Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/09/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/09/2016

1. Shipowners Want Strong IMO
Esben Poulsson, the new chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has said the IMO must assert its authority, especially with national goverments, and must keep striving to improve environmental performance. “Unless we are very careful, IMO could eventually be reduced to merely rubber-stamping decisions which in reality will have been taken elsewhere, whether in Europe, the United States or by the emerging powers in Asia,” Poulsson said when he addressed the ICS’s annual conference in London. Nations should also avoid on ‘politicising’ IMO debates.
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2. Ballast Water Beckons
Finland is likely to ratify the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) tomorrow, which would mean the long-debated convention would enter into force in 12 months’ time on September 8, 2017. Finland accounts for 0.14% of the world’s gross tonnage, which would take the convention over the 35% threshold required for the policy to enter into force. The IMO has done the "number-crunching” required to verify Finland’s percentage of the world’s registered gross tonnage, much work remains to be done on how shipowners can meet the requirements of the convention – and when.
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3. Reef Wreckers Say it Ok
The owner of Chinese coal carrier "Shen Neng One" that ran aground in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2010 has told a court remediation is not necessary. The Commonwealth is suing Shenzhen Energy Transport for $120 million to fix environmental damage to Douglas Shoal off the central Queensland coast.
The trial heard hundreds of kilograms of paint flakes containing the anti-fouling agent tributyltin (TBT), which is lethal to marine life were on the reef. The barrister acting for Shenzhen Energy Transport, Julian Sexton, disputed remediation was necessary, saying the area had been healing naturally.
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4. Abandonment on the Rise
Cases of vessel and crew abandonment are increasingly in the headlines, as freight rates sink to levels that can fail to cover shipowners’ operating expenses. According to lawyers, traditionally, the mortgagee bank would come to the crew’s relief, however, this solution to crew abandonment depended on there being a mortgagee willing to take swift action and a local legal system with the rule of law which enabled enforcement of the parties’ rights. To address the issue of abandonment, MLC amendments will enter into force in January 2017, and there is expected to be a big impact on P&I Clubs.
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5. Pirates and Cyber Threats
Underwriters are seeing cybercrime and piracy combine to pose an unprecedented risk to the world’s marine industry. Truth be told, the unpredictability of the high seas has always made shipping risky business, but when it comes to emerging risks, ship operators seem to be in a tough spot. Pirates, of course, are nothing new. But tech-savvy swashbucklers are increasingly able to locate vessels, search out their weaknesses, and pinpoint the location of valuable cargo. And they’re drawing the attention of underwriters.
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6. Gas Cancellations Cause Concern
A wave of cargo cancellations from the United States is putting additional pressure on the rates of very large gas carriers (VLGC), according to the latest edition of the LPG Forecaster, published by global shipping consultancy Drewry. Two major factors have lowered VLGC rates in recent times: excessive fleet growth and weak arbitrage opportunities caused by low LPG (liquid petroleum gas) prices. The VLGC fleet has expanded at the rate of seven percent quarter-on-quarter over the last four quarters, fast outpacing cargo demand growth.
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7. Warning of Hanjin Payments
Cargo interests are being warned to be very careful about acquiescing to demands for additional payments made on behalf of Hanjin by local agents of Hanjin because where those charges are additional to charges contemplated in the contract of carriage, it is unlikely that there is any legal entitlement for Hanjin or its agents to claim those payments.  Even though in some circumstances cargo interests might be tempted to make a payment or provide some other form of security (preferably not payment but rather say an indemnity) in order to secure prompt release and delivery of their cargo.
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8. Not If, But When
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” That was the stark warning on the likelihood of ships being hacked given by Luis Benito today at the SMM fair in Hamburg. Benito, global strategic marketing manager for Lloyd’s Register (LR) was speaking as the UK classification society announced a collaboration with QinetiQ and GasLog to increase the level of security of cyber-enabled ships. A pilot project with GasLog, the international owner, operator and manager of LNG carriers, seeks to tailor methodologies for LNG vessels. Cyber-attacks have become more frequent and more sophisticated.
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9. Understanding Physical Risks
The London P&I Club says the physical risk to ships from cyber-attack may not be as well understood by ship owners as those threats posed to traditional back-office functions such as accounting, payments and banking. In an article in the Club’s latest StopLoss Bulletin, Philip Roche, a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright, notes that good cyber hygiene, up-to-date firewalls, penetration testing and staff training are routinely deployed in the shipping industry to counter the back-office threat. But he warns that the physical risk to ships themselves is less well-understood by owners.
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10. Nigerian Troops Killed
Four Nigerian military officers drowned after their boat capsized during operations to combat rebels in the oil-producing south, the military has reported. The boat reportedly capsized in the Brass area of Bayelsa state, which has seen multiple attacks on oil and gas installations since the start of the year. Last month the Nigerian military launched an operation, code named “Crocodile Smile”, against militants, whose activities have hit crude production and led to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. A witness said, the boat was conveying a new batch of soldiers to the waterfront – it is not clear if the boat was attacked by militants.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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