Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/07/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/07/2016

1. Greek Owner Suicide
A well-known Greek shipowner is understood to have shot himself dead over the weekend. Kyriakos Mamidakis was found dead at his home near Athens yesterday with a gun by his side, local police said. Mamidakis, 84, had recently sought court protection for his firm Mamidoil-Jetoil which had debts of EUR314m. The fuel supplier had seven ships covering the Greek islands and the Balkans. As well as Jetoil, Mamidakis had other shipping interests as well as investments in hotels, olive oil farms and vineyards. JetOil Bunkering is the largest privately owned supplier of bunker fuel in Greece, deploying its own bunker vessels.
2. Shipbroker Wrestling Tough Times
The world’s largest ship broker admitted its business has been battered by weak global trade – underling the crisis engulfing the shipping industry. In a grim trading update that raises questions over the outlook for the global economy, London-based Clarkson said it expects profits for this year to be ‘materially lower’ than they were last year. The warning took investors by surprise and sent shares tumbling 16 per cent, or 355p to 1850p – wiping more than £100m off the value of the company. Smaller rival Braemar Shipping Services fell more than 4 per cent, or 19p to 410p.
3. Pirates Look to Kidnap
UK P&I Club has stated that while the traditional modus operandi of pirates off the coast of West Africa was that they would target tanker cargoes rather than crews, this has now changed. Improved naval patrolling (by the Nigerian and other littoral navies) may have made cargo theft more difficult and dangerous. Cargo theft, particularly of large amounts of refined oil products, takes time and so criminals have moved to a crime where less time is spent on board vessels and leaves them less exposed to naval patrols, ie the kidnap for ransom of ships’ crews. Oil prices has made oil theft a less lucrative proposition than kidnapping.
4. Cheap as Ships
Borealis Maritime has come in for the 3,400 teu Korean-built "Hammonia Jutlandia" boxship, paying Hamburg’s Hammonia Reederei $5.3m for the 10-year-old vessel. While confirming the deal with Splash, Borealis Maritime ceo Christoph Toepfer commented: “We will continue to evaluate investment opportunities as they come along.” The Borealis Maritime fleet now stands at 33 container vessels, seven bulkers, and 23 tankers – 14 of which are in a 50/50 JV with Nordic Tankers.
5. ICS Looks at Brexit
While much attention already has focused on what the UK maritime industry stands to lose through Brexit, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) director general Peter Hinchliffe turns the telescope around and muses on what international and EU shipping have to lose – or gain – from a change to the status quo.
He has been fairly surprised by the huge ramifications around the world, the instability that one country has been able to cause by a single, albeit momentous decision,” he says. “It has become an international problem and shipowners wherever they are based have to deal with another market instability.
6. Reality of Living in Captivity
Several Indian people working on board commercial ships have been held hostage by pirates. According to the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP), over 5,000 seafarers were affected by piracy the world over in 2014. Piracy off Somalian waters has reduced, but is now taking place with increased frequency in West Africa and South East Asian waters. For those captured, a little bit of hope died every day as the weeks stretched into months and even years. But those who survived the ordeal, have lived to tell tales of torture and pain, which they continue to struggle with long after their return home.

7. Pirates Attack at Anchor
An anchored heavy lift vessel was boarded by six robbers armed with machine guns and knives in the Conakry Anchorage, Guinea, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC). During the attack, which occurred on July 3, the robbers attacked the duty ordinary seaman causing injuries and took the second officer hostage. IMB PRC further said that the robbers opened fire to threaten the crew members and damaged the accommodation. They robbed the crew members of their cash and personal belongings under gun threat before escaping from the vessel.
8. Salvage Moves to Second Phase
The salvage operation on the heavily grounded bulk carrier "MV Benita", which ran into trouble on June 17 when it hit the coast of Mauritius, has entered the second phase and preparations for the refloating of the ship are underway. The Greek company Five Oceans Salvage is exploring the possibility of using explosives on the rocks underneath the vessel as part of the salvage efforts. Furthermore, the operation to remove the 145 tonnes of fuel oil on board “is making good progress,” according to Five Oceans Salvage, with all the oil being moved ashore by helicopter.
9. Vatican Calls for Respect
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People  has called for the respect and protection of the human and labor rights of seafarers. In a message for Sea Sunday, marked on July 10, Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò and Joseph Kalathiparambil, President and Secretary of the Council expressed gratitude for the far-reaching work of seafarers in many different fields and spheres of society. The message also highlights the precious contribution of seafarers in the recent humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean Sea.
10. Contractual Change for Spills
The International Spill Control Organization (ISCO) and BIMCO are working together to develop a standard contract for spill response services. The contract is expected to be published by the end of the year. The Spill Response Services and Equipment Contract is designed for situations where a spill incident occurs and the shipowner or other stakeholder (the “requesting party”) needs to contract for clean-up services, counter pollution measures, and hire of equipment. Terms and conditions are set out in standard clauses with accompanying annexes for parties to insert detailed descriptions.
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