Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/08/2016

1. French Ferry Bomb Scare
A ferry was evacuated at the port of Joliette in Marseille, France, on Sunday after an alleged bomb scare. 77 passengers and crew were evacuated from the ferry Jean Nicoli after hearing what sounded like an explosion onboard. A senior police officer told local media: “The boat does not leak, so we do not understand what happened. It is not known if the explosion was held on the ship.” Latest reports, however, indicated that the cause might have been caused by World War Two ammunition on the seabed. The incident comes a day after local media reported that armed troops are being stationed at Calais due to ISIS threats.
2. West Africa Kidnaps Rise
In contrast to the substantial numbers of reported incidents across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean in recent years, maritime crime now appears to have stabilised in these regions according to the latest statistics released by Dryad Maritime. However, maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and Sulu Sea continues to give cause for concern with kidnap for ransom the main threat. The Gulf of Guinea is now widely regarded as the most dangerous region in the world for seafarers and was designated a "Pirate Danger Area" by Dryad Maritime in April 2016. Since then the area has seen a continuation of high levels of piracy.
3. Hanjin Fighting on Financial Front
Ailing Hanjin Shipping has come under growing pressure from its creditors to secure more money from its parent Hanjin Group to handle a rising cash shortage. Hanjin Group and Chairman Cho Yang-ho has proposed raising some 400 billion won (US$354.61 million) via stocks sales to its affiliates, but creditors want 700 billion to 900 billion won (US$620.57 million to 797.87 million). According to the creditors on July 27, Hanjin Shipping needs 1 trillion to 1.2 trillion won (US$886.52 million to 1.06 billion) over the next 18 months to pay back debt and do business.
4. UK Insurance Act Beckons
NORTH P&I has been reminding members that the UK Insurance Act (the “new Act”), comes into force on 12 August 2016. In a Circular the Club has provided a detailed commentary on the rationale behind the new Act and the common approach agreed by the eight affected Clubs of the International Group (“IG”). The new Act implies into all contracts of insurance an entirely new term requiring the reimbursement of claims within a ‘reasonable time’, failing which interest may become payable. Bearing in mind the mutual nature of the risks insured this is a problem for P&I Clubs, and they have acted accordingly.
5. Understanding Liquefaction Risks
Over the past decade, at least 100 seafarers have lost their lives due to incidents which have been attributed to bulk cargoes liquefying at sea. UK P&I Club has looked at the dangers of cargo liquefaction and the steps members can take to mitigate the risk. “The issue of liquefaction remains high on the UK Club’s Loss Prevention agenda. Solid bulk cargoes such as unprocessed mineral ores and refined mineral concentrates that may appear to be in a dry, granular state upon loading, but become fluid under the compaction and vibration that occurs during a voyage.

6. Libya Arrest and Release
The Libyan coast guard stopped an Antigua-flagged general cargo vessel off Ras Hillal believing it could be carrying weapons and supplies to the mujahideen in Derna, It had set sail from Misrata. According to LNA spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mismari, the vessel, the "Karina", was released after a search showed that it carrying no arms and was heading for Tobruk. He added that it had a crew of Canadians and Filipinos. The LNA is blockading Derna both by sea and by road
7. Concerns of Slavery At Sea
Slavery is a matter for history, not for the oil and gas industry. Or is it? Only last month, an offshore supply vessel, the MV Malaviya Seven, and her sister ship, the Malaviya Twenty, both owned by GOL Offshore, were detained in Scotland and Great Yarmouth respectively after it was alleged that Indian crew members on board the Malaviya Seven had not received any wages for at least two months. Such a case highlight the need for all companies to take adequate steps to ensure that they are not unwittingly participating in modern slavery as the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) could see the guilty imprisoned.
8. MOL Looks to 2020
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has published its Annual Report 2016 outlining an acceleration towards its 2020 vision that will see significant change to the company within a year. The report explains the MOL Group’s management strategies for dealing with the continuing severe market environment including an outline of a single-year management plan. The company’s three-year medium-term management plan Steer For 2020 began in April 2014 and involved three initiatives MOL needs to advance: Innovation of Business Portfolio, Innovation of Business Model, and Innovation of Business Domain.
9. International Files Chapter 11
The American shipowner International Shipholding Corporation has filed for relief under Chapter 11 in New York. The diverse owner says it currently intends to continue operating in the normal course of business without interruption. To facilitate the Chapter 11 process, the company has entered into a debtor-in-possession $16m credit facility. Erik Johnsen, president and CEO, commented, “Today, we took a critical step toward right-sizing the company’s balance sheet. While the company is facing challenges with its debt and capital structure, we believe our core business segments are performing satisfactorily.
10. Reducing Ocean Noise
The ocean has gotten noisier for decades, with man-made racket from oil drilling, shipping and construction linked to signs of stress in marine life that include beached whales and baby crabs with scrambled navigational signals. The United States aims to change that. "We’ve been worried about ocean noise for decades, since the 1970s," said Richard Merrick, chief science adviser to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries agency and a key author of the agency’s more detailed 10-year plan to be released publicly later this year. "The question is, what should we do now?"

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