Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/11/2016
1. Shore Employees in Crisis
More shore-based employees in the shipping industry are concerned with their job security than ever before according to research conducted by maritime jobs specialist Halcyon Recruitment and online training provider Coracle. The 8th Maritime Employee Survey found that 63% of participants were concerned about their jobs and that more expected to change jobs in the next 12 months than ever before, up from 49% from last year. According to the report, 36% of respondents reported a decrease in headcount at their current employers, only 38% of respondents received a salary increase in the last 12 months.
2. Crew Claim for Unpaid Wages
The captain and crew of a controversial cargo ship in the Northern Marianas, the MV Luta, say they are owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. They have asked the US District Court to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit which has been filed against the vessel’s owners, said to be the family of the territory’s Lieutenant Governor Victor Hocog. The plaintiffs, led by captain Michael Brochon, are suing "MV Luta" and its owner Luta Mermaid LLC, alleging they have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. The crew said they are owed more than $US183,000 in unpaid wages.
3. Training Makes a Difference
Training acts not only as a career enhancer, but also plays an essential role in the modernisation of the shipping industry as a whole, said Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) today, as he delivered the keynote speech at this year’s Crew Connect Global Conference in Manila.
“The future sustainability of the industry requires an evolutionary response to the training and retention of seafarers,“ he stressed. “We need to do more than simply respond to changing needs, we must learn to anticipate them and thereby control the development of the industry. “
4. Efforts to Cut Emissions
Global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions will continue even after the election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency and momentum is growing to cut ship pollution, the United Nations’ shipping agency chief told Reuters. Trump has called global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said in an interview this week: “I believe the main policy of the Paris agreement will be maintained … I am rather optimistic.”
5. US Navy in Piracy Claims
In response to a $596 million lawsuit, the U.S. Navy has denied that it pirated copies of a tech company’s virtual reality software on more than 558,000 computers. The suit against the U.S. Government, filed by Bitmanagement Software in July, alleges that the Navy copied and installed the company’s virtual reality software on hundreds of thousands of computers for which it does not have a license. The Navy was authorized to install the software on just 38 computers for testing, trial runs and integration with other Navy systems, the suit says.
6. Orders Slowly Roll In
Japanese shipyards received just two orders for new dry bulk carriers in October, according to data from the Japan Ship Exporters’ Association (JSEA), compared to 27 in the same month in 2015. According to the JSEA’s monthly statistics, one handymax bulk carrier and one panamax bulk carrier were ordered in October, with a total gross tonnage (GT) of 80,400. In contrast, the JSEA recorded orders for 10 handysize bulk carriers, 11 handymax bulk carriers, two post-panamax bulk carriers and four ore carriers in October 2015. Year-to-date orders have had a total GT of 1.75 million, down from 8.34 million.
7. Rickmers on the Rails
Rickmers Trust Management, the trustee-manager of Rickmers Maritime, says it is unable to pay an interest payment of S$4.26m ($3m) due on its S$100m 8.45% notes. Non-payment will put Rickmers in default and the company says this will affect its ability to continue as a growing concern. The company is in the middle of negotiations to restructure the notes, having passed the plan through unit holders but falling short of getting the approval noteholders who failed to show up in large enough numbers to pass a resolution.
8. New Seafarer Helpline
ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp provides a free, confidential helpline service to seafarers and their families all over the world. With a multilingual team and 24-hour assistance year-round, the service helped nearly 10,000 seafarers of 86 different nationalities last year. ISWAN has just launched a new website for SeafarerHelp that is designed to reach even more seafarers. The new website, which can be viewed in nine different languages, provides a number of ways for seafarers and their families to get in touch, including by telephone, e-mail, Skype, text message and a Live Chat feature.
9. Contraband on Cruise Ships
In August, Australian customs officers seized 95kg of cocaine from the Sea Princess in Sydney, following a joint operation. The stash had a street value of approximately $30m, and was quite rightly viewed as a success for the customs and security officials involved. The drugs were hidden in suitcases, found with the help of sniffer dogs, and the Australian Border Force’s Tim Fitzgerald said, “We had a similar situation last year…but this is the largest. This particular cruise ship – because of the nature and the amount of ports it had been to – was considered quite high risk in itself.”
10. Wellness at Sea Conference
Following our piece last month telling how insurance association the Shipowners Club was pressing owners and operators to improve health at sea, leaders in the shipping industry are being urged to find out how improving crew welfare can have a positive impact on their bottom line at a ground-breaking conference in Singapore. The Wellness at Sea Conference, organised by the Sailors’ Society in conjunction with Alexony, and sponsored by Inmarsat and Dorian LPG, will take place on 17 January 2017 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.
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