Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/11/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/11/2016

1. Ship Slashes Internet Cable
A ship has managed to accidentally cut internet cables connecting Jersey to the UK — drastically slowing internet speeds on the island. A ship’s anchor dragging along the seabed on Monday night has severed the three cables used by network company JT to connect the Channel island to the English mainland, JT said on its website. As a result, it is now reliant on one cable to France — which is slowing connections. Repair efforts are now underway on the fibre-optic cables, and may take a "week or so." The BBC is reporting that the ship responsible has not been discovered, and the insurance implications.


2. New Singapore Maritime Chief
Singapore’s Ministry of Transport has announced the appointment of Niam Chiang Meng to the role of chairman of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) from Dec 16. Currently deputy chairman, Niam will take over from Lucien Wong who moves to the role of Singapore’s Deputy Attorney-General.
Niam has been in the deputy chairman role at MPA since July, and has served in various government roles including as chief executive of Singapore’s Housing and Development Board. “Mr Niam’s strong public-sector leadership experience will greatly benefit MPA", said the Ministry of Transport in a release.


3. Royal Navy in a Mess
The Royal Navy is facing a major shakeup after an independent report by the businessman Sir John Parker called for speedier and cheaper shipbuilding and opened the way for the breaking up of BAE’s dominance of naval defence contracts. Parker, chairman of the mining company Anglo American and the former chief executive of Belfast’s Harland and Wolff yard, described the existing procurement system as a “vicious cycle” that contributed to the navy’s depleted state. The once-formidable Royal Navy fleet has fallen rapidly over the last 40 years, with frigate numbers dropping from 60 in 1975 to just 13 now.


4. Harry Left High and Dry
Prince Harry was left stranded after the Navy ship he is travelling on broke down during his tour of the Caribbean. The Prince was due to leave the island of St Vincent on Saturday evening and spend the night moored offshore but the ship, RFA Wave Knight, would not start. The Prince, 32, is spending a total of six days on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary boat during his 15-day tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen. "RFA Wave Knight", a fast fleet tanker that entered Royal Navy service in 2003, developed an undisclosed ‘technical fault’ and engineers have been working round the clock to fix it.


5. COSTCO Drives Cost Savings
A new program offering Greek shipowners VAT-free spare parts is in the makings as the Chinese Shipping company COSCO has struck a deal with a Copenhagen-based logistics and transport provider creating what is called the Piraeus Free Zone. COSCO, the shipping giant that recently took over as the controlling shareholder of Piraeus port on August 10, 2016, is reported to have joined forces with Copenhagen’s Trans-it in order to allow shipowners to move ships’ spares out of Greece without timely and cash-consuming limitations such as VAT. Stock will now be allowed to be kept in the new Piraeus Free Zone.


6. Owners Drive Ballast Savings
Ship owners are seeking cost effective solutions for ballast water management as the IMO convention nears entry into force. On a recent visit to Vancouver, three owners reported progress on bringing down the cost of compliance. Containership owner and manager Seaspan Corporation has been operating ballast water management systems under joint industry projects with system manufacturers for the past five years, helping suppliers to develop their units, CEO Peter Curtis told The Motorship. The company currently operates such ‘beta-type’ retrofitted units on four vessels.


7. Caution at Bulk Breakfast
There was a mood of cautious optimism at today’s fifth annual SinoShip Dry Bulk Business Breakfast held in Hong Kong. Whereas last year’s gathering – also in November – was at a time when dry bulk was approaching its absolute nadir, this time around there was a feeling that now is the time to invest – for those that have access to cash and can withstand another tough 12 months. The event, sponsored by DVB Bank and RightShip, brought many of the territory’s leading shipowners together to discuss key issues. There was a feeling among the panellists that the market might finally pick up in 2018.


8. Shipping Needs Greater Risks
Shipping needs to develop a greater risk culture to avoid the problems it has experienced since the onset of the global financial crisis according to Kyvsgaard Consulting. Lars Kyvsgaard ceo of Kyvsgaard Consulting said that a combination of too much funding be available to the industry prior to the financial crisis combined with a lack of a risk culture had resulted in losses. “The risk culture has not been there in the shipping industry”, and instead there has been a focus on growth and becoming bigger, Kyvsgaard told the ShippingWatch/Blue MBA Conference in Singapore last week.


9. Chamber on BREXIT
Shipowners body the UK Chamber of Shipping has published a 30-page “Blueprint for Growth” outlining the policies it would like the British Government to adopt as it negotiates the country’s exit from the EU. The main tenets of document follow closely a position paper issued earlier this month by Maritime UK – the unified “one voice” body for British shipping that besides the Chamber also includes the UK Major Ports Group, maritime engineering association the Society of Marine Industries, and professional business services body Maritime London.


10. OSG Credit Downgraded
Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the ratings of Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. (“OSG”), including its Corporate Family Rating (CFR) to B3 from B2 and Probability of Default Rating (PDR) to B3-PD from B2-PD, in anticipation of the spin-off of its international business/subsidiary, International Seaways, Inc. (INSW), previously named OSG International, Inc. The separation is expected to be completed on November 30, 2016.


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