services to our customers here.” The law requires ships of more than 500 gross tons and engaged in international voyages to undergo maritime labor inspection by the State or a Recognized Organization.
8. Ship Scrapping at Record Levels
Ship scrapping appears set to hit record levels this year, according to shipbroker and services firm Clarksons. In its latest review of the demolition market,  it says that after a slowing in the second half of 2015, ship scrapping “returned to a rapid pace” this year. According to Clarksons, 457 vessels, with a combined deadweight of 25.8m tonnes, have been demolished this year as owners looked to “clean out” older tonnage. “The majority of this tonnage (262 ships) has been in the bulker sector, particularly in the larger sizes,” noted Clarksons, “while boxship scrapping has also been considerable".

9. Massive Debt to Unpaid Crew
The owner of two ships held at UK ports owes more than £175,000 to current and former crew, it is claimed. The "Malaviya Seven" was detained at Aberdeen Harbour by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on Wednesday. Officials said the Indian vessel will be held there "until all wages are paid and deficiencies are rectified". The International Transport Federation claims its 15 crewmembers have not been paid in at least two months. It says owner GOL Offshore owes over $250,000 to sailors who have served aboard the Malaviya Seven and its sister vessel the Malaviya 20, which is being held in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
10. Box Ships Repayment Plan
Box Ships has announced it has reached agreements with two banks to delay the repayments of its debts. The company has entered into an indicative term sheet with ABN AMRO Bank where the repayment instalments under the current $100m loan agreement will be deferred to the maturity of the loan in June 2017. ABN AMRO has agreed to waive certain covenants under the facility. Additionally, BoxShips has agreed to terms Credit Suisse for repayment instalments to be deferred up until the maturity of its loan in May 2017 and the covenants under the $31.65m loan agreement shall be waived up until the maturity of the loan.

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


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