Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/08/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/08/2016

1. Maritime Law in the Dock
Ukraine plans to launch legal proceedings against Russia for violating United Nations convention with its annexation of Crimea, the Moscow Times quoted Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin as saying. Klimkin said that Ukraine plans to file a case in international courts “relating to Russia’s violation of UN maritime law" in the waters surrounding Crimea, the Interfax news agency reported. Border guards have recorded the fact of violation of global maritime norms in Ukraine’s exclusive economic zone by the Russian Federation.
2. Alternate Ballast Management
In the absence of a USCG approved BWM system to date, the USCG under its AMS program has been accepting AMS deemed to be as effective as Ballast Water Exchange, fitted by a vessel before the vessel’s compliance date, as temporary compliance. A number of questions however remained unanswered including the AMS status for a BWM system fitted after a vessel receives an extension on its compliance date, and what would happen to the whole AMS program once a USCG approved system(s) become(s) widely available.
3. China Launches Clean Air Limit
Local P&I  correspondents Huatai have advised that reduced sulphur limits will take effect in the port of Shenzhen from 1 October 2016. From this date, vessels berthed at Shenzhen port will be required to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%. It is understood that the other core ports within the Pearl River Delta ECA will introduce the 0.5% sulphur limit on 1 January 2017 as per the original schedule.
4. Hazardous Concerns Arise
The Standard Club and Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) have identified three key hazards which are putting seafarers in danger. In the first case a large car carrier, under pilotage and with a tug attached astern, was entering a lock in poor visibility, when the engine failed to operate astern. In the second example, a ship was moored on a berth which was too small and consequently its stern lines were badly deployed. In the last report, a fouled anchor on a super yacht lead to a crew member engaging in an extremely hazardous operation to clear the obstruction while the yacht was underway.
5. Chamber Announces Sponsors
The International Chamber of Shipping has announced the International Shipping Conference sponsors, to be held at the British Library on Wednesday 7 September. Videotel, part of KVH Industries, Inc., the market leading provider of STCW approved training films, computer-based training, and maritime e-Learning will be supporting the evening event. High level topics to be covered at the event include: reducing CO2 emissions; the challenges of the Ballast Water Convention; EU Brexit; over-capacity in the shipping industry; seafarer supply issues; tackling corruption; shipowner liability; and the NATO response to piracy and refugees.
6. New Bunker Group Emerges
The Singapore bunker industry has a new group, the Association of Bunker Industry (Singapore) to address the needs of the industry, ABIS said Tuesday. ABIS said it will work with members — mostly, but not limited to, small and medium-sized bunker companies — to improve the quality of their business services.
One of its more pressing tasks is training courses for mass flow meter (MFM) bunkering which becomes mandatory in January and, later, training for liquefied natural gas bunkering, ABIS said. It has formed a focus group to review members’ existing bunker surveying processes.
7. Needs of Tankers Hits Canal
The promise that some oil traders and brokers saw for an expanded Panama Canal to become a new route for large tankers will take longer to realize than expected because many ships must first undergo inconvenient retrofits to transit through the new locks, shipping industry experts said. The modifications to these bigger oil carriers – which mostly involve fittings such as chocks and bollards that secure the ship’s dock and tow lines – are needed because the new locks that opened in June use tug boats rather than locomotives to pull vessels.
8. Dream of Refugee Housing
A luxury cruise ship chartered to house asylum seekers has been put up for sale by its owner due to problems with regulators and the reduction of the refugee crisis in Sweden. US Shipmanagers, a Florida company, claims that a sale may be necessary to cover losses they would incur if the Swedish migration agency (Migrationsverket) fails to pay a $6.44 million bill the company has sent to the agency for the costs of running the ship. The company also intends to sue the municipality for 250 million stating that the municipality and the Immigration Service worked together to stop the Ocean Gala from operating.
9. Dragged Anchor Collision
The product tanker King Emerald dragged anchor and collided with general cargo ship SE Pacifica at Nieuwpoort anchorage in Belgium. The both ships suffered damages, but not endangering the seaworthiness. The incident was reported to local authorities and at the scene of the collision was dispatched tug, which assisted with towing the vessel and securing the anchors again. Later the general cargo ship SE Pacifica was towed to Vissingen for repairs, as during collision suffered damages in board and superstructure. The product tanker King Emerald proceeded to Port of Antwerp, as suffered minor damages in forepeak.
10. Bad Time for Gas
A wave of cargo cancellations from the US is putting additional pressure on Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC) rates, which were previously lowered amid excessive fleet growth and weak arbitrate opportunities caused by low LPG prices, according to shipping consultancy Drewry. Three cargoes from US export terminals were cancelled in June, seven in July and 12 in August so far. While Asian demand has remained resilient, it has not been sufficiently strong to fully absorb the plentiful supply from both the US and Middle East, Drewry said.

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