Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/12/2016

1. Shipping’s Biggest Losers
The next big losers in the shipping industry crisis are likely to be ports and terminals, leading to a decline in safety and services. TOC Middle East, shippers, analysts and forwarders urged the sector to halt the price race-to-the-bottom across the supply chain, to protect the remaining players. “The Hanjin episode served as a wake-up call – this is not a sustainable way of doing business,” Alessandro Menezes, associate director, transportation sourcing, at petrochemical shipper Vinmar, told delegates. “There is a risk factor for ports, with 80% of the world’s fleet in alliances. If alliances squeeze prices too tight, terminals can’t invest.”
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2. Libyan Attack on Oil Ports
Eastern Libyan forces said they thwarted an attempted advance on some of Libya’s major oil ports on Wednesday, hitting a rival faction with air strikes and capturing some of its commanders. The violence raised the prospect of a fresh struggle for control of the oil ports and for overall power between the many armed factions in anarchic Libya that have competed with each other in shifting alliances since a 2011 uprising. It came a day after forces led by brigades from the western city of Misrata completed a near seven-month battle to oust Islamic State militants from their erstwhile North African stronghold in Sirte.
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3. Illustrious Reaches the End
The giant aircraft carrier ship, HMS Illustrious, has set sail for the very last time. It’s being taken apart and recycled at a plant in Turkey after 32 years of work and sailing 900,000 miles during that time. The ship was used as a landing platform for fighter jets, but it also helped in disaster zones. Its final voyage left from Portsmouth as crowds of people lined the shoreline to watch the ship sailing off. The former aircraft carrier has been sold for scrap for £2m Most recently took part in operations in Sierra Leone and an aid mission delivery emergency supplies to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
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4. Engine Failure in Channel
The general cargo ship Sea Ems suffered engine failure in English Channel off Fowey, UK. The vessel remained gearless and adrift, dangerously close to the UK coast. The vessel was pushed by the winds and currents to the rocky shallows. The accident was reported to the local authorities and coast guard, which dispatched towing tug at the scene of the troubled cargo ship, which started salvage operation. The general cargo ship Sea Ems was taken under tow towards Fowey, where will be docked for repairs and safety inspection. Fortunately there were no injured people and no water pollution.
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5. New Class of Box Ship Named
Hapag-Lloyd has held a naming ceremony for the Valparaíso Express, the first of five new vessels in its new 10,500 TEU class. The ceremony was held at the Terminal Pacifico Sur (TPS) in the port of Valparaíso, Chile, where the new ship will call regularly. As the first vessel in the new Valparaíso Express class, she will sail in the revised Europe – South America West Coast service of Hapag-Lloyd. Four of the five newbuildings are replacing older Panmax ships on the service, while a second Panmax size loop (SW2) and two slot charter agreements (EW1 and EW2) in the same trade lane will be terminated.
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6. Retailers Rail Against Costs
The U.S. National Retail Federation (NRF) and a coalition representing retailers, manufacturers, truckers, transportation intermediaries and other business groups has asked the Federal Maritime Commission to set new policy preventing terminal operators and ocean carriers from charging unfair fees when uncontrollable incidents such as storms and strikes keep cargo from being picked up from ports on time. “Recent events involving port congestion, labor strife, an ocean carrier bankruptcy, inclement weather and other disruption events have had crippling effects on U.S. ports and the stakeholders” the petition claims.
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7. Idle Capacity Stubbornly High
Alphaliner in its latest weekly report says that idle capacity within the above 500 TEU container ship fleet is still "stubbornly high," with data showing that there was 357 units for 1.504 million TEU of unemployed capacity as of November 28. Increased chartering activity within the 1,000-2,000 TEU vessel range is credited with helping to decrease the number of idle ships in that size range from 84 units to 73 vessels over a two week period, says Alphaliner. Meanwhile, in the Panamax 3,000-5,100 TEU segment, a small decline in the idle fleet was also observed, falling to 116 units from 119.
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8. MSC Marks Port Opening
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) marked the official opening of the newly constructed Hamad Port Container Terminal 1, with the first ship to call, a 14,000 TEU vessel. At the request of Qatar Ports Management Company, MSC Esthi sailed into the Port in time for the long awaited opening ceremony on December 1, celebrating the completion of the first phase of Qatar’s $7.8 billion port, which will initially see capacity of 2 million TEU. Hamad Port, located south of capital Doha, is still far from completion with both Container Terminals 2 and 3 scheduled to come into service by 2020.
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9. Salvage Tug Runs Aground
The oceangoing tug "Salvage Titan" reportedly went aground off the northern tip of the island of Luzon in the Philippines recently. The vessel was towing a barge loaded with ship-to-shore container cranes. Initial media reports suggest that strong currents and foul weather drove the tug onto the shore. At the time of the incident, Tropical Storm Marce was passing to the west of Luzon; Philippine agencies had forecast "moderate to strong winds" over Luzon and "moderate to rough" seas. The grounding was due to an unspecified "sea vessel accident" but is under way once more, making bound for Port Klang.
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10. Worst Could Be Over
The worst is over for the dry bulk shipping sector, after years when too many ships chased too little cargo, yet the extent of the lost business means a full recovery is still some way off, leading ship owners said on Wednesday. Dry bulk shipping, which transports commodities including coal, iron ore and grain, has been among the worst performing shipping segments in recent years, partly due to worries over the health of top industrial goods importer China. Some companies have gone to the wall – and the collapse of South Korean container shipping group Hanjin in August was partly due to its additional exposure to dry bulk.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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