Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/11/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 24/11/2016

1. NATO Ending Indian Ocean Patrols
NATO has ended its Indian Ocean counter-piracy mission after a sharp fall in attacks, the alliance said on Wednesday, as it shifts resources to deterring Russia in the Black Sea and people smugglers in the Mediterranean. All ships and patrol aircraft have now left the area off the Horn of Africa, where they patrolled since 2009, as part of a broader international effort to crack down on Somali-based pirates who had caused havoc with world shipping. NATO says its "Ocean Shield" operation, as well as European Union and other counter-piracy missions, have significantly reduced attacks. Earlier this month, NATO broadened its operations in the Mediterranean to help the European Union stop criminals trafficking refugees from North Africa.
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2. Approval for Box Merger
The European Commission has given its conditional approval to a merger between German container shipping line. The merger would create a combined company worth about 7 to 8 billion euros ($7.5-$8.6 billion). It would be the world’s fifth largest shipping firm, with access to the Asia-to-Europe trade route and trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.
“Both companies operate in the container liner shipping sector,” the Commission said. “The clearance is conditional on the withdrawal of UASC from a consortium on the trade routes between Northern Europe and North America, where the merged entity would have faced insufficient competitive constraint.”
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3. Accommodating New Ideas
Dick Welsh from the Isle of Man ship registry laments today’s accommodation blocks on ultra large boxships. He has pondered what ships might look like if we asked architects, rather than naval architects, to design the living accommodation. Looking at the latest container behemoth, he can’t help wondering what life is like for the twenty or so individuals who live and work in the narrow steel box beneath the wheelhouse, squeezed between stacks of containers.  I expect that those who are not ‘in the know’ would imagine that no one lives on this vessel. It looks like a drone ship. As ships get larger and carry more, the accommodation looks ever more pitiful.
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4. Hackers Access Seafarer Data
Hackers gained access to sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, for 134,386 current and former U.S. sailors, the U.S. Navy said on Wednesday. It said a laptop used by a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services employee working on a U.S. Navy contract was hacked. Hewlett Packard informed the Navy of the breach on Oct. 27 and the affected sailors will be notified in the coming weeks, the Navy said. "The Navy takes this incident extremely seriously – this is a matter of trust for our sailors," Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke said in a statement. Burke said the investigation of the breach was in its early stages.
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5. Idle Container Ships Fall
As of November 14, the number of idle container ships of above 500 TEU has fallen to 363 units for 1.49 million TEU, down from a record high of 1.59 million TEU two weeks ago, according to Alphaliner data. The news came in Alphaliner’s latest weekly review, in which it credited the return from record high levels of idle container vessels to a high scrapping rate that has "finally" begun to have a positive impact on the situation. "Fresh chartering activity has also helped to reduce the number of idle ships, especially for vessels of between 2,000 and 3,000 TEU, which have seen idle numbers decline from 54 to 31 units within the space of one month," explained Alphaliner.
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6. IMO Ruling Challenge
The IMOs new rules on ballast water management next year will change the supply dynamics of the shipping industry as shipowners scrap some vessels to comply with the regulations, Claus Beiersdorfer, sales director at global technology provider SKF said in a recent interview. Ships take on ballast water at sea to maintain stability and minimize stress on the hull. But when they later dispose of the water it can carry bacteria to new locations, a process linked with deadly outbreaks of cholera in humans as well as threats to the marine environment. As of September 8 next year, the IMO will require all seagoing vessels to have ballast water management systems (BWMS) to kill bacteria in the water before its disposal.
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7. Sniffing Out Trouble
A Rotherham-based company has landed a multi-million euro contract to utilise its innovative drone technology to monitor pollution in Europe’s waters. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads The Martek Drones division of Rotherham-based Martek Marine maritime technology group, has won a €10m framework contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to monitor the problem, estimated to be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths worldwide each year Martek_Drones_3: (L-R) Steve Coulson ? Director, Martek Marine and Paul Luen ? CEO, Martek Marine. The division will now send its two-metre long drones up to 50km offshore to measure the sulphur and CO2 levels emitted from the exhausts of commercial ships.
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8. Smart Ships and Opportunities
Smart ships are likely to be carrying cargoes within 10 years but all in the logistics chain need to adapt in order to make good use of the new technology and the huge amount of data that will be available as a result. According to Sue Terpilowski, President of WISTA UK – the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association UK – shipping will go from a “poor beginning” in terms of generating and using data to be at the forefront of new technology. All thanks to customer demand. Terpilowski, said the change would see “talking” ships within 10 years. “Even the paint will be able to tell you about the waves hitting the ship. These ships are going to be telling you about the weight and the stresses on deck".
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9. Dental Health Concerns
According to Shipowners P&I Club, seafarers can spend weeks at sea on a voyage it is not unusual that tooth pain or dental related illness will strike far from land. The risk of dental problems is increased for seafarers because of their limited access to regular and advanced dental care whilst at sea. Some of the most frequent dental problems at sea include: Tooth decay, gum disease and root canal problems. As there are limited treatment options on board prevention is vital. Key aspects of good oral hygiene include. The pain and subsequent problems can cause major issues onboard. From poor decision making through to debilitation of the crew member in question.
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10. Arrested Ship to be Sold
Bulk carrier "Trident Challenger", which was arrested in September, has been put up for auction in Singapore, according to the latest records from the Supreme Court of Singapore. Court documents show that the net value of bunkers and lubricant onboard the vessel is S$218,535 ($152,627), including HFO, low-sulfur HFO, MGO, and low-sulfur MGO in amounts valued at S$82,381 ($57,535), S$35,316 ($24,665), S$9,912 ($6,922), S$41,611 ($29,061), respectively. Bunkers and lubricant onboard the vessel must be paid at value for by the vessel purchaser, notes the court. VesselsValue.com data indicates the Panamax vessel was controlled by Marine Managers Ltd and worth $9.47 million.
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