Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/08/2016

1. Armed Guards on Ferries
Armed French police have begun patrols on cross-Channel ferries in a bid to prevent terrorist attacks. The scheme started on Monday, but with no agreement yet in place for French police to patrol vessels in UK waters, they arrived by helicopter and boarded a ferry as it approached France. The two governments are in talks about French officers patrolling for full crossings, France’s marine police said. The Home Office said security plans were under "constant review". French marine police spokesman Lieutenant Pierre-Joachim Antona said a "The marine gendarmes will carry out patrols, which will be random but regular".
2. Exchanges Set for Change
Singapore Exchange Ltd. will make a formal offer for the Baltic Exchange by the middle of this month in a move that could see another historic London marketplace end up in foreign hands, two people involved in the matter said Wednesday. “The deal is mostly done and the SGX is putting together an offer of around $100 million,” one of those people said. SGX was a late entrant in the race for the Baltic. Other suitors included Platts, a division of S&P Global Inc., CME Group Inc.,  the operator of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; and state-run conglomerate China Merchants Group, the people said.
3. Sexism in Shipping
A female deck officer has accused a shipping firm of sexism after being refused a job interview because she ‘would be better off working on a cruise ship’. Sophia Walker, 24, claims she was denied the chance to speak with bosses at Hong Kong-based shipping firm, Wallem Ship Management, despite being a qualified deck officer. She successfully served her cadetship but claims she was denied a role at the shipping company for ‘being a woman’. She insists an email sent by Brian Phipps of Wallem proves she didn’t get to interview alongside ten males because she’s female.

4. Britain’s Waters Unsecure
Britain’s maritime surveillance and border security has been slammed by members of parliament at a time when the risks from terrorism have increased. A group of MPs were concerned that coastal security was under threat from potential terrorists and people smugglers, as the Border Force had too few vessels to patrol the UK’s coasts. The Home Affairs Select Committee criticised current arrangements for coastal patrols. It said that only three ships were available to patrol 7,000 miles of shoreline, which MPs said was “worryingly low”. The UK has five Border Force vessels, however, one has been deployed in the Mediterranean.
5. Tokyo Campaign on Cargoes
The Tokyo MOU will carry-out a concentrated inspection campaign on Cargo Securing Arrangements on the 1st September 2016 through the 30th November 2016. The purpose or goal of this year’s CIC is to gain knowledge on the compliance of ships with applicable Cargo Securing requirements and the overall safety of ships and seafarers engaged in cargo securing operations. The objectives of the Tokyo MOU member states in the performance the CIC are to measure compliance with conventions; ensure all Crew are familiar with cargo securing arrangements; and to raise awareness of hazards associated with cargo securing.
6. Clearing the Decks of Bribery
APM Terminals (APMT) has taken on a multimillion-dollar reparation payment related to corruption at a terminal in Guatemala, even though the offences occurred before APMT took over the company. The scandal at Guatemalan firm Terminal de Contenedores Quetzal (TCQ) dates to 2012, and APMT only acquired TCQ in March this year as part of its takeover of Spain’s terminal operator Grup Maritim TCB. APMT – part of Danish conglomerate Maersk – said it had a moral obligation to clear the decks and settle the reparations due from the case of an alleged $24.5m bribe paid by a TCQ executive to Guatemalan politicians.
7. Cash Injection Before Collapse
Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, is facing a storm of criticism after it emerged it gave Swiber Holdings two loans worth a total of $146m in the weeks running up to the offshore firm filing for liquidation. Reuters says Swiber used the money to redeem maturing bonds. In total, DBS has an S$700m ($522m) exposure to Swiber. Swiber filed for liquidation last Thursday before changing its mind 24 hours later and seeking judicial management instead. KPMG has been appointed as interim judicial manager.
8. Cayman Flies the White Flag
The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry has achieved Paris Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") ‘White List’ status for an 11th consecutive year. The Paris MOU on Port State Control sets a benchmark to flag states for safety of life at sea, prevention of pollution by ships and living conditions of seafarers. Its scope was influenced by the massive oil spill caused by the grounding of the VLCC ‘Amoco Cadiz’ off the coast of Brittany, France in 1978. Not only has the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry ("CISR") yet again made the White List for another year but it is rated within the top quartile of all flag states for its vessel quality.
9. Class Leads the Way
Lloyd’s Register’s claims owners are increasingly looking to the classification society for greater guidance on regulation. In particular, it was made clear that there is an increasing demand for guidance on the EU’s monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) regulation for CO2 emissions that comes into force next year. Regulation (EU) 2015/757 requires owners to have systems and practices that provide clear and precise evidence of compliance. Mandatory ship emissions monitoring will begin from 1 January 2018, but owners should have submitted monitoring plans by the end of August 2017.
10. Ultra Boom Maybe Bust
As ocean carriers reel from a disastrous first half this year, they seem to have lost their appetite for ordering ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs). According to Alphaliner, interest in large containerships of above 9,000 teu “has largely vanished” from shipyards. Poor market conditions have already forced several owners to delay the delivery of vessels, the consultant said, noting that about a dozen completed newbuildings “have not yet been commissioned”. They include five 11,010 teu ships built by Hanjin’s Philippines Shipyard at Subic Bay, running about 10 months late as owner Costamare has struggled to secure employment.

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