Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/09/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/09/2016

1. The Fallout of Failure
With Hanjin Shipping electing to file for court receivership we are set to see the largest container line bankruptcy in history – six times larger than the collapse of United States Lines three decades ago, the previous record holder. Hanjin operates 98 container ships totalling 600,000 TEU, 11 port terminals and 74 sea routes, in addition to bulker operations. The long-term fallout from Hanjin Shipping’s insolvency will have far-reaching effects, but the impact is already being felt in ports around the world. In Virginia, the state’s port authority has announced that its container terminals will not accept any more Hanjin cargo.
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2. New Hull Claims Data
The Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (Cefor) has published new marine hull claims data for the first half of 2016 indicating a continued drop in insured values in particular for bulkers and offshore/supply vessels and a downward trend in claims frequency. There were two losses exceeding $10 million reported by June 30, compared to five such losses in the first six months of 2015. No losses exceeding $30 million were reported by June 30. However, larger and more advanced newbuildings increase the number of high-value vessels in the portfolio. This increases the probability of very costly total losses.
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3. Scrap Market Firming Up
Some surprising sales – particularly of panamax bulkers – seemed to indicate a firming market this week. However, many of these improvements appear illusory as cash buyers continue either to speculate on prices or offer crazy numbers on the back of demand from a specific ship recycler from the Bangladeshi market, who has taken a keen interest on a particular unit. On the other side, India remains stagnant and pragmatic, unwilling to jump up by more than a few $/LDT (even on select / favoured tonnage being proposed to local recyclers) as Pakistan continues to remain cautious.
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4. Latest Security Briefing
A bulk carrier reported being followed by a suspicious craft off the coast of Benin. The small craft was sighted at 1050 hrs local time around 51 nm south of Cotonou, and followed the carrier at a distance of 2 nm for around 25 minutes before moving away. While in the Congo, two assailants attempted to rob tanker at Pointe Noire. Over in Guinea, seven robbers armed with automatic guns and knives boarded a bulk carrier at 0110 hrs local time some 5.5 nm south of Conakry. Crew members on watch were taken hostage and beaten, and the robbers took ship’s properties and the crew’s personal belongings.
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5. Supply Vessel in Flames
A platform supply vessel (PSV) suffered a fire on Wednesday morning while in the anchorage of Macae in Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. Flames and dark smoke were reported on the deck of the "UP Safira" as the fire of unknown origin blazed. It had ignited while maintenance work was being undertaken. Vessel owner Ultrapetrol said the fire was brought under control by the crew with the assistance of oil spill response vessel CMM Gravity. No injuries or spillage were reported. The ship is operated by UP Offshore and is in the middle of a four-year contract with Petrobras.
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6. Hailing Visa Victory
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is hailing a High Court decision it says will protect local jobs and prevent the exploitation of foreign workers in the offshore oil and gas industry. The Court has ruled that Federal Government measures to allow foreign labour on offshore facilities are invalid. Unions had argued that the move provided incentives for companies to hire foreigners on cheaper wages and undercut safety standards. The Government said the Court’s decision was "disappointing" and would reduce the competitiveness of one of Australia’s biggest export earners.
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7. Veneer of Respectability
The indispensability of shipping is hardly something individual shipowners have the luxury in today’s market to sit back and enjoy. It may be somewhat ironic that the World Maritime Day theme this year, ‘Shipping: Indispensable to the world’, comes so swiftly on the heels of discussions in the industry about banks and other large entities that are ‘too big to fail’. There may be a serious injustice in that association, but the indispensability of shipping is hardly something individual shipowners concern themselves with. Individually they are generally not indispensable, nor too big to fail – something which is becoming apparent.
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8. New Horizon for Cyber Vessels
When Höegh Autoliners ordered the latest additions to our fleet, the New Horizon vessels, we were determined to make them the best in their field, from hull design to technical installations. Consequently, the information technology on board the New Horizon vessels is fully integrated and connected with the land organisation via satellite. This is the start of a new generation PCTCs. Jan Rune Mørken, Head of Newbuilding in Höegh Autoliners says, One of the greatest features of the information technology we have applied on board the New Horizon vessels is that all systems on board are now connected and integrated.
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9. Remembering the Arctic Convoys
British and Russian World War Two veterans gathered on Wednesday in Arkhangelsk, Russia, 75 years to the day since Britain’s first Arctic convoy of military supplies steamed into the northern port. Britain’s Princess Anne has been among those attending events honouring those who sailed, and the thousands who died, protecting supply convoys dispatched to aid the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. The convoys were "the worst journey in the world" in the words of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who used them to forge an uneasy anti-Nazi alliance with Stalin that would last until the victors fell out, ushering in the Cold War.
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10. Social Media and Migrants
Human Rights at Sea CEO, David Hammond has been highlighting the role of social media in the migrant situation. Migrants can be classed as those fleeing persecution and those looking for a better life – economic migrants. Social media has enabled people from countries in Africa to appreciate the opportunities in Europe, and the U.K. based charity has interviewed a number of migrants in Mali, for example, who say it is worth the risk of a dangerous sea journey to have a better life in Europe. In just four days, Italy’s coastguard and European vessels pulled 13,000 migrants from packed wooden boats and rubber dinghies.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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S Jones
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