Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/12/2016

1. Flag Business is Convenient
A part-privatisation of the UK Ship Register will enable it to compete globally and attract more ships to sail under the British flag, the government has been told. A report by KPMG, commissioned by the Department for Transport, recommends that the Ship Register become a “govco”, a privately held state-owned company that is subject to government oversight but has more commercial freedoms, including over employment terms. The UK Chamber of Shipping said the commercialisation of the Ship Register has acquired greater urgency in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
2. South Korean Turmoil
South Korea’s parliament has voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal that could lead to her becoming the country’s first democratically elected leader to be removed from office. South Korea impeachment vote: the key facts behind a presidential crisis. The constitutional court will decide whether to uphold the motion and remove Park from office or reject it and reinstate her. The prime minister will be acting president until the court delivers a ruling. There have been mass rallies every Saturday for the past six weeks calling for Park to quit, and overwhelming public support for her impeachment.
3. Cull the Hostages Call
Philippine President Duterte has told his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts that their forces can bomb fleeing Filipino militants and their kidnap victims at sea because the hostages “are not supposed to be there.” Mr. Duterte said in a speech that their forces could enter Philippine waters while pursuing Muslim militants who are fleeing with hostages. Mr. Duterte said he told the leaders that if the militants were about to escape, “bomb them. If they cannot be captured, you bomb them. How about the hostages? Eh, bomb them also. They’re not supposed to be there, there is a warning.”
4. Engineers Sentenced for Pollution
A US judge on Wednesday sentenced two ship engineers to prison time for obstructing a US Coast Guard (USCG) investigation of suspected water pollution and illegal dumping at sea. The engineers, both Philippines citizens, were on Oceanfleet’s 2012-built general cargo vessel Ocean Hope when USCG officials inspected it in July 2015 in the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina. The defendants were found to have lied to inspectors, instructed other crew to do the same and presented a doctored record book to cover up the fact that the vessel had used a a magic pipe to illegally dump oil sludge and bilge water into the sea.
5. Fishermen Turn to Piracy
As Venezuela continues on its downward spiral into economic collapse, in the coastal state of Sucre, out-of-work fishermen have turned to piracy, killing dozens who still venture out into the open sea, trying to make a living. The fishing industry in Sucre was once home to the world’s fourth-largest tuna fleet. But the fishing industry, along with almost every industry in Venezuela has collapsed, and people have become desperate. It is a desperation born out of being unemployed, having no money to feed their families, and looking at a future that seems to be bleak and empty. So gangs of pirates have been formed.
6. Oil Tanker Warnings
Supertankers are bracing for the worst earnings year since 2013 as they become collateral damage in OPEC’s quest to trim a global glut of crude. The very large crude carriers, 1,200-foot vessels each hauling 2 million barrels, will earn an average of $25,000 a day next year, according to the median of eight shipping analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That’s 12 percent lower than they were anticipating before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries took a decision on Nov. 30 to cut collective output by enough to fill four ships a week. “This can lead us back to the market in 2013,” said an analyst.
7. Shipyard Worker Death
A worker was killed at Hanjin Heavy’s Subic Bay yard in the Philippines on Wednesday when his head was accidentally crushed by a barrier. The accident happened at dawn in the blasting section of one of the shipyard’s warehouses. A lawyer for a local union claims that this is the 38th work-related death at the yard since it started operations eight years ago, leading for calls for the Korean company to build more significant medical facilities within the yard.
8. COSCO Heavylift Rebrand
Yet more rebranding is underway at China’s largest maritime conglomerate. Cosco’s heavylift division, formerly known as Cosco Shipping Company Limited (Coscol), is now known as Cosco Shipping Specialised Carriers Co. The division has more than 150 ships – a mix of heavylifts, semi-submersibles and roros. Following the merger between Cosco and China Shipping to create the world’s largest shipping company, the enlarged group has gone through extensive structural reorganisation as outlined in this year’s SinoShip magazine.

9. Danish Internet of Things
Next year, a number of Danish organizations will be running a pilot "Internet of Things" project to test the collection of real-time data from equipment onboard ships. The Aalborg-based company GateHouse is behind the pilot project, and a number of other companies including the shipowner Uni-Tankers, Logimatic and the Danish Maritime Authority will contribute to the testing of the new technology. The Internet of Things refers to the wireless networking of physical things consisting of installed sensors, electronics and software enabling the ‘things’ to collect and exchange data.

10. Hill Dicks Appointment
International commercial law firm Hill Dickinson is pleased to announce that Julian Clark will be joining the firm as global head of shipping. Julian, who joins in January, is a founding partner of Campbell Johnston Clark (CJC) and specialises in both wet and dry shipping. Prior to founding CJC, Julian spent seven years as a partner at Holman Fenwick Willan LLP. He will be based in Hill Dickinson’s City of London office but will travel between the firm’s international offices in Piraeus, Monaco, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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