Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/08/2016

1. Maersk Set to Split
Danish newspaper Berlingske Business is reporting a restructuring of the Maersk Group. Not due to be unveiled until the end of September, Berlingske Business is claiming Maersk will be split into two distinct units, one focusing on transport and the other on energy. The new strategy is still at a conceptual level. But it looks as if it will come out at the end of September and a transport company and an energy company will be created. The make up of the energy unit will include Maersk Oil, Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Services while the transport unit will include Maersk Line, Damco, APM Terminals, Svitzer and Maersk Tankers.
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2. Send Seafarers Ashore
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is demanding that the 20 seafarers stranded off Australia’s Queensland coast on board the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, Five Stars Fujian, be allowed to come ashore until the dispute is resolved. “The Federal Government needs to intervene today, get the crew landside, while a proper investigation is conducted and the crew are able to access the services they need. These are people, not political pawns,” says ITF Australia Acting Coordinator Matt Purcell. “There are hundreds of qualified, unemployed Australian seafarers that are able to look after the ship in the meantime.”
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3. Timber Ship Abandoned
The crew of a listing Russian general cargo ship have been evacuated. The Alfa issued a distress signal yesterday afternoon off Yeosu in South Korea. The ship, owned by Nakhodka-headquartered LANS, was en route to China when it ran into difficulty, shedding a large cargo of timber. The Korean Coast Guard has warned fishing vessels in the area to be wary of the floating timber. The ship has since listed and is now aground to the southeast of Yeosu.
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4. China in New Great Game
China is looking for ever increased opportunities in Africa. As with previous rounds of rivalry in Africa, such as during the cold war, at least some of this activity relates to access to bases and ports to control the sea. China’s involvement in Africa now includes a growing military presence. Thousands of Chinese soldiers have donned the UN’s blue helmets in Mali and South Sudan, where several have been killed trying to keep an imaginary peace. Chinese warships regularly visit African ports. China maintains a naval squadron that escorts mostly Chinese-flagged vessels through the Gulf of Aden.
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5. Record Low Sea Ice
Two key climate change indicators – global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent – have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. The six-month period from January to June was also the planet’s warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the late nineteenth century.
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6. Dry Bulk Set to Bounce
Consultancy firm Maritime Strategies International (MSI) is forecasting a fourth quarter bounce in dry bulk market earnings, driven by improving iron ore, coal and grain trades. In its latest Dry Bulk Freight Forecaster, MSI sees positive signs beyond the traditional summer lull in chartering activity for both the Capesize and Panamax sectors. However, the geared bulker segment will see slim opportunities with fundamentals weakened by strong vessel deliveries. With the vacation season keeping downwards pressure on earnings in the short term, market sentiment for Capesize spot rates in Q3/4 has dropped over the last month.
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7. Filipinos Not Being Protected
Filipinos are the most mistreated seafarers on the high seas. They work long hours every single day on tankers and cargo and cruise ships far away from their families for long periods of time for little money. When Filipino crew members are injured and disabled in accidents or due to the cumulative trauma caused by harsh long-term work conditions, Filipinos are required to return home and accept the minimal payments outlined in a modest schedule of benefits published by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). The new Seafarers’ Protection Act, in reality does not protect the Filipino seafarer.
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8. Mast Breaks and Kills Tourists
Three German tourists have died after a ship’s mast broke and fell on them in a northern Dutch port. Friesland provincial police said investigations are under way to establish exactly how the mast broke while the ship was near the port town of Harlingen, 68 miles north of Amsterdam. The victims, whose identities were not immediately released, were part of a family group of 12 Germans on the ship. Harlingen mayor Roel Sluiter called the incident "a terribly tragic accident"
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9. Submarine Collides with Supply Ship
The ballistic-missile submarine USS Louisiana and a Navy offshore support vessel collided while conducting routine operations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off the coast of Washington state on Thursday (August 18, 2016), informs  the United States Navy. The collision occurred at 6:00 p.m. There were no injuries to personnel. Assessments of the damage to both the submarine and the U.S. Navy Offshore Support Vessel are being conducted. The incident is currently under investigation. Both ships returned safely to port under their own power.
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10. Brokers Swindled Insurer
An executive director who spent more than a decade scamming his marine insurance bosses out of £1.4 million has been jailed for five years. Simon Higginson, 52, and accomplice Lee Willis, 56, pocketed the funds from multinational risk advisors Willis Group Holdings by making a series of false commission claims. The pair, both of Stoke Road in Guildford , used an Ecuadorian company and fake email addresses as part of their elaborate scheme which ran from August 2003 until January 2014. Judge Martin Beddoe jailed Higginson for five years and Willis for four at Southwark Crown Court on Friday (August 19).
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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