Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/11/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/11/2016

1. Maersk Eyes Dong Deal
Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk and DONG Energy are in talks to merge their oil and gas operations in a deal that would create a business worth more than $10 billion including debt, sources familiar with the matter said. Maersk is working with Bank of America on the potential deal, while JP Morgan is assisting Dong Energy, said the people, who cautioned there is no certainty the parties would come to terms. Maersk said in September it planned to merge or spin-off its energy assets as part of a major restructuring and instead focus on its core transport and logistics businesses.
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2. EU Renews Piracy Patrols
The European Union’s naval mission will keep patrolling for pirates off the coast of Somalia for another two years, to guard against any resurgence of attacks, the bloc said on Monday. The number of raids and kidnappings has fallen – though maritime officials have warned that the risk is still, underlined by two attempted attacks last month. NATO said last week it had ended its own mission off the Horn of Africa, as it shifts resources to deterring Russia in the Black Sea and people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But the EU said it would extend the EUNAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until the end of 2018.
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3. Human Rights Reporting
The "eyewitness" to Atrocities app has won the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Prize for Innovation in Global Security. The app makes it possible for people who witness crimes and human rights abuse at sea, or anywhere, to capture evidence. Developed by the International Bar Association, the app, through its unique capabilities, enables Android smartphones and tablets to be used to document crimes – such as murder, armed robbery, human trafficking, piracy and drug smuggling – in a way that is admissible as evidence in a court of law.
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4. Second Hand Sails Soar
Sales of second-hand ships used to haul commodities such as iron ore, coal, grain and fertilizer have hit a seven-year high in 2016 as the industry creeps out of an eight-year downturn that has sunk several fleets of shippers. Nearly 560 such dry-cargo ships, which as a class make up half the world’s merchant fleet, have changed hands in deals worth $4.3 billion up to the end of November, data from shipbroker Clarkson showed, the highest number since 2009. "We’ve seen a lot of interest from Asian buyers in 10-15 year old ships, which is partly due to the surge in rates," said the Teo Shipping Corporation.
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5. Dockworkers Groomed to Smuggle
Drug trafficking from Peruvian ports has risen in recent years as criminal networks groom dockworkers to smuggle packets of cocaine into shipping containers, the country’s new anti-narcotics agency, Devida, said on Monday. Some 90 dockworkers in Peru have been killed in the past two years in crimes believed to have been linked to smuggling, said Devida’s president, Carmen Masias. Traffickers lure dock workers by getting them hooked on drugs or offering lavish pay to gain access to ships bound for ports around the world, where their counterparts pick up the cocaine in a sophisticated cross-border smuggling ring, Masias said.
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6. Hamburg Sud in Sights
Maersk Line may be looking to buy Hamburg Süd, the German-owned line focused on South American routes. It would be Maersk’s first acquisition of an entire shipping company in more than a decade. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the Oetker family, which has owned Hamburg Süd since 1955, were thinking of selling. On Monday the Journal identified Maersk as a potential buyer. Other potential names included CMA CGM and China COSCO. The purchase would give Maersk a boost in the South American market, and it would give Hamburg Süd’s operations access to Maersk’s global scale.
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7. Google and Ship Propulsion
After the Google Car comes the Google Ship with news the internet giant has patented a new form of ship propulsion. The kite-based propellers is being developed by Makani, a company Google acquired three years ago. The airborne wind turbine could ultimately be used to move data centers, something Google has been looking at shipping-wise for many years. The patent is specifically for an “airborne rigid kite with on-board power plant for ship propulsion”. Makani Power stated that the “energy kite” has the potential to generate 50% more energy while eliminating 90% of the materials used and for half the cost.
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8. Havila Avoids Bankruptcy
Norwegian offshore firm Havila Shipping has said that bondholders have agree to a restructuring, avoiding a potential bankruptcy which looked highly likely when it received a notice to accelerate from secured bank lenders on Friday. Bondholders had previously rejected measures proposed by the Havila board, which had been agreed to by its lenders. The restructuring will give Havila breathing room through to November 2020, replacing approximately NOK3.2bn of debt maturities in the period 2017-2019 with around NOK67m of minimum fixed amortization.
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9. Coral Reef Crushed
Officials in the Cayman Islands are trying to determine exactly how much damage was caused to a coral reef after the grounding of the containership MV Saga near George Town. The Ministry of Environment says it is aware of the incident and is in the preliminary stages of its investigation into the grounding and survey of the reef. The 3,800 dwt "MV Saga" ran aground early Friday morning as it was leaving port. The vessel was pulled free by a tugboat and taken back to port, but not before the ship’s hull reportedly crushed a significant area of the coral reef.
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10. Research Ship Saves Family
The British research ship "James Cook" has rescued a family from their sinking yacht in the Atlantic. The ship diverted from a science expedition to answer a mayday call from the German yacht "Noah", with five people, including two children, on board. The ship steamed at full speed, leaving behind an autonomous submersible operating 3,400 under the waves, to answer the distress call. They found three adults and two children in a liferaft. The ship made a record-breaking 17 knots on its rescue mission as the yacht was taking in water fast.
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