Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/12/2016

1. Reefer Attacked by Pirates
A reefer vessel, the "Saronic Breeze" was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, 70 nautical miles off Cotonou, Benin. The vessel left Cotonou and headed south, when it was approached by a fast boat with heavy armed men on board. Armed men open fire against the ship and succeeded to take control. The vessel was hijacked and the crew succeeded to activate SSAS. The Nigerian navy and local authorities dispatched rescuers and security forces to the scene of the troubled vessel. Meanwhile, the pirates reportedly robbed the ship and fled taking three hostages with them. The other crew was released unharmed.
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2. Oil Glut to be Cut
OPEC clinched a deal to curtail oil supply, confounding skeptics as the need to clear a record global crude glut — and prove the group’s credibility — brought its first cuts in eight years. Crude rose as much as 8.8 percent in London. OPEC will reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day to 32.5 million a day, two delegates said Wednesday during a ministerial meeting in Vienna, asking not to be identified as the decision isn’t yet public. The breakthrough deal showed an apparent acceptance by Saudi Arabia that Iran, as a special case, can raise production.
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3. El Faro Tape Release
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced it will soon release the transcript of the audio recording from the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) of sunken cargo ship El Faro. NTSB said the transcript and other factual information only – meaning no analysis or conclusions as to what caused the tragedy – will be released at a press conference on December 13 in Washington DC. Apart from the bridge audio transcript, information released on that day will pertain to weather and engineering matters, plus other data on the VDR. This follows months of work by investigators, examining the audio and other data.
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4. Gas Giant Slips
Golar has reported a 3Q operating loss of $28.3 million as compared to a loss of $37.2 million in 2Q 2016. Both shipping rates and utilisation improved during the quarter with utilisation increasing from 31% in 2Q to 37% in 3Q and rates for TFDE tonnage approaching and in cases exceeding $40k/day. Total operating revenues increased from $18.4 million in 2Q to $22.3 million in 3Q. Voyage, charter-hire and commission expenses including those from the Cool Pool collaboration recorded a slight decrease from $12.2 million in 2Q to $11.7 million this quarter reflecting the small increase in utilisation.
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5. Foreign Firms Fill Gaps
Foreign shipping companies are filling the gap in global routes after Korea’s largest shipper Hanjin Shipping filed for court receivership in August. Of them, the world’s largest shipping alliance 2M, led by Maersk Line and MSC, have benefitted the most in increasing their market share, according to recent data. According to Busan Port Authority, Wednesday, Hanjin Shipping’s market share in the Asia-to-North America route marked 7.78 percent last October but plunged to 1.1 percent in the same month this year. Likewise, its share in the North America-to-Asia route has nosedived to 0.01 percent from 8 percent over the same period.
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6. Seeking Smarter Shipping
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, has announced establishment of the "Smart Shipping Office" effective December 1. While ICT has rapidly been growing and potential applications at sea and between sea and shore are expanding, the Office will not only contribute to more advanced vessel operation and ship management by combining MOL Group’s expertise and the underlying seed technologies of ICT, but also make shipping services more convenient for customers by adding new value to shipping. In addition, the Office will work to realise the ultimate goal of autonomous sailing.
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7. Shipping Ties in Government
Elaine Chao, the daughter of shipping magnate James Chao, is being lined up by president-elect Donald Trump to head up the transportation department in January. Elaine Chao was the labour secretary in the George W Bush administration. She is married to Republican senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
Chao will be tasked with a big transport infrastructure build up, not least across America’s ports. Chao’s father, James, is the founder of Foremost Group. In other shipping-related Trump appointees, Wilbur Ross, one of the most aggressive private equity investors in shipping, has been picked as commerce secretary.
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8. Wellington Port Hit Hard
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the south island of New Zealand will keep parts of Wellington’s CentrePort off limits for a long time. The port, built on reclaimed land, has suffered from sunken land, liquefaction and damaged container cranes. The nation’s transport minister, Simon Bridges, said parts of the port will remain closed indefinitely. Meanwhile, KiwiRail has this week announced a new coastal shipping freight service called NZ Connect. The disruption to New Zealand’s key supply route between Auckland and Christchurch will continue for many months as the rail and road links are rebuilt.
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9. Focus on Sustainable Shipping
At the World Ocean Council’s Sustainable Ocean Summit, Carbon War Room, exactEarth, and University Maritime Advisory Service (UMAS) launched "BetterFleet", a free-to-access ship operational efficiency portal, on ShippingEfficiency.org. Based on similar data and methods used by the IMO to assess the world fleet, BetterFleet shows how efficiently an individual vessel has operated over the past year and compares it against its peers and provides free-to-access efficiency data to support the shipping industry’s many different stakeholders, and particularly those who use it as part of their supply chain.
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10. Dockworkers Unite For Lashing
Dockworkers are planning a “noisy and active” protest outside the Aarhus headquarters of Europe’s largest feeder operator Unifeeder as part of a continent-wide campaign to halt the practice of ships’ crews lashing and unlashing containers in port. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which is organising the protest by “hundreds of dockworkers”, believes “cargo lashing is our work”. However, Unifeeder says the dockers would be “demonstrating in the wrong place”, as the carrier is not the employer but simply charters the vessels that include provision for ships’ crews to perform lashing and securing services.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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