Top Ten Maritime News Stories 31/10/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 31/10/2016

1. Japanese Firms Merge Operations
Japanese shipping companies NYK, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line) have said they will merge container shipping operations as overcapacity and weak economic growth shake up the global industry. The companies will form a joint venture that they expect will see an annual cost benefits of about 110 billion yen ($1.05 billion). They said in a statement that have decided to integrate their respective container shipping on an equal footing to ensure future stable, efficient and competitive business operations. The merger will make the group the sixth largest carrier in the world.
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2. HK Marine Dept Hacked
Hackers have managed to infiltrate the Hong Kong Marine Department, locking access to a computer located in its offices. According to the marine department, the company was attacked by a malware called “Locky” and all the files in the computer have been locked, with the hacker leaving a message asking for payment of four bitcoins in exchange for passwords to unlock the files. The department stressed that its operations are not affected by the cyber attack and it is now assisting the police to investigate the case. It has also warned all its staff not to open any suspicious links from internet.
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3. IMO Profound Impact
The decision by the IMO last week to lower the global sulfur limit of marine fuels at sea to 0.5% would have a profound impact on the fuel oil and bunker fuel market, but most likely not until the change is enacted in 2020, bunker fuel suppliers and shipowners said. Ships outside emissions control areas can burn fuel with a maximum sulfur content of 3.5%S. That will change come January 2020, which sources said would likely leave shipowners scrambling to find a new source of fuel that will meet environmental standards set by the IMO.
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4. Further Detention Issued
A freighter which had already been detained following a Port State Control inspection by MCA surveyors in Cardiff, Wales, has been issued with a further detainable deficiency notice after it was discovered the crew had not been paid for many months. The Malta-registered Svetlana has been in Cardiff since 8 October 2016. The MCA had suspended their inspection and detained the vessel for a number of deficiencies and returned when the owner claimed to have rectified matters. However, it was then discovered that the Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian crew had not been paid wages and a further deficiency notice was issued.
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5. Terror Group Kidnap Cash
The AP reported Friday that Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf earned over $7 million in ransom payments in the first six months of the year alone – most of it in return for the freedom of kidnapped tugboat crewmembers. So far this year, Abu Sayyaf has hijacked at least five tugs and one trawler and made off with a total of 33 seafarers. In addition, the group beheaded two Canadian hostages who were abducted from a resort in 2015. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to "destroy" the group, but a secret government report showed that the all-out campaign has had little effect.
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6. Coal Shipments Return
Indonesia will resume some shipments of coal to the Philippines, after a months-long halt due to concerns about piracy in seas between the two archipelagos. Indonesia earlier this year slapped a moratorium on coal shipments to its neighbour after a string of hijackings by militants based in the southern Philippines, in which several Indonesian sailors were taken hostage. Only ships with a capacity of over 500 tonnes will be allowed to resume sailing while smaller vessels and tugboats are still banned. The decision was taken because the moratorium had been deemed to be “damaging Indonesian interests”.
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7. Training Not Working
A new generation of seafarers is being held back by an industry which is “extremely conservative” when it comes to embracing technology and adapting its training methods even when it does. That was one of the key takeaways from the UAE Maritime Leaders’ Summit on the opening day of Dubai Maritime Week Sunday which explored the definition, challenges and opportunities of smart shipping. Asked from the floor if commercial shipping was doing enough to train tech savvy newcomers to make the most of new technologies, Capt. Michael P Elwert, the session moderator, admitted the industry was letting itself down.
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8. Tanker Sinks Trawler
The VLCC "Australis" collided and sunk the Chinese fishing vessel "Zhelingyou 91002" in East China Sea on 50 nautical miles south off Zhoushan. The tanker left Port of Ningbo en route to Singapore, when her route was crossed by poor marked fishing ship in moderate sea and bad visibility. The tanker had no time to manoeuver and avoid collision, as duty officer saw the small vessel in very last moment. The very large crude carrier Australis collided with the fishing ship, which caused capsizing and sinking of Zhelingyou 91002. All the six crew from the Chinese fishing vessel went missing.
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9. A New Scrapping Record
Setting a new benchmark, Diana Containerships has moved to scrap a panamax boxship that was delivered less than 10 years ago. The 4,923 teu "YM Los Angeles" was delivered from Imabari’s Koyo Dockyard in December 2006. The ship is now headed for recycling becoming the youngest boxship to date to be sold for scrap. Panamax boxships have been sent enmasse for scrapping this year as rates for this ship size in particular have faded away. A report by BIMCO at the end of June highlighted how the panamax segment had seen 150,863 teu of scrapping in the first six months, the same volume as in the previous 18 months.
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10. Cruisy McCruiseface Beckons
P&O Cruises has said it plans to hold a public naming contest for an upcoming 5,200-passenger newbuild. The firm told the media it had wanted to hold the contest long before the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) famously abandoned its own call for nominations. In that poll, the internet-voting public overwhelmingly concluded that NERC should call its new polar research vessel the "RRS Boaty McBoatface," an option which won more votes than all of the other top ten choices combined. Despite the name’s online prominence, UK science minister Jo Johnson opted for "RRS Sir David Attenborough" instead.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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