Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/12/2016

1. Cyber Effect on Autonomous Ships
Cyber crime is likely to delay the introduction of autonomous ships for several years – and it could pose a significant threat to the shipping industry if it fails to act soon. There has been much progress on autonomous ships this year, notably from Rolls-Royce, and in October Norway opened the world’s first designated test area. But there is still a long way to go, believes SeaIntelligence CEO Lars Jensen. “Autonomous ships are a long way in the future,” he told delegates at TOC Middle East in Dubai. One of the biggest problems facing the industry – and autonomous ships – is that it is not yet fully equipped to handle cyber crime.
2. US Green Lights THE Alliance
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has completed its review of the proposed vessel-sharing alliance “THE Alliance”, allowing the grouping to become effective on December 19, 2016. THE Alliance is comprised of five different container shipping companies: Hapag-Lloyd; K Line; MOL; NYK; and Yang Ming. It plans to deploy 240 ships across 31 services and over 75 ports in Asia, North Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and the Middle East. The Commission voted to allow the agreement to become effective following a period of substantive and constructive discussion with the parties.
3. Scrambling to Save Shipping
The South Korean government is scrambling to save the nation’s shipping industry which is on the brink. In particular, it plans to make pan-governmental effort to promote Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. (HMM) as the nation’s leading container line with the global competitiveness. Minister Kim Young-suk will host the “Policy Financing Conference on Support for the Shipping Industry” to discuss the current situation of major financial support policies enforcement, including the “ship building support program,” the “expansion of KAMCO shipping fund” and the “revitalization of maritime guarantee insurance".
4. Tragic Oil Rig Collapse
One person has died and a search and rescue is underway for 9 others missing after a part of an oil installation collapsed in strong winds in the Caspian Sea. The platform is operated by Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR. The company said it was notified of the incident at about 5 a.m. Thursday morning. According to reports, a 150-meter section of a trestle bridge connecting offshore installations collapsed in winds reaching up to 91 m.p.h. Part of an accommodation unit is believed to have also collapsed. Ten people were missing, SOCAR said, but an update from the company said one body has been recovered from the scene.
5. Environmental Double Standards
Denmark’s Environmental Minister has come under fire for failing to provide concrete answers to questions regarding the Danish government’s position on shipbreaking in South Asia amid Maersk’s controversial decision to send end-of-life ships to approved yards in Alang, India for recycling. The Danish Environment Minister, Esben Lunde Larsen, was in Brussels Wednesday to answer questions before Parliament from opposition parties who are calling on the Government to ensure that Maersk’s end-of-life vessels cannot be broken down in beaching yards. Larsen simply read prepared answers and paraphrased the regulations.
6. 500 Ship Landmark
More than 500 ships have now transited the expanded Panama Canal less than six months after the inauguration of the new locks on June 26, 2016. The Panama Canal marked the milestone 500th transit through the new locks on Wednesday with the transit of the Yan Ming containership YM Unity. In a statement the Panama Canal Authority said the new neopanamax locks are already exceeding expectations. “We are very optimistic, because our customers continue to rely on our route, what drives us every day to provide quality service,” said Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano.
7. Emissions Trading Adoption
The Environment Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament has adopted its report on the revision of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). MEPs agreed on a compromise text for shipping, which puts pressure on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to have a system comparable to ETS operating for global shipping as from 2021. If that is not the case, then shipping will be included in the European ETS as from 2023. Part of the revenues generated from ETS will be channeled through a Maritime Climate Fund to improve energy efficiency and invest in innovative technologies for ports and short sea shipping.
8. Reinsurance Rates on the Slide
Group reinsurance rates for shipowners in the reinsurance programme for the International Group (IG) of protection and indemnity (P&I) clubs have dropped by between 5 percent and 10 percent. The costs from the overall programme are charged as separate fixed costs together with 2017 advance call rates, giving the clubs’ members the full benefit of the reduction. On average the rates will come down by 7.2 percent.

9. Abandonment Saga Set to End
A long-running shipping wrangle which has left 12 seamen stranded on a ship in a Norfolk port for six months could be set to come to an end. The India-owned "Malaviya Twenty" has been detained in Great Yarmouth docks since it arrived in June. The crew has not been paid and port fees and running costs have seen debts soar to more than £300,000. Now a transport union has stepped in to take charge of the vessel and will sell it in order to settle the arrears. Under Border Force restrictions, the men are not allowed to leave Great Yarmouth until the issue is resolved.
10. Having a Blast
The P&O cruise ship Oriana was departing Southampton’s City Cruise Terminal last month when its horn malfunctioned and got stuck on blast for more than 20 minutes. The hilarious, and noisy, fail was of course captured on video and posted online. According to the uploader, this went on for well over 20 minutes, even though the video only shows the first 7 minutes. This happened November 25. I’m sure the locals just loved it.

Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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