Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/09/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/09/2016

1. Major Price Fixing Raid
South Africa’s Competition Commission conducted a search and seizure operation yesterday at the premises of six major global container shipping companies operating in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal provinces as part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing allegations. The commission, claims reasonable grounds to suspect that Hamburg Sud, Maersk Line, Safmarine, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Pacific International Line (PIL), and CMA CGM Shipping Agencies have engaged in collusive practices to fix the incremental rates for the shipment of cargo from Asia to South Africa.
2. Sorry is the Hardest Word
Japanese-owned APL Logistics Group has issued a statement via president Beat Simon in response to accusations by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) that APL Logistics started “unfounded” and “false” bankruptcy rumours. APL Logistics said that last week a “small number” of its employees “conveyed opinions to several customers that touch on the potential financial position or viability of K Line” and that the employees have since retracted their statements or are in the process of doing so. While stopping short of issuing an apology, APL Logistics stated that it does not endorse the comments made by its employees.
3. Crew Stranded in Sydney
A crew of 14 seafarers has been left stranded on a container ship in Sydney, caught up in US bankruptcy action against a global shipping company. The crew has been allowed shore leave, but the crew of 14 Filipino, Indonesian and Polish workers aboard the "Hanjin California" remain in Sydney after the vessel was arrested at Port Botany pending a federal court hearing on 6 October. ITF national coordinator, Dean Summers, said the crew members were happy and “quite comfortable” because they had been fed, paid and given shore leave in Sydney, but their jobs are likely to be lost.
4. Maersk Rating Downgrade
Moody’s Investors Service has today placed on review for downgrade the Baa1 issuer rating, Baa1 senior unsecured rating and the (P)Baa1 medium-term note (MTN) program rating of Denmark-based shipping and oil company A.P. Møller-Mærsk A/S (Maersk). This follows the company’s announcement that it will become an integrated transportation and logistics company while separating the oil and oil related activities over the next 24 months. “We have placed the ratings of Maersk on review for downgrade because of its business diversification.

5. Danish Ship Finance Up for Grabs
A group consisting of the two biggest banks in Denmark and the country’s central bank agreed to sell a controlling stake in Danish Ship Finance A/S in a deal that values the lender at $710 million. Danske Bank A/S, Nordea Bank AB, Danmarks Nationalbank and A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S will sell their combined 72 percent stake after the board of Danish Ship Finance in 2015 started a strategic review of its business. The buyers are Danish pensions funds PFA and PKA, as well as private equity fund Axcel, according to a statement published on Wednesday.
6. Shoreleave Ban Inhuman
The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today described the refusal of shore leave to seafarers on board Hanjin ships in the USA as a denial of human rights – and praised the actions of dockers in Seattle who have drawn the problem to public attention. The issue was revealed when a visit to the chartered vessel Hanjin Marine by ITF inspector Jeff Engels to check on the crew’s welfare on Monday (after they had waited three weeks for a berth) revealed that, although the crew are being paid and there is two months’ food onboard, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) were refusing them shore leave.
7. Waking to the Future
The global shipping industry, ravaged by collapsing revenues, defensive mergers and the failure of major players, is slowly waking up to the redeeming potential of technology. While sensor-laden containers, smart ships and 3D printing have grabbed the headlines, the start-ups making the biggest inroads are those working on something more basic – streamlining the interactions transporting the goods. Transparency is viewed by a lot of people in the industry as destructive in that it would negatively affect margins, that has to change.
8. InterManager Growth
The international ship managers’ body, InterManager, has extended its global membership by welcoming four new members, including its first Chinese member. Chinese shipping firm The International Trade Ocean Shipping Supply Company (ITOS Supply), together with London-based MarTrust, US-based Maritime Payment Solutions and Australia-based The Seafarer Foundation had their memberships approved by InterManager’s Executive Committee earlier this month; placing maritime finance services and ship supply firmly around the shipmanagement industry’s table.
9. Nigerian Navy Tackles Fakers
Nigerian Navy Headquarters has expressed concern over  incidences of impersonation of service personnel by criminal elements and illegal groups particularly in the coastal states. Pseudo organisations that go by the names; Nigerian Merchant Navy, Merchant Naval Force and Nigerian Sea Scout among others have sprung up, deceived and recruited unsuspecting civilians, dressed up in Nigerian Navy uniforms and parading themselves as personnel. In this year alone, about 16 persons have been arrested providing illegal escort duties.
10. Cruise Ship Stranded
As many as 506 passengers including around 150 women and 50 crew members on board a "MV Harshavardhan" headed to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, were stranded in the deep sea, around 15 to 20 nautical miles off the Indian coast, for 24 hours with one of its generator developing a snag. The merchant vessel, belonging to the Shipping Corporation of India, has four generators one of which developed malfunction.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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