Top Ten Maritime News Stories 14/11/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 14/11/2016

1. Profiting from Misery
Singapore’s Vallianz Holdings has announced a handy $3m profit for the third quarter of 2016, the same day that crew stranded onboard three vessels managed by the company tell Splash they’ve run out of food and water while anchored off Dubai. The crew onboard "Swiber Explorer", "Swiber Navigator" and "Swiber Sandefjord" have all been on the vessels for almost nine months despite having only signed three-month contracts with Vallianz Offshore Marine. While Vallianz has promised to repatriate the 38 seafarers by the end of November, progress appears to have slowed and communication has dried up.
2. Latest Piracy Raids
Abu Sayyaf terrorists are believed to have been behind the raid on a Vietnamese bulker this morning and the subsequent kidnapping of six crew. The 5,610 dwt bulker Royal 16, owned by Quysang Trading Shipping, was transiting near the southern Philippine island of Basilian when it was stormed by armed men this morning. Two crewmembers, one of whom was wounded, escaped and were rescued by a local cargo ship in the area, authorities added. ReCAAP warned earlier this week that slow moving ships with low freeboard should reroute away from the southern Philippines, if possible, as attacks in the area spike.
3. Tankers Used for Storage
Oil companies booked tankers to store as many as 9 million barrels of crude in northwest Europe amid signs that space in on-land depots is filling up, a ship-operator said. The glut could get bigger still, given the region is scheduled to load the most cargoes in 4 1/2 years next month. There are 14 to 16 Aframax-class tankers now storing crude in the region, Jonathan Lee, chief executive officer of Tankers International, operator of the world’s biggest pool of supertankers, said by phone Friday. Standard cargoes are normally almost 600,000 barrels. Lack of on-land capacity to hold the oil is the most likely cause of the buildup, he said.
4. Shipping Leader Stepping Down
It has been announced that Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA), is to step down at the end of the month, although he will continue in a consultancy role at the influential shipowning body. The news was greeted with tributes to Bowring, the great champion of the local shipping scene. Bowring has headed the association since 1997 and put Hong Kong firmly on the international platform with his involvement and contribution in the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and various industry bodies. He has been outspoken on seafarer abandonment and welfare.
5. Piracy Evolving and Re-emerging
Piracy will continue to decline worldwide. However, maritime threats will still pose a considerable challenge to global shipping companies, especially in waterways in unstable regions. If the maritime security threat around the Bab el-Mandeb strait shifts from financially motivated piracy attacks to ideologically motivated militant attacks, shipping companies will need to rethink their security measures. After three years of relative calm the Bab el-Mandeb has seen at least seven security incidents were reported in October. Two of the attacks, one on an Emirati ship and the other on the USS Mason, a U.S. Navy destroyer.
6. Rates Jump on Ship Shortage
Freight rates for Aframax tankers on Black Sea-Mediterranean and cross Mediterranean routes almost doubled on Friday to their highest since July, driven by demand for loadings at the end of November at a time when many Aframaxes are storing oil at sea. Rates for these routes jumped to 120-140 Worldscale points (WS) from WS70-80 on Thursday, shipping reports showed. Rates for northwest European freight also rose to WS100, their highest since September, from WS60-70 on Thursday.
7. Snake on a Ship
One of the deadliest snakes in the world has been found on a boat docked in Aberdeen. The green mamba was discovered on a cargo ship from West Africa, which arrived at the city’s harbour last week. The highly venomous reptile’s bite can kill a human in less than 30 minutes without specialist treatment, experts say – and the closest anti-venom held in the UK is in London, almost 400 miles away from Aberdeen. It is understood crew on the ship put the snake into a box themselves before contacting Scotland’s animal welfare charity, the Scottish SCPA. A police escort was called in to help animal officers as they collected it.
8. P&I Starts MLC Process
According to Gard, the application process for Maritime Labour Convention Certificates has now started and Members are advised to use the attached combined Application and Undertaking Form. The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force on 18 January 2017 and Members have options in the Application Form so far as Certificate validity is concerned. Members are asked to take note of the Undertakings in the application form and with regards to validity options.
9. Seafarers Should Get Medical Cards
Shipowners can reduce medical costs and associated loss records by making the EHIC part of European seafarers’ compulsory documentation when signing on to a vessel. The EHIC allows anyone who is resident in a country of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland to receive medical treatment in another member country free of charge or at a reduced rate. However, experience shows that many seafarers are still not in possession of a valid EHIC when admitted to a hospital in Europe. A free card that entitles European seafarers access to emergency state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any EEA country.
10. NORTH Keeps Rates
Directors of the North P&I Club have decided to keep rates unchanged for both protection and indemnity (P&I) cover and freight demurrage and defence (FD&D) cover in the 2017/18 policy year. The zero increases reflect lower than average claims as well as the Club’s commitment to help its Members cope with difficult trading conditions.  According to North’s chairman Pratap Shirke, ‘Despite continuing volatility in the bond markets, which has again negatively impacted the Club’s pension scheme, our healthy investment returns and a generally favourable claims experience mean North remains in a strong financial position.

Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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