Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/08/2016

1. Feeding Abandoned Crew Fails
Efforts are ongoing to try to transfer supplies to crew onboard a laden capesize at anchor at Australia’s Port of Gladstone, who have not been paid in months and are about to run out of food. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detained Five Stars Fujian (181,400 dwt, built 2009) on July 19 after inspectors found there was not enough food for the next leg of its journey. The ship was freed last Wednesday, but food is reportedly on the verge of running out completely. Reports say the 20 Chinese seafarers onboard have not received their wages in over two months.
2. Tanker Attacked by Pirates
The asphalt and bitumen product tanker "Ad Matsu" was attacked by pirates in South China Sea on 15 nautical miles north off Tanjung Berakit, Indonesia. The vessel was en route from Singapore to Hai Phong, Vietnam, but near the island Pulau Bintan was reached by fast boat from the starboard. Six armed men succeeded to board the vessel and took control of the tanker. The crew was locked in the mess room, while pirates robbed the vessel and stole all the cash and valuables of the seamen. After robbery the pirates abandoned the vessel and fled away to Malaysia.
3. Panama Celebrates Anniversary
On Monday, the Panama Canal celebrated 102 years of successful operations, just one day after welcoming its 100th transit through the expanded waterway. Less than two months following the Expanded Canal’s historic June 26 inauguration, the Neopanamax vessel Hanjin Xiamen became the 100th vessel to transit the new locks, passing through the Canal on the morning of Sunday, August 14. The Panama-flagged container ship, which measures 294 meters in length and 40 meters in beam, made its northbound transit from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean, destined for New York.
4. Cruise Giant Heads North
Beginning August 16, Crystal Serenity will be the largest luxury cruise ship to ever navigate the Northwest Passage, maneuvering through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords and vast unspoiled landscapes away from mainstream civilization and tourism, north of mainland Canada. Captain Birger J. Vorland, a Crystal Cruises veteran with 38 years’ experience as a mariner, will be in charge of the historic voyage. Vorland has worked with passenger ships for 28 years and has sailed around the world including the Arctic waters around Svalbard.

5. Nations Tussle Over Arctic
The Northwest Passage was once a mythic trade route that claimed dozens of Europe’s foremost explorers. Today, travellers can traverse the passage once sought by the likes of Cabot, Drake, and Franklin on the world’s first cruise line from New York to Anchorage; the trip lasts only about a month. This shift in accessibility to the Arctic is a direct result of the planet’s warming climate. While increased access to the Arctic offers advantages in terms of commerce and tourism, it has also ushered in a new era of maritime security issues for Arctic nations. The US, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark are tussling for control.
6. Maersk to Further Cut Costs
Maersk Line’s CFO Pierre Danet has said the world’s largest containerline will slash costs further, and dismissed claims that the company is driving down rates. Danet, 45, said that while the company was “very happy” to break the $2,000 per feu cost mark in the second quarter, more will be done to bring that figure down further. Amid record low freight rates Maersk Line reported a second quarter 2016 result that was $658m lower than Q2 2015, something the group’s new ceo, Soren Skou described as “unacceptable”. Skou took on the top job at the group in July while still retaining his ceo position at Maersk Line.
7. Double Grounded Bulker
The bulk carrier "Rosco Palm" has suffered a double grounding in the Columbia River in Washington state. The 751-foot vessel originally ran into trouble near the town of Skamokawa, grounding into a shallow, and was responded to by the US Coast Guard (USCG). It was refloated by a harbour tug and towed to a place nearby where it dropped anchor. But then, despite dropping anchor, it was pushed by the stream into a sandy shallow. The Hong Kong-flagged Rosco Palm is being detained for examination of seaworthiness but no crew injuries, vessel damage or leaks have been reported.
8. Hanjin Cannot Shake Rates
Hanjin Shipping is in discussions about charter fee reductions with its major ship owner, Seaspan Corp. But both sides are unlikely reach an agreement by the Sep. 4 debt relief deadline, hinting at the looming possibility that the ailing shipping company may go into receivership next month. According to industry and financial insiders, Seaspan Corp. has so far refused to cut Hanjin Shipping’s charter fees but reportedly offered an "alternative way" to provide commensurate financial relief to the shipping company.
9. Singapore Posts Bumper Bunkering
Singapore has posted a monster month of bunker sales, with the latest preliminary data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) showing sales of all products for July 2016 totalled 4,115,000 metric tonnes (mt). It means six of the first seven months of this year have seen over 4 million mt of sales, and brings the year to date total to just under 28.5 million mt – some 12 percent higher than the 25.3 million mt of sales for the seven month period in 2015, a year that ended with a record high annual total of 45.1 million mt of sales. For contrast, 2006’s total annual bunker sales for all products was 28.3 million mt.
10. Philippines Rolls Out New ID
The Philippine government is set to develop a universal identification system for Filipino seafarers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced Monday. In a statement, Bello said the new ID system will be "acceptable to all government agencies and port states in compliance with relevant conventions." The POEA will be coordinating with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to develop an online registration system for seafarers by September 15, 2016 and will conduct an information dissemination campaign to Filipino seafarers and licensed manning agencies to create awareness of the benefits of the online registration system.

Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions 

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S Jones
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