Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/08/2016

1. New Panama Passes Half Century
In its first month of operation, the Panama Canal’s new neopanamax locks recorded a total of 55 vessel transits, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has revealed. Of the 55 vessels to make the transit, there were 29 containerships, 22 LPG tankers, two “carriers”, and two LNG carriers. Looking ahead, the ACP said it has received reservations for more than 229 vessels. “We are totally satisfied with what we have seen during the first month of operation of the expanded Canal,” said Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano. The $5.3 billion Panama Canal expansion project was inaugurated June 26, 2016.
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2. Indian Seafarers to be Taxed
The Indian income tax department has begun sending notices to merchant navy personnel. asking them to pay taxes on income earned from working on either India or foreign vessels. until now, merchant navy personnel enjoyed benefits similar to non-resident Indians. the notice have started pouring in after a junk judgement of an income tax tribunal in Kolkata which held that merchant navy personnel must pay taxes in India. The judgement is set to affect about 100k Seafarers who may have to pay around 30% tax on their income – it may also be retroactive claiming their last six years income.
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3. Embattled Bulker Finally Sinks
The bulk carrier "MV Benita", which was under tow en route from Mauritius to India, sank some 93.5 nautical miles from Mauritius on July 30, according to Greek company Five Oceans Salvage. The vessel turned over by the stern at approximately 13:35 local time, after having earlier taken a severe stern trim, and subsequently sank at a charted depth of 4,400 meters. There were no crew members aboard the 44,183 dwtbulker at the time of the sinking. The tug "Ionian Sea FOS" had to activate the tow line quick release system in anticipation of the incident, the salvage company said.
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4. Nigeria Peace Deal Beckons
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and the Nigerian Federal Government, are currently engaged in a dialogue through oil companies and security agencies to end renewed bombings in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Reports suggest they have reached far-reaching compromises, including the possible release of a former militant leader, Henry Okah, from prison in South Africa, and his brother, Charles Okah, incarcerated in Nigeria. MEND has announced a resolution to end the revolt in the South-South and South East regions.
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5. All Change for Tanker Market
A change is evident in the tanker market as lower charter rates force a change of thought and approach, when it comes to the commercial management of the fleet. Shipbroker Charles R. Weber said that “historically, the commercial management profile of the VLCC and Suezmax size classes has been evenly split between entities characterized as charterers and those characterized as pure owners. Amid the low time charter rate environment of 2013 and the subsequent rally from late during 2014 until recently, that proportion changed with charterers increasing the share of the fleets under their management”.
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6. Bunker License Revoked
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has revoked the bunker supplier and bunker craft operator licences of AC Oil Pte Ltd with effect from 29 July 2016. AC Oil Pte Ltd will no longer be allowed to operate as a bunker supplier or bunker craft operator in the Port of Singapore. As part of MPA’s on-going regulatory efforts to ensure the safety, reliability and quality of bunker supplies in Singapore, checks were conducted on AC Oil Pte Ltd in May and June 2016. Investigations revealed discrepancies and wrongful declarations in the records kept on board their bunker tankers.
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7. Chinese in Piracy Fight
Chinese armed forces will assist Western African countries in securing navigational safety in the Gulf of Guinea at a time when the region is facing an increasing threat from pirates, a visiting Chinese major general said here. China will join the international anti-piracy effort in the Gulf of Guinea by helping littoral states in the region build necessary infrastructure, said Qian Lihua, former head of the foreign affairs office of China’s Ministry of National Defence. The Chinese major general also put forward new proposals on fighting piracy and called on the international community to help regional countries strengthen their capacity.
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8. Baltic Tires of Cruise Filth
By all means visit our shores, but keep your filthy water to yourselves. That’s the message coming from the Baltic Sea, as the North European body of water becomes the first in the world to ban cruise ships from dumping waste water offshore. According to a decision announced by the IMO this May, starting in 2019 all new ships entering the Baltic must either take their waste water away with them or pump it on land to be treated. In 2021 the rules will be extended to include older ships as well. The timeframe still leaves the sea vulnerable in the interim. Currently, untreated waste water can be dumped 12 nautical miles offshore.
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9. Breakthrough on Steel Testing
Japanese classification society ClassNK is claiming a “world-first” breakthrough in the required crack arrest toughness of steel plates used in the construction of ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs). In response to the huge increases in containership sizes over the past decade and the need to ensure their structural reliability, in January 2013 the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) released its “Unified Requirements” for the use of extremely thick steel plates, outlining a minimum brittle crack arrest toughness value of 6,000 N/mm 3/2 at -10C– the minimum design temperature for commercial vessels.
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10. Large Gas Carrier Depression
VLGC owners are “running out of ideas” about how best to cope with the current depressed market, Clarksons Research details in its latest weekly report. The London firm said that most of the optimism in the sector has “evaporated”, as the market remains under pressure and idle time is becoming more noticeable.
“Even the stubborn West-East premium which has survived most of this pressure has more or less disappeared,” Clarksons Research warned. Many term cargo slots out of the US Gulf are being cancelled. One bright spot is India where a number of vessels have been chartered for periods of one year plus.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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