Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/07/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/07/2016

1. Embarrassing Recycling Proposal
The proposal by the European Commission (EC) to compel ships, regardless of flag, to pay for European Union (EU) ship recycling licenses when calling at EU ports would “embarrass shipowners worldwide”, Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) has criticised. ASA supports the recent comments of the ICS and European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) against any establishment of a ship recycling fund. “ASA will further engage in positive dialogue and cooperation with both organisations,” ASA stated. The EC has proposed the money that visiting ships would have to pay into a proposed EU Fund.
2. P&I Club on Insurance Act
P&I Club members have been reminded of the International Group’s position on the Insurance Act 2015 (‘the Act’). Whilst being drafted, it was recognised the Act might not be required in sophisticated markets with the marine insurance sector named as one such market. Therefore, in the interests of consistency across the International Group, the Rules with effect from 20th February 2016 have been amended to reflect the decision to contract out of certain parts of the Act. This affects the Club’s non-pooled plain language liability insurance policies (i.e. Yacht, Dive Boat, Small Passenger & Fishing), that they will not contract out.

3. Higher Volumes and Rate Rise
Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes could rise next week on higher volumes of iron ore cargoes, ship brokers said. "It’s a bit more positive, optimistic next week," a Singapore-based capesize broker said on Thursday. Australian iron ore miners BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group, which have largely been absent from the chartering market this week, could step up iron ore shipments on higher iron ore prices, brokers said. "It’s only really been Rio Tinto that’s been active for much of this week. BHP has taken the odd ship," the Singapore broker said.
4. Global Trade Reviewed
Gard has been discussing the growth seen in 2015 of total Group entered tonnage. This increased from 1,047 billion GT as at August 2014 to 1,088 billion GT as at August 2015, says annual review of International Group P&I Clubs (IGP&I) published by Gard. The global order book has fallen 12% by vessel numbers and 8% by GT since the beginning of 2016. World fleet growth over the past year has remained broadly static and, according to Clarksons in 2015, it was just under 4%, down from the highs of between 7% and 9% annual growth in the 2000s.  New building deliveries over the past year show a marked reduction.
5. Houston Channel Chemical Spill
A section of the Houston Ship Channel has been closed following the release of approximately 500 gallons of benzene from the tanker "Maritime Jingan" while moored at Vopak Terminal Thursday afternoon. The U.S. Coast Guard said it is responding to the incident along with the Harris County Hazardous Material Response Team. At approximately 12 p.m., Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a call from Vopak Terminal personnel that benzene had been spilled on the Maritime Jingan and that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had also been notified. A small portion of the benzene entered the water.
6. Sugar Terminal Sticky Problem
A fire at the Rumo sugar and grain terminal in Brazil’s Santos port that started early Thursday restricted operations but caused no injuries, according to a spokesman for the company controlled by sugar and ethanol producer Cosan SA. The blaze broke out around 4 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) and the company expects to resume normal operations by midday Thursday, the spokesman said. The fire started at a conveyor belt which connects two of Rumo’s warehouse complexes and was controlled within an hour, after loading and unloading were temporarily suspended.
7. Exhaust Gas Progress
The Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) has welcomed the findings of Netherlands research institute CE Delft into availability of low sulphur marine fuel by 2020. The findings state there will be sufficient refining capacity by 2020 to produce compliant marine fuels as demand from other sectors for distillates has slowed. EGCSA director Donald Gregory said, “the report…shows that availability of marine fuels is not a reason for the IMO to delay introduction of the 2020 global sulphur emissions limit". The independent assessment claims sufficient low sulphur marine fuel available by 2020.
8. Viking Raiders Stopped by Pilots
The world’s largest Viking ship has encountered an unexpected enemy: American bureaucracy. The "Draken Harald Hårfagre", is 115 feet from stem to stern, 26-feet wide, has a 2,798-square foot silk sail, and a Douglas fir mast 79-feet tall travels the world reminding everyone how epic the ancient Vikings were. However, Aase’s ship has hit an unexpected dilemma in America. At first glance, the Tall Ships Duluth festival would be a perfect fit for the Harald Hårfagre. The question comes down to if the Harald Hårfagre is engaged in commerce. The USCG says it is, so will need $400,000 to cover its time in the Great Lakes.
9. Less ECDIS Talk More Action
The shipping world has spent a long time talking about the transition to ECDIS, but digital navigation is now a reality for the majority of the global fleet. With port authorities looking closely at how they enforce compliance with ECDIS regulations, it is vital for ship owners to take the steps required to ensure that their digital navigation systems and procedures remain up to date. Any weaknesses will have an immediate impact in delaying to the voyage and causing a loss of earnings, as well as the negative impact on the reputation of the organisation. They can also risk the safety of the ship and its crew, as well as other vessels.
10. UK Cabinet Reshuffle
Chris Grayling has been named as the UK’s secretary of state for transport as part of new prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet. Grayling replaces Patrick McLoughlin, who has held the role since 2012. The UK Chamber of Shipping has already welcomed Grayling as the new secretary. “We are determined to deliver prosperity to the UK, and we will work closely and innovatively with the new Secretary of State as we identify the opportunities and challenges presented by Brexit,” the Chamber said in a statement. Robert Goodwill remains minister of state at the Department for Transport.

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